War Letters: August 1917


These are extracts from letters sent by local men, printed in the Carrow Works Magazine during the First World War. The magazine was published quarterly for Colman’s staff. More than 900 workers at Colman’s Carrow Road works signed up during the conflict. 

From Private A.H. Cornwell, R.A.M.C., Egypt, to Mr Beales.
August, 1917.

“… there is plenty of work to do here looking after the patients. We have two fine homes just outside our place for soldiers, where we can go and read, and write our letters, and play all sorts of games when we are off duty. There are some fine sights to see out here, but I would rather see the sights of good old Norwich again. I went and saw the pyramids and the Sphinx last Sunday week, and I thought it a grand sight…”

Images from the archives

Ypres, the remains of the Cloth Hall, taken after the First World War in 1919, by Mary Olive Edis


Olive Edis took up photography in 1900 and in 1905 opened a studio in Church Street, Sheringham. During her career she photographed a wide cross section of society, from local fishermen and their families to royalty and other influential people. She was a pioneer in several ways and in 1912 she became one of the first people to use autochromes, the first commercially available colour photographic process. In 1918 she was commissioned by the Imperial War Museum as the only official woman photographer to record the work of women in the armed forces in Flanders and France. This image forms part of the photographic collections of Cromer Museum.

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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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.

William Conway Thomas: “Everything Was Influenced by the War.”

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William Conway Thomas

Last week we featured the story of Arthur Smith, who had taken part in Norfolk Libraries’ Historypin Connections project and shared his memories of Norwich after the First World War. This week we are looking at the life story of William Conway Thomas who, like Arthur, was born in 1917 but grew up in Swansea, Wales. William first shared his memories with Historypin project coordinator Rachel Willis in 2016 on his local mobile library, which William visits regularly to pick up a new selection of audio books.

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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.

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