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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Branching out into Suffolk (slightly)

We’ve been contacted by another blog reader looking for some help filling out the final details of some family history research which has led him from Suffolk to Norfolk.

 

My grandfather, Albert Holmes from Newmarket Suffolk, was born in  1883.  Albert was a Bricklayer before he joined up to the B Company of the 2nd Btn Suffolk Regiment. He was born in Exning (nr Newmarket) and lived in Newmarket. He married just before he joined up and his widow (my grandmother) never remarried but lived until 1971 aged 88 –  much of the time in the house they moved into after the marriage!

We know he was home on leave late 1916/1917 as I have a photo of him with his wife and my mother – who was born in April 1915.

Albert with wife Edith and daughter Beryl.

He is recorded on the War memorial in Newmarket but until I contacted the Suffolk Regiment Museum with a photograph I did not know that he was in the Norfolk Regiment.  More research has let us know that Albert died of his wounds on 6th Aug 1918 and was buried in North Gate Cemetery in Baghdad.

Albert is believed to be the man in the front row of seated privates on the immediate left of the central officer.

I knew from my grandmother that he was buried in the Middle East  but I don’t know if she even knew exactly where. I have two requests:

Does anyone have any photos of his grave or memorial in the North Gate Cemetary? At present I don’t know if he even has a grave or if this cemetary is still in existance.
Also I would also love to know is more about his service, things like when he returned from leave (which would more positively date my family photo),  when he joined the Norfolks, when he arrived in the Middle East, when and where he was injured and in hospital.

I know that other readers of this blog have helped fill in the gaps for other people and I hope the same comes true here – thank you in advance, Mike Browne.

As ever if you can help tell Albert’s story please do drop us a line (norfolkinworldwar1@gmail.com), leave a comment here or reach us on Twitter (@Norfolkinww1).

Call for help from Newfoundland

We recently received an email from Newfoundland, Canada asking if we could help identify a soldier from a photograph that has ended up in Mr Collins possession.

 

On the back of this image are the words “8359 Mrs M J Nichols, Digby, NS”

Mr Collins has undertaken some research and discovered two soldiers (so far) with this regimental number.

One is  Herbert S Peggs  who was born in Stalham,  and who enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces with the number #8359. The other is Pr. Herbert Victor Moores was was born in Salford Manchester and who was sadly KIA 1916 while serving with the Manchester Regiment.

While there is no guarantee that either of these men are the one in photograph Mr Collins is very keen to try and put a name to ‘his’ soldier and as there is a possible Norfolk link wonders if anyone can help, and also possibly help fill in the story so we discover why his photo has arrived in New Foundland.

close up of unknown soldier

As ever please do get in touch with us with any ideas or information you might have via comments here, Twitter or our email address, and if you have any queries like this of your own please do contact us too.

Helping a family with information 100 years after the event.

Another blog reader has contacted us and once more we’d love some help in fleshing out his story for family members as the 100th Anniversary of his death approaches.

The young man in question is Private Samuel Riches, we know he was registered as No 43491 within the 8th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, although his original documents show that he originally enlisted with the 6th Cyclist Bn in October 1914.

More family research has shown that Samuel was a cook within the service

Samuel Riches (on the right)

and that his date of death is recorded as 11th August 2017.

Samuel is commemorated on the Menin Gate in Ypres and sadly his exact place of death is not known.

It is with this fact that the family are asking for help.  We know that at the time of Samuel’s death the Third Battle of Ypres was taking place but the two questions the family have are:

  • As a cook would Samuel have been fighting in the front line and thus killed in battle or would he have been killed accidentally behind the lines?
  • Can we work out the likely location of his death from the date?

We really hope that some of our readers may be able to help with these questions so that when Samuel Riches descendants travel to Ypres in August they can have as much information about his last days as possible.

If any of our readers can help answer any of these questions, or can give any insight into the life of a cook in the Trenches during WW1 please do leave a comment or email Norfolkinworldwar1@gmail.com.

Equally if you have a similar question within your own research please do get in contact.

 

A treasure trove of images

Historian and author Steve Smith got in touch with us recently to share this new collection of images he’d just been shown:

Recently, after a conversation on Facebook, I met up with Gill Sidell to discuss her Father, Private 2063 George Leonard Bindley, who served in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in the Great War.

Private 2063 George Leonard Bindley, who served in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in the Great War.

Private 2063 George Leonard Bindley, who served in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in the Great War.

