Military

The War Diaries of Geoffrey Owen

October 9, 201812:53 pmOctober 9, 2018 12:56 pm

Geoffrey Dorsett Owen of Plasyn Grove, Dudleston Heath near Ellesmere was commissioned as Sub Lieutenant in His Majesty’s Fleet on 15 Feb 1912. He kept diaries from 1913 – 1920, which are now in the safekeeping of Shropshire Archives. The following are extracts from the diaries show the build up to war. On the outbreak […]

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Wilfred Owen and the Artists Rifles

October 9, 201810:39 am

  How did Wilfred Owen come to enlist in what Patrick Baty, the regiment’s historian, has described as ‘perhaps the most curious regiment in the British Army’? When the First World War broke out Owen was in Bordeaux. He was a private tutor teaching English and French at the Berlitz. Letter to his mother 10 […]

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Civil Life v Army Life

October 2, 20188:16 am

Many men who enlisted during the First World War must have experienced a culture shock when entering military life. No doubt some found it easier than others. Bombadier Thomas F Chard of the Cheshire Brigade Royal Field Artillery, one of the “Hanwood Boys”, committed his initial impressions to paper. Civil Life v Army Life ‘I feel […]

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Scorpions, Pythons, and Lionesses

August 31, 201810:51 amAugust 31, 2018 10:54 am

  As one of the informal group known as the Hanwood Boys, Sergeant Stafford Northcote of the King’s African Rifles Signals was a regular correspondent with Rev. Chitty of Hanwood. His letters give little information about the war but detail life in East Africa and his leisure activities. The following extracts also reveal British attitudes […]

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Arthur Allwood. Shropshire RHA and KSLI 1912 – 1919

August 28, 20187:45 am

Arthur Allwood enlisted in the Territorial Shropshire Royal Horse Artillery on 3rd February 1912, shortly after his 18th birthday. He died in March 1993 aged 99 years. A former Wem Grammar School pupil [1905–08], he served in both World Wars and wrote many booklets and articles on military history and his family life. He farmed […]

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White Feathers, Railways and Service Badges

August 14, 20189:26 am

It didn’t take long for Admiral Charles Penrose Fitzgerald to blot his copybook. In the month the War broke out, he founded the Order of the White Feather. The idea was based on traditional cock-fighting lore that a cockerel with a white feather in its tail was a coward. The Order encouraged women to give […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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