Archive for the ‘botanic gardens’ Category

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.

 

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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

 

Lijssenthoek cwgc

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

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

August 10, 2017

 

garnett 1917

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

August 3, 2017

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

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

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

 

cwgc menin

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

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

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

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

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

menin gate

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

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

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

RBG KEW arethusa-temple Kew website copyright

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

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

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

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

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

Lost gardeners and zoo staff during Passchendaele 1917 WW1

July 30, 2017

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

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

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

Lost Zoo Keepers and Zoo Gardeners Of Passchendaele 1917

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

London Zoo ZSL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

maroc

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

3rd October 1917  William Perkins ZSL London Zoo Keeper

Buried Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium

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

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

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

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

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

warmem3 Belle Vue names

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

Belle Vue Zoo Gardens, Manchester

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

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

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

warmem2 Belle Vue today

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

Riseley FLS plaque

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

Naturalists, Botanists, Linnean Society

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lijssenthoek cwgc

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

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

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

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

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

RBG KEW arethusa-temple Kew website copyright

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

Lost Gardeners of Kew Gardens

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read more about the Battle of Passchendaele and its commemoration

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

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

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

War Graves and Girl Gardeners WW1

July 27, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Queen Mary’s Auxiliary Army Corps 1918-20

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

CWGC and Kew Gardens Somme 100 talks July 1916

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kew Joddrell Laboratory / Lecture Theatre, 2016

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

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

cwgc qmaac back

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Verdun Oak at Kew Gardens

December 20, 2016

19th December 2016 saw the unveiling ceremony of a commemorative bench  commissioned by Kew Gardens to mark the centenary of the end of the “Battle of Verdun”.

The bench has been crafted by Gaze Burvill with timber from a specimen of Quercus petraea which was struck and felled during “St Jude’s storm” in 2013.

http://www.kew.org/about/press-media/press-releases/kew-gardens-unveil-verdun-bench-mark-100th-anniversary-battle

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The new Kew Gardens Verdun Oak bench, 19 December 2016 (Image: RBG Kew) 

 

This tree was planted at Kew in 1919, from an acorn picked up after the Battle of Verdun,  in remembrance of Kew staff who died during the Great War,  and all soldiers from the different nationalities who fought in this dreadful battle and “the Great War”.

http://www.kew.org/visit-kew-gardens/whats-on/

The Ceremony took  place on the 19th December 2016  by the Palm House pond near the Cumberland Mound.

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Where the Kew Verdun Oak stood for almost a century … RIP 2013 (photo; Mark Norris)

Just before I saw the absence of the Verdun Oak at Kew Gardens I had read this article by blogger Lucy at http://www.familyaffairsandothermatters.com/verdun-oak-kew-gardens-an-armistice-day-story/

verdun-oak

Verdun Oak 2013 photo from Lucy’s Blog at http://www.familyaffairs and othermatters.com

Sadly, although invited, I could not attend the Ceremony but I will look out for this bench on my next visit to Kew Gardens.

 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo / World War Zoo Gardens Project, December 2016.

 

 

Remembering Charles Anderson of Kew Gardens Albert Medal winner

November 28, 2016

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Anderson and Fussell are buried alongside each other  in the third row right, just out of the edge of this photo of St Venanlt Communal Cemetery, France (Image source: CWGC)

Remembering Charles Henry Anderson, Kew Gardener, and Bertram Fussell, 14 London Regiment, who both died on 28/ 29 November 1916  due to an accident with a hand grenade.
2326 Lance (Sergeant or) Corporal Charles Henry Anderson died on 29 November 1916 aged 26, serving in France with the  1st/14th Bn. London Regiment (London Scottish). He was awarded the Albert Medal for his actions on 29 November 1916, saving the lives of several of his comrades.

His medal record card states that in addition to the standard Victory and British war medals, he was also awarded the Albert Medal (citation below, also available on CWGC website ).

Citation
An extract from “The London Gazette,” No. 30156, dated 29th June, 1917, records the following:-“The King has been graciously pleased to award the Decoration of the Albert Medal of the First Class in recognition of the gallantry of Lce. Cpl. Charles Henry Anderson, late of the 1st/14th Bn. of the London Regt., who lost his life in France in November last in saving the lives of others.

