Remembering Sidney George Comer of Kew, Killerton and Boconnoc Gardens , Died WW1 22 September 1918

September 22, 2018

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Kew Guild Journal Obituary 1919

Sidney George Comer, September 22 1918
Private Sidney George Comer, Machine Gun Corps and Tank Corps, USA

 

This Kew trained gardener had gone out to work in the USA in February 1914 after working at Kew from February 1911 as Sub-foreman in the Propagating Pits at Kew.

He is listed as a boarder at 1 Gloucester Road, Kew in the 1911 census, alongside two other young gardeners, Joseph Sharps of Ness, Chester and Edward Plummer Heim of Purton, Wilts. All three young gardeners grandly signed their 1911 census returns as “Gardener, Royal Gardens, Kew“.

Sidney Comer was born in February 1889 to a Mary J. Comer. His father J. C. Comer was a wheelwright on the Killerton Estate, Exeter, Devon (now run by the National Trust).

His Kew Guild Journal obituary of 1919 notes that he was “one of 6 sons … all serving in the forces”. Although many Comers are listed as casualties on the CWGC.org site, I have thankfully not so far found any other of his five brothers listed as killed.

Sidney is also listed with odd dates (1916 death)  on the Broadclyst War Memorial in Devon.  http://www.devonheritage.org/Places/Broadclyst/BroadclystWarMemorial-Part1.htm

According to his Kew Guild Journal obituary, Comer died of pneumonia on September 22, 1918 whilst in training at Camp Devens, Massachusetts, after enlisting in the US army once America entered the war in 1917.

Many serving troops and civilians died during the Spanish Flu / Influenza pandemics which swept around the world in the chaos at the end of the war.

As well as service at Killerton, before going to Kew the Kew records suggest Comer had also worked  at Boconnoc near Lostwithiel, home today to a famous spring garden in Cornwall.

Married in 1916, his wife predeceased him in June 1918, probably in America (for which I have no records access).

Sidney George Comer, Gardener, Remembered. 

To read more about the other Kew Gardeners who died in WW1 visit our blog post https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

Blog posted on the centenary of Sidney Comer’s death by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 22 September 1918 / 2018.

 

 

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The scribbled stuff of Research! 

Gardening in Wartime WW1 Resources

September 17, 2018

parks and gardens uk ww1 page

Our World War Zoo Gardens Blog and especially the much visited blog post on the Kew Gardens Staff War Memorial WW1

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

is mentioned on the Park and Gardens UK website page on Gardening in Wartime WW1 Resources

http://www.parksandgardens.org/projects/gardening-in-wartime/753-a-selection-of-wwi-resources

This Parks and Gardens UK website is well worth visiting, especially for the garden history and social history pages  including  the many fascinating links about how WW1 affected the gardening profession, parks and estates. 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 17 September 2018.

Remembering John Charles Nauen of Kew Gardens died POW Far East 10 September 1941

September 11, 2018

 

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1939-45 panels, Kew Gardens War Memorial. Image: Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project

It is 75 years ago since Kew trained botanist J.C. Nauen died as a Far East Prisoner of War (FEPOW) in Burma around the 10 September 1943. His plant skills must have saved many POW lives from diseases of malnutrition.

John Charles Nauen worked as Assistant Curator of the Botanic Gardens Singapore from 1935.

He served with Kew colleague G.H. Spare (see weblink below), Nauen (or Naun) served as a Serjeant 5387, volunteer in the 3rd Battalion, (Penang and Province Wellesley Volunteer Corps) SSVF Straits Settlement Volunteer Force.

Trained at Kew, his botanic skills would have been  of great help gardening and collecting plants from the local area to help keep fellow prisoners alive.

Nauen died as a Japanese POW prisoner of war, aged 40, working on the infamous Burma-Siam railway in September / October 1943 of blood poisoning.

He was buried in 1943 at Tambaya then reburied in 1946 at Thanbyuzayat Cemetery. many small POW cemeteries were concentrated into larger memorial areas.

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Image: CWGC archive. 

He is buried in Thanbyuzayat CWGC Cemetery in Burma, alongside 1000s of fellow POW victims from the Burma-Siam railway. He was the son of John Jacob and Clara Nauen of Coventry.

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Some of Nauen’s plant collecting herbarium specimens survive at Kew, whilst he has an interesting obituary in the Kew Guild Journal 1946 and The Garden’s Bulletin Singapore September 1947 (XI, part 4, p.266).

