Archive for the ‘botanic gardens’ Category

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

September 22, 2018

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Kew Guild Journal Obituary 1919

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sidney George Comer, Gardener, Remembered. 

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

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

 

 

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The scribbled stuff of Research! 

Gardening in Wartime WW1 Resources

September 17, 2018

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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 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.

100 Days and the Black Day of the German Army 8th August 1918

August 8, 2018

Today marks the centenary of the Battle of Amiens, known as the “Black Day of the German Army“. It was the  beginning of the end, the 100 Days Offensive that would see the end of trench warfare, retreat and ultimately the Armistice on November 11th 1918. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Amiens_(1918)

It has seemed a “long war” since we started centenary posts in August 2014 for each of the zoo or botanic gardens staff killed in WW1.

The 100 Days may seem the start of the end but several more zoo and botanic garden staff would die before November 11th.

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

Hayhurst died serving as G/31695, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, formerly 24251, KOSB King’s Own Scottish Borderers (Border Regiment), died 7 September 1918, aged 33. He is buried at the Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile, Aisne, France.

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

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Nova Jones, William Dexter’s granddaughter, inspects his name and that of fellow keepers like Charles Dare on the restored panels at the ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial, 2014 (Image: Mark Norris) 

Charles William Dare, ZSL London Zoo, 10 September 1918

Dare was a young keeper or ZSL ‘Helper’ , London Zoo. Died serving with County of London Regiment, 245116, London Regt (Royal Fusiliers), remembered on the Vis-en-Artois memorial having no known grave, 10 September 1918

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

 

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RBG Kew Gardens staff WW1 memorial 

Private Sidney George Comer, of Kew Gardens, 22 September 1918.

(Formerly Killerton Gardens, Devon  and Boconnoc, Cornwall.) Comer died serving with the US Machine Gun Corps and Tank Corps, US Army.

Comer died of pneumonia, presumably as part of the influenza pandemic that swept the world at the end of WW1, also killing Belle Vue Zoo’s Norman Jennison. 

Robert Service, Kew Gardens, 28th September 1918
Gunner Robert Service, 1257927, 4th Canadian Trench Mortar Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, died 28th September 1918. He is buried at Grave Reference I. D. 18, Bourlon Wood Cemetery.

Private James George Craythorne, Belle Vue Zoo, 20 October 1918

Craythorne died serving with 1/6 Manchester Regiment, killed  ironically in the fighting for Belle Vue Farm, buried at Belle Vue (Farm) Cemetery, France. One of several generations of Craythornes who worked at Belle Vue Zoo Manchester.

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

Captain Norman L Jennison, MC (Military Cross), Belle Vue Zoo, 30 October 1918

Jennsion died serving with 6th Manchester Regiment (Territorials), dying of flu, Italian Front, Genoa, Italy. Norman Jennison was the son of Angelo Jennison, one of the two Jennison brothers who owned and ran Belle Vue Zoo Manchester.

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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

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Belle Vue zoo’s sadly vandalised war memorial, Gorton Cemetery. Manchester lists their First World War dead. Image:manchesterhistory.net

But not quite the End …

When fighting has ceased, sadly more names are added to staff memorials from 1919 on into the mid 1920s, Dying from the Effects of War Service” as the battered Belle Vue Zoo war memorial in Gorton puts it. We will schedule a blog post on the centenary of each of these passings.

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Our ribbon of poppies and more edible flowers in our World War Zoo gardens allotment, Newquay Zoo, Summer 2018. 

Our ribbon of poppies is fading and seeding itself for next year.

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Our  keepers’ memorial plaque, Newquay Zoo, Autumn 2015

No doubt this collection of names from Britain and its Empire is mirrored by the names of many lost French, German, Austrian and other zoo keepers and botanic gardens staff worldwide killed or wounded in WW1. Our World War Zoo garden and its ribbon of poppies quietly and colourfully remembers  all of them, their colleagues and families.

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Cabbages and Poppies in the World War Zoo Gardens, allotment, Summer 2018. 

Blog Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 8th August 1918

 

 

 

 

Remembering W. S. H. Menzies of Kew RAF WW2 died 2 July 1943 75 years ago

July 2, 2018

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Kew Gardener “Tom” Menzies is buried in Sleaford Cemetery amongst other RAF graves. 

