Archive for the ‘wartime zoos’ Category

Remembrance Weekend 2017

November 11, 2017

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 2016 poppy. 

Remembering the many zoo and botanic Gardens staff and their families affected by the two world wars and conflicts silence.

Remembered at Newquay Zoo and in many zoos and botanic gardens by the two minutes silence at 11 am  Saturday 11th and Sunday 12th November 2017.

We will remember them.

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, 11 November 2017

Advertisements

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

October 3, 2017

 

IMG_2353

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.

IMG_2354

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).

IMG_2352

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.

.

IMG_2355

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.

IMG_2356.

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.

IMG_2359

.IMG_2360

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

.IMG_2358.

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.

Journal articles about World War Zoo Gardens

October 2, 2017

 

Some lovely online journal links to the World War Zoo Gardens project at Newquay Zoo 

 

BGEN web article https://bgen.org.uk/resources/free/using-the-garden-ghosts-of-your-wartime-or-historic-past/

 

BGCI Roots journal https://www.bgci.org/files/Worldwide/Education/Roots_PDFs/Roots%207.1.pdf  

 

ABWAK Keepers journal March 2014 https://abwak.org/uploads/PDF%20documents/RATEL%20PDFs/RATEL_March_2014.pdf 

 

IZE journal no. 50 2014 http://izea.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/1.-FULL-IZE-Journal-2014-FINAL-.pdf 

 

World War Zoo Gardens Blog https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/   

 

You’re already here! Published since 2009, including centenary posts on the centenary anniversary of each zoo staff or zoo gardener, botanic gardener, gardener, naturalist and associated trades that we are aware of as having been killed in WW1 or WW2.

 

Twitter https://twitter.com/worldwarzoo1939

 

 

The original Dig For Victory Teachers Pack from the Royal Parks / Imperial War Musuem 2008 allotment project

 

http://www.carrickfergusinbloom.org/DFVTeachersPack.pdf

 

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Monday 2nd October 2017

 

 

 

World War Zoo Gardens hits its 8th Blogaversary 2017

August 14, 2017

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

WordPress my trusty blog host have left me a happy blogaversary message that this weekend was the 8th anniversary of signing up to WordPress.com and starting our World War Zoo  Gardens blog at Newquay Zoo in August 2009.

https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

My garden’s eighth blogaversary surprise present, a yellow poppy poking out amongst sneaky ferns (I love ferns!) that thrive in the shade below  beautiful Globe Artichokes – great enrichment for our macaque monkeys. August 2017 

 

Our wartime zoo garden left me a surprise this weekend, a bright yellow poppy! Nothing traditional like a red one …

Over 270 posts later, near 100,000 views and around 40,000 visitors so far, this is not a bad little blog footprint for a very tiny patch of dug up lawn in eight years.

Looking back at the first entries in August 2009 is really interesting as we hurriedly prepared for our wartime zoo garden launch weekend in August 2009.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/world-war-zoo-project-%e2%80%93-newquay-zoo%e2%80%99s-wartime-garden-2009/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

The reproduction wartime garden signs are little rusty now and difficult to replace but the wartime zoo garden is still going strong August 2017

 

This launch weekend in 2009 was well timed to link with the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two in late August / early September 1939, remembered here  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/70-years-today-on-from-the-outbreak-of-war/

Some early thoughts on how European zoos survived wartime

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/long-ago-and-far-away-%e2%80%a6/

berlin-elephant-front.jpg

The blitzed remains of Berlin Zoo’s elephant house and its surviving elephant during the bombing raids of 1943/44 (Original photo in our archive collection).

