Recently some of the team from the Norfolkinww1 team went to the day conference organised by the wonderful Norfolk Record Office.
We had a great time talking to other local history researchers and sharing details of our forthcoming project (details here very soon). One of the best things was talking to people who’ve already completed research into their town/village WW1 history and hopefully over the coming months we’ll be able to share their stories here too.
First up we have been given permission by John Ling from Bergh Apton to share the start of their work into all of the men listed on their war memorial.
This is just an excerpt from a wonderful document – and if you email John on John.Ling@btinternet.com he can send you the full document, or you can see the document for yourself in the Sanctuary of the village church.
THE MEMORIAL: ITS DESIGN, RESTORATION & ADDITIONS
War memorials erected after the First World War could be a contentious issue. The Eastern Daily Press (EDP) of the time carries many reports of disagreements as to style, form and even decisions taken to do nothing at all. Controversy took many forms. The EDP of 15th March 1920 reported, for example, that the proposal to erect a memorial at Brisley met opposition because it might arouse resentment outside the parish!
There is no record of opposition in Bergh Apton. The request for a Faculty (church planning permission) to erect the memorial was submitted by the Rec-tor and Churchwardens on 4th December 1919 following unanimous agreement by the Vestry on a design submitted by Southampton architect W G Houseman.
There is a hint of controversy, however, after the Second World War in the fact that there was a twenty year delay in adding the names of five Bergh Apton men killed in that conflict. The matter was not settled until 1965 when the Church-wardens’ Minute Book recorded the success of the late Miss Betty Denny-Cooke, clearly in the face of some procrastination by others, in her insistence that the work be done.
Norfolk Record Office has an original drawing of the war memorial proposed in 1919. If one compares the drawing with the memorial itself one sees that the real thing differs little from Houseman’s proposal. It has been restored twice in its lifetime. The first occasion coincided with the addition of the World War Two names 1965. The second was in 2007 when major restoration work was carried out with financial support from English Heritage via the War Memorials Trust together with a fundraising campaign in the village and some very generous do-nations from well-wishers far and wide.
The 2007 work was carried out by stonemason Matthew Beesley of Fairhaven of Anglesey Abbey. He repaired cracks and stabilized metal corrosion, cleaned the stone, re-carved the dedication and the names of the existing men and then protected the memorial against erosion and fungal attack. At the same time, with the approval of the Parish Council and the PCC, the names of sixteen men were added.
The completion of these works was marked on 25th May 2007 by a re-dedication service led by the Bishop of Thetford. It was attended by the Deputy Lord Lieu-tenant for Norfolk, members of the men’s families, Standard Bearers and representatives of many Regiments and Services with whom they had served and by residents of Bergh Apton. The congregation numbered in excess of two hundred people.
Since then the names of more men with appropriate village bone fides (principally birth, baptism, education, livelihood or residence greater than one year) have been added.
BERGH APTON’S WAR DEAD
Only five months after the Great War ended Bergh Apton’s Vestry considered ideas for a village war memorial. A design for a simple war memorial was agreed on 4th December that year and received Diocesan planning approval on 21st February 1920. When it was dedicated on 28th May 1920 it carried the names of twenty men who died in that war. In 1965 five more were added for the Second World War.
Research begun in 1999 revealed that other men whose lives had begun in or had been shaped by the village of Bergh Apton had died in war but their deaths were not recorded on the memorial. A key reason lay in the peripatetic nature of life on the land; by the time that the call went out in 1919 for names to be put for-ward for the memorial many of the agricultural labouring families who had lost sons whilst living in Bergh Apton had moved away to work on farms in other villages.
In 2007 the Parish Council and PCC agreed that Bergh Apton birth, baptism, education, or employment would entitle a man killed in either World War to be added to the memorial. Residential qualification was added in 2009. On this basis the names of thirteen more men from the First World War and seven from the Second were added between 2007 and 2009 to make a total of forty six men. Two more candidates are being considered as this is written.
We are grateful to the many people who have given us help, advice and materials that have enabled us to set down these accounts of lives lost in war. The most important source was the families of the men themselves. Invaluable help came from the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum and the Norfolk Records Office; from the National Archives at Kew; and from the official military records of the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.
