04 June 2018

Meet the first CWGC interns of 2018

The first wave of 2018 CWGC Centenary Interns have been in France and Belgium for over a month, working with the Commission at some of the most important sites commemorating those who died in the two world wars. Here are some of the interns who beat off competition from hundreds of applicants to join the CWGC Centenary internship.

2018 Interns group 1 

Jack Humphrey

From: Carleton, North YorkshireIntern Jack Humphrey

Why did you apply for the CWGC Centenary Interns Programme?

I applied to become a CWGC intern because the chance to learn about the First World War and those who took part, in the places where it was actually fought, was an opportunity not to be missed. Learning about the war and being able to speak to and help people to discover their personal connections, will prevent the experiences and sacrifices of those who fought in the First World War from being forgotten.

Do you have a connection to the two world wars?

My great grandfather, Walter Henry Sims, of the Royal Canadian Field Artillery, and his brother William George, of 123rd Battalion Canadian Pioneers, served in Europe in the Great War. Uncle Will was fatally wounded near Thelus, he died from his wounds and is buried in the military cemetery at Etaples. My grandfather, John Ronald Humphrey, whose two elder brothers were in the British Expeditionary Force in the Great War, served in the  Merchant Navy during the Second World War. There were numerous other close relatives in both wars, many of whom were in the Royal Artillery.

Katherine Crabb

From: Bridport, DorsetIntern Katherine Crabb

Why did you apply for the CWGC Centenary Interns Programme?

I saw it as an incredibly exciting and, quite literally, once in a lifetime opportunity.  To be able to actively partake and contribute towards the memorialisation of the Great War in this centenary period is something I will really be proud of. In remembrance we gain awareness, empathy and respect.

I studied WWI as part of my degree, gaining an understanding of the war itself and also how important its legacy has been in shaping so much in the rest of the 20th and start of the 21st Centuries. I am going to learn so much more during this internship and to be able to do this whilst interacting with the public is something I'm really looking forward to.

Do you have a connection to the two world wars?

My great great grandfather, George Edwin Richards, fought in and survived WWI. We know very little about his experiences as after returning home he never again spoke of the war. It is only in this last year that we have learnt of his involvement, not even my great grandmother (his daughter) knew.

My great grandfather, Alfred Harold Hutchings, was a naval steward in the Second World War, stationed on HMS Royal Arthur. He survived being hit by two torpedoes in one night and returned home but never fully recovered because of the oil he had ingested during those attack

Megan Kelleher

From: Bexley, KentIntern Megan Kelleher

Why did you apply for the CWGC Centenary Interns Programme?

I have an interest in the history of the armed forces in addition to 20th century conflicts. Having studied a module for my Masters Degree on the formation of the CWGC, I became fascinated by the work that they undertook after the First World War to appropriately commemorate the dead and the missing and how they continue to do this 100 years later.

I think being a CWGC intern is important as you are often the first point of contact for visitors to the sites. By having this interaction, it can enable visitors to fully comprehend what they are seeing as well as appreciate the work that the CWGC does to continue to pass on the memory of the fallen to the next generation.

Do you have a connection to the two world wars?

In the First World War, I lost two great great grandfathers and two great great great uncles on my father’s side. Charles Bonnard, the father of my great-grandmother, died before his only child was born and is buried in La Plus Douve Farm Cemetery; his brother-in-law, G Hardy, is buried in Berkshire Cemetery Extension. Thomas James Kelleher, my great great great uncle, is commemorated on the Menin Gate on Panel 20, while my other great great grandfather, Charles Pilcher Bailey, is buried in Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery.

On my mother’s side, my great grandfather, George Skinner, served with the Royal Artillery, becoming one of the first people to drive armoured vehicles when he lost his horses. After serving on both the Western and Eastern Fronts, he survived the war and went to work in Wales during the Second World War; as a result, my grandfather did not get to meet his father until he was six years old.

Neal Trotter

From: LeicestershireIntern Neal Trotter

Why did you apply for the CWGC Centenary Interns Programme?

For me, applying for the CWGC internship was about pursuing my interest in the First World War. I studied the conflict throughout my time at university and wrote my BA dissertation on the Battle of Messines 1917. I applied last year for the internship and so this is second time lucky!

The current centenary commemorations are of worldwide significance. To be a part of these events with the CWGC and help shape the way we think about the Great War is a once in a lifetime experience.

Do you have a connection to the two world wars?

My interest in military history stemmed from my great grandad Clifford Trotter, who was in the RAF in the Second World War. I grew up hearing all about his war-time experiences in India and Burma and remember seeing his medals framed on the wall of my grandad’s house. I have two other great grandads who served in the Second World War. One who fought in North Africa and Italy and the other was a Japanese prisoner of war for three years.

One of the most interesting family stories to share is our relation to the Canadian First World War poet, Bernard Freeman Trotter. Growing up he was the first relative I knew about who had fought in the Great War. He joined the Leicestershire Regiment and visited my family when he came over to fight in France. I hope I will get the chance to see his grave at the CWGC Mazingarbe Cemetery.

Will Parkinson

From: Bassetlaw, NottinghamshireIntern Will Parkinson

Why did you apply for the CWGC Centenary Interns Programme?

I applied to become an intern because I admire the effort the Commission makes to educate and inform the public about those who lost their lives during the wars. Thanks to their work more people are able to pay their respects to the fallen as well as discover the remarkable stories behind the headstones.

The projects that the CWGC has been involved with have moved and inspired me into learning more about the soldiers, as well as my own family history, so once I discovered the internship opportunity it was something I immediately wanted to be a part of.  It is a chance to properly engage with these incredible stories whilst moving and inspiring others to do the same.

Do you have a connection to the two world wars?

During World War One my great grandfathers on my father’s side were members of the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Royal Horse Artillery. They were located on the Western Front and in Mesopotamia respectively, both survived the war and would go on to live for many years after. I also own a propeller blade dated from the First World War and gifted to my great great grandfather Alfred Holmes.

During the Second World War my grandfather was conscripted as a Bevin Boy at Creswell Colliery.

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