Category Archives: World War 1

The Deepings Remember 1914 to 1918

Front cover image for publicityThe Deepings First World War Commemoration Group invites you to a free event to launch a book and DVD commemorating the November 2014 exhibition and to celebrate the completion of the Heritage Lottery Fund project.

Invited guests from 11 a.m.

Open to the public from 12 to 1.30 p.m.

Saturday 23rd May  2015


at the Deepings Community Centre, Douglas Road, Market Deeping PE6 8PA





The Deepings Remember 1914 to 1918

If you haven’t already visited the exhibition The Deepings Remember 1914 to 1918 – today is the last day!

The Deepings Community Centre in Douglas Road, Market Deeping will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Sunday 9th November.

Mr and Mrs Roffe with their daughter Maureen Plant visit  "The Deepings Remember 1914-1918"  exhibition

Mr and Mrs Roffe with their daughter Maureen Plant visit “The Deepings Remember 1914-1918” exhibition

One of the visitors to a preview on Friday was 89 year-old Bernard Roffe, former resident of West Deeping and nephew of Richard Roffe, who died in 1917 at the Battle of the Dunes at Nieuport in Belgium.

The Deepings Roll of Honour poster gallery features 50 men (and some women) who served in WW1 – not only those who died, but many who came back and are familiar names in the area.  Many of their 21st century descendants have already visited the exhibition, so too have people who have come more recently to the Deepings and are interested in finding out how to go about researching their own families in the First World War era and to learn about the heritage of our communities.

Other areas of the exhibition include The Home Front, recreating a typical room-setting of 100 years ago; a Recruiting Room, with an Army Sergeant to persuade visitors to “join the Colours”; Memorabilia and Artefacts kindly lent by several local residents; and a roomful of World War 1 models made and displayed by the Spalding and Fenland Model Club. A display of work by students at the Deepings Academy includes one piece that has moved several readers to tears!

Refreshments today will be served in The Officer’s Mess (the Lionel Beck Room!) by Deeping St James Women’s Institute.

Visitors’ comments yesterday lead us to believe this is the best World War 1 exhibition ever!


The strange coincidences … WW1

SarajevoWednesday 1st October is the date of our next talk, “The Strange Coincidences that were the catalyst for the Great War”.

Professor Philip Robinson explores the human story behind the tragedy of 28 June 1914 when the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie were murdered by a 19 year-old Bosnian Serb in Sarajevo. A local connection might surprise you!

Philip Robinson has spent most of his working life teaching in higher education including a period at the Science University of Malaysia in Penang. Now retired from the post of Vice Chancellor of the University of Chichester, he has a Master’s Degree in History from the University of Oxford. Philip has a special interest in Local and in Military History, especially naval history, and the First and Second World Wars. He has lived in Emsworth, Hampshire since 1996.

7.30 p.m. West Deeping Village Hall, King Street (opposite The Red Lion)

Admission £2.50 (on the door).  Refreshments from 7pm

Recipe book cover PS: People who came to the September talk will remember the cakes – home-made using recipes from Deeping People and Recipes 1913.  This time there will be Coconut Pyramids and Castle Cakes!

The recipe book is published by the Deepings First World War Commemoration Group and for sale (£5).



First talk in Autumn Programme

Tuesday 2nd September is the first date in West Deeping Heritage group’s diary – for an illustrated talk about The Deepings of 100 years ago.

By way of light relief from researching the Deepings World War 1 Roll of Honour,  Liz Parkinson of Deepings Heritage and Maggie Ashcroft of West Deeping Heritage Group have been going through the groups’ archives – old postcards and photographs of Market Deeping, St James Deeping (as it was more often called then) and West Deeping  –  to enable us to step back a century to the early 1900s.  More fascinating details can be found in trade directories and census entries  – to help tell the stories of  some of the people who lived and worked in the Deepings, before their lives were changed forever by the First World War.

These postcards are just an appetiser:

To see many more contemporary illustrations, come along on September 2nd! Everyone is welcome – you do not have to be a member.  For full details of this talk and the next two, see the Autumn poster

World War 1 research: news from the West Deeping Front

We have had two workshops during July, looking at the various sources of information that will help us add more detail to the names on West Deeping’s First World War Roll of Honour.  Many thanks to everyone who came along – 14 of us altogether, with one or two who just popped in to see what we were doing.  For 2 or 3 people it was a chance to get some help with researching their own First World War relatives.

Looking through the 1911 Census information proved interesting.

