Archive for the ‘1917’ Category

Remembering Albert Mottershead died WW1 22 October 1917

October 22, 2017

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Albert Mottershead is one of the many Manchester Regiment men with no known graves remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

33 year old Lance Corporal Albert Mottershead, Service No. 25258, Lewis Gunner in the 23rd Battalion, Manchester Regiment was killed on 22 October 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele.

He is commemorated amongst the 35,000 names of missing British servicemen with no known grave on the Tyne Cot Memorial.

A Market Gardener like his father (also called Albert), Albert is the (half) brother of George Mottershead who set up Chester Zoo. At the time that Albert (‘Bert’) was killed,  George was badly injured and nearly paralysed in late 1916 on the Somme.

There is more about the Mottershead family here and about another brother Stanley Saul Mottershead who was killed in late 1916 https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/12/04/stanley-saul-mottershead-killed-4-december-1916/

Bert, Stanley and George

George Cogswell has researched the Sale War Memorial and Trafford War Dead including the Mottershead brothers.

http://www.traffordwardead.co.uk/index.php?sold_id=s%3A8%3A%22412%2Csale%22%3B&letter=&place=sale&war=I&soldier=Mottershead

Part of this story was told in the recent BBC series Our Zoo:

http://www.chesterzoo.org/global/about-us/our-zoo-bbc-drama/george-mottershead

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/09/05/our-zoo-chester-zoo-and-the-drama-of-zoo-history/

The Mottershead family had its influence on Newquay Zoo where I work. Newquay Zoo was designed by Curator Peter Lowe, one of George’s experienced senior keepers, with input and advice from George Mottershead in the late 1960s.

How lucky we and Chester Zoo are  that George Mottershead was not a name on a WW1 memorial as his brothers Stanley and Bert sadly were.

The Mottershead family and the men of the Manchester Regiment,  remembered 100 years on.

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

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Remembering William Perkins ZSL London Zoo keeper died WW1 3rd October 1917

October 3, 2017

 

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03.10.1917 William Perkins Royal Garrison Artillery ZSL Keeper is his inscription on the WW1 bronze plaque on London Zoo’s staff War Memorial.

William Perkins served as 115806, Bombardier, 233rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery from 28 August 1916 until his death on 3rd October 1917. He arrived in France and Flanders along with the rest of his 233rd Siege Battery,  Royal Garrison Artillery, BEF / British Army on 22 December 1916.

William Perkins was born in 1878 in Lifton in Devon on the Cornwall / Devon border  to a gardener and labourer father Thomas and Cornish mother Emma Jane.

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Listed as a keeper on his wedding certificate, he married Lucy Elizabeth MacGregor in London in 23 August 1914 after the war broke out and they lived in Eton Street, NW London (near other London Zoo keepers).

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William Perkins is buried here in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium (Image: CWGC)

Perkins is buried in an individual plot in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium.

His headstone inscription (chosen by his wife or family)  reads “Lord teach me from my heart to say thy will be done”.

His CWGC cemetery record mentions that he was killed aged 39 in an enemy air raid on 3rd October 1917.

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Part of William Perkins’ WW1 Service records recording his attesting (enlistment) on 11 December 1915, call up in August 1916 and death on 3 October 1917.

William  Perkins was promoted from Gunner (artillery equivalent of a private) to Bombardier, the equivalent of an army corporal, on 16 September 1917 shortly before his death.

What was a Siege Battery?

William Perkins served with the 233rd Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery.

Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire.The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway- or road-mounted 12 inch howitzers.

As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines (source: Long Long Trail)

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/the-siege-batteries-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/

Several zoo staff served with artillery units, possibly because of their familiarity with large animals like the many heavy horses required to move and supply the guns, as shown here:

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/definitions-of-units/what-was-a-siege-battery-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/

Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery where William Perkins is buried is an appropriately named cemetery for an artillery soldier. It  occupies a site at a road junction where three batteries of Belgian artillery were positioned in 1915.

