History – Latest News

This pages has been created in an effort to bring a readers attention to recently added news under the History heading.

Read about a West Down Ghost – Pillow Stone Ghost

See old village photos kindly supplied by Toni Buchan  – Village group 1911 Coronation

Added to website November 2018


The Diary of Mervyn Roach :

Mervyn Roach was the son of the late Richard & Eliza Roach, who ran the Post Office & General Stores in the village of West Down. He died on the 23rd December 1915 and is buried in the Commonwealth War Graves section of Bethune cemetery.

This diary is a record of daily life in France until he went on leave. He returned to the front but did not take up the diary again.

His name is on West Down war memorial and there is a memorial tablet on his parents’ grave in West Down churchyard; he was 25.

Mervyn Roach was Toni Buchan’s grandfather’s half-brother. Toni was born in the village and lived here for many years in The Old Vicarage.

Please click on this link to see the website created by Toni Buchan http://civilserviceriflemanww1.uk/

Added to website in October 2018

The Diary of Aaron Phillips 1858

My great grandfather Aaron Phillips was apprenticed to a linen factors in London in 1858 and in June the temperature rose to 48deg. the hottest ever recorded. It was at the time of the “Great Stink” when the Thames became an open sewer, which led to Joseph Bazalgette building the new sewerage system for London.

Because there was a strong likelihood of a Cholera outbreak, Aaron was sent back to West Down for the month of June to avoid the worst of the hot weather and he must have been told to write a diary of his days back home.

The village already has a copy of his diary as it was originally written, but it is difficult to follow because of the lack of punctuation and unusual wording. I have rewritten this diary using his own words but making it easier to understand.

I thought this might be of some interest as it gives an insight into life in West Down in the mid 19th Century. I have been able to identify most of the people he refers to in the diary and I have put these into brackets. Many of these names must still be familiar in the village as will be some of the places he visited. I hope this is of interest

Aaron Phillips diary 1858

Added to website December 2018


The Great War 1914 – 1919 – We Will Remember Them

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as the “war to end all wars” it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. An estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a direct result of the war.

Whilst the war ceased on the 11th November 1918 it was not officially ended until a peace treaty was drawn up and signed by Germany and the Allied Powers on the 28th June 1919 at the Paris Peace Conference.

This booklet was researched and has been produced to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War 1 and to acknowledge the ultimate sacrifice made by the brave men of West Down village in a conflict that claimed the lives of 908,371 on behalf of the British Empire.

Click below to download pdf file

West Down World War 1 War Memorial Booklet

Added to website November 2018