About the blog
Hundreds of thousands of Londoners fought in the Great War, many thousands died. Millions more lived through the war in Britain’s capital city.
This blog shines a light on the war experiences of the city as a whole, communities and areas in it, and individual people and families.
It highlights events big and small, people ordinary or famous, interesting facts about the war, memorials and other places you can visit.
I’m Stuart. I have a doctorate from Oxford on the impact of the First World War on the home front. I’ve appeared on TV and radio discussing the Great War (Sky News, and BBC Radio 4 Thinking Allowed). I worked as a curator at the National Army Museum from 2004-7, including working on their ‘Somme’ and ‘Helmand’ exhibitions.
You can contact me at greatwarlondon [at] gmail.com
There may be a slight central/southeast/east London bias to the blog at first, because those are the areas I know the best. Please let me know if I’m missing any great stories from other areas.
6 April 2012 at 1:55 pm
Just lighted on your fascinating blog & wondered if you had any articles on the great war poet David Jones( Welsh Fusilliers) who is buried in Brockley & Ladywell Cemetery? The Friends group is hoping to host an event based on DJ life & works in September 2012 ( we have access to the Chapel) in conjunction with the David Jones Society.
Vice-Chair ( Foblc)
12 April 2012 at 12:52 pm
Hello Mike. Apologies for the slow reply. I haven’t got any material on David Jones, I’m afraid, but happy to help with any WW1-related research you might want help on – regarding him or anyone else in the cemetery. Bound to be some interesting stories around some of them.
Best wishes, Stuart
4 June 2012 at 3:38 pm
Found this blog through a search for Winnington Ingram, and so pleased to find a rational assessment of him. I’m doing a p/t PhD at Birmingham on the impact of WW1 on popular faith, and will be presenting a paper on AFWI at a Conference later this month. What was the title of your PhD thesis, please? Thanks, Stuart
. PS If you want to contact me directly, I’m at rev dot stuartbell at mac dot com.
5 June 2012 at 4:25 pm
I’m glad you liked the blog post. My thesis has the title ‘Citizens at War: the experience of the Great War in Essex, 1914-1918’ – it should now be available in the Bodleian, but not yet on line. I didn’t cover religious faith very much, so I don’t know how useful it would be or you. I would recommend having a chat with my supervisor Adrian Gregory (Pembroke College, Oxford) if you can though, he is interested in the topic.
5 June 2012 at 4:44 pm
Thanks! I’ll look out for it on-line. I’ve met Adrian Gregory a couple of times – he came over to Birmingham in 2010 to talk about “The Last Great War”. I’m afraid that in coining the term “patri-passionism” to refer to sacrificial death for one’s country, he’s confused a lot of people, including Patrick Porter, one of his students, as I explained here: http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=8520345&fulltextType=BR&fileId=S174035531100012X
10 December 2013 at 3:24 pm
I’m Stewart, I work for a charity called Faiths Forum For London. I sent an email to Blogger Stuart this morning concerning a calendar we are producing to mark the centenary of the Great War. It will contain pictures highlighting the diversity of people who contributed to Britain’s War efforts, demonstrating that they were conflicts involving many different creeds and cultures. The hope is that the calendar will instil a sense that different religious groups have an historic place within the British Identity, thereby fostering better inter-faith relations.
In the email I was inquiring as to whether you (Blogger Stuart) had the copyright for some of the excellent pictures on this blog and whether you would be kind enough to grant us permission for their use. I was just about to relay this as a comment on the blog, to touch all bases as it were, when I noticed your comments, Stuart Bell, concerning you work on popular faith during WW1. I was wondering whether you (Stuart Bell) might have access to some appropriate images as well?
I therefore, decided to send this message to both of you. (I was concerned that the sheer amount of Stewarts might cause confusion, but think it worked out okay. Although I’m not sure whether this message will send to both of you, might have to send it to Stuart Bell again separately).
I would be extremely grateful for any help either of you could offer.
11 December 2013 at 8:06 pm
Thanks for the message. I don’t hold the copyright for many of the photos I’m afraid, only the ones that are of memorials or the locations that I’ve visited myself in the last two years. I see that you’ve emailed me about two of the images, which I will respond to directly.
