Archive for the ‘War memorials’ 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 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.

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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.

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/

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

 

 

 

 

Remembering Percy Murray Adams Whipsnade ZSL keeper died WW2 POW 28 July 1943

July 27, 2018

 

Percy Murray Adams ZSL Whipsnade Keeper

Percy Murray Adams (Gunner RA) ZSL Whipsnade Keeper

Died as a  Japanese  POW, Burma,  28 July 1943 aged 26.

Served as Gunner 922398, Royal Artillery, 148 (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) Field Regt, serving with 419 battery.

Buried at Thanbyuzayat Military Cemetery, Burma. https://www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/2007400/THANBYUZAYAT%20WAR%20CEMETERY

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Thanbyuzayat Military Cemetery, Burma  (Copyright photograph by The War Graves Photographic Project TWGPP)  

According to his ZSL staff card, he was born on 15 July 1917 and joined ZSL Whipsnade as a youngster on 24 May 1932, shortly after it opened.

Like Henry Peris Davies at London Zoo, Adams was called up as a Territorial on September 3rd 1939.

I remember seeing  his ZSL  staff record card whilst researching in the ZSL library. It  reports him in March 1942 as “Reported as Missing at Singapore.” In 1945 it reported “died of dysentery in Japanese POW camp somewhere in 1943.”

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Adams’ headstone at Thanbyuzayat Military Cemetery, Burma (Copyright photograph by The War Graves Photographic Project TWGPP)

Adams is buried in Thanbyuzayat CWGC Cemetery in Burma, only a few rows away from Kew Gardens’ trained gardener  J. C. Nauen  who died as POW in September 1943 https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-world-war-two/

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Adams is named amongst the five fallen ZSL staff from the Second World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010. This well polished plaque has since been replaced in 2014. 

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

Happy times at Pre-war Whipsnade

I have a special interest in Percy Murray Adams as he was one of the first ZSL WW2 keepers where I fitted a face to a name on the ZSL Memorial, thanks to an appearance in the January 1939 edition of Zoo and Animal Magazine with his huskies. Within that year, Adams would be serving in the Army.

Keeper Adams and the Huskies on their sledge must have been a strange sight at pre-war Whipsnade!

“My favourite is Angussuak, and he is the king of them all. The other dogs give way to him and he always leads the sledge when I take them out for a run.”

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ZSL Whipsnade Zoo Keeper P.M. Adams featured in Zoo and Animal Magazine, January 1939 

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Close up of the Keeper Adams’ and Husky article January 1939, Zoo and Animal Magazine 

Zoo and Animal magazine from 1936 to 1941 featured several Whipsnade articles. An interesting picture of life in Whipsnade in wartime can be found in Whipsnade My Africa by Lucy Pendar and also Beasts in My Belfry by Gerald Durrell (student keeper at Whipsnade c. 1945)

Reading this article and then researching what happened to young Adams, shown  in the Zoo and Animal Magazine as a smart 21 to 22 year old in his ZSL Keeper uniform, it seems such a very long journey in a very short time from working with the Huskies from a Greenland expedition housed at Whipsnade in the English countryside of pre-war Bedfordshire  to the sweltering forests and POW labour camps of Singapore and Burma.

Adams was not the only zoological gardens  or botanic gardens staff member to be interned or die as a Japanese POW. Read more here:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/23/remembering-zookeeper-and-gardener-far-east-pows-70-years-on-2015/

Keeper Adams’ Life as  a Japanese POW

ZSL Whipsnade Keeper Adams in September 1939 became 922398 Gunner Adams. His 148th Regiment Royal Artillery  (Bedfordshire Yeomanry) was transferred to Singapore, arriving just before the Fall of Singapore in February 1942.  The regiment  was captured around 15 February 1942.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/18th_Infantry_Division_(United_Kingdom)

Over time more documents have become available through family history sites that flesh out a little the bare statistics of Adams’ life and death as a Japanese POW on labour camps such as served the notoriously brutal Burma Siam Railway project.