  • West Deeping had a population of 302,
  • A high proportion of men worked on farms. In earlier censuses they were listed as “Ag. Labs” (Agricultural Labourers).
  • A significant number of men worked on the Great Northern Eastern Railway, as platelayers, signalmen and general labourers.
  • We can get a general idea of village economy – there were 3 public houses, a school, a baker, a butcher, a blacksmith, a carpenter and so on.
  • Jennifer and Liz who were looking particularly at the houses in the Row, off The Lane, were amazed to see a family of 11 living in a “2 up 2 down” cottage.
  • Although house numbering had not yet been introduced, we can work out which were the homes and families of the 45 or more men who were to enlist in the services between 1914 and 1918.

Matching the 1901 Census information to the 1900 Ordnance Survey map was the job that Anne and Melanie tackled. Some of the servicemen listed on our roll of honour were young enough to be still living with their parents and siblings at the time.  The result is as accurate as we can make it based on buildings we know were there over 100 years ago, bearing in mind that it’s not easy to work out from the map what is a separate dwelling or an outbuilding.  It helped to use other information sources such as deeds and indentures which name the occupants.

Baptisms at St Andrew's Church, West Deeping 1914

Baptisms at St Andrew’s Church, West Deeping 1914

The Baptism Register from St Andrew’s Church from the late 19th century proved to be particularly useful.  For some of our servicemen we have details of dates of birth and their parents and siblings.  The pages for the war years provided us with a couple of surprises – details of rank and regiment given as the fathers’ occupations tell us that the Roll of Honour has some gaps!  Details of our servicemen’s children and their wives’ names confirm some of the census information and show associations with the village even if the family has moved away.


Anstee J portraitOne of the servicemen commemorated on the plaque in St Andrew’s Church was Lieutenant Joseph Anstee.  He proved to be of particular interest to Ginny, as he lived at what is now her home – West Deeping Mill.  She trialled a data collection form kindly supplied by local historians working on the “Stamford Boys” project – to collect together all the information we have about an individual.  She also put together a “to-do” list, which included making contact with Peterborough Museum to track down a letter and certificate signed by King George V, sent to Joe Anstee’s parents at the end of the war.  The latest news is that thanks to Teresa and her contacts at Vivacity we are getting copies of the archives so that they can be displayed alongside Joseph Anstee’s story.

Vintage tea and cakes

Vintage tea and cakes

Great-Grandma’s crocheted table cloths and the silver tea service made our vintage tea more special.  Many thanks to Gill for the cakes and scones.

Thanks too – to the Heritage Lottery Grant for supporting the project.

We’ve won the Lottery – again!

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded a grant of £5,400 to The Deepings World War 1 Commemoration Group – representing Market Deeping, Deeping St James and West Deeping – for a project to research and present “The Deepings Roll of Honour”.  The aim is to find out about our local men (some women too) who served in the First World War.


The Deepings Remember 1914 to 1918

Some of the members of The Deepings World War 1 Commemoration Group which is organising an exhibition in November 2014

We have known about the grant for some weeks and the cheque has been safely in the bank account since the end of June but we couldn’t tell everyone until it was official! The press release was published on Friday 4th July so you can read the Stamford Mercury for more details, or contact any member of the Steering Group.  Judy Stevens ( got the project going over a year ago, and since then many other organisations have become involved. Representing Deeping St James are Graham Thompson (Deeping St James Parish Council)  and Carol Precey (Friends of Deeping St James). Pauline Redshaw (Market Deeping Town Council), Liz Parkinson (Deepings Heritage) Gill Thomas (Deeping Rotary) are amongst the representatives for Market Deeping.  Maggie Ashcroft  (West Deeping Heritage Group) represents the smallest of the Deepings.  Any of these people can tell you more and will be interested to know if you have family members who were involved in the First World War, particularly  from the local area or if  you have wartime memorabilia and a story to tell.  There will be an opportunity for the Deepings to see what has come to light at an exhibition “The Deepings Remember 1914 to 1918” the weekend of 8th and 9th November 2014.

Further details about activities and stories we discover will be posted on this website over the coming months.

The Deepings remember 1914 – 1918

West Deeping needs YOU!

The Deepings remember 1914 - 1918

Can you help us find out more about our First World War servicemen, their families and where they lived? You could discover who was living in your house.

Two workshops to look at the 1911 census and the 1901 map will be held at West Deeping Village Hall on Saturday 5th July and Tuesday 22nd July from 2-4 p.m. 

Everyone is welcome, especially students and those with I.T Skills, or just to find out what we are doing! Free-of-charge and vintage-style tea and cakes for all volunteers!