Tony, Gill and I have spent several afternoons at the Priest’s House Museum looking through the archives of the World War One period.
Some of the stories we’ve uncovered include that of Flight Sergeant Ernest John Elton who was born on Christmas Day 1893 in Wimborne workhouse to an unmarried mother, a domestic servant of Mannington. He went on to become the highest scoring sergeant flying ace for British aviation during World War I.
Or the story of Mrs Lees, the owner of Beaucroft House which was turned into a Red Cross Auxiliary Hospital in World War I. Born Bernarda Turnbull in Mexico, she married Thomas Lees, the joint owner of the Lees and Wrigley Cotton Mill in Oldham, Lancashire. She was widowed at the age of 37 in 1879 and brought her five daughters and a son to Dorset in 1881 on account of the health of Eliot, her son, who suffered from asthma.
It’s all adding up to a wealth of material we can draw on for the planned production next year.