The cemetery was begun by the 8th Division in June 1917 after the Battle of Messines and it was used until October 1918, largely for burials from a dressing station in a cottage near by. Almost half of the graves are of casualties who like William Perkins belonged, or were attached, to artillery units. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

William’s Army Service Records WW1

We are lucky that William’s service papers have survived to give us some details of his Army Service. Many such records were destroyed during the Blitz in WW2.

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Amongst the more touching records in his service records is a list of his possessions after he was killed in an enemy air raid on 3rd October 1917. These would usually be returned to his wife Lucy or his family.

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This letter from his wife Lucy requests the return of his possessions, a further army form in his papers directs that this is done.

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His wife Lucy is eventually granted an army pension of 15 shillings a week. The couple had no children.

I have seen in the ZSL Library and Archive many of the ZSL staff record index cards for many of the staff listed in the war memorial listing when they joined, rates of pay and which animal section they worked on. I will add any details for William Perkins when I next find these notes!

To find out more about how zoo and botanic gardens staff fared in The Battle of Passchendaele 1917:

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

To find out more about ZSL London Zoo staff in WW1:

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

London Zoo keeper William Perkins, died 3rd October 1917, remembered 100 years on.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 3 October 2017.

Remembering Royal Navy Stoker Thomas Tumbs of Belle Vue Zoo died WW1 2nd October 1917

October 2, 2017

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Thomas Tumbs’ name on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. Image Source: Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo.

Remembering Thomas J. Tumbs of Belle Vue Zoo Manchester who died serving in the Royal Navy during WW1 as a Stoker on 2nd October 2017.

Stoker First Class T J Tumbs, AB (Able Seaman) Service Number K/29448
Tumbs died aged 40 whilst serving on HMS Drake on 2 October, 1917  on convoy duty off the coast of Ireland, sunk by torpedo from German U-boat submarine U79.

Stoker First Class Tumbs was aged 40 and one of 19 sailors killed aboard the cruiser HMS Drake when it was torpedoed by German U Boat U79 on 2 October 1917.

 

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HMS Drake 1901 (Wikipedia source)

Attacked while escorting an incoming Atlantic Convoy, HMS Drake limped into Church Bay off the coast of Northern Ireland where it sank and still provides a wreck popular with divers.

HMS Drake was the lead ship of her class of armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy around 1900.  Assigned to the 6th Cruiser Squadron of the 2nd Fleet, she  became the squadron’s flagship when the fleet was incorporated into the Grand Fleet upon the outbreak of the First World War.
HMS Drake remained with the Grand Fleet until refitted in late 1915, when she was transferred to the North America and West Indies Station for convoy escort duties. In 1916 she participated in the unsuccessful search for the German commerce raider SMS Möwe.

HMS Drake was torpedoed by the German submarine U-79, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Rohrbeck  on 2 October 1917 after her Convoy HH24 had dispersed for its several destinations. The ship was about five miles (8.0 km) off Rathlin Island at the tip of Northern Ireland when she was hit.

The torpedo struck the No. 2 Boiler Room and caused two of her engine rooms and the boiler room to flood, killing 18 crewmen including Thomas Tumbs. 

 

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From the Wessex archaeology report pdf

 

This knocked out her steam-powered steering. Her captain decided to steam for Church Bay on Rathlin Island … Drake’s crew was taken off before she capsized later that afternoon

As mentioned, Thomas Tumbs has no headstone or burial, his gravesite is the wreck of HMS Drake and the ocean.

HMS Drake today

The wreck of HMS Drake in shallow water was partly salvaged in 1920. A fishing trawler collided with the remainder of the wreck in 1962 and sank the next day. Ammunition and ordnance was salvaged during the 1970s and the wrecks were demolished with depth charges to reduce the chance of any other ships coming to grief on the wrecks. In 1978, the remaining fuel oil was salvaged to reduce pollution from leaking oil.