I helped Gill piece together a few things about George who served with them all through the war, officially serving in a theatre of war with them from the 9th August 1915 onward when the battalion transferred from HMTS Aquitania to the SS Osmaniah to land Gallipoli on the 10th August. Having served in that campaign he eventually ended up in Egypt when the Gallipoli Campaign ended in December 1915 and also served in Palestine. One of the postcards records the fact that the battalion marched past General Allenby is Cairo

George Bindley's company seen marching past General Allenby during a parade in Cairo.

George Bindley’s company seen marching past General Allenby during a parade in Cairo.

and the note on the back states, Our Coy marching past Gen Allenby in Cairo look for me.

I am certain that he was wounded on 19th April 1917 when the 1/4th Battalion took part in the 2nd Battle of Gaza and it is said that he spent time with the Camel Corps helping to transport supplies across the desert.

George Bindley seen stood in the foreground whilst on active service. It is said he spent time with the Camel Corps transporting supplies across the desert.

George Bindley seen stood in the foreground whilst on active service. It is said he spent time with the Camel Corps transporting supplies across the desert.

George sent a number of postcards to his Mother and Brother whilst serving overseas and also collected photographs of men who served with him. Some of these are named but many are not and remain unidentified. Looking at the men all either served in the 1/4th or 1/5th Norfolk Regiment.

1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment seen after a football match.

1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment seen after a football match.

These are a snapshot into another time and show a number soldiers in different poses who went to serve their King and Country. Some were taken prior to the Norfolks shipping out to Gallipoli but a number of them show men who were serving in the Middle East.

A platoon of 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in Egypt.

A platoon of 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment in Egypt.

One of the images is quite poignant and you can see that what happened to the lad affected George.

Private 240868 Edward Arthur Bubbings of the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died of wounds on 17th July 1917

Private 240868 Edward Arthur Bubbings of the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment who died of wounds on 17th July 1917

On the back of a circular photo it notes,

‘In Loving Remembrance of Pte E Bubbings 1/5 Norfolk Regt who gave his life for his country in Palestine 1917.’ “Greater love hath no man than this that he gave his life for his friends.”

The soldier in question can be identified as Private 240868 Edward Arthur Bubbings who was the son of W.G. and Alice Bubbings of 91 Harley Road in Great Yarmouth. Edward was only 18 when he died of wounds on 14th July 1917 serving with the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. During this period both the 4th and 5th Battalions were in trenches spanning from the Gaza-Cairo road over Sniper’s Post and Samson Ridge and then ending up by the sea at Sheikh Ajlin. Their war diary and history notes that casualties for this period were caused by Turkish shelling. Edward is now laid to rest in Deir El Belah War Cemetery in Palestine.

Another postcard image simply states,

Private 241000 Daniel Rout who served in the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

Private 241000 Daniel Rout who served in the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

‘Rout Red Sea’

This can be traced to Private 241000 Daniel Rout who served in the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. Looking at the 1911 Census and the age of the soldier I would say this is Daniel Rout who was born in West Lynn in 1898 who was the son of Joseph and Elizabeth Rout. Daniel had worked as a Farm Labourer prior to joining up and the picture would have been taken when he was about 18 or 19 years old. Daniel survived the war.

One other postcard notes ‘Mr A Brighty No 9 Eton Village.’

rivate 1852 Arthur George Brighty from Eaton who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

rivate 1852 Arthur George Brighty from Eaton who served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment.

This can be linked to Private 1852 Arthur George Brighty who initially served in the Royal Army Medical Corps landing at Gallipoli on 4th October 1915 before becoming Private 204670 Brighty in the 1/4th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. He survived the war and was disembodied on 4th April 1919. Arthur was born in Eaton in 1896 and was the son of Amelia Brighty who was living at 4 Branksome Road in Norwich during the 1911 Census.

Luckily George also survived the war and was disembodied from the Army on 4th April 1919.

group of 1/4th Battalion Noroflk Regiment men seen stood together whilst serving in Egypt.

group of 1/4th Battalion Noroflk Regiment men seen stood together whilst serving in Egypt.

We are very grateful to Gill who has given permission for these images to be displayed here in the hope that we might be able to identify the unknown men and if you feel you can help with that then please contact the blog team by emailing norfolkinworldwar1@gmail.com.

 

Gill has kindly shared many more pictures with us and we will be posting them both here and on the @Norfolkinww1 Twitter stream over the next few weeks and months, should you recognise anyone in the images please do get in touch as we’d love to know more.