Conscientious Objectors in Norfolk

Some more research that has been undertaken in preparation for the Armistice: The Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk exhibition.

Conscientious Objectors in Norfolk during WW1

One of the main areas of research and investigation that I undertook in helping with the Armistice exhibition at Norwich Castle was into Norfolk, agriculture and the war and while this became all-encompassing and fascinating I also found myself side tracked into two more controversial aspects of the War – the use of Prisoners of War and the stories of the Conscientious Objectors.

Continue reading

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Unveiling the finished art work

You may remember that just a few days ago we shared the wonderful project being run by the Sprowston Dementia Friendly Community – well they’ve now sent us the pictures of their final art work and we think it is wonderful.

Do remember to send us details of any WW1 projects you are working on so that we can share them with our readers.

 

 

Commemorating the Great War in Norwich

As the 100th Anniversary of the 1918 Armistice approaches we are being told of more commemoration events being held here in the city.

The Castle Museum is holding an exhibition called “Armistice: Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk” which opens on Saturday 20th October and runs until 6th January 2019.  The new Castle brochure which can be picked up in the Norwich Forum and at Tourist Information Offices (as well as many other county locations) is full of event listings supporting this exhibition – and regular blog readers may spot some familiar names and themes!

In addition to this wonderful exhibition, The Forum in Norwich is also holding a building wide, free exhibition between the 1st and 13th November.  Continue reading

Poppies from Yarmouth

A few weeks ago we were asked if we had time to meet some special visitors from Great Yarmouth at the Millennium Library in Norwich as they had some poppies to pass on for our poppy project.

When the group arrived we found it was more than a ‘few’ poppies as in fact the Age Connected ‘knit and knatter’ group at the ACORN Centre in Yarmouth handed over a staggering 1011 poppies!

Margaret Rice and some of her fellow knitters came to the city to hand the sackful of poppies over in person and in particular pointed out the 3 very special ones which Margaret knitted with glitter in memory of her three uncles Arthur Williams Goldstink, Charles Samuel Goldstink and Herbert James Goldstink who died during this time.

What made this day more special was that Margaret  has not been in the city for almost 40 years!

(L-R) Sarah Salmon, Norfolk Libraries; Sarah Lee, Age Connected; knitters Sue Gibbs, Janet Laxon, Rita Evans and in front is Margaret Rice.

Jackie Tierney from the ACORN centre told us how knitting is a great way to bring people together and that the group always has a knitting project of some sort going on.  The knitters are now busy knitting smoothie hats to support AGE UK’s big knit,and their target this year is just over 6000 which in light of their wonderful poppies I think they will reach!

To keep the knitters going they are always looking for donations of wool so if any one can help or would like to join the group  the ACORN Centre  is open Monday to Friday – so why not pop in for a cuppa and see what they are up too.

War Diary October 1918

War Norfolk
Powers seek armistices

During the month Germany, Turkey and the Austro-Hungarian Empire all approach the Allied powers for an armistice.

200th Ambulance Convoy

The 200th convoy of wounded soldiers arrived at Norwich Thorpe Station in October 1918. In spite of their injuries the wounded were reported as being in high spirits, with one man even playing his own mandolin.

Fighting Continues

Fighting continues in France and in Italy but the Allies continue to advance on all fronts.

 Scholar Rewarded

The annual ceremony to reward the top scholar at the King Edward VII Grammar School took place at York Cottage, Sandringham. The King presented Edward Goodbody with a replica medal however – it was reported that the original gold one “will not be struck until after the war is over.”

Every Picture Tells a Story The Photo Album of Alice Gooch (nee Ulph)

From records held at the Norfolk Record Office. MC 3036

The popularity of albums, scrapbooks and autograph books during the First World War serves the historian well. They bring a visual perspective to the war and, in the case of postcards, express a sentimentality and emotion which may have been difficult to express in words.

