Shropshire’s Hospitality to Refugees

April 24, 20179:53 amApril 24, 2017 12:02 pm

The biggest single influx of refugees in the history of this country was the product of the opening months of the First World War, as Belgian refugees fled their own country (95% occupied by the German armies) via the Channel ports to Britain. For the volunteers scouring contemporary accounts in local newspapers and the resources […]


Centenary of the Imperial War Graves Commission

April 18, 20178:25 amApril 24, 2017 10:16 am

The 21st May 2017 will mark the Centenary of the Imperial War Graves Commission. Now the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) it was created by Royal Charter with the Prince of Wales as its first President. CWGC marks its Centenary with the launch of a series of projects aimed at promoting wider awareness of its […]


Leonard Cooke’s tour of duty

March 27, 201711:05 amMarch 27, 2017 11:08 am

It has often been remarked that many young men joined up seeking adventure as an escape from dull lives in crowded homes and the endless drudgery of many jobs, including those in agriculture. This certainly applied to Len Cooke of Grange Farm, Bicton. Len packed his bags and left the family farm at the age of […]


The Refugee Express

March 13, 201711:27 amMarch 13, 2017 3:05 pm

‘Black is typical of the terrible days through which our country is passing, and the depth of sorrow into which we have been plunged; red, is the blood that has been shed; but golden is the kindness of the British people, and never can the Belgians forget the generosity and warmth of their reception’.  Belgian […]


A Family in Wartime

March 6, 201712:16 pmMarch 6, 2017 12:18 pm

While some families lost sons and husbands, as listed on many war memorials, many more were nevertheless affected in numerous other ways. The Davies Family, who came to the Isle estate in Bicton shortly before the war, illustrated this very well: In a way typical of many agricultural workers, their life involved many moves from […]


Church Stretton Opened its Gates to Refugees

February 20, 20174:21 pmFebruary 21, 2017 4:23 pm

Just nine months into the First World War, Church Stretton found something to celebrate. “In the presence of a large gathering of townspeople and visitors, the splendid new gates were opened at the entrance of Church Stretton’s Recreation Ground.” The day was Monday 24th May 1915. The other day, in the company of Genevieve Tudor […]


RAF Shawbury- 100 years since the formation of the first flying Squadron

February 14, 20171:21 pmFebruary 14, 2017 1:26 pm

During the First World War, the west side of England was relatively safe from aerial attack and more airfields were desperately required for the rapidly expanding Royal Flying Corps (RFC). New squadrons were being formed as fast as possible and pilots had to be trained to equip them. In 1915, to the north-west of the […]


Poems: part two

February 13, 201712:49 pmFebruary 13, 2017 1:17 pm

GO DOWN FIGHTING   He fought for his country He fought for the truth He fought back his fears He fought with his youth   He fought back his tears With thoughts of his wife On the battlefield bleeding He fought for his life A CHILD’S VIEW On the big dresser in the parlour at […]


Poems: part one

January 23, 20174:07 pmFebruary 13, 2017 12:21 pm

Below is a selection of poems, inspired by the First World War, written by Meg Pybus   COLUMNS The orderliness of it all Helmets All the same One in front of the other Leading ranks banked filing together   Advancing In three ranks Commanded Running Before falling Sprawling Today A universe Still, white graves, composed […]



January 16, 20171:25 pmJanuary 16, 2017 1:46 pm

When the First World War began, the army was in the middle of field trials for an improved version of the Boots, ankle, General Service (BGS). They were designed to be hard-wearing and long-lasting rather than comfortable. They were worn with long puttees – rolled round the legs from the top of the ankle boot […]

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