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.

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A Canadian in the Norfolk Regiment

Here at the Norfolkinworldwar1 blog we were recently contacted by Mr King-Seguin who let us know about the research he and other family members were undertaking about their Grandfather, who came from Canada yet still served with the Norfolk Regiment. 

Below is a short introduction from William John Grummett’s grandson (Mr. Snell) and a link to the website showcasing all of their fascinating research.

The First World War through the Lens of William J. Grummett, 2nd Lieutenant, Norfolk Regiment: A Soldier’s Story.

William John Grummett (1891-1967) was a young law student living in Canada when the First World War began in 1914.  Honouring a promise made to his parents, he held off enlisting until 1915 and the formation of the second Canadian contingent of soldiers preparing for war in Europe.  Like most young men who signed up to go to war, he was off on the “adventure of a lifetime”.   As it turns out, his journey went much farther than most: to the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains and the headwaters of the sacred Ganges River, to the sun blasted deserts of Mesopotamia and the twin rivers, Tigris and Euphrates that had held between them the very cradle of civilization.  He travelled more than 24,000 nautical miles, 4500 miles by train and countless miles on horseback and on foot.  And, he took photographs documenting the events, places and most remarkably, the people: children, parents, fellow soldiers, street performers, holy men, the devout, herdsmen and refugees, as the journey unfolded.

William John Grummett, 2nd Lieutenant, Norfolk Regiment

Read the story: a new chapter will be added every month completing the tale by November of 2018.   See the pictures: themed photo galleries representing stages of the journey are added to with each new chapter of the story.  The First World War through the Lens of William J. Grummett, 2nd Lieutenant, Norfolk Regiment, at https://wjgrummettphotosandhistoryww1.blog/

As ever if you have a family story to share please get in touch – we are very keen to make sure that these stories are not forgotten.

An update on our poppy project

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who has been making poppies from whatever material is to hand. With just six months to go until the Armistice 100 Commemorations we thought you’d like an up date of how the poppy appeal is progressing and where you’ll be able to see the poppies.

For reasons of space and storage the main focus has been on working on how to display the felt, knitted and crochet poppies. As of the 5th May we have received about 3700. These are being put on to fabric tape ready to be displayed like bunting.

Small display of woolen poppies

People are also being very creative with paper, crepe paper and even cupcake cases and we have over 600 of these too.

The mathematically inclined will have already worked out that this gives us a total of 4,300 poppies so we have quite a way to go to reach our target of 15,500!

If anyone has some spare time/wool/paper please could you consider making a few to help us out.  We are planning to hold simple poppy craft sessions in libraries on Norfolk Day (27th July) more details on here very soon.

As for displaying the finished poppies…all of Norfolk’s 47 branches will be taking a number of them to display, as will the mobile libraries.  Larger libraries will have slightly larger displays and King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and the Millennium Library will have huge displays representing the large number of fallen commemorated in these locations.

Thank you for your help so far, sample patterns can be found here – but please don’t feel these are the only way to make the poppies.

Images from the Archives

30129075934563

This image (from the Museum of Norwich at The Bridewell) shows employees of Trevor, Page & Company with two examples of the aeroplane propellors they made during the First World War. Usually the firm produced and sold furniture, were upholsterer’s and also did house removals. Mr Richard Bowers, the company’s director is seated on the third row 11th from the right. This image 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

Invasion and Evacuation

From records held at the Norfolk Record Office

Unpalatable a thought as it was, plans for possible invasion and evacuation had to be considered during the First World War. Norfolk, along with other places along the east coast, was particularly vulnerable.

An Emergency Committee memorandum was issued in December 8th 1914.  Local Emergency Committees were set up across Norfolk operating under a Central Emergency Committee (NRO, MC 561/123 808×9).  These committees had to act with the military authorities in case of invasion.  Necessary arrangements for the conduct of civilians would be carried out by the police and special constables.

 

Photo 1. Emergency Committees-ed.

Details of the objectives of the local Emergency Committees. NRO, MC 561/123, 808×9

 

While invasion may have been regarded as improbable, evacuation plans needed to be in place. Posters were displayed around the county explaining the function of the Emergency Committees (NRO, MC 1129/1 805×9).  There were three strands to the evacuation plans; the evacuation of the civilian population, transport and livestock.

Photo 2. Evacuation instructions-ed

The introductory part of the Defence of the Realm posters which went on to detail what needed to be done with regard to people, transport and livestock. NRO, MC 1129/1, 805×9

 

Unless the military authorities suggested evacuation, the civilian population ‘must decide for themselves whether they prefer to remain at home or retreat inland. No advice is given by the Government.  If they remain at home they must on no account use firearms.  In case of a raid, word will be passed round to “Stand By”, when all persons intending to leave their homes should take their carts etc. with warm clothes, blankets, and enough provisions for about two days’ (NRO, MC 166/273 633×4).

Evacuation routes were detailed on local posters (NRO, MC 166/273 633×4). All forms of transport were to be removed along these specified routes and taking the elderly and infirm with them. It was important that transport was not left behind to fall into enemy hands.  Such transport had to be rendered useless by sawing out half of the spokes in each wheel.  Some transport might be commandeered by the military authorities.

 

Photo 3. Lines of evacuation. Loddon-ed

The evacuation route from the Loddon Emergency Committee poster. NRO MC 166/273, 633×4

 

The instructions for livestock were clear and simple. Move them or kill them.