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“As the Japanese scale of rations was so meagre and vegetables and fruit entirely lacking, Nauen was one of the first to advocate gardening in real earnest and offered his professional experience to the authorities, but military bureaucracy did its best to discourage the efforts of mere privates and NCOS.

Nauen with his untiring zeal however continued to work on his own amongst all and sundry who were trying to cultivate the ground around their quarters, with seeds and cuttings when he could, and willingly gave of his knowledge.”

Nauen’s Kew Guild obituary 1946

What an amazing man, a quiet hero! It is a remarkable story, showing how valuable Kew trained botanists were in wartime in many different sitations. . Similar POW gardening stories can be read in Kenneth Helphand’s Defiant Gardens and the fascinating accompanying book Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime (2008).

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Of all the possessions for a POW to drag through the jungle, Nauen chose two heavy volumes of Burkill’s Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula.

The story of his Kew and Singapore comrade Gordon Henry Spare is given on the Kew staff on the WW2 section of the Kew War Memorial blogpost:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-world-war-two/

Some CWGC documents have his name spelt as NAUN.

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His headstone can be seen here on the TWGPP site :

https://www.twgpp.org/photograph/view/3756828

nauan twgpp

Additional link on the POW stories and the Volunteer Force that Nauen belonged to:

http://www.malayanvolunteersgroup.org.uk/

John Charles Nauen and his FEPOW and Kew comrades in WW2, Remembered.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 10 September 1943.

 

Remembering Charles Dare ZSL London Zoo died WW1 10 September 1918

September 10, 2018

 

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Charles Dare is remembered on the ZSL Staff War memorial at London Zoo. 

10.9.1918        Charles William Dare    County of London Regt             ZSL  Helper,
originally enlisted as 2965 or 610564  19th London Regiment, he served also as Private 245116,  2nd (City of London) Battalion  (Royal Fusiliers).

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Names of the fallen ZSL staff from the First World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010

He  was killed on active service,  aged 20 and is listed on the  Vis-en-Artois memorial, one of 9580 killed in this area in the “Advance to Victory”  having no known grave.

c w dare medal card ww1

Charles had been in France with the London Regiment since June 1917. On this medal roll entry and elsewhere he is Presumed Dead or D.P. on 10th September 1918, presumably because his body was never found. This is why he is remembered on the Vis En Artois Memorial, rather than having an individual grave or headstone.

c w dare medal roll entry ww1
Charles Dare was killed during period of the 100 days of the  “Advance to Victory”  (August to November / Armistice  1918).

August 8th marked the beginning of the Battle of Amiens was known as the ‘Black Day’ of the German Army; on the 15th, British troops crossed the Ancre river and on the 30th, the Somme river.

Advances carried on throughout September 1918, when Charles Dare was killed. The Armistice came two months after Charles Dare’s  death on the 11th November 1918.

Family background
Charles Dare was born and lived in St. Pancras in  1898 and enlisted in Camden Town.

He had an older sister, Lilian E Dare, two years older, also born in St. Pancras.

His father Charles J Dare was a distiller’s clerk from Hereford, aged 38 in 1901 living at 16 Eton Street, St. Pancras parish / borough (London 1901 census RG 13/133). they stilllived there in 1911, not that far from Regents Park and the Zoo. His mother Mary A Dare, 37,  was born in Lugwardine,  Hereford.
A Helper in ZSL staff terms is a junior or trainee member of staff before they become a Junior then Senior Keeper.

cw dare register ww1

 

Charles Dare married an Emily Catherine Holloway (1897-1944) of Kentish Town, early in 1918. According to the UK Register of Soldiers Effects, they had a daughter Gladys born 10th March 1918 or 1919.

Charles’ widow Emily Dare remarried an Arthur Scraggs in 1930 but was sadly killed as a civilian by enemy action (presumably an air raid casualty) during the “Baby Blitz” on London WW2 at her home 179 Grafton Road, London on 19 February 1944. 187 planes of the Luftwaffe bombed London on this day as part of Operation Steinbock. It was the heaviest bombing of the British capital since May 1941.

You can read more about the other ZSL London Zoo casualties of WW1 remembered on the ZSL Staff War Memorial here:

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

Remembered on the centenary of his death – Charles William Dare, ZSL Helper (Keeper), died WW1 10 September 1918.

Blog  posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 10 September 2018.

