Lest We Forget. Remembering the Fallen.

From records held at the Norfolk Record Office (NRO).

Four years of warfare left a legacy of enormous loss.  Local street shrines appeared during the war and after the Armistice more permanent memorials began to be planned.

Some of the key issues to address were:

  • Who will memorials commemorate?
  • Who will pay for them?
  • What type of memorial will it be?
  • Where will they be put?

It appears obvious that memorials would commemorate those who served and lost their lives in war.  But some were not included and some names were added many years later.  A Roll of Honour can also be misleading as it may record all who served including those surviving.

Photo 1 Jarrolds memorial

Throughout the war years various organisations were keeping detailed records of loss of life.  The Norfolk Regiment listed men who were missing or killed throughout the war. (DCN 25/21).  This meant that the Regiment was well-placed to plan their memorials without too much delay.

Workplaces also planned memorials of their own staff.  Jarrold’s staff memorial is dedicated to nineteen men.  (JLD 4/11/37)  Most workplace memorials were erected in work entrances or offices but the location of the Jarrold’s memorial is currently unknown.

 

 

Photo 2 cavell memorial unveiledThere were some individuals whose sacrifice was such that a memorial was erected solely in their honour.  This was certainly the case for Edith Cavell.  The unveiling of Edith Cavell’s monument in Tombland took place in October 1918.  (N/LM  2/1) On the same day they also opened the Nurse Cavell Memorial Home for District Nurses which can be seen in the background.  The opening was attended by Queen Alexandra as well as many local dignitaries.

If a memorial of any kind was to be erected on church property then a faculty paper had to be submitted to the Diocesan Court for the plan to be approved.  These faculty papers are largely dated 1919 and 1920. (DN/CON 183 and DN/CON 186).

A faculty paper was usually submitted by the Vicar and Churchwarden and set out the proposed design.  Many followed previously approved designs as is evident in the frequently occurring statement in accordance with the design produced & lodged in the Registry of the Court.

Payment for memorials was largely through public subscription unless it was a memorial to one person when it would have been paid for by the family.  At Carbrooke, where a memorial cross was planned, the Vicar chose to personally finance the cost of £100.

A catalogue of war memorials included in the faculty papers of Little Howe and Poringland suggests some memorial designs for various public buildings.  But the variety evident in the faculty papers is even more extensive.

Photo 3 Narborough plaque

Large towns clearly suffered the greatest losses and had many names to commemorate. Norwich Cathedral built a war memorial chapel and St John’s in Great Yarmouth submitted plans for a chapel within their existing church.

 

Memorial tablets or plaques within the church were popular.  At Narborough they planned to use two old plaques in beaten brass, representing the Crucifixion and The Nativity, to contain the names of the men of the parish killed in the war.

 

 

Brass plaque at Narborough

Windows were another popular choice.  Some were in memory of the men from the parish and others commemorated just one particular individual.  Brundall applied for two windows; one dedicated to Brundall men and one to an individual soldier, Leslie Dandridge.  At Lessingham and Gaywood the proposed windows were to commemorate one individual only; at Lessingham, Locke Francis William Angerstein  Kendall and at Gaywood, Captain William Mansbergh.

Photo 4 brundall window

Combining a memorial with some improvement or addition to the church was an opportunity for some parishes.  The Rev Martin-Jones of Wymondham Abbey commented in the Norwich Mercury on 4 January 1919 that it was an opportune time for completing the task (of restoration) as a thanksgiving for peace and in memory of the brave lads of the town who had given their lives in the war.  It is interesting to note that he only referred to the “lads” of the town.  His own wife, Commandant at the local Auxiliary War Hospital, had also died in the war and was given a full military funeral.  She was subsequently commemorated on the Abbey memorial tablet.

In Kirby Bedon a memorial tablet and a memorial clock was planned.  Knapton wanted a new organ while at Bodham repairs would be made to the church tower to enable a memorial tablet to be fixed to its base.

Not everyone wanted memorials on church ground.  On 4 January 1919 the Norwich Mercury reported on the debate with one Non-Conformist commenting:

I take it as a piece of gross impertinence to suggest that the only spots in which to place memorials to the gallant lads who have given their lives in defence of their country are the Anglican churches.  The lads who have died were drawn from all schools of religious thought.  A memorial to our lads should be a town affair, and free of ecclesiasticism.

Even the design could cause controversy.  The Gresham War Memorial Committee submitted an obelisk design to the Diocesan Court whereas the Vicar had wanted a cross.  The faculty paper was submitted by the Chair of the Committee, who explained the Vicar’s lack of involvement:

The rector, for a variety of moral and social reasons, is held in general contempt in the parish; there are not, I understand, any churchwardens, those appointed by the rector refusing to act; and the parishioners do not attend the Church Services. 

He is the only person in the village who has not subscribed to the Memorial Fund. . . He is personally objectionable to the whole parish, where he is known to all as a liar, slanderer, rogue and thief.  . . . To allow such a person to obstruct the unanimous wishes of the parish in the matter of this sacred memorial to the dead would be a public outrage.

Photo 5 gresham obelisk

The design for the Gresham obelisk

Today these memorials are part of our everyday landscape; barely noticed as we walk past them every day.  The generation of the fallen is often said to be the one which “didn’t like to talk about the war”.  But through their memorials they at least ensured that those who made the ultimate sacrifice would never be forgotten.  Lest we forget today.