 

 

Familar pest control problems August 2009 that have not changed

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/disaster-strikes/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/slaughter-by-torchlight-but-not-in-the-blackout/

Personal memories and family stories August 2009

A family story in August 2009 from my late mother about scrumping for apples in Vera Lynn’s Garden. Vera Lynn is still with us, her centenary this year, my wartime evacuee mother sadly not.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/scrumping-apples-in-vera-lynns-garden/

Some early research on how London Zoo survived wartime

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/zoology-gave-way-to-first-aid-and-fire-fighting-courses-%e2%80%a6/

“But with the beginning of 1939 reality was brought home at last. Beneath its canopy of blimps [anti-aircraft or barrage balloons] London set about evacuation, the building of underground retreats, the distribution of gas masks.

Zoology gave way to first-aid and fire-fighting courses…

When on September 3rd the long expected blow fell, an emergency committee was set up. With a big cash balance in hand the [Zoological Society of London] was confident that it could “see it through” …

In deference to public hysteria the poisonous snakes were decapitated … The panda, elephants and African Rhinoceros were evacuated to Whipsnade …

In company with all other places of entertainment etc. where crowds might gather to the risk of public safety, the zoo closed its gates …”

The Zoo Story,  L.R. Brightwell, 1950s, p. 225-6.

Breaking ground and digging  up the lion house lawn  August 2009

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/13/digging-up-the-lawns-at-newquay-zoo/

digging 130809

Richard (our then zoo gardener) or his legs “Digging for Victory”,  removing the first turf for our wartime zoo garden August 2009.

Double Trench-digging for beginners August 2009

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/double-trench-digging-for-beginners-or-how-to-dig-a-trench-for-vegetables-the-1940s-way/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/16/sweat-toil-yes-but-thankfully-no-tears-or-blood-yet/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Our World War Zoo Garden after eight years 2009-2017 (August 2017)

 

An early link to our sister Zoo at Paignton Zoo and their strange wartime experiences, stories that we have followed up over the years. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/17/please-do-not-eat-the-peacocks-when-visiting-the-zoo/

https://www.paigntonzoo.org.uk

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/19/more-strange-wartime-zoo-stories-sent-to-us/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Fine Abbott Thayer disruptive colouration camouflage on a Newquay Zoo peacock, 2017 – this didn’t stop hungry American GIs eating their ancestors at Paignton Zoo just before D-Day 1944. http://www.cabinetmagazine.org/issues/4/hiddentalents.php

 

 

The outline of plans for our wartime zoo garden launch weekend at the end of August 2009 remind me how busy we were preparing everything in time:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/23/wartime-zoo-garden-launch-next-weekend-bank-holiday-30th-and-31st-august-2009/

World War Zoo exhibition photos and garden launch 30310809 garden box 2 027

Winter garden work – in the library or armchair, planning your coming year’s crop plans and trying new plants using handy wartime advice even in cartoon / strip form from the papers. Items from part of the Newquay Zoo wartime life collection, garden launch weekend, August 2009

The wartime garden launch weekend in August 2009 went well and also saw Vera Lynn back in the album charts!https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/30/first-day-of-our-wartime-zoo-gardens-display/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/successful-second-day-of-our-wartime-zoo-life-exhibition-and-vera-lynn-back-in-the-charts/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Beautiful Rhubard Chard, great favourite of our monkeys, growing August 2017

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

More edible leaves and colourful, tasty flowers of our Nasturtiums – a treat for some of our animals and visitors, August 2017

 

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/25/last-strawberries-of-a-slug-summer/

This 25th August 2009 blog entry had the hopeful postscript about a new US president:

“One day hopefully all zoos will have their own Victory Gardens. They have one I hear at The White House now to mark Barack Obama’s arrival. I think we have a long way to go in the zoo before we get to self sufficiency, but from small acorns …”

Then to finish our look back at August 2009 with one of the fantastic images we uncovered of life at London Zoo in September 1939

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/09/03/shelter-from-the-storm-ahead-wartime-zoos-3-september-1939/

sandbag sheletr London zoo 1939

Taking shelter at London Zoo in September 1939, a sandbagged tunnel under the road (Zoo and Animal magazine, November 1939)

If you go to the Archive dropdown menu to the right, you can sample some of the last eight years of delights from our 1940s allotment gardening, wartime zoo and wartime gardening research from WW1 to WW2 and beyond.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Not forgetting that this colurful and scented garden is a practical and peaceful memorial to the many zoo and botanic gardens staff affected by war since 1914, many of whose stories we have uncovered since 2009. (photo August 2017)  

 

What next for the World War Zoo Gardens and its blog?

