Scars of War reading 1

As promised here as some of the readings/research made in West Norfolk for the Scars of War project in the autumn of 2018: The research for this piece was undertaken by Lindsey Bavin, manager at the True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum. You will find a memorial to these three ships at the museum.

The Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue
The Live Bait Squadron
William Allen, John Rose and Hubert Penny

  During a conference Churchill had been annoyed to overhear the expression ‘Live Bait Squadron’ and to learn it was the Fleet’s nickname for the Southern Force’s cruisers which were over fourteen years old.  

The ships were manned by reservists, who were mainly married men, and young cadets from Osborne House Naval College and Britannia Royal Naval College. It was thought these ships would not be involved in great battles, so would be safe. Churchill pointed out the danger of exposing cruisers so close to enemy positions especially without any destroyer escort and where numerous fishing boats could report their movements. Churchill said:

“The risk to such ships is not justified by any service they can render. The narrow seas, being the nearest point to the enemy, should be kept by a small number of good modern ships.”  

Although First Sea Lord Louis Battenburg agreed with Churchill two days later, on Saturday 19th September, Admiral Sturdee persuaded the First Sea Lord to approve an order for the cruisers to stay in their original patrol area and not move to the western approaches of the Channel as Churchill had ordered.

Thus the scene was set for the morning of 22nd September 1914 Continue reading

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Scars of War

We’ve just been told about this wonderful World War One art/history project that has been running in King’s Lynn this autumn…

Scars of War

From late September until early November six heritage and educational organisations in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk
worked together on a World War One remembrance project called Scars of War.

This project used the soldiers’ graffiti of the tower of King’s Lynn Library as the inspiration. The name alludes to the physical and emotional scars on those involved in the Great War and the “scars” the graffiti has left on the buildings.

photo courtesy Rebecca Hearle

True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum, Stories of Lynn, St Nicholas’ Chapel, Lynn Museum, King’s Lynn Library, and The Custom House were the locations chosen as all have some historic graffiti as part of their archives [this unique historical resource was discovered and researched by Kevin Hitchcock and we will be sharing this fascinating story very soon – ed.].  These snapshots of history became the inspiration for creating our own modern graffiti in an artistic way to commemorate World War One and keep the memory of our historic past alive.

Image courtesy Scars of War

Each location ran a lino cutting and printing workshop lead by artist Rebecca Hearle and work from these 6 sessions were collected together to form an exhibition which was celebrated at a special event at King’s Lynn on Monday 12th November.

Image courtesy Debbie King/Scars of War

This was an evening of remembrance hosted by Mayor of the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Cllr Nick Daubney. The evening revolved around the telling of stories of the figures from King’s Lynn’s history in World War One.

We’ve been very lucky in that Lindsey Bavin from True’s Yard has sent through many of the readings from this event and we will be posting them all over the next few weeks, we also plan to the fascinating stories behind the original graffiti which inspired this wonderful project.

The pieces of art created for the project are currently being framed and will then be on display in the places where they were created so visiting King’s Lynn in the new year seems a must to see these prints.

Inspired by a trip to the Somme

Over the past 4 years we have enjoyed sharing stories from research undertaken at Gresham’s School into their Old Boys and a recent email about how the research, and a trip to the Somme, have inspired current pupils is wonderful.

History competition inspires pupils to create poignant World War One tributes

Year 9 pupils at Gresham’s School in Holt have created some impressive replicas of World War One trenches for a History competition following their recent trip to the Somme Battlefields in France.

Ben Hunt, from Holt, was awarded first prize for his outstanding tribute entitled “Far Field” made all the more poignant as he had individually made 115 poppies for his trench to represent the staff and pupils from Gresham’s who had lost their lives in the Great War.

Ben said, “I feel extremely proud of what I have created as I spent so much time perfecting my trench to ensure it looked as authentic as possible.” The fourteen year old used a shoebox, wood, barbed wire and even some clay he had gathered on a recent trip to France to help recreate his trench.