Having received a “Stand By” warning of a raid, preparations for evacuation would begin. This would be followed by “Partial Emergency”, “Total Emergency” or “As you were”.  For “Partial Emergency” all transport was to be removed or rendered useless.  For “Total Emergency” all the measures planned by the Emergency Committees would be carried out (NRO, MC 1129/1 805×9).

Once the Emergency Committees were set up, the hard work began. Chairs of these committees would often be local dignitaries and landowners such as Sir Robert Gurney of Ingham Hall.  The first task was to carry out a detailed inventory of the parish to establish just how many people might need to be evacuated, who needed transport, what transport was available and what to do with the livestock.

Gurney reported that in his area there were 40 school children of whom 30 were able to walk. There were 15 old and infirm who would also need transport and he had five available wagons which could carry 100 people.  Other farmers in his area reported to him on the transport they had available (NRO, MC 1129/1 805×9).

 

Photo 4. Transport inventory-ed.

Ingham transport inventory from farmers Edward Gladden and H W Wenn. MC 1129/1, 805×9

 

Gurney gave detailed instructions on what to do if the need for evacuation arose. The typed note below to Bowell, one of his employees, made clear how Ingham Hall was to be evacuated (NRO, MC 1129/1 805×9).  As Ingham Hall was an auxiliary war hospital, one of the wagons was needed for wounded soldiers

 

Photo 5. Gurney's instructions to employee-ed.

Gurney’s orders for the evacuation of Ingham Hall. MC 1129/1, 805×9

 

Needless to say the plans were not without their problems. H Wivers wrote to Gurney detailing all that he had done.  His frustration and exasperation is evident.  He had organized the counting of everyone in the parish and noted those who needed transport.  He had prepared notices on what to do which were to be delivered to every home and he had organized the Scouts to deliver them.  He had made a list of all transport including boats.  Farmers would be told to take their transport to one of four locations for loading up purposes; Stalham Green, Chapel Corner, St John’s Road and Stalham Staithe for boats only.  ‘The only difficulty that appears now is can we have the farmers’ horses? If not our rather elaborate paper arrangements will go crooked . . . an empty wagon is of no use without horses.  Who will pay the men?  Who will pay the farmer for his already overworked horses which will be required to stand for 6 hours?’ (NRO, MC 1129/1 805×9).

The frustration and exasperation eventually got to Gurney too. In June 1918 he had received an order to destroy all petrol that had not been commandeered by the military authorities and yet the farmers in his district were relying on petrol for their cars to evacuate their own families. ‘The whole thing is so obviously absurd that I shall be glad if you will allow me to resign from a position in which I can be of no use’. (NRO, MC 1129/1 805×9).

Records of the Aylsham Emergency Committee present a similar picture and also include details of the role of the Special Constables (NRO, MC 561/123 808×9).

Photo 6 Aylsham's instructions to Special Constables-ed

Aylsham Emergency Committee’s orders for Special Constables. NRO, MC 561/123, 808×9.

 

These records show that the duties for Special Constables was first issued May 1916 and largely involved directing the civilian population, guarding bridges, keeping road clear for the military and acting as dispatch riders. In April 1918 the Norfolk Constabulary decided to see if the 18 Norfolk Emergency Committees were still up to date with their procedures and planned an evacuation drill. Instructions would be given as to how far the emergency measures should be carried out. ‘Any Special Constable absent from his post will be dealt with according to Law’. (NRO, MC 561/123 808×9). 

There is no record of when in 1918 this evacuation drill took place. It would have happened before Gurney wrote in his frustration of the absurd situation over petrol.  Whatever the outcome it is clear that local landowners, farmers and the civilian population all did their bit to make sure they were prepared for the worst.  The hope for an evacuation plan is that it will never be needed and fortunately this was the case.

Daryl Long, NRO Blogger

 

 

 

 

 

War Diary May 2018

War Norfolk
Final German Air Raid on London

The largest, and final, German aeroplane raid on London takes place involving 33 aircraft. 49 people are killed and 177 wounded.

Prisoners of War Recaptured

Two German prisoners who escaped from a King’s Lynn internment camp were recaptured on Saturday 4th May.

Third Battle of the Aisne.

 Third German offensive (Operation Blucher) against the French line,  it centres on the Chemin des Dames area above the River Aisne. Fighting continues to 6 June.

Land Army Recruitment Rally

A demonstration took place in Norwich to encourage recruitment for the Women’s Land Army on Saturday 25th May. The demonstration included women carrying small livestock, rakes and hoes, a procession of milk floats and hay carts, as well as a traction engine.

Inspired by our poppy plea

We’ve just received this lovely letter from Alex in Sheringham

I work as a Library & Information Assistant at Sheringham Library. In June 2017, a poster arrived for display in the Library asking people to make poppies for the Norfolk in WW1 Project.

My grandad had lost his father and his brother in this war, so I decided to make a few poppies. 300 crochet’d poppies later, I turned my attention to Sheringham, where I have lived for 17 years.

Sheringham & Beeston Regis lost 75 men in WW1 and Upper Sheringham lost 8.

I crochet’d 83 poppies and with the help of the Imperial War Museum, the Royal British Legion and Roll of Honour.com. I was able to individually dedicate each poppy with the “fallen” man’s name, typed onto a label and threaded through the poppy.

The poppies have been framed and are on permanent display in Sheringham Library.

Alex’s 300+ poppies have already been strung together ready for display in the autumn, but do pop into Sheringham Library to see these wonderful, named poppies.