Nursing the wounded in Norwich 1916 -tented wards showing the Roman Catholic Cathedral in the background

Note: wounded are also housed in covered walk-ways in the background.

Note: wounded are also housed in covered walk-ways in the background.

This is just one of several hundred newly digitised original posters, photographs, notices connected with the First World War in Norfolk. The material is all held in the collections of the Norfolk Heritage Centre and over the course of the next four years will be posted on (the online picture archive for Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service)

Battlefields Visit Opportunity

Thorpe Visit to the World War One Battlefields next year. 

The trip will take in visits to battlefield sites and memorials in the Ypres Salient and the Somme, including places connected with the Norfolk Regiment.

Details are as follows:

Tuesday, May 26th to Saturday, May 30th, 2015 (Half term).

Leaving from Thorpe St. Andrew for France and Belgium via the Channel Tunnel, in an Executive Coach.

The cost for the Coach, Channel Tunnel, Hotel and Guide is £329 with a Single Supplement of £99.

Further details are available from John Balls – 01603 433712

Mesopotamia – why?

As posted about earlier in the month the Norfolk Regiment were posted to the Middle East during World War One and one of our blog readers has written a series of posts explaining just why this often forgotten battlefield was fought over during the years 1914-18.

The Norfolk Regiment in Mesopotamia

The Strategic Background (Part 1)

On 15 November 1914 the 2nd Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment was deployed from India to Lower Mesopotamia in what is now Iraq. Why?

Mesopotamia, the land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, (from the Greek μέσος (meso) – between, and ποταμός (potamos) – river) had been one of the cradles of world civilization and in 1914 was part of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire.

During the Crimean War (1853-56) the Ottoman Empire, then in decline, had fought alongside France and Britain to stop Russian expansion southwards into weakened Ottoman territory. In 1877 Russia and Turkey went to war again resulting in considerable loss of Ottoman territory in the Balkans.

After the revolt of the Young Turks against the feeble rule of the Turkish Sultan in 1908 German influence had begun to dominate Ottoman affairs: German banks agreed to fund the extension of a  railway from Berlin via Constantinople (modern Istanbul) to Baghdad, thereby linking remote areas of the remaining Ottoman Empire with its capital and with Germany; German geologists and engineers were searching for oil in Mesopotamia; and in 1913 Enver Pasha, a former military attaché to Germany, became the Turkish Minister of War. On 2 August 1914 Enver Pasha concluded a secret treaty which would commit Turkey to the German side in the event of war.


The Ottoman Empire was strategically significant for Great Britain because it lay between Britain, the Mediterranean Sea and the British Empire in India and the sea routes to the Far East, Australia and New Zealand.  Consequently, the British Government was reluctant to allow an unfriendly power to occupy such a strategically important area.


Map of Ottoman Empire in 1914

Map of Ottoman Empire in 1914 (URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 14-Aug-2014)

The strategic focus was the Suez Canal which links the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea through Egyptian territory. Great Britain had occupied Egypt in 1882 and in 1914 deposed the nominal ruler, the Khedive, and declared a protectorate in order to more effectively defend the Canal. Cairo, the Egyptian capital, was to become the centre of British operations against Turkey during the First World War.

The British government in London and the Government of India both had an interest in maintaining the security of the Canal and in the future of Mesopotamia, although they didn’t always work hand-in-hand.  The Government of India was concerned to avoid unrest among minority groups: India had a Muslim population of 100 millions and therefore Islamic opinion was important. With civil unrest in Istanbul, growing Arab nationalism in Egypt, and Persia (modern Iran) in state of flux, the possibility of jihad or holy war engaged political minds in both London and Simla, the seat of the Viceroy, the head of the Anglo-Indian government. The British wanted to avoid the spread of unrest to Mesopotamia, to its interests in Persia, and to the borders of India.

The Ottoman Sultan was also the Caliph, regarded by Muslims as the successor to the Prophet Mohammed and able to proclaim jihad against those seen to be enemies of Islam.  In 1914 the pro-German government in Istanbul was urging jihad against the interests of the Allies: France, Russia and Britain.

