MOORDOWN AND THE FIRST WORLD WAR

The Centenary of the outbreak of the The First World War - or 'The Great War' as it is more often called these days - is now upon us. 100 years ago thousands, and eventually millions, of men marched off to fight in the 'war to end all wars'.  We now know that wasn't to be the case, and many of those men would never return home...

Nationally, the commemorations of that event are well under way, and locally we are also joining in.....

Here in Moordown, we are hoping to make the remembrances more personal.  Your ideas and suggestions would be most welcome. Do drop us a line....

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At present, we have very few photographs of the Moordown men who served during the Great War - we are hoping for more!....

<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<  (Just click on the button on the left here to see details of those we have received to date - use your back button to return here) 

Our thanks to those who have forwarded copies of  family photos and details so far... as I say, we're always looking for more.....

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We are also receiving bits and pieces that have a Bournemouth, but not necessarily a specific Moordown connection, and we have started a separate 'Bournemouth and the first World War' page for those.

<<<<<<<< (Just click on the button on the left here to go to that page)

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Two more Great War soldiers with local connections .. just click on the pictures to find out a bit more about each of them...

 

....Thanks to Marian Dingle and Steve Mott for these two..... 

 

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One of the most important - and poignant - tasks for this page is to ensure that those Moordown men who gave their lives for King and Country in this dreadful war are not forgotten.


Our group secretary, Jenny Young, specialises in the history of the Great War, and her research has discovered that over 60 men from Moordown itself lost their lives in that conflict.

Jenny has published a list of the Moordown fallen, which you can see by clicking the image below.
Many of those names appear on the Roll of Honour in the porch of St John's church (you can scroll further down this page to see details of that plaque).  Some of the names are not on that list.....
And it has been quite a shock to realise that 14 of the names on Jenny's Moordown Fallen list did not appear in the official Book of Remembrance at the Town Hall. Until now..... 

Jenny has been in contact with the Mayor about these omissions, and as a result of her research, he agreed to have the names added to the Book of Remembrance. These 14 names have now been added, just in time for the Centenary, and you can see the detail of the new entries by clicking on picture below....  
 
 
 
Once the  new entries had been completed, some members of our group .. including Jenny of course... were invited to the Mayor's parlour to see the updated Book.  You can read a little more about that visit by clicking...
 
 
...to read the Echo article on the occasion 
 

Jenny's research has uncovered a great deal more about the individual men  -- where they lived, who their families were, their service records, where and when they died--
You can click on the image below, to download a PDF of the details of all the men on her list. ( The document is about 4MB)
 
 
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Following on from her initial research into identifying all the Moordown men who fell, Jenny has now extended that research to include the Great War fallen for the whole of Bournemouth. Her booklet 'Bournemouth Remembers 1914 - 1918'  includes the names of 1100 men with Bournemouth connections who died during the Grear War.
You can download a searchable PDF copy of Jenny's book by clicking on the image below....
 
 
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Our first picture shows Royal Welch (Welsh) Fusiliers marching around the corner of Queen Mary Ave on 29th April 1915. Swan's the newagents is in the background. (There's more about Alexander Swan, in the notes below).....

The 10th Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers were billeted in Bournemouth from November 1914 until April 1915, when they left for Romsey, and subsequently went on to serve in France.

We have a photo of 3 of their number who were billeted at 82 Ensbury Pk Rd, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Payn. Unfortunately, we do not have any of their names (yet!)...

 Thanks to Vic La Breche for this photo......   

We are hoping to discover more about how individual Moordown families were affected, either directly, or as a result of the Great War. To make a start, there are a couple of documents linked to below that are notes from family histories.

The first is from Carol Joy, who's great-grandfather was Alexander Swan. Alexander and his wife Helena ran Swan's newagent on the corner of Queen Mary Ave and Wimborne Rd, shown in the photo above. Even though he was already a family man in his 30s, Alexander served in the Royal Artillery from 1916. So it wasn't just youngsters who went to war!

You can read Carol's notes HERE  

The second document is about my own grandfather, Alexander Shanley. Although not originally from Moordown, he settled with his young family in Elmes Rd, in the early 1920s, as a direct result of his being billeted here as a soldier, during the Great War.

Notes about our second 'Alexander' are  HERE

We should like to have more of these accounts, so if you have any family links to Moordown and the Great War, do drop us a line.  Don't worry about the format...even a few lines would be great, to help us build a better picture of the way that dreadful war affected the live of those in Moordown. And any more photos would of course be very welcome!.....

 

The picture below, taken in 1915, shows St John's Church standing next to the fields of Winton Farm. It was taken from the corner of what is now Castle Rd.

 

This second image, taken from a coloured postcard brought in by Eileen Barker, shows St John's from a little earlier (the postcard was printed in Germany, so it's unlikely to be from after the beginning of the Great War!)...

Neither photo shows the tower - nor the clock - as we see them today. 

These were both added in 1923/24, in memory of the Moordown men who gave their lives in the Great War. 

In the porch of the church there is a Roll of Honour to these brave men, in the form of a plaque. A copy of that plaque is shown below.

(Just click on the image to see a higher resolution copy, which also lists the names and the details of a second plaque in the church itself.
You can zoom in to read the inscription, and the names.)
 
There is a high quality PDF document version of the same document which you can download from  HERE   

 It comes as something of a shock to realise that there are 118 names on that Memorial. 118 lives lost from what was, relatively speaking, a small community.

Mostly young lives of course, making their sacrifices even more poignant. You may well notice some famous Moordown names on the list -- Barnes - Burt - Fry - Plowman - Watton. There are three names that appear twice, two names that appear three times, and one name (Fry) that appears 4 times.

It is difficult for us to imagine the devastation that dreadful conflict inflicted on the community. As it did to communities all over the country.. and indeed all over the world. A very sad time for Moordown.

Jenny Young is currently researching more about the names on the plaque, looking at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Certificates, and cross checking against medal and service records.

This will hopefully lead to a database that will allow us to learn much more about the people behind the names....particularly those from Moordown families.

 

 

We show below a copy of the famous photograph, taken on 29th April 1915, of the 10th Battalion, Royal Welch Fusiliers parading on land in front of the Council School in Coronation Avenue, shortly before they left for France. By the time this photo was taken, Moordown had already lost at least 10 men killed in action.

  

You can see that not too many of the buildings, now in the 'Royal' avenues, had been built by that time.

Notice too the 3 sections of the school buildings, behind the soldiers.

Only the left hand building now survives (Kingsley House has now replaced the other 2 buildings).

Interesting to see that the Bournemouth Crest, still displayed outside the Community Centre, was then at the top the centre school building...

 

 

Next, a newspaper report from the Great War period, telling of the exploits of a Moordown lad, Pte.Len Levell,MM.  

Len certainly saw some action. The list of places he visited reads like a list of the famous battlefields of the First World War!

Lovely comment about his father, still serving, guarding German prisoners of war --or as the artlcle eloquently describes it 'guarding the kenneled Boche'....wonderful turn of phrase!

They were a remarkable generation of men, the 1914- 1918 soldiers. All gone now of course, with many tales left untold, I'm sure....

Many thanks to the Conways for this item..

c. MLHS 2017