First World War

Mary Downing’s Writing Box

Below are listed the contents of Mary Downing‘s (or Aunt Mary’s) Writing Box in the possession of her great niece Juliet. The letters from the trenches have generally been transcribed here as the originals are written on poor quality paper and in pencil and are somewhat illegible. Continue reading →
Last updated on 30 October 2018 by JJ Morgan

Noel Downing Welsh Guards

Originally William Noel Downing joined the 21st Battalion of the Royal Fusiliers (4th Public School) as a private. This was one of the many so-called ‘pals’ battalions set up in the massive wave of recruitment in Sep 1914. After more than a year, the battalion was deployed to France in Nov 1915, but only saw limited action. The battalion, drawn from English Public schools and universities, was disbanded in April 1916 as many of the men took up commissions. Continue reading →
Last updated on 17 January 2019 by JJ Morgan

South Staffordshire Regiment in Gibraltar, 1911-1913

We have a fine collection of annotated photographs of the Presentation of Colours to the 1st Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment by King George V on 31 Jan 1912. The event took place on the Alameda Parade, Gibraltar and would have been redolent of historical connections of the regiment – the Old Colours had been presented on the same ground on 5 Jan 1887. Continue reading →
Last updated on 13 January 2019 by JJ Morgan

Wilmot Evans in South Africa 1913-1914

The South Staffordshire Regiment was based in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa from 1913 to 1914, in the prelude to the Great War. Charles Wilmot Evans, a young lieutenant seems to have had a very enjoyable time, with little hint of the horrors of the war to come, that was to take his life at the age of 25. Continue reading →
Last updated on 24 February 2018 by JJ Morgan

Drummer Wheeler

Two weeks after the South Staffordshires had landed in France, they were to be in full action at the first battle of Ypres. Wilmot Evans writes a striking letter of condolence to the brother of Drummer George Wheeler, shot as they stood side by side. He was one of the few surviving officers left in the battalion. Continue reading →
Last updated on 27 September 2017 by JJ Morgan

South Staffordshire Regiment in Jersey, 1915

Lieutenant Wilmot Evans was seriously wounded on 16 May 1915 and was sent with his fellow officers to convalesce and then to partake in forming the regiment in Jersey where the 4th Battalion of the South Staffordshire Regiment was stationed for mobilisation since 1914. Continue reading →
Last updated on 15 March 2018 by JJ Morgan

Ethel Mary Downing

Ethel Mary Downing was born on 13 April 1883 the third daughter of William Edmund Downing and his wife Hannah Pitt Showell. She was always known by her second name as Mary and spent all her life in the West Midlands in and around Hagley and Kidderminster.  Continue reading →
Last updated on 21 October 2018 by JJ Morgan