The situation for the British was complicated by the ambitions of the Government of India to exercise control of Mesopotamia, its oil and the fertile farmland between the rivers.  Aden, the vital Royal Navy coaling station between the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea, was already governed from India, and the extension of Anglo-Indian administration in Arabia and Mesopotamia was seen to be a logical extension of its influence in the region.


The Ottoman Empire was not expected to survive the war intact, and it was critical for Britain to look not just to the ambitions of Germany but also to the territorial rivalry of its allies for control of Mesopotamia.


Russia had been attempting to extend its empire southwards towards British India in search of territory and a warm water port since the 1860′s. For Lord Curzon, Viceroy of India from 1899 to 1905, Persia was one of ‘the pieces on a chessboard, upon which is being played out a game for the domination of the world’.


In 1907, Britain and Russia entered into a convention which acknowledged Russian influence in Persia’s northern provinces, and British influence in the southeast adjacent to India and the entrance to the Persian Gulf, with a neutral zone between.


The Russo-British Pact in 1907 (spheres of influence in Persia) (from W. Morgan Shuster: The Strangling of Persia. New York 1912)

The Russo-British Pact in 1907 (spheres of influence in Persia)
(from W. Morgan Shuster: The Strangling of Persia. New York 1912)

Between 1905 and 1908, British interests had discovered oil at two sites close to the border of Persia and Mesopotamia, both in the neutral zone.


In France, too, there was an energetic campaign for a share of the spoils when the Ottoman Empire was dissolved. A small group of imperialists maintained that France had an all but right to a colony in Syria and Lebanon since France had maintained a powerful influence at least in the Mediterranean coastal zone since the time of the Crusades.


In 1915 Britain, France and Russia concluded a secret agreement for a division of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East – the Sykes-Picot Agreement. Northern Mesoptamia around Mosul was to be in the French sphere of influence – a buffer against Russian expansion, whilst Britain would have a protectorate from just north of Baghdad southeast to Basra and the Persian Gulf. Britain would be able to protect the land routes to India and both Britain and France would have access to the oil fields of what was later to become Iraq.

Map of the Sykes-Picot Agreement showing Eastern Turkey in Asia, Syria and Western Persia, and areas of control and influence agreed between the British and the French. (Royal Geographical Society (Map), Mark Sykes & Franois Georges-Picot (Authors), National Archives of the UK)

Map of the Sykes-Picot Agreement showing Eastern Turkey in Asia, Syria and Western Persia, and areas of control and influence agreed between the British and the French.
(Royal Geographical Society (Map), Mark Sykes & Franois Georges-Picot (Authors), National Archives of the UK)




On 5 November 1914 war broke out with Turkey and the Norfolk Regiment arrived in the area 100 years ago today.


Part 2 – Oil (coming soon)


(The text of this article may be freely used, but the maps must be titled and cited as above)

The Norfolk Regiment on the Somme

Last night the Millennium Library played host to local author Steve Smith’s book launch, when he gave an illustrated talk about the Norfolk Regiment and the offensives it was involved in on the Somme between July and November 1916.

Steve held the audience of 50 people captive whilst he detailed the battles in which the Norfolk’s had played a role from La Boiselle in July 1916 to the Schwaben Redoubt in November.

The book ‘Norfolk: Remembering 1914 – 1918 not only covers the war and the part played by the Norfolk Regiment but also highlights the impact of it here at home – the work that went on to support the war effort, the blackouts, fund-raising, the role of women and a whole lot more.


Steve's book - Norfolk: Remembering 1914-1918

Steve’s book – Norfolk: Remembering 1914-1918

Given the success of Steve’s talk, we are planning more in the not too distant future so watch this space!


An old soldier’s story

We were delighted recently to hear from an old soldier’s family who wanted to share the story of their relative which stretches from 1896 to 1986 so here’s William’s story, told by his son-in-law .

