A FORMER Royal Marine has compiled a book detailing the stories of 200 men from north Essex who died in the First World War.

Ted Sparrow, 80, wanted to make people, and youngsters in particular, aware of the sacrifices soldiers from the around Colchester made on battlefields.

He started to collate the stories last year and has completed a 385-page e-Book in time for the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War.

Mr Sparrow, from Langenhoe, said: “At times it was an absolute slaughter, with families losing four or more members.

“You can’t help but be impressed by what each of them did and I’m delighted the stories are now all available.

“It’s important people know about those who went to war and died.

Mr Sparrow researched the stories in war diaries and by using village church records.

He said: “I was just the one who compiled it all using other people’s good work.

“You could say my role was to copy and paste.”

The book includes stories on men from Abberton, Langenhoe, Fingringhoe, Rowhedge, Peldon, Little and Great Wigborough, Salcott, Tollesbury, and Tolleshunt Major, Tolleshunt Knights and Tolleshunt D'Arcy.

Mr Sparrow, who served as a Royal Marine in Egypt in 1953, began researching military history when he retired in 1996 from a career in chemical engineering.

He said: “The publication is totally non-commercial. It is free to download.”

He has started work on a second book, which will tell the story of soldiers from the area who died in the Second World War.

The Western Front Association, which has an online archive of war records, is going to add the book to its collection.

To download the e-book, go to tollesbury.org/history/world_war I.html.