Remembering Joseph Hayhurst of Kew Gardens died WW1 7 September 1918

September 7, 2018

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Joseph Hayhurst’s name on the Kew Gardens WW1 staff Memorial.  

Private Joseph Hayhurst, of Kew Gardens, died 7th September 1918  

Hayhurst died serving as G/31695, 6th Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, died 7 September 1918, aged 33.

He was formerly 24251, KOSB King’s Own Scottish Borderers (Border Regiment), the Regiment listed on the Kew War Memorial.

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He is buried at the oddly named Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile, Aisne, France. It appears from CWGC records that he was reburied here from another plot or cemetery elsewhere.

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Hayhurst was one of three named 6th Royal West Kent Regiment casulaties (identified by disc) who died on 7 September 2018,  relocated from post war from one isolated map reference / grave to Unicorn Cemetery. 

How did Unicorn Cemetery get its unusual name?

CWGC website source: Vendhuile (Vend’huile) was very nearly reached in the Battle of Cambrai 1917. It was taken by the 27th and 30th American Divisions at the end of September 1918, and cleared by the 12th and 18th Divisions on 30 September. After the fight, men of the 18th Division were buried by the 50th (Northumbrian) Division in Plot I, Row A, of Unicorn Cemetery (the name is taken from the Divisional mark of the 50th Division).

Hayhurst was born at Clayton Le Moors, Lancashire on 4 April 1885 to Joseph (senior) a general labourer (1901 census) and mother Ann.

Joseph was listed in the 1901 census as Nursery Gardener Assistant aged 15. His brothers and sisters were cotton weavers.

Aged 25 in the 1911 Census, he was living as a boarder in 55a Moscow Road, Bayswater whilst working as a “Gardener Public” for HM Office of Works. Kew Gardens remains to this day a government department.

Unfortunately there appears little in the Kew Guild Journal about the circumstances of his death or his role and time at Kew Gardens.

A postwar Kew Guild Journal 1921, p.43 “In Memoriam” section records that the deaths “of W. Humphris and Mr J. Hayhurst of the Border Regiment … are recorded in the war but we have been unable to obtain any parmticulars”.

Joseph Hayhurst enlisted back in his own birth county at Windermere, Lancashire.

He is listed on the CWGC website as the husband of Mrs. Bertha Hayhurst, Ebenezer Terrace, Billington, Whalley, Blackburn, Lancs.

J. Hayhurst is also remembered on the Billington, Whalley War Memorial. (Flickr photo by Robert Wade)

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There is no additional inscription from his family on his headstone, photographed on the TGWPP website or recorded on the CWGC register.

What was happening on the day Joseph died?

Looking at the 6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment War Diary, the men were moved into position N.E. Combles on 4th September 1918.

6th September 1918 – The Battalion moved at dawn to St Pierre Vaast Wood, later at 2pm proceeded to Riverside Wood. Moved at 8pm to positions West of Narlu.

7th September 1918 – West of Narlu. Moved at 2.30 Am to assembly positions along Road V 30 b and d.

The Battalion attacked the high ground North of Guvencourt. attack successful . Jacquenne Copse occupied in morning posts established in W 29 B and D. Peiziere and Epehy villages strongly held with machine guns. Enemy aeroplane shot down by D company, occupants (two Germans) taken prisoner.

Casualties Killed in Action 8 O.R.s (Other Ranks] Wounded 65 O.R.s Missing 16 O.R.s Officer Casualties Captain W.C. Clifford MC, 2nd Lieutenants K.H. Daniel and D.C.S. Bryan, Lieutenant L. Willoughby at duty.

8th September – W? Of Peizieres. at 7.30 a.m. troops of 58th Division passed through the Battalion and continued to advance. Battalion withdrew at noon and proceeded to vicinity of Vaux Wood. Casualties 3 O.R.s wounded.

——–

Joseph Hayhurst and his two Royal West Kent Comrades buried alongside him were amongst the eight killed or 16 missing Other Ranks.

Return of Soldier’s Effects Register

6th Battalion Royal West Kent Regiment War Diary September 1918

Joseph Hayhurst’s WW1 Medal record card

You can read more about Joseph and the other gardeners on the Kew Gardens staff War Memorial here:

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

Joseph Hayhurst and his comrades in the 6th Royal West Kents, died 7th September 1918 – Remembered a hundred years later.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 7 September 2018.

