Remembering Charles Whitley killed WW1 Arras 11 April 1917

May 16, 2017

Remembering Captain Charles Whitley, 7th KRRC, brother of Paignton Zoo founder Herbert Whitley, who was killed at Arras,  11 April 1917.

The Battle for Arras finished today 100 years ago on the 16th May 1917.

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Hibers cemetery, where Herbert’s brother Charles Whitley is buried, on the brow of the hill to the left of the cross of sacrifice (Image; CWGC website)

A mistake in blogpost scheduling meant this did not go out on the 11th April on the centenary anniversary as intended.

Captain Charles Whitley, 7th Battalion, King’s Royal Rifle Corps, Military  Cross, died aged 28 on 11th April 1917 during the Battle for Arras (9 April – 16 May 1917).

He is buried at  Grave Reference C. 15, Hibers Trench Cemetery, France.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/31605/HIBERS%20TRENCH%20CEMETERY,%20WANCOURT

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website lists him as born at Halewood, Liverpool and as the Son of the late Mr. Edward Whitley and Elizabeth Eleanor Whitley, of Primley, Paignton, Devon.

His headstone personal inscription is a Bible verse chosen by his mother:  “I  thank my God upon every remembrance of you. Philippians Chapter 1 Verse 3”

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KRRC soldiers are buried alongside their Captain Charles Whitley at Hivers Trench Cemetery, Jersey. Surrounding cemeteries at Wancourt and the Arras memorial bear more names of Whitley’s fellow KRRC soldiers.

There are several websites which describe Charles Whitley including portraits, obituaries and pictures of his headstone:

http://www.flintshirewarmemorials.com/memorials/hawarden-memorial/hawarden-sodliers-2/charles-whitley/

In the 1911 census, Charles Whitley aged 22  was  living as the Joint Owner and Occupier of “Weatherstones”, Windle Hill, Neston, Cheshire.  The other Joint Owner and Occupier was Edmund Page.

Both Charles and Edmund were engaged in a similar  type of stock breeding venture as his brothers Herbert and William in their farming and stock ventures in Devon. Charles was partnered with Page in   “a special and scientific line in farming and cattle breeding” (Hawarden Parish magazine, memorial service / obituary 1917 shown in the Flintshire War Memorials website.)

Looking at the portraits of Charles and brother Herbert you can see a strong family resemblance.

The Battle of Arras

For 38 days the Battle of Arras saw the highest average daily casualty rates of any British offensive in a First World War Battle. Over 300,000 soldiers were killed or wounded on the British, Allied and opposing German side.

From 9th April to the 16th May 1917, British troops attacked German defences near the French city of Arras on the Western Front.

At first it seemed like success, the British and Allied army achieved the longest advance since trench warfare had begun, surpassing the record set by the French Sixth Army on the first day of the Battle of The Somme 1 July 1916, which went so badly wrong for the British Army. This British advance slowed in the next few days, the period when Charles Whitley was killed, as the German defences recovered.

The Battle of Arras soon became a costly stalemate of trench warfare for both sides.

By the end of the Battle of Arras on May the British Third and First armies had suffered about 160,000 casualties and the German 6th Army 125,000 casualties. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Arras_(1917)

Several zoo keepers from London Zoo and other zoos were also killed in this same 1917 period and Arras battle. No doubt many of the various Whitley family’s farm and estate workers in Wales and Devon also served and some died.

ZSL London Zoo librarian Henry Peavot

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

ZSL London Zoo Gardener Robert Jones

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/robert-jones-london-zoo-gardener-killed-battle-of-arras-april-1917-ww1/

J.L. Jennison of Belle Vue Zoo

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/remembering-j-l-jennison-of-the-belle-vue-zoo-jennison-family-died-ww1-3rd-may-2017/

Ralph Stamp of Belle Vue Zoo https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/remembering-ralph-stamp-of-belle-vue-zoo-manchester-died-23-april-1917-ww1/

Charles’ brother Herbert Whitley, a keen zoologist and gardener,  established his Zoological Gardens at Primley, Paignton, Devon in 1923 partly as a Botanic Garden.

Many Botanic garden staff were killed in WW1 including during the Battle of Arras..

