100 years on…

And so the commemorations to mark the centenary of the start of the first World War has begun…

There will be many events and plenty of TV coverage to keep us all informed of what happened 100 years ago, and we will be encouraged to ‘Remember’, to look back and reflect, to weigh up what that war means for us today.

Frank Bernard Lane

Frank Bernard Lane

For me, I know that one of my great grandfathers, Frank Bernard Lane, served for his country and although I never knew him I appreciate what he sacrificed for us, although I do know that he survived the Great War, unlike many of his friends, I suspect.

I have read many stories of bravery from our wonderful project researchers and have been impressed at the willingness of men and women to step into the unknown and risk their lives for the ‘greater good’. I hope you manage to have a look back through our archived blog posts to discover some of the stories. I also hope you get a chance to see the touring exhibition, when it is ready from September 2014 onwards, at your local museum or library, where you can read more fascinating stories.

Essex Poet, Luke Wright (photo courtesy of martin Figura)

Essex Poet, Luke Wright (photo courtesy of Martin Figura)

We were pleased to present the first of five completely original poems written by local poet, Luke Wright. He has taken the research given to him by our project manager, Tony Morrison, from our volunteer researchers, and turned it into a wonderful, reflective poem about what was going on in Essex, 100 years ago. Please do read it and let us know what you think.

In addition, the Essex Record Office and our partner museums have begun to work on education sessions or resources for secondary schools. Chelmer Valley High School, in Chelmsford has already held an art competition in conjunction with both the Essex Fire Museum and the Essex Police Museum. You can see their art work on our Project Partners: Schools page.

If you get a chance, do have a look at the EROs most recent blog post: ‘And so the mad Dance of Death has begun’: a look at the Essex County Chronicle of 7 August 1914, which is an extensive look at the Essex Chronicle’s reports from 100 years ago.

Whatever you do to remember, always remember that these were ordinary human beings like you and I, sucked into a frightening and traumatic experience beyond their control. What would you do today? Would you be first in line to sign up to go to war and serve for your country? Or would you have held back, with dread? None of us can say…

Sarah Girling, Project Manager


One thought on “100 years on…

  1. Greetings from NZ.

    Your interesting WW1 web site was emailed to me by Essex researcher Bella D’Arcy Reed who accessed my web site (qv) so herewith for your interest from sunny but daffodil-chilly Nelson,NZ is an extract from my father’s diary of the time plus two of my contributions to

    theprow.org.nz:———–> [look for 2 recent contributions on this web site where Rawson is used in each title]



    [ my father Jack Rawson was a junior doctor at the Essex County hospital when WW1 started and was friendly with the night sister “Peggy”

    Here is the extract——————>]

    “August 13th: Left Colchester for good—was undecided whether to go to war or not owing to having got an appointment at the Bolingbroke Hospital for six months however Dad and Mother both had strongly urged me to go and join the Red Cross Society –“
    Jack however was already enrolled with the University of London’s Officer Training Corps so instead of following his parents’ suggestion he visited the War Office and emerged as a temporary lieutenant in the Royal Army Medical Corps, soon to be posted to care for wounded from Belgium and France at Netley Hospital, a huge Victorian establishment near Southampton. Soon after he was posted to hospital ships and wrote graphic reports on wounded from the Continent and later Gallipoli.
    Before this he stayed at the Bolingbroke Hospital for 5 weeks. [NB: Peggy ,the former Colchester night sister had moved there too and Jack describes a joint West End theatre visit and the first wearing of his admired new uniform. To his surprise the uniform earned him a free bus ride.]
    “—the bus I went up refused to charge me anything and I find out now that all the buses and trams give free rides to all soldiers, sailors and officers so I feel very important”


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