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

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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

New beginnings post war

1918 was a year that was full of fighting and death – either on the battle fields or from ‘flu – and while it is important to mark the end of the fighting with the signing of the Armistice on 11th November it is also good to remember that December 1918 saw the culmination of another struggle when (some) women and all men aged over 21 gained the right to vote in UK elections.

While the campaign for women’s votes had been put on hold during the war we can’t say the same for projects looking in to the Suffrage and Suffragette movements and we’ve just been told about an exciting day of events looking at just this issue taking place on Saturday 13th October:

‘Suffragette Stories: Exploring the Legacy’

‘Suffragette Stories: Exploring the Legacy’ is a free evening of talks open to all on Saturday, 13th October, 5-7.30pm in the Auditorium of the Forum in Norwich.

It marks the date that the ‘Votes for Women’ banner was first raised at the Free Trade Hall in 1905 by Annie Kenny. Talks and discussion will throw light on the struggle against inequality of little known activists like the Kenney sisters, celebrate the achievement of voting rights for women (over the age of thirty), and consider the uneven progress of gender relations since.

Join us to hear from leading historians Krista Cowman and Lyndsey Jenkins as well as UEA Archive’s very own Writer in Residence, Fiona Sinclair, who will be reporting on the activities of ‘Suffragette Stories’ HLF project so far. Listen, reflect, and take part in the questions and discussion afterwards. All welcome!

Tickets to this event are free and can be booked here.

 

Remembering George Thomas Dawson

With many thanks to the Wood Norton Remembers project for this post, As ever if you or your local history group have any research to share please do get in touch.

George Thomas Dawson was born on the 28th January 1878, the second son of James and Sarah Ann Dawson.  He was baptised on the 5th June 1881, in Wood Norton parish church (see Figure 1).

 

Figure 1 : Extract from the Wood Norton Baptisms, 1881

The British Army WW1 Service Records 1914-1920 do not appear to have survived for George, but from extant records it can be seen that George was serving with the 14th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) (see Figure 2).[1]

Figure 2 : Medal Roll Index Card,
George Thomas Dawson

The 14th Battalion was one of three Labour Battalions (13th, 14th and 15th), formed between July and September 1916.  It was formed in Crawley, and went to Salonika in September 1916.  The Royal Warrant of 21 February 1917 sanctioned the formation of a Labour Corps, and the 13th, 14th and 15th Labour Battalions of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)  were transferred to the Labour Corps in June 1917; the 14th Battalion became the 95th and 96th Companies of the Labour Corps, and new regimental numbers were issued to the servicemen (the 95th Company being issued the regimental numbers 56401-57000).[2]

The new Labour Corps would have continued to support the troops (the British Salonika Force) as part of the Salonika Campaign, allied troops having been sent to support the Serbs against the German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian armies in October 1915.  A second offensive in the spring of 1917 made little impression on the Bulgarian defences, and the front line remained more or less static until September 1918 and the launch of a third offensive culminating with the surrender of Bulgaria on the 30th September 1918.  Soldiers on both sides faced each other for three years across challenging terrain, through extremes of climate in summer and winter.  Much effort was expended on improving the local road network and in constructing light railways, but even so, many parts of the front could only be reached by pack mules. [3] The Register of Soldiers’ effects for George records that he died on the 19th September 1918 of ‘illness’;[4] disease, in particular malaria, proved endemic throughout the campaign, and this may have been the cause of his death. The British Salonika Force alone suffered more than 160,000 cases of malaria, particularly in the Struma Valley; at the time, the region was one of the worst malarial areas in Europe.[5]  The Register of Soldiers’ Effects notes that an amount of £7 4s 4d was paid to George’s mother, Sarah Dawson as sole legatee in March 1919, with a War Gratuity of £9 being paid to her in December 1919.   George is buried in the Mikra British Cemetery, and his headstone bears the inscription We Shall Meet Again, chosen by George’s mother.[6]

Further research into George’s family reveals that his father, James Dawson, was born on the 6th December 1847, and baptised on the 17th January 1847 in South Creake parish church, the son of John and Alice Dawson.[7]  James Dawson married Sarah Ann Buckingham on the 27th October 1874, in Wood Norton.[8]  Sarah was born in 1846 in Stibbard, the daughter of Thomas and Susan Buckingham.[9]  It is possible that James died in 1914 aged 68,[10] as George’s Register of Soldiers’ Effects lists his mother Sarah as sole legatee in 1919.  Sarah Ann died in 1928, aged, 81, and is buried in Wood Norton.[11]

The 1911 census for Wood Norton records that James and Sarah had four children, of which only George was recorded as still living with them:

Name Born Died
John 1876, Wood Norton.  Baptised 4th June 1876.[12]

In the 1911 census for Wood Norton, John is aged 34 and a fitter’s labourer (railway worker), married with one child.  He married Emily Louisa Hill on the 17th March 1900, in Wood Norton.[13]

1956, aged 79.  Buried in Wood Norton.[14]
George Thomas 1878, Wood Norton.  In the 1911 census, George is aged 33, and a farm labourer. 19th September 1918, Salonika
Benjamin 17th December 1880, Wood Norton. Baptised 5th June 1881 (with his brother, George Thomas).[15]

In the 1911 census for Fulmodeston, Benjamin is aged 30 and a railway worker, and newly married (he married Florence Emerson in the spring of 1911).[16]

1944, aged 63.[17]
Susanna 22nd October 1884, Wood Norton.  Baptised 16th May 1886.[18]

Susanna married Thomas James Jenkinson in 1908.[19]  In 1911 she is living with her husband (a farm labourer) and three children in Bulwell, Nottingham.[20]

1971, aged 86, in Derbyshire.[21]

 

The Wood Norton War Memorial lists two other related Dawson men: Frederick and Herbert, brothers who both survived the WW1 conflict, who were the sons of William and Elizabeth Dawson.[22]  William and George were cousins whose fathers, William (aged 76) and James (aged 65), were brothers and both living in Wood Norton at the time of the 1911 census[23] (see Figure 3).