Head of History, Mr Simon Kinder said, “This term we are studying the Great War and I have been really impressed with how the pupils researched and developed their entries for this competition.  The standard this year has been particularly high and this is a consequence of how important commemorating the Great War centenary has been at Gresham’s. The students have clearly embraced the challenge and learned so much from constructing their trenches.”

More than 500 former pupils fought for their country, leaving a lasting impact on the school and the surrounding community. As part of the commemorations of the end of the Great War, the school held Remembrance Services where the 115 pupils and staff who lost their lives were remembered.

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Armistice Commemorations

With the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice fast approaching we are pleased to be able to share some of the events happening around the county with readers of the blog.

Today we’re letting you know about a concert of music and readings being held at St Andrews Church in Eaton, Norwich which takes place on Saturday 10th November at 7.00pm

Details of price and how to book are on the poster below.


A sneak peak at the programme has been provided and it will include music performed by the whole choir as well as just the male or female members, all of which will be interspersed with appropriate readings.

The full list is below the page cut so if you would rather not know before the concert ‘look away now’ as they say. Continue reading

Field Dressings by Stretcher Bearer – a new book

Field Dressings by Stretcher Bearer

We have recently been contacted by the Ellis family to let us know about a new World War One book that they are officially launching today.

Called Field Dressings by Stretcher Bearer this is a book of poetry written by Alick Lewis Ellis between 1916 and 1919 while he was serving in France, little is currently known about his war service apart from what can be learned through his poetry.

Alick’s was born in Terrington St. Clement here in Norfolk and was one of 10 children, for several generations the family had been shopkeepers, butchers and grocers and it is thought that the children attended the local school.

The census of 1911 shows that Alick had gone in to the family trade but in Kent rather than in Norfolk. In 1915 he volunteered for Territorial Army service with the 3rd London Field Ambulance.

The family were unaware of Alick’s poetry until they were contacted by the Herts at War Society in 1917.

You can read more about Alick’s life, war and poetry on the dedicated website http://www.fielddressings.co.uk/ where you can also buy copies of the book.

War Diary November 1918

 

War Norfolk
Mutiny and abdication

German sailors stage a mutiny in Kiel on November 3rd and on the 9th the Kaiser abdicates and leaves Germany

Casualties Treated in Norfolk

The number of sick and wounded from the front delivered by the Volunteer Transport Company to the local hospitals has now passed a total of 40,000.

Armistice Declared

Germany signs an armistice with the Allies, agreeing to an immediate cease fire and the withdrawal of its troops to its own borders. Fighting ends in France and Belgium at 11.00am. The Armistice is extended repeatedly until the signing of the Treaty of Versaille in 1919.

The German navy surrenders on 21st November.

Colonel Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck ends his long campaign in German East Africa and surrenders undefeated on 25 November.

Complaint about German Prisoners of War

A War Office order that had been issued stating that farmers who employed German prisoners would have to fetch them in the morning and take them back at the end of the day was amended to just accompanying them at the end of the day.

This issue arose as a girl was frightened when she was unable to pass three German prisoners and one of the men said “Boo” to her.

Visiting Ypres

For the past four and a bit years I’ve been immersed in the commemoration of WW1 as part of the team running this site, as a volunteer at the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum and due to my own interest in this period of history.

Back in September 2014 I made a visit to France which included visiting the Etaples Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery but since then I haven’t had the chance to go back to the Western Front., however as entered the last month of the centenary commemorations I had the luck to visit Ypres for along weekend.

Well aware how easy it is to become overwhelmed by trying to see too much in a short period of time we decided to visit fewer places for longer periods of time and coupled with the glorious weather encouraging us to enjoy the European cafe culture we had a wonderful, if moving weekend.

Our first stop was at the tucked away Underhill Military Cemetery where there are graves of two Norfolk Regiment men who died 100 years to the day before our visit.

Private George and Private Moran, died 12th October 1918

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