Unveiling the finished art work

You may remember that just a few days ago we shared the wonderful project being run by the Sprowston Dementia Friendly Community – well they’ve now sent us the pictures of their final art work and we think it is wonderful.

Do remember to send us details of any WW1 projects you are working on so that we can share them with our readers.

 

 

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Poppies from Yarmouth

A few weeks ago we were asked if we had time to meet some special visitors from Great Yarmouth at the Millennium Library in Norwich as they had some poppies to pass on for our poppy project.

When the group arrived we found it was more than a ‘few’ poppies as in fact the Age Connected ‘knit and knatter’ group at the ACORN Centre in Yarmouth handed over a staggering 1011 poppies!

Margaret Rice and some of her fellow knitters came to the city to hand the sackful of poppies over in person and in particular pointed out the 3 very special ones which Margaret knitted with glitter in memory of her three uncles Arthur Williams Goldstink, Charles Samuel Goldstink and Herbert James Goldstink who died during this time.

What made this day more special was that Margaret  has not been in the city for almost 40 years!

(L-R) Sarah Salmon, Norfolk Libraries; Sarah Lee, Age Connected; knitters Sue Gibbs, Janet Laxon, Rita Evans and in front is Margaret Rice.

Jackie Tierney from the ACORN centre told us how knitting is a great way to bring people together and that the group always has a knitting project of some sort going on.  The knitters are now busy knitting smoothie hats to support AGE UK’s big knit,and their target this year is just over 6000 which in light of their wonderful poppies I think they will reach!

To keep the knitters going they are always looking for donations of wool so if any one can help or would like to join the group  the ACORN Centre  is open Monday to Friday – so why not pop in for a cuppa and see what they are up too.

World War One events and projects around the county

Twitter has been putting us in touch with so many people around the county (and indeed the country and the world) and we love hearing all about other projects taking place to commemorate the end of World War One. 

This update from the Sprowston Dementia Friendly Community is wonderful.

Sprowston is hosting several events in the town to commemorate WW1, and has asked local community groups, schools etc to be a part of this with the main events happening during November 2018. Sprowston Dementia Friendly Community and Dementia Cafe wanted to be a part of this exciting project. So we decided to produce a large piece of art work measuring 4’x3’, which would take the form of a landscape. At this point we really had no idea how this would work in actual life. During our August group we started to paint the canvas, to begin with it looked a bit daunting until a volunteer started to paint blue sky.

Then one of our ladies who is living with dementia is an artist and was happy to take the lead by initially trying to as she said “get rid of the white”. Others soon joined in, some were reluctant at first to get hold of the paint brushes, but the enthusiasm soon followed. As you can see from the pictures, soon the volunteer supervision became minimal. The ages that day ranged from 5 years old (Lexie, our youngest volunteer) up to 90, sometimes we had to make adjustments so that everyone could have a go! We even had a group of teenagers visiting us that day from the Sprowston Youth Engagement Group who were eager to have a go.

The next step is to make it appear 3D, for this we are going to make and attach poppies, knitted, felt or paper to the work, and in front of it, and we will be doing this during our September 20th café. We are hoping once again that everyone will be involved with either making poppies or by attaching them to the work.

Once finished we are hoping that it will be displayed as part of an exhibition of other works/projects during the November commemorations. We will then need to find a more permanent home for this unique piece of art that many people have gained so much from during its making.

We asked the group for some more information about themselves and we are ever more in awe of what they have achieved:

Our monthly dementia café has been running now for approximately two and a half years, we offer peer support and professional advice for those in the area who are experiencing memory problems, and their families/carers. At our café we try to offer a variety of activities such as low impact exercises, games, books, and plenty of volunteers on hand to help. We have also had visits from speakers, singers, and ponies! The carers are given the opportunity for discussion in a separate room if they wish. About 18 months ago Sprowston Dementia Friendly Community was founded by eight volunteers made up of Dementia Champions, Town Councillors, Hayley (our professional lead), church leaders and other interested people. As a group we are trying to raise awareness of dementia in the area, and to make Sprowston a safer more supportive community, we are now recognised by both the Alzheimer’s Society and Age UK as such, and we are a member of Broadland Dementia Action Alliance. More information can be found on our website and Facebook page Sprowston Dementia Friendly Community.

