Love on the Wards – Broadland During the First World War

Dorothy Brindid met David (Dai) David in August 1918.  She was a Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurse at Ingham Auxiliary War Hospital and he was a patient.  Dai had enlisted in October 1915 and had served in France.  He was a bombardier in the 321 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, and had been sent to Ingham to recuperate after tonsillitis.  He had previously suffered from TB.

Dorothy was the daughter of a farm worker and a Dorothy Brindidschool teacher from Hickling.  Together with Dorothy’s brother, Haylett, they lived at Hook Farm, Stubb.  Dorothy was 19 when she volunteered to work at Ingham Hospital, in March 1917.  She enrolled as a supernumerary nurse and stayed there until September 1918, cycling in each day from Hickling.

Ingham Old Hall was an Auxiliary War Hospital from 29 October 1914 to 28 January 1919. The Commandant of the Ingham War Hospital was Sarah Gamzu Gurney MBE.  In total, 1082 patients were admitted, usually to convalesce after a serious injury or illness.

The nurses washed, dressed, bandaged and generally cared for their patients.  Dorothy's id cardPrior to working, they had to pass exams in both first aid and nursing.  However, medical equipment was basic.  For example, Dorothy recalled that only saline was available as a disinfectant for cleaning wounds, equipment and furniture.

Whilst the War Office paid a small daily allowance for the care of patients, the running costs and equipment needed was often paid for by the owners of the houses and by local fundraising.  The training and the uniforms were usually paid for by the girls themselves, and a nurse had to sew on her own red cross.   Once appointed, the volunteers could only claim travel, board, and laundry expenses.

Dai and Dorothy married in December 1918.  Dai was still in the army and working on railway construction.  He was officially discharged on 09 March 1919.  The couple moved to Wales and Dai resumed working at the steelworks at Port Talbot.  Dai and Dorothy had one son, Glyndwr, born at the end of 1919, at Dorothy’s parents’ house.  They lived in Hickling after Dai’s retirement and until his death.  Dorothy died in Ipswich in 1989.

Dorothy's certificatePhotos and information reproduced by kind permission of Carol Prosser, granddaughter of Dorothy and Dai David.





Further information from


The Peppermint Boys in the Great War

‘The Peppermint Boys in the Great War’ new book

For most of the past two centuries, Bracondale School, Norwich, situated on one of the main routes in to the city, provided an excellent education to boys from the county and beyond. Forty four past pupils gave their lives in the First World War, and their names are listed on the school’s War Memorial. Our book, The Peppermint Boys in the Great War, published to mark the anniversary of the outbreak of WW1, seeks to uncover the stories behind the names on this memorial.

Four of those who died were part of the Royal Flying Corps, or, as it later became, the Royal Air Force. Two of these young men died in training, before they ever reached France and the front line, the other two acquitted themselves with distinction during their short time in active service.

Lt David Alexander Glen attended Bracondale School. He joined the Royal Flying Corps, making his first solo flight on 1 June 1915, gaining his pilot’s certificate four days later. He arrived in France at the end of that month, and flew a total of fifteen flights before being shot down and killed in December 1915.

The wreckage of Major Glen's plane

The wreckage of  David Glen’s plane

He was escorting Lt William Sholto Douglas (later to become chief of the
RAF) on reconnaissance as far as Cambrai and St Quentin, when they saw six enemy planes heading towards them. Reluctant to turn back, Douglas turned towards and underneath the attack, whilst Glen held his course – they had earlier debated which tactic was the more effective. Two Fokkers dived in pursuit of Glen’s plane, which was hit and spiralled down in flames. His death deprived 8 Squadron of one of their most able pilots; just two months earlier he had been awarded the Croix de Guerre.

Cpt Donald Charles Cunnell was born and brought up in Norwich, where his father was a brick maker. After attending Bracondale School he spent a year at Gresham’s. He joined up in September 1914, serving with the Hampshire Regiment, and was attached to the Royal Flying Corps.

On 6 July 1917 he and his air gunner, 2 Lt Albert Woodbridge, were flying a sortie against the enemy near Ypres, when they encountered the notorious German aerial ace, Manfred von Richthofen, known as the Red Baron. Woodbridge and Cunnell both opened fire, and, despite the distance of over three hundred metres, scored a lucky hit, causing the Red Baron to slip into a spin and plunge to the ground. Von Richthofen survived the incident, but sustained a head wound that would badly affect his flying ability, and he was shot down and killed on 21 April 1918.

Cunnell himself was killed just a week after his encounter with the Red Baron, hit by artillery fire as he was returning to base on 12 July 1917. He was aged 23 years.

Lt Meyer Joseph Levine

Lt Meyer Joseph Levine


 Lt Meyer Joseph Levine died in training on 8 May 1918, aged 19 years. The aircraft he was flying collided in mid-air over Stamford, both aircraft spun out of control to the ground, killing two trainee pilots and a flying instructor. Taking place just over a month after the RFC became the Royal Air Force, this may have been the first mid-air collision of the newly constituted RAF.


