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Wyn’s Military Index to Doncaster Newspapers 1914-1919

A Local Studies Library volunteer, Wyn Bulmer, has spent the last ten years searching and indexing the reports of all servicemen (soldiers, sailors and airmen) in the local newspapers, the Doncaster Gazette and the Doncaster Chronicle and Mexborough and Swinton Times between the years 1914 and 1919. Many sources available for the First World War relate only to soldiers who died in the war but this index also mentions servicemen who were wounded, missing in action, taken Prisoner of War and received medals and awards for their bravery.

Wyn’s Military Index to Doncaster Newspapers 1914-1919 on CD Rom is due to be launched at this year’s Doncaster Local History Fair on 16th May 2015, 11am-4pm to be held at Doncaster Museum, Chequer Road. For more information on the Fair and the Doncaster Heritage Festival see the Heritage Festival Page.

The Great War 1914-1918: Doncaster's Role and Contribution to the War Effort

The Great War lasted ‘four years, fourteen weeks and two days’ and in that time the Doncaster area lost over 1,000 men to the war effort.

During her search Wyn has found many interesting stories some sad, some courageous and some that demonstrates examples of man’s kindness and humanity at a very desolate time in our history.

There are tragedies like the story of Alderman and Mrs Smith whose three sons all joined up in the early weeks of the war, one was killed in 1915, another reported missing in 1917 and the third reported missing in the last few months of the war, and, unfortunately, this is a tragedy that happened to many families all too often.

Within the first month of the war, a Doncaster soldier had been awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest honour for valour. Former Doncaster Borough policeman, Lance Corporal Wyatt had acted with tremendous courage in saving his battalion when German troops set fire to the farm buildings they were in. Even though wounded in the head Wyatt kept returning to the burning building under heavy gunfire to put out the flames.

In the Doncaster Gazette of October 1918 there is a report about the discovery, by British troops, of a grave bearing two local Doncaster soldiers, who had been killed in April of that year. Unusually for wartime, German soldiers had buried the soldiers together and had erected a cross over the grave with ‘their names inscribed in blue pencil’ on it. This is surely an act of kindness in times such as these.

Other First World War Sources held in the Local Studies Library.

Soldiers who died in the Great War CD Rom.
A searchable database for soldiers and officers killed in the 1914-1918 conflict including those who died after 1918 of wounds received during the war. The database includes names, regimental details, service number, place of birth, where enlisted, date and place of death. A computer must be reserved to view the CD Rom.

Dobson- War Memorials in the Doncaster Area 
A bound volume with transcripts of names listed on all the war memorials in the Doncaster area (names are of servicemen from both the First and Second World Wars). Most entries have a photograph of the relevant memorial included.

Local Newspapers
The local newspapers covering the 1914-1918 conflict include The Doncaster Gazette, the Doncaster Chronicle and the Mexborough and Swinton Times. The Reference Library holds The Times newspaper for these dates. These are on microfilm.

Offprint collection
Newspaper cuttings collated into subject files are held for the First World War and include a general file, one regarding specifically to the Tank Bank Week and individual ones relating to Doncaster’s VC recipients.

Illustrations collection
Photographs in the Local Studies collection include regimental photographs, VC recipients, Cenotaphs and war memorials, Tank Bank Week, Announcement of Peace at the Mansion House and peace celebrations and street parties. Copyright is applicable to some of these images so please consult staff regarding this.

- Internet sources
Some of the Internet websites available on the computers in the Local Studies Library are:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

BBC World War One

BBC Remembrance site

World War One Cemeteries site

National Archives World War One site

Family History Guides and Sources
The Local Studies Library has a number of books and guides to help with researching ancestors involved in World War One and these help to locate where the relevant records are held.

Free access to websiteswww.findmypast.co.uk and www.ancestry.com is also available.

For more information or to reserve a microfilm machine or computer please contact the Local Studies staff on 01302 734307.

 

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