AHRC Gateways to the First World War Funded Project
Sanitation, Sand & Shells: The War Diary of Corporal Alfred Cockburn (2nd London Sanitary Company, Royal Army Medical Corps).
Historians at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU) are working in partnership with the Museum of Military Medicine on a project funded by the Arts & Humanities Research Council – Gateways to the First World War. The project aims to connect people with the unpublished diary/memoir of Alfred Cockburn. The diary (1915-1919) offers a rare insight into a neglected area of First World War military history: the role of hygiene and sanitation officers within the Royal Army Medical Corps.
The diarist Alfred Cockburn served with the 2nd London Sanitary Company (Royal Army Medical Corps) in Egypt and France throughout the war. His personal experience of war was captured in the diaries he kept at the time, which took the form of small field notebooks. Alongside numerous sketches, he also collected an assortment of war-related ephemera and trench art (c.200) which can all be found within the pages of the diary. Nearly twenty years later, looking back on his wartime experience, he rewrote his diaries (also incorporating wartime letters sent to his wife) which, once completed, extended to four volumes (1,200 pages). Contained within these pages, are fascinating details about various hygiene and sanitation practices and technological devices relating to personal hygiene, disease control and prevention, protection of water supply and its purification and distribution, latrines and urinals, burial of the dead, and disposal of refuse.
Over the past few years, the diary has been fully digitised and transcribed by volunteers based at BGU. Project volunteers based at BGU are currently carrying out research into the diarist and diary content with the aim of improving understanding of the First World War through the personalised journey of one man.
The project would also like to connect with museum volunteers and engage them in the project. So the project seeks your help in researching the following individuals who formed the 21st Sanitary Section as detailed within the diary.
We are interested in any information you can find on the below individuals – apart from the diarist. Please send your findings to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than Friday 17 March 2017. Please send your findings as a Word doc. with the individual(s) clearly named and sources clearly cited. Your findings will contribute to a special museum exhibition to be launched in May 2017 and you will be invited to the launch event.
The following has been transcribed from the original diary page. It is important to keep in mind that the diary content may not be 100% correct in some areas such as the spelling of names etc.
21st Sanitary Section:
Lieut. Young – the Officer, a Scot. (Initial research has revealed he was later Captain William Allan Young DSO)
Staff Serg, a Regular, R.A.M.C.
Serg Lampleugh – a chemist, Brighton.
Cpl Darby – Bayswater – Prudential.
Cpl Priestley – Halifax – Builder.
Cpl Newman – Crouch End – Surveyor.
Cpl Wilkinson – Preston – Surveyor.
Pte Baxter – Croydon Hospital – Disinfector.
Pte Brown. Clerk. Maidstone. Ed—Office.
Pte Coe. Watford. Water Works.
Pte Dickenson. Railway Clerk. SR Waterloo.
Pte Tully. Shildon Durham. Teacher.
Pte [surname difficult to transcribe] London. RAMC Regular.
Pte Carter. Yorkshire. RAMC Regular.
Pte Fitzpatrick. Regular RAMC.
Pte White from(?) Barry. RAMC.
Pte Plant. RAMC Regular.
Pte Wade. Clerk – Putney.
Pte Streeter. Clerk. Mortlake Brewery.
Pte Wall. Attendance Officer LCC.
Pte Paston. Tooting. City Clerk
Pte Denham(?). [Occupation difficult to transcribe] Reading.
Wally and myself also the drivers
[Wally is Walter L. Chapman born c.1884 East Sheen, Surrey.]