Since June 2017 the wreck of HMS Drake has been a scheduled historic monument. Diving is still permitted.

http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/files/splash-import/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/hms-drake-undesignated-site-assessment-final-version-with-figs.pdf

According to Captain Radcliffe’s confidential report on the loss of HMS Drake to the Admiralty, the Drake was torpedoed: ‘…abreast No. 2 Boiler Room the starboard side, the boiler room was immediately flooded, killing everyone there except one man who was blown on to the upper deck and landed there unhurt, and another who climbed up through the Stokehold hatch.’

The last extract to be cited here is interesting in that it states that the 18 dead were left on board. During the research for this report no reference was found relating to the removal of the dead, and without further research it is unsure whether their remains are still inside the wreck. Captain Radcliffe states that: ‘Nobody except the dead remained on board the Drake, when I left her for HMS Delphinium, the mess decks, Boiler Rooms, Engine Room had all been searched and reported clear…” (Wessex Archaeological Report)

Thomas Tumbs remembered on war memorials

The CWGC website has a listing for Thomas Tumbs and the Plymouth Naval Memorial 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/3044422/tumbs,-thomas-james/

As he has no known grave, being lost at sea, his name is remembered on Panel 22 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, which I visited in 2015 on a suitably wet and blustery day.

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

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

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Fellow Belle Vue Zoo Manchester sailor Matthew Walton’s war at sea in the Coronel and the Falklands are mentioned as the battle honours on this section of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, where T J Tumbs is also remembered (Image: Mark Norris)

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

Thomas J.  Tumbs is also remembered on land at the Belle Vue Zoo Manchester zoological gardens staff WW1 memorial at Gorton Cemetery, Manchester.

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Thomas J Tumbs is remembered ( 6th name on left column of names) on the damaged Belle Vue memorial names section, thankfully carved in stone as the statue has been stolen. Image: manchester history.net photo

Thomas was the son of the late Charles and Mary Tumbs (nee Collis), of 1 Newton Street Gorton, Manchester. Tumbs married in 1905  Evie Lilla Tumbs (nee Harvey) , formerly of 32 Gloucester Street, Gorton.

Thomas was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Like his father he is listed as working for a Locomotive Engineers ”, specifically, an  Electricity Labourer in the  Locomotive Engine industry. Sounds like a heavy manual job, a Stoker by another name! On 1901 he was a carter at a brickworks. No doubt his role at Belle Vue Zoo was equally labourious.

Thomas had a sister Sarah A Fryer, 33 Middlewood Street Gorton, Manchester (source: Royal Navy War Graves Roll 1914-19)

Thomas’ parents are buried in Gorton Park Cemetery where the Belle Vue Zoo staff war memorial is located.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, 2 October 2017.

Remembering William Lorimer Joyce of Kew Gardens died 2 October 1917 WW1

October 2, 2017

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William Lorimer Joyce, Kew trained gardener, died on 2nd October 1917 in a Turkish prisoner of war camp, whilst serving with the South Wales Borderers.
Private William Lorimer Joyce, 26741, 4th Battalion, South Wales Borderers, died on 2nd October 1917, aged 32.

He has no known grave and is listed on Panel 16 and 62 of the Basra Memorial, in modern day Iraq. The memorial lists more than 40,500 members of the Commonwealth forces who died in the operations in Mesopotamia from the Autumn of 1914 to the end of August 1921 and whose graves are not known. Another Kew casualty, W. Humphris, not listed on the war mmemorial is recorded on the Basra Memorial (see end of post).

Born on 22 May 1885, he is listed as the son of William and Jane Joyce, of “Llanfrynach”, Holmes Rd., Hereford (Brecon). He enlisted in Wales on his return from Canada where he worked after training at Kew from March 1908 to Spring 1910. Joyce died as a Turkish Prisoner of War at Seideghan in Turkey after being captured during the fighting in Mesopotamia on April 30, 1917.

