The results of a 15 year project chronicling Epping's involvement in WWI are available to view ahead of the war's centenary.

In 2000 John Duffell started researching the lives of the 113 soldiers immortalised on the Epping war memorial.

Digging into historical records and the archives of the West Essex Gazette, the hobby historian spent the next 15 years piecing together a remarkably detailed record of Epping and its people from 1914 to 1918.

He said: "For a small town, Epping lost a lot of men.

"113 fell and the population was only about 2,000 back then.

"Most of these boys had never been outside Epping before. I think they saw it as a great adventure."

While all those who lost their lives are remembered in as much detail as possible, some, such as Captain Charles Awbery, are afforded particularly fleshed out entries.

A chartered accountant in everyday life, Cpt Awbery was promoted to his position following a campaign in the Boer War and then five months in Gallipoli.

Having received the Military Cross for gallantry in action in 1916, the London Gazette wrote: “He led his company direct to the final objective and got into touch with the battalions on the right and the left, sending his report to Battalion HQ.

"He carried out a difficult operation with great courage and skill.”

Captain Awbery was reported missing in August 1917.

It was later discovered that he had in fact been killed in action at St Julien, near Ypres, on July 31.

The West Essex Gazette said at the time: “His honourable sportsmanlike conduct made him many friends in Epping, by whom he will be sadly missed."

As well as these touching tributes to individual soldiers, Mr Duffell's work tracks the town's involvement in the war in a broader sense.

In September 1914 for example, Epping Urban District Council offered the use of Epping Emergency Hospital to the Red Cross Society for wounded soldiers.

The same month the district's football league put a halt to matches, the absence of 98 players that had already left to join the war making game play impossible.

In November 1914 an intriguing link between Epping and Germany emerged.

The diary records: "Epping girl Patty Smith has recently spent three months in the German town of Metz.

"Even after war was declared she was allowed to move freely around the city, and saw the Kaiser five times.

"She confirms that he has gone much whiter since the war started, and that he looks a worried man."

To read a copy of Mr Duffell's diary, email him at