The Reference Library and Archives Reading Room was open on Friday 9th September as part of the heritage Open Days scheme. We took the opportunity to publicise the First World War project as well as the library and archives, and it was great to find that some people had come particularly to find out more about the project. And – an added bonus – a visitor from Northumberland told me she has photographs, medals, postcards and information about three Teesdale men involved in the war which she is happy to share with the project. A quick check on the Roll of Honour on the project website www.thebowesmuseumww1.org.uk shows that there are entries for at least two of the men but with very few details, so this additional information will be very useful. We are always pleased to receive extra information to add to the Roll of Honour database – it all helps to build up a picture of how the war affected Teesdale and its people.
Another generous offer recently has given us the opportunity to copy photographs of another Teesdale man serving in the First World War – Fred Henderson. We have some information about him, thanks to the extensive research done by Peter Wise into the names on the Barnard Castle parish church Roll of Honour, published in 2014. But, until now, we didn’t have any photographs and it’s quite surprising, and moving, how much more poignant an entry is when there’s a relevant photograph to go with it. We have a bit of a backlog at the moment inputting images onto the website Roll of Honour but they will all eventually be added.
You might remember that, some time ago, we reported the discovery of some German postcards from the trenches. They had been found in abandoned trenches as the British forces pushed through in 1917 and were sent to Owen Scott, the Museum’s curator. We’ve recently been given the opportunity to copy another German postcard, dated 15 September 1916 – almost exactly 100 years ago. As you can imagine, it’s not very easy to read or translate (we’re working on that) but it was written by a German soldier to his wife in Wiesbaden. Sometimes it’s important to remember that the war affected families across Europe and beyond in 1916.