Here at the Norfolk in World War One team we can’t wait to see the finished project and thank everyone involved for sharing this story with us. 

Remembering George Thomas Dawson

With many thanks to the Wood Norton Remembers project for this post, As ever if you or your local history group have any research to share please do get in touch.

George Thomas Dawson was born on the 28th January 1878, the second son of James and Sarah Ann Dawson.  He was baptised on the 5th June 1881, in Wood Norton parish church (see Figure 1).

 

Figure 1 : Extract from the Wood Norton Baptisms, 1881

The British Army WW1 Service Records 1914-1920 do not appear to have survived for George, but from extant records it can be seen that George was serving with the 14th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) (see Figure 2).[1]

Figure 2 : Medal Roll Index Card,
George Thomas Dawson

The 14th Battalion was one of three Labour Battalions (13th, 14th and 15th), formed between July and September 1916.  It was formed in Crawley, and went to Salonika in September 1916.  The Royal Warrant of 21 February 1917 sanctioned the formation of a Labour Corps, and the 13th, 14th and 15th Labour Battalions of The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)  were transferred to the Labour Corps in June 1917; the 14th Battalion became the 95th and 96th Companies of the Labour Corps, and new regimental numbers were issued to the servicemen (the 95th Company being issued the regimental numbers 56401-57000).[2]

The new Labour Corps would have continued to support the troops (the British Salonika Force) as part of the Salonika Campaign, allied troops having been sent to support the Serbs against the German, Austro-Hungarian and Bulgarian armies in October 1915.  A second offensive in the spring of 1917 made little impression on the Bulgarian defences, and the front line remained more or less static until September 1918 and the launch of a third offensive culminating with the surrender of Bulgaria on the 30th September 1918.  Soldiers on both sides faced each other for three years across challenging terrain, through extremes of climate in summer and winter.  Much effort was expended on improving the local road network and in constructing light railways, but even so, many parts of the front could only be reached by pack mules. [3] The Register of Soldiers’ effects for George records that he died on the 19th September 1918 of ‘illness’;[4] disease, in particular malaria, proved endemic throughout the campaign, and this may have been the cause of his death. The British Salonika Force alone suffered more than 160,000 cases of malaria, particularly in the Struma Valley; at the time, the region was one of the worst malarial areas in Europe.[5]  The Register of Soldiers’ Effects notes that an amount of £7 4s 4d was paid to George’s mother, Sarah Dawson as sole legatee in March 1919, with a War Gratuity of £9 being paid to her in December 1919.   George is buried in the Mikra British Cemetery, and his headstone bears the inscription We Shall Meet Again, chosen by George’s mother.[6]

Further research into George’s family reveals that his father, James Dawson, was born on the 6th December 1847, and baptised on the 17th January 1847 in South Creake parish church, the son of John and Alice Dawson.[7]  James Dawson married Sarah Ann Buckingham on the 27th October 1874, in Wood Norton.[8]  Sarah was born in 1846 in Stibbard, the daughter of Thomas and Susan Buckingham.[9]  It is possible that James died in 1914 aged 68,[10] as George’s Register of Soldiers’ Effects lists his mother Sarah as sole legatee in 1919.  Sarah Ann died in 1928, aged, 81, and is buried in Wood Norton.[11]

The 1911 census for Wood Norton records that James and Sarah had four children, of which only George was recorded as still living with them:

Name Born Died
John 1876, Wood Norton.  Baptised 4th June 1876.[12]

In the 1911 census for Wood Norton, John is aged 34 and a fitter’s labourer (railway worker), married with one child.  He married Emily Louisa Hill on the 17th March 1900, in Wood Norton.[13]

