100 Years On We Remember …

November 11, 2018

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Men and women of WW1 – British Legion 50th Anniversary stamp from the 1971 in my collection.

Remembering on the 100th Anniversary of the Armistice

the brave men and women of many nations affected by war,

including the many zoo staff,  zookeepers, botanic gardens staff and others we have featured on our blog since 2008.

We will remember them.

Even  though the war was over (until 1939), there were still many zoo and botanic gardens staff who died after November 11th 1918 from wounds and the effects of war service.

We will post a blog entry on the centenary of their deaths as we have done throughout the 2014-2018 Centenary of WW1.

Remembered.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 11 November 2018.

 

 

Cora Cornish Ball QMAAC 24 November 1918 WW1 Unremembered?

November 9, 2018

 

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Cora’s plaque from  The Unremembered Project

 

I am very pleased to be involved with one of the WW100 projects remembering the often forgotten and ‘unremembered’ WW1 international army of workers and women war workers.

https://www.big-ideas.org/project/the-unremembered/

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Previously we have been involved with the WW1 100 Living Memory project in 2016

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

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Cora Ball and her plaque for the Unremembered project photo tribute

I was delighted to be given Cora’s name to hold up.

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Cora Cornish Ball d. 24 November 1918

I first came across Cora Cornish Ball on what was then my local war memorial in Truro and Kenwyn about twenty years ago.

Women on WW1 war memorials are reasonably rare. I was thinking of  researching a possible book on Cornwall in WW1.

Having met a well-known local historian, who said that “nothing much happened in Cornwall in WW1”, I was put off following up the project.

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/85525/BALL,%20CORA%20CORNISH

Cora’s story is featured in Pete London’s interesting book on Cornwall in WW1

http://petelondon.blogspot.com/2014/11/cornwall-in-first-world-war_14.html

Pete London: “Born in 1896 to a large family, for a time Cora lived in Kenwyn village near the city. Her father had various jobs and the family moved around the local area. Despite that, Cora kept up her schooling until she was 14 or so, and in 1917 the slim young girl volunteered for service with the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps.”

This website shows her name on the memorials in Boscawen Street Truro and the smaller Kenwyn Parish memorial.

Pete London: “Cora received two medals recognising her war service: the Victory Medal, and the British War Medal. Sadly though, only 11 days following the Armistice she died, perhaps a victim of the terrible flu pandemic sweeping Europe at the time. Cora Ball was laid to rest in Les Baraques Military Cemetery at Sangatte, near Calais; she was just 22.”

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Image Copyright TWGPP https://www.twgpp.org/

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Les Baraques Military Cemetery at Sangatte, near Calais (Image Copyright https://www.twgpp.org/)

 

Cora Cornish Ball – ‘Trura maid’ as Bert Biscoe once described her in a poem.

Cora Cornish Ball – no longer unremembered.

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

 

 

Flu and The Zoo – remembering Norman Jennison Belle Vue Zoo died WW1 30 October 1918

October 30, 2018

 

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Norman Jennison (Image Source: Old Wrekinian WW1 Website)

Remembering Norman Lees Jennison of Belle Vue Zoo Manchester who died close to the end of WW1 on 30 October 1918 on the Italian front – of influenza. 

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Norman Jennison’s headstone (Image: Copyright TWGPP https://www.twgpp.org/ )

His family founded and ran the Belle Vue Zoological gardens in Manchester in Victorian and Edwardian times.

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Staglieno Cemetry, Genoa, WW1 section (Image source: TWGPP https://www.twgpp.org/ )

A Territorial Army soldier before the war, Norman Jennison served from 1914 onwards in Egypt, France (on the Western Front) and finally on the Italian Front where he died in hospital from Influenza.

He is buried in the remarkably vertical Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa

The Italians entered the war on the Allied side, declaring war on Austria, in May 1915. Commonwealth forces were at the Italian front between November 1917 and November 1918, and rest camps and medical units were established at various locations in northern Italy behind the front, some of them remaining until 1919.

From November 1917 to the end of the war, Genoa was a base for commonwealth forces and the 11th General, and 38th and 51st Stationary Hospitals, were posted in the city. Staglieno Cemetery contains 230 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. (CWGC information source)

Norman was one of two young members of the family that were killed in WW1, the other being his cousin James Leonard  Jennison (1917) https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/remembering-j-l-jennison-of-the-belle-vue-zoo-jennison-family-died-ww1-3rd-may-2017/

I wonder what effect these deaths of younger Jennison family members and potential future owner / managers  had on the zoo’s operations and eventual handing over in 1924 of Belle Vue Zoo by the Jennison family to new owners and operators (who under the Iles family took it through WW2) .

