The Norfolk Regiment in Mesopotamia

After a well deserved rest (and undertaking more research) our Mesopotamian correspondent is back with the further experiences of the Norfolk Regiment’s officers during their captivity in Mesopotamia. 

Captivity in Turkey: from the diaries of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Cecil Lodge

Part 3: 1918

This is a continuation of the postings of 16 November, 2016, 26 May, 2017 and 16 June, 1917. Some entries have been omitted if they are unduly repetitious, or where they contain financial details other than about pay or refer to private family matters. The diaries are held in the archives of the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum.

After being transferred from captivity at Yozgad (Yozgat), Lodge had arrived at Afion Kara Hissar (Afyonkarahisar) on 1st November 1817. It is at this place that his diaries continue.

The book into which F.C. Lodge transcribed his written journal
Source: Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum

 

1st January, 1918

Rain during the night, with snow in the morning – dull.

2nd January, 1918

Paid Julius 12 liras for messing – dull.

3rd, 4th, 5th January, 1918

All dull days, and more snow on Friday night [4th-5th].

6th January, 1918

Brighter and freezing 11° [F.]. Recd. 5 liras Embassy Money. Letter from Robert Berry d/ 27 Oct and post card from M. [his wife, Margaret] d/ 25 Oct.

7th January, 1918

Posted letter 63 to M. – Capt. Berry – Mrs Kerr

10 officers p of w arrived early this morning from Palestine Front. One of them, Gardiner, had been in our first Bn. We moved into a new house today. I have now a small room to myself. Still bitterly cold 18° [F.] of frost.

8th January, 1918

Freezing hard 7° of frost during the night. Thomas lies with us now.

9th January, 1918

They have stopped our bread ration from gov. [government] supply. We now have to buy it in the bazaar at 8½ ps [piastres] a loaf instead of 2½. A splendid thaw, it is now quite mild.

10th, 11th, 12th January, 1918

Milder. We hear that they are going to reduce our pay. This will make living all the harder – even now it’s impossible to exist on what we get.; this has been supplemented by private income.

Made 2 beds – one for L/Cp Swift and the other for Wigger.[their orderlies]

Wrote letter 64 to M – and to Genl Mariott & Richardson.

13th, 14th, 15th January, 1918

Fine bright weather with frosts ar night & early morning. Philpot R.F.C. Who arrived here sick with dysentery, died and was buried today.

16th January, 1918

We had 3 shocks of an earthquake during breakfast – 3 at dinner & 2 during the night. Some were strong & shook our house considerably.

Post card d/ 12th Nov. from M.

17th January, 1918

Fine & sharp. Letter from Robert [his 3-year-old son] d/ 13th Dec.

18th, 19th, January, 1918

Both days bright & frosty.

Two letters from M. 89 & 91 d/ 9th 14th Nov.

Letter from Mother 31st Oct.2 letters from Ethel d/ 28 Sept 6th Nov.

Letter from Mrs. Bryans [his mother-in-law] d/ 28 Sept

Co. Wilson, Father Mullen, & Foster left after dinner for Stamboul [Constantinople / Istanbul] all are unfit & hope to be discharged.

20th January, 1918

Misty & raw. Another mail in.

2 letters & 1 p.c. from M d/ 4 Oct. 24 Nov., et al

21st January, 1918

Still misty and beastly cold. Wrote 65 [to M]. Also to Mother & Mrs. Bryans [his mother-in-law]

22nd, 23rd, 24th January, 1918

All misty days, except on Tues. the sun came out after lunch.

25th January, 1918

Misty cold. Stace R.E. Came to live with us in Col. Wilson’s place

2 letters from M. 77 & 84 d/28th Sept. & 21st Oct, et al

26th January, 1918

Began to snow again this morning – it is milder.

27th January, 1918

Bright intervals, milder: but walking in the street very muddy.

7 letters from M. & 1 containing snapshots of the kiddies, etc., et al

Julius had a splendid batch of clothing parcels: he gave me a blanket, 2 shirts, 2 towels, 3 pr. of socks, 2 pr. pyjamas & a pair of shoes.

28th January, 1918

Bright & frosty. The 4 Frenchmen who were sent to Stamboul for exchange all returned this morning.

Wrote 66 to M – Evelyn – Mrs Daunt.

29th January, 1918

Parcels given out this morning – I got 8.

