Monday, June 6, 2016
Robert Gillman and his book Isabel

For Robert Gillman, 69, of Rainham, trains and railways roll in the family.

Troops of the British XIV Corps, possibly 5th Division, advancing near Ginchy, during the Battle of Morval, part of the Somme Offensive. Picture: PA

July 1 1916 will forever be immortalised as one of the darkest days in the history of the British Army.

(l-r) Tayla Burt, Holly Douglas, teacher Sinead Nicholson and Stevie-Beau Eleftherakis visited First World War sites. Photo: Stacey Kyraciou

Pupils returned from a poignant trip, on Monday, after visiting some of the most historical sites of the First World War.

Sean Connolly found private James Biggs was in an unmarked grave so informed the Commonwealth War Graves Commission who then placed a headstone by his grave in Rainham Cemetery.

The unmarked grave of a soldier who died almost 100 years ago has finally been commemorated with a headstone thanks to researchers who spent months tracking him down.

Phyllis Woodham - taken in 1942

“While there are people like you there will always be an England.”

Havering's Armistice Day service at the Market Place, Romford.

The community came together to commemorate Armistice Day across the borough.

Romford Remembrance Day service

Hundreds of people of all ages gathered in Romford today to pay tribute to brave soldiers who have fought, or continue to fight, in conflicts worldwide.

David Bird's uncle Frederick was killed during the Battle of Loos. The Rowens: (back) James Edmond, unknown, John George, Walter, (front) their parents Charlotte Elizabeth and John George, child unknown

Exactly 100 years ago, thousands of soldiers perished in the First World War’s Battle of Loos. Beth Wyatt spoke to two families about the losses which defined their ancestors’ heartbroken generation

Open House Weekend  at Langtons House in Hornchurch. Picture Ken Mears

The doors to some of Havering’s most special buildings were opened for free to residents to explore, as part of a London-wide initiative this weekend.

The Recorder, September 2 1955

This week in history – 60, 40 and 20 years ago.

Sopwith Pup aircraft 189 from night flying squadron at Sutton's Farm

William Leefe Robinson, Frederick Sowrey, Wulstan Tempest.

These names may not immediately spring to mind when contemplating Havering’s historical figures, but the faces behind them were responsible for some of the most heroic acts in the borough during the First World War.

Cllr Melvin Wallace at Hornchurch War Memorial

Missing names of servicemen and women who gave their lives during the First World War are to be added to Havering’s war memorials.

Janet Davies and Patricia Flavell from the Friends of Upminster Park are looking for information on the history of the unused Second World War buildings on the edge of Upminster Park

Tucked away in a corner of Upminster Park are two unremarkable brick buildings, their green facades so worn that few passers-by will have given them a second look.

Pete Owen, chairman Peter Stewart, Carol Hutton, Barry Nicholls and Pete Johnson celebrating Havering Museum's fifth anniversary

From the heartbreak and loss experienced on the Home Front in the First World War, to the history of Romford Market, Havering Museum connects the community with the rich heritage which is all around us.

Blind war veteran Frank Harrop, 88. Picture: Blind Veterans UK

A blind war veteran will celebrate the centenary of the charity that supported him through his loss of sight with royalty by his side.

Chloe Branwhite, Havering Museum's head of collections, with artefacts from her great-grandfather Bill Matty, who fought in the First World War

The soldiers killed in the dehumanising trench warfare of the First World War epitomise the human cost of the conflict.

St Andrew's Church in Hornchurch held a service for Anzac Day, the anniversary of the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli during the First World War

The thousands of men who fell at Gallipoli have been remembered 100 years on.

File photo dated 01/11/1915 of a British soldier paying his respects at the grave of a colleague near Cape Helles, where the Gallipoli landings took place. [Picture: PA]

Commemorations for the centenary of the First World War continue this year and the Recorder would love to hear your stories.

The group at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial Park in the Somme. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

A curtain was drawn on an era when 111-year-old Harry Patch drew his last breath in 2009.

Reporter Beth Wyatt at the grave of her great-great uncle Sidney Stone, in the Somme. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

As a former history student and the co-ordinator of my team’s First World War centenary coverage, I jumped at the chance to go on the tour.

Teacher Joshua Alford and pupils Raul Simmons-Perez, 16, and Nico Zavrou Blackstock, 16, from East Barnet School, Barnet, with their clay figures. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

After visiting eight cemeteries and memorials, one museum and a commemorative workshop, our tour came to an end.

The group at the Beaumont-Hamel Newfoundland Memorial Park in the Somme. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

On July 1 1916, thousands of soldiers walked across to German lines on the Western Front and began their assaults, confident their enemy had been weakened by a week-long bombardment of 1.6 million shells.

The British ambassador to Belgium, Alison Rose (centre), with the soldiers and pupils at the Menin Gate before the ceremony. Picture: Erica Spurrier/Equity

The fate of British deserters and the stories which lie behind every war grave were among topics considered by the students yesterday.

A British soldier paying his respects at the grave of a comrade. Picture: PA

Sixteen million deaths, 20 million wounded, six million missing. These are the cold, stark facts of the Great War, the world’s first truly modern conflict.

Paul Jenkins with the Dead Man's Penny he found more than 30 years ago in Gidea Park

It was found in the ground coated with paint and tar, and forgotten about for 30 years – but it’s the remembrance a fallen soldier deserves.


This year marks the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, a conflict that cost around 10 million lives and changed forever the lives of those who experienced it at home or on the battlefields of Europe.

Throughout the year, the Romford Recorder will be retelling stirring tales of bravery from the frontline and highlighting the terrifying moments that those back home endured, worrying about their loved ones as they listened for the far-off rumble of guns from mainland Europe.

Was your grandfather a war hero? Do you have carefully preserved photos from that time?

Share your stories with reporter Bethany Wyatt.

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