Archive for the ‘London Zoo’ Category

Pilotless Planes 15 June 1944

June 14, 2019

1944 diary

The last section of my D-Day 1944 and zoos blogpost mentioned Vera Richardson’s 1944 Wimbledon Diary: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/remembering-d-day-at-the-zoo-75-years-on/

Diary of Vera Richardson, a late 30s South London woman involved in Civil Defence, 1944 – D-Day, Tuesday 6 June 1944 “D-Day Invasion started. Troops landed at Cherbourg. Went to Clapham & Brixton and to Oberon …”
Note also Vera’s entry for Thursday 15 June 1944: “Germany started sending pilot-less planes” – the first mention in the diary of V1 “doodlebugs”. Vera’s unpublished diary is in my WW2 Home Front Diaries Collection wartime life collection.

The euphoria over the successful Normandy Invasion of June 6th 1944 was quickly dampened by the arrival of V1 flying bombs, doodlebugs or as they were first announced “Pilotless Planes”. Over the next few months Vera notes the damage done by these revenge or vengeance weapons to her home, local church  and her area of Wimbledon in London.

Earlier in February this year I mentioned the 75th anniversary of the  Little Blitz of February 1944:

https://ww2homefrontdiaries.wordpress.com/2019/02/23/the-little-blitz-on-wimbledon-february-1944-unpublished-diary-extract/

I shall feature more of the Wimbledon V1 Flying Bomb entries from Vera Richardson’s 1944 Diary over the next few weeks.

Flying Bombs and Zoos

Several zoos were in the south coast and southeast firing line – Garrard Tyrwhitt-Drake’s Maidstone Zoo, R.S. Goddard’s Chessington Zoo and Circus (although part of the animal collection was safely evacuated to Paignton Zoo in Devon in 1940) and London Zoo.

Chessington Zoo 1944

You can see Chessington zoo and circus staff clearing up the aftermath of a 1944 flying bomb attack on YouTube https://youtu.be/T9CiQvwP1TQ

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/chessington-zoo-blitzed-2-october-1940-eyewitness-accounts/

Derek Witney, ex Chessington Zoo staff, thinks he may be in the film as a young lad cleaning up with the other zoo staff and circus performers. The V1 attacks on Chessington Zoo are mentioned in Frank Foster’s Chessington Circus memoir Pink Coat, Spangles and Sawdust:

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London Zoo 1944

Thankfully London Zoo was not directly hit by V1 flying bombs but one of their older keeping staff Overseer Walter William Leney (W.W.T. Leney), a 64 year old WW1 veteran, was killed on 25 November  1944 at his Regent’s Park home near London Zoo with his wife.  
London Zoo would also be affected by V1 and V2 bombing, including London Zoo veteran staff member Overseer W.W. T. Leney being killed in 1944 by a flying bomb at home. Nowhere in London or the Southeast was safe, night or day, at work or at home during the flying bomb raids. We shall mark the occasion 75 years on 25th November 1944 / 2019 with a fuller blogpost on Walter Leney.

The ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial:
Leney, William Walter Thomas, ZSL Overseer: Killed by flying bomb 25.11.1944
ZSL London Zoo veteran Keeper and Overseer William Leney at 65, old enough to have served in the First World war, was killed alongside his wife Kate Jane Leney (also 65) at 59 King Henry’s Road (Hampstead, Metropolitan Borough) by flying bomb. W.W.T. Leney and wife died on 25 November 1944. Several flying bombs are recorded as having fallen around the London Zoo area, close neighbour of RAF Regent’s Park

Walter Leney is recorded on the ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial.

I understand a little of the dread of flying bombs as I grew up in southeast areas ravaged by flying bombs, including a crater in the woods at the back of my childhood  house, a V1 attack also seen in the blast pattern of replaced tiles in roofs along our street still visible 40 years later. My late Dad’s South London  home was almost destroyed as a child by a V1 which clipped a factory chimney and fell to earth in a different direction.

The  V1 Flying Bomb  menace – Remembered by ordinary people 75 years on.

.Blog posted on 14 June 2019 by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo.

 

Remembering Charles Dare ZSL London Zoo died WW1 10 September 1918

September 10, 2018

 

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Charles Dare is remembered on the ZSL Staff War memorial at London Zoo. 

