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Remembering the end of the First World War

3 November 2018

Join the Essex Record Office and Friends of Historic Essex to mark 100 years since the Armistice with an afternoon of displays and short talks on Essex people and places during and after the war.

On 10 November 1918, the last night of the First World War, Essex nurse Sister Kate Luard wrote from the Western Front to her family in Birch near Colchester:

"It is quite impossible for a war-soaked brain like mine to think in terms of peace; war has come to be natural – peace unnatural."

Kate had served as a military nurse throughout the war, and her poignant letter home written on the last night of the war will form part of an afternoon of displays and talks at the Essex Record Office (ERO) on Saturday 10th November.

The afternoon will include an opportunity to see original documents and photographs from the First World War, such as:

•A selection of letters from Essex nurse Sister Kate Luard, sent home to Essex from the Western Front.
•The photo album of William Oldhamstead of West Ham, who spent much of the war as a German Prisoner of War, and who annotated his photographs with the fates of his friends who were wounded and killed.
•Hear recollections of First World War veteran Alf Webb, recorded in the early 1990s.
•See moving and often humorous sketches made on the Western Front by Gerald Rickword of Colchester.

Visitors will also be able to see and handle real objects from the First World War thanks to the Western Front Association.

Following the displays, there will be three short talks:

•Essex Nurse on the Front Line: Sister Kate Luard’s letters home – by Tim Luard, Kate’s great-nephew.
•Vanquished Huns and Blithering Bolshies: reverberations of the Great War in Essex, 1918-1921 – by Paul Rusiecki, author of The Impact of Catastrophe: The people of Essex and the First World War (1914-1920).
•More than names: researching Chelmsford’s war dead – by Andy Begent, author of Chelmsford War Memorial Website.

This remembrance event takes place on Saturday 10th November, 12.00noon-3.30pm at the Essex Record Office, Wharf Road, Chelmsford, CM2 6YT.

Tickets are just £5, and all proceeds will go towards helping to preserve our county’s history for future generations. Please book in advance here.

For more information about the local stories which will be highlighted on the day, please contact hannahjane.salisbury@essex.gov.uk