Update – June 2018
Over the past four years the Beck Isle Museum has been undertaking a research project about the First World War. By June this year, our team of volunteers will have researched over 600 individuals from Pickering who fought in the First World War.
Our starting point has been the Pickering Roll of Honour, which names every individual from Pickering who served in the Navy, Royal Flying Corps, the Royal Army Medical Corps, the VAD, WAC as well as the various regiments which made up the British Army. Volunteers have then used various resources to piece together an individual’s history including census records, parish records and service records. Many military records were destroyed during the Second World War, which means that it is often impossible to find details of an individual’s military career.
The museum is extremely grateful to those who have got in touch with us to share stories of relatives who fought in the war. This has enabled us to get a fuller picture of what happened to some of the men and women from Pickering during the First World War and also what they did after the war.
With 2018 marking the centenary of the end of the First World War, the museum is collating this local history research into a book, due to be published in July.
Overview of the project
A team of volunteers have been researching the men from Pickering who fought in the First World War and did not return. This is part of an on-going project (started in 2014) to celebrate the centenary of the First World War supported by a grant from Arts Council England through the Remember Scarborough Project.
The result of this research has formed a Book of Remembrance, which went on display in the museum on 1 July 2016 in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme.
A second book was published in November 2016 based on expanded research about the lives of these men before the outbreak of war as well as their military movements after they signed up. Many hours have been spent researching each personal story, looking at a variety of archival documents, online resources such as Ancestry and Find my past as well as meeting and talking to some of the families and descendants. Each soldier is remembered and his story told through a number of sources including extracts from war diaries and letters posted home from the Front. Many of the biographies reflect the heroism and bravery of these men but also illustrate the hardship and horror of fighting in the First World War.
Many of the Pickering men who signed up were in the Yorkshire Green Howards (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own Yorkshire Regiment), but there were also men in the Royal Engineers and the Royal Army Medical Corps as well as other regiments. Between 1914 and 1918 some were killed in action, others in POW camps and others were invalided to England and later died of their wounds.
These stories are interspersed with photographs of the soldiers, images from the Front and also photographs of Pickering from the Sydney Smith Collection. The Book of Remembrance is now available to purchase in the museum shop priced £15.00.