Images from the Archives

A member of the Military Police directing the Prince of Wales in Bethune, September 1916

A member of the Military Police directing the Prince of Wales in Bethune, September 1916

This image has been loaned to us by Bethan Holdridge and comes from a collection of WW1 photographs belonging to Julie Brown. The collection has been in the family for several generations and seems to have originated from Oliver Brown (J.B’s grandfather on the maternal side). The only information we currently have about him is that was born in Hadleigh and during the First World War he accompanied an official war artist.

Summer and Autumn 1916 in Thetford

During the summer and autumn of 1916,the effects of the war were continuing to be felt by Thetfordians. Florence “Florrie” Clarke, Thetford Town Crier and Bill Poster, was appointed on 2nd August 1916. Her father (the Town Crier) had been conscripted into the army in July 1916 but , in order to train his 15 year old daughter, had had his military service put back for a short time. The Mayor of Thetford said “We are pleased you have been so patriotic as to train your daughter to do your work while you are serving your country.”

Women also went round the town with the King’s Proclamation to try and get people not to eat as much bread and not to use flour for making pastry. A cap on the price of certain foods was put into place, as were checks to stop retailers and others from hoarding food, such as bread,flour and meat.

At a quarterly meeting of the Town Council in August, a circular was read from the Home Office, asking people to support the businesses of men who had joined up, as this could effect their businesses. It was agreed that the contents of the circular should be publicized in local newspapers and bills should be obtained for shop windows.

By the end of 1916, the Volunteer Act 1916 had been passed which obliged members to remain in the Volunteer Training Corps until the end of the war.Many of the original members of the Thetford V.T.C. had remained, with several new recruits, and it was hoped that active men over military age, and those exempted from military service, would join, as the V.T.C. was recognized as one of the defence forces of the country.

The completion of Thetford Camp meant that fewer soldiers were billeted in people’s houses than before, resulting in less contact between troops and civilians. During the summer and autumn of 1916, there were fewer concerts in the Town Hall and other entertainments, such as military bands playing in the town, than in previous years.

A treasure trove of images

Historian and author Steve Smith got in touch with us recently to share this new collection of images he’d just been shown:

Recently, after a conversation on Facebook, I met up with Gill Sidell to discuss her Father, Private 2063 George Leonard Bindley, who served in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in the Great War.

Private 2063 George Leonard Bindley, who served in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in the Great War.

Private 2063 George Leonard Bindley, who served in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in the Great War.

I helped Gill piece together a few things about George who served with them all through the war, officially serving in a theatre of war with them from the 9th August 1915 onward when the battalion transferred from HMTS Aquitania to the SS Osmaniah to land Gallipoli on the 10th August. Having served in that campaign he eventually ended up in Egypt when the Gallipoli Campaign ended in December 1915 and also served in Palestine. One of the postcards records the fact that the battalion marched past General Allenby is Cairo

George Bindley's company seen marching past General Allenby during a parade in Cairo.

George Bindley’s company seen marching past General Allenby during a parade in Cairo.

and the note on the back states, Our Coy marching past Gen Allenby in Cairo look for me.

I am certain that he was wounded on 19th April 1917 when the 1/4th Battalion took part in the 2nd Battle of Gaza and it is said that he spent time with the Camel Corps helping to transport supplies across the desert.

George Bindley seen stood in the foreground whilst on active service. It is said he spent time with the Camel Corps transporting supplies across the desert.

George Bindley seen stood in the foreground whilst on active service. It is said he spent time with the Camel Corps transporting supplies across the desert.

George sent a number of postcards to his Mother and Brother whilst serving overseas and also collected photographs of men who served with him. Some of these are named but many are not and remain unidentified. Looking at the men all either served in the 1/4th or 1/5th Norfolk Regiment.

1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment seen after a football match.

1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment seen after a football match.

These are a snapshot into another time and show a number soldiers in different poses who went to serve their King and Country. Some were taken prior to the Norfolks shipping out to Gallipoli but a number of them show men who were serving in the Middle East.

A platoon of 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in Egypt.

A platoon of 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in Egypt.

One of the images is quite poignant and you can see that what happened to the lad affected George.

Private 240868 Edward Arthur Bubbings of the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died of wounds on 17th July 1917

Private 240868 Edward Arthur Bubbings of the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died of wounds on 17th July 1917

On the back of a circular photo it notes,

‘In Loving Remembrance of Pte E Bubbings 1/5 Norfolk Regt who gave his life for his country in Palestine 1917.’ “Greater love hath no man than this that he gave his life for his friends.”

The soldier in question can be identified as Private 240868 Edward Arthur Bubbings who was the son of W.G. and Alice Bubbings of 91 Harley Road in Great Yarmouth. Edward was only 18 when he died of wounds on 14th July 1917 serving with the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. During this period both the 4th and 5th Battalions were in trenches spanning from the Gaza-Cairo road over Sniper’s Post and Samson Ridge and then ending up by the sea at Sheikh Ajlin. Their war diary and history notes that casualties for this period were caused by Turkish shelling. Edward is now laid to rest in Deir El Belah War Cemetery in Palestine.

Another postcard image simply states,

Private 241000 Daniel Rout who served in the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

Private 241000 Daniel Rout who served in the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

‘Rout Red Sea’

This can be traced to Private 241000 Daniel Rout who served in the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. Looking at the 1911 Census and the age of the soldier I would say this is Daniel Rout who was born in West Lynn in 1898 who was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Rout. Daniel had worked as a Farm Labourer prior to joining up and the picture would have been taken when he was about 18 or 19 years old. Daniel survived the war.