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I read or write no Japanese so cannot confirm what they have written for his occupation and place of capture. This document suggests that he is married. 

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This CWGC document gives us an idea which cemetery Percy Murray Adams was buried in; what remains could be found were later recovered to Thanbuyzayat Militray Cemetery

This document gives us Adams’ dates of capture 15 February 1942 and death on 28th July 1943.

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Faded wartime typescript monthly roll showing Adams was (on the move?)  with Overland Party B from 27 April 1943.

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British Army Records Form (RH 66?) with similar details to Adams’ ZSL London Zoo staff card.

The difficulty after the war of collecting the POW grave remains from cemeteries such as Sonkrai to concentration cemeteries in Thanbuzayat is clearl;y set out here on this interesting document:

https://www.cofepow.org.uk/armed-forces-stories-list/war-graves-burma-siam-railway-2

This whole CoFEPOW website (Children of Far East Prisoners of War) is well worth a look.

I know from (now deceased) members of my extended family that it was very difficult for the wives  and children of  men who had been FEPOWS as the men adjusted to the stresses and strains of normal working  life  once the surviving POWs had returned home. Maybe today we would have a little more understanding of the PTSD that such men suffered.

Remembering Percy Murray Adams died 27 August 1943 and the many far East Prisoners of War and their Families. 

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo 27 August 1943.

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!

Our first red poppies towards the nationwide Ribbon of Poppies project

May 22, 2018

 

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Ladybird Poppy – the first of our poppies to flower, ahead of the Flanders Poppy seedlings. 

 

Our first red poppies of 2018 have flowered!

Last month we wrote about joining in with the Ribbon of Poppies project across Britain and worldwide to mark 2018 as the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 in 1918:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/part-of-the-worldwide-ribbon-of-poppies-planted-at-newquay-zoo-for-the-ww1-centenary/

Today we have our first Red Poppy of the year in flower – a beautiful deep red and black Ladybird Poppy.

It attracted lots of admiring glances and comments from visitors to Newquay Zoo, overheard as I was tidying up and watering our tiny garden plot here near the Lion House at Newquay Zoo.

It’s not too late to plant some poppies yourself and join in the Ribbon of Poppies event:

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

 

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First of our Ladybird Poppies to flower for the Ribbon of Poppies event 1918 / 2018 in our World War Zoo Gardens keepers’ allotment and WW1 / WW2 memorial project at Newquay Zoo. The  big clump of garlic behind the poppy is throwing up flower spikes which create a great wildlife attraction and edible oniony flowers for monkeys to eat. 

 

 

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A yellow (Welsh?) poppy turned up in flower last week. Curious  – I didn’t plant this one ! 

 

 

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Borage – edible flower head treats for our flower eating animals such as the monkeys. These have self seeded and returned each year from our first planting in 2009. 

 

Even the veg has joined in the deep red colour scheme this year with bright red Rainbow Bright Lights or Rhubarb Chard fooling lots of our visitors into thinking it is sweet rhubarb. ‘Rhubarb’ Chard is a cousin of spinach and beet. 

Real Rhubarb leaves are of course poisonous or toxic to humans and many other animals. 

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Borage flowers intertwined with deep red Rhubarb Chard leaves. Some Big Cat Thyme grows alongside – good for scent enrichment of animal enclosures including Lions. 

 

I cut a whole bucketful of this colourful red  Rhubarb Chard (a cousin of spinach and beet) for keepers to use as fresh animal food and enrichment today!

I also cut back the thuggish Rosemary herb / bush planted ten years ago. It gets  regularly pruned by keepers using the clippings to scruff around animal enclosures to safely introduce interesting new smells. This should give more light and space to other enrichment herbs such as Lemon Balm and Mint (also useful for the odd cup of Keepers’ herbal tea). Delicious!  Cold herbal mint tea can also be sprayed around enclosures for animal scent enrichment.

I found a small batch of  chitted late potatoes at home which came to work with me and have now filled  in any planting gaps between Broad Beans, Cabbages and Leeks.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Education Department , Newquay Zoo, May 21 / 22 2018.

