1914 - 1918

As I write this in late 2013, it can't have escaped anyone's attention that 2014 is the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of a war that became known as, 'The Great War', 'World War 1' or, optimistically, 'The War to End War'. England entered the lists in the first week of August and there were high hopes that it would be over by Christmas. More than four long years would drag by as more countries joined the battle and millions of men lost their lives fighting for what was promoted as a 'patriotic cause'.

Much has been written and published about those 4 terrible years ............ about battle strategy, the politics that drove it; a generation of young men decimated; the famous personages of the time, selfless and heroic deeds. Thanks to the digital age of the computer and the surge of interest in researching family history on the internet, we can all learn a little more easily about the lives of our ancestors who fought, and often died, on the battle fields of the 'War to end War'. They weren't always heroes; they were sometimes reluctant conscripts, but they were our family members and it was our mothers and grandmothers who had wept for their fallen sons.

The Imperial War Museum, has initiated a project called 'Lives of the First World War', searching out the stories to commemorate and honour the millions of both men and women, mostly known only to their loved ones, who worked on the Home Front or served in uniform.

There are few families, today, that don't have a well-worn photo of a young man, in uniform, who went off to war amidst cheering crowds and didn't return or, if he did return, came back as a very different person. In a small way I want to try and breathe some life into the memory of those in my own extended family who 'took the king's shilling' or worked tirelessly on the Home Front to support and comfort loved ones away from home.

I hope to make this an on-going project and, over a period of time create webpages that cover many aspects of the conflict, both at home and on the battlefields. Much of it will closely concern family but will also include material that is of more general interest.

Those pages that are finished have live links, below. As the others are finished they'll be listed on the History 'Updates Page'.

An aside (or just an excuse!) ...

Since I started this page I've been wrapped up with my 'Great War Project' project for the Oldham Historical Research Group and my own pages have been sadly neglected. However, much that concerns the Goodyear side of the family, during the war years years, is to be found on the project pages and if you'd like to see more, the link to the Menu Page is HERE.

The Spence side of the family

Charles Spence (came home)
First and closest, there was my paternal grandfather, Charles Spence, born in 1886. He enlisted in 1915 at the age of 28.

Edward Garside Whitehead (died)
Next, was my paternal grandmother's younger brother, Edward Garside Whitehead. Just 19 when he went to war he was killed in July 1917.
(Link takes you to my Oldham HRG website page)

William Shea (died)
In my maternal line was my grandmother's cousin, just 15 when he tried to enlist in 1914. He eventually succeeded and was killed in April 1918.

The Goodyear side of the family

1915 letter from friends in Broadstairs, Kent - zeppelin raids, bombs, spies and ships etc.


Wykeham Henry Koba Freame (came home)
His wife was called Edith May Soppitt before her marriage to Henry in 1906. Her mother was my husband's great grandmother.
Henry was awarded the DCM, in May 1915, in the Dardanelles and was also mentioned in dispatches.

Failsworth on the 'Home Front' :
On the Oldham HRG, WW1, pages. Return here with the 'Back arrow'
(Link takes you to my Oldham HRG website page)

General Interest


Memorabilia :