St Gabriel's Church and Aldersbrook Primary School team up for WW1 project

Vicar Martyn Hawkes (eighth from left) with students and staff from Aldersbrook Primary School.

Vicar Martyn Hawkes (eighth from left) with students and staff from Aldersbrook Primary School.

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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter, covering Wanstead and Woodford. Call me on 07824 530 127

A World War One partnership project received a £3,300 budget to find out more about the soldiers named in church memorials.

Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the cash to St Gabriel’s Church, in Aldersbrook Road, Wanstead, and Aldersbrook Primary School for their project named Soldiers Stories - Investigating the Memorials of St Gabriel’s.

Students from the school in Harpenden Road, Wanstead, visited a local archive, did online research and interviewed local people to find out more about the soldiers. 

The four soldiers, who all died in the war, are Reginald Alfred Needham, Percival Alexander James Matthews, Reginald John Robins and Richard Ralph Evans.

The students presented their findings at St Gabriel’s Church yesterday and plotted out where the soldiers lived on a map.

Vicar Martyn Hawkes was thrilled with the presentation, being especially intrigued why one soldier signed up for the Scottish Rifles. 

He said: “It is a bit of a mystery why Mr Needham, who lived here, chose to fight with a Scottish Regiment.

“I am receiving all the details through next week and I can’t wait to look in detail at what the children found out.

“We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery fund as it will enable St Gabriel’s to connect with the local community in our own centenary year and the centenary of the First World War.

“We’ll gain some new and valuable insights into the history of the church building and the people of Aldersbrook.”

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