The inspirational story of 500 men and women who returned home as heroes to a North Yorkshire market town after the First World War is told in a new book just published.
Titled Beck Isle remembers Pickering’s Returning Heroes, the book is the result of four years of research to tell the stories of the men and women from the town who served in the war.
It has been published by the Beck Isle Museum in Pickering, as part of the centenary commemoration of the end of the First World War.
There are short histories and photographs of those who were in the Navy, the Royal Flying Corps/RAF, the Royal Army Medical Corps, the VAD, WAC as well as the various regiments, which made up the Army.
There is also a chapter about the local women who served as nurses during the war at various military hospitals.
This four-year project was made possible through funding from Arts Council England and Remember Scarborough. As well as Pickering’s Returning Heroes the museum has researched and produced a Book of Honour which is on permanent display in the museum and a Book of Remembrance which describes the lives of the 79 Pickering men who died in the First World War.
Gordon Clitheroe, Museum Trustee, said: “It’s important to record these stories and remember the sacrifices that were made by many during the First World War.”
The book includes a foreword from Major General David S Joliffe and also includes many images of Pickering from the museum’s collection. The 244-page book is now available at Beck Isle Museum, priced £18.
A small team of volunteers from the museum spent the last few years gathering information using the Pickering Roll of Honour as a starting point. A number of sources were researched including letters, newspaper files, almanacs, family history resources, such as Ancestry and Findmypast as well as records from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and Forces War Records.
Given that many of the military records from the First World War were destroyed during the Blitz, it has at times been difficult to research the military history of some of the individuals.
Ella Voce, Museum Manager, added: “The dedication, diligence and attention to detail of the volunteers involved in the project has resulted in a very special book. We would also like to thank the families that have shared with us, photographs and about their relatives.”