  1. Old green suit
  2. Gumboots, shirts, socks, medicines, tie
  3. 1lb. 3 Nunns tobacco & pipe.

4, 5, 6, 7, 8. Food Fortnum & Mason

These arrived in the nick of time, & were most welcome. A shell from Cecilia [his daughter, twin to Robert]. Went to watch a rugger match.

30th January, 1918

Fine & bright, only a slight frost.

Received money for a £10 cheque I had signed some weeks ago. It was paid through the American Express Coy – really a German company*, I only got 1128 ps a pretty good swindle considering the real rate of exchange. Had tea with Trelson [?] R.F.C.

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Images from the Archives

Norwich, St Andrew’s Hall, First World War Exhibition 1919, City Volunteers uniforms on display – the notice behind the display includes an appeal for more men to join the Home Guard. The original glass negative image forms part of the Bridewell Museum’s holdings. This is just one of several hundred newly published original photographs, posters and notices connected with the First World War in Norfolk, which can be viewed at http://www.picture.norfolk.gov.uk.

War Diary June 1918

War Norfolk
Battle of the Piave

The Austro-Hungarians launch a renewed attack on the Italian line in the north-east along the River Piave. The attack is beaten off. Fighting continues to 24 June.

Flying Tragedy

 An inquest was opened to investigate the deaths of three RAF pilots. The Tragedy occurred after two biplanes collided during flight, one of the pilots was from the American Army and learning to fly with the RAF.

  Record Amounts of Money Raised in Holt

The King sent his praises to the people of Holt after they raised £100, 000 during War Savings Week.

Remembering a man from the Norfolk Battalion

Mr Foreman has recently been in touch with us here at Norfolkinworldwar1.org with both some information about his family’s service during the First World War and also to ask if anyone can help fill in some of the blanks as he starts his journey in to family history research.

I am Robert Dennis Foreman and I was wondering if you were interested in the story of my 2nd Great Uncle William George Foreman who was born in April 1884 in Blo Norton Norfolk and who died on 7th Nov 1916 in Basra; and also in his brother’s (my Great Grandfather Dennis) war?

William Foreman was part of the 2nd Norfolk Battalion and Dennis (1881 – 1966) was in the RAMC as a despatch rider. Dennis was also born in Blo Norton to John Foreman and Harriet Foreman (nee Ayers) but moved to Simonstone in Lancahsire to work on the Huntroyde Farm estate of Nicolas Le Gendre Starkie who was a wealthy landowner here.

My Great-Grandfather lived after being taken prisoner in Cassel after what looked to be a harrowing war experience but sadly my 2nd Great Uncle was not so fortunate.

He was taken prisoner on April 29th 1916 in Kut-el-Amara (in the Siege of Kut) when the battalion was forced to march to Aleppo. Many men died along the way but William survived this march – only to die of malaria according to his record. His regiment number was 8013 and he rose to the rank of Sergeant. Dennis Foreman’s Regimental Number was 103030 and he became a Lance Corporal.

There are 2 letters existing in William’s file where his mother (my 2nd times Great-Grandmother Harriett Ayers 1854 -1931) pleaded with the War Office to let her know what had happened to her son. They are heartfelt as shortly after she penned the letters it became known he had died while a prisoner. In these documents someone has written on the soldier’s small book DEAD in red pen and this was sent to my grandmother with a report stated there was no grave and therefore she couldn’t visit if she wanted to and was able. (Some research on the Commonwealth War Graves site tells us that W.G. Foreman is commemorated on panel 10 of the Basra War Memorial, along with 40,639 other names )

While I do have a picture of my Great-Grandfather Dennis, I sadly have no picture of William and I would dearly like to have one if anyone reading this can help?

Dennis Foreman

Some further research into William’s life and death has shown a discrepancy into cause of death. The Norfolk Regiment Casualty book records William as dying of dysentery not malaria and Robert and the Norfolkinww1 team are wondering which is most likely to be accurate…

The Demand for Land The Impact of the Defence of the Realm Act on Agricultural Land in Norfolk

 

From records held at the Norfolk Record Office

The Defence of the Realm Act (DORA) was passed on 8th August 1914, four days after war was declared.   It gave the government wide ranging powers.  There were various social control mechanisms such as censorship and certain seemingly trivial activities were banned eg. flying kites.  It also gave the government the power to requisition land and buildings for the war effort.

This demand for land was felt acutely in Norfolk. Norfolk land was in demand both for food production and for military use given its strategic military position on the east coast.

Aerial warfare was in its infancy but its growing importance led to farmland being requisitioned for aerodromes and landing grounds. The minutes of the Norfolk War Agricultural Committee (NWAC)  (NRO, C/C 10/16, C/C 10/17 and C/C 10/18) record various issues relating to these sites.