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

Since putting this blogpost together in 2013/4, more material has appeared from William Lorimer Joyce’s family including a photograph in uniform.

https://vimeo.com/134967290

Interview with his great neice Barbara Scott

http://ww1historymakers.co.uk/barbara-scott-interview/

http://ww1historymakers.co.uk/barbara-scott-gallery

 

William is remembered on the Kew Gardens staff war memorial.

William Lorimer Joyce, of Kew Gardens remembered 2nd October 1917/2017.

 

National Poetry Day – Gardeners and Men! Kew Gardens WW1

September 28, 2017

To celebrate National Poetry Day 28 September 2017, a wartime poem from RBG Kew Gardens in  WW1 –

“For King and Country fought and died — Gardeners and Men !”

GARDENERS OF EMPIRE.

Tillers of the soil they were — just gardeners then,

In faith the day’s work doing as the day’s work came,

Peaceful art in peace pursuing — not seeking fame —

When through the Empire rang the Empire’s call for men!

Gardeners they were, finding in fragile flowers delight,

Lore in frail leaves, and charm even in wayside weeds.

Who, in their wildest dreams, ne’er rose to do brave deeds,

Defending righteous cause against relentless Might!

 

The wide world gave her flowers for them — the mountains high,

The valleys low, and classic hills all fringed with snow

Where fires by sunset kindled light the alpen-glow.

O ! Fate implacable ! — to see those hills and die !

 

The war god rose refreshed — Gardeners and Soldiers then!

Who, that slumbering Peace might wake, dared, with manhood’s zeal,

To make Life’s sacrifice to Love’s supreme appeal.

For King and Country fought and died — Gardeners and Men !

 

written by H. H. T

Probably Harry H. Thompson, editor of the journal,   The Gardener,  who left Kew in 1899.

Reprinted from the Kew Guild Journal, 1915. http://www.kewguild.org.uk/media/pdfs/v3s23p265-39.pdf

Read more about the poem, women gardeners at Kew – Gardeners and Women! and my favourite WW1 poet Ivor Gurney below:

I read Gardeners and Men out at a graden history in London in 2014, probably for the first time in a century or at least decades:

 

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/for-king-and-country-fought-and-died-gardeners-and-men/

 

Read more about Kew Gardens 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/

Lost gardeners and zoo staff of WW1 in Passchendaele 1917

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

Happy National Poetry Day!

How will you celebrate it?

 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 28 September 2017

 

Remembering Major S.M. Toppin FLS died 24 September 1917 WW1

September 24, 2017

 

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

24 September 1917 – Major Sidney Miles Toppin MC, FLS
Botanist and plant collector Major Sidney Miles Toppin was killed aged 39 near Ypres on 24 September 1917 as part of the Battle of Passchendaele. He  left a widow Viva and infant daughter.

 

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Major Toppin’s headstone ” Faithful unto Death”,  Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery (Image: Lives of The First World War / TWGPP)

Major S.M. Toppin is buried in grave XXIV. G. 6, Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, Flanders, Belgium, a cemetery linked to Casualty Clearing Stations close to the front but out of the range of German Artillery.

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Major S. M. Toppin MC (IWM collection HU119197) 

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

He served in India (Chitral), along with mountain batteries in Afghanistan, Burma and Egypt. This gave him ample opportunity to collect plants and send them back to the herbarium at Royal Botanic Gardens Kew.
He served in WW1 with the 151st Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery.

On a visit home in 1914, he married Viva before serving in Ireland and France during the early weeks of the war. “A guard of honour of Garrison Artillery gunners formed an arch with their bayonets …”  His brother Harry S Toppin, also FLS and plant collector, was already mobilised and unable to attend.

He was mentioned in dispatches and awarded the MC Military Cross at Loos in 1915.

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Report on Toppin’s wedding August 1914 (source: Lives of the First World War website) Wedding 20 Aug 1914, clipping from the Isle of Wight County Press, 22 August 1914

He is listed on the CWGC website as the son of Major-General James Morris Toppin and Mrs. J. Toppin, of Blacklands  Park, Wilts; he was the husband of Viva Toppin, of Rose Bank, Sandown, Isle of Wight.