10.9.1918        Charles William Dare    County of London Regt             ZSL  Helper,
originally enlisted as 2965 or 610564  19th London Regiment, he served also as Private 245116,  2nd (City of London) Battalion  (Royal Fusiliers).

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

He  was killed on active service,  aged 20 and is listed on the  Vis-en-Artois memorial, one of 9580 killed in this area in the “Advance to Victory”  having no known grave.

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Charles had been in France with the London Regiment since June 1917. On this medal roll entry and elsewhere he is Presumed Dead or D.P. on 10th September 1918, presumably because his body was never found. This is why he is remembered on the Vis En Artois Memorial, rather than having an individual grave or headstone.

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Charles Dare was killed during period of the 100 days of the  “Advance to Victory”  (August to November / Armistice  1918).

August 8th marked the beginning of the Battle of Amiens was known as the ‘Black Day’ of the German Army; on the 15th, British troops crossed the Ancre river and on the 30th, the Somme river.

Advances carried on throughout September 1918, when Charles Dare was killed. The Armistice came two months after Charles Dare’s  death on the 11th November 1918.

Family background
Charles Dare was born and lived in St. Pancras in  1898 and enlisted in Camden Town.

He had an older sister, Lilian E Dare, two years older, also born in St. Pancras.

His father Charles J Dare was a distiller’s clerk from Hereford, aged 38 in 1901 living at 16 Eton Street, St. Pancras parish / borough (London 1901 census RG 13/133). they stilllived there in 1911, not that far from Regents Park and the Zoo. His mother Mary A Dare, 37,  was born in Lugwardine,  Hereford.
A Helper in ZSL staff terms is a junior or trainee member of staff before they become a Junior then Senior Keeper.

cw dare register ww1

 

Charles Dare married an Emily Catherine Holloway (1897-1944) of Kentish Town, early in 1918. According to the UK Register of Soldiers Effects, they had a daughter Gladys born 10th March 1918 or 1919.

Charles’ widow Emily Dare remarried an Arthur Scraggs in 1930 but was sadly killed as a civilian by enemy action (presumably an air raid casualty) during the “Baby Blitz” on London WW2 at her home 179 Grafton Road, London on 19 February 1944. 187 planes of the Luftwaffe bombed London on this day as part of Operation Steinbock. It was the heaviest bombing of the British capital since May 1941.

You can read more about the other ZSL London Zoo casualties of WW1 remembered on the ZSL Staff War Memorial here:

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

Remembered on the centenary of his death – Charles William Dare, ZSL Helper (Keeper), died WW1 10 September 1918.

Blog  posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 10 September 2018.

The Blitz begins 7 September 1940

September 7, 2018

 

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The Times article republished and illustrated in War Illustrated November 15th 1940

The Blitz, during which Nazi Germany bombed London and other English cities in nighttime raids, lasted from Sept. 7, 1940, to May 1941.

The raids killed around 43,000 British civilians and left widespread destruction.

ZSL London Zoo was in the firing line for the first time in over twenty years since Zeppelin airship and airplane bombing of London in WW1.

Long existing zoos such as Belle Vue (Manchester) and Bristol Zoo  had to put ARP (Air Raid Precautions) in place in 1939, along with newer 1930s zoos such as Chessington Zoo and Belfast Zoo.

https://www.zsl.org/blogs/artefact-of-the-month/zsl-london-zoo-during-world-war-two

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Some animal propaganda (ZSL chimps with tin hats) in  War Illustrated November 15th 1940

” The Zoo is in fact a microcosm of London …” 

Chessington Zoo

Chessington Zoo was bombed on 2 October 1940 and several staff family members were killed. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/chessington-zoo-blitzed-2-october-1940-eyewitness-accounts/

www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/80/a5333780.shtml

Lovely Chessington Zoo home movie 1940 footage, a grand day out presumably before the October 1940 bombing  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHeqmMWs7VM

LR Brightwell's wartime panda poster London Zoo 1942

LR Brightwell’s wartime panda poster for London Zoo 1942, encouraging zoo visitors and pandas to return  once the 1940/1 Blitz had quietened down. The “Off the Ration” exhibition encouraged Dig for Victory allotments like our World War Zoo Gardens but also encouraging zoo visitors  grow your own food animals (rabbits, chickens, pigs). 