No better example of the tensions between the military and local landowners exists than the ongoing difficulties and disputes which occurred at the Earl of Orford’s estate at Weybourne. A detailed file,  (NRO, WLP 8/114) kept meticulously by the Estate Manager Douglas Smith, records the almost daily difficulties encountered by Smith as he worked on the Earl’s behalf to help the military while appearing to receive little but trouble in return.

In June 1915 Smith received a letter concerning the establishment of a military camp at Weybourne for the 67th Provisional Battalion.  Smith replied that Lord Orford was agreeable to this ‘provided that you agree to compensate the tenant for any damage to the Agricultural Value of the Land’. Thus began the saga of Field 163.  A temporary rent of £2 15s a month was agreed to include the loss of future crops.  The full amount would be calculated later.  A formal agreement was drawn up stating that possession of the land would be from 20th June 1916. It stated that compensation would be paid for all damage as long as any claim did not exceed ‘the actual present freehold value of the said premises as agricultural land’. The document has Smith’s annotations written alongside – perhaps the most pertinent of which was “Not Agreed To”!

 

Photo 1.jpg-ed

Defence of the Realm Order. NRO, WLP 8/114

 

Photo 2.jpg-ed

Site of land to be taken. NRO, WLP 8/114

 

 

It was not just the loss of crops to be considered. Mr Lane, the tenant at Weybourne Hall, held an annual shoot on the land.  In April 1916 Lane wrote to Smith. ‘I find that the Military Authorities have taken possession of the best part of my partridge shooting at Weybourne’. Lane gave up the shoot and, a month later, terminated his tenancy at Weybourne Hall.

Other land appeared to be taken without permission. Mr Dixon, a tenant farmer, complained that one of his fields was being used as a recreation ground when it should have been planted with wheat.  Smith wrote:  ‘as agent for the Owner, I think that I am entitled to be notified in accord with the Defence of the Realm Act for any lands taken under the Act. Believe me that I write in no antagonistic manner’.

Trees were another source of dispute. Trees were felled without permission and there were a series of fires caused by the troops damaging both woodland and heath.  The estate woodman Mr Humphrey reported the fires to Smith.  Lieutenant Paynter wrote to Smith: ‘the loss sustained by the matters referred to appear to be very trivial and there are no grounds which enable me to recommend payment’. Smith replied:  ‘I cannot regard the loss as “trivial” as suggested by you. I am entitled to repayment of the actual loss sustained.  Half an acre of peat has been destroyed and also 734 Birch trees, 18 Scots Pine, 16 Oak, 33 young Douglas Pine & Sitka Spruce.  To refuse any compensation for this loss, to my mind speaks for itself’.  As Smith penned this reply he received a telegram from Humphrey: ‘Great fire occurred caught Bulmans much damage Humphrey’. The matter was not resolved and a Court of Enquiry was finally arranged for July 1918.  The outcome is unknown.

Other disputes included the removal of the top of a sea defence wall. The Military’s response was that ‘it has considerably strengthened the defence of this locality from a military point of view’. It no doubt did, but it did not strengthen the defence of the locality from the sea itself.

In 1919 a detailed compensation claim was submitted which included:

  • Loss of rental of Weybourne Hall
  • The encampment in Field 163.
  • Agricultural depreciation.
  • Portions of Weyboune Heath and Woods used as a gun station and for manoeuvres. Sheringham Rifle Range had also mistakenly been handed over to the Territorials after the war.
  • Cutting of bracken in the area.
  • Roads constructed between Kelling Camp and Sheringham. The Macadamized roads are so laid out as to be of no use to the Estate.
  • Taking other fields for training.
  • Defense measures along the cliff, beach and Estate.
  • Destruction of game.
  • Conversion of Weybourne from a peaceful health resort into an encampment of great magnitude.
  • Woods, trees and peat damaged by fire
  • Turf cut from the cliff or damaged. Some of it was used to create a lawn in front of the Officers’ Mess.

 

Photo 3-ed

Sheringham Riffle Range. NRO, WLP 8/114

 

The claim, totaling £593 14s 4d, was disputed. In March 1920 Captain Biggs proposed that once the road, paths and foundations were taken up the fields would be good in two years.  Smith disagreed: ‘at least 4 years cultivation would be essential with the application of artificial manure. The bulk of the land has been used as a parade and drill ground’.

