National Allotments Week August 2017

August 21, 2017

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A little corner patch of our wartime zoo keeper’s allotment, Newquay Zoo, August 2017 

National Allotments Week 2017 has just come to an end  (14 to 20 August 2017) – some great historic images on this history of allotments website:

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/gardening/blog/the-history-of-allotments

1940s WW2 Farming advert

August 21, 2017

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Goodbye Horse power, welcome to mechanised farming in the drive for more home grown food security … WW2 era farming advert from The Countryman, 1940s, in our World War Zoo Gardens collection

World War Zoo Gardens hits its 8th Blogaversary 2017

August 14, 2017

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WordPress my trusty blog host have left me a happy blogaversary message that this weekend was the 8th anniversary of signing up to WordPress.com and starting our World War Zoo  Gardens blog at Newquay Zoo in August 2009.

https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/

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My garden’s eighth blogaversary surprise present, a yellow poppy poking out amongst sneaky ferns (I love ferns!) that thrive in the shade below  beautiful Globe Artichokes – great enrichment for our macaque monkeys. August 2017 

 

Our wartime zoo garden left me a surprise this weekend, a bright yellow poppy! Nothing traditional like a red one …

Over 270 posts later, near 100,000 views and around 40,000 visitors so far, this is not a bad little blog footprint for a very tiny patch of dug up lawn in eight years.

Looking back at the first entries in August 2009 is really interesting as we hurriedly prepared for our wartime zoo garden launch weekend in August 2009.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/world-war-zoo-project-%e2%80%93-newquay-zoo%e2%80%99s-wartime-garden-2009/

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The reproduction wartime garden signs are little rusty now and difficult to replace but the wartime zoo garden is still going strong August 2017

 

This launch weekend in 2009 was well timed to link with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two in late August / early September 1939, remembered here  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/70-years-today-on-from-the-outbreak-of-war/

Some early thoughts on how European zoos survived wartime

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/long-ago-and-far-away-%e2%80%a6/

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The blitzed remains of Berlin Zoo’s elephant house and its surviving elephant during the bombing raids of 1943/44 (Original photo in our archive collection).

 

 

Familar pest control problems August 2009 that have not changed

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/disaster-strikes/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/slaughter-by-torchlight-but-not-in-the-blackout/

Personal memories and family stories August 2009

A family story in August 2009 from my late mother about scrumping for apples in Vera Lynn’s Garden. Vera Lynn is still with us, her centenary this year, my wartime evacuee mother sadly not.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/scrumping-apples-in-vera-lynns-garden/

Some early research on how London Zoo survived wartime

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/zoology-gave-way-to-first-aid-and-fire-fighting-courses-%e2%80%a6/

“But with the beginning of 1939 reality was brought home at last. Beneath its canopy of blimps [anti-aircraft or barrage balloons] London set about evacuation, the building of underground retreats, the distribution of gas masks.

Zoology gave way to first-aid and fire-fighting courses…

When on September 3rd the long expected blow fell, an emergency committee was set up. With a big cash balance in hand the [Zoological Society of London] was confident that it could “see it through” …

In deference to public hysteria the poisonous snakes were decapitated … The panda, elephants and African Rhinoceros were evacuated to Whipsnade …

In company with all other places of entertainment etc. where crowds might gather to the risk of public safety, the zoo closed its gates …”

The Zoo Story,  L.R. Brightwell, 1950s, p. 225-6.

Breaking ground and digging  up the lion house lawn  August 2009

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/digging-up-the-lawns-at-newquay-zoo/

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Richard (our then zoo gardener) or his legs “Digging for Victory”,  removing the first turf for our wartime zoo garden August 2009.

