In the week leading up to Sunday, 11 November 2018 a special display was erected on each side the town’s war memorial. Two panels flanked the central memorial stonework, each holding plaques, one for each the men on the memorial who died in the two World Wars. The What Royston Did team compiled the information used in this display and more details about each of the men who died in the Great War and who are on the Memorial can be found by following the link below.Men on the Memorial
Each plaque contained the name of the individual together with a photograph where one was available. It also noted their rank and service details, their connection to Royston, where they enlisted, the date they died and where they are buried or remembered if they had no known grave.
The planning for the display involved careful measurement of the memorial. It was discovered that many of the dimensions divided exactly by 11. This may or may not have been deliberate given the significance of the 11th hour of the 11th day or the 11th month. However, this was incorporated into the design of the display. Each of the two panels was 2.2 metres long and 1.1 metres high, each plaque measured 22 x 11 centimetres and was separated from its neighbours by 11 millimetres.
The display was the brainchild of Chris Murphy of the Royal British Legion and was fabricated by Jim Bird and his team at Big Day Graphics.
2018 saw the centenary of the Armistice which ended the First World War. To commemorate this historic event the “What Royston Did …” project collaborated with the Royston and District Museum and Art Gallery to produce an exhbition.
The display honoured the fallen and, in extracts taken from letters they wrote to their loved ones at home, they gave accounts of the events which they witnessed.
The exhibition also covered the efforts to support the war made by those who stayed at home, from caring for the wounded who were repatriated to raising funds, from the buildings which were commandeered to support given to refugees.
There were short biographies of the men who are listed on the town’s War Memorial, together with photographs where these were available.
Royston and District Museum and Art Gallery
5 Lower King Street
This display showed how the town celebrated the coming of peace at the end of the Great War and how it built its memorial to those who did not return at the end of the conflict.
Royston certainly did its bit for the war effort. Not only did many of its menfolk leave to fight at the front line, those who remained did all they could to support them and the wider war effort.
When it was over, and the men who survived mostly returned, the town turned its attention to celebrating the peace and remembering those who died.
St John the Baptist Church
What Royston Did presented an exhibition honouring men from Royston and its surrounding villages who fought at the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917.
There was information about the battle, the men who fought and how those in Royston at the time received news of events in Flanders and further afield.
Hosted by Royston Museum and Art Gallery.
The display covered Royston’s involvement in World War I on the home front and was part of the Royston museum’s Community Cabinet project.
It showed how the town’s soldier’s hospital cared for over 2,400 wounded men and some of the more unusual ways Royston raised funds for the war effort.
Presented in the Community Cabinet at Royston Museum and Art Gallery
The exhibition, which ran from 9th to 20th November at St John the Baptist Church in Royston, marked the centenary of the Somme. It told of some of the men who died in and survived this most tragic of battles.
It was organised in association with Royston and District Museum and Art Gallery and we wish to express our thanks to Reverend Heidi Huntley for making the Church available to us.
Details of the stories told in the exhibition can be found on the narratives and letters pages on this site.
Hosted by St John the Baptist Church.
A book covering letters and interviews from 1914/15 researched and compiled from Royston's local newspaper, the Crow, was launched on 2nd July 2016 at Royston and District Museum and Art Gallery.
The second volume of letters, interviews and stories from a market town in Herfordshire is available covering France and Flanders in the period from 1916 to 1919.
It tells the stories from the battles of Arras, Somme and Passchendaele and of the heroism of the medical teams and stretcher bearers. There are experiences of the prisoners of war and the story of a civilian from Royston stranded in the town of Charleroi in Belgium.
Volumes 1 and 2 cost £7.00 individually and £13.00 when purchased as a set. The books can be purchased via the Royston and District Local History Society’s web site as one of the society’s publications and at the Royston and District Museum and Art Gallery.
On 7th November 2015 Royston Museum hosted an opportunity to discover the stories behind the 17 men in this photograph taken on Boxing Day 1917. They are described as the Royston Boys who were among many in the town served in World War One.
Within a year the war was at an end. During that time one of the men had died and two more become prisoners of war.
It was an interesting day with one visitor telling us he was related to two men in the photograph whilst we met others who had relatives that served but were not in the photograph.