Since 2009 many school garden and wartime garden projects, thrift and recession allotments and their blogs have come and gone, gardens and blogs both being  ephemeral things.

Education changes, which led to a new primary  National Curriculum in 2013/14 in England and Wales, have sadly seen, at one low point, no WW2 content in the primary history curriculum. This uncertainty  has greatly affected  uptake of wartime zoo workshops for schools. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/world-war-zoo-gardens-workshops-for-schools-at-newquay-zoo/

Thankfully primary schools can still, with a little creative curriculum imagination,  study WW2 as one of the “turning points in British History since 1066″ and we are rewriting our workshops to reflect this.

Workshop talks in action

Mark Norris delivering one of our World War Zoo Gardens workshop days in ARP uniform, 2014. Volunteer Ken our ‘Home Guard’ is shyly sitting out of the photo!

It has been a great eight years so far since 2009, working with and meeting a wide range of people, amongst the highlights of  which I think of talking to pupils in our wartime zoo school workshops, attending re-enactors weekends, meeting former landgirls and evacuees,  linking with staff at Kew Gardens, Chester  and London Zoo and chats with thousands of zoo visitors over the allotment garden fence.

nicole howarth chives wwzg

Primate Keeper Nicole harvesting flowering chives as enrichment for monkeys, 2012. She  returned in August 2017 from the Dutch zoo where she now works to see how Newquay Zoo and its gardens are doing  (Image: Mark Norris)

 

The wartime zoo garden has been a great practical resource for our Newquay Zoo keepers since 2009. It has provided scented herbs, edible flowers and leaves and many fine fresh vegetables to feed and enrich the lives and enclosures of many of our most endangered zoo animals. None of the animals were that fussed about our 1940s potato varieties though.

Eight years of blogposts, articles, talks and conference papers has led to lots of interesting links with other zoos, botanic gardens and historians. http://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0729/

We have even won a national zoo award from BIAZA for “best use of planting in a zoo landscape feature / design” in November 2011.

wartime garden BIAZA award, Mark Norris

Newquay Zoo’s wartime gardener and blogger Mark Norris with wartime issue spade and  BIAZA award for best plants in a landscape feature and design, November 2011.

Hopefully our garden project will still be here in two year’s time for our World War Zoo Gardens Tenth Anniversary in 2019.

May 2019 is also Newquay Zoo’s own 50th Birthday, which will keep us busy  https://newquayzoohistory.wordpress.com/

2019 will also see the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of WW2, many of its participants rapidly passing away and also the wrapping up of the WW1 centenary 1914-1919.

Plenty to blog about, plenty of new stories to uncover.

Thanks to all the Newquay Zoo staff and many many others who have been involved so far with our World War Zoo Gardens project since 2009.

WWZ gardens June 2011 002

Hundreds of thousands of zoo visitors  have stopped to read this attractive World War Zoo Gardens sign at Newquay Zoo since we put it up in 2011.

 

This post (No. 275)  sums up perfectly what  World War Zoo Gardens is about, being  a little bit of looking back to the past, an update on the present and a glimpse towards the future.

Happy Blogaversary!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 8th Blogaversary weekend of the 12th / 13th August 2017.