An offer of £375 was rejected. Biggs pointed out that the War Department had the right to compulsorily purchase the land and, if it did, would only pay £375 for it.  He wrote: ‘it is not the wish of the department to be compelled to purchase land, and I do not think it is Lord Orford’s interest that this particular field should be sold away from the Estate. . . . . I have never yet had to ask Headquarters for authority for the land to be compulsorily purchased, and I shall be very disappointed if this has to be the first case in my Area’.

Smith was not one to be threatened. He replied:I fear there is little chance of his (Lord Orford) accepting your offer of £375, which, to my mind is little less than robbery. . . . . I am quite sure that His Lordship will require Field No 163 to be reinstated to its original condition, which was the conditions on which it was acquired by the Military Authorities . .. failing your acceptance . . I fear we shall have to fight the matter out’.

There is a great deal of admiration for the diligence of estate manager Douglas Smith. He did his best to help the Military Authorities throughout the war and to seek justice for his employer at the end of it.  While DORA’s aims were understandable, those carrying out the legislation sometimes demonstrated a lack of understanding of or respect for agricultural life.

Daryl Long NRO Blogger

 

Remembering Arthur Robert Buck

With many thanks to the Wood Norton Remembers project for this post. As ever if you or your local history group has any research to share please do get in touch.

Arthur Robert Buck was born on the 2nd May 1878, the youngest son of Robert and Elizabeth Buck, and was baptised on the 19th May 1878 in Stibbard parish church.

Figure 1: Extract from the Stibbard Baptisms Register, 1878

The British Army WW1 Service records 1914-1920 do not appear to have survived for Arthur, but from the extant records it can be seen that Arthur was serving with the Bedfordshire Regiment  when he was killed in 1918 (see Figure 2).[1]

Figure 2: Medal Roll Index Card
for Arthur Buck

Arthur died during the Somme conflict in May 1918, and the war diary for the 4th Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment indicates that this was at Forceville, in Picardy.[2]  The diary records that on the 25th May 1918, amongst the officers and men killed or wounded, there were

6 OR’s Killed, 11 OR’s missing, 31 OR’s wounded, 1 gassed

Arthur’s Record of Soldiers’ Effects notes 25.3.18 Death Presumed France.  An amount of £14 9s 6d, including a war gratuity of £12 10s, was paid to his sister, Jane (as sole legatee), in 1919.[3]

Arthur is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial (see Figure 3).  The memorial relates to the period of crisis in March and April 1918, when the Allied Fifth Army was driven back by overwhelming numbers across the former Somme battlefields, and the months that followed before the Advance to Victory which began on 8th August 1918.  It commemorates over 14,300 casualties of the United Kingdom and South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21st March to 7th August 1918.[4]

Figure 3: Pozieres Memorial – Arthur Buck
(reproduced by kind permission of the Buck family)

There is a memorial to Arthur on the headstone for his niece, Alice, in Wood Norton churchyard (she died on the 25th February 1919, aged 26).  The inscription reads:

Also Arthur Robert Buck, uncle of the above, killed in action in France, May 25th 1918, aged 41 years.

Further research into Arthur’s family reveals that his father, Robert Buck, was born c.1833 in Stibbard, the son of James and Elizabeth Buck.[5]  He married Elizabeth Sayers on the 14th November 1856, in Stibbard parish church.[6]  Elizabeth (Betsy) Sayers was baptised on the 4th June 1827 in Stibbard, the daughter of William and Martha Sayers.[7]  Elizabeth Buck died in 1894, aged 57, and is buried at Stibbard.[8]  Robert Buck (a farm labourer) died in 1897, aged 64, and is buried at Aylsham.[9]  The census returns for Stibbard from 1861 to 1891 record Robert and Elizabeth’s growing family, with six sons and four daughters being born between 1857 and 1882:

 

Name Born Died
William 1857, in Stibbard (baptised 18th October 1857).[10] 1937, aged 79.[11] William is buried in Wood Norton.
John 1860, in Stibbard (baptised 25th March 1860).[12] 1942, aged 82.[13]
James 1862, in Stibbard (baptised 16th November 1863).[14]  
Jane 1865, in Stibbard (baptised 30th June 1865).[15]  Jane married William Wright on the 24th December 1891, in Wood Norton parish church. [16]  Their son, Alfred Wright (Arthur’s nephew) was killed in action in 1917 (Palestine). 1950, aged 84.[17] Jane is buried in Wood Norton.
Lucy 1868, in Stibbard (baptised 11th March 1868).[18]  Lucy married William John Snowling in 1896.[19] 1954, aged 86.[20]