Double Trench-digging for beginners August 2009

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/double-trench-digging-for-beginners-or-how-to-dig-a-trench-for-vegetables-the-1940s-way/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/sweat-toil-yes-but-thankfully-no-tears-or-blood-yet/

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Our World War Zoo Garden after eight years 2009-2017 (August 2017)

 

An early link to our sister Zoo at Paignton Zoo and their strange wartime experiences, stories that we have followed up over the years. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/please-do-not-eat-the-peacocks-when-visiting-the-zoo/

https://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/more-strange-wartime-zoo-stories-sent-to-us/

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Fine Abbott Thayer disruptive colouration camouflage on a Newquay Zoo peacock, 2017 – this didn’t stop hungry American GIs eating their ancestors at Paignton Zoo just before D-Day 1944. http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/4/hiddentalents.php

 

 

The outline of plans for our wartime zoo garden launch weekend at the end of August 2009 remind me how busy we were preparing everything in time:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/wartime-zoo-garden-launch-next-weekend-bank-holiday-30th-and-31st-august-2009/

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Winter garden work – in the library or armchair, planning your coming year’s crop plans and trying new plants using handy wartime advice even in cartoon / strip form from the papers. Items from part of the Newquay Zoo wartime life collection, garden launch weekend, August 2009

The wartime garden launch weekend in August 2009 went well and also saw Vera Lynn back in the album charts!https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/first-day-of-our-wartime-zoo-gardens-display/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/successful-second-day-of-our-wartime-zoo-life-exhibition-and-vera-lynn-back-in-the-charts/

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Beautiful Rhubard Chard, great favourite of our monkeys, growing August 2017

 

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More edible leaves and colourful, tasty flowers of our Nasturtiums – a treat for some of our animals and visitors, August 2017

 

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/last-strawberries-of-a-slug-summer/

This 25th August 2009 blog entry had the hopeful postscript about a new US president:

“One day hopefully all zoos will have their own Victory Gardens. They have one I hear at The White House now to mark Barack Obama’s arrival. I think we have a long way to go in the zoo before we get to self sufficiency, but from small acorns …”

Then to finish our look back at August 2009 with one of the fantastic images we uncovered of life at London Zoo in September 1939

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/shelter-from-the-storm-ahead-wartime-zoos-3-september-1939/

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Taking shelter at London Zoo in September 1939, a sandbagged tunnel under the road (Zoo and Animal magazine, November 1939)

If you go to the Archive dropdown menu to the right, you can sample some of the last eight years of delights from our 1940s allotment gardening, wartime zoo and wartime gardening research from WW1 to WW2 and beyond.

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Not forgetting that this colurful and scented garden is a practical and peaceful memorial to the many zoo and botanic gardens staff affected by war since 1914, many of whose stories we have uncovered since 2009. (photo August 2017)  

 

What next for the World War Zoo Gardens and its blog?

Since 2009 many school garden and wartime garden projects, thrift and recession allotments and their blogs have come and gone, gardens and blogs both being  ephemeral things.

Education changes, which led to a new primary  National Curriculum in 2013/14 in England and Wales, have sadly seen, at one low point, no WW2 content in the primary history curriculum. This uncertainty  has greatly affected  uptake of wartime zoo workshops for schools. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/world-war-zoo-gardens-workshops-for-schools-at-newquay-zoo/

Thankfully primary schools can still, with a little creative curriculum imagination,  study WW2 as one of the “turning points in British History since 1066″ and we are rewriting our workshops to reflect this.

Workshop talks in action

Mark Norris delivering one of our World War Zoo Gardens workshop days in ARP uniform, 2014. Volunteer Ken our ‘Home Guard’ is shyly sitting out of the photo!

It has been a great eight years so far since 2009, working with and meeting a wide range of people, amongst the highlights of  which I think of talking to pupils in our wartime zoo school workshops, attending re-enactors weekends, meeting former landgirls and evacuees,  linking with staff at Kew Gardens, Chester  and London Zoo and chats with thousands of zoo visitors over the allotment garden fence.

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Primate Keeper Nicole harvesting flowering chives as enrichment for monkeys, 2012. She  returned in August 2017 from the Dutch zoo where she now works to see how Newquay Zoo and its gardens are doing  (Image: Mark Norris)

 

The wartime zoo garden has been a great practical resource for our Newquay Zoo keepers since 2009. It has provided scented herbs, edible flowers and leaves and many fine fresh vegetables to feed and enrich the lives and enclosures of many of our most endangered zoo animals. None of the animals were that fussed about our 1940s potato varieties though.

Eight years of blogposts, articles, talks and conference papers has led to lots of interesting links with other zoos, botanic gardens and historians. http://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0729/

We have even won a national zoo award from BIAZA for “best use of planting in a zoo landscape feature / design” in November 2011.

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Newquay Zoo’s wartime gardener and blogger Mark Norris with wartime issue spade and  BIAZA award for best plants in a landscape feature and design, November 2011.