ZSL Artefact of the Month April 1917

August 13, 2017

Peavotannualreport

ZSL London Zoo Annual Report 1917/8 (ZSL Library)

“His Invariable courtesy, promptness and efficiency …”

How fitting that the Artefact of the Month from the ZSL Library in April 2017 should be an entry about the former ZSL librarian, Henry Peavot, killed at the Battle of Arras in 1917, an article posted by his modern successors at ZSL London Zoo’s library.

https://www.zsl.org/blogs/artefact-of-the-month/in-memory-of-henry-peavot-zsl-librarian-and-clerk-of-publications-who

It is hope

 

Remembered also on the day 21st April  on our World War Zoo Gardens blog

IMG_0003

Henry Peavot on the Librarians’ memorial WW1, British Library

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/04/21/remembering-zsl-london-zoo-librarian-henry-peavot-killed-ww1-21-april-1917/

ZSL War Memorial 003small

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

 

You can read more about London Zoo in WW1 at: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/remembering-lost-wartime-staff-of-zsl-london-zoo-in-ww1/

From Arras to Passchendaele 1917 …

This month August 2017  marks the 100th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele which took place from July to November 1917.

Henry Peavot’s former ZSL Library colleague, Edwin Riseley,  was also killed on 1st August  1917, at this infamously muddy battle:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/remembering-edwin-ephraim-riseley-zsl-and-linnean-society/

IMG_0004

Edwin Riseley on the Librarians’ WW1 memorial, British Library, alongside librarian colleagues at the British Museum.

Two brave zoo librarians and former ZSL employees, remembered 100 years on.

Posted in August 2017 by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens blog.

Remembering J. L. Jennison of The Belle Vue Zoo Jennison family died WW1 3rd May 2017

May 3, 2017

jennison_jl_2

J. L. Jennison photograph (copied with thanks from Yorkshire Indexers)

 

Remembering James Leonard Jennison, part of the Jennison family who ran Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Manchester, who died 3rd May 1917 in the Vimy / Arras battles.

http://www.yorkshireindexers.info/wiki/index.php?title=JENNISON,_James_Leonard

Second Lieutenant  J. L. Jennison served with  the 15th Service  Battalion  (1st Leeds) (West Yorkshire Regiment) The Prince of Wales Own (The Leeds Pals).

James was the only son of James and Pauline Jennison (nee Mould) of Belle Vue, Manchester.

James  entered Rugby  School in 1909. He was awarded a Scholarship 1910, and obtained a Mechanical Science Scholarship at Trinity College Cambridge, in 1914. He left School in April 1915  and spent  some months with Messrs. A. V. Roe & Co., Aeroplane Manufacturers.

He received his Officers’ Commission in January, 1916.

“After nine months’ service in France, during which he was recommended for a decoration for the capture, almost single-handed, of a German field gun, he was reported “Missing” in a small local attack at Gavrelle, Vimy Ridge, and later was presumed to have been killed in that action, on May 3rd, 1917, Aged 20 …

The gun that Jennison captured was sent to Leeds as a war trophy.”

From Jennison’s Yorkshire Indexers website entry

“Terrible indeed had been the losses of the 15th Battalion” on 3rd May 1917 (see postscript from their War Diary / Regimental History).

Second Lieutenant James Leonard Jennison  has no known grave and is commemorated on the Arras Memorial to The Missing.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/1574425/JENNISON,%20JAMES%20LEONARD

James Leonard Jennison was the son of James Jennison, one of the two Jennison brothers who owned Belle Vue Zoo.

His father James died later that year (1917), possibly hastened by this family loss. His cousin Norman, son of Angelo Jennison, also died on active service in Italy, 1918.

IMG_0004

James Leonard Jennison and Ralph Stamp of Belle Vue Zoo are remembered on the Arras Memorial Wall amongst thousands of missing men with no known garves from this 1917 battle. (Image Source: CWGC)

 

Two of the ‘next generation’ died in WW1, members of the founding Jennison family who might have gone on to run Belle Vue Zoo,   along with 17 other zoo gardens staff.

You can read more about them and the damaged Belle Vue Zoo war memorial in Gorton Cemetery, Manchester.

