Spanish Flu – arrives in Rochester

Every national event is made up of a myriad of individual causative or consequential experiences. In this blog I hope to give a sense of how Spanish Flu affected the people of Rochester / Medway in the autumn of 1918.

The flu pandemic of 1918 was referred to as the Spanish Flu as a consequence of it being reported extensively in the free-press of neutral Spain. Although this pandemic was not caused by the war, the mass movement of people and overcrowded public transport and housing, enabled its rapid spread – particularly within populations run down by stress and poor diet. When one considers that the population of the Medway Town had quadrupled by October 1915, and quality food was in short supply by 1918, it’s easy to see how the conditions were created that would enable the rapid spread of any contagious disease. Continue reading “Spanish Flu – arrives in Rochester”

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A Forgotten Hero of Westerham?

Ask for a link between Westerham and the war and I think most people will come up with Churchill and Chartwell. But there is a lesser known person associated with Westerham whose contribution significantly aided the winning of the Great War and quite probably the Second World War. He led no great battles but without him many battles could not have been fought, would have been lost and many soldiers could have died of hypothermia.

I’m referring to Lt. Colonel Peter Norman Nissen, DSO, (1871–1930) a Canadian engineer and British Army Officer, who designed the Nissen Hut. After the war he moved to Westerham in 1921 and lived on Westerham Hill until his death. He is buried in an almost anonymous and neglected grave in the churchyard of St. Mary the Virgin, at Westerham. 

Continue reading “A Forgotten Hero of Westerham?”

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