Hopefully our garden project will still be here in two year’s time for our World War Zoo Gardens Tenth Anniversary in 2019.

May 2019 is also Newquay Zoo’s own 50th Birthday, which will keep us busy  https://newquayzoohistory.wordpress.com/

2019 will also see the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of WW2, many of its participants rapidly passing away and also the wrapping up of the WW1 centenary 1914-1919.

Plenty to blog about, plenty of new stories to uncover.

Thanks to all the Newquay Zoo staff and many many others who have been involved so far with our World War Zoo Gardens project since 2009.

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Hundreds of thousands of zoo visitors  have stopped to read this attractive World War Zoo Gardens sign at Newquay Zoo since we put it up in 2011.

 

This post (No. 275)  sums up perfectly what  World War Zoo Gardens is about, being  a little bit of looking back to the past, an update on the present and a glimpse towards the future.

Happy Blogaversary!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 8th Blogaversary weekend of the 12th / 13th August 2017.

ZSL Artefact of the Month April 1917

August 13, 2017

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ZSL London Zoo Annual Report 1917/8 (ZSL Library)

“His Invariable courtesy, promptness and efficiency …”

How fitting that the Artefact of the Month from the ZSL Library in April 2017 should be an entry about the former ZSL librarian, Henry Peavot, killed at the Battle of Arras in 1917, an article posted by his modern successors at ZSL London Zoo’s library.

https://www.zsl.org/blogs/artefact-of-the-month/in-memory-of-henry-peavot-zsl-librarian-and-clerk-of-publications-who

It is hope

 

Remembered also on the day 21st April  on our World War Zoo Gardens blog

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Henry Peavot on the Librarians’ memorial WW1, British Library

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/remembering-zsl-london-zoo-librarian-henry-peavot-killed-ww1-21-april-1917/

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Autumn colours behind the ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, November 2010 (Photo: Kate Oliver)

 

You can read more about London Zoo in WW1 at: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/remembering-lost-wartime-staff-of-zsl-london-zoo-in-ww1/

From Arras to Passchendaele 1917 …

This month August 2017  marks the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele which took place from July to November 1917.

Henry Peavot’s former ZSL Library colleague, Edwin Riseley,  was also killed on 1st August  1917, at this infamously muddy battle:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/remembering-edwin-ephraim-riseley-zsl-and-linnean-society/

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Edwin Riseley on the Librarians’ WW1 memorial, British Library, alongside librarian colleagues at the British Museum.

Two brave zoo librarians and former ZSL employees, remembered 100 years on.

Posted in August 2017 by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens blog.

James Garnett of Kew Gardens Menin Gate memorial photo Passchendaele WW1 1917

August 10, 2017

 

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James Garnett of Kew Gardens, remembered amongst Wiltshire regiment casaulties in 1917 high on the wall Panel 53 at the Menin Gate memorial to the missing of Ypres and Passchendaele. Photo by Bob Richards, July / August 2017 . 

 

This photograph of the memorial inscription of the name of Private James Garnett, Kew Gardens staff  name was taken almost 100 years to the day of his death by my fellow WW1 researcher Bob Richards on his recent trip to Ypres for the Passchendaele centenary.

Many thanks Bob. We will feature more of his photos of the memorails to lost zoo and gardens staff at Passchendaele over the next few weeks.

James Garnett, garden staff of Kew Gardens and his WW1  story is told on our blog here

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/08/03/remembering-james-garnett-of-kew-gardens-died-ww1-passchendaele-3rd-august-1917/

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, August 2017.

 

Remembering James Garnett of Kew Gardens died WW1 Passchendaele 3rd August 1917

August 3, 2017

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Header panel, Kew Gardens War memorial. Image: Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project

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James Garnett is remembered on the Second panel, Kew Gardens War Memorial D – M. (Image: Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project)

Another Lost Gardener from Kew Gardens 100 years ago today 3rd August 1917.
3rd August 1917 – Private James Garnett, service number 11380, 2nd Battalion, the Wiltshire Regiment, died aged 28 during the Battle of Passchendaele.

 

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Garnett is remembered on Panel 53 of the Ypres Menin Gate Memorial to the Missing of Passchendaele battles (Image:  CWGC)

Kew Gardens labourer James Garnett has no known grave and is listed on Panel 53 of the Ypres Memorial (Menin Gate), one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient.

