About Us Remembering them – Stamford Boys 1911 We go to Remembrance Day services and say ‘We will remember them’ but do we know whom to remember? In most cases, we have a list of names of those who died but often no further information. And should our remembrance be confined only to those who died? What about the others who came back, some maimed for life, others to resume a civilian life – should we not also remember them? The Boys Rather than concentrate on those who were killed, our intention was always to include ALL the boys and to produce short accounts of as many of them as possible before, during and after the War. Where did they live? What did they do for a living? Which school did they go to and (for those who went to the war) which regiment did they join? What did the others do at home during the war? What did those who went away do after the war? Stamford Boys at Casterton Quarry – early 1900s We chose an age range to cover those boys who probably grew up in the town and reached the age of 18 years by the end of the War. There were 451 investigated sometimes together with other members of their households. Inevitably there were omissions – boys away at school, boys working away, boys visiting family elsewhere – and we would be interested to hear about any of these. Research Boys Record Sheet The first task for the project was to identify all the boys aged 11-16 years living in Stamford in 1911 (using the census returns) to find out where they lived and more about their families Members of the Stamford Local History Society were invited to join in the research and, as the group began to meet, a record form was devised. Although these forms don’t quite fit every boy, we believe they have created a valuable archive for future researchers. These are deposited in Stamford Town Hall Archive and can be accessed on request. The research group met monthly to share knowledge and progress. The researchers each took a group of Boys and were assisted by volunteers who offered valuable skills. Appeals to local people brought interesting contributions. Documentary Sources Letter from the Stamford’s Mayor Online resources (available by subscription and in the Library) were available for much of the material we have used census returns military records, national and regimental, including war graves records of births, marriages and deaths in civil registration and parish registers World War I websites provided background material Local resources included Town Hall Archive – In 1919, Stamford’s mayor collected information about those who had served from families in the town, and these were invaluable. Stamford Library & Museum collections Trade Directories (available at the Library, Town Hall & in the Survey Group collection) Unfortunately Stamford Mercury editions after 1913 were not available online, and could only be accessed in Stamford Library and the Stamford Mercury Archive. The Outcome Stamford Boys Folders For each boy researched, a short biography has been written up and where possible a photograph added. Photographs of the houses where they lived (or a street map if the house no longer exists) have been added. The pages have been collected into loose leaf files covering individual streets or areas and the files have been designed so that they can easily be altered. The files are deposited in Stamford Town Hall Archive and the biographies can be found on this website. What we found out Many of our boys already belonged to the Territorial Army and others responded quickly to recruitment campaigns. We were surprised to discover that they did not all enlist with the local regiments and through the War served with many other regiments. Many of our boys saw action but some did not. It was not generally possible to find out why they did not serve although it seems the most likely causes were that they were unfit or were working in Stamford’s wartime industries. (N.B. If we have not found a Regiment or Number it does not mean they didn’t serve – many records were lost in WW2) There were plenty of local examples to supplement the accounts we read about in history books. There were numerous instances of several boys from one family going to war. Everyone who came forward with personal recollections commented on how quiet these men were, how they did not speak about their experiences. Some were unable to return to work due to their physical disabilities. Some did manage to put the War behind them – two became Mayors – and many returned to their previous occupations. Many married quite soon after the war, presumably anxious to have a family. We became aware that the impact of death, injury and the experiences of war were not confined to the immediate family. Here in Stamford many families were inter-related. Few were unaffected. For the Future The Research Group has now disbanded although we will welcome and add further relevant information about the Boys. We are particularly keen to have more photographs. Other researchers might like to consider using or adding to the information gathered – for example: An analysis of the regiments in which the Boys served Mapping where the boys served. Further use of church records particularly as they come online. Further use of Trade Directories (the local Dolby’s in particular) to discover more about the later lives of the Boys. Investigating the boys who do not appear on the 1911 census (at public schools, working or visiting away) There is much more to add – this project will inevitably be ongoing and should not be considered complete!