William Hubbard was born in September 1896, the eldest in a family of 9 children, living in Shelton, near Long Stratton. After leaving the village school William worked on the family farm, but his mother’s death in 1911 and an unhappy home life prompted William to enlist in November 1914, falsely declaring his age to be 19 years and 2 months, so that he was eligible to be sent to fight overseas.


William Hubbard, aged 18

It was probably at this time that William somehow acquired the nickname Jack, by which he was known for the rest of his life.

Initially Jack joined the Norfolk Regiment, and after training he embarked for service overseas in autumn 1915. Shipped on an old cattle boat, it took six weeks to get to Salonika, dodging German U boats on the way. The voyage ended at Mudros on the island of Lemnos in the Aegean Sea, from where the troops were then shipped on an old Greek freighter to Salonika. Jack was one of many of the Norfolks who were transferred to the Royal Dublin Fusiliers at this time, spending nearly 2 years in this borderland between Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria.


Stories from Salonika

Many years later Jack remembered some of the everyday life and notable experiences of his time in Salonika: the enemy was the combined Austrian, Bulgarian and German army, and Jack maintained that the Austrian gunners were some of the best in the world. As well as the enemy to contend with, there were also lice and mosquitoes, from which Jack contracted malaria. There were hard frosts in winter and many of the Norfolks lost toes and parts of their feet to frostbite. Jack was hospitalised twice in the Balkans in 1916, suffering from malaria, but seems to have recovered.

Jack’s first story was of a lucky escape, when apparently his platoon was sent out on patrol, only to be ambushed. Diving for cover he found himself next to the sergeant leading the patrol. He, with another soldier was ordered to return to base to get re-enforcements. Both got back and reported to the officers who, after a time, sent more troops. Getting back to where the action had taken place, Jack found all his comrades dead: a lucky escape for him.

Another story concerned a balloon and a German aeroplane. Jack spent much of his time on the Serrai plain at a crossing on the River Struma near Dojran, retreating in summer when the mosquitoes were too fierce, and returning in winter. He said that they used a poplar tree with horseshoes driven in it, in order to climb and watch the enemy positions. They also had a balloon with an observer’s basket, which would carry an observer to a height to spy on the enemy. The Germans didn’t like that so they sent over an aeroplane and shot down the balloon. Up went another balloon and the same thing happened. A third balloon was put up with the basket full of high explosive and when the plane came over, the explosive was detonated and the German plane was blown out of the sky.


Moving on

In September 1917 the Dublins were shipped to Alexandria for service in Palestine, where early in 1918 Jack was appointed Lance Corporal. He spent a month training on the Stokes Gun and went to Cairo on leave for a week in May. On his return he was appointed acting Corporal and passed a Trench warfare course before embarking on transport to Taranto in southern Italy in July 1918 and moving on from there to France by train.

According to the record, Jack had UK leave for 2 weeks in August and was posted to a Trench Mortar Battery in September. On 8th October 1918, possibly during the Battle of Cambrai, Jack was “wounded in action”, suffering gunshot wounds to arm and chest, and after initial treatment on the spot he was evacuated to England on 23rd October. Jack’s recollection of being injured was that he had gone over the top and got hit in no-mans land, lying in a shell crater for hours until it was dark and he could get back to allied lines. His war was over as the bullet had entered near the right shoulder and travelled down his arm, resulting in a crippling which meant he was unable to open or use his right hand properly for the rest of his life.


Holiday and war memorial

When nearing his 90th birthday in 1986, Jack’s daughter and son-in-law took him on holiday back to Salonika – his first trip abroad since 1918, and his first flight!

On one eventful day during the holiday, the party went on a visit to the site of the front line where Jack had served. This was now roughly the line of the Yugoslav border. Jack recognised the area near Dojran, and told his family that they’d travelled up a certain road, so his son-in-law drove up it, stopping when he arrived at an unmanned border crossing. Suddenly a Greek Police car arrived – the police didn’t speak English, but indicated that the visitors should follow them, taking them to a Police Station, where fortunately they met a lady police officer who spoke English, asking to see their passports and wanting to know why they were there.

