2018 Poppy Project Update

For various reasons there have been fewer posts going out on the blog over the last few months and we hope that is about to change and that we’ll be sharing more stories with you very soon.

In the meantime we’d like to say a huge

to everyone around the county who has been making and sending us poppies.

Behind the scenes we have been working on these and are starting to work out how they can be best displayed in the libraries around the county in November 2018.

Here are just a few (2215 to be precise) of the knitted poppies mounted on to bunting tape ready for display:

We also have lots of beautiful felt, plastic and paper poppies still to mount but this is an ongoing project and if you feel at all crafty please do swamp us with more – full details can be found here.

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Responding to the Living Memory project

In October we posted about the Commonwealth War Graves Commission project #LivingMemory where a call was made to remember the World War One graves located in the UK. One of our readers in Kent saw this post and made his own trip to a local grave to pay his respects.

 

October 31st was a beautiful day in Kent and so I decided to go and look for any World War One graves and memorials in the local church, St. Mary’s in Kennington.

I found one gravestone

kennington

Researching the name a little I have discovered that Edmund Marrable was stationed at Wye Aerodrome and was flying as an observer in an Astro Trainer when it was involved in a mid-air collision near the Golden Ball (now the Old Mill) on 25 April 1918. He was 25. All three airmen involved were killed. Edmund’s home was in Dorchester and his mother, sister and brother-in-law travelled to Kennington for the funeral.

After leaving poppies on the headstone I went into the church and found that there were two World War One commemoration plaques on the wall, both of which had already been decorated with poppies – it is nice to see that these people are still remembered.

church-plaque-1

church-plaque-2

 

If like our correspondent you would like to locate any war graves near where you are then the Cemetery Search feature on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site is really useful.

Gresham’s Remembers

The wonderful work that staff and pupils of Gresham’s School are undertaking to commemorate the staff and pupils from the school continues this July as they remember those who fell at the Battle of the Somme.

greshams

 

Gresham’s School will be remembering those who fell at the Somme on 1 July with a special service in conjunction with Holt Primary School. Pupils will carry a lantern for each of the ten Old Greshamians and one member of staff who lost their lives  between 1 July and 27 July 1916 and a short profile of each will be read out.

We are researching the fallen for our commemorative website- www.greshamsatwar.co.uk – and profiles of the Somme fallen will be posted in due course.

Please get in touch via the website  if you would like information on any of the following in the meantime – George Fenchelle, Walter Gissing, Henry Scott-Holmes, Geoffrey Barratt, Henry Russell, Mark Hill, John Foster, Douglas Richardson, Archibald Gilmour, Dawson Atkin, and Geoffrey Day.

George Fenchelle  - who is one of the OGs who will be remembered on 1 July - as captain of the 1913 rugby team.

George Fenchelle – who is one of the OGs who will be remembered on 1 July – as captain of the 1913 rugby team.

Mesopotamia Norfolk Regiment Casualties of War – 1st November, 1915 until 30th April, 1916

Mesopotamia: The Norfolk Regiment Casualties of War – 1st November, 1915 until 30th April, 1916

Our Mesopotamian researcher is back with a post to commemorate the fallen of the Norfolk Regiment during the final 6 months in Kut and the surrounding areas. 

If readers have pictures or recollections of soldiers of 2/Norfolk who served in the Mesopotamian campaign which they would be happy to share on this site please contact the NorfolkinWW1 team via comments here or by emailing norfolkinworldwar1@gmail.com. All contributions will be treated with respect and much valued.

Further details of grave numbers and panel commemorations for individual soldiers can be found at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx

November 1915-April 1916

a-j

 

Many men died during the battle of Ctesiphon, 22nd – 25th November, 1915, or shortly afterwards, of wounds received during the battle. The retreat to Kut al Amara was also hazardous for the 2nd Norfolks as they frequently formed the rearguard.

Kut War Cemetery

Kut War Cemetery

Kut War Cemetery was completely renovated in 2014. Work carried out by the Commission in 2014 involved the general clearance of vegetation, the installation of a concrete retaining wall, raising of the cemetery levels, construction of a new shelter building, the formation of new headstone beams and the installation of 410 headstones.   (www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/69700/KUT%20WAR%20CEMETERY)

Lieutenant Arthur Richard Russel, 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment, who died on Christmas Day, 1915, and who is buried at Kut War Cemetery.

Lieutenant Arthur Richard Russel, 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment, who died on Christmas Day, 1915, and who is buried at Kut War Cemetery.

Privates Herbert William Hammond, Leonard Thomas Pratt, and E.Tite also died on Christmas Day, but sadly we do not (currently) have their likenesses.

February 1916 – April 1916

jan april

 

Private Charles William Greenacre was born at Westwick, but his mother was a Bergh Apton girl and the family returned there to live. Charles died on 22nd April 1916, aged 23. However, it is not known whether he was in the besieged garrison of Kut or with the relieving force which was desperately trying to lift the siege. His sacrifice is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in modern-day Iraq, and on the war memorial in the churchyard of St. Peter and St. Paul, Bergh Apton. Charles’ brother, Henry, of the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, who died on the Western Front, is also commemorated on the Bergh Apton memorial. The brothers died just 26 days apart.

