By Judith Phillips
A year or so ago, staff at Cockfield School unearthed an illuminated Roll of Honour recording the names of staff and old boys who had served in the First World War. There were seven members of staff (present and past) and forty-two old boys. One member of staff and eight old boys were marked as having died. This discovery, and the stunning poppies installation at the Tower of London, inspired pupils to create ceramic poppies that now surround the Roll of Honour on prominent display in the school.
The Roll of Honour also inspired teacher Rachel Wood to find out more about the people named on it. She has painstakingly looked at online national records, such as census returns and military papers, as well as using local records, such as newspapers. The local community, including local historians, was a great help, providing photographs and family histories. Now Rachel has put together all the information she has found about the forty-nine men on the Roll of Honour (and others connected to the school who are not mentioned on the Roll of Honour,) and she has extended her research to include staff from Cockfield Church of England School.
Rachel has generously given a copy of her booklet, with lots of illustrations of people, places and records, to the Museum and it is now in the Reference Library (ref. L.355/WOO). It is sure to be of great use and interest to people with a Cockfield connection, and it is also a great example to follow in future research, showing as it does how much can be found out.