He and his brother are also remembered on the war memorial at All Saints  Branksome Park, Bournemouth where they once lived.

Captain Harry Stanley Toppin

Sidney’s brother Harry Stanley Toppin (IWM HU119196) 

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Harry Stanley Toppin (IWM Source)


More about his links with Kew Gardens, herbarium specimens and plant hunting sent back to Kew and his brother killed in 1914 

Sidney’s herbarium specimens including Impatiens were bequeathed to Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. The listing for Sidney Miles Toppin (1878-1917) on the Irish botanist section of R. Lloyd Praeger, W.Tempest, Dundalgan Press, Dundalk, 1949 available online

“S. M. Toppin … collected plants in Chitral and Burma and a paper of his on “Balsams of Chitral” was published in the Kew Bulletin, 1920.

Dunn named Impatiens Toppinii after him”

(Sources: Britten & Boulger, Biog ed. 2, 302).

This Impatiens Toppinii appears now to be a disputed name.

There are several scanned examples online at the JStor Global plants section website of these herbarium sheets and accompanying letters from his mother Janie Toppin to contacts at Kew on behalf of both H.S. Toppin (who collected specimens in Peru) and S.M. Toppin who collected mostly in Myanmar (Burma). These specimens that Toppin collected can be seen at

http://plants.jstor.org/stable/10.5555/al.ap.visual.kldc12382

More about the lost Fellows of the Linnaean Society in WW1
https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/lost-fellows-the-linnean-society-roll-of-honour-1914-1918/

More about Lost gardeners and naturalists in Passchendaele WW1

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

Sidney Toppin FLS and family, remembered 100 years on, 24 September 1917.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project,  24 September 2017

A family photograph of Kew Gardener Frederick Honey died Arras April 1917 WW1

September 24, 2017

 

I heard through Ancestry.co.uk from Kelly and Claire Thomas, great-nieces of Sergeant Frederick Honey who worked at Kew Gardens and was killed at Arras in April 1917.

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Sergeant Frederick Honey of Kew Gardens  (right) with his brother Chris (left) (Family photo from Kelly and Claire Thomas family collection used with permission / via Ancestry.co.uk)

On their family tree they had this interesting photograph of Fredrick and his brother Chris in uniform.

“Fred and Chris were our great uncles. We are more than happy for you to use the photo on your blog, it is lovely for him to be remembered. Christopher was also killed at war within about 2 months of Fred.
Though we knew Fred was a gardener, we had no idea until very recently that it was at Kew Gardens and certainly no idea of the memorial. We live fairly local so it would be lovely to go and see it.”

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

You can read more about Frederick Honey here https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/17/remembering-frederick-honey-of-kew-gardens-died-ww1-17-april-1917/

and at my main WW1 Kew Gardens blogpost

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

 

A little more about Fred and Chris Honey.

Frederick (born 1889) was listed in the 1911 census as a garden labourer employed by the Board of Agriculture, a connection that may describe or lead to work at such an official workplace as Kew.

Frederick’s older brother Gunner Christopher Thomas Honey 68818, 51st Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery died of wounds in Base Hospital at Boulogne on 12th June 1917, aged 32.

Born 1885, in civilian life he was in Christopher was a ‘Carman‘ or Carrier of Wines and Spirits. This may suggest a working knowledge of horses and heavy work, useful in any artillery regiment.

He was the son of Thomas & Maria Honey of 64, Alexandra Road, Richmond. Thomas was a general labourer.

 

Chris enlisted in Richmond and is buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery plot F. 102.

The Richmond War Memorial lists him as an MM Military Medal.