The site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men like James Garnett who would have passed through it on their way to the battlefields.

It commemorates casualties from the forces of Australia, Canada, India, South Africa and United Kingdom who died in the Salient. In the case of United Kingdom casualties, only those who died prior 16 August 1917 like James Garnett are listed amongst the 54 thousand names of men who have no known grave.

United Kingdom and New Zealand servicemen who died after that date are named on the memorial at Tyne Cot, a site which marks the furthest point reached by Commonwealth forces in Belgium until nearly the end of the war.

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A rare moment of quiet at the busy Menin gate memorial to the Missing in Ypres, reminding of the high walls of names I saw 25 years ago. James Garnett of Kew Gardens is listed amongst them. Image: CWGC

 The Last Post is sounded at 8pm every night by local fire brigade volunteers at the Menin Gate.

James Garnett is listed as one of “six Members of the labouring staff killed in action” in the Kew Guild Journal 1919 Roll of Honour. He is listed as the son of Mrs. Fanny Garnett, of 6, Manor Grove, Richmond, Surrey.

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RBG Kew’s war memorial, Temple of Arethusa, Kew (Image copyright : Kew website)

Private James Garnett, remembered at Kew Gardens 100 years on from his death, 3rd August 1917 / 2017.

For more about the Kew Gardeners lost in WW1 and others who died at Passchendaele, visit our blog links at

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/lost-gardeners-and-zoo-staff-during-passchendaele-1917-ww1/

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 3 August 1917.

Remembering Edwin Ephraim Riseley ZSL and Linnean Society

August 1, 2017

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Riseley’s plaque and photo from the Proceedings of the Linnean Society.

Remembering Edwin Ephraim Riseley, who died during the Battle of Passchendaele, 1st August 1917. Librarian at the Linnean Society and formerly at ZSL London Zoo Library.

His Latin plaque at the Linnean Society reads:

In memory of Edwin Ephraim Riseley
Born on the 15th February 1889,
in charge of this library from 1914 to 1917
during which period by universal consent
he endeared himself to the Fellows [of the Linnean Society]
by the energetic and able discharge of his duties;

he had laid down for his country a life of high promise
on the 1st August 1917 in the 29th year of his age.

Rifleman E. E.  Riseley S/21693, 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade was killed by a shell explosion aged 28 on 1st August 1917 at Passchendaele.

Riseley has no known grave but is named and remembered at the Linnean Society Library and  at the Librarians Memorial, British Library, both in London  along with among the thousands with no known grave remembered at the Menin Gate, Ypres.

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Librarians’ Memorial, British Library, London 1914-19 

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/remembering-zsl-london-zoo-librarian-henry-peavot-killed-ww1-21-april-1917/

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HGJ Peavot of London Zoo Library and his former assistant E.E. Riseley are remembered on the Librarians’ WW1 Memorial, Britain Library, London 

Read more of his story here:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/lost-gardeners-and-zoo-staff-during-passchendaele-1917-ww1/

and more on the Roll of Honour of Fallen Fellows of the Linnean Society

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/lost-fellows-the-linnean-society-roll-of-honour-1914-1918/

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Edwin Riseley is remembered on the The Ypres Memorial (Menin Gate). Image: CWGC website

Edwin Riseley, remembered.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, 100 years on from Riseley’s death in 1st August 1917 / 2017 for the World War Zoo Gardens project.

Lost gardeners and zoo staff during Passchendaele 1917 WW1

July 30, 2017

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Tyne Cot Cemetery –  long walls of names of the missing from the 1917  Battle of Passchendaele including Sergeant John Oliver of Belle Vue Zoo Gardens,  Manchester.  Image: CWGC 

The Third Battle of Ypres or The Battle of Passchendaele ran from  31 July 1917 through to its muddy winter end on the 10th November 1917. It was a battle notorious for the rain, mud, flooded trenches, high death toll and limited achievement at the expense of hundreds of thousands of casualties on both sides.

During the battle period, a number of British zoo and botanic gardens staff were killed. No doubt others were wounded.

