War Letters: August 16th, 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 Bombardier Sydney W. Smith, Palestine, to Mr Beales.
August 16th, 1917.

“… Although for the past few months I have had to adopt the roving habits of the Bedouin, and have wandered about the Sinai Peninsula and Southern Palestine, yet I am glad to say the Magazine has eventually reached me; but upon perusing it, although glad to learn of those who have won honours, I am sorry for those who have fallen in battle, especially my old workmate, Walter Copland.

Having spent a considerable time in the desert we are well climatised, but the heat at times is very trying , both to men and horses… Lucky is the man who has the fortune to bivouac for the night near one of the few oases there are in this district, for they then have the opportunity of getting figs, grapes, pomegranates, prickly pears and dates, as these fruits are now in season…”

 

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War Letters: August 13th, 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 William Cracknell, Birmingham, to Mr Rix.
August 13th, 1917

“… I am in hospital. I got wounded on the 31st July. I had a bullet go through my leg, but it did not touch the bone, but it leaves my leg a bit numb after I have been on it a little time. Getting back to the dressing-station I got a piece of shrapnel in the jaw. I had it x-rayed on Sunday… it will be a week or two before I shall be able to eat solid food. I don’t mind that as I think I am lucky to get off as lightly as I have…”

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…”

The Royal Berkshire Yeomanry in Norfolk

Following on from the recent post tracing the military history of Louis Beard we’ve been in touch with Andrew French who is the hon. curator at the Berkshire Yeomanry Museum. He has provided more information to Louis’ family about his service and has also discovered more links between the Berkshire Yeomanry and Norfolk…

WW1-THE-ROYAL-BERKSHIRE-YEOMANRY-CAP-BADGE-BRASS

In mid November 1914,  after orders to proceed to France were cancelled, the Second Mounted Division, comprising four cavalry brigades each of three yeomanry regiments was ordered to East Anglia to guard the coast against invasion especially since the bombarding of Yarmouth by German battleships on the 4th November.

3rd Tp B (Reading) Sqn Group at Railway Workshops Melton. Photo courtesy of the Berkshire Yeomanry Museum.

3rd Tp B (Reading) Sqn Group at Railway Workshops Melton. Photo courtesy of the Berkshire Yeomanry Museum.

The Berkshire Yeomanry was initially based in and around Melton Constable, Briningham and Briston. Regimental Headquarters was based at Briningham Hall and the regiment trained at Lord Hastings invitation at Melton Park.

Brinningham Church, from the Ladbrooke Collection held by Picture Norfolk.

Brinningham Church, from the Ladbrooke Collection held by Picture Norfolk.

The billeting was described as “tight”, and not without good reason; on arrival some were fortunate to get billeted in cottages; others were accommodated in loose boxes and a few found shelter in disused pig sties.

 

Here is a letter from troops AH Harry Alder:

A Sq Berks Yeo

Home Farm

Melton Constable

[November 19th 1914] Thursday Norfolk

 Dear Mother

Just to let you know I am still alive. I think I told you what a long ride we had to get here. We are stopping at a farm about 13 miles from Cromer. We are sleeping in a barn with straw to lie on; it is not very warm but we are quite alright. We have been drilling today at Lord Hasting[s’] park its a lovely place and there are hundreds of deer running around. 

I am writing this in the village, about a mile from our billets. I am in a grocers shop with Phil Bowyer, the people are very nice and have given us tea. It has been raining nearly all day and its a treat to get in by the warm.

 I don’t know what we are brought up here for but I think they are thinking that the Germans might land. They say there are about 50 thousand soldiers round about.

 How are you all getting on, it seem months since you last and I expect it will be a long time before I see you again.

I don’t know it we shall ever get over to France. I don’t think the officers think we shall. Just remember me to Jack North, tell him I will write when I get the chance. Shall be glad to hear from any of you. How is Bill getting on with the bike. I expect. I expect he does a bit of exploring on it. I don’t think there is any more news I can tell you, if we should happen to move I will send a PC.  How is the bis [business] getting on; the pig cutlets went down a treat.  I should like to see Jack, I expect he would no [know] me. I must now end up, give my love to Dad Winnie Stan and Willie.

I am quite well never felt better in my life, I think I can stand the rough weather as good as any of them. Must now wish you all Good Bye with love to you all

                                              from Harry

Tpr Harry Alder with his sister. Photo courtesy of the Berkshire Yeomanry Museum.

Tpr Harry Alder with his sister. Photo courtesy of the Berkshire Yeomanry Museum.

edits/notes in red made by Andrew

Many thanks to Andrew for this post, we’re looking forward to finding out more about the Berkshire Yeomanry’s time in Norfolk during the war.