The Blitz begins 7 September 1940

September 7, 2018

 

ZSL 1940 p2

The Times article republished and illustrated in War Illustrated November 15th 1940

The Blitz, during which Nazi Germany bombed London and other English cities in nighttime raids, lasted from Sept. 7, 1940, to May 1941.

The raids killed around 43,000 British civilians and left widespread destruction.

ZSL London Zoo was in the firing line for the first time in over twenty years since Zeppelin airship and airplane bombing of London in WW1.

Long existing zoos such as Belle Vue (Manchester) and Bristol Zoo  had to put ARP (Air Raid Precautions) in place in 1939, along with newer 1930s zoos such as Chessington Zoo and Belfast Zoo.

https://www.zsl.org/blogs/artefact-of-the-month/zsl-london-zoo-during-world-war-two

ZSL 1940 p1

Some animal propaganda (ZSL chimps with tin hats) in  War Illustrated November 15th 1940

” The Zoo is in fact a microcosm of London …” 

Chessington Zoo

Chessington Zoo was bombed on 2 October 1940 and several staff family members were killed. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/chessington-zoo-blitzed-2-october-1940-eyewitness-accounts/

www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/80/a5333780.shtml

Lovely Chessington Zoo home movie 1940 footage, a grand day out presumably before the October 1940 bombing  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHeqmMWs7VM

LR Brightwell's wartime panda poster London Zoo 1942

LR Brightwell’s wartime panda poster for London Zoo 1942, encouraging zoo visitors and pandas to return  once the 1940/1 Blitz had quietened down. The “Off the Ration” exhibition encouraged Dig for Victory allotments like our World War Zoo Gardens but also encouraging zoo visitors  grow your own food animals (rabbits, chickens, pigs). 

Zoo Blitz Resources for Schools

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/blitz-and-pieces-at-our-wartime-zoo-workshops/

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Interesting Year 6 cross-curricular topic map for WW2 – Blitz and Battle of Britain (now defunct 2014/15 Inspire Curriculum, Cornwall)  

The 1944/45 Blitz

Later in the war (1944/45) Chessington Zoo  was hit by a Flying Bomb – as mentioned in our blog post https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/chessington-zoo-blitzed-2-october-1940-eyewitness-accounts/

You can see Chessington zoo and circus staff clearing up the aftermath on YouTube https://youtu.be/T9CiQvwP1TQ 

London Zoo would also be affected by V1 and V2 bombing, including London Zoo veteran staff member Overseer W.W. T. Leney being killed in 1944 by a flying bomb at home. Nowhere in London or the Southeast was safe, night or day, at work or at home during the flying bomb raids. We shall mark the occasion 75 years on later next year on 25th November 1944 / 2019 with a fuller blogpost on Walter Leney.

The ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial:

Leney, William Walter Thomas, ZSL Overseer: Killed by flying bomb 25.11.1944

ZSL London Zoo veteran Keeper and Overseer William Leney at 65, old enough to have served in the First World war, was killed alongside his wife Kate Jane Leney (also 65) at 59 King Henry’s Road (Hampstead, Metropolitan Borough) by flying bomb. W.W.T.  Leney and wife died on 25 November 1944. Several flying bombs are recorded as having fallen around the London Zoo area, close neighbour of RAF Regent’s Park.

Studying the Blitz and Wartime Life? 

For more details about our schools wartime zoo / wartime life workshops for primary and secondary schools at Newquay Zoo, contact us via  https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/school-visits/primary

berlin elephant front

The last elephant left at the damaged Elephant house Berlin Zoo in 1943/44 after the Allied Air raids (Image source: Mark Norris, private collection from defunct press archive0.

Similar Allied air raids on German cities and industrial targets  caused extensive damage to German zoos in city and railway areas, as personally and vividly described  in zoo Director Lutz Heck’s Berlin Zoo memoir Animals – My Adventure. This will be the subject of a future blogpost as we approach the 75th anniversary of these raids in 1943 / 2018 and 1944 / 2019.

Remembering all those affected by the Blitz and air raids, 1940 /41 and 1944/45. 

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 7th September 1940 / 2018.

A Tale of Tin Hats WW2

September 6, 2018

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A Table or Tale of Tin Hats during our wartime schools workshops at Newquay Zoo.

Our WW2 Tin Hat collection has been busy again this year with school wartime zoo workshops at Newquay Zoo.