Botanic gardeners, naturalists and scientists killed at Arras 

Charles Beswick of  Kew Gardens and Fota

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/remembering-charles-beswick-of-kew-gardens-and-fota-died-ww1-22-april-1917/

F.T. Pursell of Kew Gardens

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/remembering-f-t-pursell-kew-gardens-ww1-died-4-april-1917/

Fred Honey of Kew Gardens

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/remembering-frederick-honey-of-kew-gardens-died-ww1-17-april-1917/

Munro Briggs Scott of Kew Gardens Herbarium

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/13/remembering-munro-briggs-scott-of-kew-gardens-herbarium-killed-12-april-2017-ww1/

Australian herpetologist Dene Barrett Fry

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/08/remembering-zoologist-dene-b-fry-aif-fellow-linnaean-society-nsw-died-arras-1917-ww1/

Many of these men who have no known grave are remembered on The Arras Memorial, maintained by the CWGC

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/82700/ARRAS%20MEMORIAL 

CWGC have also produced an interesting online booklet about the Battle of Arras, including mention of poet Edward Thomas killed on its opening day. http://blog.cwgc.org/arras-intro/

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Herbert Whitley, trademark cigarette in mouth (Image source: Paignton Zoo website)

One wonders what might have happened if Herbert Whitley had been fit enough to fight?

Herbert Whitley was lucky in someways to have had poor enough eyesight to fail an army medical, likewise his brother William was unable to serve, having severely damaged his leg in a riding accident years before. Their contribution to the war effort would be as estate owners, animal breeders and farmers, then a reserved occupation.

‘What If’ History?

Captain Charles Whitley served on the Western Front, gaining a Military Cross for gallantry before being killed in 1917.

If Herbert had been fit to serve, this could well have been his story. A What If? history that would see no Paignton Zoo opened, no Slapton Ley nature reserve was preserved for the nation from inappropriate development and ultimately no Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust (WWCT) was formed on Whitley’s death in 1955.

Read more at:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/08/28/war-and-the-whitleys-para-medics-peacocks-and-paignton-zoo/

Remembering Charles Whitley, the men of the 7th King’s Royal Rifle Corps and the many casualties of the Battle of Arras on both sides, 100 years on from this 38 day battle ended, 16 May 1917 / 2017. 

Thankfully there is now a lull in the casualty lists amongst zoo and gardens staff until August 1917 when the Third Battle of Ypres in Belgium known as Passchendaele dragged on bloodily into the harsh muddy winter months from 31 July – 10 November 1917 (3 months and 6 days) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo.

May 1917 Eat Less Bread by Royal Proclamation

May 9, 2017

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A Royal Proclamation May 1917 (document  from our wartime collection) 

2 May 1917  a message from the King George R I (George the Fifth) “to be read out in churches and chapels … for four four successive weeks” encouraging “abstention from all unnecessary consumption of grain”

“to practice the greatest economy and frugality in the use of every species of grain”

“to reduce the consumption of bread in their respective families by at least one fourth”

“to abstain from the use of flour in pastry”

“all those who keep horses to abandon the practice of feeding the same on oats and other grain”

Bad harvests and a German submarine blockade was affecting food supplies, followed by food rationing a year later.

Taken from a research blog on a Cornish village war memorial that I have been helping with: https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/life-in-wartime-devoran-in-world-war-1/

Further information about these shortages and dig for victory in the First World War on this, my other research blog

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/

Remember -Eat Less Bread!

http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/23/466956650/save-the-fleet-eat-less-wheat-the-patriotic-history-of-ditching-bread

 

Remembering J. L. Jennison of The Belle Vue Zoo Jennison family died WW1 3rd May 2017

May 3, 2017

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J. L. Jennison photograph (copied with thanks from Yorkshire Indexers)

 

Remembering James Leonard Jennison, part of the Jennison family who ran Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Manchester, who died 3rd May 1917 in the Vimy / Arras battles.

http://www.yorkshireindexers.info/wiki/index.php?title=JENNISON,_James_Leonard

Second Lieutenant  J. L. Jennison served with  the 15th Service  Battalion  (1st Leeds) (West Yorkshire Regiment) The Prince of Wales Own (The Leeds Pals).

James was the only son of James and Pauline Jennison (nee Mould) of Belle Vue, Manchester.

James  entered Rugby  School in 1909. He was awarded a Scholarship 1910, and obtained a Mechanical Science Scholarship at Trinity College Cambridge, in 1914. He left School in April 1915  and spent  some months with Messrs. A. V. Roe & Co., Aeroplane Manufacturers.

He received his Officers’ Commission in January, 1916.

