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Private Cyril Page, about 1917

Cyril Page was born in 1899 and grew up in London's east end before moving to the newly expanding suburb of Wanstead, on the edge of east London, now in the London Borough of Redbridge. Cyril enlisted into the army in August 1917 and after training was sent to France in April 1918 with the 1/23rd London Battalion, the East Surrey Regiment. He took part in the final Allied offensive of the war but was killed on 1 September 1918.

Redbridge Museum has a collection of papers and objects related to Cyril Page that were kept by his family. These were the focus of the National Memory-Local Stories workshops at Redbridge Museum.

Private Cyril Page and his platoon [front and back]

This postcard shows Private Page and his platoon at a training camp in Swindon in about 1917. Someone, probably Pvt. Page, has marked an 'x' next to him.

Postcard sent by Private Cyril Page [front and back]

This postcard was sent by Private Page on 17 April 1918 to his mother shortly before his battalion left for France from Folkestone, on the south coast of England. The postage stamp at an angle was part of a hidden code in stamps, common at the time, which probably means 'I send you a kiss'.

The last postcard [front and back]

This official Field Service postcard was sent by Private Cyril Page to his mother on 23 August 1918. These postcards were often written in periods of heavy fighting and by autumn 1917, over 285,000 a day were being sent. It was designed to save officers' time in having to read and censor letters. It was the last message Pvt. Page sent home.

Death notice

This official notice was sent to Cyril's mother on 28 September 1918. Private Page battalion was involved in heavy fighting near Mametz, in the Somme area of northern France. They were part of the '100 days offensive' in which the Allies overwhelmed the German army, leading to the end of the war. This open warfare, without the shelter offered by trenches, led to a high loss of life. Pvt. Page was killed in action on 1 September 1918.

Condolence letter [front and back]

This letter was written to Cyril's older sister, Hilda, on 10 September 1918 shortly after Private Page's death. In it, the Reverend W. Forster remembers confirming Cyril three years earlier at his church in the east end of London, before the family moved out to the suburb of Wanstead. Despite offering comfort to Hilda, the letter captures a bleak tone after four years of war and makes plain Forster's concerns for the future of 'a bankrupt country'.

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First World War Collection Objects

Watch a short video about collection objects featured in the National Memory – Local Stories workshops (3:54)

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