While this blog uses only the photos and postcards from Alice Gooch’s photo album (MC 3036), there are many other such examples to be found at the Norfolk Record Office, some of which are included in the blog post on embroidered cards.

Alice was born in Norwich in 1893 and attended St Augustine’s School. She later worked as a machinist in the shoe industry.  Alice’s album is a substantial book and it must be testimony to how well she was thought of by her colleagues because it was given as a birthday present in 1915 with the inscription:

To Alice

Presented by the Workgirls

For her Birthday

August 9th 1915

Many postcards wished the recipient well, sending appropriate greetings to coincide with special events. The following postcard is ironic in its use of the swastika to send a good luck message given the events some twenty years later.  The swastika, a derivation of the Sanskrit word svastika means good luck.  The symbol had been used for thousands of years before Hitler adopted the symbol for the Nazi party.

Photo 1

Card from Sid in France.

This card was sent from Sid in France and reads: Just a few lines to let you know that I received a slight wound in right hand but it has healed up and am allright again & back with the Battalion.

None of Alice’s postcards or photos reveal names which allow us to find out who they were. Some names may have been family, there is one from Uncle George, while others have no connection with Norwich such as M MacLeod from the Cameron Highlanders. These were soldiers who Alice met while working at Bracondale Auxiliary War Hospital where she volunteered as a pantry maid at the weekends.

Photo 2

Postcard from Uncle George.

Photo 3

Postcard from M MacLeod of the Cameron Highlanders.

Two postcards appear to be linked although the connection to Alice is not clear. Both are from different members of the same family – the Ruscoes from Lancashire.

Photo 4

Postcard to Alice from Miss Ruscoe.

This postcard was sent to Alice from Miss Ruscoe of Southport as part of the “Girls Friend Exchange”.

Photo 5

Postcard from A Ruscoe.

This postcard was sent from A Ruscoe.  There are records showing an A Ruscoe serving in the Lancashire Fusiliers who was invalided out of the Army after being wounded in France in 1918.

Alice’s album also contains several photos. Again, we have some names but know nothing else about them.

Photo 6

Photo of ‘Harry Newman’.

The back of this photo has the name ‘Harry Newman’.  It would be lovely to know which one he is and what happened to him.

Photo 7

Photo of unidentified solider.

Who is this young man standing proudly in his uniform?

The back reads: With fond love Freddie.

Alice’s album captures a period in time when an uncertain future strengthened friendships through correspondence and photos. Her album continued for some time after the war.

Compiled by Daryl Long, NRO Research Blogger

New beginnings post war

1918 was a year that was full of fighting and death – either on the battle fields or from ‘flu – and while it is important to mark the end of the fighting with the signing of the Armistice on 11th November it is also good to remember that December 1918 saw the culmination of another struggle when (some) women and all men aged over 21 gained the right to vote in UK elections.

While the campaign for women’s votes had been put on hold during the war we can’t say the same for projects looking in to the Suffrage and Suffragette movements and we’ve just been told about an exciting day of events looking at just this issue taking place on Saturday 13th October:

‘Suffragette Stories: Exploring the Legacy’

‘Suffragette Stories: Exploring the Legacy’ is a free evening of talks open to all on Saturday, 13th October, 5-7.30pm in the Auditorium of the Forum in Norwich.

It marks the date that the ‘Votes for Women’ banner was first raised at the Free Trade Hall in 1905 by Annie Kenny. Talks and discussion will throw light on the struggle against inequality of little known activists like the Kenney sisters, celebrate the achievement of voting rights for women (over the age of thirty), and consider the uneven progress of gender relations since.

Join us to hear from leading historians Krista Cowman and Lyndsey Jenkins as well as UEA Archive’s very own Writer in Residence, Fiona Sinclair, who will be reporting on the activities of ‘Suffragette Stories’ HLF project so far. Listen, reflect, and take part in the questions and discussion afterwards. All welcome!

Tickets to this event are free and can be booked here.