Figure 3 : Family relationship – Frederick, Herbert and George Thomas Dawson

[1] British Army WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards, 1914-1920 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[2] See The Long, Long, Trail, The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/queens-royal-west-surrey-regiment/; and Army Service Numbers 1881-1918, The Formation of the Labour Corps in 1917, http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/formation-of-labour-corps-in-1917.html

[3] Salonika Campaign Society,1915-1918, The Campaign https://salonikacampaignsociety.org.uk/campaign/; CWGC, Salonika, https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/campaigns/salonika

[4] UK, Army of Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[5] CWGC, Salonika, https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/campaigns/salonika

[6] CWGC commemoration and headstone schedule (www.cwgc.org)

[7] Baptism Register, South Creake, 1847 (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD Quarter to December 1846, Docking, Vol.13, p.53 (www.freebmd.org.uk); 1851 census, South Creake (p23) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[8] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1874, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.253 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1874 (p.95)

[9] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1846, Walsingham, Vol.13, p.350 (www.freebmd.org.uk); 1911 census, Wood Norton (Schedule 196) (www.ancestry.co.uk); 1851 census, Stibbard (p.1) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[10] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1914, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.123 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[11] Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Burials, 1928 (p.131)

[12] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1876, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.77 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1878, Wood Norton (www.familysearch.org)

[13] 1911 census, Wood Norton (Schedule 148) (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1900, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.135 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1900 (p.99)

[14] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1956, N. Walsham, Vol.4b, p.705 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Burials, 1956 (p.133)

[15] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1881, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.79 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1881, Wood Norton (www.familysearch.org)

[16] 1911 census, Fulmodeston (Schedule 28) (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, marriage, Quarter to Mach 1911, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.437 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[17] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1944, Fakenham, Vol.4d, p.272 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[18] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1884, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.83 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1886, Wood Norton (www.familysearch.org)

[19] Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Banns, 1908 (p.60); FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1908, Nottingham, Vol.7b, p.570 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[20] 1911 census, Bulwell (Schedule 21) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[21] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1971, Derby, Vol.3a, p.749 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[22] 1911 census, Wood Norton (Schedule 197) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[23] 1911 census, Wood Norton (Schedules 172 and 194) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

 

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

Following up on a recent post and call for help.

Following on from our recent post asking for help identifying a ‘mystery man’ on the Hellesdon War Memorial we’ve had lots of people share information with us and we are now pretty certain that we have identified the Piercy mentioned on the memorial.

All respondents are certain that the name has been miss-copied or miss transcribed at some point and that it should read William J(ohn) Piercy and not William H Piercy.

More detailed research shared with us by historian and author Steve Smith shows that he was born in Hackford in Norfolk and that he enlisted in Norwich on 9th May 1915 initially with the 1/6th Norfolk Cyclist Battalion, he was 19 ½ at the time of enlisting.

He was sent overseas on the 27th July 1916 (missing the start of the Battle of the Somme) and joined the 8th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment on the 10th August 1916. We are lucky that his full service records survived the air raids of the 2nd World War  and we can trace his progress through the war as he moved to the 9th Battalion and then the 1st Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment.

His record card states that he was wounded in October 1916 and on looking through the Norfolk Regiment Casualty Book, held at the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum, this can be deciphered so we know that in October 1916 he was suffered gunshot wounds to his lower extremities and was evacuated back to the Military Hospital in Devonport. He stayed in the UK until August 1917 when he once more returned to service overseas, and was back at the Front by 10th September 1917.

He is listed as being Killed in Action on 29th May 1918 and is commemorated on Panel 3 of the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium.

To tell the story of his final day Steve has also found the Battalion War Diary for 29th May 1918 so that we can see what he faced.The internet became a truly magical place at this point when we were contacted by a family member of the Piercy’s former neighbours and so we can share that here too as it gives a flavour to the lives of people living in Norfolk at the time.

Once more a huge thanks to all our readers who have added so much more to this man’s story.

A very different call for help

Here at the Norfolkinworldwar1 team we’ve been contacted by Mr Kelly with another World War One query, and once more we are hoping that our readers can help – although this time we have lots of information and are looking for descendants of a WW1 soldier.

Mr Kelly writes:

A relative in Canada has come across a WW1 Medal for the above named. My local History Research Group have identified the following from his War number in the Norfolk Regiment where he was Private 24249 which is on the Medal.

 

 

 

Further research has shown that soldier #24249 is in fact:
Cyril Henry Payne
Birth Date: 21 Mar 1891
Baptism Date: 14 Jun 1891
Baptism Place: Aylmerton, Norfolk, England
Father: William Payne
Mother: Eliza Jane Payne

Mr Kelly continues that his Canadian family are travelling to the UK in the autumn and would like to return the medal to the family if they can be found – so if anyone reading this can help locate Cecil Payne’s family please do email Sarah at norfolkinworldwar1@gmail.com so we can try to reunite the medal.