Shrewsbury’s Flying Ace Geoffrey Hornblower Cock MC

June 12, 20181:43 pmJune 19, 2018 10:31 am

The family were tanners in Kingsland, Shrewsbury. Adeline and James Cock had three daughters and two sons spread over seventeen years. They were affluent with four female servants; cook, kitchen-maid, parlour-maid and housemaid. When they named the last child, a son, had they anticipated that he would have to live up to that name? Geoffrey […]


Barbed wire in the First World War and in the Shropshire Hills today.

May 15, 20189:25 amMay 22, 2018 10:41 am

Who would have guessed that barbed wire would prove the inspiration for Shropshire’s own war poet Wilfred Owen? At the opening of Exposure he draws upon those years walking from their home in Cherry Orchard, Shrewsbury along the Severn. Exposure Our brains ache, in the merciless iced east winds that knive us . . . Wearied we keep […]


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 […]


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 […]



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 […]


KSLI Regimental Postcards

December 12, 201612:28 pm

Visitors to this website may have noticed the line of weary soldiers trudging across the header of the screen. These figures are taken from a postcard issued by the 6th battalion of the regiment for Christmas 1916. There is a marked difference in tone between this and other, earlier regimental postcards. In 1914 there was […]



June 28, 201610:44 amFebruary 14, 2017 3:02 pm

Nationally, we can understand why there’s Trafalgar Square and Waterloo Station. Historic England tells us “Battlefields have frequently been the setting for crucial turning-points in English history.” In Shrewsbury we have Battlefield Road, Battlefield Heritage Park and the church. In town there’s Alma Street marking the first battle in the Crimea and Salamanca Avenue from the […]


THE PRICE OF RULING THE WAVES (Marking the Centenary of the Battle of Jutland)

May 31, 20169:17 amJune 27, 2016 1:50 pm

Admiral ‘Jackie’ Fisher wrote of HMS Warrior ‘It was not appreciated that this, our first armour-clad ship of war, would cause a fundamental change in what had been in vogue for something like a thousand years.’ Having spent a good part of my life on new product development; rather than the battle itself, it is […]


Putting a Sock into Trench Foot

May 17, 201612:07 pmMay 23, 2016 2:24 pm

No sooner had the short war of movement ended with the retreat from Mons and victory in the Battle of the Marne, than the BEF faced a new grave threat. In October 1914 No 6 Casualty Clearing Station encountered a condition which was to become known as ‘trench foot.’ During the first winter more than 20,000 […]


Military Conscription

May 3, 20163:33 pmJuly 26, 2016 8:28 am

Following the implementation of the Military Service Act almost all unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 41 were expected to join the military after 2nd March 1916. Many appealed and a series of tribunals were set up by local authorities to hear their cases. Due to the sensitivity of the subject very few […]

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