Explore Your Archive!

A slightly belated welcome to Explore Your Archive Week – the national archive awareness campaign run by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association.

The Special Collections and Archives have been busy working on displays for the Remembrance Concert held at FCH Chapel on Tuesday evening. Around 300 staff and students attended the event to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings earlier this year. Attendees were able to view our display on student life on the eve of the First World War, including original items from the time held in our University Archive.

 


Also on display was our first batch of case studies covering the 264 members of our alumni who lost their lives during the conflict. These people had either been pupils at St Paul’s Practising School, students at Cheltenham Training College or both. Over the next four years archive staff will produce these case studies for display at each remembrance event until 2018. We also hope to produce an online roll of honour telling the stories of the fallen and showcasing relevant personal documents from the University Archive and beyond.

 


This year case studies were on display for the 32 men who died between August 1914 and August 1915. We are lucky in that we hold various records in the University Archive relating to Cheltenham Training College students, including photographs of individuals, artwork produced by them during their time at college, reports of their sporting activities and even their signatures. For those who attended the Practising School, many of whom remained local to Cheltenham, we were able to identify how and where they died and also photographs of them as adults as many are featured in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic newspaper. Below are two example case studies, one from the college and one from the school:

James Ollerenshaw was a student at Cheltenham Training College in the 1914-1916 year group, although he enlisted before finishing his studies. He was originally from Stroud and his college nickname was “Tich”, ironically because he was very tall.

James “Tich” Ollerenshaw c.1914 (D123)


Whilst at College he was a keen sportsman, playing rugby in the 1st XV. He is described in the Printed Chelt magazine as “The hooker. Has been invaluable in the scrum. Fine in line outs. Very good kick.”

He left before completing his teaching certificate to join the 2nd Btn. Grenadier Guards as a Lance-Corporal. He was killed in action in the Pas de Calais area of France aged 18 and is buried at the Guards Cemetery, Windy Corner, Cuinchy, France. His headstone reads “His sun went down when it was yet day”.

Edward and Harry Turner were twins who attended St Paul’s Practising School from 1888. The were born on 20 February 1881, the son of a sweep called Charles Edward Turner. Both were 1st Class Stokers in the Royal Navy and both had fought during the Boxer Rebellion in China at the turn of the twentieth century.
 

Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic 28 November 1914
 
Edward and Harry were serving on the HMS Good Hope when they were killed at the battle of Coronel off the coast of Chile on 1 November 1914 when their ship was blown up and sank. Both are commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. Between them they left two widows and eight children living in Gloucester.
 
Please visit our “Student Life on the Eve of War” display in the Crush Hall at FCH, and contact the archive staff if you would like any more information on our research. Our roll of honour boards will remain in FCH Chapel until the end of the week when they will move to the Social Learning Zone at FCH.
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