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.

Keep 1. (1)

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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.

3a.Toy soldiers (1)

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

Secondary Research at The Keep

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24th September 2014: Creative Media Production students visited The Keep, the site of the East Sussex Records Office and the University of Sussex Special Collection as well as other local history collections. The main aim of the visit was for students to learn how to handle delicate paper and photographic artefacts and to learn how to execute searches using the archive’s electronic database and physical facilities.

 

 

 

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Firstly, students learnt how handle paper and photographic documents and learnt about the specific issues involved in caring for and handling delicate artefacts. For instance- all of the older photographic and film based documents are stored at 12 degrees centigrade to prevent spontaneous explosion of the unstable silver nitrate used in pre 1933 film fabrication.demo cleaningjpeg

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We we also introduced to the care of paper documents and all had a go at cleaning up old maps using drafting powder and erasers: very therapeutic work! Many thanks to conservators Mellisa Williams and Donna Edwards for sharing some of their expertise and knowledge.

students listening to Liz

After a short break , archivist Elizabeth Hughes showed the students how to complete online searches and how to access physical documents. the session ended with a tantalising look at some genuine documents from the Slonk Hill Camp, including coroner’s reports, police reports and eye witness statements and maps of the Buckingham Park area.

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Many thanks to everyone at the Keep and to Hamish McGillivray, curator at  Worthing Museum for organising the visit to the Keep and for helping out on the day.

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Metal Detecting for First World War Clues

Robson excited by a find

17th September 2014: Creative Media Production students from Worthing College visit Happy Valley Farm near ‘Slonk Hill’, the site of the Army Camp during the Great War. Happy Valley was specifically the hutments for the artillery soldiers.

 

 

 

Justin Russell, from Archaeology south East was on hand with Luke Barber from the Sussex Archaeology Society to guide the students through the process of marking grids and sweeping the area with metal detectors. Justin and Luke are both experts in WWI related archeological study so it was very exciting to hear them speak about what we might find and identifying the metal that the students dug up!

Luke digging up a find...

During the morning students found clinker from the stoves of the huts, construction materials such as nails and a window latch, quite a few .202 shells from target practice (both contemporary and possibly some from the Great War) and metal hoops from the rucksacks the soldiers wore. Most exciting was a ‘drill round’, found by Luke, which was a blank round used for practicing loading a gun, and a great coat button which was later identified as coming from the South African Army!

Luke overseeing Jorge sweeping the area for artefacts.
Luke overseeing Jorge sweeping the area for artefacts.

Brian Drury was also there, using his GPS device to note the exact location of finds and to try to fix the exact locations of the huts as shown on the maps from 1914.

The morning was a great introduction to practical archaeology and a chance to experience the excitement of digging up artefacts from 100 years ago.

Many thanks to the generosity Happy Valley Farm for allowing our students to wander all over their land digging holes.

Justin, Luke, Hamish, Worthing college students and the family of Happy Valley Farm.
Justin, Luke, Hamish, Worthing college students and the family of Happy Valley Farm.

 

 

 

 

 

Shoreham Army Camp history project wins HLF support

Training for War

Did you know there was a huge First World War training camp at Shoreham-by-Sea? The team at Worthing Museum and Shoreham residents have been digging around looking for clues and thanks to a new £38,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Worthing College students and older volunteers will learn more and show their findings in 2015.

Jason Lee, Film Studies and Creative Media Production Teacher from Worthing College, says

“This Heritage Lottery Fund supported project is an exciting way of creating partnerships between Worthing College and museums and archives in Sussex and also creating links with our students and older volunteers. On a more personal level for the students it is a way to discover and appreciate the events of the First World War in a local and international context.”

The proposed plan is that students and volunteers will be trained in archive research, mapping and oral history and visit archives that contain more forgotten clues about the Shoreham Army Camp such as entertainment and mutiny.

In the autumn of 1914 over 20,000 recruits at first lived in tents then later wooden huts in the area surrounding Buckingham Park and Slonk Hill overlooking Shoreham. Life was very tough for the new recruits who came from all over Britain. By 1916 the British recruits were replaced by Canadian soldiers many who were recovering from trench warfare.

A touring exhibition and film of the findings will start at Worthing Museum in April 2015. Worthing Museum and Worthing College will be working with volunteers at Shoreham Fort, Royal Alexandra Hospital Home, Royal British Legion, Archaeology South East and local residents. Local councillors are excited by this project,

Worthing Councillor Mary Lermitte says

“Congratulations to the Worthing Museum staff for successfully bidding for the Heritage Lottery Fund grant. I did not know the Shoreham Army Camp existed until quite recently and I really look forward to knowing more about it.”

Adur Councillor Debbie Kennard says

“We have so much in the area that is part of the rich tapestry of Britain, and I for one never realised how much Shoreham and its neighbours had taken part in this forgotten story from the First World War. Working with strong partnerships will enable this project to be a success.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East says

“The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. In this Centenary year we’re pleased to support groups like Worthing Museum who, through this project, will enable the local community to explore their wartime stories and help to build a lasting physical legacy for generations to come.”

 

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with more than £6 bn across the UK. www.hlf.org

End of press release

Information for press contacts

2 images also attached

For further information about the project please contact Hamish MacGillivray, Exhibitions Curator, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery hamish.macgillivray@adur-worthing.gov.uk   telephone 01903-221443

Notes to editors

For further information about Worthing Museum and Art Gallery and its exhibitions and events please telephone 01903-221448. Contact by email museum@adur-worthing.gov.uk   Or see the Museum website www.wothingmuseum.co.uk

 

 

 

A collaboration with Worthing Museum, Worthing College and other partners.