First World War: Individual and Family Papers

Major O. A. Forsyth-Major

Major Forsyth-Major served in France during the First World War. He was a prolific but largely unsuccessful writer who wrote under many different noms de plume. These included John Beverley, Don Beverley, Guy Beverley, Barry Macdonald, Ian Mac, Ivor McIvor, Randolph Major, and Maxim Major. The only one of his works to achieve publication, Elements of Tactics (1916), was a series of lectures discussing the principles of military manoeuvre.

The collection contains numerous photographs taken during Forsyth-Major's military service, depicting both scenes in the Middle East and tank battalions in France and Cologne. Of particular interest are images of T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and King Feisal at U DFM/4/38, and seven photographs showing damaged tanks and soldiers crossing duckboards at U DFM/4/44. Also included are Havoc Over Europe, an account of Forsyth-Major's wartime experiences, at U DFM/1/15; a novel, The Phantom Legions: an Unfinished Symphony of War, 1914-1918, at U DFM/1/25; and postcards of Zepplin airships at U DFM/4/62.

The online catalogue includes a detailed overview of this collection (ref U DFM).

Second Lieutenant Joseph Hirst

Second Lieutenant Joseph Hirst served in France during the First World War. This large scrapbook was collated by his father, Joseph Henry Hirst, who served as Hull City Architect from 1900 to 1926. The material in this volume (ref C DIAH/1) relates to both the experiences of his son and the progression of the First World War as reported in the print media. Contents include a list of members of the first platoon, a map of trenches on Montreal Road, a supplement to the London Gazette, intelligence summaries, duties, instructions and examination papers in musketry, bayonet fighting and engineering, press cuttings, maps, and photographs.

Captain Hirst's service in the Army is recorded via letters and telegrams, including those sent to his parents after he was wounded and captured by the Germans in April 1918. When released from captivity the same year, King George V welcomed him home in a letter, which is also enclosed in the volume.

The online catalogue includes a detailed overview of this collection (ref C DIAH).

Hohenrein Family

George Frederick Hohenrein came to Hull from Germany in 1848, aged just 16, and spent two years working for a German pork butcher, G. H. Frederick. Two years later Hohenrein opened his first shop at 7 Waterworks Street, with a second shop later opening at 22 Princes Avenue. George became a naturalised British citizen.

Following George's death his eldest son, George William, took over the business, which continued to prosper; however, he moved to Germany in 1907 and the business passed to his younger brother, Charles. At the outbreak of the First World War, George William Hohenrein was interned in a German concentration camp, Ruhlebon, as a foreign national.

Meanwhile, in Hull, Charles Hohenrein was keen to do his bit for Britain. He was declared unfit for the army so served as a sergeant in a civilian corps.

Anti-German sentiment was high in Britain during the war, and Hull was no exception. The Hohenreins suffered numerous threats of injury to themselves and their property, especially in 1916 after the sinking of the Lusitania and the Zeppelin raids on Hull. It was for this reason that Charles Hohenrein decided to change his surname to Ross and close his shops until the end of the war. After the war the shops re-opened and continued to prosper.

The collection of Hohenrein family papers includes correspondence relating to G. W. Hohenrein’s internment in Germany at L DBHR/1/1; press cuttings chronicling the war at L DBHR 3/2/3; press cuttings detailing incidents of anti-German sentiment in Hull at L DBHR/2/5/1-3; and a copy of the Coblenzer Zeitung, dated 31 July 1914, confirming the outbreak of war at L DBHR/3/2/4.

The online catalogue includes a detailed overview of this collection (ref L DBHR).

Winifred Horrabin

Born in 1887, Winifred attended the Sheffield School of Art where she met her husband, Francis (Frank) James Horrabin, whom she married in 1911. Frank gained employment on the Sheffield Telegraph and become a political cartoonist of considerable note. He and Winifred shared socialist political principles. They were friendly with H. G. Wells and Frank illustrated his book The Outline of History, which appeared in 1920.

After serving in the war, Frank Horrabin was briefly Labour MP for Peterborough and became involved in anti-imperialist politics, collaborating with Rita Hinden and Arthur Creech Jones in creating the Fabian Colonial Bureau.