On hearing the reason for the trip, and that Jack was looking for a large war memorial that they’d heard about, the police pointed out a small monument on the top of a big hill – that was it. Following the road towards the monument they passed a war cemetery then continued on and up a track that wasn’t really suitable for cars. They carried on in the car – Jack couldn’t be expected to trek up the hill, and made it to the top. Here was a huge memorial (not small at all) and Jack found the names of all his comrades who had been killed during the campaign.


Jack at the War Memorial in Dojran, Greece, September 1986

Note his hat was removed in respect to his fallen colleagues.

Names on the memorial: Sergeant E O Gooda, Privates H S Barber, J Britton, P Bryant, C Clarke, H Cooper, A F Cox, R W Drew, R Dyer, W Green, C Hale, H Hornsby, H Howes, R Roberts, A Scase, A Scott, A Simmons, E C Smith











Norfolk Teachers Who Died in the Great War

Every day, hundreds of people walk past a memorial at County Hall, Norwich, on the way to the sandwich shop and canteen. The plaque reads as follows:

Lest we forget “Lest we Forget”

Norfolk Teachers

who died for

King and Country


Through death to life everlasting

 Ager B.W.

Bindley R.H.

Catchpole E.J.

Carless F.H.

Crawford L.O.

Hadingham B.G.

Holman W.J.

 Johnson L

Loades G

Markwick W.P

Overment F

Payne A.C

Wade H.J.C.

Warby A.S

Withers E

The list of names may mean little to most who pass, although many of the surnames might be recognised as having local connections. Through this blog I hope to elaborate a little on the initials and surnames which grace the corridor wall and give a hint at some of the personal histories represented.

The teachers mentioned were not all born in Norfolk – one from Dorset, another from Walworth, others from Wisbech and Little Bytham in Lincolnshire for example – but all have links with the County through family, through moving to teach or by enlisting in Norwich or serving in the Norfolk Regiment.

Some were from teaching families; more represent many other walks of life. A few were pupil teachers who taught in schools when they were as young as 14.

Many died in France, but others served and/or died further afield – Gallipoli, Calcutta, East Africa and the Persian Gulf – thousands of miles from Norfolk. The names conceal stories of tragedy – one family lost two of three sons, a wife lost both her husband and brother, teachers in Bunwell and Mileham respectively – and the lives of these men deserve to be remembered.

Through the research, albeit brief, offered here, I hope to provide more information for those interested in the men’s origins and lives before the Great War, and perhaps even alert family members to the presence of a memorial they may not have known existed. I should point out that although this memorial is present at, not all of my research has uncovered the same results.

It is important that I note that research for a memorial such as this, with no dates or places of birth, may have its faults. I would appreciate it if anybody who knows better (or can fill in the blanks) could contact me with information to improve this post – I apologise if anything is incorrect.

If you know any more about these men, I’m sure the blog (where a copy of this new edition will appear) would love to hear from you. As with all historical research, there is always more to find, and there are more sources – which you may already have seen – which would add to these stories. The majority of this research comes from easliy accessible sources at your local library, and is not exhaustive.

Benjamin Norton (William?) Ager was born in Portland, Dorset, in 1886. The 1911 census shows him in Bunwell, working as an assistant teacher for the County Council. His sisters Elizabeth Jane (who I believe possibly later married Albert Payne, a teacher in a neighbouring village also featured on the memorial) and Jane are assistant and pupil teacher respectively. The trio’s father, William, is also working at Bunwell School – as the head teacher. Benjamin’s mother, Mary, sister Lilian and nephew Kenneth, complete the household.

Private Ager was killed in action in France on 11th January 1917. He enlisted in Norwich and fought in the 22nd Battalion Manchester Regiment and previously the Royal Sussex Regiment.

