THE first of a new series of local history books is about to be published. It covers the history of Thurrock’s Great War Memorials.
Author Steven Cape was born in Stanford-le-Hope in 1960 and following a brief visit to the former Western Front in 2005, became hooked on the subject of the First World War and decided to research the names found on his home town’s memorial.
Steve was amazed to find there were no less than 83 men’s names recorded on the memorial, coming from a small town whose population at the time was only around 3,000.
He started researching the names using the National Archives at Kew, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the archived Grays and Tilbury Gazette at Thurrock Museum.
The monument contains the names of men who fought in all branches of the forces, including the Army, Royal and Merchant Navies, Royal Marines, Cavalry, and even an airman from the Royal Flying Corps.
The list includes men who fought alongside the Australian and Canadian forces and includes at least four sets of brother casualties as well as a father and son. The ages ranges from 17 to 53.
It is hoped that further volumes will follow covering the memorials in all of the other towns and villages in Thurrock to remember and commemorate the approximately 1,000 local soldiers and sailors who gave their lives for King and Country during the Great War.
Cllr Lynn Worrall, chair of the Thurrock Council’s working group planning commemorations for the centenary next year said: “The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the war is upon us all in August 2014 and I think it is really important that as this period of history passes from living memory, the sacrifice of these brave men should be honoured and remembered as far and wide as possible.”
And Jonathan Catton Thurrock Council’s heritage and museum officer added: “This is a well-researched account of those who fell and includes many illustrations and photographs to give context to their community and lives.
“Further volumes will come out soon, but Steve and I would still welcome any memories or photographs for the later books and displays in Thurrock Museum.”
The Stanford-le-Hope book is now available priced £15 from the Thameside Theatre booking office in Orsett Road, Grays, Essex.