Beginning to carry out your research

Time is ticking onwards and research for the Last Poppy project should be underway. Some of our volunteers attended the Essex Record Office on the morning of Wednesday 18th December to find out how to use the county archive.


Archivist, Allyson Lewis and Audience Development Officer, Hannah Salisbury gave volunteers a tour of the ERO including a visit to one of the store rooms, helpful advice on how to use the online cataloge ‘Seax‘ and an introduction to original documents.


Hannah has created some really useful guidance notes which can be found here and will be placed on the Helpful Resources page too:


An interesting set of documents, that Allyson produced for the volunteers, was some letters written to and from nursing sister Katherine Luard, daughter of Bixby Garnham Luard. She was born in 1872, and served in the Boer War and First World War. She was awarded the RRC, the Royal Red Cross for her military nursing service. Katherine included a hand-drawn sketch of her living quarters, a tent she was staying in at the time. The Luard family documents can be found by searching on Seax, reference D/DLu.


Seax reference D/DLu

We welcome blog post submissions from anyone with stories from Essex during the Great War. See the guidance above for further information.


War Memorials: Where do you start?

How can you find out more about the men and women mentioned on War Memorials in Essex?

For many of us the search will begin with discussions with family members. If this is not possible then you might go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. You are able to search by name or by the cemetery.

A comprehensive study of those men noted on the Chelmsford War Memorials has been carried out by Andy Begent, and can be found on his website, Chelmsford War Memorial.

Chelmsford War Memorial home page

Chelmsford War Memorial home page

The site includes a detailed biography of each of the 359 men commemorated in Chelmsford. There are also features on The South Primrose Hill Boys and the notable men who are remembered on the memorials, including young men who joined up under age.

There is much information on the internet and a quick search led to an interesting piece from the website Centenary News.

In addition, Paul Ruseicki offers the following advice:

For anyone researching the history of Essex war memorials a good start is the chapter in my book ‘The Impact of Catastrophe: The People of Essex and the First World War.’  It doesn’t deal with individuals who are recorded on memorials but it looks at how the war memorial movement began and developed, the mechanisms involved in producing a town/village war memorial, and the controversies which often arose, sometimes bedevilling the whole process and causing bad feelings.  It should provide you with the context for your study.

Have you visited your local First World War memorial?

Where is it? Is it in your local church or town hall?

We’d be very interested to hear if you have done any research on these men or women, and you’d be welcome to share their stories on this blog. The main aim of the project is to uncover stories of the Essex home-front, however many of these men and women came from Essex and had family and friends at home.