As Remembrance Day approaches, I thought I would share my findings in the Gloucester Borough Records (GBR/L6/23/B5018), on how the names of World War Two fallen on the Gloucester City War Memorial, in Gloucester Park, were collected by the Council using official sources and a public appeal.
First is a 35 Page War Office printout, titled ROLL OF HONOUR. 1939 WORLD WAR, of the 1013 who died in WWII and were born or domiciled in Gloucestershire or Gloucester,
Each sheet gives columns for:
Surname and Christian Name
Regt or Corps* split into 1st Sep 1939 and At Time of Death
Place of Birth*
Place or Domicile*
Place of Death*
Date of Death
*These columns are in code which can be decoded in the accompanying booklet Army Roll of Honour issued by the War Office in 1947.
Also, in the file is a typed two page document of those who fell serving in the Merchant Marines.
The first sheet gives the particulars of “members of the merchant navy and fishing fleet, pilots and personnel of light vessel services resident in the city of Gloucester, who died (at sea or ashore) from enemy action or other causes arising out of the war and whose deaths were reported to the register between 3 September 1939 and 30 September 1947”. It is organised in columns for:
Rank or Rating
Age at Death
Address (Seamans’ Last Known Address or Address of Next of Kin)
Date of Death
Cause of Death
Name and official number of the vessel on which the deceased lost his life or in which the cause of death arose
The second sheet, organised in the same way, is the particulars of seamen who died from causes other than those arising out of the war.
There are also lists from:
Saint Mary de Lode Church who were preparing their own list,
Carlton Primary and Junior School
Kingsholm Senior Mixed School
The Central Secondary School for Boys from their Roll of Honour
Sir Thomas Rich’s School from their Roll of Honour
St Oswald’s Church from their War Memorial
There must also have been names sent in from the public following the Mayor’s appeal in the Citizen newspaper, but sadly these have not survived.
Finally, there is a paper exercise book labelled Memorial to the Fallen 1939-1945 World War, with an indexed handwritten list of the details of 430 people, Service and civilian. It is not possible to say at what stage this was produced, but it must be close to the definitive list that went to H H Martyn of Cheltenham for the crafting of the bronze plaques.
These documents contain a wealth of information for those researching Gloucester in World War Two. More viscerally, looking at these documents is like peering over the clerk’s shoulder as they painstakingly collected, verified and collated the names of the fallen.