Lost Zoo Keepers and Zoo Gardeners Of Passchendaele 1917

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Autumn colours behind the ZSL staff war memorial, London Zoo, November 2010 (Photo: Kate Oliver)

London Zoo ZSL

The story of the lost London Zoo staff named on the London Zoo staff war memorial is told in more detail at our blogpost:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/remembering-lost-wartime-staff-of-zsl-london-zoo-in-ww1/

London Zoo lost two staff, a zoo gardener and a zoo keeper during the Battle Of Passchendaele period in 1917.

23rd September 1917  Albert Staniford  ZSL London Zoo Gardener
Served as 174234 216 Siege Battery, Royal Field / Garrison Artillery RGA

Buried in an Individual grave, II. M. 3. Maroc British cemetery, Grenay, France. Period of Third Battle of Ypres / Passchendaele, July to November 1917.
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/523608/STANIFORD,%20A

ZSL gardener Albert Staniford was born in 1893 in the Regent’s Park area, the son of Annie and Alfred, who was also a gardener. His medal record card states that he served in both the Royal Field Artillery as 17692 and 216 Siege Battery,Royal Garrison Artillery as 174234 Gunner Staniford. He embarked for France on 31 August 1915, entitling him to a 1915 star, alongside the Victory and British War Medals.

Albert Staniford served in France for two years before his death in September 1917, dying only three months after his marriage in London on June 6 1917 to Esther Amelia Barrs (b. 1896). The CWGC listing has no family inscription on the headstone.

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French and German burials lie amidst the British graves, Maroc Cemetery, Grenay, France. ZSL London Zoo Gardener Albert Staniford is buried in this cemetery. Image: cwgc.org.uk

3rd October 1917  William Perkins ZSL London Zoo Keeper

Buried Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium

Served as 115806, Bombardier, 233rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.

Born in 1878 in Lifton in Devon to a gardener / labourer father Thomas and Cornish mother Emma Jane. Listed as a (zoo) keeper on his wedding certificate, William married Lucy Elizabeth MacGregor in London in 23 August 1914 and lived in Eton Street, NW London (near many other keepers and zoo staff).

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ZSL Keeper William Perkins is buried in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery , Ypres, Belgium. Image: cwgc.org website

Perkins is buried in an individual plot, I. O. 6. Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium. This appropriately named cemetery for an artillery soldier occupies a site at a road junction where three batteries of Belgian artillery were positioned in 1915. The cemetery was begun by the 8th Division in June 1917 after the Battle of Messines and it was used until October 1918, largely for burials from a dressing station in a cottage near by. Almost half of the graves are of casualties who belonged, or were attached, to artillery units.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/92994/PERKINS,%20WILLIAM

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Sergeant J E Oliver’s name can just about be read on the Belle Vue Zoo’s now vandalised war memorial – luckily the names, although hard to read, are inscribed in stone as the brass statue has been stolen. Image: manchesterhistory.net

Belle Vue Zoo Gardens, Manchester

24 October 1917 – Sergeant John E. Oliver, 21st Battalion, Manchester Regiment

No known grave, listed Tyne Cot memorial. Married.
By October during the last phases of the battle, the battlefield had become a sea of mud. It was in this fighting, finally achieving the objective of capturing the village of Passchendaele itself, that Sergeant Oliver was killed.
John Oliver has no known grave and is commemorated amongst thousands of names on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing.

Sergeant John Oliver was the husband of Rose Oliver of 36 Darley Street, Gorton. He appears to have been a journeyman joiner by trade, working at Belle Vue Zoological Gardens Manchester.

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Belle Vue zoo’s sadly vandalised war memorial, Gorton Cemetery. Manchester lists their First World War dead – a tiny glimpse of the losses of men from zoos on active service in both world wars. Image: manchesterhistory.net

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Riseley’s metal plaque in Latin and photo from the Proceedings of the Linnean Society.

Naturalists, Botanists, Linnean Society

1st August 1917 – Edwin Ephraim Riseley, FLS / Librarian to the Linnean Society and ZSL London Zoo

An interesting Latin metal plaque commemorating Riseley can be found at the Linnean Society headquarters,  London.
Riseley enlisted in the 9th Battalion Rifle Brigade on 8th December 1916 and embarked for France on 15 June 1917. Rifleman S/21693, 3rd Battalion, Rifle Brigade was killed by a shell explosion aged 27 on 1st August 1917. He is remembered on panel 46-48 & 50 of the Ypres Menin Gate memorial arches, amongst many other names with no known grave on this memorial to the missing of the Third Battle of Ypres in 1917.

