There is clearly a continuing public fascination with the history of the First World War, not least caused by the thousands of war memorials scattered throughout the Nation, ranging from village memorials to bronze plate at railway termini recording those employees who made the supreme sacrifice. Prominent among local memorials are the ones located outside St Stephen's Church, College Road which records those of the parish killed in the conflict (together with the fallen of WWll). In the churchyard of St Peter's, Dulwich Common is the memorial and flagstaff to the ill-fated Dulwich Volunteer Battalion.

Recently, the Dulwich Society has been able to make a list of those soldiers who died from disease or wounds in the former Southwark Infirmary (now Dulwich Hospital) after it was handed over by the Poor Law Guardians to the War Office as a military hospital in 1915. The base of the memorial survives in the grounds and records the names of 119 men who died out of the staggering total of 12,522 who were admitted. In November, a poppy wreath was laid on the memorial, the first time for many years.

Information on the military hospital came from a press cutting, found by chance, dated 16 October 1920 reporting the unveiling of the memorial. In the same packet at Southwark Local Studies Library was another cutting referring to WWl .dated 14 August 1917. It is an extraordinary story and is reprinted in full. It concerns the son of Sir Evan Spicer, the owner of Belair until his death in 1936.

Sir Evan Spicer's Son

Writing from "Belair," Dulwich S.E. under yesterday's date, Sir Evan Spicer sends us the following letter: "On Aug. 10 I caused an intimation to be made in the obituary column of your paper of the death of my son, Second Lieutenant Frank Evan Spicer, having received an official notice from the War Office that he had died of wounds some days previously. On Saturday evening last received at Tunbridge Wells a letter from my son, written after his supposed death, and consequently on Sunday morning I visited officials at the War Office, who were exceedingly kind and sympathetic and who immediately telephoned to France, and in the afternoon I had the unspeakable joy of hearing officially that my son was alive, though seriously wounded, also that he had left for England. Later in the day I had a telegram from my son saying that he had arrived in England. As I have already received a very large number of letters and telegrams of sympathy, which I and my family have greatly appreciated, I shall be much obliged if you would kindly insert this letter in your paper, as I should like my friends, in all parts to know as quickly as possible the joyful news I have received."

The photograph on the following page was taken in the garden of 'Court Mount', 57 Dulwich Village adjacent to the Burial Ground in Dulwich Village. The corner of Dekker Road is visible in the photograph. It shows the two sons of the local builder and amateur artist C. B.Core. It was taken a few months before they were both killed. On the left is Private Cecil John Core (Jackie) Royal Warwickshire Regt. Born 1897 died 8 October 1917. Buried at Tyne Cot Cemetery, Passchendaele. On the right is 2nd Lieutenant Charles Gooch Core (Dickie) Royal Fusiliers. Born 1885 died 10 August 1917. Memorial; Menin Gate, Ypres.

Go to top