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W.S.H. Menzies, 2 July 1943
Sergeant William Sydney Hugh Menzies, Sergeant Wireless Operator, RAF (Volunteer Reserve) buried Sleaford Cemetery, Lincolnshire. Garden boy at Kew 1936-38. Son of William Duncan Graham Menzies.

From the Kew Guild Journal 1943 for “Tom” Menzies

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http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/planes/dales/bj965.html

W.S.H. Menzies, Gardener of Kew and Tresco Abbey, RAF remembered 75 years on, along with the crew of Wellington Bomber BJ965.

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

 

 

 

Remembering John Nicholls Winn Kew Gardens staff died of wounds 7 June 1918 WW1

June 6, 2018

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Some of our Ribbon of Poppies blooms at Newquay Zoo, today’s blooms dedicated to John Nicholls Winn of  Kew Gardens staff died WW1.

Some of today’s blooms in our Ribbon of Poppies patch at Newquay Zoo are dedicated to John Nicholls Winn, a member of Kew Gardens staff who died of wounds 100 years ago today on 7 June 1918 serving during WW1. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/05/22/our-first-red-poppies-towards-the-nationwide-ribbon-of-poppies-project/

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John Nicholls Winn, one of over thirty  Kew Botanic Gardens staff remembered on the WW1 section Kew Gardens staff memorial (Image Source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

Kew WW1 War Memorial Staff Member No. 35. John Nicholls Winn
Signaller / Private John Nicholls Winn, 365004, C company, 7th Battalion, London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles), died on 7th June 1918, aged 20.

He is buried at Grave Reference X. 5629, Richmond Cemetery, Surrey.

‘Jack’ Winn is listed as the son of William Nicholls Winn (1868-1945, who worked as Assistant in the Curator’s Office at Kew Gardens for many years) and Bertha Winn, of 87, Mortlake Rd., Kew.

According to his CWGC record, there is no family inscription on this grave. This appears to be a private headstone, rather than a standard CWGC headstone, as featured in the picture on the TWGPP website.

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Thumbnail picture of Jack Winn’s civilian grave in Richmond Cemetery thanks to the TWGPP website.

According to the Kew Guild Journal obituary 1919, John Nicholls Winn was born at Kew in 1898, enlisted in Richmond aged 18 in May 1916 and went to France in Spring 1917.

Although he served in the 7th Battalion London Regiment (Civil  Service Rifles), he was formerly No.  533417 or  6682, 15th London Regiment, with whom he served in France from 16 April 1917 to 14 May 1917.

He then served from 15 May 1917 to 30 April 1918 in the 7th Battalion London Regiment (Civil Service Rifles).

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WW1 Medal Rolls entry for J.N. Winn

Signaller Jack Winn was wounded in the leg and died later of septic poisoning in hospital in Exeter.

This death of wounds back home in Britain is why he is buried near home and family in Richmond, Surrey.  He is remembered on the Richmond War Memorial, as well as the Kew Gardens Staff War Memorial.

You can read more about the 36+ casualties from Kew staff and Kew trained gardeners in WW1 at our previous blogpost:

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

John Nicholls ‘Jack’ Winn, Remembered with poppies 100 years on.  Floreat Kew!

Part of the worldwide Ribbon of Poppies planted at Newquay Zoo for the WW1 Centenary

April 11, 2018

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Part of the 2016 crop of Poppies at the World War Zoo Gardens at Newquay Zoo

We have planted more poppy seeds at Newquay Zoo as part of the Ribbon of Poppies Remembrance event to mark 100 years since the end of WW1.

 

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Some ever so useful fake or silk poppies (from 2015)

 

I have  registered our  little poppy patch with Ribbon of Poppies at Eventbrite.

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Inspired by The Memorial Mob, this event which is free to join wherever you are. Twitter #RibbonofPoppies    http://thememorialmob.webs.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RibbonofPoppies/

I was tipped off about this Ribbon of Poppies event or initiative by Rosie and the Gardens staff at Wild Place, part of Bristol Zoo http://www.wildplace.org.uk/

They are thinking of planting not just red Flanders Poppies but working out if they can find 100 varieties of Poppies to grow for 2018.

