A Thetford Man’s War

We’ve recently been contacted by a blog reader who let us know about a wonderful website his son has created charting the war of John Locke from Thetford:

Jack in uniform

 http://wardiary.novawebs.co.uk/index.html

The website creator (and John’s great-grandson) says

The website features a transcript of the war diary of Jack Lock, a soldier who fought in World War One with the 4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. The diary covers his time during the Gallipoli Campaign and he records, in vivid detail, his first experiences of war during that chaotic conflict. The site also features scans of the diary, a biography and several photographs.

Bugle Boy

John ‘Jack’ Locke in later life

As a team we’ve spent hours reading through this treasure and we hope that you all enjoy it too!

If you have a similar project or family story to tell please do drop us a line on norfolkinworldwar1@gmail.com and we’ll do our very best to feature it here!

War Diary August 1917

War Norfolk
Heavy Rain in Belgium

Heavy rain falls across the Ypres battlefields for almost the whole month, preventing any progress from either side.

Stress of War

The coroner passes a verdict of “found drowned” after a soldier’s body is found partially dressed in river. Having not appeared to have been bathing, the soldier’s death comes after said soldier had absented himself from The Sutherland Highlanders (although returning) and suffered disappointment at not being chosen to perform farm work.

German Mutiny

 There is a mutiny in the German High Seas Fleet which is stationed at Wilhelmshaven.

Archiving the War

 The Norwich Public Library Committee inaugurates a collection of war documents as a natural development of their collection and appeals to the public for further donations.

We Plough the Fields and Scatter: The Tractor Ploughing Scheme of 1917

From records held at the Norfolk Record Office and newspaper archives at Norfolk Heritage Centre.

As horses and men were sent to the Front, there was an urgent need for both to be replaced at home to maintain food supplies.  Women replaced many of the men while tractors replaced many of the horses.

Continue reading

War Diary July 1917

War Norfolk
Red Sea Port Captured

An Arab force from the Hejaz guided by T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) captures the Red Sea port of Aqaba

 

Land Girls in the County

The Norfolk Women’s War Agricultural Committee report over 5,000 women working on the land in Norfolk.  Girls were being given 4 weeks training at training centres to prepare them for heavy work.

 

Third Battle of Ypres

The Third Battle of Ypres begins, popularly known as Passchendaele. Fighting continues until 10 November.

 

POWs Put to Work in Norfolk

The committee of Norfolk War Agricultural Committee plan to employ German prisoners to improve the River Yare and Taas (sic).

 

British Monarchy Changes Name

To combat anti-German feeling King George V changes his family name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor.

 

Memorial Window Installed

The stained glass memorial window to Edith Cavell placed in Swardeston parish church above the altar at the east end.

Captivity in Turkey: from the diaries of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Cecil Lodge Part 2: January-December 1917

The Norfolk Regiment in Mesopotamia

Captivity in Turkey: from the diaries of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Cecil Lodge

 January – June 1917

This is a continuation of the postings of 16 November, 2016 and 26 May, 2017. Some entries have been omitted if they are unduly repetitious, or where they contain financial details other than about pay or refer to private family matters. The diaries are held in the archives of the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum.

Continue reading

War Diary June 1917

War Norfolk
Daylight Air Raids

Daylight raids on London by 18 German Gotha bombers continue and 157 people are killed and 432 injured

Germany’s Fanciful Report of a Raid

 A Berlin Official telegram stated “One of our Airship Squadrons under Captain Strasser attacked with success on the night of May 23rd and 24th, places in the south of England – Harwich and Norwich.”

Latest reports show the movement of Zeppelins were hopelessly lost, not only over England, but also on their return trip back to Germany.

New Recruits for the Allies

The first contingent of American soliders arrives in France and Portuguese troops see action for the first time on the Western Front.

Norwich Tribunal Receives Anonymous Letters

People are writing to the Military Representative about people who have not signed their names up for service. He urges people to come and see him privately and that any conversations will be confidential. He would then be able to explain from his records why such and such person had not been called up. He remarked some of the letters were extremely insolent to the Tribunal and to himself as the military representative.

War Diary May 1917

War Norfolk
Convoy System Introduced

To combat the German submarine threat, British introduce the convoy system, moving large numbers of merchant ships together under naval protection.

Memorial for Edith Cavell

 The Norwich District Nursing Association announced at its annual meeting on Tuesday May 22nd that there was a lot of support for an Edith Cavell memorial, with nearly £1,000 already subscribed. The sculptor Mr Pegram was commissioned to place the statue on Tombland opposite the District Nurses premises

Imperial War Graves Commission Formed

 The Imperial War Graves Commission is formally established in London – it becomes the present Commonwealth War Graves Commission in 1960

Extreme Crop Protection Ideas

 The killing of house sparrows and rats was recommended by the Board of Agriculture and Fisheries to help maximise the crops produced in Norfolk during 1917. People were also encouraged to destroy sparrow nests and eggs.