All posts by gmmack

Researching Edmund Goodchild

6th-7th December:

On Friday 5th December Project Coordinator Gail Mackintosh and a volunteer photographer set off for Bury St Edmunds for the weekend. The aim of the trip was to photograph material to illustrate the life of Edmund Goodchild.ned-1

The above photograph of Edmund Goodchild and further information, including typed up versions of Edmund and his brothers’ letters, are provided by http://goodchilds.org/, courtesy of Henry Finch a nephew of the brothers.

Edmund Goodchild (Ned) and two of his three brothers volunteered for Kitchener’s New Army in 1914. They all wrote hundreds of letters about their time in the Suffolk Regiment both in training and on the Front Line to their mother in Suffolk. Ned was the oldest brother and was sent to Shoreham Army Camp along with younger brother Arthur in September 1914 to be trained. His letters detail his experiences in the camp and offer invaluable insights for our project.

We visited the Suffolk Record Office at Bury St Edmunds to see the original letters and connect with the personal touches – for example when he scribbled ‘Don’t worry yourself, mother’ in the corner of a letter.

Thank you to the Record Office for helping us with our research.

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Our volunteer photographer taking pictures of the original letters at Suffolk Record Office.

Thanks to the Suffolk Regiment Museum (www.suffolkregimentmuseum.co.uk) we were also able to handle and photograph some of Ned’s personal effects.

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Volunteer photographer taking pictures at the Suffolk Regiment Museum of Ned’s personal effects.

Ned sadly did not make it back home from the front line dying in action on 19th December 99 years ago. His personal effects were sent home to his mother and his family gave them to the Regiment Museum. Included were his medals, a flask and a cigarette case.

We will be featuring more about Ned and his brothers in our exhibition next year.

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A peek inside Suffolk Regiment Museum

Many thanks in particular to Gwyn Thomas (Suffolk Regiment Museum Curator) and the Suffolk Regiment Museum volunteers who made out trip enjoyable and passed on helpful insights about Ned and the history of the Suffolk Regiment. Thank you also to Henry Finch for giving us permission to reproduce images and excerpts from the letters.

 

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Research at the Keep part two

Tuesday 17th November:

This time 5 of our older volunteers got their turn in visiting the new archive at the Keep, Falmer – the site of the East Sussex Record Office and the University of Sussex Special Collections as well as other local history collections.

Whilst our volunteers, and the project coordinator, have all visited archives before there is always something new to learn.

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Conservator Melissa Williams took us through a guide to paper handling and the principles of conservation for books, photographic prints and photographic plates. For example only using non-ferrous metals (most commonly brass) for paper clips and staples as they don’t degrade.

We followed this by some relaxing map cleaning. Melissa showed us how and why the materials used to clean the maps had changed over time from drafting powder to modern Mars Staedler rubber erasers.

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One of the most exciting events of the day was when Archivist Elizabeth Hughes took us behind the scenes to see where the documents, materials, books, etc. were quarantined then finally deposited in the archive.

The quarantine – a week in a blast freezer at -35 degrees C – kills off any moths or pests that could damage the rest of the collection.

We finished up with a look through the same coroner’s reports the students viewed on September 24th. The older volunteers brought new perspectives to our understanding of these  from their personal experiences and research – e.g. a medical perspective and knowledge of the camp layout.

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Thank you very much to Elizabeth Hughes and Melissa Williams for a thoroughly interesting day at the Keep. Four of our volunteers have even signed up for readers cards in order to visit the archive in their own time for their own research.

 

Students and volunteers put their heads together

Wednesday 5th November :

On Wednesday morning the Worthing College Creative Media Production students visited us at Worthing Museum. We were also joined by four of our older volunteers who joined the project in October as researchers.

The purpose of the day was to introduce WWI items from Worthing Museum’s stores and brainstorm storm ideas for next year.

Gail introduced a selection of posters and postcards from the museum stores that provide context and reveal stories about life outside the camp.

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For example the regular concerts in Worthing performed by Canadians and British regiments many of whom were stationed at Shoreham Camp. The postcards offered images of men at the army camp, satirical cartoons and a few personal messages.

Hamish brought out a delightful collection of toy soldiers made during the war and an original Sussex Regiment uniform. There was also a trench periscope used to peer over the top of a trench out into no man’s land and a training round for use on the rifle ranges.

