Sgt. Ben Symes

Born in Bridport, Dorset in May 1908, Ben Symes’ father had unfortunately been killed during the Somme offensive in 1916, so he was brought up in South Wales by his fathers cousin.

Upon leaving school he worked in the local mines and joined the Army in 1928 serving 6 years in the 1st, 3rd and 4th Royal Tank Regiments. He was then in the Army Reserves.

At the outbreak of war he joined the 9t Lancers and
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7th. Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment

William was a member of the Knight family-owners of the Bull Hotel in East Street since 1849.

He was born in 1890, the son of William and Elizabeth and at the time of William’s birth, his father was the   proprietor of the hotel.    William was the first son, following the births of five daughters-Helen, Florence, Lilian, Elsie and Dorothy.

William’s father died in 1900 and his brother George, took over the Bull. William
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1st. Battalion Dorsetshire Regiment

William was one of twelve children born to George and Rosalie Samways. George was a shepherd and the family moved around Dorset following his work.

William was born in Piddlehinton and in 1901 he was living with his family at Maiden Castle Farm. Ten years later the family was living at The Old Turnpike House, Crawthorne, Dewlish. George and son Walter were working as shepherds, while William was employed as a general farm
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PO Albert Tiltman Royal Navy: 177951

PO ALBERT TILTMAN Albert was born in Bridport in 1897 and lived with his family in East Street. He was one of ten children and at the age of 15 he joined the Royal Navy as a  boy, second class.

He worked his way up through the ranks and first saw action in the Persian Gulf, on board HMS Espiegle and for his part in that action he was awarded  the Naval General Service Medal.

He returned to England after
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Hill 60

1st May 2015 sees the 100th anniversary of a tragic episode in World War I involving men of the 1st Battalion of the Dorsetshire Regiment. On 1 May 1915 the Dorsets were holding part of the front line near the Belgian town of Ypres at Hill 60, a large spoil heap from the construction of the nearby railway cutting. It was a fine sunny day and the enemy was unusually quiet until around 7.15 p.m.
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WW1 Nurse Kate Luard’s links to Dorset

col-frank-luardKate Luard’s brother Colonel Frank Luard, Portsmouth Battalion of the Royal Marine Light Infantry, was as a Lt Colonel stationed at Portland and a resident of Weymouth, along with his brother Fred who had left the British West Indian Regiment and was now serving with the Dorset Militia.

A camp on the outskirts of Blandford is earmarked to be the main training camp. Frank and his men of the Portsmouth Battalion are at Forton Barracks, Gosport, when
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The Legacy of Women in WWI

Kate Adie a famous war correspondent mentions Bridport in her book Fighting on the Home Front: The Legacy of Women in World War One. (Kate resides in Bridport)

fighting-on-the-home-front-by-kate-adieBridport in Dorset, centre of rope-making since the 13th century. Much of the work was carried out by women and children in their cottages. Now, incredible numbers of nets and ropes were suddenly needed for the army — lanyards, pull-through cords for rifles, hay nets for horses. The

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Unknown Warriors

kate-luardUnknown Warriors the Diaries of Kate Luard a WW1 Nursing Sister

The words of Unknown Warriors resonate as powerfully today as when first written. The book offers a very personal glimpse into the world of WW1 nursing where patients struggled with pain and trauma, and nurses fought to save lives and preserve emotional integrity.

Read some diary entries on the website

Hardback, illustrated book £16.99. Available from local book stores and online from Waterstones and Amazon
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Keep the Home Fires Burning

Bridport’s war memorial lists 148 men who died during World War I, and for the ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’ show now on in Bridport Town Hall, former St Mary’s headteacher Sheila Meaney found out about them all. The exhibition is a fascinating and moving look at life in Bridport 100 years ago, and this short video by Nick Gilbey – which features Sheila – is a very good taster. The display is open every day in
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