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

Belle Vue Zoo in Gorton, Manchester  closed in 1977/78. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belle_Vue_Zoological_Gardens

http://gortonphilipsparkcemetrywargrave.weebly.com/belle-vue-war-memorial.html

James Leonard Jennison and collegaues at Belle Vue Zoo and the Leeds Pals, remembered 100 years on, 3rd May 1917/ 2017.

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

 

 

Postscript: 15th battalion War Diary / History (Page 65 – The-West-Yorkshire-Regiment-in-the-War-1914-1918-Volume-II)

 Zero ” hour was 3-45 a.m. on the 3rd May 1917.

The 15th West Yorkshires (Lieut.-Colonel S. C. Taylor) numbered only 547 officers, N.C.O.’s and men when the battle opened, the battalion having to attack on a frontage of 250 yards from l.I.a. 9.9 to C.25 .a.6 .6.
“D” was right front Company with” A ” in support and ” B” left front Company with ” C” in support.
Each company went over in two waves of single line.
Battle Headquarters of the battalion were in the Cemetery, south of Gavrelle.
About 2 o’clock on the morning of 3rd the enemy appeared nervous and put down a very heavy bombardment on Gavrelle and its environments. For three-quarters of an hour he continued to plaster the village and the neighbourhood with shells of
all calibre, but all was quiet just prior to ” Zero. “
At 3-45 a.m. the British barrage opened and the troops at once went forward to the attack.
Up to 5-30 a.m. no information reached Battalion Battle Headquarters of what had happened in the front line
at that hour wounded men began to dribble in, and from these it was learned that the first objective, an irregular line running through Gavrelle Trench, the Windmill and Windmill Trench, had been captured.
The attack had swept on towards the second objective, the line of Gavrelle and Windmill Support Trenches, but had been beaten back, and finally had had to abandon the first objective.
Definite news was, however, unavailable, and finally Colonel Taylor closed his Battle Headquarters, sent all his papers back and, with runners, signallers and all Battalion Headquarters’ Staff, manned the front-line parapet. Heavy fire was then opened on groups of the enemy’s infantry, who could be seen retiring, seemingly from trench to trench, over the top. All stragglers were collected and organised, and about 7-30 a.m. eighty men were available for the front line. But touch had been lost with flanking battalions on right and left; the trenches were therefore blocked and bombing parties stationed on each flank.
The Battalion Diary states that: “At this period it was quite evident what had happened. The battalion had got forward all right, and had driven back the enemy, but having no supports had lost all driving power, and the enemy, realising this, had turned on them and commenced organising to counter-attack.” The enemy, about 400 strong, could be seen advancing in extended order  but an S.O.S. was sent up and the artillery soon broke up the threatened attack.
In answer to the C.O’s appeal to Brigade Headquarters for assistance, a platoon of K.O.Y.L.I. and two companies of D.L.1. were sent up, and these were used to reinforce the left flank of the 15th West Yorkshires, that flank being out of touch with the right of the 18th Battalion. Touch had, however, been obtained on the right
with the K.O.S.B.
About 8 p.m. the enemy opened a heavy bombardment, but the night was fairly quiet.
Terrible indeed had been the losses of the 15th Battalion.
Only three officers returned and reported to Battalion Headquarters,
and of these two had broken arms and the third was slightly wounded.
Capt. R. M. S. Blease and Capt. G. S. King, Lieut. D. Robinson,
Second-Lieuts. W. H. Jackson, F. W. Scholes, J. S. Thomas, A. S.
Parkin, J. L. Jennison, J . W. Lisle and A. T. Peek were killed;
Second-Lieuts. R. S. Tate and A. H. Riley were reported missing.
The total officer casualties was fifteen.
In other ranks the battalion had lost fifteen killed, 122 wounded and 262 missing, though during the night and early morning of 4th May 1917 a number of slightly wounded men crawled in from No Man’s Land.

