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Visitors’ Book


Philip Maybank - 15th October 2017 - 21:36

This year I came back to Badsey again, as a descendent of the Cyril Sladden, to hear the letters from 1917 to the end of the war. As in previous years, I learned a great deal about members of my family, and about the events that they were a part of.

It seems miraculous to me that all of Cyril's generation of Sladdens survived the war - participating in military campaigns in the Western front and Mesopotamia, witnessing the 1918 flu epidemic decimate a military camp, and (possibly?) being at the receiving end of aerial bombardment as civilians in England. It was a bit sad that we did not hear more about the lives of those who stayed at home. But perhaps that is also a reminder of how lucky we are to have so many letters that did survive.

As well as being inspired by the achievements of the Sladdens, I was also struck by their sense of humour and light-heartedness. Cyril and Mela's affection for each other was really quite touching, and I am so glad that they were finally reunited!

Sue Jones - 20th March 2017 - 22:32

I have just picked up a copy of Heads and Tales and found the references to my father Ronald West who was Head from 1945-6. I am fairly sure that I have material which could give you more information about this brief period of his tenure - if anyone is interested. Perhaps Maureen Spinks? I do remember him and my mother talking of the happy time they had there, albeit brief, and of the kindness of those who left asparagus on the doorstep!

Maureen Spinks - 20th March 2017 - 23:10

In reply to by Sue Jones

I'm delighted that you have discovered references to your father in "Heads and Tales". When researching the book, I endeavoured to track down former Head Teachers or their relatives, but was unable to do so for your father. Please email me separately at explaining what material you have got and I can see how best it might be used.

Patsy Miller - 3rd February 2017 - 13:52

This is a fantastic project and you have put so much work into it. I found it fascinating to read the family's thoughts on the world events as they unfolded. They give such an interesting social history of the period.
I wonder how many other families have such a record?
I wish the BBC or another media channel knew about this story as it deserves to be recorded and broadcast to a wider audience. The story should be preserved for posterity and for future generations. Congratulations!

Maureen Spinks - 3rd February 2017 - 15:09

In reply to by Patsy Miller

Many thanks for your kind comments - it's good to know that all our hard work in transcribing the letters is appreciated.

Simon Batten - 7th January 2017 - 19:01

I am researching the story of acting Captain Keith Bidlake of the 9th Worcesters and found a letter in the Leeds University Library file on him from Cyril to the Bidlake parents recounting the circumstances of Keith's death in action, with Cyril by his side, on 25th February 1917. The letter reassures the parents that he died instantly but is quite graphic in its details. It has been fascinating to read other letters from Cyril about the Mesopotamian campaign. I just wanted to say what a wonderful resource this website is, a model of its type. I agree with the comment that it ought to win an award!

Maureen Spinks - 10th January 2017 - 23:09

In reply to by Simon Batten

Many thanks for your kind words about our website; we are glad to hear that you have been fascinated by Cyril’s letters about the Mesopotamian campaign. Work on the website is ongoing. Transcription of the letters from 1917 onwards at The Hive in Worcester has begun, and another visit to the Imperial War Museum is planned to take images of the letters written in 1917 and 1918 by Cyril Sladden and Mela Brown Constable (Cyril’s fiancée). A photo gallery is also planned, which will include photos taken in Mesopotamia, so please check back later in the year to see what new items have been added.

Alison Hunt - 18th September 2016 - 15:38

This is one of the best local history websites I have seen. It is very interesting, relevant, easy to find way around. a huge amount of work has gone into this. Deserves an award..
Well done to all involved.

Philip Maybank - 10th September 2016 - 17:58

I am a 3rd generation descendent of the Badsey Sladdens, and just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who worked so hard to transcribe the letters, and arrange for some of the 1916 letters to be read at the Badsey parish church last night. I was quite close to my Sladden grandfather, Duncan, who would have been 91 this year. Through him I knew a little bit about his father Cyril, and his wider family. But I feel like I know a tremendous amount more through hearing their letters.

I was quite moved by the letters surrounding the death of Eugenie Sladden - particularly sad that it happened at a time when 3 of her sons were not able to come home.

I was also interested in the medical research carried out by Arthur Sladden and others during the First World War. For example in his letter from 24th June 1916, he talks about how medical research changed during the war - becoming more co-ordinated, and that a great many discoveries were made at that time. This is something that interests me personally as a science PhD student. What were the research methods he was referring to in his letter? And were the methods extended and perpetuated as he hoped they would be?

It was a pleasure to meet you on Friday evening and we are delighted that you enjoyed the evening.

With regard to Arthur Sladden’s medical researches, Chris Smith, who played the part of Arthur, has advised me that articles by Arthur Sladden appear in The Lancet and The British Medical Journal on Google books, plus an article about Dr Leishman, for whom Arthur worked, which you may find of interest.