 

Remembering ZSL London Zoo Gardener Albert Staniford died Passchendaele 23rd September 1917 WW1

September 23, 2017

23rd September 1917  – Albert Staniford  ZSL London Zoo Gardener

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

Served as 174234 216 Siege Battery, Royal Field / Garrison Artillery RGA
Staniford is buried in an individual grave, II. M. 3. Maroc British cemetery, Grenay, France. Period of Third Battle of Ypres / Passchendaele, July to November 1917.
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/523608/STANIFORD,%20A
ZSL gardener Albert Staniford was born in 1893 in the Regent’s Park area, the son of Annie and Alfred, who was also a gardener.

Albert’s  medal record card states that he served in both the Royal Field Artillery as 17692 and 216 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery as 174234 Gunner Staniford.

He embarked for France on 31 August 1915, entitling him to a 1915 star, alongside the Victory and British War Medals.
Albert Staniford served in France for two years before his death in September 1917, dying only three months after his marriage in London on June 6 1917 to Esther Amelia Barrs (b. 1896). The CWGC listing has no family inscription on the headstone.

Find out more about London Zoo staff in WW1

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

Albert Staniford, Gardener at London Zoo,

Remembered on the centenary of his death during the Battle of  Passchendaele and on the ZSL staff war memorial at London Zoo, 23 September 1917 / 2017

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Garden Project, 23 September 2017

Remembering Albert Stanford, ZSL London Zoo gardener died WW1 23 September 1917

September 23, 2017

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

Albert Staniford, gardener at ZSL London Zoo, died 100 years ago today on 23rd September 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele.

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

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

 

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

Albert Staniford is buried in an Individual grave, II. M. 3. at Maroc British cemetery, Grenay, France, a casualty of the  Period of Third Battle of Ypres / Passchendaele, July to November 1917.

 

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http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/523608/STANIFORD,%20A

 

ZSL gardener Albert Staniford was born in 1893 in the Regent’s Park area, the son of Annie and Alfred, who was also a gardener.

His medal record card states that he served in both the Royal Field Artillery as 17692 and 216 Siege Battery,Royal Garrison Artillery as 174234 Gunner Staniford.

He embarked for France on 31 August 1915, entitling him to a 1915 star, alongside the Victory and British War Medals.

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

Albert is remembered on the ZSL London Zoo war memorial, garlanded with poppy wreaths each year on Armistice Sunday.

A fellow London Zoo  gardener Robert Jones was killed earlier in 1917 at the Battle of Arras on 9th April 2017.

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

 

Charles Causley Centenary 2017

August 24, 2017

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the great Cornish poet Charles Causley, born on 24 August 1917 during WW1.

Causley was born at Launceston in Cornwall and was educated there and at a teacher training college in Peterborough.

His father died in 1924 from long-standing injuries from the First World War.

Largely because of this, Causley had to leave school at 15 to earn money for the family, working as an office boy during his early years.

He enlisted in the Royal Navy and served as a coder during the Second World War, aboard the destroyer HMS Eclipse in the Atlantic and later in the Pacific as part of the crew of the aircraft carrier HMS Glory.

Causley later wrote about his wartime experiences in his poetry, and also in a book of short stories, Hands to Dance and Skylark.

Charles Causley Wikipedia  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Causley

He served in the Navy in WW2 and there was a strong element of the futility and waste of war in his poetry.

http://causleytrust.org/event/charles-causley-at-100/

About 15 to 20 years ago I was considering writing a short book about the First World War’s effects on life in Cornwall (a job since ably done by Pete London).

I was struck reading Causley’s poetry with its biographical elements by several poems about returning servicemen in the area after the First World War, shellshocked and to be pitied. I was planning to write to or interview Causley about this, Launceston not being far away. However  things got busy and it never happened, partly because Causley died soon after in 2003.

I grew up in the asylum belt on the edge of London, my mum whispering to me that the asylums were full of shellshocked veterans. There was a suggestion that it had affected my own family.

This must have been the same not only for Causley’s Launceston, many towns and villages in Cornwall but for many communities such as workplaces. Zoos and botanic garden staff served and those who survived must have come back different people for the experience of serving in WW1 and WW2.

Remembering Charles Causley, born 24 August 2017.

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, 24 August 2017.


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