John Chandler : Cheltenham’s Forgotten WW1 Inventor

The First World War sparked innovation in medicine and technology at a rate unseen in almost any other period of history.  The work of talented metalworker and inventor John Chandler is today largely forgotten but the legacies of his inventions live on.

John Edgar Chandler was born in Cheltenham in 1873. A new documentary film created by University of Gloucestershire students explores his contribution to the war effort.

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Remarkable Women of Cheltenham – Part 1

Extracts from Cheltenham in the Great War by Neela Mann (2016, The History Press)

“Cheltenham’s Prisoners of War and two remarkable ladies      

The large basement at Dumfries House, in Bayshill (now County House) became the source of a life line to 197 Prisoners of War (POWs) from Cheltenham.  The house was the home of Mrs Elphinstone Shaw, wife of an Indian Army Colonel and daughter and sister in law of Indian Army Generals.  Having been married in India, Mrs Shaw returned to Cheltenham in 1895 to join her sister and family. 

Mrs Shaw and the basement at Dumfries House
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New WW1 Resources

A fascinating glimpse into life in Cheltenham during the First World War. The gallery below shows a small selection of the material relating to WW1 held at Cheltenham Local & Family History Library (Chester Walk, Cheltenham GL50 3JT). You can also view several wartime programmes and leaflets from their collection by visiting our new WW1 Library page, which we will be adding to over the coming months.

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The Cheltenham Aviation Industry

H.H. Martin was a Cheltenham based company that originally specialised in architectural decoration. During the First World War, the company developed; and in early 1918 the Gloucestershire aircraft company was formed. Thus beginning the thriving aviation industry in Cheltenham.

By April 1918, approximately 45 aircraft were being made in Cheltenham every week. Much of this productivity was due to the hard work of local women who were called upon to fill the gaps on the workforce.

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Leave your thoughts at the ‘Listening Stations’

Marking the 100 years since the end of World War One,  residents and visitors will see ‘Listening Stations’ popping up around the town as part of the Cheltenham Remembers project. https://thelisteningstationcheltenham.tumblr.com.

A year-long arts programme of community engagement is focusing on the significance of World War One. As part of this the ‘Listening Stations’ are being created throughout June and July and are situated at locations including The Wilson, Leisure Centre, Cheltenham Library, The Town Hall and Hester’s Way Community Centre.

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RAF 100 Exhibition

If you missed out on visiting the exhibition  at the Jet Age Museum (created by the RAF Association for Cheltenham Remembers), you can still watch this video which gives an overview of the story behind the formation of the RAF in 1918 and the development of the local aviation industry in Cheltenham during the First World War.

With thanks to Air Vice Marshal Tony Mason CB. CBE. DL of the Cheltenham branch of the RAF Association.

Cheltenham’s ‘Forgotten’ War Memorial Painitng

This year sees the return of Cheltenham’s official World War I memorial painting by Fred Roe RI to The Wilson Art Gallery and Museum. This offers the first opportunity to see the painting in Cheltenham for many decades. The artwork features five Cheltenham men and is accompanied by a display and booklet telling the story behind the painting. This project was initiated and created by Neela Mann (pictured) of the Cheltenham Local History Society in partnership with the Wilson and forms part of a wider exhibition at the Wilson, entitled ‘At Last Fighting is Over’; The end of the First World War on the Front and in Cheltenham. 

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The Battle of Jutland

File:HMS Indefatigable (1909).jpgThe Battle of Jutland started 31 May 1916 and ended on 1 June 1916.  It’s considered to be the only major naval battle of World War 1.  The British Navy lost more men and ships, but the verdict was that the German Navy lost and was never in a position again to put to sea during the war.

6,094 British men were lost, including 12 Cheltonians who were on board HMS Lion, HMS Indefatigable (pictured), HMS Fortune, HMS Queen Mary, HMS Defense and HMS Invincible.

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