Wild Place’s walled gardens and its Sanctuary gardens are  an interesting ‘wartime garden’ in itself, as I posted  in 2014:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/digging-into-bristol-zoos-wartime-garden-past-mystery-photograph-solved/

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100 types of poppy? Having bought poppy seeds in different garden centres, I was surprised to find that there probably are that many ornamental varieties of poppy.

I have mostly bought Papaver rhoeas, the Flanders or Field Poppy but also an ornamental poppy Papaver somniferum, a variety named a suitably brave ‘Victoria Cross’. 

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Some of the poppy seeds are saved from previous years, some have been bought from various suppliers including a special packet from  Heligan Gardens as part of the Heligan 1914 – 1918 centenary celebrations.

Part of the profits from some of these seeds appropriately  goes to service charities Royal British Legion and SSAFA.

Thousands of poppy seeds have now been scattered on the front section of our allotment garden, backed up by some Ladybird Poppies (Papaver commutatum), a hardy annual poppy which will also self sow.

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http://www.centenarynews.com/article/call-to-sow-ribbon-of-poppies-for-2018

Poppies are bee-friendly and wildlife friendly plants, great for our native species focus this year.

 

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Our  suitably rusty memorial to wartime zoo keepers and gardeners  past, based at Newquay Zoo for the last ten years  (2018)  

 

Why mark this in the modern zoo? Many zoo staff joined up or were conscripted from such zoos as were open in 1914 (and 1939) including  Bristol, London, Belle Vue and Edinburgh Zoos. Not all of them came back, complete in mind and body. Sadly their stories and sacrifice have sometimes been forgotten over the years. No doubt the same story can be told for each of the towns or village communities surrounding our zoos and gardens today, and to the families of many  of our visitors today from all nationalities.

The same happened to staff in botanic gardens like Edinburgh or Kew. Over the last (almost) ten years we have posted on the blog on the anniversary of each WW1 zoo or botanic gardens related casualty. A few of these stories are collected here: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/ww1-related-posts/

This was another of our poppy posts on the 100th anniversary of the 1915 ‘poppy’ poem In Flanders Fields – some very useful fake silk poppies on show! https://wordpress.com/post/worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/979

Inspired to get involved?

I hope that you and your family, your workplace, your zoo or botanic garden, your garden, your street or your park are inspired to take part in the nationwide or even international Ribbon Of Poppies, even with just a small pot of ornamental or Flanders Poppies. Sign up and find out more: Get involved!

https://www.facebook.com/RibbonofPoppies/

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

NB. Unlike some of the Ribbon of Poppies venues, please note that Newquay Zoo is not a ‘free to enter’ venue – more about our ticket prices and annual passes: https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-prices

To finish: a couple of shots of recent and surviving planting in the World War Zoo Gardens, such colourful veg just to the right of where our poppies are sown.

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Remembering the March 1918 German Spring Offensive

March 21, 2018

Dawn on the 21st March 1918 saw a surprise German attack on a massive scale using specially trained Stormtroopers and almost early Blitzkrieg tactics. This caught the British and Allied troops unprepared and the German Army made huge gains in captured land, prisoners and equipment.

The Kaiser’s Battle, as it became known, saw Field Marshall Haig issue his “Backs to the Wall” order on April 11th 1918 which ends dramatically:

“ … Many amongst us now are tired. To those I would say that Victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest. The French Army is moving rapidly and in great force to our support.”

“There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the Freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment.”

http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/backstothewall.htm

Into this chaos were flung scratch regiments of any men available to fight, including troops who normally served behind the lines. Artillery lines were overrun, base camps and supply lines.

During this fighting two  Kew Gardens staff  James William Clark  and Charles Hubert Brown were killed both on 26 March 1918.

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

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Charles Brown and James Clark’s names on the Kew Gardens Staff WW1 Memorial 

Gunner / Private Charles Hubert Brown, March 26 1918
Private Charles Hubert Brown, Royal Garrison Artillery (and Royal Sussex Regiment) died on the same day as a fellow Kew Gardener and gunner, James William Clark (see below).

Brown entered Kew from the gardens of Court Close, Eckington in September 1914, possibly as result of vacancies created by enlistment of Kew men. He had been rejected as medically unfit for the army owing to heart trouble. He tried to enlist twice more whilst at Kew, finally succeeding at the end of 1916. He died in hospital in France on the 26 March, 1918 as a result of shrapnel wounds to the head, according to his Kew Guild Journal 1919 obituary.

