Archive for the ‘Merchant Navy’ Category

Homeland, Britain March 1917

March 22, 2017

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Percy Izzard, Homeland: A Book of Country Days (1918)

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As a follow up to yesterday’s post on Homeland, Percy Izzard’s book of nature writing on the British countryside during the First World War, here are several more daily entries. A book well worth tracking down second-hand.

 

Some deal with the changing agricultural landscape, such as noticing (March 28th 1917) that “It is interesting to see how quickly the birds have become accustomed  to the motor plough. The strange form and immense noise of the machine …” 

 

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March 25th (1917) “And although the flowers were few when you think what this day has seen in other years, never did they open to a world readier to welcome them”

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welcome to a world weary not only of the long winter, but also the war?

 

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British farming and the countryside was facing difficulties by 1917 from poor harvests and the call up of male farm workers. Add to this the demands of feeding several armies overseas. From early  in the year, the unrestricted submarine warfare of the German U boat blockade of Britain increased the sinking of merchant shipping bound for  Britain with imported food from around the Empire and world.

These were pre-war cheap and plentiful food imports that we had come to rely on, much to the detriment of pre-war British farming.

Both rationing (1918) and a form of WW2 style Dig For Victory in 1917 were eventually organised  in Britain in WW1.

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/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/08/10/country-life-1986-article-on-ww1-wartime-gardening/

We will feature more from Homeland by Percy Izzard in late March / early April 2017, when the quiet world of nature in Britain that he works hard to convey  can be read 100 years on as (directly ? deliberately?) at odds  with events overseas, the Battle of Arras (9 April to 16 May 1917) in France.

This  battle would involve many of Izzard’s audience of  “soldier lads” who read his daily nature column in the Daily Mail in the trenches. Forming a valuable bit of escapism, these short daily columns would be adapted and edited to become his book Homeland: A Year Of Country Days in mid 1918.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Arras_(1917)

The Battle of Arras would see the deaths on active service of several of the zoo staff, botanic gardens staff and  naturalists that we have been researching through the World War  Zoo Gardens project.

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

 

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Forgotten Wrecks of WW1 exhibition at Living Coasts until 16 November 2016

October 20, 2016

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Living Coasts http://www.livingcoasts.org.uk/ is currently home until 16 November 2016 to a fascinating exhibition Forgotten Wrecks of WW1  http://forgottenwrecks.maritimearchaeologytrust.org

The Forgotten Wrecks exhibition looks to raise the profile of under-represented aspects of the First World War.  Over 700 wartime wrecks are known to lie off the south coast of England.

These include largely forgotten ships and crafts of all shapes and sizes. Catch the exhibition at Living Coasts before it departs on 16th November 2016.

http://forgottenwrecks.maritimearchaeologytrust.org/

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Wrecks of course make fascinating artificial reef habitats for marine wildlife.

We must never forget though that many of these wrecks are also war graves.

This is something that struck me during my research into wartime zoo staff and also my Cornish coastal village war memorial when visiting the Tower Hill Memorial for Merchant Navy crews and Plymouth Naval War Memorial, both monuments  to those with no known graves except the sea.

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A few panels of the names of thousands of missing Royal Navy sailors on the Plymouth Naval Memorial (Image: Mark Norris)

The families of Torquay and Brixham along with Cornwall and many other coastal communities would have seriously disrupted by the submarine warfare affecting the Royal Navy, Merchant Navy shipping and fishing fleets.

Living Coasts also overlooks the site of not only a D-Day ‘hard’ embarkation point but also a short-lived WW1  former RAF / RNAS flying boat station. http://devonairfields.hampshireairfields.co.uk/torq.html

The hangers of this floatplane station were apparently sold off as war surplus after the First World War  to the canny Herbert Whitley to become bird aviaries at his fledgling Paignton Zoo!

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Find out more about visiting this Forgotten Wrecks exhibition at Living Coasts:

http://www.livingcoasts.org.uk/plan-your-visit/whats-on/events/detail/forgotten-wrecks-exhibition?utm_source=ENews&utm_campaign=October&utm_medium=Email

I must make time to get up to Torquay and see this Forgotten Wrecks exhibition before it finishes on 16 November 2016  at the always fascinating Living Coasts!