Many of our sources, such as battalion war diaries, record the sweep of battle not the actions of individual men. In these cases we have surmised, at the time of his death, what a man might have been doing rather than what he is known to have been doing. Where we have done this we have tried to make it clear in the text.
An invaluable source for information about our County Regiment’s men has been “The History of the Norfolk Regiment, August 1914 – December 1918” by F Lorraine Petre OBE. It covers in great detail the battles in which the men in our County regiment were killed or wounded.
Finally, we cannot over-emphasise the value of the World Wide Web without which we could not have achieved this record. Key helpers via this medium have been friends such as Dan Breen and Barb Hogan in Canada, Phyllis Bar-nes in Western Australia, Jan Sim in Adelaide, Moominpappa06 on Flickr.com and innumerable other contacts, websites and Internet discussion groups.
ROLL OF HONOUR: IN ALPhABETICAL ORDER
ALEXANDER, Walter Ernest 5 July 1916 Page 21 ANNIS, Arthur William 24 July 1916 26 BARNES, Eric Benjamin(1) 21 July 1940 24 BARNES, Maurice Charles(1) 9 September 1940 38 BEAUMONT, Robert George 4 October 1917 46 BLIGH, Alfred(1) 19 November 1916 52 BOGGIS MM, Alfred John 8 October 1918 47 BRACEY, Walter Wilfred 2 September 1914 37 CAIN, Leonard Walter George 8 August 1944 33 CARR, Leonard Edward(5) 7 June 1917 20 CUBITT, Alfred Alec Arnold(1) 26 September 1915 43 DAVEY, Edward William(1) 26 December 1915 56 ETHERIDGE, Horace Charles(3) 22 April 1917 15 EVERETT, Leonard George(6) 3 April 1917 11 GIDNEY, Robert Kitchener(1) 18 November 1941 51 GILLINGWATER, Victor George 17 February 1917 8 GREENACRE, Charles William 22 April 1916 14 GREENACRE, Henry George Valentine 27 March 1916 10 HALE, Harry Charles(4) 2 June 1944 18 HALLETT, Stephen Cyril Garnier(4) 21 November 1944 53 HARBER, Freeman(1) 14 September 1914 39 HARVEY, Albert Edward(1) 13 August 1915 35 HOOD, Henry John(1) 26 July 1944 27 HUNT, Ernest James(1) 27 July 1916 28 KEELER, Sidney George 27 July 1918 30 KEDGE, Sidney Richard 8 July 1916 22 KING, Alfred George(5) 28 November 1915 54 LEEDER, Ernest Albert 16 April 1917 13 LINCOLN, Clifford(5) 31 July 1944 31 LOVEWELL, Jack Edmond 16 August 1943 36 MACE, Albert George(3) 19 July 1915 23 MARKS, Sidney Herbert 8 October 1917 48 MAYES, Archie Russel 19 February 1941 9 MAYES, Harry Samuel 1 October 1915 44 MAYES, Jack Arthur 23 October 1941 50 MITCHELL, Reginald James(2) 2 October 1917 45 PARKER, Albert William 9 February 1917 7 PODD, Herbert Charles George 28 June 1942 20 PRESTON DCM, John Henry(1) 9 January 1920 6 ROPE, Alfred Hubert 5 May 1917 16 ROPE, Leonard Godfrey 7 April 1916 12 STARMAN, Albert Edward Hamilton(1) 21 September 1944 42 STARMAN MM, William Edward(1) 16 September 1918 41 STONE, Aubrey Samuel 15 September 1916 40 STONE, Thomas(6) 9 May 1915 17 THROWER, Herbert Charles(1) 27 July 1916 29 THROWER, Walter Albert(1) 8 August 1916 32 TOLVER, William Leonard(1) 23 July 1944 25 WALL, Clement Sidney 11 August 1917 34 WEDDUP, Charles Daniel 17 October 1915 49 WRIGHT, James Robert 17 December 1918 55
(1) Added for re-dedication (25 May 2007) ( 2) Added for Remembrance Day 2007 (3) Added for Remembrance Day 2008 (4) Added for Remembrance Day 2009 (5) Added for Remembrance Day 2011 (6) Not yet on Memorial
If your town or village has undertaken similar research, or has a locally produced book/booklet about WW1 connections, please do let us know – we’d love to feature it on the the blog.