On the eve of the First Day of the Blitz (7th September 1940) 78 years on, we explore some of the protective head gear that zoo keepers and others may have worn in their various work and wartime roles.

https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/school-visits/primary

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/world-war-zoo-gardens-workshops-for-schools-at-newquay-zoo/

The ‘Tin Hats’ or Steel Helmets

Heavy – Tried on by many visiting school pupils!

Many male and female wartime zoo staff members, if not called up into the Armed Forces, may have had a ‘second life’ in the form of a night-time  or weekend role in the Home Guard, Fire Service or ARP Wardens in their work or home area.

All these roles required  protective equipment and clothing, including steel helmets.

WW2 British Police Helmet 

Issued to Police staff and wartime Police reservists

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Fire Service Helmets

The NFS National Fire Service in Britain adopted the wartime Brodie Helmet style, rather than their traditional Roman / Napoleonic cavalry brass helmets.

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Not sure what HAL in red stands for, whereas their fire sector number was written as a number, in this case 34 (West London).

Their sector number was written as a number, in this case 34 (West London).

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Reproduction canvas shoulder hanger for your steel helmet – this helps to always keep it with you, along with your gas mask! 

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NFS Service Number 815946 

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NFS Sector or Fire Area 8 (decal) 

Newquay  lost many of  its AFS Auxiliary Fire Service Crew in the Plymouth Blitz in 1941. A memorial bell can still be seen at Newquay Fire Station today.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/the-plymouth-blitz-70-years-on-and-newquays-lost-wartime-afs-firecrew-remembered/

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Peaked cap and smart uniform: unnamed ZSL Whipsnade Zoo  Keeper c. 1939/40 ploughing up zoo paddocks for crop planting with Dixie the elephant, instead of horses. (source: Zoo and Animal Magazine, 1939/40) 

Peaked Caps

Male zoo keepers traditionally wore a smart military style, stiff peaked cap in public (right up until the late 1980s in some zoos). Many other jobs also had this everyday cap, as well as the steel helmet for Raid and ARP duty.

NFS crews also had a smart peaked cap, worn when not wearing the Steel Helmet.

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Rubber handled WW2 fireman’s axe, designed to avoid or insulate against electrocution if touching live wires. 

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Maple and Co?  1941 makers stamp on the canvas Fireman’s Axe holder 

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Information and voltage markings 

 

Irish / Eire Raid Warden Helmet

Distinctively a lovely Irish or emerald shade of green.

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Irish Republic / Eire ARP Wardens Helmet – The W looks rather amateurishly applied. Helmet Source: closed Fire Service museum / collection

Although a neutral country in WW2, unlike Northern Ireland, there were several occasions when Eire or the Irish Republic / Southern Ireland  was bombed by the German air force, presumably by mistake.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombing_of_Dublin_in_World_War_II

As a result Dublin Zoo staff would have had to had ARP precautions in place. The newly opened 1934 Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland was in the Belfast Blitz area.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/belfast-zoo-and-the-belfast-blitz-19-april-1941/

http://www.belfastzoo.co.uk/about-us/zoo-history/elephant-angel.aspx

Zuckermann Helmet 1939/40

Designed by zoologist Solly Zuckerman at ZSL London Zoo for civilian workers and fire watchers

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MFP possibly refers to Main Fire Party or Precautions or similar 

Look out for a future blog post on ZSL London Zoo Scientist and primatologist Solly Zuckerman and how he designed and tested this helmet.

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Heavy helmets match to some of the heavy original WW2 clothing, much tried on by visiting school pupils during our wartime zoo / wartime life Schools workshops at Newquay Zoo.

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Primary history source material – Keeper Billett of Whipsnade Zoo ZSL in tin hat and gas mask pictured in the shortlived ‘Animal And Zoo magazine’, November 1939 (magazine / photo from the World War Zoo archive, Newquay Zoo). Can’t quite see the front marking on the helmet.

This part of a print (below) in our collection shows some of the range of labelled and marked helmets that would distinguish different ranks and different emergency services during and after an air raid.

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Note the NARPAC National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee helmet.  

Some of the rarer variations of markings, if genuine, can command much higher prices to collectors than others. Beware imitations!

Lesson Ideas for Primary School WW2 sessions 

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Blitz and Battle of Britain WW2 Cross Curricular Year 6 topic (the now defunct 2014/5 Inspire Curriculum, Cornwall) 

https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/school-visits/primary

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, on the eve of the Blitz anniversary 7th  September 1941 / 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Merchant Navy Day 3rd September 2018

September 3, 2018

 

Picture World War Zoo gardens Newquay Zoo May June 2010 089

“Let your shopping help our shipping” was one propaganda message about saving food – grow your own is another, promoted by a typical piece of advertising from a wartime gardening magazine (from the World War Zoo gardening collection / archive at Newquay Zoo).