Remembering Lost Gardener John Leonard Veitch Kew Gardens WW1 21 May 1918

May 21, 2018

One of the Veitch Nursery Family, famous sponsors of plant collectors and plant hunters, was killed in the First World War.

Major John Leonard Veitch, Military Cross, 7th Battalion attached 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, died on 21st May 1918, aged 31. Mentioned in Despatches.

His death must have seriously affected the future of the Veitch Nursery, as happened to so many lesser-known plant nursery firms in Britain and across Europe.

cwgc thiennes

Vietch is buried in the tiny Thiennes Cemetery. (Image: CWGC website)

He is buried at Grave Reference Row A. Grave 1, Thiennes British Cemetery, France.

A photograph of his headstone can be seen on the TWGPP website. According to CWGC records, the inscription on his headstone chosen by his family is “Unto God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit thee”.

The German offensive of April 1918 pushed the front line back almost as far as St. Venant in this sector and this was one of the cemeteries made for Commonwealth burials arising from the fighting in the area. Thiennes British Cemetery was started by the 5th Division in May 1918 (when Veitch was amongst the first to be buried) and used by the 59th and 61st Divisions before being closed in August 1918. It is a small cemetery of only 114 First World War burials in the cemetery, Veitch’s grave being the first A1.

He is listed as the son of Peter Christian Massyn Veitch, J.P. Esq, and Harriett Veitch (nee Drew) 11 Elm Grove Road, Exeter of the famous Veitch nursery family.

His Kew Guild Journal 1919 obituary lists him originally enlisting in August 1914 in the 7th Cyclists Battalion of the Devon Regiment, his local regiment.

He was in France from 1915, noted as being on front line duties since December 1915 and fought through the battle of the Somme in 1916. He was wounded in the shoulder at Vimy Ridge. After service in Italy, Veitch was killed by a stray machine gun bullet in the Nieppe Forest area of France on May 21, 1918. Another Devonshire Regiment man, Private Harold Harrison, lies buried beside him, killed on the same day.

A month earlier Veitch had received his recommendation for a Military Cross “for his excellent defence of the Lock, just east of the Forest of Nieppe, in the middle of April, when he stopped five attacks. He had the honour of dying in temporary command of our famous battalion.” (letter to Veitch’s father from his Colonel).

He was at Kew from 1908 to 1910, before joining the family nursery business in 1910. Educated at Exeter School, he spent time studying horticulture in Germany and Holland before entering Kew.

Veitch  Nursery history and links

John Leonard Veitch’s  father was Peter Veitch, and his sister Mildred was the last of the Veitch family to continue the Nursery business until 1969 when she sold the last Veitch Nursery site in Exeter to St. Bridget’s Nursery, who still run this today.

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

“The firm of Veitch had by the 1914/18 war been responsible for introducing an astonishing 1281 plants which were either previously unknown or newly bred varieties. These included 498 greenhouse plants, 232 orchids, 153 deciduous trees, shrubs and climbing plants, 122 herbaceous plants, 118 exotic ferns, 72 evergreen and climbing plants, 49 conifers and 37 bulbous plants. In the years to come, more plants followed.”

Quote taken from St. Bridget’s Nursery website https://www.stbridgetnurseries.co.uk/about-us/veitch-family-history/, the Nursery being on a former Veitch Nursery site.

Had John Leonard Veitch survived and had a family, the history of Veitch’s Nursery may have continued longer, even up to the present day. A story no doubt similar to many nurseries, estates and small businesses across Britain and Europe.

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

Other Kew Gardens staff casualties had worked for Veitch nurseries such as Gordon Farries (died WW1 20 April 1918). The Veitch Medal of Honour (VMH) is still a prestigious award for gardeners.

You  can read more about Kew Gardens staff 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/

https://www.theexeterdaily.co.uk/news/local-news/chiefs-launch-search-ww1-players

Blogposted on the Centenary of John Leonard Veitch’s death by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project at Newquay Zoo, 21 May 2018


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