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

The Somme, the Ennor family, Living Memory and our local CWGC headstones in Newquay

October 19, 2016

imageLiving Memory is a project with CWGC to mark the 141 days of the Somme campaign and encourage people across communities and schools to connect with local CWGC burials and cemeteries in their areas.

http://www.cwgc.org/about-us/cwgc-projects/living-memory.aspx

In 2016 the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) in partnership with Big Ideas Company are asking the public in the British Isles to re-connect with the war dead buried in their own communities. CWGC has 200 large sites in the UK, almost all in big city cemeteries and linked to the hospitals: the majority of these men either died of their wounds in hospital or (in 1918-19) died in the influenza epidemic. In total CWGC graves in the UK are located in over 12,000 locations. They must not be forgotten.

As part of the WW1 Centenary partnership, the World War Zoo Gardens project (Newquay Zoo) has been looking at how the First World War impacted on zoos and botanic gardens, following on from looking at the impact of the Second World War on the food problems, staffing and other challenges of surviving wartime.

In my local work town of Newquay where our wartime garden project is based as part of Newquay Zoo, there are several cemeteries with a scatter of distinctive CWGC headstones. Many of them are WW2 air crew from local airfields.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2102977/NEWQUAY%20(FAIRPARK)%20CEMETERY      Newquay Fairpark Cemetery WW2 casualties

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/36994/NEWQUAY%20NEW%20CEMETERY Newquay Crantock Street or New Cemetery WW1 casualties

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/4003934/NEWQUAY,%20URBAN%20DISTRICT Newquay registered / related WW2 civilian deaths

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/37026/NEWQUAY%20(ST.%20COLUMB%20MINOR)%20CEMETERY  Newquay St. Columb Minor Cemetery – mostly WW2 casualties

http://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/37025/ST.%20COLUMB%20MAJOR%20CEMETERY  Newquay St Columb Major Cemetery – WW1 and WW2 casulaties containing the (Somme related?) casualty James Mangan.

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Amongst these cemeteries are   several interesting clusters of WW1 graves which tell an interesting story about how the soldiers and civilians of Britain were fed and supplied  in the First World War.

At Newquay New Cemetery the WW1 graves cover several local servicemen who died of wounds at home during or after the war, as well as some of the crew of SS War Grange, a Merchant Navy ship torpedoed by a German U-boat off the Newquay coast in May 1918.

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SS War Grange torpedoed off Newquay 1918

 

I was surprised to learn that Rationing began in WW1 as did an early form of “Dig for Victory.” Both had been introduced to deal with the U Boat sinking of merchant shipping and the effects on the British food and war materials supply. A similar Royal Navy blockade was beginning to cripple the food supply and raw materials for war production of Germany and her Allies.

I will cover more about the mixed range of ages, nationalities and backgrounds of the SS War Grange (1918) and SS Falaba (1915) casualties including a stewardess  Louisa Tearle SS Falaba 1915 http://www.tearle.org.uk/tag/louisa/ and a donkeyman Abdul Mahjid from the SS War Grange, in a separate blogpost.

The Tearle website (above) shows the Newquay New Cemetery and her distinctive slate grey headstone, different from the white portalnd stone used by CWGC elsewhere.

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Living Memory and the 141 days of the Somme

Buried in the Newquay (Crantock Street) New Cemetery alongside these sailors  is a local Somme casualty, one of two Ennor  brothers from Newquay who died in the First World War.

Private Reginald Charles Ennor, DCLI / 7th London Regiment

Reginald Charles Ennor of Newquay, who died in hospital on 10 October 1916, was buried at home, unlike many of the Somme casualties.

Reginald served with the 7th City of London Battalion Regiment as Service No:6468. but was formerly enlisted as 24601, 9 th D.C.L.I. Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry  (the  local regiment).

Reginald’s regiment the 7th Battalion The London Regiment (nicknamed the ‘Shiny Seventh’ ) landed in France in March 1915 as part of the 4th London Brigade, 2nd London Division. They first saw action at Festubert in May 1915, and took part in major battles at Loos in September 1915, Vimy in May 1916 and High Wood in September 1916.

By the time of this Somme attack on the Butte de Warlencourt in October 1916, Reginald Ennor would be dying of wounds at home in Britain.

