World War One

Well over a thousand men from Peterborough were killed during the First World War. As with all wars, not every death was due to enemy action. Some died of sickness in the trenches, in prison camps and at home. Others were killed in accidents. At least two committed suicide, one shot himself with a revolver in a dusty trench on the Italian front. The other hung himself from a beam in an outhouse just off one of the city's main streets.  
Unlike the city casualties from the Second World War, which can be found elsewhere on this site, there was no standing memorial recording their names until Sunday, 11th November, 2007 when a new memorial was installed next to the Second World War memorial in the Sprite Chapel in Peterborough Cathedral.

Even the smallest of villages throughout the country set up memorials to their loved ones lost in battle. Peterborough built a Memorial hospital, through public donations, but this did not accurately record the names of the lost men, so they remained lost. Now, almost a hundred years after the Great War ended, they have a permanent, and fitting memorial at last.  
The only list to exist which in any way tried to record these names was held in the Peterborough Memorial Hospital and was incomplete. Compiled some time after the war, it was deposited in the hospital and then forgotten. During the course of five years of research I discovered another forty names that were not recorded on this list and also corrected the often inaccurate information on the original hospital list. Here on this web site for the first time were recorded the names of the city fallen of both world wars. The people of Peterborough were largely unaware of who these men were, but the world could now see them.  

A New Memorial - Ben Franklin, Leader of the Peterborough City Council and former Mayor, saw what had been produced on this web site and requested that a book be commissioned using the information that I had put together so that there would be a partner to the Second World War Memorial in the Sprite Chapel in Peterborough Cathedral. Sadly, Ben Franklin died on April 4th 2007 and did not live to see the end of the project. However, the following group of people came together in order to take the project forward:

  • John Peach - Leader of the City Council
  • Annette Joyce - City Centre Director
  • Vanessa Skinner - Project Coordinator
  • Julian Limentani - of Marshall Sissons, architect to the cathedral
  • Cannon Ruddock - With regards to the service
  • Sue Gunn - Calligraphy
  • Timothy Noad - Heraldry
  • John Samworth - of John Lucas, stonework and oak cabinet
  • Mick Hart - of Allsopps, Book binding and gilding
  • David Gray - research

On Sunday 11th November 2007, the Cathedral was packed with people for the Remembrance Day Service. During this service the finished book was carried down the isle between the congregation to the altar where it was blessed and then stood on the top of a draped Union Jack flag for the entire service. Afterwards the book was put in to its new case in the Sprite Chapel where it will remain forever.

The case is an exact copy of the one which holds the Second World War book and the new book is an exact copy of the first one, right down to its colour, binding and gilding.

I am proud, as the author of this web site to have the committee use the information that I have researched in order to create this wonderful lasting memorial to the men of Peterborough who gave their lives in the First World War.

Two Memorials

Above: The Sprite Chapel, Peterborough Cathedral, showing the Second World War Roll of Honour on the right and the new First World War Roll of Honour on the left.

WWII Memorial Poppies

Left: The Second World War Book of Remembrance with a gap to the left, ideal for a second memorial. Right: Outside the Cathedral is a new memorial cross where the remembrance ceremonies are held.

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