Archive for the ‘Kew Gardens’ Category

Remembering A.J. Meads of Kew Gardens Palm House died WW1 1 December 1917

December 3, 2017

Remembering A.J. Meads of  Kew Gardens Palm House died WW1,  1 December 1917

Rifleman Arthur John Meads, 551182, D Company, 2nd /16th London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles), died 1st December 1917, aged 27.

He is buried at Grave Reference H. 24, Ramleh War Cemetery, Palestine/ Israel  (now Ramla) was occupied by the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade on 1 November 1917.

The cemetery was begun by medical units linked to the Field Ambulances and Casualty Clearing Stations posted at Ramleh and Lydda from December 1917 onwards.

Meads died there of abdominal wounds in a Field Ambulance station around the time this cemetery and hospitals were established. His headstone (with no family inscription) could be seen at the TWGPP website.

His Kew Guild Journal 1918 obituary lists him as Sub-Foreman of the Palm House. Meads enlisted in January 1915 and went to France on June 1916. He was wounded on Salonika in 1916/17, before moving to Palestine in 1917. He served with three other Kew colleagues in the Queen’s Westminster Rifles.

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

His death date is recorded as 1st December 1917 during the Second Battle of Gaza, of wounds received on November 26th 1917.

Born on 22 February 1890, he is listed as the son of John and Kate Meads, of Swallow St., Iver, Bucks and husband of Margaret Annie Meads, of Strood Villa, Broad Oak, Newnham-on-Severn, Glos.

You can read more about Kew in WW1 at

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

Rifleman Arthur John Meads, 551182, D Company, 2nd /16th London Regiment (Queen’s Westminster Rifles), died 1st December 1917, aged 27,

Remembered on the Kew Gardens staff War Memorial 100 years on.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 1st / 3rd December 2017.

 

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Gertrude Jekyll’s Google Doodle

November 29, 2017

google doodle

Great to see a colourful Google Doodle celebrating Gertrude Jekyll (rhymes with treacle), famous Victorian and Edwardian garden designer on her 174th birthday.

Gertrude Jekyll was a friend of Herbert Cowley, a slightly forgotten garden writer, photographer  and magazine editor, who trained at Kew Gardens and was invalided out of the WW1 trenches with serious injuries.

Herbert Cowley died  in Newton Abbot, Devon 50 years ago this November 1967.

Herbert Cowley 1885-1967

Herbert Cowley (1885-1967) from his Kew Guil journal obituary 1968

Herbert Cowley (1885 – 1967) took photographs for Gertrude Jekyll including many of her in her Munstead garden. this like many late WW1 gardens was sacrificing sections to produce food for the war effort.

The Fate of The South Border

The Fate of The South Border, Gertrude Jekyll, January 20, 1917, The Garden magazine

The Google Doodle of Miss Jekyll, featuring her tiny portrit amongst colourful borders of flowers, reminds me of a lovely article by Judith Tankard for Country Life (a magazine that Herbert Cowley worked and wrote for), blending the famous image of Gertrude Jekyll in her Munstead Garden in 1918 with how it has been restored today.

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Gertrude Jekyll photographed by Herbert Cowley, back in her garden in this article / photograph by Judith Tankard in Country Life, 27 April 2011  

http://judithtankard.com/_pdf/contry_lif_427_11.pdf

 

Gertrude Jekyll would be involved after WW1 with architect Edwin Lutyens and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  in the planting and design in some of the many cemeteries they maintain for Allied casualties, creating that little bit of a country garden or English garden all over the world.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/dig-for-victory-1917-world-war-1-style-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-and-the-fortunate-herbert-cowley-1885-1967/

Gertrude Jekyll has an official website http://gertrudejekyll.co.uk/

Herbert Cowley does not have an official website, however some of his books on Alpine or Rock Gardening are still in print almost a hundred years later.

There wasn’t much material pre-2013 about Herbert Cowley, lots about Gertrude Jekyll, so I researched enough to write this blog article and the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Cowley.

Gertrude Jekyll, happy birthday! 

Herbert Cowley, remembered 50 years after his death.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 29 November 2017.

 

 

Remembering Tank Sergeant George Douglas of Kew Gardens Died Cambrai WW1 20 November 1917

November 20, 2017

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Cambrai Louverval Memorial (image CWGC)

A Kew Gardens “Tankie” was killed at Cambrai on 20 November 2017.

Sergeant George Douglas, Scottish Horse / Royal Tank Corps  is remembered at Kew Gardens and also on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval in France. This is a memorial to the missing or those with no known graves from the Battle of Cambrai in November and December 1917.

He served as Serjeant, 93045 with E Battalion, Royal Tank Corps having originally been with the 2/3 or 23rd Scottish Horse. Douglas  died on 20 November 1917, aged 40.

Other websites such as the Tankmen of Cambrai website had him listed as a Corporal, alongside  fascinating information about the early Tank Corps crew and this battle. He lost several brothers in WW1.`

Of the 35 Mark IV British tanks which went into action crushing wire and supporting Scottish troops of the Highland Brigade in the attack on the German occupied village of Flesquieres, 28 tanks were put out of action by enemy fire or had broken down by the end of the first day, the 20th of November 1917.

29 were killed and 31 tank crew missing including Sergeant Douglas, 64 others were wounded.

In the 1914 Kew Guild Journal he is listed as an Old Kewite, having entered Kew in November 1899 from Lowther Castle Penrith.

He went with fellow young Kewite James G. Duncan (who entered Kew 1900 from Glenart Castle, Co. Wicklow) as Assistants in the Municipal Garden, Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The Kew Guild Journal (1901) notes that Duncan and Douglas have both joined the Town Guard in South Africa during the Boer War on the British side.
He enlisted again in WW1 in Edinburgh into the Scottish Horse before joining the Tank Corps. He was born in Selkirk around 1877, the son of Mr & Mrs James and Agnes Douglas of 15 Green Terrace, Selkirk and husband of Lydia E. Douglas (nee Chaplin) of 13 West Mayfield, Edinburgh.

According to a post on the Scottish War Memorials Trust website, George Douglas was one of four brothers from the same family to die in the First World War.

The others were

Gunner T. Douglas, 776624, 310 Brigade, Royal Field Artillery killed on 15 April 1917, HAC Cemetery, Ecoust St. Main, France;

Private John Sanderson Jardin Douglas, 10225 2nd Battalion, KOSB, died aged 25 on 13 October 1914, Le Touret Memorial;

Sergeant J H Douglas, S/1774, 3rd Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders, died 17 October 1918 and buried in Selkirk (Shawfield) Cemetery.

George Douglas is remembered on the Kew Gardens Staff War memorial

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

Read more about Kew Gardens staff in World War 1 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 and Cambrai  period of 1917 .

Remembering the first Tankies involved in the Battle of Cambrai.

Douglas and brothers are remembered on the Hawick in the Great War website  http://www.spanglefish.com/hawickgreatwar/index.asp?pageid=321391

Posted on the centenary by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, 20 November 1917 / 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.”

RBG KEW arethusa-temple Kew website copyright

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.

 

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

August 10, 2017

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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/

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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 
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.


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