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A 1917 Punch cartoon from our World War Zoo Gardens archive collection

Remembering the brave men and women of the Merchant Navy past and present on Merchant Navy Day every 3rd September, who keep us and our animals supplied and fed in peacetime and wartime:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/remembering-merchant-navy-day-3-september-from-a-zoo-keepers-perspectivenwall/

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Food Security: the Dig For Victory gardener and the Merchant Navy, twinned in “The Common Task” Punch cartoon in my collection (March 19, 1941)

Another reason to be thankful and also Dig for Victory! Dig for Plenty! 

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Merchant Navy Day tributes, 2014  Tower Hill Memorial (Image: Mark Norris) 

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“And Have No Grave But The Sea” – Tower Hill London CWGC War Memorial for Merchant Navy sailors of WW2   (Image: Mark Norris, 2014)

Remembering the Merchant Navy Crews involved in wartime along our Cornish coastline as well:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/remembering-the-british-chancellor-and-the-bombing-of-falmouth-docks-10-july-1940/

Remember as well the Merchant Navy crews buried in our local Newquay Cemetery including stewardess Louisa Tearle and also the crew of SS War Grange torpedoed off Newquay May 1918:

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

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 3rd September 1939 / 2019.

Jumpy Frogs, Seed Saving and Scent in our Wartime Allotment at Newquay Zoo

August 23, 2018

 

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Captured on camera at last … a youngish well camouflaged froglet, August 2018.  

I have spotted frogs hopping around the World War Zoo gardens allotment several times whilst weeding  and watering this summer. This is the first time I  have caught them on camera.

It is a young Common or European FrogRana temporaria, a little smaller than the one I saw in the same place several weeks ago  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_frog

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Frog still from film clip 

This common frog is a good sign, that things have stayed damp and healthy for wildlife on this allotment plot. This frog is also some free slug control, as I use no slug pellets or chemicals, as  many of these plants are intended as food for our zoo animals.

These tiny carnivores will be hunting slugs, snails, insects and worms across our tiny allotment on the Lion House lawn, right next door to the Lion House where our larger carnivores live at Newquay Zoo.

It’s nearing the end of the summer season for the World War Zoo Gardens wartime garden allotment.

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World War Zoo Gardens allotment plot at Newquay Zoo, emptying and thinning out as the holiday season ends, 23  August 2018 

I find it hard to believe that it’s also our World War Zoo Gardens  project’s 9th Birthday this Bank Holiday weekend, so it got a quick trim and tidy up before I have a couple of days off.

You can revisit our first blog entries in August 2009 onwards https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/world-war-zoo-project-–-newquay-zoo’s-wartime-garden-2009/

Some Broad Bean seeds have been saved and dried, others have been a rare very fresh food treat, tricky things to pod for  our Macaques and other monkeys. Seed saving was an important feature of the wartime garden, to set aside seeds for planting the next year.

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Poppy seed  heads in a zoo café brown paper bag and Broad Beans seeds to  save, August 2018 

Our contribution to the nationwide Ribbon of Poppies project planted for Armistice 1918 / 2018 is now almost over, just a few poppies in flower left.

The dried seed heads have been collected up in a café brown paper bag to dry off (plastic bags don’t work well for this) whilst some have already self-seeded for next year’s Ribbon of Poppies. Plenty of keepers and zoo staff died after 1918 from the effects of war service as mentioned here – we will mark each sad centenary with a blogpost  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/100-days-and-the-black-day-of-the-german-army-8th-august-1918/

On a more cheerful and smelly note, we have been harvesting herbs for zoo animal scent enrichment,  especially our carnivores.

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Carnivore Keepers’ food prep bench, with fresh bundles of  Mint, Lemon balm and  Rosemary, tied up with dry palm frond “twine”, August 2018. 

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Food prep – Locusts, mealworms, soaked pulses, hard boiled eggs, needlefree syringes for vitamin supplements and my fresh bouquet of Rhubarb Chard and Spinach tops. As I scrawled on the Primate Keepers’ whiteboard, these are possibly the last of the 2018 season? 

