My name is Michael Day and I work for the British Library in London. I grew up on the south coast of England (Dorset) and live in the beautiful city of Bath. This personal blog will be used for occasional comments and updates on things of interest to me. This will  probably include a few posts on my professional interests – which mainly include digital preservation, research data management and metadata – as well as some on topics that reflect my personal interests, which include Thomas Hardy, the First World War, war memorials, and anything related to the county of Dorset (I am also responsible for some separate web pages on Dorset Churches). However, during the centenary of the First World War, this blog seems to have been mainly used to provide short accounts of some of those that died during that conflict, in particular for bellringers that had been members of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers and the Bath and Wells Diocesan Association of Change Ringers.

Anyone interested in my professional publications will be able to find some on the University of Bath’s institutional repository. For those who care about these things, my ORCID is: 0000-0002-1443-5334.

To try and explain the title, opusculum (plural opuscula) is the diminutive of the Latin word opus, literally meaning a “little work.” Its most common English derivative is opuscule, meaning a small or insignificant artistic work.

This is a personal blog. Any opinions expressed here are my own and not those of my employer.


  1. Michael

    I just wanted to write to introduce myself. My name is Robert Wellen and I am the Master of the Salisbury Diocesan Guild of Ringers.

    The Guild will be publishing a Great War Memorial Booklet next May and I have been busy compiling it. A major part of it will be devoted to the 89 ringers from the Diocese known to have died and the commemorative ringing that has taken place. I have found your site: ‘Opusculum: Reflections on the First World War, digital information management, and other topics’ to be an invaluable source of information for this booklet in addition to that provided by Alan Regin and others (much of this having been published by me over the last four years in Face to Face, our Guild newsletter). I have used your site on many occasions to supplement the biographies of ringers concerned. I do not have the room to go into the regimental/ battle history details that you have. I could not proceed without getting in contact to let you know this. In all cases where I have used material from your site I have indicated this in the Booklet – I hope that you are alright with this.

    Two small points I noticed:
    Gunner Richard George Meech (Stoke Abbott): https://opusculum.wordpress.com/2018/10/26/gunner-richard-george-meech-royal-garrison-artillery/
    I came across this: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/88336898/richard-george-meech
    (Maria Ellsworth). This source records that George Meech married Ethel M Symes in September 1907 when he was 14 and she was 16. This is her grave at Stoke Abbott, mentioning her husband. You don’t seem to mention this on your site. Have you investigated yourself and dismissed it?
    Rifleman Alfred Pocock (Hilperton):
    You seem to refer to him as Albert?

    In the spring the Guild will be looking at ‘events’ to launch the Booklet and if you would be interested I could certainly invite you along. I haven’t established the mechanics of it yet with Robert Lewis, but I hope to have a review in the Ringing World and might want to ask you to consider doing that.

    With every best wish and a happy new year.


    • Dear Robert,

      Many thanks for contacting me. I think that I have rung with you many years ago, when I was living at Wool. Bath isn’t that far from SDGR territory, but I don’t get out-and-about that much now, as I stay in London during the week. I have been very glad to see the ringing that you have done for the FWW Centenary on Bellboard. Things haven’t been quite so centrally organised in the Bath and Wells DA, although there has been a fair amount of commemorative ringing. We rang a peal at St Michael’s, Bath in October to mark the centenary of the death of Private A. E. Seers, one of two Bath bellringers that died on the Western Front (it was covered briefly on BBC Points West). I have provided information (mostly from newspapers) for Alan Regin’s rolls of honour project, as I have access to some of these through my work at the British Library. I am very glad that my blogs have been useful and you are welcome to use any information from them that you require. If you were thinking of using any of my images, I would probably have larger resolution versions available (e.g. on my Flickr pages: https://www.flickr.com/photos/13706945@N00/ ). I certainly would be interested in any launch event for the booklet and (potentially) in reviewing it for the Ringing World. I did wonder about trying to do something similar for the Bath and Wells, but I certainly couldn’t go into as much detail as my blogs, where I have thrown-in a lot of information in a fairly random manner! What I have lacked is the personal contacts, although a few of the blogs have ended up being a means of making contact with relatives.

      On your specific comments (for which many thanks):

      Richard George Meech: I hadn’t seen that particular reference; I will investigate it further and add a footnote.
      Alfred Pocock: This was a genuine mistake; I will amend and add an acknowledgement.

      Note also that I have some blogs in preparation for the SGDR ringers that died in 1919: Frederick William Samways (Hilton), Leslie Albert Clark (Loders) and Thomas James Blagden (Edington). The amount of raw information available varies widely, although I was recently able to track down Private Samways’s entry in the Dülmen POW camp register: https://grandeguerre.icrc.org/en/List/3619352/698/42915/

      Kind regards and Happy New Year!


      • I have now looked into the Find My Grave information and think that the Ethel M. Meech mentioned on the Stoke Abbot grave marker would have been Richard George Meech’s sister, not his wife. The 1931 UK Electoral Register for Stoke Abbot includes a Miss Ethel Mary Meech, so his sister was still resident in the village at that time.

        I did try to find a married Richard George and Ethel Meech in the 1911 Census, but the best that I could come up with was a Sapper George Meech (a 29-year-old bricklayer, from Dorchester) of 24th Coy., Royal Engineers, who was based in barracks at Malta. Also resident at the barracks (in a separate part of the census return) was the 23-year-old Ethel Meech. The census also recorded that Ethel Meech had been married around three years (which would fit with the 1907 date) and that she had an infant daughter, Charlotte, who had been born at Malta.

        Hope that this helps.


      • Many thanks Michael, I will amend my draft of the Booklet to reflect that. R

      • Many thanks Michael. I will keep you posted of launch events for the Booklet once established. I will see what the RW says about a possible review. I would be VERY INTERESTED in your blogs for the last three SDGR ringers, if you could alert me when they are posted, although I don’t have much room left! Best wishes. R

      • FYI: My blog on Frederick William Samways (Hilton) went live this morning; the one for Leslie Albert Clark (Loders) will go live tomorrow, probably at around 07:30.

  2. Hi Michael
    I have just come across your article on the life of Sergeant John Frederick Nash. There were many interesting stories about his family, life and war service. I am researching this family as it forms part of my wife’s family (following an unexplained adoption). One point that I am not clear about is the comment at the end of the article by Simon Rice (who I would like to contact): Isaac and Charlotte married in 1863 both aged 22. So a death in 1869 aged 18 seems out of the question. Much more likely a death in 1879 aged 38. But I cannot find a marriage for Charlotte to a Turner. So still no idea why the family changed its name.
    Dave Turton

    • Many thanks for your comment. I have also been unable to find records of either the death of Isaac Nash in 1869 or of Charlotte Nash’s second marriage to Henry Turner (although the names seem to be quite common). Charlotte Nash seems to appear in the 1871 Census as a cook living at Cheap Street, Bath (at the time other members of her family were also resident at Bath). While I could not find Isaac Nash, the census return implies that Charlotte was still married (although the relevant entry is a bit of a squiggle). Simon Rice argues that the name Turner was added (sometimes inconsistently) to the family name after the widowed Charlotte married Henry Turner. That is the kind of information that is very hard to corroborate via record searching alone. The multiple family-names certainly do complicate finding members of the family in genealogical databases!

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