4a.Military horses (1)

 

 

 

 

The toys included a bell tent. The first recruits who stayed in Shoreham stayed in these type of tents until huts were constructed.

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The students and volunteers had plenty to discuss and were soon putting their heads together. The students focussed on their chosen film topics and our older volunteers offered their advice and insight as experienced researchers.

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We are looking forward to see how the films are shaping up in the New Year. The final films will feature next year in our project exhibition and on a new website. So keep your eyes peeled for upcoming event dates early next year.

 

 

WW1 Living History Workshop

Wednesday 15th October:

  • How do you put puttees on?
  • How heavy is an Enfield rifle?
  • How do you put a Vickers machine gun together?
  • How close were the German trenches to the British soldiers?

These are just a few of the questions answered by Gary Baines and Sharon Penfold from the Friends of Shoreham Fort Living History Team.

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Gary and Sharon arrived at Worthing College on a drizzly Wednesday morning and began decanting an array of original World War One artefacts from their van. They had everything from a selection of uniforms to an entire original Vickers machine gun.

The film and media students were joined by the public service students for an interactive workshop detailing some of the training drills and conditions experienced by British soldiers in the First World War.

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After having a go at putting puttees on correctly the public service students were put through their paces with gun and bayonet drills under the watchful eye of Gary.

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As they practised the film and media students got up close with the original guns, feeling just how heavy some of these weapons were.

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On display at the same time were a range of other weapons and personal items that soldiers carried. There was also a poignant symbol of remembrance made during the war itself. A Death, or Dead Man’s, Penny. This was issued for John Searle a young man from Sussex who joined the army at the age of 14 and was listed missing in action at the age of 15. This penny would have been given to his family in memory of him and recognition of his service.

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After the public service students’ drill passed inspection, three film and media volunteers were challenged to take apart, run with and reassemble the Vickers machine gun in the College tennis courts.

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Everyone was then challenged to try and imagine what it was like doing this in mud, barbed wire and under fire.

Many thanks to Gary and Sharon, their enthusiasm and knowledge really engaged the students and gave them a unique hands-on experience.

Oral History

8th October 2014: Creative Media Production students were visited by Roger Kitchen, accredited trainer for the British Library and Oral History Society. Roger has over 30 years experience in collecting audio and video oral histories. He led a workshop for the students focussed on the processes for taking an oral history, interview skills and top tips on how to film the interviews.

The session began with an introduction to the four golden rules of interviewing:

  1. You only get what you ask for
  2. Be interested
  3. Listen
  4. Respect

Roger in action1b

The students will be focussing their interviews on the project’s six research themes; ‘Entertainment and sports’, ‘Romance death and daily life’, ‘War artists’, ‘Morale and mutiny’, ‘The home front: impact on the locals’ and ‘The camp: tents, huts, maps, soldiers’.

So Roger got the students to think about the kinds of questions they would ask. For example for the final theme the students started working on questions about the living conditions; ‘Did you stay in tents or huts?’ and ‘Did you have any personal space?’.

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It was then time to really think about how they would conduct themselves in the interview. How to show interest, how to be a good listener and how to show respect. The students even got to practice following a line of questioning with their classmate:

interviewing student

Roger finished up with some practical tips on setting up the interviews and using video equipment for the best effect.

Many thanks to Roger for his time and expertise. His lessons will soon be put to good use by the students who are interviewing residents of Queen Alexandra Hospital Home.

New Project Co-Ordinator

6th October 2014: Announcing a new project co-coordinator for ‘Training for War’. Gail Mackintosh joins us from Horsham Museum and Art Gallery. She will be organising all the future events and training for students and older volunteers. She is already talking to local private collectors about the discovery of First World War postcards of Shoreham Army Camp.

Gail on Mill Hill side of former Camp

‘I am really excited to be joining the project and have dived in head-first. I think the project is a great opportunity to engage young and old in the local community with our shared heritage. And to honour the memory of those who lived and died in World War One locally by uncovering and sharing their stories from Shoreham Army Camp.’

This post is being paid by the Heritage Lottery Fund grant organised by Worthing Museum in partnership with Worthing College. To contact Gail directly please email: Gail.Mackintosh@adur-worthing.gov.uk