On the 28th Nov., 1916, Lce. Cpl. Anderson was in a hut in France with eleven other men when, accidentally, the safety pin was withdrawn from a bomb. In the semi-darkness he shouted a warning to the men, rushed to the door, and endeavoured to open it so as to throw the bomb into a field. Failing to do this, when he judged that the five seconds during which the fuse was timed to burn had elapsed, he held the bomb as close to his body as possible with both hands in order to screen the other men in the hut. Anderson himself and one other man were mortally wounded by the explosion, and five men were injured. The remaining five escaped unhurt. Anderson sacrificed his life to save his comrades.”

Anderson is buried alongside Fussell at Grave Reference II. K. 3, St. Venant Communal Cemetery in France, just to the side of the cross of sacrifice, amongst 253 WW1 Commonwealth soldier burials. The cemetery is associated with the Casualty Clearing Stations where Anderson and Fussell died.

Anderson’s headstone is shown at: https://www.twgpp.org/photograph/view/3980361

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/287702/ANDERSON,%20CHARLES%20HENRY

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Anderson’s name on the Kew Gardens staff war memorial.

In the Kew Guild Journal staff records Anderson is listed around 1914/15 as a ‘Present Kewite’ (still employed actually at Kew when war broke out) and employed as a ‘Gardener’. You can read more about him and his story at:

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

Charles Anderson’s “heroic” death, an alternative view:

Interestingly earlier this year (2016) James Wearn at Kew and I were contacted by Mike Thompson, who had a different interpretation of the grenade accident incident:

In Mike Thompson’s words, “Charles Henry Anderson was a fool and a show-off, who got himself killed through his own stupidity and cost the life of another man, as well as five others wounded.”

“He was in an army hut behind the line, kitted up for a trench raid and each man had been issued with two No.5 Mills Bombs.  All except Anderson carried them in their gas satchels. He was showing off how he had cut slits in the inside lining of his leather jerkin, to get bombs out more quickly. He was demonstrating this when the pin came out of one of the grenades. He ran to the door but the bomb exploded. The Court of Enquiry concluded that the bomb was not a faulty short fuse but recommended that improvements be made to the actual pin.”

“The Corps Commander, Lt-Gen Sir Richard Haking recommended him for the Albert Medal“.

To Mike Thompson this appears “By modern standards, an absolutely bizarre decision.”

The Court of Enquiry report is in the WW1 service file for the other man killed Bertram Fussell, which can be found on Ancestry. Anderson and Fussell are buried side by side.”

In this alternative interpretation, the Albert Medal recommendation appears today to Mike Thompson  “an absolutely bizarre decision”.

I have since read the Court of Enquiry notes and witness statements on Fussell’s service record (available on Ancestry).

In modern times / standards,  the medal might appear to be a wartime attempt to hide the awkwardness or embarrassment to his family or regiment and maintain morale and good press for the war effort.

Although the Court of Enquiry held that Anderson was to blame, his self-sacrificing efforts to save his fellow soldiers from the blast by shielding them from the explosion was noted.

Changes to the demonstration, issue and carrying of  Mills grenades were recommended in his battalion after this accident, as well as criticism of the ‘malleable’ yellow metal of the grenade pins.

Whether this was accident, mistake or both, both Anderson and Fussell are buried alongside each other.

Fussell’s death is recorded as Bomb Wound (accident) on 28.11.16 from which he died in 32 Casualty Clearing station at 9pm on 29 / 30 November 1916, after the Court of Enquiry had taken place. Only Anderson had died by the time the Court of Enquiry notes were typed up.

Bertram Fussell was a former  clerk of the Port Of London Authority who attested as a pre-war Territorial in 1912, living with his brother at 81 Dover Road, South Wanstead. Born in West Ham in January 1894, he enlisted in London on 5 August 1914, transferred regiments to serve with friends and finally embarked for France on 14 July 1916. He was injured by a shell wound on his right shoulder on 6 September 1916 and only returned to his battalion a week before his accidental death.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/287725/FUSSELL,%20B

Headstone photo at https://www.twgpp.org/photograph/view/3980449

Bertram Fussell and Charles Henry Anderson, remembered.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project

WW1 related posts for Remembranace Week

November 7, 2016

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

Remembrance Week or Poppy Week is upon us again in the Somme Centenary Year 2016.

Here is a quick round up of some of our WW1 blogposts as part of the World War Zoo Gardens project, written or updated since 2009.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/ww1-related-posts/

I hope you find something of interest here.

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

 

 


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