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Zoo and Linnaean Society  librarian E.E.  Riseley is remembered amongst the missing amongst thousands of names on The Ypres Memorial (Menin Gate). Image: CWGC website

The CWGC records note him as the only son of Ephraim Riseley (1862-1944, a gentleman’s servant) and Elizabeth Riseley of 20 Burnfoot Avenue, Fulham, London. He was also mourned by two sisters, Mary and May,  according to Edwin’s surviving WW1 service records. On the back of a list of other dangerously ill hospital casualties telegraphed to relatives is scrawled a list of his possessions, amongst them an English dictionary, notebook, photos, wallet and coins. Hopefully these were returned as requested to his family.

More about Riseley and Toppin, lost fellows or staff of the Linnaean Society killed during the period of Passchendaele,  can be found at:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/lost-fellows-the-linnean-society-roll-of-honour-1914-1918/

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S.M. Toppin lies buried in this cemetery, an atmospheric photo showing only a few of the 9901 WW1 graves at Lijssenthoek Cemetery, Belgium. (Image http://www.cwgc.org)

24 September 1917 – Major Sidney Miles Toppin MC, FLS 
He was killed aged 39 near Ypres on 24 September 1917, leaving a widow and infant daughter. Major S.M. Toppin is buried in grave XXIV. G. 6, Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Flanders, Belgium (a cemetery linked to Casualty Clearing Stations close to the front but out of the range of German Artillery).

Born on 12 June 1875 (or 1878) in Clonmel in Ireland, he was the younger son of Major General J.M. Toppin, Royal Irish Regiment. After education at Clifton College and Gonville and Caius College Cambridge where he studied for a medical degree, he was offered a Commission in the Royal Artillery from 1900. He served in India (Chitral), along with mountain batteries in Afghanistan, Burma and Egypt.

He served in WW1 with the 151st Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery. On a visit home in 1914, he married Viva before serving in Ireland and France during the early days of the war. He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the MC Military Cross at Loos in 1915.
More about his links with Kew Gardens, herbarium specimens and plant hunting sent back to Kew and his brother killed in 1914

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/lost-fellows-the-linnean-society-roll-of-honour-1914-1918/

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RBG Kew’s war memorial, Temple of Arethusa, Kew (Image copyright : Kew website)

Lost Gardeners of Kew Gardens

3rd August 1917 – Private James Garnett, service number 11380, 2nd Battalion, the Wiltshire Regiment, aged 28.

He has no known grave and is listed on Panel 53 of the Ypres Memorial (Menin Gate), one of four memorials to the missing in Belgian Flanders which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient.

Garnett is listed as one of “six Members of the labouring staff killed in action” in the Kew Guild Journal 1919 Roll of Honour. He is listed as the son of Mrs. Fanny Garnett, of 6, Manor Grove, Richmond, Surrey.
https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

A Kew Gardens “Tankie” was killed at Cambrai, just after Passchendaele ended
20 November 1917 – Sergeant George Douglas, Scottish Horse / Royal Tank Corps 
Serjeant or Sergeant George Douglas, Tank Corps is remembered at Cambrai Memorial, Louverval in France, a memorial to the missing or those with no known graves from the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917. He died on 20 November 1917, aged 40.

He served as Serjeant, 93045 with E Battalion, Royal Tank Corps having originally been with the 2/3 or 23rd Scottish Horse. Other websites such as the Tankmen of Cambrai website have him listed as a Corporal, with much more fascinating information about the early Tank Corps crew and this battle. He lost several brothers in WW1` … Read more about him at
https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

Reading these names and a little about these men, their families and where they worked means they are not forgotten 100 years on from their deaths during the Battle of Passchendaele period of 1917 . 

To read more about the Battle of Passchendaele and its commemoration

https://passchendaele100.org/get-involved/research-your-history/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Passchendaele

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens memorial project, 30 July 2017.

War Graves and Girl Gardeners WW1

July 27, 2017

cwgc qmaac front

Amongst my collection of WW1 ephemera is this interesting illustration of ‘girl gardeners’ or, more correctly, members of the Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Army Corps (Q.M.A.A.C.) tending war graves and planting flowers, part of the progress  towards the beautifully planted war cemetery gardens maintained by the CWGC .