Zoo Blitz Resources for Schools

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/blitz-and-pieces-at-our-wartime-zoo-workshops/

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Interesting Year 6 cross-curricular topic map for WW2 – Blitz and Battle of Britain (now defunct 2014/15 Inspire Curriculum, Cornwall)  

The 1944/45 Blitz

Later in the war (1944/45) Chessington Zoo  was hit by a Flying Bomb – as mentioned in our blog post https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/chessington-zoo-blitzed-2-october-1940-eyewitness-accounts/

You can see Chessington zoo and circus staff clearing up the aftermath on YouTube https://youtu.be/T9CiQvwP1TQ 

London Zoo would also be affected by V1 and V2 bombing, including London Zoo veteran staff member Overseer W.W. T. Leney being killed in 1944 by a flying bomb at home. Nowhere in London or the Southeast was safe, night or day, at work or at home during the flying bomb raids. We shall mark the occasion 75 years on later next year on 25th November 1944 / 2019 with a fuller blogpost on Walter Leney.

The ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial:

Leney, William Walter Thomas, ZSL Overseer: Killed by flying bomb 25.11.1944

ZSL London Zoo veteran Keeper and Overseer William Leney at 65, old enough to have served in the First World war, was killed alongside his wife Kate Jane Leney (also 65) at 59 King Henry’s Road (Hampstead, Metropolitan Borough) by flying bomb. W.W.T.  Leney and wife died on 25 November 1944. Several flying bombs are recorded as having fallen around the London Zoo area, close neighbour of RAF Regent’s Park.

Studying the Blitz and Wartime Life? 

For more details about our schools wartime zoo / wartime life workshops for primary and secondary schools at Newquay Zoo, contact us via  https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/school-visits/primary

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The last elephant left at the damaged Elephant house Berlin Zoo in 1943/44 after the Allied Air raids (Image source: Mark Norris, private collection from defunct press archive0.

Similar Allied air raids on German cities and industrial targets  caused extensive damage to German zoos in city and railway areas, as personally and vividly described  in zoo Director Lutz Heck’s Berlin Zoo memoir Animals – My Adventure. This will be the subject of a future blogpost as we approach the 75th anniversary of these raids in 1943 / 2018 and 1944 / 2019.

Remembering all those affected by the Blitz and air raids, 1940 /41 and 1944/45. 

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 7th September 1940 / 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/

nova jones ZSL war mem

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

 

 

 

 

Zoo Visitor, 38: Mass Observation London Zoo Visitor Research 1938

July 25, 2018

Mass Obs Questions ZAM 1138

The Questions! Animal and Zoo Magazine  October 1938. Does “The Zoo” refer just to London Zoo?

Why do people visit zoos? What do people do when they visit zoos?

Zoo Visitor Research is not such a young science or marketing method, judging by this Questionnaire in Zoo and Animal Magazine,  October 1938.

The Zoo and You 1938 questionnaire was created by Tom Harrisson and team at Mass Observation, which became well known for its civilian diaries (including Housewife, 49) and surveys of Home Front opinion in Britain in World War 2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass-Observation

Mass Observation was headed by anthropologist and ornithologist Tom Harrisson, who had previously written for Zoo and Animal Magazine  about animals and people in exotic countries (see postscript at end of blog).  http://www.massobs.org.uk/about/history-of-mo

The Mass Observation 1938 questions asked were:

  1. How often do you go to  the Zoo and what is your favourite time of year?
  2. What animals do you like best?
  3. Do you have a pre-arranged plan?
  4. Do you use the Guide or the maps provided in each House?
  5. Describe what you think you get out of a visit.
  6. Who do you go with?

Sadly only the answers of the winner with “the most interesting set of facts” appears to have been published.

mass obs answers ZAM 0139

The Half a Guinea’s worth of  Winning Answer!  Zoo and Animal Magazine, January 1939

I found most surprising the section where Miss Joseph, obviously a keen photographer, said that you  can make an “appointment  with a keeper to call back and  have an animal out.”

“The animals I like best are the ones the keepers allow me to have out of their cages.”

Somewhere in the ZSL Library Archive at London Zoo or at the Mass Observation archive at the University of Sussex, maybe a horde or box file of slowly browning paper question slips might still rest, full of everyday information about everyday zoo visits c. late 1938, eighty years ago.

I wonder if the information was ever used for planning or whether the outbreak of war eight months later in September 1939 got in the way.  War certainly changed the life of Tom Harrisson and the Mass Observation team and their many diarists.

