Since 2008, a project by The Hemel Hempstead School in association with
FREE DOWNLOAD: Click here for our free guide to how you can adapt our project to your local area. See also a news release about the launch of the guide. A simple 'Five Steps' guide for how schools can research World War One is available here.
Britain at War with Germany… France Falls in Blaze of Blitzkrieg… Hitler’s Bombs Blitz London… Sad Partings as Children Sent to Safety… Allies Land at Normandy… The headlines give us the story. We at The Hemel Hempstead School have been seeking since 2008 to find the stories behind the headlines.
There is a wealth of first-hand experiences of World War Two living within our reach, and there is much that we can learn about the World War One from the amazing range of sources now available. We have also begun to explore stories from other wars as well, from the Boer War to Afghanistan.
Over the coming years we will be continuing to interview people from in and around Hemel Hempstead who have stories to tell. We are also gathering material from people who have carried out their own family history research. Join us as we seek to bring local history to life, for the benefit of not just our students but for the community beyond.
SOME RECENT UPDATES
- Work by Year 12 student Matt James on men killed during WWI in the 2nd Bedfordshires.
- 'Hemel at War' approach used at Bishop Thomas Grant School for Streatham at War.
- Information on Frank Marhoff, killed during RAF training in the USA in 1941.
- Material on WWI deaths Eric and Cecil Ratcliff-Gaylard.
- Air raid shelter at Nash Mills School and WWII bomb damage opposite the school, plus a transcribed school log book from 1939-40.
- Jean Garner's article on Arthur Garner, killed in action in May 1918.
- Brothers Eric and Cecil Ratcliff-Gaylard, both killed in WWI.
- Photos of Jack Colyer, Royal Air Force, who was killed in 1943.
- The family story of Henry George, died of wounds on 3rd June 1915.
- An article by Bernard Lamb on the 5th Beds and Herts in WWII.
- The memorial window for the Smeathman brothers, Cecil and Julian, who died on the same day in October 1914.
- In-depth stories from Bernard Lamb on his grandfather, George Lamb, who was killed in the First World War, and his father, John Lamb, killed in the Second World War.
- Germans originally buried in Heath Lane Cemetery, 1944-46.
IN THE NEWS
- 'Hemel at War' is featured in an article in the Historical Association's publication
Teaching History (December 2011) which is the UK's leading professional journal for secondary history teachers. Click here to link to the issue containing the article, written
by Lynda Abbott and Richard Grayson. It describes how the methods used for the
'Hemel at War' project could be utilised by other schools.
OTHER RECENT ADDITIONS
- Three pieces on school life from Sari Marko-Thaler, Sonia Waterton and John Wexler.
- Patricia Daniels on her time in the WAAF.
- One page containing texts of all our interviews and memoirs.
- Home Front stories from Barrie Chiverton, Geoffrey Leggett, Vera Dormer, Nancy Newberry, Yvonne Butler and Gwyneth Tomlin, along with pictures of Hemel Hempstead during WWII.Ernie Guest talks about his own experiences in Malaya and about Lionel Killick who was killed there in 1951, plus recollections from Lionel's brother, Ray.
- Interview with Godfrey Orrell, who served in Cold War Berlin while on National Service.
- Interview with Zena Bullmore who moved to Hemel during WWII when the research organisation she worked for moved out of London.
Selected areas of this site include:
- A compelling account from the late David Denchfield about being shot down over France and his experiences as a prisoner of war. See also details of the plaque unveiled honouring this former pupil of Hemel Hempstead Grammar School.
- Marine Matthew Harrison and Corporal David Barnsdale both killed in Afghanistan in 2010, and Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin, who was killed there in February 2012.
- The story of Joe Keen, the former Hemel Hempstead Grammar School pupil killed in 1943 in Tunisia. His name is missing from the original school memorial, but both he and Lionel Killick have now been commemorated on plaques dedicated on 11th November 2011.
- Battle of Britain pilot Denys Mileham from Boxmoor, who was killed in action in 1942.
- A guide to Hemel Hempstead WWI graves/memorials at selected Somme sites.