Raymond Hall Bindley was born in Catton and died 3 July 1916 in France. He enlisted in Norwich and joined 7th Battalion Norfolk regiment (no 17148). He was awarded the Victory and British War medals.

Corporal Bindley’s birth was registered in the December quarter 1893. His parents were Thomas James Bindley, a gas and hot water fitter, and Minnie Eliza Hall. The 1911 census shows him at 17, attending secondary school and living with his parents and two younger sisters, Marjorie Maggie Bindley (13) and Phyllis Beatrice Bindley (six) at 13 Patterson Road, Norwich.

Francis Harold Carless was born in Walsall, Staffordshire and appears on the 1911 census working as a pupil teacher, along with his brother Ernest, for Salop County Council. His address at the time was 45, Park Avenue, Oswestry. Francis was living with his parents Fredrick (a currier) and Ada and two other siblings at the time of the census.

Private Carless was killed in action on 22nd October 1917 in France. He enlisted in Norwich, so perhaps moved to the County to teach between 1911 and 1917. Like Private Warby (see later) he was part of the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Edward John Thomas Catchpole was born at North End, Great Yarmouth. The 1911 census finds him, aged 19, boarding with Mary Ann Spoore at Allotment Hill, Wenhaston, Suffolk, working as a teacher in Elementary School.

Lance Corporal Catchpole died 12 August 1916 in France. Like Raymond, he was part of 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment (no 9270) and enlisted in Norwich. He was awarded the Victory, Star and British War medals.

Lindsay Oswald Crawford, aged 19, was noted on the 1911 census as an assistant teacher working for the County Council. The eldest son in his family, he was named after his father, a clerk for an electricity company. The census shows Lindsay at home with his mother and father (his mother Florence Rhoda nee Corke) and four siblings – Lizzie Ada (21), Wallace John (16), Percy Graham (14) and Reginald Charles (five). Lindsay was born in Wisbech but the family moved to Cromer around the turn of the century in time for Reginald’s birth and in 1911 are living at 39, Cabbell Road, Cromer.

Lance Corporal Crawford signed up at North Walsham and became part of the 8th Service Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment (267218). He died in action on 22 September 1918 in France, just three weeks before the end of the war.

Bertie Gordon Hadingham ‘Certificated Assistant Teacher for the Norfolk Education Committee’ appears on the 1911 census, aged 20, at 50 Pelham Road, Norwich. Bertie was at the time boarding with the Read family headed by Edgar, a retired cigar factory foreman. The Reads’ daughter Elizabeth Agatha, 30, is also a teacher. Bertie was born in Carleton Forehoe.

Lance Corporal Hadingham died on 17th December 1915 at Gallipoli and was awarded the Victory, Star and British War medals. He was part of 6th Battalion, Essex Regiment. At some time he must have moved to Westcliff-On-Sea, a suburb of Southend, perhaps to continue his teaching career – this is given as his enlistment location and residence. Tragically, his brother Donald James, also died, in 1918 respectively, leaving his parents – Hedley Hadingham born Woodton and Catherine Emily nee Wade born Stibbard – with two remaining children from a total of five, a daughter Mabel and son Lewis (one child had already passed away prior to the 1911 census). (Thanks to Mr Wray for additional information via e-mail).

William James Holman was born in Narborough, the son of a gamekeeper, in 1891. One of six children – four boys and two girls – he was recorded in Narborough with his parents James and Emily (nee Finbow) and siblings in 1911. His occupation is given as an assistant school teacher at a County Council elementary school. A visitor to the household, Emma Winifred Jackson, aged 19 and born in Thetford, is also a teacher.

Sergeant William James Holman (200554) enlisted in the 2nd/4th Norfolk Regiment 7th September 1914. He died 4th January 1919 in East Africa. His entry at shows he may have been assistant scout-master at Attleborough at the time of his death?