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1940s Guide Map of London Zoo (note Camel House “damaged by enemy action”). You can follow Miss Joseph’s favourite route from the South Gate / Entrance c. 1938.

I wonder how a modern zoo visitor to London Zoo or my home zoo of Newquay Zoo might answer these questions today?

These days, such visitor behaviour research might still involve questionnaires, familiar from many market research projects. However it may also involve discreetly watching zoo visitor behaviour and dwell time in a certain area such as a new animal enclosure (to answer for example the thorny question “Does anyone actually read zoo animal information signs?”)

Mass Observation’s 1938 Question 3 “Do you have a pre-arranged plan?” or route of visit was an interesting question in modern terms.

Recently  an unusual research project by Michelle Gurney for Paignton Zoo / Newquay Zoo / Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust  (WWCT) Research involved satellite tagging a range of willing visitors (free cup of tea as a reward!) Afterwards it was possible to look at the GIS map plotting of how the visitors used the Paignton or Newquay Zoo area and which bits or animals were most visited, which least visited.

Amazing stuff, all very useful for looking afresh at your zoo site and visitors.

Zoo Visitor Research, at least 80 years young!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 25 July 2018.

Postscript:  Tom Harrison, “Birds, Cannibals and I

Here is an example of one of Tom Harrisson’s early articles for Zoo and Animal Magazine, Volume 1 No, 3, August 1936:

article 836 1  article 836 ZAM 2

article 836 ZAM 3

article 836 ZAM 4

 

 

 

International Women’s Day March 8th – Land Army Girls March 1945 magazine cover

March 8, 2018

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WLA Land Girl on front cover of My Home magazine March 1945 price 9d (Author’s collection/WWZG) Note the length of service armband.  

It were never that glamorous! A rather fluffy and idealised portrait of life for a WLA Land Girl is shown on the front cover of My Home magazine March 1945 (price 9d).

Life for the women of the Women’s Land Army was often very different, especially in winter.

Land Girls served in wartime zoos,  such as the team running the ‘Off the Ration’ Exhibition at London Zoo, set up with the Ministry of Information etc, to show householders how to look after simple food animals – pigs, rabbits, chickens.

This linked to a simple model wartime farm and garden which was established, as at Kew Gardens, to give gardening and livestock advice to members of the public and visitors.  Some Whipsnade Zoo paddocks were also ploughed up (by horse and elephant!) to be farmed for the war effort.

land army greatcoat labelThe quite small sized Land Girls woollen overcoat is quite a popular but surprisingly heavy fashion item for visiting schoolgirls to try on during our World War Zoo schools wartime workshop at Newquay Zoohttps://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/school-visits

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/world-war-zoo-gardens-workshops-for-schools-at-newquay-zoo/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/05/ww2-at-newquay-zoo-and-other-primary-workshops-inspired-by-the-new-curriculum/

 

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Women’s Land Army greatcoat (second from right)in our original wartime clothing section.

 

Marking International Women’s Day March 8th and the activities of extraordinary ordinary women such as the Women’s Land Army in WW1 and WW2 with this colourful  Land Army Girls March 1945 magazine cover.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 8 March 2018

 

 

7 March 1918 air raids on London

March 7, 2018

Continuing the story of the WW1 air raids on London from an unpublished diary:

7 March 1918: Air Raid at 11.20. In bed.
It looks like Edith Spencer, London clerk and one of the many women who were given working opportunities during WW1, was often back in the family home in a now demolished Manse in Watford each night.

You can read more about Edith and see her diary entries  here:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/11/the-first-blitz-on-london-from-an-unpublished-ww1-diary/

This daily commute to and from Watford may have been a clever move by Edith to avoid the London air raids  as she missed the threat of injury in the air raid undertaken by 3 ‘Giants’, large German bomber airplanes that replaced the Zeppelin airship bombers. 2 other Giants raided other coastal areas.

WW1 air raid expert Ian Castle records the activities of the night here on his excellent website: http://www.iancastlezeppelin.co.uk/78-mar-1918/4594233236.

This 7 – 8 March 1918 raid  left 23 killed, 39 injured in the St. John’s Wood and Clapham Common area. A single 1000 kilogram bomb at Maida Vale was responsible for 12 of those killed and 33 injured. Damage to property in 1914 prices was £42,655.