So Happy Birthday to the World War Zoo Gardens project at Newquay Zoo, nine years young.

Our coming year 2019 sees Newquay Zoo’s 50th anniversary (26 May 1969 / 2019) https://newquayzoohistory.wordpress.com/

It is  also in September 2019 the 80th anniversary of the Outbreak of World War Two, when zoo keepers in many nations dug up their lawns to feed their zoo animals.

As the WW1 centenary comes to an end, I expect this 80th anniversary of 1939/2019 will bring a resurgence of primary school projects marking the 80th anniversary of WW2 including our schools workshop / talks https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/remembering-the-start-of-the-blitz-7-september-1940-and-a-happy-new-school-term/

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo, World War Zoo gardens project, 23 August 2018.

Gardening with Children 1908 and 2018

August 15, 2018

Jekyll children

 

1908 and 2018 – an interesting question: How best do you involve children in gardening? This is something staff at a zoological or botanic garden are sometimes asked, because gardening can be good for wildlife, for sustainability and for your mental health.

A blog comment or email from the USA arrived at Newquay Zoo recently:

“My name is Scott. I am writing to you because as a gardening Dad with two kids I understand how important it is to spend time with them in a constructive way.”

I am fortunate to have (had) lots of fun chats with children and families whilst working in our World War Zoo Gardens wartime allotment at Newquay Zoo. Some children sneakily eat the edible stuff when I’m not there. Best of all, children often tell me about what they grow at home or in school.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/overheard-at-the-world-war-zoo-gardens/

How to Get Children Gardening

Back in 1908 the famous British garden writer and designer Gertrude Jekyll (rhymes with treacle) wrote a surprising book for its time called Children and Gardens. It was published by Country Life in both Britain and America.

Since reprinted and still available, you can also read a scanned Archive.org  copy here, free:

https://archive.org/stream/childrengardens00jeky

Within a decade as World War 1 ground on, as most of the younger gardeners were called up on active service, these same British children would be encouraged at home and school to grow their own  food. The German U-boat submarine blockades seriously hit the import of food to Britain by merchant shipping.  Bad harvests were recorded in 1916 / 1917, leading to food ration books being issued in Britain in 1918.

American children were also encouraged to grow food, as part of Uncle Sam’s patriotic United States Schools Garden Army, after the USA entered the war in 1917. https://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2017/01/the-school-garden-army-in-the-first-world-war/

This was WW2 Dig For Victory  25 years early, as mentioned in my March 2013 blogpost on Herbert Cowley, an injured WW1 gardening writer who was a friend and photographer to Gertrude Jekyll:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/dig-for-victory-1917-world-war-1-style-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-and-the-fortunate-herbert-cowley-1885-1967/

Gertrude Jekyll in 1908 had some interesting ideas about giving children ownership and pride in their gardens:

childrengardens00jeky_0039

Staking your territory and naming it in plants.

I hope Gertrude Jekyll’s book encouraged at least a few parents of  posh Edwardian children to let them get a little bit dirty, wear practical working clothes and grow some food in real dirt.

childrengardens00jeky_0119 wheelbarrow

It might have given them a tiny but valuable appreciation of the manual toil of the working classes around the world who put food on their tables.

childrengardens00jeky_0058 pumpkin

From Children and Gardens … almost a feel or  look of Heligan gardens before that garden went quietly to sleep after WW1.

Hopefully some Edwardian children had some muddy, spud eating fun growing up, because of Gertrude Jekyll’s 1908 book.

Dyb Dyb Dig!

It is also interesting to note that the Baden Powell Scout Movement came into being around this time (1907/8), quickly followed by the Guides (191)) for the kind of girls who had already cleverly highjacked or gatecrashed their brothers’ opportunities to set up scout troops.

http://www.scoutsrecords.org/explore.php?dil=&icerik=80&bparent=CB6FCCF1AB7A8F1765FC3A9D09C9ACAE&

Girl Guides can be seen market gardening in 1917 here in this IWM image Q 108289 : https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205087807

Interesting IWM WW1 Centenary article:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/10-ways-children-took-part-in-the-first-world-war

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918

WW1 school girls  involved in gardening –  IWM image Q31135

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 31155)

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918

IWM Q31153 Horace Nicholls’ WW1  photo of British Schoolgirls growing food. 