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Two Jennisons on the Belle Vue Zoo war Memorial Manchester WW1

You can read more about the memorial and the staff casualties of WW1 here:

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

You can read more about Norman Jennison’s life, military service and death here on his old school website WW1 page:

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http://www.oldwrekinianliveslost1914-18.uk/jennison

It was good to put a face to a name  finally.

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Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 30 October 1918 / 2018

Post Script 

In case the Old Wrekinian WW1 website section is ever lost, here is the text of it for reference:

 

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Norman Jennisons’ name appears on the Wrekin School WW1 Memorial (Image Source: Old Wrekinian WW1 Website)

Norman Lees Jennison was born in Gorton, Lancashire on 23rd April 1895 to Jane Porritt Jennison [née Ardern] and her husband Angelo Jennison. Angelo and his brother ran the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in Manchester. This was a large zoo, amusement park, exhibition hall complex and speedway track opened in 1836 by John Jennison. During the First World War the gardens were used by the Manchester Regiment for drill and a munitions factory, complete with railway sidings, was also built.

After completing his education Norman left Wellington College in 1912 where he had spent five years in the Officers Training Corps [OTC] and was then employed as a clerk at the engineering firm of Schloss Bros, at their premises on Princes Street, Manchester.

Norman joined the army’s Territorial Force on 19th March 1914 as Private 2009 Norman Jennison with the 1/6th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, and on the outbreak of war on 4th August he was fully mobilised the following day, agreeing to serve overseas as required. Together with his Battalion they left for Egypt on 10th September and arrived in Alexandria two weeks later, on 25th September.

In March 1915 his application for a commission was successful and he returned to England and joined the 20th (Service) Battalion (5th City), The Manchester Regiment, one of the city’s ‘Pals’ battalions, as a Second-Lieutenant at their base in Grantham, Lincolnshire where he remained for five months.

In September that year the Battalion moved to Larkhill and prepared for embarkation, arriving in France on 9th November 1915 aboard the ‘SS Princess Victoria’, which followed a rather wet and stormy crossing from Folkestone to Boulogne.

Several months were then spent in various aspects of training before Norman and his Battalion moved up to the front lines in February 1916 at which point they were part of 22nd Brigade, 7th Division.

In March 1916, the light Stokes2 batteries left battalion control and came under brigade command. On 14th April the 22nd Trench Mortar Battery [TMB] was formed and two weeks or so later Norman was attached to the Battery, where he achieved the rank of temporary Captain on 31st August.

At some point during that year Norman made an impact that brought his name to the attention of the GOC as he was recognised with the award of a ‘Mention in Despatches’, gazetted in January 1917. Six months later he was awarded the Military Cross, but the surviving records give no hint of his bravery in action.

In November 1917 the 20th Manchester’s and the 22nd TMB moved with their Division to Italy. This was a strategic and political move agreed by the British Government as part of the effort to stiffen Italian resistance to enemy attack after a recent disaster. Originally the idea was that they would be moved to the mountainous area of the Brenta, but the orders were changed and they ended up in the line along the River Piave.

Nothing is publicly known about Norman’s time in Italy for the following year but life here would have been very different to the conditions they had all experienced on the Western Front. It was often described as being “like another world”.

On 28th October 1918 Norman’s father received a telegram from the War Office which advised him that his son was seriously ill at No.11 General Hospital, although no mention was made as to the nature of his illness. We know today that the wording indicated that this was not war-related, although whether this was apparent to his family is unclear.

A further telegram was received by the family in Manchester the following day advising them that Norman was now ‘dangerously’ ill; again no specific mention of the nature of the illness. It also specifically mentioned that “permission to visit not granted” which at the time gave a further clue as to it being non war related but potentially contagious.

Had permission been granted it would have been too late as on Wednesday 30th October 1918 Captain Norman Lees Jennison, M.C., 20th (Service) Battalion (5th City), The Manchester Regiment; att. 22nd Trench Mortar Battery, died of influenza in No.11 General Hospital in Genoa at the age of 23. He was later buried in the city’s Staglieno Cemetery.

The telegram that advised Angelo Jennison of the death of his elder son arrived on 2nd November 1918.

It is also believed that during his period of military service Capt. Norman Jennison was awarded both the Meritorious Service Medal [MSM] and the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal [TFEM].

A cousin of Norman’s, Second-Lieutenant James Leonard Jennison, fell at the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 3rd May 1917.

