First World War commemoration group delves into history

Brian lilley and Esther Graham find out about their ancestors' roles in the First World War at Deepings Library
Brian lilley and Esther Graham find out about their ancestors' roles in the First World War at Deepings Library

A First World War commemoration group has uncovered more than 250 people who were involved in the conflict.

The Deepings Remember 1914-1918 group has been working hard to gather as much detail as possible about the area’s contribution to the war effort.

Deeping St James parish councillor Judy Stevens is one of those who has been helping dig back through the records. She said: “A team of researchers have been working hard now for over a year to compile the stories of these men and in doing so have been in contact with families from all over the UK and as far away as Australia.

“The results of this work will be on show in an exhibition to be held at the Deepings Community Centre in November. Residents of the Deepings have also been coming forward with a variety of artefacts from the period, including items of trench art, a beaded snake made by prisoners of war and interesting family stories from all over the country which will also be on display.

“Some of these were inspired by a family history meeting held at the Deepings Library by military historian and author, Ted Barnes.

“Interestingly it has been discovered that one of the Suffragettes, Lilian Lenton, had her family roots in Deeping St James and her fascinating story will be told at the exhibition.”

Two London families were united at the family history event. The Maggs and the Harrisons discovered that their ancestors John Turner and John Harrison both served in the same regiment.

Coun Stevens said: “A diary kept meticulously by John Turner in 1915 told of an inspection by Sir John French and recorded day to day life in the trenches, when men were ferried to the front in trucks, standing up to make room.

“On one day he recalled bayonet fighting all day and then on June 1 a stamp and a message from another soldier told of his death and the diary entries came to an abrupt end.”

The memories of the two soldiers will form part of November’s exhibition.

The group is still looking for items to display. Contact Coun Stevens on 01778 348859 or judy.stevens1@btopenworld.com