 

Thomas 5th May 1870, in Stibbard (baptised 9th June 1870).[21]  
Samuel Henry 1873, in Stibbard (baptised 23rd February 1873).[22] Samuel joined the Royal Engineers on the 14th January 1897, and served for 23 years.  He served at home and abroad, including postings in Sierra Leone, Malta and Hong Kong, before applying for his pension in March 1918.[23] 1938, aged 65.[24]
Eliza 1875, in Stibbard (baptised 11th April 1875).[25] Eliza married Edward James Harrold on the 5th February 1898 in Wood Norton parish church.[26] 1956, aged 81.[27]
Arthur Robert 2nd March 1878, in Stibbard.

In the 1911 census for Wood Norton, Arthur is aged 32, and a gardener.

25th May 1918, the Somme
Mary Elizabeth 16th June 1882, in Stibbard (baptised 10th September 1882).[28]  Mary married Joseph Grint in 1914.[29] 1959, aged 74.[30]

According to the 1901 census for Wood Norton, Arthur was living with his sister, Jane, and brother-in-law, William Wright.[31]  In the 1911 census for Wood Norton, Arthur was lodging with Robert Dack’s family (Robert was the blacksmith and publican of the Sun Public House), and gave his occupation in the census as a gardener.  The 1918 electoral roll lists him as an absent voter, and living at The Brush, Wood Norton.

 

The headstone for Arthur’s niece, Alice, also includes an inscription for Arthur’s nephew, Alfred Wright (Jane and William Wright’s son), which reads:

Also Alfred, their second son, killed in action on Dec. 8th 1917, buried at Enab in Palestine, aged 22 years.

Beneath these inscriptions are the words from Alfred’s military headstone: Death Divides but Memory Clings.

[1] British Army WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards, 1914-1920 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[2] War Dairy, 4th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment, May 1918 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[3] UK, Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[4] CWGC information for Pozieres Memorial (www.cwgc.org)

[5] 1841 census, Stibbard (p.9, Enumeration Schedule 8)  (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[6] Marriage Register, 1856, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD Quarter to December 1986, Walsingham Vol.4b (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[7] 1841 census, Stibbard (p.16, Enumeration Schedule 11) (www.ancestry.co.uk); Baptism Register, 1837, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[8] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1894, Walsingham Vol.4b, p174 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[9] FreeBMD, Quarter to  December 1897, Aylsham Vol.4b, p64 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Burial Register, 1897, Aylsham (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[10] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1857, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.270 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1857, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[11] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1937, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.84 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Burials, 1937 (p.132)

[12] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1860, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.309 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1860, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[13] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1942, Wayland, Vol.4b, p.225 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[14] Baptism Register, 1862, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1862, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.274 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[15] Baptism Register, 1865, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1865, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.267 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[16] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1891, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.269 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1891 (p.97)

[17] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1950, Fakenham, Vol.4b, p.374 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[18] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1868, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.303 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1868, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[19] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1896, Loddon, Vol.4b, p.555 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[20] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1954, Lothingland, Vol.4b, p.799 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[21] Baptism Register, 1870, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[22] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1873, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.288 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1873, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[23] British Army WW1 Pension Records 1914-1920 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[24] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1938, Mitford, Vol.4b, p.275 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[25] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1875, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.285 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1875, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[26] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1898, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.155 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1898 (p.98)

[27] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1956, E. Dereham, Vol.4b, p.411 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[28] Baptism Register, 1882, Stibbard (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[29] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1914, Norwich, Vol.4b, p.215 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[30] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1959, Norwich, Vol.4b, p.755 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[31] 1901 census, Wood Norton (p.3) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

Images from the Archives

30129075944232Nurses and patients outside Eye Ward C12, Wandsworth Hospital. This is from a collection of photographs in two albums relating to a Royal Norfolk Regiment officer, Henry Merceron Burton (1899-1972) who is pictured here second from right. The albums record aspects of his family life at Orchard Dene House, Henley on Thames and his military life and travels with the Norfolk Regiment between 1919 and 1924. Locations include: Thetford, Oxford, Wandsworth Eye Hospital, France, Mosul, Bagdad, Iraq, Lucknow, Waziristan, Bareilly, Hinaidi and Ramgarh. It is part of Norfolk Heritage Centre holdings and other images from the album can be viewed alongside several hundred other newly published original photographs, posters and notices connected with the First World War in Norfolk, at http://www.picture.norfolk.gov.uk.