 Lt William Miles died in training later that summer, on 24 July 1918, at Reading. He was at No 1 School of Aeronautics, which had its headquarters at Wantage Hall. He was aged 24, and had transferred from the Worcester Regiment to the RAF. He was born in Norwich.

In the early days of the RFC and RAF, pilots were selected for their practical skills, in particular engineering or blacksmith work. Aeronautics was so new that all had to be trained from scratch. Instructors were often pilots who were no longer fit for combat. Of the 14,000 pilots who died in the Great War, 8,000 were killed in training. Among those who reached the Front, life expectancy often just a few short weeks.

 Contributed by Ed Bulpett and Rosemary Duff, Bracondale History Group –




Come Now Join the Norfolk Yeomanry!


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)

A Message from the King ….

In August 1914 as British troops started leaving for War, the King sent this message to them……

“You are leaving home to fight for the safety and honour of my Empire. Belgium, whose country we are pledged to defend has been attacked and France is about to be invaded by the same powerful foe.  I have implicit confidence in you, my soldiers. Duty is your watchword and I know your duty will be nobly done.”

“I shall follow your every movement with deepest interest and mark with eager satisfaction your daily progress: indeed, your welfare will never be absent from my thoughts”

“I pray God to bless you and guard you and bring you back victorious”

(Taken from the Lynn News 18th August 1914)



Broadland During the First World War

To commemorate the centenary of the Great War, The Museum of the Broads 2014 exhibition, ‘Broadland During the First World War’, highlights the impact of war on the people of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.

Broadland exhibition

The First World War was an international conflict but what happened to individuals was not always recorded. This special exhibition, focuses on the stories of local people in Broadland and how they coped with zeppelin raids, farming, food rationing, black outs, nursing injured servicemen, romance from a distance, and being called up to fight.  Displays include a series of postcards, maps and items from the trenches, photos, medals and mementoes, and a series of letters written from the front line by a local lad, Percy Bird of Brumstead, who was killed in what is now modern day Iraq, in 1916.

The Museum worked with students from Stalham High School and local people to record the stories. The film can be viewed at the Museum of the Broads at Stalham until the end of October and on the dedicated website,

The team that made the film outside Stalham High School in June

The team that made the film outside Stalham High School in June

The Museum of the Broads at Stalham received £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for, ‘Broadland During the First World War’.  Awarded through HLF’s First World War: Then and Now programme, the Museum worked with Stalham High School and Media Projects East.  The exhibition, including the film, will run to Sunday 2nd November and will be repeated again in 2018.  It was curated by Nicola Hems.

The Museum of the Broads is open daily, 10:30-17:00, until 2nd November.

Museum LogoHLF logo

August 1914 – News from West Norfolk

4th – Territorials leave Lynn on embodiment

5th – Lord Kitchener appointed Secretary of  State for War

5th – At Lynn, soldiers stop and question all travellers over the Freebridge by motor-car, motor-cycle, bicycle, or horse-drawn vehicle; also at Gaywood railway crossing. The military occupation of these points on the high roads excites much public interest.

11th – Town’s meeting at Lynn, convened by the Mayor to support the Prince Of Wales’s National Relief Fund; £8OO promised in the room

15th – Due to lack of wood pulp, the local newspapers will reduce the number of their pages

15th – Sandringham Grounds and Gardens are closed to visitors

15th – German spies are reported to be using racing pigeons to carry messages to Germany

28th – German floating mines reported off The Wash

28th – Bank Holiday, a showery afternoon. Over 9,000 attend Lynn Gala


Catching up on projects we’ve blogged about!

Since we’ve started blogging here we’ve mentioned several events and projects that staff from all over the county have been involved in, and after the big commemoration events on August 4th we thought we’d let you know how some of them have gone.

ww1 forum


We’ve posted several times about our projects with young people in Norwich and Yarmouth run in conjunction with the Society of Chief Librarians – and we hope that some of you managed to see the films while they were on the screen in Fusion at The Forum.

Norfolk was just one of several areas taking part in this project and now work from all over the country can be seen on the Digital Memorial.


Back in July we posted about the Wymondham School’s project. This comprised a day of event in Wymondham and then an exhibition held at the Forum in Norwich.  The organisers of the events have been in touch to let us know that many of the comments left by the public at the exhibitions are now on their blog.

I’ve had a read though of these and they are very moving, as was the exhibition in the Forum (the photo at the top of this page comes from that exhibition!)



Finally we hope that some of our readers were in Norwich on 4th August and perhaps did pop into the Forum to see some of our activities to commemorate the start of the war.

The day was a great success and as well as staff having fun dressing up we also hope that those who came enjoyed the activities – we know that on the military history stand we helped to uncover some new family knowledge for people.

Our events were rounded of with a superb talk from Neil Storey and then those who stayed in the city for the “Lights Out” commemoration have all said how moving it was.

Photographers from The Forum have posted their pictures on Flickr for anyone to see.