1956, aged 79.  Buried in Wood Norton.[14]
George Thomas 1878, Wood Norton.  In the 1911 census, George is aged 33, and a farm labourer. 19th September 1918, Salonika
Benjamin 17th December 1880, Wood Norton. Baptised 5th June 1881 (with his brother, George Thomas).[15]

In the 1911 census for Fulmodeston, Benjamin is aged 30 and a railway worker, and newly married (he married Florence Emerson in the spring of 1911).[16]

1944, aged 63.[17]
Susanna 22nd October 1884, Wood Norton.  Baptised 16th May 1886.[18]

Susanna married Thomas James Jenkinson in 1908.[19]  In 1911 she is living with her husband (a farm labourer) and three children in Bulwell, Nottingham.[20]

1971, aged 86, in Derbyshire.[21]

 

The Wood Norton War Memorial lists two other related Dawson men: Frederick and Herbert, brothers who both survived the WW1 conflict, who were the sons of William and Elizabeth Dawson.[22]  William and George were cousins whose fathers, William (aged 76) and James (aged 65), were brothers and both living in Wood Norton at the time of the 1911 census[23] (see Figure 3).

Figure 3 : Family relationship – Frederick, Herbert and George Thomas Dawson

[1] British Army WW1 Medal Roll Index Cards, 1914-1920 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[2] See The Long, Long, Trail, The British Army in the Great War of 1914-1918, http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/queens-royal-west-surrey-regiment/; and Army Service Numbers 1881-1918, The Formation of the Labour Corps in 1917, http://armyservicenumbers.blogspot.co.uk/2012/01/formation-of-labour-corps-in-1917.html

[3] Salonika Campaign Society,1915-1918, The Campaign https://salonikacampaignsociety.org.uk/campaign/; CWGC, Salonika, https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/campaigns/salonika

[4] UK, Army of Registers of Soldiers’ Effects, 1901-1929 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[5] CWGC, Salonika, https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/campaigns/salonika

[6] CWGC commemoration and headstone schedule (www.cwgc.org)

[7] Baptism Register, South Creake, 1847 (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD Quarter to December 1846, Docking, Vol.13, p.53 (www.freebmd.org.uk); 1851 census, South Creake (p23) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[8] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1874, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.253 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1874 (p.95)

[9] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1846, Walsingham, Vol.13, p.350 (www.freebmd.org.uk); 1911 census, Wood Norton (Schedule 196) (www.ancestry.co.uk); 1851 census, Stibbard (p.1) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[10] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1914, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.123 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[11] Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Burials, 1928 (p.131)

[12] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1876, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.77 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1878, Wood Norton (www.familysearch.org)

[13] 1911 census, Wood Norton (Schedule 148) (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1900, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.135 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1900 (p.99)

[14] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1956, N. Walsham, Vol.4b, p.705 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Burials, 1956 (p.133)

[15] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1881, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.79 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1881, Wood Norton (www.familysearch.org)

[16] 1911 census, Fulmodeston (Schedule 28) (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, marriage, Quarter to Mach 1911, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.437 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[17] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1944, Fakenham, Vol.4d, p.272 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[18] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1884, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.83 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Baptism Register, 1886, Wood Norton (www.familysearch.org)

[19] Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Banns, 1908 (p.60); FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1908, Nottingham, Vol.7b, p.570 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[20] 1911 census, Bulwell (Schedule 21) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[21] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1971, Derby, Vol.3a, p.749 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[22] 1911 census, Wood Norton (Schedule 197) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[23] 1911 census, Wood Norton (Schedules 172 and 194) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

 

Following up on a recent post and call for help.

Following on from our recent post asking for help identifying a ‘mystery man’ on the Hellesdon War Memorial we’ve had lots of people share information with us and we are now pretty certain that we have identified the Piercy mentioned on the memorial.

All respondents are certain that the name has been miss-copied or miss transcribed at some point and that it should read William J(ohn) Piercy and not William H Piercy.

More detailed research shared with us by historian and author Steve Smith shows that he was born in Hackford in Norfolk and that he enlisted in Norwich on 9th May 1915 initially with the 1/6th Norfolk Cyclist Battalion, he was 19 ½ at the time of enlisting.

