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 »
Monthly Archives: January 2012
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 »
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 »
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
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.
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.