Thursday, February 27, 2014

I go to Hertford (First World War, etc)

Yesterday I drove over to Hertford for a meeting of some of the people actively working towards remembering the way the First World War affected us all. It was a very stimulating meeting and over the next few months (at least) there is likely to be more emphasis on war related matters. I was pleased to see that quite a few people are working on the Home front - how the war affected everyday life in Hertfordshire. Because so many men went to the Front the result was that women played a far bigger part in running the country and this had a big effect (including Votes for Women) after the War.
Herts at War photo of meeting
War Memorials
A lot is being done on War Memorials and a Roll of Honour. One of the problems is what names should be included. I discussed this a few days ago in connection with Hemel Hempstead and  it was pointed out that the Haileybury War Memorial contains many hundreds of names of pupils who went to the school but who have no other connection with the county. (This suggests a question, which was not raised at the meeting - of exchanging information with other areas - as there must be Hertfordshire pupils who are recorded on war memorials outside the county.) There is also the problem of people who were never recorded on a war memorial but perhaps should have been. This is a difficult question - what about someone whose lungs were badly damaged in a gas attack, never recovered sufficiently to work, but died of related complications decades later. It was clear that drawing the line as to who to include was difficult and there was some discussion about how records should be preserved in the longer term - especially when later research suggests corrections and update might be necessary.

It is clear that many readers of this Newsletter, and the main Web Site, live outside Hertfordshire - in some cases on the other side of the world - will have family information on soldiers and sailors who died - including photographs of named individuals, and also groups. As a result I said I would encourage such people to make digital images, etc., available to that their relative's sacrifice can be properly recorded.

It is clear that there will be many events, articles and booklets published, information released on CD for use in schools, etc, and where appropriate I will publish details here. I also hope to be able to say that the book The London Gunners come to Town will be available in digital form for any historians carrying out relevant research.

I also took the opportunity to walk round Hertford with my camera - a took pictures of the War Memorial, the Museum (including various military exhibits), and some other features of old Hertford - and I will post details once the pictures have been uploaded.

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