Both were also remembered on the Belle Vue War Memorial at Gorton, Manchester and the Jennison family memorial at St Mary’s Parish Church, Cheadle.

Norman’s brother, Sydney Angelo Jennison, himself an OW, served with 14th (Service) Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). He later transferred to the 3rd Skinner’s Horse, a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army where he finished the war with the rank of Captain. He died in 1975.

The Manchester Regiment is perpetuated today in the 1st Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s Lancashire and Border).

www.oldwrekinianliveslost1914-18.uk/jennison

 

Remembering James Craythorne Keeper at Belle Vue Zoo Manchester died WW1 20th October 1918

October 20, 2018

 

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Belle Vue Zoo staff war WW1 memorial, Gorton Park Cemetery, Manchester

Private James G Craythorne, 1/6 Manchester Regiment, killed aged 19, on 20th  October 1918.

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This Belle Vue Zoo (Manchester) Keeper was ironically in the fighting for Belle Vue Farm, buried at Belle Vue (Farm) Cemetery, France.

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Belle Vue Farm Cemetery (TWGPP copyright image)

Three or four generations of the Craythorne family worked as small mammal and reptile keepers at Belle Vue Zoo. Another relative James Craythorne followed his own father into zoo work, was employed aged 12 from the 1880s to retirement in 1944 and was then replaced  by his son Albert!

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Two Manchester local history sites mention the Belle Vue Zoo dynasty of keepers from the Craythorne family and J. G. Craythorne’s death:

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

http://manchesterhistory.net/bellevue/craythornes.html

J. G. Craythorne – Remembered 100 years on from his death 20 October 1918, so close to the Armistice Day.

Read more about:

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

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 20 October 2018.

Remembering Robert Service of Kew Gardens Canadian TMB Artillery Died WW1 28 September 1918

September 28, 2018

Robert Service, 28th September 1918

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

Gunner Robert Service, 1257927, 4th Canadian Trench Mortar Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, died 28th September 1918.

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Robert Service was born in Maxwelltown, Dumfries in 1891. He previously worked at Messrs J. and R. Service, Dumfries (a family Nursery business?).

He was at Kew Gardens from October 1912 to May 1914, leaving to work as Horticultural Superintendent in the Department of Science and Agriculture, British Guiana.

He enlisted in the Canadian Army in January 1917 and served in the TMB Trench Mortar section, Canadian Artillery, 4th Canadian Division.

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Almost all the graves in this Bourlon Wood cemetery are men of Canadian Regiments, many killed in late September 1918; some of them like Robert Service are born in Scotland.

He is buried at Grave Reference I. D. 18, in the small Bourlon Wood Cemetery. There is no family inscription on his headstone, which is pictured on the TWGPP website.
Bourlon Wood  and the village were the scene of desperate fighting in the Battle of Cambrai 1917 (where fellow Kewite George Douglas died). At the end of the Battle of Cambrai, British troops were withdrawn from Bourlon.

The wood and the village were ultimately retaken by the 3rd Canadian and 4th Canadian Divisions on the 27th September 1918, the day before Service died.

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Bourlon Wood Cemetery has nearly 250 burials – Service is surrounded by mostly Canadian regiment casualties – and was started by the Canadian Corps Burial Officer in October 1918, burying the mostly Canadian dead of this action.

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Image Copyright: TWGPP

274 metres South-West of the cemetery is a Battlefield Memorial erected by the Canadian Government to recall the forcing of the Canal du Nord by the Canadian Corps on the 27th September 1918 and the subsequent advance to Mons and the Rhine.

His name features on the striking  Maxwelltown and Troqeer War Memorial. http://warmemscot.s4.bizhat.com/viewtopic.php?t=38&mforum=warmemscot

MaxwelltownWM1 Service

 

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His name is also remembered in the First World War Book of Remembrance  in Canada.

http://www.veterans.gc.ca/eng/remembrance/memorials/books/page?page=498&book=1&sort=pageAsc

You can read about other Kew Gardens casualties in WW1 at https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/07/19/such-is-the-price-of-empire-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-the-first-world-war/

Robert Service, Remembered 100 Years on 28 September 1918 / 2018.

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.

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

However researcher Jan Gore found  him “via Ancestry. His wife was Rosalie, b 7 August 1878 and d. 19 June 1917. They married on 26 July 1916 in New York. She is buried in St John’s Cemetery, Yonkers, Westchester, New York, as is he. He died of broncho-pneumonia.”

 

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.

 

 

Gardening in Wartime WW1 Resources

September 17, 2018

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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