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Founded in 1884 by Louth Naturalists',
Antiquarian and Literary Society
Registered Charity No. 1145436

A Local Independent Museum
Nationally Accredited
Quality Assured Visitor Attraction

The Great War (1914-1918)

Louth Museum's Book of Remembrance

The Great War was the 'war to end all wars'. It left Louth and the surrounding area families without fathers, husbands, brothers and sons. To mark a century since the Great War ended, we invite you to contribute to our online Book of Remembrance. Visitors to the Museum will also be able to sign a Book of Remembrance and write their family stories or thoughts on any aspect of The Great War. If you would like to contribute to our online Book of Remembrance, please click here.

Remembrance means different things to everyone and however we choose to remember, it is vitally important that we continue remember those who made ultimate sacrifice as the terrible events of the Great War begin to fade away through the generations. Our Book of Remembrance aims to ensure that the memories of those who made the final sacrifice and those who suffered family loss will never be forgotten.

If you would like to contribute to this Book of Remembrance, please send your story and a digital photograph to: remembrance@louthmuseum.org.uk


'George Arthur Thewlis'

George Arthur Thewlis

In Remembrance of George Arthur Thewlis

My paternal grandfather, George Thewlis served as a Private in World War I. Born in 1890, near Bradford, George worked in a colliery office before enlisting in 1915 and being called up in early 1916. He was sent initially to Leicester for basic training and then to the reserve battalion at Louth in Lincolnshire. He has written the following concerning his time here:

“Louth had a totally different atmosphere. Discipline was strict but was tempered by sympathy and understanding. Results were attained by encouragement and not by bullying, consequently each Company became a family unit, determined not to let the reputation of the Regiment down. I made many friends there, and sang many times in the Town Hall for the Regimental concerts there. These concerts gave me the entry into the families of several local people, who varied the monotony of army food by many luxuries not easily procurable in other circumstances.

I came up against my difficulty in walking during the route marches. Lincolnshire is very flat, and on a 15-20 mile march we could always see the spire of Louth Church (one of the finest in the country) but never seemed to get nearer.

One firm friend who was very kind to me was Mr George Veal and his wife. He was the organist at the local chapel and had a mixed business in the High Street. One great boon I received from him was the use of his bathroom instead of going to the local laundry and being squirted by a hose pipe.

After this preliminary training we moved to several places on the coast for intensive training. Summercoates, Saltfleetby, and Donna Nook on the coast, a desolate, dreary wilderness miles from anywhere, where our chief occupation was doing sentry duties all round the clock in case of invasion. How we cursed this place! The sand was powdery and got into your eyes, your hair your socks and especially into the barrel of your rifle, which had to be cleaned about every quarter of an hour. Inspection of rifles was a regular thing and woe betide any sentry who was found to err in this respect. I cannot imagine a more desolate place in the whole of England.

The kind people of Louth gave me the gold regimental ring I still wear.”

After this, my grandfather went to France.

Contributed by Helen Dellar

'William Stanley Borman'

Poppy

In Remembrance of William Stanley Borman

Born in Skegness 1895. He joined the 8th Battalion Lincolnshire Regiment with a service number of 11181.

William sadly died of his wounds on 21st August 1917 and is commemorated on the memorial at Bailleul, France.

Below is a postcard he sent to Mrs Borman of Mill House Ramsgate when he was on active service. It is not known if he wrote the letter he promised before he died.

The postcard reads, “Arrived here, safe journey in the boat. Will write later. Love to all. Will.”

A postcard he sent to Mrs Borman

A postcard he sent to Mrs Borman of Mill House Ramsgate when he was on active service.

Contributed by Louth Museum Archives

'Harold Smith of Great Carlton'

Harold Smith of Great Carlton

In Remembrance of Harold Smith

My maternal grandfather, Harold Smith of Great Carlton served in World War I. Born in 1892, Harold was one of eight children of John and Amy Smith of “The Homestead” in Chapel Lane, Great Carlton. The names of all the Smith children were Jim, Harold, Edith, Isaac, Joe, Amy, Jack and Sydney. The four older sons – Jim, Harold, Isaac and Joe - served in the armed forces.

I have copies of the letters that Harold sent to his parents during the war. Extracts from the letters include, Jan 1917: “Just a line to tell you I am alright, but nearly starved to death as you will see by the writing. It is bitter sharp frosts here. We have been in the train two days and three nights.” Feb 1917: “I get plenty to eat and it seems to be the chief thing to get your belly full, then you can stand the pressure. The dugouts are alright, some have fireplaces in, but we have many unwelcome visitors. The rats they are a blooming nuisance. Have you sold the hay yet? And have you got any young lambs yet?” Aug 1918: “A few lines to let you know that I have received the parcel safe and sound, and not damaged this time. I have not heard from Jim yet”.

The last comment is very poignant as Harold’s older brother Jim had died on 8th November 1917, and more than six months later Harold still was unaware of this. Younger brother Isaac had also been killed in 1917. Harold, who was a gunner in the Royal Lincolnshire Regiment, and Joe who was in the Royal Engineers, both returned safely home to Carlton.

In the years following the Great War life was stressful for John and Amy Smith. Not only had they lost two sons, but cereal prices which had been high during the war fell sharply in 1920-21 leading to agricultural depression. Farming became economically grim, and tragically my great-grandfather John committed suicide in 1922. This was another blow for his wife Amy, now aged 61 – but she lived another 21 years, dying in 1943 during World War II.

In 1920 Harold Smith, then aged 28, married Rose Appleby. Their daughter Joan Smith became the wife of Roger Chapman and subsequently my mother!

And on positive note, Harold’s youngest brother, my great uncle Sydney Smith became a well-known singer, not only starring in numerous concerts in Louth, but also singing in London’s Albert Hall.

Contributed by Martin Chapman

'G H Parker of the Grimsby Chums'

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In Remembrance of G H Parker

My grandad, G H Parker, served during the Great War in the (Grimsby Chums) Lincolnshire Regiment. He was born in South Somercotes on 11th October 1892 and joined up on 13th March 1915. He was injured and discharged on 31st January 1916. His brother born January 1898 in South Somercotes followed him into the Lincolnshire Regiment in August 1916 and was injured by mustard gas and discharged.

Contributed by Susan Lewis
Enjoy England Museum Development East Midlands Heritage Lottery Fund Art Fund Arts Council Acredited Museum