In the Kew Guild Journal it mentions “we had no further news of his movements” – so maybe this is why his regiment varies in listings. Charles Hubert Brown, 290133, 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment died on 26 March 1918 and is buried in plot VII.AA. Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.

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Gunner  James William Clark, 26 March 1918
Gunner James William Clark, RMA/1656(S), Royal Marine Artillery, Howitzer Brigade, died 26 March 1918, aged 26. He is buried at Grave Reference VI. D. 8, Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras. He joined the Royal Marine Artillery in January 1916.

Clark is listed as the son of James William and Elizabeth Clark, of The Gardens, Torre Abbey, Torquay where James also worked before Kew amongst a number of Torquay posts at Braddon’s Hill Nursery and Normount Gardens.

He was born on August 24, 1891. Clark entered Kew in January 1913, working as a seed collector in the Kew Arboretum before working as Sub-Foreman Decorative Indoors at the end of 1914.

Clark is also remembered on his local primary school memorial, which Margaret Forbes-Hamilton and other ‘churchyard friends’ in Torquay are having restored. This memorial stone of Carrera marble in the churchyard in Torre to the fallen from the local primary school includes James William Clark, who was a young gardener at Kew and whose father was the gardener at Torre Abbey.

Clark was an only child, though had many cousins, and his parents must have been devastated at his death; the inscription on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone chosen by his family reads: “Thy will be Done. Dear Boy.”

Looking at the Graves Registration documents and Faubourg cemetery records for Plot VI or 6, Row D amongst the several thousand headstones and many thousands more names on the Arras Memorial (over 37,000 names), it is possible to see that James Clark lies in a row with comrades in a small cluster of burials from No. 6 Gun, Howitzer Brigade, Royal Marine Artillery who all died on 26 March 1918.

Clark lies alongside Gunner A.E. Skuse (or Skuce), Pte E.Jones, A. Lambert (Armourer’s Crew Royal Navy “HMS Excellent”) showing the strange mixture of units, ranks and nationalities (West Country English, Welsh, Scottish) that made up the crew of this one gun in a strange Royal Marine or Navy unit. Other Officers and Gunners from the Royal Garrison Artillery Siege Battery brigade are buried in the same row from the same fighting.

Remembering all the men lost on both sides in the March 1918 offensive.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 21 and 26 March 1928 / 2018.

 

 

 

 

Remembering Arnold Duley of Kew Gardens died WW1 POW 14 March 1918

March 20, 2018

 

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WW1 Header section, Kew Gardens staff war memorial Royal Botanic Gardens Kew (Image source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

Remembering the sad story of Arnold Duley, Kew trained gardener and formerly of Cardiff Parks Department, who died in WW1 as a result of being a German POW  on 14 March 1918.

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

Lance Corporal Arnold Edmund Duley, M.M., 17583, 7th Battalion, Somerset Light Infantry (died as a Prisoner of War).

Arnold Edmund Duley (Edward or Edmund Arnold in some records) died as a Prisoner of War on 14 March 1918 aged 33 in hospital at Tournai in Belgium, probably from being “badly fed and probably had to work in a weak state” by the Germans.

Food parcels from the Kew Guild through the POW fund probably never reached him in time, his Kew Guild Journal obituary in 1919 laments. He is buried in Tournai Communal Cemetery Allied Extension, plot IG1, his headstone pictured on the TWGPP website.

Other kew trained gardeners became POWs, their accounts featuring in the same 1919 issue oif the Kew Guild Journal as Arnold Duley’s obituary.

A.W. Maynard was a prisoner from 24 March 1918, presumably captured in the famous March 1918 German counterattack. His story is told here:

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Equally interesting is the account of his internment in Ruheleben internment Camp by Guy Neville, who was a friend of fellow Kewite Arnold Duley.

 

 

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Guy Neville mentions Arnold Duley in the first part of his account of internment life at Ruheleben Camp in Germany, famous for its Horticultural Society.

Arnold Duley, Gardener, Soldier, POW, not forgotten.

N.B. A scheduling error means that this blogpost has gone out a few days late, rather than on the Centenary on March 14 1918 / 2018

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

 

 


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