Researching the Men

Residents at Willowbrook get the project under way

Suzy Bowers

Some of the tenants of Willowbrook Extra Care Scheme decided they would like to get involved with the Steel Remembered project and research a soldier, they chose Jonathan Head.

They looked at the 1911 Census that showed than Jonathan and his family were living at 42, Milner Street, Newport. They were able to find out that Jonathan and his wife had been married for 5 years and had three children at that point. The Census also showed Jonathan's occupation - he was a shearer in the Orb Steel Works.

We passed around three 1st World War medals; the 1914-15 Star, the British War medal and the Victory medal, although none of these belonged to Jonathan. This brought back lots of memories for everyone as people could remember their fathers having the same medals.

Many of the group have lived in Newport all their lives and could remember the families of the men on the Orb Memorial. One of the tenants told me that he used to go to school with Jonathan’s son. It was quite an emotional afternoon for everyone to be able to step back in time.