“After nine months’ service in France, during which he was recommended for a decoration for the capture, almost single-handed, of a German field gun, he was reported “Missing” in a small local attack at Gavrelle, Vimy Ridge, and later was presumed to have been killed in that action, on May 3rd, 1917, Aged 20 …

The gun that Jennison captured was sent to Leeds as a war trophy.”

From Jennison’s Yorkshire Indexers website entry

“Terrible indeed had been the losses of the 15th Battalion” on 3rd May 1917 (see postscript from their War Diary / Regimental History).

Second Lieutenant James Leonard Jennison  has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to The Missing.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1574425/JENNISON,%20JAMES%20LEONARD

James Leonard Jennison was the son of James Jennison, one of the two Jennison brothers who owned Belle Vue Zoo.

His father James died later that year (1917), possibly hastened by this family loss. His cousin Norman, son of Angelo Jennison, also died on active service in Italy, 1918.

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James Leonard Jennison and Ralph Stamp of Belle Vue Zoo are remembered on the Arras Memorial Wall amongst thousands of missing men with no known garves from this 1917 battle. (Image Source: CWGC)

 

Two of the ‘next generation’ died in WW1, members of the founding Jennison family who might have gone on to run Belle Vue Zoo,   along with 17 other zoo gardens staff.

You can read more about them and the damaged Belle Vue Zoo war memorial in Gorton Cemetery, Manchester.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/remembering-the-lost-ww1-staff-of-belle-vue-zoo-manchester/

Belle Vue Zoo in Gorton, Manchester  closed in 1977/78. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_Vue_Zoological_Gardens

http://gortonphilipsparkcemetrywargrave.weebly.com/belle-vue-war-memorial.html

James Leonard Jennison and collegaues at Belle Vue Zoo and the Leeds Pals, remembered 100 years on, 3rd May 1917/ 2017.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo.

 

 

Postscript: 15th battalion War Diary / History (Page 65 – The-West-Yorkshire-Regiment-in-the-War-1914-1918-Volume-II)

 Zero ” hour was 3-45 a.m. on the 3rd May 1917.

The 15th West Yorkshires (Lieut.-Colonel S. C. Taylor) numbered only 547 officers, N.C.O.’s and men when the battle opened, the battalion having to attack on a frontage of 250 yards from l.I.a. 9.9 to C.25 .a.6 .6.
“D” was right front Company with” A ” in support and ” B” left front Company with ” C” in support.
Each company went over in two waves of single line.
Battle Headquarters of the battalion were in the Cemetery, south of Gavrelle.
About 2 o’clock on the morning of 3rd the enemy appeared nervous and put down a very heavy bombardment on Gavrelle and its environments. For three-quarters of an hour he continued to plaster the village and the neighbourhood with shells of
all calibre, but all was quiet just prior to ” Zero. “
At 3-45 a.m. the British barrage opened and the troops at once went forward to the attack.
Up to 5-30 a.m. no information reached Battalion Battle Headquarters of what had happened in the front line
at that hour wounded men began to dribble in, and from these it was learned that the first objective, an irregular line running through Gavrelle Trench, the Windmill and Windmill Trench, had been captured.
The attack had swept on towards the second objective, the line of Gavrelle and Windmill Support Trenches, but had been beaten back, and finally had had to abandon the first objective.
Definite news was, however, unavailable, and finally Colonel Taylor closed his Battle Headquarters, sent all his papers back and, with runners, signallers and all Battalion Headquarters’ Staff, manned the front-line parapet. Heavy fire was then opened on groups of the enemy’s infantry, who could be seen retiring, seemingly from trench to trench, over the top. All stragglers were collected and organised, and about 7-30 a.m. eighty men were available for the front line. But touch had been lost with flanking battalions on right and left; the trenches were therefore blocked and bombing parties stationed on each flank.
The Battalion Diary states that: “At this period it was quite evident what had happened. The battalion had got forward all right, and had driven back the enemy, but having no supports had lost all driving power, and the enemy, realising this, had turned on them and commenced organising to counter-attack.” The enemy, about 400 strong, could be seen advancing in extended order  but an S.O.S. was sent up and the artillery soon broke up the threatened attack.
In answer to the C.O’s appeal to Brigade Headquarters for assistance, a platoon of K.O.Y.L.I. and two companies of D.L.1. were sent up, and these were used to reinforce the left flank of the 15th West Yorkshires, that flank being out of touch with the right of the 18th Battalion. Touch had, however, been obtained on the right
with the K.O.S.B.
About 8 p.m. the enemy opened a heavy bombardment, but the night was fairly quiet.
Terrible indeed had been the losses of the 15th Battalion.
Only three officers returned and reported to Battalion Headquarters,
and of these two had broken arms and the third was slightly wounded.
Capt. R. M. S. Blease and Capt. G. S. King, Lieut. D. Robinson,
Second-Lieuts. W. H. Jackson, F. W. Scholes, J. S. Thomas, A. S.
Parkin, J. L. Jennison, J . W. Lisle and A. T. Peek were killed;
Second-Lieuts. R. S. Tate and A. H. Riley were reported missing.
The total officer casualties was fifteen.
In other ranks the battalion had lost fifteen killed, 122 wounded and 262 missing, though during the night and early morning of 4th May 1917 a number of slightly wounded men crawled in from No Man’s Land.