He was sent overseas on the 27th July 1916 (missing the start of the Battle of the Somme) and joined the 8th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment on the 10th August 1916. We are lucky that his full service records survived the air raids of the 2nd World War  and we can trace his progress through the war as he moved to the 9th Battalion and then the 1st Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment.

His record card states that he was wounded in October 1916 and on looking through the Norfolk Regiment Casualty Book, held at the Royal Norfolk Regimental Museum, this can be deciphered so we know that in October 1916 he was suffered gunshot wounds to his lower extremities and was evacuated back to the Military Hospital in Devonport. He stayed in the UK until August 1917 when he once more returned to service overseas, and was back at the Front by 10th September 1917.

He is listed as being Killed in Action on 29th May 1918 and is commemorated on Panel 3 of the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium.

To tell the story of his final day Steve has also found the Battalion War Diary for 29th May 1918 so that we can see what he faced.The internet became a truly magical place at this point when we were contacted by a family member of the Piercy’s former neighbours and so we can share that here too as it gives a flavour to the lives of people living in Norfolk at the time.

Once more a huge thanks to all our readers who have added so much more to this man’s story.

Remembering Stanley Sadler

With many thanks to the Wood Norton Remembers project for this post, As ever if you or your local history group have any research to share please do get in touch.

Stanley Sadler was born in Ridlington on the 19th February 1898, the fourth son of Robert and Rebecca Sadler’s ten children.[1]

Stanley enlisted in the Royal Navy on the 26th October 1916, for the ‘hostilities’, as his card records.  He gave his place of birth as North Walsham (which is about 5 miles from Ridlington), and his occupation as blacksmith.  From the 26th October 1916 to the 30th March 1917 he was a Stoker (2nd class) and based at Pembroke II, a shore establishment at Sheerness.  On the 31st March 1917 he moved to HMS Hibernia (based at Sheerness) and remained there until the 15th October 1917, when Hibernia was moved to Chatham Dockyard as an overflow accommodation ship.   Stanley had been promoted to Stoker 1st class on the 19th July 1917.  He returned to Pembroke II until the 27th December 1917, when he was moved to HMS Dido (a depot ship), from where he joined HMS Scott (see Figure 1).

HMS Scott was the first of a new destroyer class built to be flotilla leaders for the V- and W- class destroyers.  She was launched on the 18th October 1917, but less than a year after entering service she was sunk off the Dutch coast on the 15th August 1918.  It is assumed that a German U-boat torpedoed her, but it is also possible that she hit a mine (the R-class destroyer HMS Ulleswater sank in the same incident).  The German submarine U-71 which had been patrolling and mining the area is usually credited with Scott’s sinking. The wreck of HMS Scott lies approximately 20 nautical miles (23 miles) off the Dutch coast, lying upright with the stern in 35 metres (115 ft) of water, and the bow in 28 metres (92 ft).[2]

Figure 1 : HMS Scott

The Naval records for Stanley record that his widow, Agnes, was informed of his death on the 16th August 1918, and the address on the record is given as 8 Langthorne Street, Stratford (East London).[3]

Stanley is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, which records those members of the Royal Navy who died in WW1 (and WW2) and have no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided; 8,517 sailors of the First World War are commemorated on the memorial.

Further research in Stanley’s family reveals that his father, Robert Sadler, was born on the 8th August 1865 in Honing, the son of James and Hannah Sadler, and baptised on the 22nd August 1869, in Honing parish church.[4]  Robert married Rebecca Bacon in 1893.[5]  She was born in Honing in 1872,[6] the daughter of Charles and Mary Bacon.[7]  In 1901, Charles and Mary Bacon were living at Raw Hall, Wood Norton; Charles was a farmer.[8]  He died in 1901, aged 70, and is buried in Wood Norton.[9]  Mary Bacon continued to live at Raw Hall with her son Robert John Bacon and his family.[10]  Robert Sadler died in 1922, aged 56, and is buried in Wood Norton.[11]  Rebecca Sadler died in 1955, aged 82, in Hoxne, Suffolk, but is buried in Wood Norton.[12]

In the 1911 Census for Tunstead records Robert (a farm labourer) and Rebecca Sadler with nine children:

Name Born  Died
George c.1895, Honing.[13]

In the 1911 census, George is aged 16, and a farm labourer.

