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Evesham Journal and Four Shires Advertiser Roll of Honour 1914-1915

Transcribed by Malcolm J. Farmer

The Evesham Journal Roll of Honour 1914-1915 holds names of several  thousand men, and a very few women, serving in the Army and the Royal Navy and who came from the area around Evesham, Worcestershire - roughly, south-west Worcestershire, north-east Gloucestershire, south-west Warwickshire and north-west Oxfordshire. More than 180 towns and villages are included.

The September 19th 1914 issue of the weekly Evesham Journal carried the following item:

FOR KING & COUNTRY

ROLL OF HONOUR

This week we publish the first instalment of the list of officers, non-commissioned officers and men from Evesham and the towns and villages through which the "Journal and Advertiser" circulates who are on active service in the Royal Navy or the army during the present war. We have to thank numerous correspondents for supplying the names given below, and shall be glad to receive further names for publication in due course, as we should like to make the Roll of Honour as complete as possible.

Lists were published weekly at first, then less frequently as the numbers of recruits dwindled, till publication lapsed in July 1915. As a result of “Lord Derby’s Scheme”, numbers then revived and two more lists appeared in the November. Although the term Roll of Honour is increasingly associated with those who died, the Journal uses the original sense of a  list of people whose deeds or achievements are honoured - in the context of these newspaper lists, most of those whose names were published were to be honoured because they had “answered the call”. For more information on the Derby Scheme click on  the icon.

The names of men who had recently enlisted were shown with the regiment which they joined initially; in quite a few cases they were transferred to other units before they saw active service. The Royal Flying Corps (part of the Army) does have half a dozen entries - including one Arthur Alcock of Didbrook, Glos. It would be interesting to know if the surname is just a coincidence, or if he was related to John Alcock of the famous duo of Alcock and Brown, who in 1919 became the first airmen to fly the Atlantic.

A few entries referred to casualties, or mentioned previous service. For example, an entry in the very first listing reads,

[Chipping] Campden - NAVY

Chief E.R.A. B.H.Neve H.M.S. Pathfinder (Medical Corps) Killed in action North Sea 5th September. Had served in S. Africa.


Except in Russia, in the Great War, women were non-combatants in support roles; an example among the names from Bredon, also published on September 19, 1914, reads:

Nurse Gertrude Holbech Base Hospital No. 2

Some annotations referred to the current status of the serviceman, such as “away at the front”.  Where social standing merited it, family relationships were noted: “(all sons of the Rev. W. Pearce, rector of Kington)”. Occasionally, an interim total of those who had joined up was given: “over 39 men have now gone from Ilmington” (issue of March 13th 1915).

Detail in the entries varies somewhat as this was down to the local Journal correspondent who had supplied the information. Some were more meticulous than others - the sort who when reporting a wedding in their village gave a guest list,  full descriptions of  the bridal gown and bridesmaids’ dresses, and even a list of the presents. They sometimes gave a soldier’s street if he lived in a town, or residence if isolated or important. An October 3rd 1914 entry for a Warwickshire Yeomanry soldier was:

Corpl. W.F. Cotterell The Fish, Broadway

   The Fish Inn, now a private house, stood outside Broadway at the top of Fish Hill, on the present A44 road.

The transcriptions, made between about 1999 and 2003,  are probably about 85% complete - some 3,400 names are given from what transcriber Malcolm Farmer estimated was a Roll numbering around 4,000. He sorted many - but not all - of the names alphabetically by surname and then by place of origin.  

Names in his initial transcription of an original weekly list were not added to his sorted lists until that individual transcription was complete and names had been checked.  In consequence, names appearing in some weekly lists are not indexed. However, all weekly lists incorporated into the indexes were, and are, asterisked to prevent confusion. It should be borne in mind that an unchecked list (that is, one not asterisked) may well contain errors.

Other transcriptions by M.J.F.

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Other web pages by the late Malcolm Farmer (1953-2013): For some years after publication, these were  listed by search engines. As well as the Roll of Honour, they held, most notably of interest to researchers:

  • lists of church incumbents from places in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire
  •  names from war memorials, sometimes with photographs, and links to collections then available.      
  • a downloadable collection of high resolution scans of 19th century public domain maps of over thirty counties, plus some towns and cities.

Unfortunately, by the time of Malcolm’s death the pages had disappeared, though happily some are preserved by the Internet Archive Wayback Machine and linked to below. Note however that many of the links on the Memorials index page are invalid; Memorials Wb-M is a link to the list of individual memorial pages “captured” by the Wayback Machine, which enables some of the associated material to be viewed.

Contents page    Incumbents    Maps    Memorials  Memorials Wb-M  This Roll of Honour

It is intended in time to republish/relocate  much of his material to make it readily available to researchers. My own reproduction of the Roll of Honour transcription is a first step, and a small tribute to an enthusiast who generously made available the results of his work for others to share.   

SJB, Dec. 2014.