If you have any questions about the information presented on this site you may find the answer here. If not, please leave a question in the comments section below.
Where do the photographs in this website come from?
Each image has been taken from the Hastings and St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser which was a paper that started being published in the 1860s. Copies of every issue printed during WW1 have been digitised by the East Sussex Library Service as part of their commemorations for the War. The digitised copies can be viewed in their entirety on the East Sussex WW1 Website.
What geographical area did the paper cover?
There are details of people from the Hastings and St Leonards Borough and also from the Rother Borough including Rye and Battle. The ‘Regiments, Ships and Places’ page shows the names of the towns where people lived. In Hastings and St Leonards I have broken location further into the smaller areas people identified with such as Hollington and Silverhill.
I can’t find my relative on this site, but I know he / she lived in the area and served during the War.
The photographs and information sent in to the Advertiser were done so by the parents, friends and relatives of those serving. I doubt whether everyone that served had a photograph published.
The work on extracting photographs from the Paper had now completed. The Advertiser ceased being published in March 1918, and the Hastings Observer did not continue to publish the photographs being sent in. This means that regretfully, it won’t be a complete record of everyone that served. I would like to add anyone that has been missed. If you have details of a relative who lived in Hastings or St Leonards and contributed towards the war effort, please submit their details using the form here.
Some images that were published in the Advertiser have been partially obscured during the scanning process. I have not included these images as not only the image itself is of poor quality, the text accompanying it is partly missing too.
My relative didn’t live in the area, but he is on this website. Why?
Hastings and St Leonards was used as a staging area for soldiers as they awaited posting to active service. These soldiers stayed with families in the area, and became friends with them. The hosts often sent the details of their guests to the paper for publication.
Why is the quality of some of the photographs is poor?
There is a mixed bag of quality in the images on this site. There are a combination of factors as to why this is. It stems from the original image sent to the Pictorial Advertiser, the quality of transfer onto the paper during printing, how well the paper copy was kept over the last 100 years and the process of scanning into a digital form. At one or all of the stages above some fading, warping or degrading will have occurred.
How accurate is the information about individuals?
I have presented the core information in the same way as the Pictorial Advertiser. I have added to it where some clarification is needed or there is other relevant information available. I have included the date that the information was published to add context to the information provided with the photograph. For instance, an individual who was training in 1914 will have been posted to a regiment subsequently. Like the photographs themselves the information is a snapshot of a particular moment in time.
With regard to the addresses provided with many of the photographs, it is not clear whether that is the address of the individual or the person that sent the image in. I have included the address as it may be useful for people researching their family tree.
There are occasional errors in the details published by the paper, which I have tried to correct where possible. These include occasional misspelling of surnames, initials.
Naturally there may be some typos or misreading of the text as I have transcribed it. If you notice any, please let me know and I will correct it.
I use several websites to provide further details about some of the people on here. I use two sites frequently, the first being the Imperial War Museums’ ‘Lives of the First World War‘ which has free searchable records for all Commonwealth service personnel. The other website is the Commonweath War Graves Commission website. Both these websites have helped to provided further details about an individual, including full first names, rank and fate. Other websites I use often are detailed in the useful links shown on the website.
A surprising number of men from the Hastings and surrounding area served in the Canadian and Australian forces during the First World War.
In the UK, researchers of UK service records have to pay to access the archives. However in Australia, New Zealand and Canada you can view the majority of soldier’s enlistment papers free of charge. The three websites I use are as follows:
Why do have some individuals have more detailed profiles?
The details supplied to the paper are often frustratingly scant. First names and initials are sometimes not included, which makes finding further information about them difficult if not impossible.
Those people with common second names are the hardest to research is these cases. I want the records on this website to be as accurate as possible, so where there is doubt about the identity of an individual I have left the information as presented in the paper. Where I have been able to add further, definitive, data I have added it and noted the source.
On some individuals I have conducted some further research. I have used the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to find out details about all those who are stated to have died during the war. On others, particularly Naval personnel, I have provided links to information about the ships they served on. Often my own curiosity has led me to research further into a particular ship, battle or incident. Where I consider it relevant I’ve added to an individual’s details.
Can you help?
I’ve tried to be as accurate as possible with the information provided with the photographs, however I’m reliant on the information provided with them. There are bound to be errors within this work. If you spot any errors, and can provide corrections, please let me know.
I only have copies of the Hastings & St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser up until March 1918. Unfortunately East Sussex Libraries don’t have later editions, meaning that 5 months of editions are not included on the site. If you know where I could get hold of these later editions, please let me know.
Who is behind this website?
My name is Kieron Pelling and I was approached to do some photographic work by East Sussex Council for their World War 1 Commemoration website. They shared with me the electronic copies of the Hastings and St Leonards Pictorial Advertiser so that I could find suitable photographs for the ‘Then and Now’ images I have been producing for them. These can be viewed on my other website Compelling Photography.
Do you have any other questions?
Please ask them in the comments section below!