 

Remembering Ralph Stamp of Belle Vue Zoo Manchester died 23 April 1917 WW1

April 23, 2017

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The damaged Belle Vue memorial names section, thankfully carved in stone as the statue has been stolen. Image: manchester history.net photo

Remembering Ralph Stamp of Belle Vue Zoo Gardens, Manchester, died WW1

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/11/07/remembering-the-lost-ww1-staff-of-belle-vue-zoo-manchester/

Private Ralph William Stamp, 18th battalion, Manchester Regiment, died aged 23, on the 23rd April 1917, and has no known grave, listed on the Arras memorial, the same as J L Jennison.

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Arras Memorial (image: CWGC)  

Private Ralph William Stamp was the son of Robert and Jane Stamp of 36 Newton Street, Gorton.

He was killed in The Battle of Arras aged 23 on 23 April 1917, serving as a member of the 18th Battalion of The Manchester Regiment. Stamp has no known grave, so is commemorated on The Arras Memorial to the Missing. He is also remembered on the St James Church Gorton war memorial.

He appears to have been on the gardens staff.

Ralph Stamp, Belle Vue Zoo Gardens Manchester, remembered 100 years on from his death, 23 April 1917 / 2017

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

 

Remembering Charles Beswick of Kew Gardens and Fota died WW1 22 April 1917

April 22, 2017

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Charlie Beswick’s name 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/

John Charles Beswick, 22 or 28 April 1917.
2nd Lt. John Charles Beswick, 11th battalion, Royal Lancaster Regiment (Kings Own) died 22 April 1917. He is buried in plot VII.A.2 at Cambrai East Military Cemetery, Northern France.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/550735/BESWICK,%20JOHN%20CHARLES

Cambrai was in German hands for much of the war and Plot VII contains the graves of Commonwealth prisoners, relecting the fact that Beswick died as a prisoner of war. His Kew Guild Journal 1918 obituary lists his death of wounds in a German Field Hospital at Cambrai on April 28, 1917. Not far away, fellow Kewite George Douglas of the early  Tank crews is remembered on another Cambrai memorial to those with no known grave.

Born on 5 October 1888, Beswick was on the Kew staff in 1913, having entered Kew as a sub-foreman in the Temperate House, Kew, September 1912. He enlisted in 1915, joining the Royal Army Medical Corps, then transferring to the Artists Rifles with whom he embarked for France. He was given his officer commission into the Royal Lancaster Regiment.

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He was previously at Fota Island, Queenstown in Ireland, where his father William Beswick was Head Gardener to Lord Barrymore.  The old Fota House of the Smith-Barry family has recently been renovated by the Irish Heritage Trust and is open to the public (www.fotahouse.com). A book on Fota’s restored gardens and their history has recently been published.

According to an article in The Irish Examiner paper website: http://www.irishexaminer.com/lifestyle/features/profiles/the-secret-gardens-195831.html

“[Charlie Beswick] studied botany in Kew Gardens in London before enlisting with the King’s Own Lancashire Regiment, his two older brothers, William Jr and Arthur, already in service.

Among the letters home from the front is the last one Charlie sent as he was about to lead his platoon into action. ‘With God’s help [I] shall return safely,’ he wrote, in a more hurried version of the script of his childhood schoolbooks. ‘… if not, I shall do my duty to the best of my ability.’

Trying to drag a wounded comrade to safety, he was shot and died in a German field hospital in 1917.”