I initially had a little trouble tracking down “L Johnson” with enough certainty to include here. Since this blog was originally posted I have been contacted by Keith, who left a comment including the following information:

“Leslie Oliver Johnson was born in Tittleshall, Norfolk on 2nd February 1899, the youngest son of William & Sarah Jane Johnson’s eight children. In 1911 Leslie won a Free School Scholarship to Swaffham Grammar School (?Hammonds) and legend has it he went on to teach in Fakenham Boys School. He was eighteen and a half when, in June 1917, he enlisted in King’s Lynn. After spells of training at Rugeley Camp on Cannock Chase he joined the 3rd Bn. D.L.I. at South Shields. He sailed for France on 15th March 1918 and by the 27th had joined the 1st East Lancs. in the Front Line near Armentieres. On the 9th April they were attacked and on the 11th Leslie was taken prisoner. He served out the rest of the war in a working party close to the German Front Line until, on 11th November, his captors walked away near Waterloo. After 13 days in Brussels he began his journey home finally arriving in Tittleshall on 11th December. But the hardships endured during his captivity had taken it toll. On the 15th the Doctor ordered him to bed and rumour has it he stayed there until his death on the 15th March 1919, he’d contracted Tuberculosis. Leslie is buried in Tittleshall Churchyard.

Leslie’s story came to me in the form of a Diary he started in 1918. After the war it went to his oldest brother in Canada and they kindly allowed me to transcribe it a year or so ago.
In 1911 his sister Minnie was an Assistant Teacher and his brother Arthur a Pupil Teacher.
In 1969 the E.D.P. reported that Miss M.L.Johnson was to retire from London Road Infants School, Dereham after 43 years as headmistress, she was 79 years old. Her sister Dora was also retiring that year as head of Tittleshall Voluntary Aided School.”

Thank you Keith, for this information.

George William Loades, aged 18, appears on the 1911 census in a large household led by his parents, Cubitt Woodbine Loades, born in Catfield, a railway platelayer, and Alice nee Spooner, born in Winterton. George was one of eleven children, of whom eight were surviving in 1911. George is accompanied by sisters Ethel, May, Ena, Hilda, Beatrice and Eve, and two grandparents on the household schedule. The family live on Martham Road, Hemsby, where all the children were born. At the time of the census, George was working as a game keeper.

Sergeant George William Loades died on 13th October 1915 in France, having enlisted in Great Yarmouth and fought in 7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment. George’s only brother, another George William, died in infancy several years before he was born.

William Percival Markwick was born in Little Bytham, near Grantham in Lincolnshire. In the 1911 census he appears, aged 20, as a student at St Peter’s College, Peterborough. His name also appears on the War Memorial for the College in Peterborough Cathedral. The College was a teacher-training college until 1914, reopening briefly to train women teachers between 1921 and 1930. The building remains today, converted to offices and known as ‘Peterscourt’.

Lieutenant William Markwick died 5th June 1918 in 5th Battalion (Territorial) Norfolk Regiment. Unlike most of the men on the memorial, William was married, having wed Florrie Brown near Huntingdon in 1915.

Frederick Overment, rifleman in the 2nd Battalion The Rifle Brigade, was already a serving soldier in 1911, having enlisted at 17 in Fakenham. The schedule shows him serving at Fort William, Calcutta with the rest of the battalion in 1911. Frederick was 25 at the time of the census. He was born in Toftrees near Fakenham. Ten years earlier, the 1901 census shows him at home with his parents and siblings Sidney, Blanche and Katie. Aged 14, he is recorded as a school teacher.

His mother received Victory, Star and British War Medals on behalf of her son after his death – Frederick died on 9th May 1915 in France, where he was still a Rifleman of 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade (Prince Consort’s Own).

Albert Carsewell Payne was resident in Mileham at the time of his death and is also recorded on Mileham’s memorial. Like William Markwick, he is recorded as a training college student in the 1911 census, this time at Culham College, Abingdon, Berkshire. Albert was born in Kelvedon, Essex in 1886 to farmer James Payne and his wife Helen.