19th February 1916, aged 20, Carlton, New York, USA.[14]
Fred 14th October 1895, Ridlington.[15]

In the 1911 census, Fred is aged 15, and a farm labourer.  Fred married Anna Tebble in July 1916 in Wood Norton (Stanley Sadler was a witness), and he served in WW1.[16]

1974, aged 79, Essex.[17]
Robert 1896, Ridlington.[18]

In the 1911 census, Robert is aged 14, and a farm labourer.

1912, aged 16.[19]
Stanley 19th February 1898, Ridlington.

In the 1911 census, Stanley is aged 13, and a farm labourer.

15th August 1918, the Dutch coast.
Arthur 4th June 1899, Ridlington.[20]

In the 1911 census, Arthur is aged 11, and at school.  He served with the Royal Navy in WW1, and married Ivy Alice Pointen in October 1929 in Wood Norton.[21]

1985, aged 85, Norwich.[22]
Edward 1901, Salhouse.[23]

In the 1911 census, Edward is aged 9, and at school.  Edward served with the Royal Marine Light Infantry Division in WW1, and emigrated to Australia in 1922.[24]

1976, aged 75, Australia.[25]
Elsie Mary 1903, Salhouse.[26]

In the 1911 census, Elsie is aged 7, and at school.  She married George Bacon in 1924.[27]

1982, aged 79, Suffolk.[28]
Sidney 1905, Tunstead.[29]

In the 1911 census, Sidney is aged 5.  He spent time working in Canada in the 1920s and 1930s.[30]

Charles 1907, Tunstead.[31]

In the 1911 census, Charles is aged 3.

1993, aged 85.[32]

Their last child, Herbert William Sadler, was born on the 30th August 1912.[33]  He married  Gladys M. Warnes in 1937.[34]  Herbert died in 2011, in Fakenham, aged 99.[35]

Fred, Arthur and Edward Sadler are all commemorated on the war memorial in All Saints, Wood Norton, which records the servicemen who served and died, as well as those who survived, the WW1 conflict.  Stanley Sadler’s name also appears on the war memorial at Bawdeswell, church (approximately 6 miles from Wood Norton), but the link with Bawdeswell is not yet known.

We have been fortunate to be able to contact Stanley Sadler’s relatives, who have provided us with information on the Sadler family, including photographs of Stanley and his wife (see Figure 2), and his Memorial Plaque (see Figure 3).

Figure 2 : Stanley Sadler and his wife, Agnes.
The hat band bears the name HMS Scott.

Figure 3 : Stanley Sadler’s Memorial Plaque

[1] UK, Royal Navy Register of Seamen’s Services, 1848-1939 (www.ancestry.co.uk); UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriages and Death Records, 1730-1960 (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1898, Smallburgh Vol.4b, p65 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[2] Wikipedia, HMS Scott (1917) (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Scott_(1917)); Wrecksite, HMS Scott +1918 (https://wrecksite.eu/wreck.aspx?4880)

[3] UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriages and Death Records, 1730-1960 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[4] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1865, Tunstead, Vol.4b, p.45 (www.freebmd.org.uk); 1911 census, Tunstead (Schedule 47) (www.ancestry.co.uk); Baptisms, Horning, 1869 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[5] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1893, Smallburgh Vol.4b, p105 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[6] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1872, Smallburgh, Vol.4b, p51 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[7] 1881 census, Honing (p.12) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[8] 1901 census, Wood Norton (p.1) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[9] Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Burials, 1901 (p.130)

[10] 1911 census Wood Norton (Schedule 195) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[11] FreeBMD, Quarter to March 1922, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.120 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Burials, 1922 (p.131)

[12] Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1898 (p.132)