Irish-Examiner-1-June-2012

The Imperial War Museum holds some of his WW1 papers http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1030010733

Charlie Beswick, remembered 100 years on at Kew Gardens and Fota House and Gardens.

Blog post by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project,  Newquay Zoo.

Remembering ZSL London Zoo librarian Henry Peavot killed WW1 21 April 1917

April 21, 2017

21.4.1917 Henry George Jesse Peavot, Honourable Artillery Company,  ZSL Librarian

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ZSL librarian Henry Peavot’s name is listed amongst the thousands of names of the missing on the Arras Memorial. ZSL Gardener Robert Jones is buried in a marked grave here with a headstone at Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, another victim of the Battle of Arras April 1917. (Image source: CWGC)

Henry George Jesse Peavot, a 35 year old ZSL Librarian served in B Company, 1st Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company and died on 21st April 1917.

He has no known grave and his name is listed amongst the 35,000 missing men listed on the Arras Memorial alone.

Like many of these zoo staff, Peavot was married; his widow Maud or Maude Odette Peavot  (nee Schneider)  never remarried (as far as I can discover) and lived to mourn his loss for almost seven decades until 1985. They had one child Leslie, who died in the 1930s.

Previously a ZSL typist, Maude kept in touch with ZSL for many years, a file of personal correspondence in the ZSL Archive appears to continue from 1917 to about 1932 and is likely to be pension related. Equally amongst his WW1 Army Service Records are letters from Maud to the Army chasing her husband’s lost personal possessions.

A former colleague of Henry Peavot from the ZSL Library, Edwin Ephraim Riseley was also killed a few months later in August 1917, commemorated at the Linnean Society Library where he worked after leaving London Zoo – see our Linnean Society Roll of Honour blog post.

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

Librarian Memorial, British Library

This was a new memorial to me. Both Peavot and Riseley are listed on this memorial (alongside British Museum staff like H. Michie) to Librarians lost in WW1 in the British Library.

These photographs are taken from this website http://warmemorials.myfastforum.org/index.php?component=content&topicid=1203

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Henry G. J. Peavot’s attestation and enlistment papers are by chance shown on a London WW1 website about the Derby Scheme,  https://greatwarlondon.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/the-derby-scheme-voluntary-conscription/

Henry George Jesse Peavot, remembered 100 years on, 21 April 1917 / 2017. 

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo.

 

Remembering Herbert Southgate of Kew Gardens died WW1 Gaza 19 April 1917

April 19, 2017

 

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Herbert Southgate of  Royal Botanic Gardens Kew –  Remembered on the WW1 section Kew Gardens staff memorial (Image Source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

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Fellow Norfolk regiment soldiers Foyster and Snelling who died on the same day lie buried near Herbert Southgate, Gaza Cemetery. Source: CWGC

Serjeant Herbert William Leonard Southgate, 240701, ‘A’ Company, 1st/ 5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, died on 19 April 1917, aged 28.

He is buried at Grave Reference XXX. F. I, Gaza War Cemetery, Israel / Palestine area. http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/651381/SOUTHGATE,%20HERBERT%20WILLIAM%20LEONARD
Previous to training and working at Kew Gardens in 1910-12 and 1913, he had worked at Raynham Hall Norfolk and Westonbirt, Gloucestershire. http://www.holfordtrust.com And http://www.hha.org.uk/Property/2673/Westonbirt-House–and–Gardens

He was noted as an orchid specialist. He also worked on The Gardener’s Magazine for a brief time.

He most likely died during the Second Battle Of Gaza (17-19 April, 1917) fighting against the Turks and was posted missing until his body was found seven months later and buried by British troops. Gaza was finally recaptured in November 1917. Herbert served with his younger brother, one of many Soi.

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Herbert Southgate is surrounded by fellow 1/5th Norfolks, killed on the same day in Gaza. Source; CWGC

 

Born on 19 September 1888, he is listed as the son of Herbert William and Hannah Southgate, of East Raynham, Fakenham, Norfolk (hence enlisting in a Norfolk Regiment).

The inscription on his headstone from his family reads “Thanks be to God who giveth us victory through Jesus Christ”.