 

KeepTheHomeFiresBurning1915

(Wikipedia image source)

 

One of those killed on 7 /8 March 2018 was an American, the first American citizen to be killed in an air raid on Britain, a lyricist called Lena Ford who wrote the words for Ivor Novello’s First World War wartime hit song “Keep the Home Fires Burning”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lena_Guilbert_Ford

An imaginative but  fact based retelling or reconstruction of the events of the 7 / 8  March 1918 raid by Julian Futter can be found here:

https://www.crescentgarden.co.uk/history/

This area featured by Julian Futter is not that far south from Regents Park and London Zoo, so you can imagine the impact that aerial bombing, the barking of nearby Anti Aircraft guns or ‘Archies’  and searchlights would have had on some of the more sensitive animals by day or night.

Special precautions had already been put in place to counter air raid damage in the form of First Aid posts and special reinforcement or coverings for the enclosures of poisonous animals such as in the reptile house.

Remembering all those affected or involved in the air raid of 7-8 March 1918 on its 100th anniversary. 

Blogposted (scheduled post) by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 7 March 2018

 

 

 

6 February 2018 Centenary of British women gaining the vote

February 6, 2018

 

 

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An irreverent comic postcard view of women’s contribution in WW1 to the war effort (Author’s collection) https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/the-military-miss-ww1/

 

The focus of the First World War centenary partnership for 1918 / 2018 is the contribution that women played in the First World War.

 

http://www.1914.org/news/womenswork100-at-the-first-world-war-centenary-partnership/

Their work in wartime was partly what finally made Parliament agree to give some British women (over 30) and men over 21 the vote.

Tuesday 6 February 2018 is the centenary of women being granted the vote for the first time in Britain.
The Representation of People Act 1918 was an important law because it allowed women to vote for the very first time. It also allowed all men over the age of 21 to vote too.
This act was the first to include practically all men in the political system and began the inclusion of women, extending the franchise by 5.6 million men and 8.4 million women.
The contribution made during World War One by men and women who didn’t have the right to even vote was an important reason for the law changing.
In 1918, the Representation of the People Act was passed on 6 February 1918 and women voted in the general election for the very first time on 14th December 1918 that year.
“Women over 30 years old received the vote if they were either a member or married to a member of the Local Government Register, a property owner, or a graduate voting in a University constituency.” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Representation_of_the_People_Act_1918

Researching this in a local Cornish village a few miles away from Newquay Zoo, I noticed that the outbreak of war in 1914 saw the suspension of what was becoming a violent political nationwide campaign of ‘domestic terrorism’ (sabotage, arson, breaking windows), arrest, force-feeding and release under the Cat and Mouse Act. Kew Gardens suffered its tea room being burnt down by militant Suffragettes.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/devoran-suffragettes-wspu-1914/

The headline grabbing WSPU publicity campaign of window breaking was dropped so that women could contribute to the war effort, filling many men’s jobs to free them up for the forces.

Women found themselves working as keepers in zoos like Miss Saunders or Evelyn Cheeseman, gardeners in botanic gardens such as Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, clerks like Edith Spencer (in our previous WW1 air raid posts) and a whole host of new jobs.

Miss Saunders working at London Zoo is pictured at http://blog.maryevans.com/2013/04/london-zoo-at-war.html

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A whole host of jobs opened up from dangerous munitions work to nursing and ambulance driving. A surprisingly large number of women were killed working on the Home Front, serving overseas and by the Flu epidemic of 1918 / 1919.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2017/07/27/tending-war-graves-in-foreign-fields/

Fittingly there will be a year long focus on the role women played in World War 1, culminating in some women being able to vote in the December 1918 for the first time and also be elected as MPS.

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/12-things-you-didnt-know-about-women-in-the-first-world-war

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project (Newquay Zoo) on Tuesday 6 February 2018, the centenary of women being granted the vote for the first time in Britain.

Material also crossposted from the Devoran War Memorial Project Cornwall.

 

 

 

 

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

October 3, 2017

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was a Siege Battery?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

William’s Army Service Records WW1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

September 23, 2017

23rd September 1917  – Albert Staniford  ZSL London Zoo Gardener

ZSL War Memorial 003small

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

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

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

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

Find out more about London Zoo staff in WW1

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

Albert Staniford, Gardener at London Zoo,

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

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


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