 

Moscow and Warsaw Zoo’s history in pictures

February 28, 2017

http://englishrussia.com/2017/02/23/moscow-zoo-in-early-20th-century/

Interesting blogpost in English with pictures from Moscow Zoo’s history including its role in wartime, through revolution and two world wars and floods.

Interesting picture of “Red Army on Field Trip To Aquarium!”

http://moscowzoo.su/about-zoo/history/   available in English

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

Staying in eastern Europe in wartime zoos –

mv5bntqxnzmymdqtndu1ms00mwrklwjizwetntfhyzjhymnhzmizl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymzq2nzcxotk-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

Shortly in March 2017, The Zookeeper’s Wife film about the amazing Antonina Zabinski and family who ran Warsaw Zoo in Poland during wartime occupation will be released; trailers can be seen at:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1730768/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zookeeper%27s_Wife

Should be an interesting film, although the book by Diane Ackerman is difficult and harrowing to read at times.

The controversial figure of German zoo director Lutz Heck features heavily in this film / story, who left his own account in Animals My Adventure of his own German Zoo in Berlin in an Allied air raid.

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

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 28 Feb 2017

 

 

 

 

A question about wartime big cat keeping

January 31, 2017

wartime-cat-keeper

London Life, 28 March 1942

28 March 1942. National magazine London Life reader’s questions page –

 Amateur Zooman writes: “I have got a wartime job as attendant to animals in a small zoo, being unfitted for military service through old war wounds and have been told by my employers that there is only one thing to learn, and that is how to lure the animals safely in and out of their cages, as I have been warned against pushing them with a brush as it makes the big cats angry.

Up until now I haven’t had much success and am wondering if the ‘Brains Trust’ can find out for me some easy ways of luring the big cats back again after their cages have been cleaned?

Unfortunately the man who did the job before me has been called up and not been able to train me. I am absolutely single handed so please help! “

This is an intriguing reader’s letter in wartime 1942  from one of the many older men called in to keep zoos going when younger staff joined up or were conscripted. It could equally have been written by one of the many women who stepped temporarily in to fill keeper posts in wartime.

This untrained keeper or ‘Amateur Zooman’ is interestingly an injured veteran from the First World War “being unfitted for military service through old war wounds”.

 

The advice or reply given is from an animal trainer attached to a wartime circus.

“An animal trainer attached to one of the big circuses tealls us that big cats are playful and if you are not careful they will lean on the gate and shut you in, but that any animal will return quickly to a cleaned cage if a titbit of food is placed in the furthest corner. He will associate this titbit with getting back into his den.

Also all big felines like to be talked to! They will do more for an attendant who talks to them  as though they were intelligent than for one who treats them as savage, dumb beasts. Big cats are very curious, and if they see you doing anything unusual, are quite likely to try and get into the cage with you to investigate, so be sure that any intervening door is well closed.

When a big cat is angry, leave him alone. Don’t force any action on him, or he will bear a grudge against you for days. Leave him to himself and he will soon get over his moods.”

I wondered how this 1942 advice would stand up today in the world of modern zoos and big cat conservation, 75 years later.

londonlifecover28542

I asked my zoo colleagues who are  modern big cat keepers on carnivore section at Newquay Zoo what they thought of this interesting wartime article  and its advice.

Owen, one of our senior keepers responded thus on behalf of the others:

Interesting little read.

The response given isn’t actually a bad one! What the new keeper may not have realised is he is being asked is to positively reinforce the cat to move where he wants by using a small piece of food as a reward, as we currently do with the lionesses here.

The other option that could have been looked into then (albeit not overly common back in the day in zoos) would’ve been to train the animal/animals to go to station or target train them to touch the target to receive a reward (a small piece of meat) which again is a form of positive reinforcement. The target training would have also easily led the cats into moving for him.

The building a relationship by talking and training with the cat is always a good idea. It’s always better to be seen as the ‘good guy’ on a regular basis than the ‘bad guy’.

