The People’s Collection

  • 19th February 2018

In 2018, the Worcestershire World War 100 project is looking to bring forgotten and half remembered stories of how the First World War affected the lives of the people of Worcestershire.


Since the start of the project, we have invited members of the public to share their family stories and memorabilia, which we will be sharing through the People’s Collection.  The People’s Collection will be on display in venues across the county from May onwards and we have been working with local history societies and local people.


Many of the stories that have been shared with us have been poignant.

Walter, his wife Gertrude and twins Gwen and George

In 2014, Mrs Pat Holt shared with us the story of her grandfather William Haywood. William was born in Worcester in 1890, like many men of his age at the time, he worked in the gloving industry near to his home at Wylds Lane.  In 1917, he joined the Royal Engineers as a wireless operator.  He left Worcester in August from Shrub Hill station, leaving his wife and 18 month old twins, he wrote in his diary:


“I shall never forget my feelings that day and for a few days to follow until I had begun to settle down. … this is what made me full up. I had one time parting with the dear children at home but here were the wife, mother, dad, sisters and friends…”


Walter travelled through German East Africa to Dar El Salaam. His diary highlights the injustice between the quality of food of officers and men.


“It is a scandal to see the difference between the officers & men the officers have fish, Ham, Bacon, Liver, Eggs &ct for breakfast For dinner they have seven courses including stewed Fruits & custards in fact they live like fighting cocks, Where we for breakfast every morning get a little porridge & a little bread (short rations) & butter enough for one piece”


Walter died at Dar El Salaam on 8th November 1917, from dysentery possibly exacerbated by poor nutrition, having never seen active service.  He was 27.


Please share your family stories with us!


You can contact the project team through our website


One response to “The People’s Collection”

  1. Dave Turton says:


    Bromsgrove warrant officer, John Turton, commissioned

    A century ago, it was a Sunday. The men of the 1/8th Worcestershire Regiment held voluntary church services. Then each Company did one hours physical training under Company arrangements. The 2/8th Worcestershire Regiment held a memorial service for those recently killed in action.

    Back in England, former senior NCO, John Turton was getting used to life as a commissioned officer in the Leicestershire Regiment. Born in Bromsgrove, John Turton worked at the Bromsgrove Guild. It is likely that he joined ‘G’ (Bromsgrove) Company of the 8th Worcestershire Regiment at this time, but left to work in London and then he moved to the United States to start a company with a German business partner.

    With war looming, both men decided to return to their respective countries to enlist – they shook hands on the dockside: it must have been quite a moment!

    Returning to England, John enlisted in the 8th Worcestershire Regiment on 5th August 1914 (the first day of the war). He trained with the 1/8th Battalion at Maldon in Essex and landed in France with the rest of the Battalion on 1st April 1915. He served throughout 1915 and 1916. He was gassed on 20th July 1916 when, along with the rest of the battalion, were repairing a section of the Albert – Pozieres Road. He was evacuated to 5 Convalescent Depot, Cayeux on 14th September 1916, not fit to return until the beginning of December 1916.

    He was mentioned in dispatches for distinguished services during early 1917. Not long after he applied for a commission and was accepted for training. He was commissioned on 25th August 1917.

    John Turton survived the war. He passed away in 1957 spending most of his working life at Austins Longbridge in the prototype workshop and living in Aston Fields,
    This is a post that the 8th worcstershire did on my grandfather John Turton I have some documents and medals

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