Welcome to The Bay Museum Website

The Bay Museum is a friendly museum situated on Canvey Island. Based in a degaussing station, it now offers a wealth of artefacts, books and displays focusing on both local and world military history. Open from 10am till 4pm, the museum also organises trips to France and Belgium to experience the battlefields first hand, as well as helping you research your own family military histories. The museum is run by volunteers who always warmly welcome visitors and are never short of a war story!

Click to explore the museum 360°


Temporary closure

The Bay Museum will be shut on Sunday 17 June 2018 but will be open the following week.

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 10 June 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


Mainz Blankenburg Mark



Monday June 10th.  Got up 7 a.m. for walk but it commenced to rain hard about 7.30, so had breakfast & went to bed again – Feeling sick, fear tummy is wrong.  Had Bath at 10 a.m. spent remainder of day on sofa.  Think I have either a slight chill on liver or something is annoying my inside.  Not at all inclined for food.  D got 2 good loaves today left Copenhagen May 25th.  Postcard from Fortnum & Mason saying they had despatched a parcel.  Dull day but not much rain since 10 a.m.

Letter re Alf Smith 10 June 1918





Enquiry of D of R. Cross



I am writing on behalf of my father-in-law (Mr. T. Smith) to say how grateful & relieved he will be if you will endeavour to trace, if possible, the whereabouts of his son, particulars of whom are given below;

Pte. A.A. Smith No 142687 M.G.C. 18th Batt (formerly 53rd Coy) missing 21st March.

We know nothing further than this unfortunately.

Yours respectfully

(Mrs.) J. Smith




British Red Cross & Order of St. John

Postcard from Enquiry Department for Wounded and Missing, 18, Carlton House Terrace S.W. 1.


Mr. T. Smith,


100 Arcadian Gdns,

Bowes Pk

N 22


142687 Pte. A.A. Smith                                   18th M.G.C.


We beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, and will do our best to make all possible enquiries.

As soon as we receive any information it will be forwarded to you immediately




Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 9 June 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


Mainz Blankenburg Mark



Sunday June 9th.  Very hot day.  Church Communion Service with Sermon 10 a.m. C of E again.  Kept Presbyterians waiting till 11.15 a.m.  Must get Sermon limited to 15 minutes.  Letter from Gina midday, posted London May 12th. Dinner ½ hour late as usual.  General Committee Meeting 5 p.m. sanctioned expenditure up to 30£ on Education books & Reference Library books.  Question of a Camp Paper brought up, have decided to ask German Comdt if we can start one, to be printed monthly.  Price of wine in canteen also brought up.  Wrote letter DD.

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 8 June 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


Mainz Blankenburg Mark



Saturday June 8th.  Called at 7 a.m. had breakfast 7.45 a.m.  Rice & fruit saved from supper.  Walk at 8 a.m. to Hechtsheim & back, with Berner: got back at 10.15 a.m.  9 Medical Officers left about 8 a.m. for camp near Dutch Frontier, lucky fellows to get back again.  Letter from DD dated May 11th.  Consignment of food from Red Cross arrived, gave an issue of biscuits, meat, dripping, milk, cheese, tea or cocoa to each room.  D as usual was lucky & drew an extra tin of mutton.  The stove is a great blessing & our evening meals are getting quite palatable & served hot on hot plates.  Tonight we had soup & fried potatoes & a bread & jam pudding made of mouldy Copenhagen bread.  After steaming, baking & then boiling into a pudding it is surprising how the green & black bread turns out & doesn’t seem to give one any internal trouble, but don’t think it will do for long.  Ogilvy came in after Roll Call to talk about his Education Scheme: the confidential census is going on well, & by getting classes made up in farming, mining, & a hundred other occupations, we hope to help those who must start life anew when they get home again.  Generally speaking most are keen on it, some have no regard for future or how they can support themselves after the war.  What we want is a good reference library & a committee is now sitting to select one but there will always be difficulty in getting the books.  Bed 10.30 p.m.

Letter to Father 8 June 1918


My dear dad,


How are you? I hope you are feeling stronger & better in yourself.  I wish the dickens I could get home for a bit & drag you away somewhere where we could potter round some links a few holes a day.  When I do come home you & Edie Win & I are going away to some quiet spot like Borth for a bit, or anywhere where you and I can play a round in the morning or cool of the evening, & the girls can bathe.


I return the warrants signed. The dividend on the Exchequer Bonds has been paid into Cox & Co.


I believe mother has the dividend warrant for the £150 I brought through Selfridges. She mentioned it in one of her letters to me while the rush was on in April & I hadn’t time to think about         it then.  I have since written about it to her but had no reply as yet.


I am glad you liked the chit from the Chief Engineer. I was rather pleased about it myself but it is a silly characteristic of the Englishman to assume indifference.  The original is in the office here & when I leave the school I shall ask them for it.


Thought it was so nice because it is very rarely one gets thanks nowadays & the little that comes one’s way is quite gratifying. I expect you find it the same when grateful coal kings write & tell you they are thankful to you that things are going well & smoothly: I am not getting leave just at present but could do with a bit.  I am looking forward to many a long talk with you.


By the way dad tell them at B’pool to keep a tight hand on that letter as there are various details on it that are confidential & I shouldn’t like them to get about.


The first week of the course is over. They are an extraordinarily good lot of fellows on it.  Their spirit is wonderful.  They are cheerful & confident & a good example to anyone who may be inclined to be a doubting Thomas.


Col. Murray is home.  He is downright ill.  He was given a month’s leave but has written since he was home & says the doctors say it will be 4 months before he is well.  I am awfully sorry as it looks as though we shall lose him, & a decent fellow & a man at the top makes all the difference to a show like this.  I am not very taken with the man who I believe is coming.


I must dry up. I do hope you are better dad.  Where are you thinking of going to?

What is this farm idea?

With very best love to you both

Your loving son



Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen 7 June 1918

Private Diary of J.K. Dick Cunyngham Br Gen


Mainz Blankenburg Mark



Friday June 7th.  Had a hot breakfast for first time since April 11th consisting of Semolina porridge, fruit, tea & bread & butter.  Hope to save something for breakfast daily now.  Harris knocked at the door about 7 a.m., left the coffee in the sitting room and disappeared, but I got him in the end to come & attend to my wants, clean boots, brush cloths etc.  Perhaps when he knows what to do he will be all right.  Another bread parcel for me from Copenhagen dated May 11th, very mouldy as usual.

Shall be glad when they send biscuits instead. Rumour that Medical Officers are going away tomorrow.  Hot day not feeling up to much walking so tried working at Shorthand instead.  Time I got another letter, fear they take a long time in the censor’s office, of which there are 2, one in Camp & one in the Town.

Instructions how to act in case of air-raids read out on parade, viz evacuate square – if out for walk gain shelter of trees, if in open lie down. Bed at 10.15 p.m. in view of early walk in morning.