Monthly Archives: January 2012

London’s first Great War memorials

It seems appropriate that the first war memorials to feature on this blog should be the capital’s first. These were erected in Hampstead and Bishopsgate in the summer of 1916, just as conscription and the Battle of the Somme moved manpower and commemoration into a new phase. Read the rest of this entry »


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Hilda Hewlett, Britain’s first female pilot

Our first female Londoner was a genuine first: the first woman to qualify as a pilot in the UK. A pioneering aviator and part of the military-production machine in the Great War. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on 25 January 2012 in People, Women


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WJ Woolner: young soldier, young deserter

This Londoner was not decorated for valour or feted by his local community. He joined up and served underage, was wounded in battle and deserted from the army. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on 21 January 2012 in Ordinary Londoners


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The Silvertown explosion

Ninety-five years ago today, East London was rocked by the biggest explosion the city has ever seen.

Those who happened to be facing in the right direction saw a huge fountain of flame, crowned by a myriad of sparks, shoot up to a great height; and this awe-inspiring spectacle was immediately followed by a sharp crack and roar and a general vibration that made everything tremble

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Posted by on 19 January 2012 in Events, Ordinary Londoners


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Noel Mellish VC: gallant curate

Our first individual Londoner was a gallant clergyman who risked his life repeatedly to save his comrades:

Edward Noel Mellish was a 33-year-old assistant curate at the beautiful St Paul’s church in Deptford at the start of the First World War. Less than a year after joining the army as a chaplain, his bravery in action was rewarded with Britain’s highest medal for gallantry: the Victoria Cross.

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Posted by on 16 January 2012 in Award-winners, Events


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Trafalgar Square, August 1914

Looking at major events in the Great War history of London, Trafalgar Square is as good a place as any to begin, and August 1914 is clearly the best period to highlight.

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Posted by on 14 January 2012 in Events, Places


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