Best wishes, Stuart
12 November 2013 at 11:09 am
I was very pleased to find an article on this blog regarding the Stratford internment camp. Fascinating read. I am a project worker for Eastside Community Heritage, and we are running a project (Little Germany, Stratford) on the camp’s history. I was wondering what your sources were for this information, and if there is any more you can tell me about it? My name is Simon Buck and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org, or my phone number is 07969483596, if you’re interested in helping us out.
13 November 2013 at 9:10 am
What particular items of information were you thinking of, please?
Sent from my iPad
14 November 2013 at 4:18 pm
I am glad I have found this blog. I arrived at at as a result of researching James Edmonds Sears who threw the Nazi wreath into the Thames in 1933. I first saw him in Adrian Gregory’s “The Last Great War” and then looked him up in the British Newspaper Archive. I have just begun working on a PhD at UClan on Wirral c.1910 – 1925 and the effects of the Great War, so I shall enjoy learning from you via your blog. Thanks for posting so much information.
18 November 2013 at 8:39 pm
Fascinating blog! Wonderful to find it includes my great great uncle Sidney Charles Griggs RFC DCM (‘Chisel’ to his friends). I would like to know more about the Royal Flying Corp and wondered if there were any particular museums you’d recommend in the south east.
18 November 2013 at 9:05 pm
Hello. Thanks for the comments! The best museums for RFC would probably be the RAF Museum at Hendon and the Imperial War Museum, but the IWM is currently being done up for the centenary so you’d have to wait until next year to go there, I’m afraid. The museum of Army Flying in Hampshire also has some RFC stuff – I think they are more about the aeroplanes themselves than the people/history, but I haven’t been in a very long time so may be wrong.
11 December 2013 at 8:49 pm
Hi! I emailed Stewart yesterday re images:
I’m afraid that I have no direct sources for images. The most likely source for you would be the Imperial War Museum, who will have literally hundreds of thousands of images. Certainly there will be many pictures of Christian chaplains at work. There were also a few Jewish chaplains in WW1. See http://www.iwm.org.uk
I don’t think there were other faith chaplains at that time.
A good source of information will be David Blake, Curator of the Armed Forces Chaplaincy archives and museum, at DBlake.email@example.com
There will be many gravestones in the cemeteries in France and Belgium from WW1 with symbols of other Faiths on them; families could chose their “own” symbols and wording. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission should be able to help with that: http://www.cwgc.org
I’m sorry I can’t help directly but hope some of the above leads would prove fruitful.
Best wishes for your project,
3 September 2014 at 7:49 am
I would like to contact you in private about the photo of Beatrice Allsop.
Il live in France and i prepare a leaflet about the history of the WW1 in Béthune (in the North of France). It would be so nice if you could send me an email.
Thank’s for your help
5 September 2014 at 5:28 pm
Thanks for getting in touch. I have sent you and email – hopefully it got past your email system’s spam filter.
19 October 2014 at 7:53 pm
Hi Stuart…fantastic feature on the Hanscombe family. I’d like to use it as a feature on the Daily Mail Online if that is okay with you. Regards. Steve
25 November 2014 at 6:44 am
hi, you have good stuff, want to use for assignment, whats your last name so i can cite this properly?? cheers
26 November 2014 at 5:03 pm
Glad that you’ve found the blog useful. It’s Hallifax.
18 June 2015 at 10:05 am
While researching the Vignale brothers (to whom I am distantly related) I cam across you great West India site. I can confirm that it is not Otto R. Vignale in the photo you showed and were wondering about the 3 men in it.
5 July 2016 at 9:29 am
His Stuart . Just found out the battalion my grandfather was with. 10th Battalion 56th London division. I am trying to find out where he was on the Somme. New to all of this. Any help will be appreciated.
12 January 2017 at 2:13 pm
congratulation to your great website! Many thanks that you mentioned Czechs and Slovaks living in London during the Great War volunteered for British military service. Please can you contact me? Many thanks in advance.
20 January 2017 at 2:04 pm
Glad you liked the site and the article on Czechs and Slovaks. Please feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org