Some species are more likely to approach you than others and tigers seem to be more pro-keeper than some of the other big cat species, even chuffing at keepers to say hello. Not that they can comprehend our language but it is a way of getting to know you and we, as keepers, talk to the animals on a daily basis.

Although it is dated, the reply to him actually makes a lot of sense. We didn’t necessarily have the knowledge then as we do now but the talk of positive reinforcement and the keeper not wanting to negatively reinforce the animal movement (the brush mentioned) sounds like he wanted to do a good job!

Another thing I would’ve mentioned is not to underestimate them! They’re smarter than what people give them credit for and not to mention very dangerous.

Cheers,

Owen, Senior Keeper, Carnivore section,  Newquay Zoo

This answer from Owen is a longer and more detailed  answer than mine, which  would be write to the Ministry of Labour and ” get another job, any job, especially one  that isn’t going to eat you …”

Owen’s answer  is a brilliant modern keeper interpretation of the original advice using our modern zoo speak, which communicates our modern zoo mission –  enrichment, positive training – and animal  welfare etc.

An interesting article which  works really well as a ‘Then and Now’ piece, what has changed and what has not changed!

wartime-mag-pages-2

A few more interesting pages and always an excuse for a flash of ankle or pretty face …

 

londonlifemag-home-guard

More Camouflage ideas for ladies … hide in a bush.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, January 2017

Unknown Zoo, Wartime Elephants

January 3, 2017

german-zoo-ww2

Interesting little ‘wartime’ snapshot of elephants,  about 7.5 cms by 6cms printed on Agfa Lupex film  and stamped FO21.

Anyone recognise which European zoo in the 1930s or World War Two these Elephants are at?

Is this in occupied Europe?

Are these off duty German servicemen enjoying a home visit to one of the many German zoos or are they part of the Occupying Forces somewhere?

Taking photographs of service personnel in the wrong situation could be a real problem but these may well be taken by other soldiers or their families. Certainly in Britain, camera film was scarce and taking photographs of anything military was unwise. Camera film in wartime was often in short supply for civilian use.

On the left is a white coated zoo keeper with mahout / elephant stick.

At the back centre behind the elephant is a building (an elephant house?)

There is a clear dry moat barrier between the elephants and the vistors by the viewing wall.

german-zoo1-ww2

Checking the Zoo Guidebook, feeding an elephant or examining identity papers?

Interesting little vignette – is this soldier checking the Zoo Guidebook, feeding an elephant treats or examining identity papers?

This appears to be a feed time, the (Asian?) elephants interacting with visitors, trunks stretched over the wall.

It appears a peaceful enough scene, with no weapons showing. I’m sure the odd service cap got eaten by these elephants!

I’d be interested to hear what people think and where this might be.

 

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo, World War Zoo gardens project, January 2017.

Japanese zoos in wartime

December 7, 2016

japan-zoo-3-cover

Faithful Elephants

Interesting children’s book about the fate of some Japanese Zoo elephants in wartime, originally  written by Yukio Tsuchiya and published in 1951. It was  reissued with illustrations by US illustrator Ted Lewin by publishers Houghton Mifflin in the USA in 1988.

Our second post of the day on the Pearl Harbor 75th anniversary, I wonder if Faithful Elephants  is still “read aloud  on Japanese radio every year to mark the anniversary of Japan’s Surrender in World War 2” each August?

japanzoo1

Back or inside cover blurb for Faithful Elephants

japan-zoo-2

Preface to Faithful Elephants (1988 version)

japanzoo4

Copies are available via online bookshops.

A true or fact-inspired  story to go alongside the many fictional stories set in wartime zoos, focussing on elephants …

Worth reading alongside Mayumi Itoh’s book Japanese Wartime Zoo Policy …

Mayumi Itoh Japanese zoo wartime book

Gas masks for Japanese zoo elephants on the cover of Mayumi Itoh’s  Japanese zoos in  wartime history book (2010)

Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo,  7th December 1941

 


%d bloggers like this: