Marguerite was born on the 25th March 1892 in Kensington London. From an early age she had a love of books. She attended Norland Place School in Notting Hill. It was soon apparent that she was academically gifted. She also excelled at sport, especially Hockey. During the war years she became Honorary Secretary of the Norland School Old Girls Association. Marguerite left school in 1908 and went on to higher education attaining First Class honours at the Cambridge Higher Local with a distinction in history. In 1910 she went to Dresden in Germany to study culminating in First Class Honours again with a distinction in spoken German. She was also fluent in French.
In January 1911 went to Canada in what was a combines holiday/studying venture. October of that year would see her entering Clough Hall Newham College Cambridge to study further in the German language, again attaining First Class honours.
At the outbreak of war Marguerite was employed by the Young Men’s Christian Society (YMCA). The Society had been established in London in 1844 as a prayer and bible study group. At the outbreak of war it turned their attention to providing support for servicemen. In November 1914, working with the BEF, it established centres in France. By 1918 there were over 300 centres. Marguerite would find herself working in the War Office Translation Bureau because of her language skills. From March 1918 Marguerite was part of the Army Education Service of the YMCA at Etaples on the northern coast of France. It was there in early 1919 she contracted pneumonia and died on the 13th February just 26 years old. She is buried in Etalpes Military Cemetery.
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Herbert Read served in the 2nd, 7th and 10th battalions of the Yorkshire Regiment from 1915 to 1918. During his time in service he was awarded the Military Cross for his actions in leading a trench raid, successfully securing a German prisoner for interrogation and a Distinguished Service Order for his role commanding the 2nd Battalion during the German Spring Offensive of March 1918. He published two volumes of war poetry during the conflict and is commemorated alongside Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon in Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. He became a leading figure in the 20th Century, as curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum and Professor of Art at Edinburgh and Harvard Universities. He counted Picasso, Dali, Graham Greene, George Orwell, Peggy Guggenheim and Man Ray amongst his friends. A knighthood in 1953 (at the suggestion of Winston Churchill) came as a surprise to his circle of political associates. His headstone at St Gregory’s Minster near Helmsley reads ‘Knight, Poet, Anarchist’.
Sidonie van Eepoel died just a few months before the end of the First World War at the age of 40. Her family story is shared with a quarter of a million other Belgians, who fled to England to escape the invading German Army in 1914. Around 10,500 of these refugees ended up in Yorkshire, the biggest intake of any area outside London. For those who stepped off the train after up to a month of travelling there was both relief and exhaustion. It was after mid-September 1914 that were the first Belgian migrants started to arrive in Yorkshire. Sidonie’s family arrived in Richmond in November 1914, establishing their home at 10 Frenchgate. A total of 17 Belgians appear to have been made welcome in Richmond, with some also living at 10 Park Wynd. While Sidonie and her mother died during the war and were buried in Richmond in the town cemetery on Reeth Road, 15 of their friends and family returned to their native land when hostilities ceased. They were fit, safe and well thanks to the generosity and hospitality of the people of Richmond in their time of need. Photo submitted by Sara Cox.
Marcia Howard submitted this photo of her father, Philip Baker (right) and her Uncle Leslie – both ready to defend King and Country in 1915. The story she has to tell connects the First and Second World Wars: “Philip my father and Uncle Leslie were the two youngest of the boys in their large family. With an ‘Army’ father in the Hampshire Regiment, it depended on his posting as to where each child was born. Uncle Leslie b.1907 was born in Bermuda, although by the time my dad arrived, they were back in England and he was born 1910 in Winchester. Older siblings had been born in various locations including County Cork, Aldershot and Hampshire. My grandfather Ernest Benjamin Baker was discovered to have haemophilia, a condition which eventually caused his demise, but with an Army Pension, was retained as an Army Messenger as far as I am aware. My grandfather, who died well before I was born, suffered a nose bleed after falling off his bike which caused him to bleed to death. From checking the National School Admission Register, Leslie went to St Thomas’s Higher Grade National/Service Church of England school in Winchester. I couldn’t find details of where my father Philip went to school, but I do recall him telling me during my early teenage years, that he had hated school, and one day had just walked out, never to return. It was a year before he was officially allowed to leave. Fortunately for him he was both…