Private Albert Payne died of wounds 8th August 1917 in France, number 30000, 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment. Albert left a wife, Elizabeth Jane (nee Ager – see above) and a baby daughter, Marjorie.

Herbert John Clark Wade was born in Felthorpe and appears as an assistant school master for the County Council, aged 20, on the census return for Roughton, 1911. His father Clark was a general smith while his brother worked for a rural district council and his 14 year old sister Mabel worked as a pupil teacher.

Lieutenant Wade appears in De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour:

“His Commanding Officer wrote: One of the best and most popular officers in the company, his death was a blow to the whole company, both offices and men” and another officer: “Your son was one of the best; by his own personal hard work he had made his section the first and best in the company. He died a brave soldier’s death, knowing no fear, and had not a single enemy. He was specially mentioned, and the Military Cross would have been his had he lived.”” 

He died 14th November 1917 from wounds received on 7th November.

Albert Stanley Warby was born in Walworth, London but moved with his family to 21, Clapham Road, Lowestoft between 1899 and 1901. The 1911 census shows him as a booting clerk working on Claremont Pier and living with his parents John (a house painter) and Jane, and his three surviving siblings, Gertie, Jessie and Frank. The whole family were born Londoners. His elder sister Gertie is listed as a school teacher in 1901.

Private Warby, 475299, died of wounds on 4th October 1917 in France. He enlisted in Norwich and went on to serve in the Royal Army Medical Corps. He left a widow, Ida Mary (nee Smith), born in Norwich.

I believe “Withers, E” to refer to William Ernest Withers, an assistant teacher in 1911, born in Fakenham before moving as a baby to Tittleshall – the village where he remains at the time of the census. William was then living with his parents, who ran a grocer and draper’s shop, his younger brother Robert and aunt Harriet.

Private Withers died in the Persian Gulf on 3rd September 1916, having enlisted at Battersea and fought in the Duke of Cambridge’s Own (Middlesex Regiment).

To finish, let me just say that I hope, little as I have described here, that the names on the County Hall memorial will perhaps represent a little more next time you pass.

This post was originally posted at  in May 2011. It has been updated to appear here in 2014. To research your own First World War ancestors, visit a Norfolk library (including Norfolk Heritage Centre), or contact Norfolk Record Office. We have a produced a guide together with the Norfolk Regimental Museum to help you on your way, and run regular events to get you started.

Colman’s 200th birthday events and exhibitions

This year, one of NorColman'swich and Norfolk’s most famous companies celebrates its 200th birthday.

At Norfolk and Norwich Millennium Library we are joining in with the festivities with exhibitions on the ground floor and on the second floor at Norfolk Heritage Centre. There will also be events inside the library and in Fusion (also inside the Forum – turn left inside the Atrium).

On the ground floor, we’ve placed items from our Heritage Centre store including postcards, souvenirs and cookbooks, alongside records shedding light on the lives of just a few of the men and women who have worked for the company over the years – in mustard, starch and laundry blue. (Seen the blue specs in your washing tablets? ‘Blue’ was an early form). The records include 1911 censuses, a baptism and a marriage. We’d love to hear from anyone related to someone featuring in the cases.

Meanwhile, on the second floor, see deeper into our archive collections with photographs, newspaper cuttings, bound volumes and items from Carrow Works magazine.

Dates for your diary -

11 November, 12pm Victoria Draper from Norfolk Record Office takes the stage to talk about ‘Researching your family history’. Free, all welcome, in the Fusion Gallery.

18 November, 12pm Join Elizabeth Budd for her talk ‘Your First World War Family’ – giving you a step by step guide to starting research into your Great War ancestors. Free, all welcome, in the Fusion gallery.

19 November, 12.30pm Author Nick Williams is the speaker for our regular Heritage Hour, a free bi-weekly talk on an aspect of Norfolk’s Heritage. This week, the theme will be ‘Norwich Industries’. No booking is necessary – join us in the Vernon Castle Room in the Norfolk Heritage Centre (second floor of the Millennium Library).