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 31153)

Some photos even show air raid shocked children gardening as convalescence and therapy https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205296421

THE MEDICAL SERVICES ON THE HOME FRONT, 1914-1918

© IWM (Q 30542)

Caption: Air-raid shocked girls from the Llangattock School of Arts and Crafts, gardening their own plots at the Kitchener Heritage home for air-raid shocked children and educative convalescence for disabled soldiers at Chailey, Sussex. IWM Collection:  THE MEDICAL SERVICES ON THE HOME FRONT, 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 30542)

2018: It is the final year of the 1914-18 centenary. Within ten years of 1908, plenty of the young boys shown in Gertrude’s book would have been in khaki uniform and have had a very different experience of digging and mud than you could ever wish for anyone.

Some of the girls could have ended up working the land in the WW1 version of Land Girls, growing herbs or nursing for the same war effort.

childrengardens00jeky_0164 campfire

As the book was reprinted in 1933, some  photographs appear to have been retaken orupdated,  as I have seen some charmingly relaxed 1930s/ 1940s versions of my parent’s generation.

These 1908 pictures of children in the garden are surreal, whimsical, reminiscent of E. Nesbit and The Secret Garden, Cottingley fairies, Beatrix Potter and Alice in Wonderland.

childrengardens00jeky_0157 fun

Some garden sandpit, this one!

childrengardens00jeky_0158 in the sand pit

childrengardens00jeky_0068 saved seeds

This is in part an improving, natural history book, practically written advice to children and written for children (and parents) to read.
childrengardens00jeky_0167 tea kitchen

There is a whole chapter on Gertrude Jekyll’s cats sunning themselves in the garden, a hundred years before Youtube and The Internet was invented to show cute cat videos.

childrengardens00jeky_0109 first garden

Lots of personal childhood experiences in Gertrude’s book.

Most important is a patch of ground that a child can call its own to play, dig  or grow stuff. Modern urban British back gardens tend to be far too tiny.

trelawney-garden-centre-and-bop-wartime-garden-blog-0810-001

Gardening advice, Boy’s Own Paper August 1940 – I’m not sure children would be allowed to mess around with Derris Dust today!

Dig for Victory gardens (or Victory Gardens in the USA) in WW2 were important ways to feed the family and involve schools and children in the war effort.

Popular monthly children’s magazines would have gardening articles by famous gardening authors:  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/gardening-and-garden-centres-for-growing-wartime-boys-tomboys-and-garden-gnomes-“go-to-it-lads”-the-boy’s-own-paper-august-1940/

 

Scott’s email 2018

1908 / 1918 / / 1940 / 2018: I was reminded of all this Children and Gardens material when I received an interesting email from a fellow blogger in the USA:

“My name is Scott and I am writing to you because as a gardening Dad with two kids I understand how important it is to spend time with them in a constructive way. This seems particularly important today as kids would rather spend their time watching Disney Channel or playing video games when given a choice between TV and playing outside.”

I’m sure the Wild Network movement would agree with Scott about the threat of us all becoming a nation of “glassy eyed zombies” on I-pads and I-phones, or as my 1970s childhood version, “square eyed”.  However, before anyone complains,  video games and cartoons have their place in life.

Scott at the Architypes blog continues:

“Now as a blogger I have combined my experience with gardening and kids to create a helpful guide to prove that with a little creativity you can get kids excited about gardening.

You can see Scott’s ideas here: https://www.architypes.net/gardening/kids/

Scott came across World War Zoo gardens through our blog post  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/category/vegetable-gardening/page/4/ while doing some research and thought you might be interested in some of his ideas.

“Perhaps you could mention it on your blog or links page. Please let me know what you think, it would be great to work with you. Thanks for your time, Scott.”

There is some good advice from Scott in his article that I’m sure Gertrude Jekyll and the 1940s Dig For Victory gardeners would approve of.

Thankfully there are today some good books and websites on involving children with gardens, both in school, home and the community. Here are a few more websites from the UK, Australia and America, once you have read through Scott’s ideas:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/

https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/gardening-children-schools

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/gardening-for-children

https://kidsgardening.org/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/children

As the modern Gerturde Jekyll of gardening TV today, Alan Titchmarsh, would say: “Whatever the Weather, Enjoy Your Garden!”

childrengardens00jeky_0171 paired children

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, August  2018.

 

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Our contribution to the UK-wide “Ribbon of Poppies”, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, July 2018. This is where I start singing from our old school hymnbook Pete Seeger’s 1950s / 1960s protest song “Where have all the flowers gone?” 


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