Since 2008, a project by The Hemel Hempstead School in association with
FREE DOWNLOAD: An updated (July 2019) guide on 'Your Community at War' covering how you can adapt our project to your local area is available here. A simple 'Five Steps' guide for how schools can research World War One is available here.
Britain at War with Germany… France Falls in Blaze of Blitzkrieg… Hitler’s Bombs Blitz London… Sad Partings as Children Sent to Safety… Allies Land at Normandy… The headlines give us the story. We at The Hemel Hempstead School have been seeking since 2008 to find the stories behind the headlines.
There is a wealth of first-hand experiences of World War Two living within our reach, and there is much that we can learn about World War One from the amazing range of sources now available. We have also begun to explore stories from other wars as well, from the Boer War to Afghanistan.
We are keen to interview people from in and around Hemel Hempstead who have stories to tell. We are also gathering material from people who have carried out their own family history research. Join us as we seek to bring local history to life, for the benefit of not just our students but for the community beyond.
SOME RECENT UPDATES
- Flight Lieutenant John Reid, who died in a flying accident in June 1944 - an article by his nephew Norman Southam.
- Frank Bonner, shot by the Gestapo in 1943 after taking part in the abortive 'Operation Freshman', the first attempt to destroy the Norsk Hydro plan and its contribution to the Nazi nuclear wepaons programme.
- The story of Senior Leading Cadet Ian Wallace-Bateman, killed in a car accident in 1956 and buried in Hemel Hempstead.
- WW2 reminiscences from John Bray relating to being an evacuee, Bovingdon airfield, and other aspects of the war in the Hemel area.
- WWII recollections of Eric Kemp, then attending Hemel Hempstead Grammar School.
- On an external site, there is a February 2020 interview with Stella Chandler about her time in the Land Army. It was conducted by Mike Stanyon of the Hemel Hempstead Local History and Museum Society and is available here.
- A photo and family story relating to Cecil Collings, who was killed in action in 1918.
- The Snowden Trophy - update on 2018 competition.
- Photos of William Hutton's medals, death penny and marriage certificate.
- Work by Hemel Hempstead School student Eleanor Clark on WWI fatalities.
- Germans originally buried in Heath Lane Cemetery, 1944-46, now at Cannock Chase German Military Cemetery.
- 'Hemel at War' approach used at Bishop Thomas Grant School for Streatham at War.
IN THE NEWS
- 'Hemel at War' is featured in an article in the Historical Association's publication
Teaching History (December 2011) which is the UK's leading professional journal for secondary history teachers. Click here to link to the issue containing the article, written
by Lynda Abbott and Richard Grayson. It describes how the methods used for the
'Hemel at War' project could be utilised by other schools.
- Three pieces on school life from Sari Marko-Thaler, Sonia Waterton and John Wexler.
- Patricia Daniels on her time in the WAAF.
- One page containing texts of all our interviews and memoirs.
- Home Front stories from Barrie Chiverton, Geoffrey Leggett, Vera Dormer, Nancy Newberry, Yvonne Butler and Gwyneth Tomlin, along with pictures of Hemel Hempstead during WWII. Ernie Guest talks about his own experiences in Malaya and about Lionel Killick who was killed there in 1951, plus recollections from Lionel's brother, Ray.
- Interview with Godfrey Orrell, who served in Cold War Berlin while on National Service.
- Interview with Zena Bullmore who moved to Hemel during WWII when the research organisation she worked for moved out of London.
- A compelling account from the late David Denchfield about being shot down over France and his experiences as a prisoner of war. See also details of the plaque unveiled honouring this former pupil of Hemel Hempstead Grammar School.
- Marine Matthew Harrison and Corporal David Barnsdale both killed in Afghanistan in 2010, and Senior Aircraftman Ryan Tomlin, who was killed there in February 2012.
- The story of Joe Keen, the former Hemel Hempstead Grammar School pupil killed in 1943 in Tunisia. His name is missing from the original school memorial, but both he and Lionel Killick have now been commemorated on plaques dedicated on 11th November 2011.
- Battle of Britain pilot Denys Mileham from Boxmoor, who was killed in action in 1942.