War Memorial at Bergh Apton, Norfolk

 

The diary of Major F.C. Lodge, commanding the 2nd Battalion includes a photograph of the the cemetery at Kut which was erected for those who died during the siege and were buried before the surrender. It is not known whether this photograph was taken in 1916 or later, after the British recapture of Kut in 1917. The diary titles it Our Cemetery Kut-el-Amara.

'Our Cemetery at Kut-el-Amara', from the Diary of F.C. Lodge

‘Our Cemetery at Kut-el-Amara’, from the Diary of F.C. Lodge (Regimental Museum)

Some men of 2/Norfolk who were injured during the campaign were repatriated to India where they convalesced, and where some of them died. They too should be remembered.

November 1914 – April 1916

india

The Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial stands amidst the graves, manicured lawns and tropical plants of the Kirkee War Cemetery where are buried the dead of the Second World War.

Kirkee War Memorial Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Kirkee War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Again as we said at the beginning – if you have any information about any of the men mentioned in this memorial post (or any of the others we’ve posted over the past year or so) please do get in touch so that we can share their stories too.

Norfolk Regiment Casualties in Mesopotamia May-October 2015

Following on from our recent post about the Mesopotamian movements of the Norfolk Regiment in 1915 our regular contributor now commemorates those who died in the region between May and October 2015.

Mesopotamia

Norfolk Regiment Casualties of War – May 1, 1915 until 31 October, 1915

Further details of grave numbers and panel commemorations for individual soldiers can be found at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site: http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspxNR_Deaths_Aug15-Oct15

North Elmham war memorial_Skipper Elijah

The war memorial at North Elmham lists Private Elijah Skipper, born in the village, and whose death from Beriberi on 13th August 1915 is recorded in the diary of the Major F.C. Lodge, commanding the 2nd Battalion the Norfolk Regiment. Image from: http://www.breckland-rollofhonour.org.uk/n_elmham.html

Reports in 1913 suggested that the cemetery and memorial in Basra had been all but destroyed after the British withdrawal from the city in 2007. This information comes from the CWGC website:

This cemetery is currently not open to visitors. 1.5 km of security fencing has been erected to secure the boundaries of the cemetery during renovation work.

Whilst the current climate of political instability persists it is extremely challenging for the Commission to manage or maintain its cemeteries and memorials located within Iraq. However, a two volume Roll of Honour listing all casualties buried and commemorated in Iraq has been produced. These volumes are on display at the Commission’s Head Office in Maidenhead and are available for the public to view.

A similar fate appears to have befallen the cemetery in Amara, following a good news story reported by the BBC on Friday,18th April 2003:

Lost British graveyard found in Iraq

The Royal British Legion has welcomed news that a lost graveyard for World War I dead has been found in central Iraq.

The cemetery at Al Amara, built for those on the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, has been discovered by the banks of the Tigris river.

It was found by the Royal Irish Regiment, who on Easter Sunday will say prayers at the cemetery for those who died and for the current armed forces.Amara cemetery

Armistice Day

Today marks the 97th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice which stopped the fighting in the First World War.

Poppies at the Tower of London, 2014.

Poppies at the Tower of London, 2014.

Armistice Day was first commemorated in 1919 and in 1921 the poppy was adopted by the Royal British Legion as the symbol of their fundraising campaign.

The poppy was chosen in the UK as the symbol of remembrance due to the proliferation of the flower on the Western Front battle fields and also thanks to the poem “In Flanders Fields” written by the Canadian surgeon John McCrae. the poem first appeared (anonymously) in Punch Magazine in December 1915. It was only after McCrae’s death in 1918 that the poem appeared in a book of his collected works.

“In Flanders Fields,” by McCrae, John (1872-1918). First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed November 3, 2015, http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/item/1643.

“In Flanders Fields,” by McCrae, John (1872-1918). First World War Poetry Digital Archive, accessed November 3, 2015, http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/collections/item/1643.

Armistice Commemorations

Cotman Housing Association, with the support of its partners and the local community, organised a special Armistice Day event to remember those who served and fell during the First World War.

cotman planting 1

In the calm surroundings of the Bowthorpe Community Gardens on 11th November 2014, over 140 people, including staff from Cotman Housing, Future Projects, Novus Solutions, Mow & Grow and children from St Michael’s V.A. Middle School and Clover Hill V.A. Infant School and the local community joined together in memory of those who served during World War I.

cotman planting 2

The proceedings began with a welcome from Vicar Mark Elvin and he introduced special guest Len Fox, a Normandy Veteran and a Cotman customer, who thanked everyone for being there.

Len Fox, Normandy Veteran

Len Fox, Normandy Veteran

The students of St Michael’s Middle School, had been assigned with writing poetry to mark this year’s Armistice Day. A selection of these were read out by the students, with their evocative poems perfectly capturing the tragic nature of the First World War and the solemn mood of the event.

cotman planting 6

Major Rushmere and Veteran Len Fox


At 11.00am the traditional two minute silence was held and following this, everyone gathered at the Heritage Gardens to plant poppy seeds and daffodil bulbs.

Cotman planting 5

The event came together as a result of the Association being awarded funding from the Norfolk Armed Forces Community Covenant Board, Norfolk World War 1 Fund. The unique nature of the occasion attracted considerable media interest, with BBC Look East on hand to capture the proceedings. The Association wishes to thank everyone involved in organising the event and those who were in attendance who helped make the day a success.