A new collection of records received about Ivor Gurney, and coming soon to a racecourse near you….

There’s been lots of respectful remembrance activity across Gloucestershire over the last week, and it’s not quite finished yet.  If you’re attending Cheltenham races on Sunday (18th), please make time to pop into the Centaur for a day long programme of activities and displays called Gloucestershire and Racing Remembers.  Gloucestershire Archives will have a presence, in partnership with Cheltenham Local History Society.

An image appearing in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucester Graphic for Saturday 16 March. When the racecourse should have been celebrating the annual National Hunt festival, it was instead being used as a VAD Hospital.

An image appearing in the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucester Graphic for Saturday 16 March 1918. When the racecourse should have been celebrating the annual National Hunt festival, it was instead being used as a VAD Hospital.

Over the last few years, Archives staff, Cheltenham Local History Society members and, in particular, David Drinkwater, have been creating a range of resources that may help you find out more about your ancestors during the War, whether soldiers or on the Home Front.  These resources will be available for you to search throughout the day (doors open at 10.30 and we will be on hand until about 17.00).  You can find more information about the event at http://cheltenham.thejockeyclub.co.uk/events-tickets/whats-on/november-sunday

If you are unable to attend on Sunday, you can access these resources on our website, and some of the Cheltenham-specific resources created by David are also being loaded onto the Know Your Place website.

A further image from the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic of 16 March 1918.

A further image from the Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic of 16 March 1918.

On a related theme, the Archives has recently received a bequest from Anne and Anthony Boden of a set of records  concerning Ivor Gurney (D14814), which supplements the large collection of Gurney material that we already care for (D10500).  The Boden’s collection contains material collected by several of Anne’s relatives who enjoyed a close friendship with Ivor Gurney during the years 1914-20.  (Gurney actually made an unsuccessful proposal of marriage to Kitty Chapman, the daughter of Anne’s maternal grandparents!).

Postcard sending greetings from Private Ivor Gurney, February 1915

Postcard sending greetings from Private Ivor Gurney, February 1915

Chief amongst the collection are many of Gurney’s letters between 1915 and 1920, mostly written to the Chapman family, together with a few items of correspondence received by him.  They are supplemented by several other items, including musical scores; photographs of the Stonehouse Hospital, Dartford, where Gurney was a patient from 1922 until his death in 1937; anniversary programmes; and even a lock of Ivor’s hair.

 

Postcard of The 2nd/5th Battalion Gloucester Regiment Band in 1915. Gurney is in the rear rank, fourth from right.

The 2nd/5th Battalion Gloucester Regiment Band in 1915. Gurney is in the rear rank, fourth from right.

The correspondence covers the period from February 1915, when Private Gurney was stationed with the B Company 2nd/5th Gloucester Regiment in Northampton, through the Company’s time in Essex and Salisbury, to its despatch to France in May 1916.  The French correspondence gives brief details of the conditions under which the Company was serving, but concentrates more on Gurney’s responses to the news he was receiving from home.

Postcard view of Rouen included in the recent Anne and Anthony Boden bequest

Postcard view of Rouen included in the recent Anne and Anthony Boden bequest

The later correspondence from November 1917 onwards follows Gurney’s return to England.

With the exception of the sheet music, all the items in the collection are available to view on site, and can be ordered through the online catalogue.  We’re really grateful to Anne and Anthony Boden for their generous support of Gloucestershire Archives in making this bequest.

 

 

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