So I’m making progress with the New Year’s Resolutions!
Some weeks ago I uploaded the stories of brothers William and Jack Wakefield to the Surrey In the Great War website, and I am happy to say that they have now been moderated and are available to view online at www.surreyinthegreatwar.org.uk. Click on ‘People’ and you can then search for both of them. I didn’t find it the most intuitive of processes, and unfortunately I wasn’t able to upload any images for Jack at the time.
However, I had a lovely and very detailed email back from Dr Kirsty Bennett, Senior Project Officer. She wanted, quite rightly, to check a number of sources with me and the ownership of the images I did send. I have now sent her a photo of Jack Wakefield (my Grandad) and hope that this will appear as his profile photo in due course.
She also wondered whether I had digital images for the POW letters from my Grandad to his parents, written in 1918. This led me to double-check what I already had images of and which I had merely transcribed. Over the last couple of weeks I have photographed all the documents I could find: the POW letters, the letters from the War Office and from the North Staffordshire Regiment subsequent to William’s death and many other family birth, marriage and death certificates that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before (and at least a couple that I paid good money to get hold of from the GRO some years ago, not knowing that they were already in the family’s possession! There’s a learning point there!).
I am now in a position to send in a number of items for Surrey History Centre’s digital archive of WW1 material so that they are preserved for posterity. Just a little more work to do there, and then I will perhaps pluck up courage to take another look at the IWM Lives of the First World War. I uploaded information on Grandad’s WW1 service a couple of years ago https://livesofthefirstworldwar.org/lifestory/4574929, but I remember it being a tortuous process, with text boxes being not nearly big enough so that I had to break it all down into a number of sections. I know I’ve been putting off tackling another submission – I wonder whether the process of uploading will have been streamlined at all?
The other ongoing question mark is over tracking down the grave of William and Jack’s parents in Brookwood Cemetery. We found their burial numbers easily at Surrey History Centre back in February and went straight to the cemetery office, where a very helpful lady was able to identify broadly which plots they might be in but said that finding the precise location would take a little longer. She took my email address to get back to me….and nothing has been forthcoming. I have since emailed them twice, but no response whatsoever. This is disappointing – so near and yet so far. Never mind – onwards and upwards!