Herbert Southgate, remembered at Kew Gardens and through the work of CWGC a 100 years after his death. 

southgate gaza cemetery CWGC

Herbert Southgate is buried in Gaza Cemetry. Source: CWGC

Read more about the staff of Kew Gardens who served in WW1:

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

1/4 and 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/norfolk-regiment/

1/4th Battalion
August 1914 : in Norwich. Part of Norfolk and Suffolk Brigade, East Anglian Division.
May 1915 : the formation was retitled as 163rd Brigade, 54th (East Anglian) Division.
29 July 1915 : embarked at Liverpool and moved to Gallipoli via Mudros. Landed at Suvla Bay on 10 August 1915.
19 December 1915 : evacuated from Gallipoli and arrived at Alexandria. Served in Egypt and Palestine thereafter.

1/5th Battalion – which Southgate served in.
August 1914 : in East Dereham. Part of Norfolk and Suffolk Brigade, East Anglian Division. Record same as 1/4th Battalion.

So Kew’s Sergeant  Herbert Southgate may have served at Gallipoli also.

You can also read more about the Battle for Gaza where Southgate and many other Norfolk soldiers lost their lives on this interesting website:

http://greatwarliveslost.com/2017/04/18/thursday-19-april-1917-we-lost-2083/

I was surprised to discover the similarities with the Western Front – gas and tanks:

In keeping with the “Western Front” flavor of the battle, the British introduce poison gas and tanks to the eastern battlefield for the first time. Two thousand gas shells and six tanks are available. While the tanks are certain to be deployed, doubts remain about whether to use gas due to operational concerns.

It is estimated that the Turkish forces occupying the Gaza-Beersheba defenses number between 20,000 and 25,000. As the infantry attack is about to commence, the guns concentrate on the Ali Muntar strong point, south east of Gaza. This includes the firing of gas shells for the first time.

One result of the prolonged bombardment is to provide the Turks with ample warning that a major attack is imminent, giving them plenty of time to finalize their defenses.      (Great War Lives Lost website entry for 19 April 2017)

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo

Remembering Frederick Honey of Kew Gardens died WW1 17 April 1917

April 17, 2017

 

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Second panel, Kew Gardens War Memorial D – M C.L. Digoy to P.T. Martin Image: Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project

Sergeant Frederick Honey, G/20245, 8th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment or the Buffs (East Kent) Regiment, ‘died of wounds’ 17 April 1917, aged 28.

He is buried at Grave Reference I. K. 16, Chocques Military Cemetery. This was located next to No.1 Casualty Clearing Station for casualties from the Bethune area.

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Chocques Military Cemetery (Image source: CWGC)

He is listed as the son of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Honey, of 64, Alexandra Rd., Richmond; husband of Ellen May Honey, of 17, Darell Rd., Richmond, Surrey.

His CWGC entry mentions no inscription chosen by family on his headstone, which is pictured on the TWGPP website.

He is mentioned in a list of “Gangers, labourers and boys” in Kew’s 1914 staff list and as one of “six Members of the labouring staff killed in action” in the Kew Guild Journal 1919 Roll of Honour.

8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment WW1

The 8th (Service) Battalion landed at Boulogne-sur-Mer as part of the 55th Brigade in the 18th (Eastern) Division in July 1915 also for service on the Western Front.

The battalion fought at the Battle of Loos and the Battle of the Somme.

One particular incident will always be remembered. On the first day of the Battle of the Somme, 1 July 1916, B Company of the 8th Battalion went into the attack dribbling two footballs which the Company Commander, Captain Wilfred Nevill, had bought for his platoons to kick across No Man’s Land.

Captain Nevill and many of his men were killed during the advance, but the 8th Surreys were one of the few battalions to reach and hold their objective on this day. The ‘Football Attack’ caught the imagination of the country, and illustrations of it are shown in the Regimental Museum, which also contains one of the footballs used. On that day, the 8th Battalion won two DSOs, two MCs, two DCMs and nine MMs, but 446 officers and men were killed or wounded.

Frederick Honey, remembered 100 years later, 17 April 1917 / 2017.

On Ancestry U.K. one family tree entry for Frederick Alfred Honey lists him on the 1911 census as a Gardener’s Labourer (Board Of Agriculture). There is also a photograph of him with his brother Christopher Thomas Honey, Royal Garrison Artillery, who died of wounds in France on 12 June 1917. 

A double loss for this family.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo.

Remembering Munro Briggs Scott of Kew Gardens Herbarium killed 12 April 2017 WW1

April 13, 2017

Munro Briggs Scott of Kew Gardens Herbarium Staff was killed in action  in the Battle for Arras on 12 April 1917.