The 47th Division’s attack at High Wood, 15 September 1916
In late July 1916 the 1/7th London Battalion marched south to begin training to enter the ongoing Somme offensive. The battalion practised on positions marked out by flags, and adopted identification stripes on their arms: A Company blue, B Co green, C Co red and D Co yellow. On 15 September, 47th Division attacked High Wood to cover the left flank of the tank-led attack of the adjacent divisions on Flers.

The first objective for 140 Bde was a line clear of High Wood (the Switch Line), the second was the Starfish Line on the forward slope, and then the strong Flers Line. The 1/7th and 1/15th were to open the attack, after which the 1/8th would pass through to capture the Starfish Line and finally the 1/6th would pass through and continue to the Flers Line.

The 1/7th advanced rapidly behind a creeping barrage and took over 100 prisoners, but suffered severe casualties in taking the Switch Line and consolidating just in front of it. The battalion was relieved on the evening of 17 September and moved forward to relieve the 1/8th in the Starfish Line, where they were counter-attacked and bombarded for two days. (Wikipedia entry)

By the time the 7th Londons left the line on 20 September, the ‘Shiny Seventh’ were caked in mud and had suffered over 300 casualties including Reginald Ennor on or around the 18th September. The regiment was awarded the battle honour Flers-Courcelette.

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High Wood Battle map (Wikipedia source)

Reginald Ennor was 27, an apprentice to a builder in 1911 and the son of architect John Ennor Jnr and Maria Ennor of 61 Lower Rd., Newquay. He died of wounds in the Military Hospital, Leeds on 10 October 2016.

His medal record roll suggests his service in France was from 16 June to 18 September 1916 including the High Wood attack as part of the Somme battles.  He died of wounds in a Leeds hospital back in Britain on 10 October 2016, hence his burial in the Uk, in  his home town amongst friends and family.

UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War SDGW, 1914-1919 lists Reginald as:

Reginald Charles Ennor
Birth Place: Newquay
Residence: Newquay
Death Date: 10 Oct 1916
Enlistment Place: Newquay
Rank: Private
Regiment: London Regiment
Battalion: 7th (City of London) Battalion
Regimental Number: 6468
Type of Casualty: Died of wounds
Comments: Formerly 24601, 9th D.C.L.I.

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Sapper Joseph Hooper Ennor of the Royal Engineers

His brother, Sapper Joseph Hooper Ennor of the Royal Engineers also died on 12 Febraury 1920, having received a silver wound badge (Silver Badge Number: B 146218) from 1917 to 1919 and is buried nearby. His Discharge Unit is listed as the  Royal Engineers I.W & D and Regimental Number as  WR347183, Rank: Sapper, the equivalent to an Army Private.

In 1911 Joseph was listed as  “Clerk To surveyor Urban Council.” This same Newquay Urban District Council helped survey and build Newquay Zoo almost 60 years later.

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Joseph Hooper Ennor on findagrave.com

The Ennor Family and Newquay’s History

The Ennor family helped to build Newquay as we  see it today.

The Ennor Family http://www.newquayvoice.co.uk/news/6/article/2322/ Roger Jenkin Newquay’s Founding Families article in Newquay Voice online 3 March 2004.

‘Mr J. Ennor Junior ‘. On the appropriate page his address is ‘Quay Road’. Architect and surveyor. He was John Ennor the Third, for the First – his grandfather – had been drowned when supervising the foundations of the South Quay for Squire Richard Lomax in 1831. His son – the next but one entry – ‘Mr J. Ennor Senior’, being John Ennor the second 1828 – 1912 – was the most prominent and prolific of his family being largely responsible for the building of old Newquay.

So many were his interests that one cannot do them full justice here. He was responsible for renewing the leases of two of the old fish cellars; he was the owner of no less than 18 local vessels; between 1877 and December 1890 he built 90 houses in the town; he had the first steam yacht in the bay; he was an original member of the Local Board and he erected the railway station buildings which were finished in 1877 and demolished circa 1990. A grandson, Hubert, built Ennors Road in the 1920s.

In a separate Roger Jenkin article it mentioned “On February 10, 1888, John Ennor completed the row of terraced houses, which stand to this day namely Trevose Place. The Rose fish cellars themselves were sited where the back gardens of those houses are.”