The collection includes the typescript for This Year...Next Year...? A War Time Love Story at U DWH/2/1; letters from Frank to Winifred detailing his experiences during the war at U DWH/2; and a notebook, 'Francis has a bit of luck', at U DWH/1/52.

The online catalogue includes a detailed overview of this collection (ref U DWH).

Harold Laski

Harold Joseph Laski was born in Manchester in 1893, studying eugenics under Karl Pearson at University College for six months in 1911. He married Frida Kerry, a lecturer in eugenics, just as he began an undergraduate degree in history at Oxford University. When the war broke out he failed his medical and instead went on to teach modern history at McGill University and Harvard.

In 1919 Laski was attacked for his sympathy with the Boston police strikers and he turned his back on an American academic career, taking a post at the London School of Economics. Laski, a prolific writer of works of political philosophy and political theory, became professor of Political Science in 1926 and held this post until his death from influenza in 1950. He had been heavily involved with Labour politics and sat on the executive committee of the Fabian Society through most of the 1920s and 1930s.

The collection includes letters written during the war to politicians Herbert Fisher, George Lansbury and Henry Nevinson at U DLA/1-3.

The online catalogue includes a detailed overview of this collection (ref U DLA).

Irene Lawley (later Forbes Adam)

Irene Constance Lawley was born in 1889. She was only 22 years old when her father, the 3rd Baron Wenlock, died. Interested in caring for the sick, she had trained with St John's Ambulance Association (U DDFA3/9/40) and established a hospital at Escrick Park for wounded officers.

The collection (ref U DDFA3/6) includes correspondence sent and received during and after the War, relating to military action and the settlement of Belgian refugees in Britain, with 4 photographs and 20 postcards, at U DDFA3/6/31; trench maps at U DDFA3/9/82-83; a booklet entitled The Angel Warriors at Mons by Ralph Shirley at U DDFA3/9/80; a list of code messages at U DDFA3/9/84; and poem entitled 'My Little Wet Home in the Trench' at U DDFA3/6/32/126.

The online catalogue includes a detailed overview of this collection (ref U DDFA).

Sir Mark Sykes

Mark Sykes, born in 1879, was the only child of Sir Tatton Sykes, 5th Baronet. The family seat was Sledmere House, located in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Mark travelled widely from a young age, often around the Middle East with his father, and was educated at St John's College, Cambridge. He was elected as Conservative MP for Central Hull in 1912 before serving as an adviser to the War Office on Middle Eastern affairs. Sykes worked closely with French diplomat F G Picot to draft an Inter-Allied settlement in the Middle East (the 'Sykes-Picot agreement').

Included in the collection (ref U DDSY2) are correspondence and papers relating to military affairs and intelligence, notably an account of his visit to the Western Front, from September to October of 1914, at U DDSY2/5/103; a letter sent from Salonica, Greece, about the secrecy of his activities, the nurses in Serbia and the comfort of prayer at U DDSY2/1/2f/40; and a draft letter, dated 27 Jan 1915, to Winston Churchill, proposing that Britain seize Gallipoli and Constantinople, and attack Germany via the Balkans, Austria and Bavaria at U DDSY2/4/81. Additional topics include the East Riding Waggoners Special Reserve, war memorials and a field hospital in France set up by his wife Edith Gorst.

The online catalogue includes a detailed overview of this collection (ref U DDSY2).

Frank and Myfanwy Westrope

Frank Westrope and Myfanwy Wynne married in 1911. The couple were pacifists and members of the Independent Labour Party since the early 1900s. Myfanwy was also involved in the women's suffrage movement. Frank was imprisoned as a conscientious objector during the First World War and served his sentence in Wormwood Scrubs, Wandsworth Prison, Hounslow Barracks and Pentonville Prison. By the early 1930s the Westropes had a bookshop in Hampstead, and for a brief period George Orwell lodged with them in the flat above the shop and served in the bookshop in the afternoons. Out of his experiences during this period grew his novel Keep the Aspidistra Flying. See our page on conscientious objection for further information on this collection (ref U DX135).

The online catalogue includes a detailed overview of this collection (ref U DX135).