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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Recording the Weather in WW1 – a Norfolk connection

Past articles here on the blog have talked about the weather during World War One, most recently in February 2017. While these posts have been indulging in a personal interest  and myth busting one of our regular readers and contributers has actually found a WW1 link to both the weather and Norfolk!

John Henry Willis

Norwich Meteorologist, Naturalist, Writer, and Inventor

We are indebted to Carey Pallister of Victoria, British Columbia, a descendant of Edgar C. Willis, the younger brother of John Henry Willis and his wife, Jenny Russell Currie. Her interest in this posting has been very supportive; she has provided much useful information including a family tree, as well as invaluable family photographs expertly scanned.

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Finding the Fallen: The Battle of Gaza exhibition panels tour the county

Following on from The Forum’s Battle of Gaza exhibition in April, there are more chances to view the pop-up exhibition panels as they start their tour of the county – find out more about the exhibition and where to see it below.

The Battle of Gaza touring exhibition marks the centenary of the Second Battle of Gaza on 19 April 1917, in which hundreds of men serving in the Norfolk Regiment fought. It tells the story of how the Territorial Force soldiers were recruited and of their journey from Gallipoli to Gaza. It also demonstrates how the campaign in the Middle East impacted on the Norfolk Regiment.

Officers Mess, 1/5th Battalion, The Norfolk Regiment (Territorial Force) Palestine, 1917. Image courtesy of the Purdy Archive.

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Asking for your help, again!

Behind the scenes here in the Norfolkinworldwar1 team we’ve been working very hard on the logistics for a countywide commemoration project to mark the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in 2018 – in fact some of you may have heard us talking about our project at the Norfolk Record Office conference back at the end of February!

The final details are just being worked out and then we’ll share all of our plans with you but for now Sarah needs your help…

Over the past six months I have been trying to assertain the number of men (and women) from Norfolk whose deaths are commemorated on war memorials, plaques and rolls of honor around the county. 

I now am missing the data from just 14 villages and I would be most grateful if readers of the blog could help me fill in these final gaps.

The missing details come from: Arminghall, Bittering Parva, Carleton St Peter, Gately, Hassingham, Holverston, South Acre, Sparham, Stowbridge, Stratton Strawless, Themelthorpe, Thwaite St Mary and West Raynham.

If anyone is near these locations and can share the numbers of people commemorated in each location it would be wonderful. If there is no memorial in some of these places it would be great to know as well please.

Please feel free to share this call for help with anyone who might be able to help – the image below should print off easily to be shared – and as ever thanks in advance for your help.

Sharing research

Recently some of the team from the Norfolkinww1 team went to the day conference organised by the wonderful Norfolk Record Office.

We had a great time talking to other local history researchers and sharing details of our forthcoming project (details here very soon). One of the best things was talking to people who’ve already completed research into their town/village WW1 history and hopefully over the coming months we’ll be able to share their stories here too.

First up we have been given permission by John Ling from Bergh Apton to share the start of their work into all of the men listed on their war memorial.

This is just an excerpt from a wonderful document – and if you email John on John.Ling@btinternet.com he can send you the full document, or you can see the document for yourself in the Sanctuary of the village church.

Burghapton [Bergh Apton], St. Peter and St. Paul’s Church.
Author: Ladbrooke, Robert. From Picture Norfolk

THE MEMORIAL: ITS DESIGN, RESTORATION & ADDITIONS

War memorials erected after the First World War could be a contentious issue. The Eastern Daily Press (EDP) of the time carries many reports of disagreements as to style, form and even decisions taken to do nothing at all. Controversy took many forms. The EDP of 15th March 1920 reported, for example, that the proposal to erect a memorial at Brisley met opposition because it might arouse resentment outside the parish!

There is no record of opposition in Bergh Apton. The request for a Faculty (church planning permission) to erect the memorial was submitted by the Rec-tor and Churchwardens on 4th December 1919 following unanimous agreement by the Vestry on a design submitted by Southampton architect W G Houseman.