One other postcard notes ‘Mr A Brighty No 9 Eton Village.’

rivate 1852 Arthur George Brighty from Eaton who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

rivate 1852 Arthur George Brighty from Eaton who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

This can be linked to Private 1852 Arthur George Brighty who initially served in the Royal Army Medical Corps landing at Gallipoli on 4th October 1915 before becoming Private 204670 Brighty in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. He survived the war and was disembodied on 4th April 1919. Arthur was born in Eaton in 1896 and was the son of Amelia Brighty who was living at 4 Branksome Road in Norwich during the 1911 Census.

Luckily George also survived the war and was disembodied from the Army on 4th April 1919.

group of 1/4th Battalion Noroflk Regiment men seen stood together whilst serving in Egypt.

group of 1/4th Battalion Noroflk Regiment men seen stood together whilst serving in Egypt.

We are very grateful to Gill who has given permission for these images to be displayed here in the hope that we might be able to identify the unknown men and if you feel you can help with that then please contact the blog team by emailing norfolkinworldwar1@gmail.com.

 

Gill has kindly shared many more pictures with us and we will be posting them both here and on the @Norfolkinww1 Twitter stream over the next few weeks and months, should you recognise anyone in the images please do get in touch as we’d love to know more.

Remembering the Battle of Guillemont

Granddad and the Somme

This blog post has been sent to us by Annie Grant and Maggie Johnson as they share their grandfather’s experiences on the Somme just over 100 years ago.

100 years ago, on 4th September 1916, our grandfather, Arthur John Thurston, was shot in the thigh while he and his regiment were attempting to capture the German-held Falfemont Farm, as part of the Battle of Guillemont fought between 3 and 6 September 1916.

The first attack was repelled by the Germans, and, as he told us when we used to visit our grandparents or they came on one of their regular visits to see us in London, he was shot in the thigh during the failed attack and spent 24 hours lying wounded in a shell crater before being rescued when a second attack on the farm on 5 September was more successful.

 

Arthur was born and bred in Norwich and was a member of the congregation of St Giles Church. He began his working life as a boot maker, and on 22nd December 2014, 3 days after his 17th birthday, he enlisted, joining the 6th (Cyclist) Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment.

This battalion had been established in August 2014 as part of the Territorial Force whose principle role was not overseas service but home defence.  We have a fine photo of him in uniform standing beside his bicycle, with his rifle attached to its frame.

Arthur John Thurston. Family photo

Arthur John Thurston. Family photo

Arthur, like the many of the fellow soldiers in his Battalion, signed up for overseas service and was transferred to the Western Front to take part in the fighting there.

Fortunately for him, and of course for us, after his injury he was not deemed fit enough to be sent back to the front.  Following periods of recuperation and rehabilitation in 1917 at Ampthill Camp in Bedfordshire and in North Walsham, he worked as a Regimental shoemaker first in England, and then in Ireland when his battalion was posted there in early 1918; he was demobbed in February 1919.

His experiences in France and in Ireland made a big impression on him, and on us as children. He spoke very little about the fighting in France other than to give us the very bare details of the circumstances of his injury, but he reminisced a great deal about Ireland, where he had developed a real fondness for the country and its people. Although he had made a good recovery from his injury, he still experienced some adverse effects from his wound, and in 1924 was awarded a 25% war pension.

Most of the rest of his working life was spent as a shoe maker, first in Norwich, then, during the depression, in Lancashire, and back in Norwich from the late 1940s when he worked on the shop floor of the Norwich shoemakers Edwards and Holmes until he retired. He was a very kind and gentle man and a wonderful grandfather.

There is no doubt that his Somme experiences were for him, as for all those who fought there, very traumatic, but there was a very positive and unexpected outcome: in the mid-1950s he was contacted to say that his name had come to the top of the list of those eligible to live in one of the houses that make up the Royal Norfolk Regiment Memorial Bungalows on Mousehold Lane, which were built between 1948 and 1950 originally for 2nd World War veterans wounded in service. Our grandparents happily accepted the house offered and we spent much time with them there in our summer and Easter holidays from school. He was able to spend the rest of his life, right up to his death in 1972, living more or less rent free in ‘Europe’, which, being at one end of the crescent of 6 houses, had the advantage of good-sized side and back gardens in which he could grow his vegetables, and a front garden where our grandmother could grow flowers.

 

We thank Annie and Maggie for sharing their memories, and their grandfather’s story with us – if you have a story to share please consider contacting us and letting us share it with our readers.

 

 

Images from the archive

Feeding a British Gun, September 1916

Feeding a British Gun, September 1916

 

This image has been loaned to us by Bethan Holdridge and comes from a collection of WW1 photographs belonging to Julie Brown. The collection has been in the family for several generations and seems to have originated from Oliver Brown (J.B’s grandfather on the maternal side). The only information we currently have about him is that was born in Hadleigh and during the First World War he accompanied an official war artist.

War Diary September 1916

War Norfolk
Zeppelin Shot Down

 

First German airship shot down over Britain, to the north of London.

Cyclist Fined

 

A local lady from Aysgarth, Cromer was summoned for riding a bicycle with too bright a light and fined 10s.

Victory in East Africa

 

British forces take Dar es Salaam in German East Africa

Red Cross Hospital Anniversary

 

It is reported that the Catton Hall Red Cross Hospital celebrated the first anniversary of the hospital’s opening by giving a concert in aid of its funds. In its first 12 months it has looked after 197 patients.