Villers Sir Simon

James Sansom: July 4th 1918

After two days in Givenchy we move entrain to another village Estree Blanche where we remain for a while. We are in a camp which was used for German PoW and we have the epidemic amongst us that is raging all over the country

July 20th 1918 We march to Berquette on the Merville front and go in the front line for the first time in France. We get plenty of football practice here and good food



9th July 1918 - A small article on page 7 of the Daily Telegraph says 11 seaman have died on a ship after catching influenza, following 96 deaths last week in Birmingham.

All elementary schools in Wigan have been closed because of the epidemic


Dorset History Centre


Students at DHC

Students from the sixth form at Westfield Arts College joined us for a day at Dorset History Centre to explore the archives with engagement officer Maria Gayton and learn more about people’s lives in Dorset in 1918.

They visited the centre climate controlled archive with seven miles of shelves, listened to oral histories and learned about their importance.


U-Boat sunk

July 14th 1918

U-boat UC77 sunk by a mine off Flanders with the loss of all 30 hands. Weeks earlier on June 8th it was the target of an attack off Chideock, Dorset by airships, seaplanes and destroyers witnessed from the shore by Lady Mary Monkswell.



July 15th 1918

Peacefulness at the front has now reached a pitch which may be labelled suspicious, writes the Daily Telegraph. Such periods have generally preceded enemy attacks on a large scale. The paper reports influenza in the enemy is of a "serious character"


U-boat sighting


Tea for Two


Front line France

July 20th 1918

We march to Berquette on the Merville front and go in the front line for the first time in France. We get plenty of football practice here and good food.

[After three and a half years riding camels and eating oranges with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, stretcher bearer James Sansom from Portland is swapping the heat and dust of Egypt for the trenches of northern France as he goes into the line for the first time in Europe...]

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Explore by day, month or person here on the blog or on our five Twitter feeds: @Voicesfrom1918 @LadyMonkswell @MarieStopes1918 @JamesSansom230 and @OliveHarcourt.

Voices from 1918 has been developed by artists Sharon Hayden and Alastair Nisbet in partnership with Wimborne Community Theatre, Dorset History Centre and the Priest’s House Museum, Wimborne with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Thanks to all who have helped us with this project: Maria Gayton and staff at Dorset History Centre where we found Lady Mary Monkswell’s diaries; Joan Cocozza, ward of nursing auxiliary Olive Harcourt; Portland Museum where we found James Sansom’s diaries; the British Library and Wellcome Libraries; Priest’s House Museum in Wimborne and Gill Horitz from Wimborne Community Theatre.

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