Update from Ryburgh Remembers

We have recently received an update from Ryburgh Remembers about their research and commemorations in their community.

Since we last wrote about seeking the relatives of Private Harold Comer, people from across our community have been busy with its WW1 commemorations and research.
Private Ernest William Thompson


Private Ernest William Thompson – picture courtesy of his nephew – Ernest Thompson.
On Sunday 24 May, the community commemorated the life of Private Ernest William Thompson (Norfolk Regiment) who was killed in action on 24 May 1915.  The commemorations took various forms, Ryburgh Community Shop gave over its main window to a thoughtful display, at the community woodland Ryburgh poppies were sown around the base of the memorial red oak and children from the Pebbles Nursery in the village planted woodland flowers donated by the Ryburgh Village Amenity Group.  At St Andrew’s, a special peal of the bells was rung during the afternoon and the church was also Open for a WW1 themed tea and attended by another branch of Private Thompson’s family including another nephew also called Ernest and his sister Anne.

Fortunately, Ryburgh Remembers has been able to compile an extensive amount of information about Ernest William thanks to the research efforts of his nephew Ernest Thompson with contributions from others. Various items relating to Private Thompson are on display in the Regimental Museum and the up-to-date biography can be read at http://www.standrewsgreatryburgh.org.uk/world-war-1-commemorations/those-who-served/ernest-william-thompson.php

Rifleman Guy Wade Burtenshaw


 Picture supplied by Peter Trent.
The third centenary WW1 commemoration will take place on Thursday 18 June for Rifleman Burtenshaw.  There is very little known about Guy other than he was born in Rotherhithe in September 1885, was living with his father to Christchurch Monmouth (1901), then Ashford Middlesex (1911), before joining the 1st/16th Battalion London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles). Guy died of his wounds on 18 June 1915 at No. 3 Casualty Clearing Station and is commemorated in the Bailleul Communal Cemetery Extension, Nord France (I.E.73).  At this stage, it does not appear that Rifleman Burtenshaw is specifically named on any War Memorial in the UK.  However, our research continues and hopefully we will be able to find out more about his life from various genealogy sources and his regiments war diaries.  If we’re lucky maybe discover a relative or descendant of his brother Arthur born 23 May 1888.

It’s likely that Guy never even visited Ryburgh but, information on Guy’s medal index card shows that his father (Arthur) and step mother (Edith) moved to Little Ryburgh before eventually moving to 101 Fakenham Road Great Ryburgh where they spent the rest of their lives and it is their story, for as much as any anything that the new panel has been placed on the organ gallery in St Andrew’s.

For Rifleman Burtenshaw’s commemoration, Ryburgh Community Shop will once again give over its display window. At St Andrew’s a 3 hour special peal of the bells will begin at 2pm and the church will be open with the WW1 displays about the fallen from Ryburgh available to view.  St Andrew’s will also be Open for Tea – WW1 themed from 3-5pm – visitors will of course be made very welcome.

Private Harold Douglas Palmer Comer
Our blog post about Harold attracted a lot of interest and we’d like to thank everyone who got in touch to confirm information and suggest further avenues of enquiry.  There was one typo we should apologise for and that is the date of sinking of the Royal Edward which should have read the 13th not the 19th August 1915 as written. Shortly after submitting the post, we were able to contact Harold’s niece who still lives in Norfolk and shared with the family all the information we had so far.

We’ve continued to develop Harold’s story and now having obtained a copy of his certificate of marriage to Eva feel we are getting closer to finding out how they met.  On the 25 June 1915, Harold still a Private in the 3rd Norfolk Regiment residing at Castle Down, Moordown married Eva Blanche Pope Dunman now a Domestic Servant to David Templeton and family of Carrick Lodge, St Winifred’s Road Bournemouth at The Register Office in the District of Christchurch.  Their marriage was witnessed by Cecil Hutchings (a solicitors clerk) and Cyril Keith Marshall (who would have been aged about 17 at the time).  As Harold has declared he was a member of the 3rd Norfolk’s at the time of his wedding, we now have to assume he was part of the second draft that transferred to the Essex Regiment in July 1915.  But what was a member of the 3rd Norfolk Regiment doing living in Dorset one month before leaving Avonmouth aboard the Royal Edward and did he meet Eva there?

 We now know that in 1919 Eva was using the surname Smith but have struggled to find any evidence of her second marriage. However, the electoral roll for Dorchester Road Weymouth in 1924 records Eva Blanche Smith and a Walter Smith.  Perhaps Eva had married for the second time overseas?  It seems that Eva didn’t stray far from Dorset in her life dying in Weymouth in 1972.

If anyone has any information about any of these 3 soldiers, please get in touch with Ryburgh Remembers by e-mailSBRVAG@aol.com, facebook Ryburgh Village Amenity Group or Twitter @ryburghaction


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