I was reminded of this print whilst reading about Nick Stone’s The Returned project http://thereturned.co.uk/

I have written about this for  my local Cornish village war memorial blog https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/tending-war-graves-in-foreign-fields/

This print or illustration  is made whilst  the Commonwealth War Graves Commission CWGC began the long slow and ongoing job of erecting and maintaining  their  distinctive white headstones there to replace the temporary wooden crosses and metal name strips erected by the Graves  Registration Units (GRUs).

As it is cut out from a magazine, possibly to have been framed, it has no date, but a little detective work (below) suggest it is from April 1918 onwards, possibly 1918-1921 or later. Olive Edis’ photographs in the IWM Collection of such scenes appear to be c. 1918 / 1919.

Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Army Corps 1918-20

The Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) was formed following Lieutenant General H M Lawson’s report of 16 January 1917 which recommended employing women in the army in France. Mrs Chalmers Watson became Chief Controller of the new organisation and recruiting began in March 1917, although the Army Council Instruction no 1069 of 1917 which formally established the WAAC was not issued until 7 July 1917.

Although it was a uniformed service, there were no military ranks in the WAAC; instead of officers and other ranks, it was made up of ‘officials’ and ‘members’. Officials were divided into ‘controllers’ and ‘administrators’, members were ‘subordinate officials’, ‘forewomen’ and ‘workers’. The WAAC was organised in four sections: Cookery, Mechanical, Clerical and Miscellaneous; nursing services were discharged by the separate Voluntary Aid Detachments, although eventually an auxiliary corps of the Royal Army Medical Corps was set up to provide medical services for the WAAC.

In appreciation of its good services, it was announced on 9 April 1918 that the WAAC was to be re-named ‘Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps’ (QMAAC), with Her Majesty as Commander-in-Chief of the Corps. At its height in November 1918, the strength of the QMAAC was more than 40,000 women, although nearly 10,000 women employed on Royal Flying Corps air stations had transferred to the Women’s Royal Air Force on its formation in April 1918. Approximately, a total of 57,000 women served with the WAAC and QMAAC during the First World War. Demobilisation commenced following the Armistice in November 1918 and on 1 May 1920 the QMAAC ceased to exist, although a small unit remained with the Graves Registrations Commission at St Pol until September 1921.    (text from the National Archives file WO 398 website descriptor C15099)

http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/C15099

The print represents a somewhat floral and sanitised image of a First World War Cemetery, but similar frequently reproduced photographic images exist  in the Imperial War Museum  photographic archives such as images Q 8467 and 8468 WAACs (Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps) at Abbeville, February 1918 http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205214342

kew divers

James Wearn, Andrew Budden and Kew colleagues on the Somme mark the area where Kew Gardens WW1 casualty John Divers (pictured) was killed (Image: RBG Kew)

 

CWGC and Kew Gardens Somme 100 talks July 1916

Surprisingly a year has flown past since I attended the Somme 100 talks at Kew Gardens in July 2016

I thought of this floral war graves  print of the “girl gardeners” whilst listening to my research colleague Dr James Wearn at Kew Gardens last year talk about his recent Somme trip. James had been on a combined expedition between CWGC and Kew Gardens staff to take a fresh look at the Flora of The Somme Battlefields 100 years on. They also went to mark where some of their Kew staff like John Divers and Sydney Cobbold were killed and are commemorated.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

Kew’s longstanding relationship with the CWGC began in February 1916, before the Battle of the Somme had even begun. Thus, Kew’s wartime legacy is tied closely with that of the birth of the Commission. This places it in a unique position to tell the story of the First World War in a new light, focusing on the relationship between people, plants, conflict landscapes and remembrance.

Kew’s wartime Assistant Director, Arthur Hill (later ‘Sir Arthur’ in recognition of his internationally significant work) was given the honorary title of Botanical Advisor to the Commission and the temporary rank of Captain. In March 1916 he headed for France to complete the first of several trips to advise the Commission on planting within war graves cemeteries. Just as the Commission has provided respectful remembrance of lost soldiers, Sir Arthur and Kew helped pioneer the creation of the natural tranquillity which surrounds them.

