A Hellesdon War Memorial Mystery

Our project to create a poppy for every name listed on the county’s war memorials has sparked a lot of interest and has also thrown up some interesting queries…

We’ve recently been talking on Twitter with Linda, a lady who has undertaken to create a poppy for all of the men listed on the Hellesdon War Memorial. More than this Linda is also researching the war history of all 15 men remembered there.

A recent image of Hellesdon War Memorial

Linda has made the fourteen poppies, and researched in to thirteen of the men but there is a real mystery surrounding the last man…

The soldier concerned is recorded on the memorial as William H Piercy but I can find no record of him in any records.

I have however found a William John Piercy who’s next of kin were living at Lower Hellesdon. 

I have been doing the research as part of the Hellesdon Community History Group and I’m stuck – could you forward this query on to anyone that can help guide me in the right direct to resolve this quandary.   

I think it is a transcription/typo error which I have had personal experience of within my own family.

We’ve done a little sleuthing by playing around with various spellings of the name and the initials on the Commonwealth War Graves website and found three possible men that could possibly be the man listed at Hellesdon.

Gunner W R Piercy #74009 whose parents are listed as living on Dereham Rd, Norwich

W J Piercy #43703 whose parents are listed as living in Eccles.

William Piercy #G/16306 but with no further details.

And this is where we call on your expertise – can anyone help Linda, as she says

His name would have been submitted to a “committee” for approval and I wonder where this would be and this record would have more information to help confirm his parents/date of birth etc. 

As ever if you can help with this query please leave a comment here / email norfolkinworldwar1@gmail.com or Tweet us @Norfolkinww1

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This Was Not To Be His Final Curtain

We’ve recently been contacted by Ray from Mattishall who has shared a fascinating story about a local man who has faded from memory since the First World War, despite is high profile at the time.

This was not to be his final curtain: Frank Henry Norman Wrighton

Frank Henry Norman Wrighton
1879 – 1917

Friday, November 2nd 1917 – My journey looking for First World War casualties had brought me to the picturesque seaside town of Torquay, Devon, many miles from the battle fields of the Western Front. A thin and wasted 38-year-old man had finally succumbed to an affliction he had acquired during his military service. Katherine Peacock, the Matron of St Barnabas Nursing Home for the Incurables, was recorded as being present. No records have been found to confirm there was any effort to return his remains to his home village of Mattishall Burgh, Norfolk although on his death certificate an address of 45 Warwick Road, Warwick Gardens, London was written, a large building where he or his wife could have been renting a room, whilst working in the capital. There was a war on and any transportation of a corpse would have involved considerable expense which from all accounts show there was little funds available. Four days later on November 6th he was taken the short trip to Torquay cemetery and after a simple service lowered into a common grave, a grave we now know he shares with four other men. His death was not the result of battle wounds but a condition brought on and worsened during his short military service. His death certificate, records him as ‘FRANK HENRY WRIGHTON’, age 38, an Actor. A simple note on his service records reads “He was well till a year ago, then had Pleurisy and Pneumonia, following wet exposure”. TB was also found in his Sputum.

I had been researching this man for a few years and on discovering this I was left quite emotional. There was no record of him on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, even though the army had been paying and caring for him since his discharge. How had this man just been forgotten? I had got to know him well, my research had found he had been such a character, or being an actor, multiple characters! He was very patriotic, had a great spirit of determination and given a lot so ending up forgotten, in a common grave did not do him justice. Continue reading

Cambrai 100: Remembering Nicholas Robert Colman

NICHOLAS ROBERT COLMAN

Nicholas Robert Colman was born on the 30th September 1897, and baptised on the 18th January 1898 in Gunthorpe parish church, the son of Daniel and Catherine Colman.[1]

Figure 1: From the Baptisms Register, Gunthorpe, 1898

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The Assembly Memorial Chairs exhibition in Norwich

The team at St Peter Mancroft Church in the centre of Norwich have been in touch to let us know about the wonderful World War One exhibition they will be holding from October 25th onward:

We will be hosting an art installation entitled ‘Assembly – Memorial Chairs’  by Derbyshire artist Val Carman, which will be on display in the church from 10am-3.30pm Monday to Saturday from 25 October – 23 November 2017.  This period is particularly poignant given that the centenary of the end of the Battle of Passchendaele is on 10 November 2017.

The installation consists of five chairs from Passchendaele’s St Audomarus Church – each representing the casualties of one year of the war 1914-1918 which will be shown by small lead numbers on each chair.

Next to the chairs there will be a book with the names of the fallen printed on the left hand side. The blank pages left on the right hand side are for visitors to write their own testimony or personal story.  Any story or local references to WW1 can be added to the book – photocopies of images and letters are also welcome.

The Revd Canon Ian Bentley, interim vicar of St Peter Mancroft said:   “The simplicity of this exhibition is very moving and we are honoured to have the installation in Norfolk during the centenary of Passchendaele to act as a focus for remembrance season.  To mark the centenary of WW1 many parishes in Norfolk will have carried out research on the names on their war memorials.  I encourage you all to visit, look for names in the book that you recognise and make sure that Norfolk stories from WW1 are recorded in this lasting memorial.”

‘Assembly’ will visit 15 significant sites during its journey and in 2018 the book and the chairs will be returned to Ypres and so we are very proud and excited that St Peter Mancroft forms part of this tour.

The team planning this wonderful exhibition are launching the exhibition with the following event:

  • A preview viewing, with talk from the artist, in the evening of 24th October

 

As we get more details we will share them but if you are in the city during this time the exhibition sounds unmissable – if you’d like any more information then please contact Geoff Woolsey-Brown 07752 025296 / 01603 617301 or visit https://assemblymemorialchairs.wordpress.com/

Mummy, what did you do in the Great War?

Norfolk Women in the First World War – a call for stories

The Forum, Norwich recently contacted us to see if we could help them with their next First World War project.

The Forum, Norwich, is appealing for people to share their stories and memories of Norfolk women in the First World War who were either on active service or remaining strong on the Norfolk home-front.

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The Mystery of a Military Cross Award.

On the Norfolk Regiment pages of this blog a conversation has been taking place regarding a one of the regiment’s own but that has subsequently thrown up more questions than answers…

One of our readers has restored a trench watch that belonged to Captain R B Caton of the 4th and contacted us to see if we could help him fill in some of the details relating to Cpt. Caton.

Captain Caton

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