Scars of War reading 3

As promised here as some of the readings/research made in West Norfolk for the Scars of War project in the autumn of 2018: The research for this piece was undertaken by Lindsey Bavin, manager at the True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum

The Christmas Truce

By December 1914 soldiers on both sides had settled into the routine life of living in the trenches of Northern France. Between battles there would be periods of quiet and trenches were often close enough that the soldiers began to banter and barter for items such as cigarettes.

An old pack of British Woodbine cigarettes, photographed at the Musée Somme 1916 of Albert (Somme), France – image from Wikipedia

One such soldier was Harry Bloom, the son of Charles and Jenny Bloom of 18 Checker Street. At seventeen he Joined the Militia and transferred to the Regular Army in 1906 for service in the Norfolk Regiment. He served in South Africa and India prior to the war. In 1913 he joined the Army Reserve and worked at Cooper Roller Bearings which became a munitions factory during the war. He married a woman called Jeannie and they lived at 11 Edwards Yard off Providence Street.

King’s Lynn, interior of the Cooper Roller Bearings factory. Image from Picture Norfolk

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Scars of War reading 1

As promised here as some of the readings/research made in West Norfolk for the Scars of War project in the autumn of 2018: The research for this piece was undertaken by Lindsey Bavin, manager at the True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum. You will find a memorial to these three ships at the museum.

The Aboukir, Cressy and Hogue
The Live Bait Squadron
William Allen, John Rose and Hubert Penny

  During a conference Churchill had been annoyed to overhear the expression ‘Live Bait Squadron’ and to learn it was the Fleet’s nickname for the Southern Force’s cruisers which were over fourteen years old.  

The ships were manned by reservists, who were mainly married men, and young cadets from Osborne House Naval College and Britannia Royal Naval College. It was thought these ships would not be involved in great battles, so would be safe. Churchill pointed out the danger of exposing cruisers so close to enemy positions especially without any destroyer escort and where numerous fishing boats could report their movements. Churchill said:

“The risk to such ships is not justified by any service they can render. The narrow seas, being the nearest point to the enemy, should be kept by a small number of good modern ships.”  

Although First Sea Lord Louis Battenburg agreed with Churchill two days later, on Saturday 19th September, Admiral Sturdee persuaded the First Sea Lord to approve an order for the cruisers to stay in their original patrol area and not move to the western approaches of the Channel as Churchill had ordered.

Thus the scene was set for the morning of 22nd September 1914 Continue reading

Scars of War

We’ve just been told about this wonderful World War One art/history project that has been running in King’s Lynn this autumn…

Scars of War

From late September until early November six heritage and educational organisations in King’s Lynn and West Norfolk
worked together on a World War One remembrance project called Scars of War.

This project used the soldiers’ graffiti of the tower of King’s Lynn Library as the inspiration. The name alludes to the physical and emotional scars on those involved in the Great War and the “scars” the graffiti has left on the buildings.

photo courtesy Rebecca Hearle

True’s Yard Fisherfolk Museum, Stories of Lynn, St Nicholas’ Chapel, Lynn Museum, King’s Lynn Library, and The Custom House were the locations chosen as all have some historic graffiti as part of their archives [this unique historical resource was discovered and researched by Kevin Hitchcock and we will be sharing this fascinating story very soon – ed.].  These snapshots of history became the inspiration for creating our own modern graffiti in an artistic way to commemorate World War One and keep the memory of our historic past alive.

Image courtesy Scars of War

Each location ran a lino cutting and printing workshop lead by artist Rebecca Hearle and work from these 6 sessions were collected together to form an exhibition which was celebrated at a special event at King’s Lynn on Monday 12th November.

Image courtesy Debbie King/Scars of War

This was an evening of remembrance hosted by Mayor of the Borough of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, Cllr Nick Daubney. The evening revolved around the telling of stories of the figures from King’s Lynn’s history in World War One.

We’ve been very lucky in that Lindsey Bavin from True’s Yard has sent through many of the readings from this event and we will be posting them all over the next few weeks, we also plan to the fascinating stories behind the original graffiti which inspired this wonderful project.

The pieces of art created for the project are currently being framed and will then be on display in the places where they were created so visiting King’s Lynn in the new year seems a must to see these prints.

Inspired by a trip to the Somme

Over the past 4 years we have enjoyed sharing stories from research undertaken at Gresham’s School into their Old Boys and a recent email about how the research, and a trip to the Somme, have inspired current pupils is wonderful.

History competition inspires pupils to create poignant World War One tributes

Year 9 pupils at Gresham’s School in Holt have created some impressive replicas of World War One trenches for a History competition following their recent trip to the Somme Battlefields in France.

Ben Hunt, from Holt, was awarded first prize for his outstanding tribute entitled “Far Field” made all the more poignant as he had individually made 115 poppies for his trench to represent the staff and pupils from Gresham’s who had lost their lives in the Great War.

Ben said, “I feel extremely proud of what I have created as I spent so much time perfecting my trench to ensure it looked as authentic as possible.” The fourteen year old used a shoebox, wood, barbed wire and even some clay he had gathered on a recent trip to France to help recreate his trench.

Head of History, Mr Simon Kinder said, “This term we are studying the Great War and I have been really impressed with how the pupils researched and developed their entries for this competition.  The standard this year has been particularly high and this is a consequence of how important commemorating the Great War centenary has been at Gresham’s. The students have clearly embraced the challenge and learned so much from constructing their trenches.”

More than 500 former pupils fought for their country, leaving a lasting impact on the school and the surrounding community. As part of the commemorations of the end of the Great War, the school held Remembrance Services where the 115 pupils and staff who lost their lives were remembered.

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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.

 

 

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.