News and Blog

The latest news and information from the Achievements team.

  1. Armistice Day

    On this November 11th, many family historians may be thinking back to those ancestors who fought, and indeed lost their lives, during the First World War.  As many genealogists may have already found, only around 40% of WWI army service records survive, due to bombing during WWII.  However, information can sometimes be gleaned from other sources regarding our ancestors’ military careers.

    One of our researchers, Elizabeth Yule, has been investigating her great grandfather, James Kerry, who fought in WWI as part of the Suffolk Regiment.  Like so many, he does not have a surviving service record, although his Medal Card shows he was awarded the 1915 Star.  Searches of Suffolk newspapers, also reveal that he was wounded in 1917, and this entry gives additional details about when and where he joined up.  Thus interesting snippets can be found, despite missing service records.

    James Kerry newspaper record

     

  2. There’s a little place called Sidestrand . . . .

    Whilst completing research on the history of the village of Sidestrand, on the North Norfolk coast, an interesting item emerged: a pocket book of poems and drawings, clearly written to a local girl, mainly from military personnel.  A military training camp was established in the village during the First World War, and many soldiers who were stationed there signed their names and left messages, drawings and poems for it’s owner, such as this charming composition:

    There’s a little place called Sidestrand
    Somewhere along the coast
    And to a girl I met there I wish to raise this toast
    May all her life be happy
    And her troubles be but few
    May she never forget her old friends
    When accompanied by her new

    The poem was signed J.Wood, of D Company, 27th King’s Liverpool Regiment, Sidestrand Camp.  When researching the identity of this J. Wood within surviving World War I service records and medal rolls, there were over 20 possible candidates.  If only he had recorded his service number in the notebook as well, or even his first name!

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