Villagers’ lives in Great War explored in new book

The People of Beeding and Bramber in the Great War
The People of Beeding and Bramber in the Great War

Beeding and Bramber Local History Society has published a new book about people from the area who played their part in the First World War.

As well as the villages of Upper Beeding and Bramber, the book covers Botolphs, Edburton and Small Dole.

Ken Wilson-Wheeler and Pat Nightingale with their new book, The People of Beeding and Bramber in the Great War.  Picture: Liz Pearce  LP1600432

Ken Wilson-Wheeler and Pat Nightingale with their new book, The People of Beeding and Bramber in the Great War. Picture: Liz Pearce LP1600432

The book, The People of Beeding and Bramber in the Great War, started with research by Ken Wilson-Wheeler into those on the war memorials in Bramber, Upper Beeding and Small Dole, later adding those on the Roll of Honour in Edburton Church.

Ken has 30 years’ experience in genealogical research and enjoys researching the lives and careers of those who served in the two world wars.

Pat Nightingale, the society’s secretary, then researched those who served and survived, as well as what life was like for those left at home. She wanted to find out as much as possible about the people and their place in the wider community.

The book was then compiled and brought to publication by Alan Durden.

Pat said: “The 180-page book has a foreword by Alan Readman, former county archivist at West Sussex Record Office, and chapters on the Home Front, war memorials, campaign medals, the fallen and the survivors.

“In full colour, it is amply illustrated and will be on sale in local shops and museums at £12 per copy.”

On Saturday, copies will be available from 1.30pm to 4pm in the marquee at Small Dole Show on Mackley’s Field, Small Dole.

Copies can also be obtained directly from the society by contacting Pat Nightingale on 01903 812847.

The society thanks West Sussex County Council, Bramber Parish Council, Upper Beeding Parish Council, Gerald Gazdar and Helen Swyer for their generous donations which made publication possible.

Extracts from the book have been published in the Herald’s Nostalgia section over the past few months.

Mr Readman said: “On the battlefields, the First World War claimed almost a million British and Empire lives, the Home Front was impacted in diverse ways, and the legacy, in political, social and economic terms, was substantial, complex and long-lasting.

“Now, a hundred years on, we should consider it our duty and privilege to honour that selfless generation who gave so much, by recording as best we can what they did and what they endured, and by better ensuring that the obligation and responsibility of remembrance is respectfully passed on to those who follow us.

“This book is a work of research that is as welcome as it is praiseworthy, painting as it does a complete picture of a community at war and, in so doing, broadening our awareness and understanding of the spirit of those days.”

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