Aug 16th

World War One transcribing

By Ann R

For those of you that have been in touch with me for a while you might remember (or not lol) that I do quite a bit of transcribing for genealogy websites.  At the moment I am doing a section of the alphabet births, marriages and deaths for 1978 (for England and Wales), also burials for a village in Dorset, starting in the 16th century and finishing in the mid 19th century, finally I am doing part of the 1841 census for Leicestershire.

As you can imagine this keeps me out of mischief and I have learnt so much over the past few years, for instance I came across an occupation a few weeks ago which looked as though it read Buhl Worker.  There is a forum where you can ask people, sure enough that is what it was and it turns out it is someone who produces marquetry (named after Andre-Charles Boulle).

However, I felt that I wanted a bit more of a change (I will still continue with the above) and noticed that The National Archives in Kew (in conjunction with the National Maritime Museum) were looking for volunteers to transcribe Royal Navy crew records from World War One.  I sent them an email and started it all today.

Getting used to the writing is the hardest part as some of it has been crammed into a small space.  I haven't heard of the majority of the ranks so I am on another learning curve.

Aug 10th

Short Ode to the Cuckoo - by W.H. Auden

By Mary B

Short Ode to the Cuckoo

by W.H. Auden

 Short Ode to the Cuckoo

Short Ode to the Cuckoo

No one now imagines you answer idle questions
— How long shall I live?  How long remain single?
Will butter be cheaper? — nor does your shout make
husbands uneasy.

Compared with arias by the great performers
such as the merle, your two-note act is kid-stuff:
our most hardened crooks are sincerely shocked by
your nesting habits.

Science, Aesthetics, Ethics, may huff and puff but they
cannot extinguish your magic:  you marvel
the commuter as you wondered the savage.
Hence, in my diary,

where I normally enter nothing but social
engagements and, lately, the death of friends, I
scribble year after year when I first hear you,
of a holy moment.

Aug 6th

Letter to an unknown soldier

By Sandy H

On platform One of Paddington station in London stands a war memorial featuring a life-size bronze statue of a soldier.  He is reading a letter.  No-one knows who the letter is from, or what message it contains.  To mark the centenary of the First World War, authors Neil Bartlett and Kate Pullinger invited people from around the world to step aside from the more official ceremonies of commemoration and imagine themselves sitting down and writing that letter.


People responded in their thousands.

Grandmothers and grandfathers, serving members of the armed forces, midwives, students, prisoners, children and even the Prime Minister wrote to the soldier.

Letters arrived from all over the country and eventually from all over the world.

Many well known writers, poets and personalities contributed.


The response to this project was extrordinary.  By the end of it's second week nearly ten thousand people had written to the soldier, and by the projects close, 21,439 had written.

The website opend on the 28th August 2014, the centenary of the moment Prime Minister Asquith announced to the House of Commons that Britain had joined the First World War.

As the letters arrived, they were published on the website and made available for everyone to read.  A selection of the letters has also been published as a book.


Letter to an unknown soldier will be archived until 2018.  After that, all of the letters will be archived in the British Library where they will remain permanently accessible online, providing a snapshot of what people in this country and across the world were thinking and feeling about the centenary of WW1.

                                     One of the letters in the book by ( anonymous )


Letter to my mssing son

I see you walking boldly into the early morning sun, head held high, long easy strides, a half smile on your face, looking towards the horizon.

With hope and an open heart you set out to save the world.

And then you disappeared..........

Where did you walk to my beloved son?

The sun rises every day, and still you are missing.

A trap has been perfectly set.

The loss is overwhelming, but I will never give up.

Though my eyes grow dimmed with the tears shed,  I will

walk every path until I can no longer walk.

Oftentimes, in a crowd, my heart quickens.  I catch a

glimps of a shadow, the turn of a head, the sound of a long-

lost voice, of music you played.

I thought I might die of grief 'you think you cannot keep

breathing..... and so that you may do it, God takes out your heart of flesh, and gives you a heart od stone.'

The door is wide open, you are a brave bold son, it is over, walk home.

Your ever-loving




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