A unique collection of photos and images portraying Staffordshire’s role during the First World War can now viewed after being brought together online for the first time.
The Jake Whitehouse Collection at www.jakewhitehouse.org.uk features over 1,600 postcards, photographs and objects relating to the county’s role in the war. The training camps on Cannock Chase and the stories of the thousands of British and New Zealand servicemen who trained there are documented in the collection. Over 300 of these original postcards show soldiers and civilian workers working, training, and at leisure, while stories of German prisoners of war are also there to be explored. The postcards were published by local businesses for the troops to send to their loved ones or keep as souvenirs.
The collection belonged to local and military historian and author of ‘A Town for Four Winters’, Jake Whitehouse, who sadly passed away last year. Staff and volunteers from local community groups and Staffordshire County Council’s Museum Service have created the resource after Jake’s wife Gill gave permission for the collection to be shared online.
Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “This is a fascinating collection of photos and images that gives us a real insight into the county’s role during the First World War.
“Jake spent most of his life collecting and researching the subject and his enthusiasm and drive has certainly helped keep alive the memories of the camps and the people who trained there. It’s wonderful that people can now share in the story and I would like to thank his wife Gill for allowing our Museum Service to make the collection available online.”
The project was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with support from the Landor Society, Berkswich History Society and the Friends of Cannock Chase who have helped research and document the collection.
Christopher Jakeman ‘Jake’ Whitehouse was born in Bloxwich in 1926. After a varied military career during and after the Second World War, Jake became an English primary school teacher in Stafford, living in Brocton. His military experiences and a lifetime’s study of military history gave him a unique insight into the camps of Cannock Chase.