As part of the RHS's remembrance of the outbreak of the First World War, I have been researching, for a commemorative volume, the former Wisley students who died fighting. Their names appear on the memorial tablet at the Wisley reception (see left).
The 20 students were trainee gardeners at Wisley between 1907 and 1916, and were all a similar age to the trainees we have at Wisley today. I have found it strange seeing our current trainees with their passion for plants at the start of their horticultural careers and knowing that the trainees I was researching would have had the same enthusiasm but were never able to fulfil their potential due to the war.
Letters that were reproduced in the Journal of the RHS Gardens Club reveal that, despite the awful conditions many of the former students found themselves in, they still managed to write cheerfully to their friends at Wisley. Some sent notes about the plants they found surrounding them in places such as Malta.
If you would like to read the commemorative volume it can be seen in the Garden Library at Wisley and at Wisley reception until the autumn. We are also dedicating a blog to each student, which will be released on the 100th anniversary of his death.
Find out more
Read Debora's later blogs on this subject
Research the fallen of the First World War at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, or have a look on the Imperial War Museum website for more research tools.