First World War

John Veitch – Burnham & Aldbourne

During the past two decades I have been privileged to share many family memories.  One of the wonderful things about living in Aldbourne is that so many descendants still reside here.  Through the power of social media it is possible to reach further afield, and sometimes instantly overseas. I’ve also been fortunate to have the support of like-minded individuals and professional library, museum and archive staff who have taken considerable time and trouble to help me tell just a few of Aldbourne’s stories.

Years ago I was given an insight into the Brown and Veitch family history; first via the Aldbourne Community Website Forum and emailing Paul Brown and, then more recently by directly corresponding with John Brown, Paul’s father.  It was great to meet John this year for the first time at the Aldbourne Heritage Centre and chat about John’s father Clifford Brown – but that’s another story … Thanks to all of you for including me in the distribution of family photographs and this wonderful video and song.

For today, I’m thinking about one of the most evocative faces I’ve seen, a face that represents for me a haunting reflection of the generation of young men lost to their families in the 1914-1918 conflict.  This young man is John Veitch, remembered alongside his father on the Aldbourne War Memorial Hall and also commemorated in this beautiful song.  Watch. Listen. Remember.

John Veitch of Burnham-on-Crouch and Aldbourne in Wiltshire was my grandmother’s favourite older brother.  Beautiful and poignant new music written and performed by Mark Hickman and his son Ben which inspired our friend here in France to create the video.
(Paul Brown 11 November 2017)



#MuseumWeek 2017 – Food for Thought

Parish News August 1972 Clifford Brown

Parish News August 1972

Clifford Brown and ‘the best fish and chips for miles’, with thanks to John and Paul Brown for sharing their family photos and for many entertaining chats via email and the Aldbourne Net Forum

2008.7028 Clifford Brown Home Guard 1944

Clifford Brown – centre front row with the drill trophy currently on display at Aldbourne Heritage Centre

Unique First World War Battlefield Found Beneath Wiltshire (from Wessex Archaeology) 25 April 2017

Archaeologists working in Wiltshire have identified a unique network of First World War tunnels under Salisbury Plain. The tunnels are part of a First World War battlefield used to train men to fight in and under the trenches of France and Belgium. The soldiers have left the mine galleries deep in the Wiltshire chalk but they have also left their names – over a hundred inscriptions written by soldiers training on Salisbury Plain between 1915 and 1918. The trenches and the tunnels beneath them have been found during archaeological work in advance of new Army housing at Larkhill on Salisbury Plain. Archaeologists have been working alongside specialist engineers and tunnel specialists to investigate the underground battlefield.

First World War grafitti on a chalk block revealed in an amazing 3D viewer; helping to tell the story of  Corporal Lawrence Carthage Weathers, VC

chalk block graffiti_0

The Larkhill car burial

Update: 12 October 2017 – MG mystery solved

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper – thinking about archaeology

Mike Pitts – Digging Deeper

_MP26354.jpgThere’s a nice piece in the Guardian by Maev Kennedy about the first world war training trenches found by archaeologists at Larkhill. The cultural significance of historic military remains should not be underestimated. They are numerous and varied, and have enormous power to engage people in different ways with events we should never lose touch with.

Untitled-1.jpgWhen I visited the site last year, apart from the neolithic enclosure (of great interest in the context of Stonehenge of course) I was struck by a sports car that seemed to have been entombed whole in the 1930s. It was a sunny, frosty day, and you could make out “Pirelli” on the tyres. Long ago Forbes Taylor filmed a black hearse-like Rolls driving into a grave, watched by black-veiled young women in short black skirts, for a TV programme that featured the Sutton Hoo ship burial. No ritual at Larkhill: Si Cleggett tells…

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The Lamps Are Going Out

Our own single light yesterday evening – echoes of Cornwall – my father was born in September 1914 just across from

The Arts in Wiltshire

poppies-8‘The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our life-time’. These are the famous words of the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, which for some mark the passing of the British Government’s ultimatum to Germany and the commencement of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.

The Heritage in Wiltshire blog has been constructed to identify all of the First World War projects that are taking place within Wiltshire, as well as some of those within the 14-18 Now cultural programme. The statement by Edward Grey has been the inspiration behind the National Lights Out campaign, which you can read about on the blog along with other public art programmes such as the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London.

The period of the Centenary of the First World War will also see landmark cultural projects such as…

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Wiltshire Remembers

Tidworth Cemetery 30th July 2014 –  an opportunity to pause, reflect and remember. I will look forward to another chance to view the wall of remembrance at the Wiltshire & Swindon History Centre, or when it travels to Marlborough.

ePoppy Wall Wiltshire Tidworth Military Cemetery 30th July 2014

Heritage in Wiltshire

Wiltshire Council joined with representatives from across many branches of the military at Tidworth Cemetery yesterday to hold a commemorative event in anticipation of the one hundredth anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War. With the nation building up to the 4th of August 2014 and the anniversary of the hour of the commencement of the war it was a fitting moment for the county to pause and pay its respects to those who were to fall between 1914 and 1918.

Councillor Jane Scott welcomed many hundreds of people from across the county to join with veterans and serving personnel to remember the individuals who gave their lives. A schools project has been underway across the county with thousands of children making commemorative crosses to recognise these individuals from within their own communities. Brigadier Piers Hankinson described the bond that Wiltshire has with the military and the on-going relationship which…

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Guide to engaging local communities

Heritage in Wiltshire

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) have published a guide for communities planning First World War commemoration events. From finding events in your area to advice for organising your own commemorations, this First World War centenary programme toolkit provides bitesized facts and suggestions to help local communities get the most from the centenary programme.

The easy-to-navigate guide has lots of helpful ideas, suggestions and links to the most up-to-date information on local and national events and activities.

Download your copy at

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