Pamela’s six-year project helps unearth village’s First World war stories

Pamela Southworth with Mayor Coun Alison Austin and Coun Richard Austin
Pamela Southworth with Mayor Coun Alison Austin and Coun Richard Austin
Share this article

Standing in the shadow of Swineshead’s war memorial, Pamela Southworth set out to discover the stories behind the long list of names engraved on its plaque.

It is a project that has taken her six years to complete with the publication of her book ‘Swineshead at War.’

Swineshead at War

Swineshead at War

In her quest to find out more about those who lost their lives at war, Pamela 
discovered that a lot of the service records of soldiers in the First World War were burnt in the Blitz or are missing entirely.

She has sought to complete missing parts of the jigsaw by trawling through back issues of local newspapers, interviewing families and using ancestry websites.

When the memorial was dedicated in 1920, fifty names were listed.

Eleven more were added after the Second World War and later another three which were deemed to have been overlooked during earlier dates.

Pamela, who has lived in Swineshead for 33 years, began delving back in time in a quest to find out more about her own family.

She discovered she and her great, great grandmother had once lived on the same Swineshead street and became fascinated as she unravelled more about her own family tree.

It was her late husband who encouraged her to put pen to paper and Pamela wrote her first book The History of Swineshead.

Now retired, she said: “I was previously a hairdresser and a secretary and had not written before.

“My interest came from looking into my own family history.

“I was standing at the war memorial one day and somebody said to me ‘why haven’t you written about this?’

“It has taken time to put the book together because there has been a lot of research involved.”

Amongst the stories in her book, Pamela, writes about three local boys who all died on the same day during 
the Great War.

“These were William May and brothers James and William Siggee, who were part of the 8th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment.

“They all died on 26th September 1915.

“They had volunteered for the duration of the war and it is thought they had only just finished their training when they were sent to the front.

Pamela also writes that as most families in the village were related in some way, there would be few who were not affected by the deaths of the men in some way.

Most would have known one another, gone to the same school, or lived in the same street.

These men are not forgotten. Every year, a remembrance service is held in St Mary’s Church and wreaths are laid at the foot of the war memorial.

The book is available in Waterstones on the corner of Pescod Square.