War hero to be part of new exhibition

Men at Peterborough East Railway Station leaving for war.
Men at Peterborough East Railway Station leaving for war.

An appeal has been launched to find information on a war hero from North Shields.

Researchers are hoping to find information on Army Second Lieutenant Cadet Colin Miller Jamieson, from Chirton.

He was one of hundreds of servicemen to write in a visitor book at Peterborough East Railway Station tea room between 1916 and 1917, writing ‘when the war-drum throbs no longer, may I – going North – be here again’.

Sadly, Second Lieutenant Miller Jamieson was presumed killed in action in Flanders five months later.

When the books were unearthed in the city’s archives in Peterborough Library, a project began to find out more about the lives of the servicemen whose fleeting thoughts are preserved in the books.

Peterborough Archives is looking to find information about the soldiers ahead of a display launching on May 5 – 100 years since the books started. The entries will be published in real time on a website, via social media and on video screens at sites in Peterborough.

The website launches in advance on Wednesday, January 13, to give descendants the opportunity to share information and photographs of their relatives to add to their story.

Those wishing to find out if their ancestor wrote in the books will find a list of their names and service details on the website at www.peterboroughww1.co.uk

The men came from each of the services – including the Royal Navy and the Army, which at that time included the Royal Flying Corps - and from many regiments and corps. The Royal Marines, Merchant Navy and police are also represented.

Richard Hunt, head of cultural development for Vivacity Culture and Leisure, which manages Peterborough Libraries, said: “There are over 580 entries in all.

“Some are simple words of thanks, others talk of love and hope.

“Together, they provide a unique insight to the servicemen’s thoughts and feelings and we want to try to paint a personal picture of the men who once found comfort in Peterborough.

“We have found out some of the facts of some of their lives, but are appealing for their descendants to come forward to add colour to the stories of these heroes.”

Peterborough East Station is now derelict and the tea rooms, run by the Women’s United Total Abstinence Council to deter servicemen from drinking alcohol, only existed for a few short years.