Both Ennor brothers are listed on Newquay’s large memorial overlooking the sea.

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The brothers Ennor on the WW1 list amongst many familiar Newquay names above Newquay’s lost WW2 fire crew from the 1941 Plymouth Blitz (Old, Vineer, Whiting) Source: http://www.89ww1heroes.blogspot.com

The 1911 England Census gives clues to the whole Ennor  family and the two brothers, just before the First World War:

Reginald Ennor

Address: 2 Harbour Terrace, Newquay
Marital Status: Single
Occupation: Apprentice To Builder
Registration district: St Columb

Household Members:
John Ennor Junr 56
Maria Ennor 55
George Hubert Ennor 27
Joseph Hooper Ennor  22
Reginald Charles Ennor 20
Florie Caroline Ennor 16
Elsie Ennor 14
Mabel Louise Ennor 12
Jane Hugo 39 (servant?)

Beyond Living Memory

Even once the Living Memory project is over, we should remember these people.

So if you are in Newquay on holiday or living locally, strolling around, why not pop into one of these local cemeteries especially around Remembrance time and pay your respects to these men and women? You could also do so closer to home, if you check out the CWGC website for your nearest site.

I know when I get a spare moment I will pop up and visit Newquay New Cemetery or Crantock Street Cemetery  in remembrance.

Remembering Reginald Ennor and the other casualties of the 141 days of the Somme buried with their CWGC headstones in cemeteries across the UK.

#LivingMemory   http://www.cwgc.org/about-us/cwgc-projects/living-memory.aspx

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

 

 

 

Remembering Merchant Navy day 3 September from a zoo keeper’s perspective

September 3, 2015

mercahnt navy the common task punch3 September is Merchant Navy Day.

The Punch cartoon “The Common Task” chosen above  from my collection symbolises the past and future challenge of food security. Here the Dig for Victory Gardener is as important as the Merchant Navy, whose lives in convoys were at risk to bring food and other precious resources to our island and worldwide  during both World Wars.

This “Common Task” was a common theme in many gardening publications during both world wars.

"Let your shopping help our shipping" was one propaganda message about saving food - grow your own is another, promoted by a typical piece of advertising from a wartime gardening magazine (from the World War Zoo gardening collection / archive at Newquay Zoo).

“Let your shopping help our shipping” was one propaganda message about saving food – grow your own is another, promoted by a typical piece of advertising from a wartime gardening magazine (from the World War Zoo gardening collection / archive at Newquay Zoo).

Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3 September has honoured the brave men and women of the UK amongst many nations who kept our island nation afloat during both World Wars. It also celebrates our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports, including half the food we eat.

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“A year’s food for London Zoo” infographic from an unknown magazine by W.B. Robinson 1920s/ 30s (Image Source: Mark Norris, private collection)

In wartime this involved not only human food but many of the foods that zoo animals would need, if they could not be home-grown. This is a past and future challenge we have been researching through our World War Zoo Gardens project at Newquay Zoo.

This year Seafarers UK is campaigning for the Red Ensign, the UK Merchant Navy’s official flag, to be flown on 3 September on public buildings and landmark flagstaffs. More than 400 Local Authorities have been asked to get involved.

I saw the Red Ensign flying outside the Truro Harbour Commissioner’s office on my travels this morning.

Like many coastal communities, many Cornish ports and harbours lost many sailors and fishermen in both world wars, with the knock-on effect on families, communities and incomes for generations.

The names of many of those lost at sea are remembered on the huge Tower Hill memorial in London which I visited last year whilst doing a talk at Kew Gardens.

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WW2 section Tower HIll memorial representing the 24,000 missing Merchant Navy sailors and fishermen (Image: mark Norris)

Statues on the  WW2 section Tower HIll memorial represent the 24,000 missing Merchant Navy sailors and fishermen “who have no grave but the sea” named on its panels. There is more about the memorial on the CWGC website.

You can see pictures of this memorial, its statues and the impact on just one Cornish creekside village that I have also been researching through the names on its war memorial:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2014/11/03/lost-devoran-sailors-on-the-merchant-navy-memorial-tower-hill/

Remembering the many brave men and women and their families of the Merchant Navy today, 3 September, past and present.


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