[13] 1911 census, Tunstead (Schedule 47) (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[14] U.S., Find a Grave Index, 1600s-current (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[15] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1985, Smallburgh, Vol.4b, p.56 (www.freebmd.org.uk); England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[16] UK, Royal Marines Registers of Services Index, 1842-1925 (www.ancestry.co.uk); War Memorial, All Saints, Wood Norton

[17] England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[18] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1896, Smallburgh, Vol.4b, p.64 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[19] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1912, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.316 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[20] FreeBMD, Quarter to September 1899, Smallburgh, Vol.4b, p.65 (www.freebmd.org.uk); UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services, 1848-1939 (www.ancestry.co.uk); England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[21] UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services, 1848-1939 (www.ancestry.co.uk); FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1929, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.253 (www.freebmd.org.uk); Transcript and Index to Wood Norton, Norfolk, Parish Registers, compiled by Keith and Shirley Howell (February 2000), Marriages, 1916 (p.105)

[22] England and Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1966, 1973-1995 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[23] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1901, St. Faiths, Vol.4b, p.105 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[24] UK, Royal Marines Registers of Services Index, 1842-1925 (www.ancestry.co.uk); Victoria, Australia, Assisted and Unassisted Passenger Lists, 1839-1923 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[25] Australia, Death Index, 1787-1985 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[26] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1903, St. Faiths, Vol.4b, p.97 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[27] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1924, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.626 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[28] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1982, Ipswich, Vol.10, p.2308 (www.freebmd.org.uk); England and Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[29] England and Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915, Quarter to December 1905, Smallburgh, Vol.4b, p.50 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[30] Canadian Passenger Lists, 1865-1935 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[31] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1907, Smallburgh, Vol.4b, p.49 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[32] England and Wales, Death Index, 1916-2005, Registration August 1993, North Walsham,

[33] FreeBMD, Quarter to December 1912, Aylsham, Vol.4b, p.150 (www.freebmd.org.uk); England and Wales, Death Index, 2007-2015 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

[34] FreeBMD, Quarter to June 1937, Walsingham, Vol.4b, p.639 (www.freebmd.org.uk)

[35] England and Wales, Death Index, 2007-2015 (www.ancestry.co.uk)

This Was Not To Be His Final Curtain

We’ve recently been contacted by Ray from Mattishall who has shared a fascinating story about a local man who has faded from memory since the First World War, despite is high profile at the time.

This was not to be his final curtain: Frank Henry Norman Wrighton

Frank Henry Norman Wrighton
1879 – 1917

Friday, November 2nd 1917 – My journey looking for First World War casualties had brought me to the picturesque seaside town of Torquay, Devon, many miles from the battle fields of the Western Front. A thin and wasted 38-year-old man had finally succumbed to an affliction he had acquired during his military service. Katherine Peacock, the Matron of St Barnabas Nursing Home for the Incurables, was recorded as being present. No records have been found to confirm there was any effort to return his remains to his home village of Mattishall Burgh, Norfolk although on his death certificate an address of 45 Warwick Road, Warwick Gardens, London was written, a large building where he or his wife could have been renting a room, whilst working in the capital. There was a war on and any transportation of a corpse would have involved considerable expense which from all accounts show there was little funds available. Four days later on November 6th he was taken the short trip to Torquay cemetery and after a simple service lowered into a common grave, a grave we now know he shares with four other men. His death was not the result of battle wounds but a condition brought on and worsened during his short military service. His death certificate, records him as ‘FRANK HENRY WRIGHTON’, age 38, an Actor. A simple note on his service records reads “He was well till a year ago, then had Pleurisy and Pneumonia, following wet exposure”. TB was also found in his Sputum.

I had been researching this man for a few years and on discovering this I was left quite emotional. There was no record of him on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website, even though the army had been paying and caring for him since his discharge. How had this man just been forgotten? I had got to know him well, my research had found he had been such a character, or being an actor, multiple characters! He was very patriotic, had a great spirit of determination and given a lot so ending up forgotten, in a common grave did not do him justice. Continue reading