There is a hint of controversy, however, after the Second World War in the fact that there was a twenty year delay in adding the names of five Bergh Apton men killed in that conflict. The matter was not settled until 1965 when the Church-wardens’ Minute Book recorded the success of the late Miss Betty Denny-Cooke, clearly in the face of some procrastination by others, in her insistence that the work be done.

Norfolk Record Office has an original drawing of the war memorial proposed in 1919. If one compares the drawing with the memorial itself one sees that the real thing differs little from Houseman’s proposal. It has been restored twice in its lifetime. The first occasion coincided with the addition of the World War Two names 1965. The second was in 2007 when major restoration work was carried out with financial support from English Heritage via the War Memorials Trust together with a fundraising campaign in the village and some very generous do-nations from well-wishers far and wide.

The 2007 work was carried out by stonemason Matthew Beesley of Fairhaven of Anglesey Abbey. He repaired cracks and stabilized metal corrosion, cleaned the stone, re-carved the dedication and the names of the existing men and then protected the memorial against erosion and fungal attack. At the same time, with the approval of the Parish Council and the PCC, the names of sixteen men were added.

The completion of these works was marked on 25th May 2007 by a re-dedication service led by the Bishop of Thetford. It was attended by the Deputy Lord Lieu-tenant for Norfolk, members of the men’s families, Standard Bearers and representatives of many Regiments and Services with whom they had served and by residents of Bergh Apton. The congregation numbered in excess of two hundred people.

Since then the names of more men with appropriate village bone fides (principally birth, baptism, education, livelihood or residence greater than one year) have been added.

BERGH APTON’S WAR DEAD

Only five months after the Great War ended Bergh Apton’s Vestry considered ideas for a village war memorial. A design for a simple war memorial was agreed on 4th December that year and received Diocesan planning approval on 21st February 1920. When it was dedicated on 28th May 1920 it carried the names of twenty men who died in that war. In 1965 five more were added for the Second World War.

Research begun in 1999 revealed that other men whose lives had begun in or had been shaped by the village of Bergh Apton had died in war but their deaths were not recorded on the memorial. A key reason lay in the peripatetic nature of life on the land; by the time that the call went out in 1919 for names to be put for-ward for the memorial many of the agricultural labouring families who had lost sons whilst living in Bergh Apton had moved away to work on farms in other villages.

In 2007 the Parish Council and PCC agreed that Bergh Apton birth, baptism, education, or employment would entitle a man killed in either World War to be added to the memorial. Residential qualification was added in 2009. On this basis the names of thirteen more men from the First World War and seven from the Second were added between 2007 and 2009 to make a total of forty six men. Two more candidates are being considered as this is written.

We are grateful to the many people who have given us help, advice and materials that have enabled us to set down these accounts of lives lost in war. The most important source was the families of the men themselves. Invaluable help came from the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum and the Norfolk Records Office; from the National Archives at Kew; and from the official military records of the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia.

Many of our sources, such as battalion war diaries, record the sweep of battle not the actions of individual men. In these cases we have surmised, at the time of his death, what a man might have been doing rather than what he is known to have been doing. Where we have done this we have tried to make it clear in the text.

An invaluable source for information about our County Regiment’s men has been “The History of the Norfolk Regiment, August 1914 – December 1918” by F Lorraine Petre OBE. It covers in great detail the battles in which the men in our County regiment were killed or wounded.

Finally, we cannot over-emphasise the value of the World Wide Web without which we could not have achieved this record. Key helpers via this medium have been friends such as Dan Breen and Barb Hogan in Canada, Phyllis Bar-nes in Western Australia, Jan Sim in Adelaide, Moominpappa06 on Flickr.com and innumerable other contacts, websites and Internet discussion groups.

