The Story of a Cheltenham Munitions Worker

This is the story of Ada Shadbolt, a Cheltenham munitions worker during the First World War.

Ada’s granddaughter Dawn explains:

“Ada (pictured in her munitions uniform) was born in 1887. She was my paternal grandmother and was in service in various places before the war. The only definite detail that I have so far is that she was the cook at Ham House, Charlton Kings in 1911.

We know she worked in Munitions at Quedgeley and I have her triangular On War Service badge with 1918 on it.  We also have this wonderful photo of her in her munitions uniform. We don’t know exactly when she worked here.”

(To read more about the munitions ‘filling factory’ at Quedgeley visit https://www.quedgeleynews.com/history/raf-quedgeley-in-ww1)

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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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Life in Prestbury during WW1

Click here  to view the slideshow exhibited at this year’s Prestbury Village WW1 Fete. Learn more about how the village was affected by the war both on the ‘front lines’ and the home front. (Unfortunately we don’t have permission to add the soundtrack and animations to the internet, but there will be another opportunity to view the film at the Gloucestershire & Racing Remembers event in November 2018). Research and presentation by Rebecca Sillence.

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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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.

Prestbury Remembers

Prestbury Village Fayre took place on Saturday 16th June. As well as the fun traditional activities and stalls in the Burgage and Scout Field their were also poignant reminders of the impact the First World War had on the local community. The Mayor of Cheltenham observed as the last post was played in the Burgage and a standard was lowered. There was also an exhibition, floral arrangement and slideshow at St Mary’s Church telling the story of Prestbury during and after the war and remembering the sacrifices made by the whole community.

Prestbury Remembers WW1

Read about some of the men listed on the Prestbury war memorial in this free Memorial Trail eBook by Rebecca Sillence. Prestbury lost more than 40 men during the First World War and many of them lived or worked in the Cheltenham area. This booklet guides you on a loop of the village where you will pass many of the houses where servicemen and their families lived. You can also read about life in the village for those left behind and the Racecourse VAD Hospital. Prestbury Remembers WW1

Leckhampton Court VAD Hospital

During the First World War Colonel and Mrs Elwes, who owned Leckhampton Court, placed it at the disposal of the British Red Cross to use as a hospital for sick and wounded soldiers. It opened in February 1915 and closed four years later. It was staffed by members of the Gloucestershire Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) No 42, which had been formed as early as 1910, anticipating that there would soon be a need for its services. Click to read an excerpt about Leckhampton VAD Hospital from the book Leckhampton Court – Manor House to Hospice by Eric Miller (Troubador Publishing, 2011).