Taking inspiration from Sir Arthur’s travels on the Somme and his two little-known, poignant accounts – The Flora of the Somme Battlefield (1917) and Our Soldiers’ Graves (1919) – in June [2016], three of Kew’s current staff (led by Dr James Wearn) [met] the CWGC’s Director of Horticulture (David Richardson) and members of the French CWGC team on the Somme.

Kew’s aim is to re-trace Sir Arthur’s footsteps in an emotive journey through the physical space and the psychology of plants and war. The visit will also be moving a tribute to the men of Kew who lost their lives on the battlefields in 1916. (6th July 2016 talk pre -event information)

http://www.kew.org/discover/blogs/kew-science/plants-and-conflict-landscapes-%E2%80%93-somme-and-beyond

Equally interesting was listening to David Richardson, Director of Horticulture of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission talking about their immense and ongoing job in perpetuity  of maintaining the horticultural side of these war graves.

Keeping grassy lawns  and English cottage garden planting from the Edwardian era of Mrs Jekyll going in desert or arid areas in the Middle East is one challenge. Sustainable water use aside, there are also other emerging threats such as vandalism of  cemetery crosses, cemeteries in war zones  or current no-go areas and also  dealing with the effects of climate change such as floods  in Madras in India and sea level rise storm surges in Sierra Leone, Africa.

http://www.cwgc.org/about-us/what-we-do/horticulture.aspx

These areas of sustainable water usage, conflict zones and climate change are very familiar from our zoo animal conservation role in zoos and our overseas projects.

David Richardson claims that the CWGC is probably the largest amenity horticulture organisation in the world, employing over 850 to 900 gardeners worldwide. It is also now taking onboard being a conservation or heritage organisation of hundreds of historic monuments by top architects such as Lutyens and his Thiepval Memorial as it approaches 100 years old.

http://www.cwgc.org/about-us/most-popular-questions/fast-facts.aspx

I was surprised to learn that of the 23,000 cemeteries and burial plots in over 150 countries worldwide,  over half are to be found in the United Kingdom. In 2016, I  visited local WW1 CWGC headstones in a local Newquay cemetery near Newquay Zoo to pay our respects  as part of  the Living Memory project to mark the 141 days of the Somme  http://www.cwgc.org/about-us/cwgc-projects/living-memory.aspx

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/the-somme-the-ennor-family-living-memory-and-our-local-cwgc-headstones-in-newquay/

Somme100

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Kew Joddrell Laboratory / Lecture Theatre, 2016

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

A relaxing place to sit and wait of an evening  for the 6th July talk, 2016 Kew Gardens

One clue for the researchers, on the back of the Q.M.A.A.C “girl gardeners” magazine illustration are featured these senior and well-decorated men :

cwgc qmaac back

Possible clue to the WW1  1918-21 date of the print , being the reverse page of the Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Army Corps  illustration, undated – what links all these officers?

A quick coffee break check suggests that these are the memorial portraits of well-decorated senior men, many of whom had died throughout mid to late 1917:

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/73256/LEIGHTON,%20JOHN%20BURGH%20TALBOT

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/508940/KERRISON,%20ROGER%20ORME

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/99349/MAXWELL,%20FRANCIS%20AYLMER

This suggests a magazine date at the earliest of April 1918 onwards, when the QMAAC received its royal name change from the WAAC.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 27 July 2017

22/2/1917 The continuing food crisis in Germany and Austria-Hungary

June 19, 2017

Not only in Britain was rationing and food shortages looming in WW1 throughout 1917 – it happened in Austria Hungary and Germany too.

World War 1 Live

Germany and Austria-Hungary are having problems feeding their people. Before the war Germany was able to import food from overseas to feed its industrial workforce. Now the British navy cuts off the granaries of the world. Domestic food production has fallen, partly due to the agricultural labour force having been drafted into the army. The loss of fertilisers is also a factor. Germany can no longer import nitrates from Chile. What nitrates are available (largely thanks to the work of the gifted chemist Fritz Haber, who has developed a process for their synthesis) are being used to manufacture explosives. And the most recent potato harvest has failed, because copper is no longer available for the anti-blight sprays. Germans are now feeding themselves on turnips or Kriegsbrot, an unappetising bread substitute.

The Allies meanwhile have further contributed to German food woes by buying up the entire output of the…

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