 

ROLL OF HONOUR: IN ALPhABETICAL ORDER 

ALEXANDER, Walter Ernest 5 July 1916 Page 21
ANNIS, Arthur William 24 July 1916 26
BARNES, Eric Benjamin(1) 21 July 1940 24
BARNES, Maurice Charles(1) 9 September 1940 38
BEAUMONT, Robert George 4 October 1917 46
BLIGH, Alfred(1) 19 November 1916 52
BOGGIS MM, Alfred John 8 October 1918 47
BRACEY, Walter Wilfred 2 September 1914 37
CAIN, Leonard Walter George 8 August 1944 33
CARR, Leonard Edward(5) 7 June 1917 20
CUBITT, Alfred Alec Arnold(1) 26 September 1915 43
DAVEY, Edward William(1) 26 December 1915 56
ETHERIDGE, Horace Charles(3) 22 April 1917 15
EVERETT, Leonard George(6) 3 April 1917 11
GIDNEY, Robert Kitchener(1) 18 November 1941 51
GILLINGWATER, Victor George 17 February 1917 8
GREENACRE, Charles William 22 April 1916 14
GREENACRE, Henry George Valentine 27 March 1916 10
HALE, Harry Charles(4) 2 June 1944 18
HALLETT, Stephen Cyril Garnier(4) 21 November 1944 53
HARBER, Freeman(1) 14 September 1914 39
HARVEY, Albert Edward(1) 13 August 1915 35
HOOD, Henry John(1) 26 July 1944 27
HUNT, Ernest James(1) 27 July 1916 28
KEELER, Sidney George 27 July 1918 30
KEDGE, Sidney Richard 8 July 1916 22
KING, Alfred George(5) 28 November 1915 54
LEEDER, Ernest Albert 16 April 1917 13
LINCOLN, Clifford(5) 31 July 1944 31
LOVEWELL, Jack Edmond 16 August 1943 36
MACE, Albert George(3) 19 July 1915 23
MARKS, Sidney Herbert 8 October 1917 48
MAYES, Archie Russel 19 February 1941 9
MAYES, Harry Samuel 1 October 1915 44
MAYES, Jack Arthur 23 October 1941 50
MITCHELL, Reginald James(2) 2 October 1917 45
PARKER, Albert William 9 February 1917 7
PODD, Herbert Charles George 28 June 1942 20
PRESTON DCM, John Henry(1) 9 January 1920 6
ROPE, Alfred Hubert 5 May 1917 16
ROPE, Leonard Godfrey 7 April 1916 12
STARMAN, Albert Edward Hamilton(1) 21 September 1944 42
STARMAN MM, William Edward(1) 16 September 1918 41
STONE, Aubrey Samuel 15 September 1916 40
STONE, Thomas(6) 9 May 1915 17
THROWER, Herbert Charles(1) 27 July 1916 29
THROWER, Walter Albert(1) 8 August 1916 32
TOLVER, William Leonard(1) 23 July 1944 25
WALL, Clement Sidney 11 August 1917 34
WEDDUP, Charles Daniel 17 October 1915 49
WRIGHT, James Robert 17 December 1918 55
(1) Added for re-dedication (25 May 2007) ( 2) Added for Remembrance Day 2007
(3) Added for Remembrance Day 2008 (4) Added for Remembrance Day 2009
(5) Added for Remembrance Day 2011 (6) Not yet on Memorial

If your town or village has undertaken similar research, or has a locally produced book/booklet about WW1 connections, please do let us know – we’d love to feature it on the the blog.

Images from the Archive

Feltwell, Sopwith Camel aeroplane crash in 1916

Feltwell, Sopwith Camel aeroplane crash in 1916

This is just one of several hundred newly digitised original photographs, posters and notices connected with the First World War in Norfolk. The material is held in the collections of the Norfolk Heritage Centre, Norfolk Record Office and Norfolk Museums Service. Over the course of the next few years the images will be posted on http://www.picture.norfolk.gov.uk/ (the online picture archive for Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service).

Images from the Archive

Great Yarmouth, soldier guarding the wreck of the SS 'Corcyra'

Great Yarmouth, soldier guarding the wreck of the SS ‘Corcyra’

This is just one of several hundred newly digitised original photographs, posters and notices connected with the First World War in Norfolk. The material is held in the collections of the Norfolk Heritage Centre, Norfolk Record Office and Norfolk Museums Service. Over the course of the next few years the images will be posted on http://www.picture.norfolk.gov.uk/ (the online picture archive for Norfolk County Council Library and Information Service).