Daryl Long NRO Blogger

 

 

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Catch it before it Vanishes

We were really pleased to hear from photographer Nick Stone recently – especially as he was letting us know about his imminent WW1 art exhibition that opens in Norwich on the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice.

All of the details about location and opening times are on the pictures of the flier below – but if you can’t wait until the 11th then you can always take a look at Nick’s website or see his newest piece of work at the Armistice: The Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk exhibition which opened at Norwich Castle on 20th October.

 

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

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

A well read war

As a volunteer I have been helping research aspects of World War One that are to be included in the forthcoming Armistice: Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk exhibition and I have been drawn down all sorts of fascinating research paths.

As ever when I get interested in something I research far more information than is practical to share in a limited physical space but the Norfolkinww1 blog allows me to share this in longer form.

My main areas of research have been into agriculture, Conscientious Objectors and popular books and I have become fascinated by all three areas – much to my surprise with the agricultural research as I have the least green fingers around.

This piece will share some of my research into books and authors publishing during World War One. Continue reading

The Armistice Exhibition Preview at the Royal Norfolk Show

Thank you to all that came to see us at the Royal Norfolk Show last week. We really appreciated the opportunity to introduce you to our upcoming exhibition, Armistice: Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk, as well as hear your memories of First World War veterans.

At our stall we showcased one of the most unique sources in our collection, the Norfolk Regiment Casualty and Sickness book. The book, originally intended as a recruitment ledger, records casualty and sickness details for more than fifteen thousand soldiers of the 1st and 2nd regular battalions, and the 7th, 8th and 9th service battalions of the Norfolk Regiment. The original large hardback volume was compiled by clerks in the Regimental Depot Orderly Room in Britannia Barracks and includes entries running from August 1914 through to the early months of 1919.

The entries are all handwritten in ink, each entry record listing the individual soldier’s number, rank, name, and battalion or battalions they served in, as well as details of casualty, sickness, including details of hospitalisation. Some of the entries contain additional details such as or prisoner of war status and the place of burial immediately after death in battle. A lot of this information would not appear in routine Army Records Office printouts, making the ledger an interesting and unique source. This type of record of World War I casualties is exclusive to the Royal Norfolk Regiment as no other regiments seem to have such a kept such a record.

Norfolk show 1

Sarah and Kate using the Casualty Book to answer a family history query on Twitter.

Currently public access to the Casualty Book is limited to a photocopied version held in the Shirehall Study Centre and can be seen by arranging a study visit with the Regimental Museum. However, recognizing the value that the ledger, our volunteer team is in the process of creating an interactive, digitized version of the ledger, which will include an online searchable database, linking the entries to other sources held at the Regimental Museum such as the War Diaries. We hope to have the online data base up and running by the end of this year.

Norfolk show 3

Nigel Amies and his 1914 drum.

We would also like to extend a big thank you to SSAFA, Armed Forces Charity for lending us a space in their tent, and to Nigel Amies, a freelance historical educator, who did a great job engaging the public with his original restored World War drum from 1914.

 

Armistice: Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk Exhibition – Call for Information

Does your  family have memories of life in Norfolk during the First World War? Share your memories with us at the Royal Norfolk Show!

Welcome to our first exhibition blog entry. In anticipation to the opening the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum’s new exhibition Armistice: Legacy of the Great War in Norfolk on October 20th in Norwich Castle we want to provide you with exclusive behind the scenes sneak peeks at the exhibition preparations. We will showcase different objects, introducing you to some of the incredible stories which will feature in the exhibition.

RM13820

Billeting outside of the Carrow Works Clubhouse.

 

Although the exhibition will commemorate the First World War’s armistice centenary, its main aim will be to celebrate people’s resilience and the emergence of a more understanding society. We will highlight the success of the Suffragette movement and the construction of Homes for Heroes. The exhibition will be unique in its focus on the experience of the First World War specific to Norfolk, with objects for the exhibition having been selected based on their local connection to the county.

The Armistice exhibition will be divided into seven key sections: air, sea, town and industry, country and agriculture, at home and children, soldiers in the county – hospitals, and peace. Each section will be populated with a rich array of objects gathered from museums around the county. Some of the key objects will include an original torpedo and Paddy Hartley’s Papaver Rhoeas poppies.

The exhibition space will be populated by large number of textiles and costumes on open display. There will be something to do for all age groups including family-friendly activities, a home front nursery area with wooden toys and a sailor dress up station.

RM20971

During the First World War there were over sixty War and Auxiliary hospitals in Norfolk.

Now we need your help. As the Armistice exhibition focuses on local history, we thought it would be a good opportunity to ask you, members of the public, about your family’s stories about life in Norfolk during the First World War. We believe there is a hidden history of the hardships faced by returning soldiers and their families. We want to expose how the war changed the life of ex-servicemen and their families and how they dealt with the often trying circumstances.

If you would like to contribute your family’s memories you can reach us by e-mailing regimental.museum@norfolk.gov.uk. If you are attending the Royal Norfolk Show next week, we will have a stall set up adjacent to the SSAFA – the Armed Forces Charity vehicle, so come by and say hello. We would love to hear from you.

 

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