Munro Briggs Scott, 12 April 1917
2nd Lt. Munro Briggs Scott, 12th Battalion, Royal Scots, died 12 April 1917. Scott is commemorated on Panel Reference Bay 1 and 2 of the Arras Memorial.

 

R Jones Faubourg

Scott’s name is one of the first panels on The Arras Memorial at the back here. (Image Source: CWGC)

 

M.B. Scott was  killed in the major Battle of Arras offensive planned for April-May 1917. The Arras Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and August 1918 and have no known grave.

http://blog.cwgc.org/arras

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Munro Briggs Scott of  Kew Botanic Gardens Remembered on the WW1 section Kew Gardens staff memorial (Image Source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

Born in 1889 at East Wemyss, Fife, Scotland, Munro Briggs Scott was on the Herbarium staff at Kew around the outbreak of war.

He joined Kew ‘s local regiment, the East Surrey regiment in February 1916, then the Suffolk Regiment before joining the 13th Royal Scots, later attached to the 12th Battalion Royal Scots as an officer.

m b scott medal card crop

Serving first as a Private 18094 in the East Surreys, then Lance Corporal 25909 in the Suffolk Regiment, Munro Briggs Scott was finally gazetted to become an officer on 22 November 1916.

Married in late 1916, he was posted to France on January 9, 1917 and killed by a high explosive HE shell three months later on 12 April 1917 at the Battle of Arras.

The University of Edinburgh alumni site has him listed as:

Buckhaven School. Student of Arts and Science, 1907-14; M.A. 1910; B.Sc. Botanical Expert at Kew Gardens. Royal Scots, Lieut. France. Killed at Arras on 12th April 1917. PI. LXXIII.

http://collections.ed.ac.uk/alumni/record/94755

 

m b scott probate crop2

AN OFFICER’S DEATH.—News has been received with feelings of the deepest regret of the death in action of Lieutenant Munro Briggs Scott, of the Royal Scots, who was married in November last to Miss Flora M. Forbes, M.A., daughter Mr John Forbes.

Lieutenant Scott had been wounded and while being attended to by the RAMC was shot dead – presumably by a sniper. Lieutenant Scott, who was a BSc of Edinburgh University and belonged to East Wemyss, had a brilliant scholastic career and thereafter received an important appointment as a botanical expert  at Kew Gardens which he held prior to enlistment.

Printed in the 25 April 1917 edition of  Perthshire Advertiser , Scotland

A slightly different story is told here, relating to how he was wounded, printed in 28 April 1917 – Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian – Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland:
east wemyss officer mbscott

You can read more about Kew Gardeners lost in WW1 on our blogpost here:

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

Munro Briggs Scott remembered 100 years on.

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

Edward Thomas died Arras 9 April 1917 WW1

April 9, 2017

One famous casualty of the Battle of Arras, fought at Easter, was the talented Country writer and poet Edward Thomas.

The Battle of Arras is being commemorated by centenary events hosted by the Commonwealth War Graves commission. http://blog.cwgc.org/arras/

He was killed “by shellfire” (see the Wikipedia entry)  at Easter during the first day of the Battle of Arras 9 April 1917, two years after writing this Easter poem:

In Memoriam (Easter, 1915)

The flowers left thick at nightfall in the wood
This Eastertide call into mind the men,
Now far from home, who, with their sweethearts, should
Have gathered them and will do never again.

Edward Thomas

since discovering his writing as a schoolboy, I have greatly admired Edward Thomas’ prose writings and travel journals, walking across Edwardian England. This rich prose then tumbled into or was restrained into verse, famously his nature and railway poem Adlestrop and probably my favourite, As the Team’s Head Brass (see link below)

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/57207

Simple, symbolic, restrained, melancholy, echoing with loss and words not said, I find “As The Teams Head Brass” almost a poem of the Forties or WWII  like the poem group by Henry Reed which includes “Naming Of Parts”.

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/57203#about

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Thomas_(poet)

Pick out one of his poems today, enjoy it and read it in his memory.

Edward Thomas was one of  a generation of writers including Ivor Gurney and more famous poets whose lives were ended or greatly affected by the First World War. As with all of them, who knows what fine nature writing they may have gone on to produce, but for disruption, depression and death caused by the war.

It is more than 25 years since I visited the Dymock area associated with Thomas and other prewar writers:

http://www.dymockpoets.org.uk/Thomas.htm

Edward Thomas – Celebrated and remembered 100 years on from the day of his death 9 April 1917.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project 9 April 2017.


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