Biddulph & District during the Great War
The group was formed in May 2013 with the aim of creating an archive of information about the men of Biddulph who served in the First World War and to raise awareness of the effects of the war on the locality. It is hoped that as research progresses we will be able to stage displays at the local library and to add information to the web site as a means of commemorating those who served in the Great War. The resulting archive or ‘Great War Parish Chest’ will be deposited at the local library for all to access.
Launch of the project in September 2013 by means of a display in the local library.
At the November 2013 Meeting Mr Steven Dean, Staffordshire County Council Archaeologist, presented a talk entitled “The Great World War Camps of Cannock Chase”.
(See The Great World War Camps of Cannock Chase).
At the April 2014 meeting Mike Turnock presented a talk entitled “The Great War – Memories from Biddulph”.
(See The Great War - Memories from Biddulph).
In September 2014 the Project Team mounted a display giving information on all soldiers from Biddulph who died in the Great War. The display was available to view at Biddulph Library for all of September.
At the November 2014 meeting the Society devoted the evening to further research and discussion of the researh into the The Great War
(See A World War I Research Evening).
There was also a display of the work completed by the Project Team on the Great War project.
The November 2105 meeting was held in in the Methodist Chapel at the Victoria Centre the meeting was the first performance of a play written by local author, Bill Ridgway, entitled “Till the Boys Come Home - Biddulph Valley Goes to War”. The play reading was a homage to the men from Biddulph and the surrounding area who gave their lives in the First World War. Many members of the Society were involved and the proceeds from the evening were donated to the British Legion.
(See Till the Boys Come Home - Biddulph Valley Goes to War).
In March 2015 the Society published Michael Turnock’s book ‘Moor to War’ the story of two friends from Biddulph Moor who went off together to fight in the Great War 1914 - 1918.
In November 2017 the Society published Michael Turnock’s book “Always Doing His Duty” the story of John Harold Rhodes VC DCM and bar. This was the centenary year of remembrance for John Harold Rhodes who died on those far-away battlefields in France in November 1917.
In June 2018 the Society published “The Flight Training Notes of Cadet J. E. Machin” created by converting 201 pages of hand written notes in exercise books written by Cadet Machin during the First World War. The training notes include chapters on the theory of flight; the theatre of War, observation and mapping; the instruments; the engines; and, on reconnaissance and armaments. The book includes an introduction and addendum written by Roland Machin whose father John (known as Jack) and his elder brother Harry had followed John Egbert into the Royal Flying Corps.
In October 2018 the Society helped Michelle Brown to publish her research into the fallen of both the Great War and World War 2 who appear on the Brindley Ford War Memorial. Michelle wanted to record the lives of the people whose names appear on the monument. “This book is the result of my research so far, but I endeavour to continue to identify them all.” [Michelle Brown]
In December 2018 the Society published Michael Turnock’s book “Cavalryman Voltelin Percy Heath“ the story of a Royal Horse Guard Soldier in the Great War 1914 - 1918 with a plaque in St. Lawrence’s Church, Biddulph. It is the short life story of Cavalryman Voltelin Percy Heath grandson of the famous industrialist Robert Heath.
Come back soon for further details and updates.
First World War Centenary
The Imperial War Museum has set up a First World War Centenary web site here. This site has links to many other First World War related sites.
Project Team and Contacts
Elaine Heathcote, Michael Turnock, Kathleen Walton and the late Elaine BryanIf you have any information that you would like to contribute to the project then please get in touch by e-mailing the group via Ask the Reverend Hadfield.
David Barker, Staffordshire’s Great Trail Project leader for inspiration and advice.
Staff at Congleton Chronicle
Staff at Stoke-on-Trent City Archives, Hanley.