Archive for the ‘World War Zoo Gardens project’ Category

Remembrance Weekend 2017

November 11, 2017

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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

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Remembering Royal Navy Stoker Thomas Tumbs of Belle Vue Zoo died WW1 2nd October 1917

October 2, 2017

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Thomas Tumbs’ name on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. Image Source: Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo.

Remembering Thomas J. Tumbs of Belle Vue Zoo Manchester who died serving in the Royal Navy during WW1 as a Stoker on 2nd October 2017.

Stoker First Class T J Tumbs, AB (Able Seaman) Service Number K/29448
Tumbs died aged 40 whilst serving on HMS Drake on 2 October, 1917  on convoy duty off the coast of Ireland, sunk by torpedo from German U-boat submarine U79.

Stoker First Class Tumbs was aged 40 and one of 19 sailors killed aboard the cruiser HMS Drake when it was torpedoed by German U Boat U79 on 2 October 1917.

 

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HMS Drake 1901 (Wikipedia source)

Attacked while escorting an incoming Atlantic Convoy, HMS Drake limped into Church Bay off the coast of Northern Ireland where it sank and still provides a wreck popular with divers.

HMS Drake was the lead ship of her class of armoured cruisers built for the Royal Navy around 1900.  Assigned to the 6th Cruiser Squadron of the 2nd Fleet, she  became the squadron’s flagship when the fleet was incorporated into the Grand Fleet upon the outbreak of the First World War.
HMS Drake remained with the Grand Fleet until refitted in late 1915, when she was transferred to the North America and West Indies Station for convoy escort duties. In 1916 she participated in the unsuccessful search for the German commerce raider SMS Möwe.

HMS Drake was torpedoed by the German submarine U-79, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Rohrbeck  on 2 October 1917 after her Convoy HH24 had dispersed for its several destinations. The ship was about five miles (8.0 km) off Rathlin Island at the tip of Northern Ireland when she was hit.

The torpedo struck the No. 2 Boiler Room and caused two of her engine rooms and the boiler room to flood, killing 18 crewmen including Thomas Tumbs. 

 

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From the Wessex archaeology report pdf

 

This knocked out her steam-powered steering. Her captain decided to steam for Church Bay on Rathlin Island … Drake’s crew was taken off before she capsized later that afternoon

As mentioned, Thomas Tumbs has no headstone or burial, his gravesite is the wreck of HMS Drake and the ocean.

HMS Drake today

The wreck of HMS Drake in shallow water was partly salvaged in 1920. A fishing trawler collided with the remainder of the wreck in 1962 and sank the next day. Ammunition and ordnance was salvaged during the 1970s and the wrecks were demolished with depth charges to reduce the chance of any other ships coming to grief on the wrecks. In 1978, the remaining fuel oil was salvaged to reduce pollution from leaking oil.

Since June 2017 the wreck of HMS Drake has been a scheduled historic monument. Diving is still permitted.

http://www.wessexarch.co.uk/files/splash-import/wp-content/uploads/2007/10/hms-drake-undesignated-site-assessment-final-version-with-figs.pdf

According to Captain Radcliffe’s confidential report on the loss of HMS Drake to the Admiralty, the Drake was torpedoed: ‘…abreast No. 2 Boiler Room the starboard side, the boiler room was immediately flooded, killing everyone there except one man who was blown on to the upper deck and landed there unhurt, and another who climbed up through the Stokehold hatch.’

The last extract to be cited here is interesting in that it states that the 18 dead were left on board. During the research for this report no reference was found relating to the removal of the dead, and without further research it is unsure whether their remains are still inside the wreck. Captain Radcliffe states that: ‘Nobody except the dead remained on board the Drake, when I left her for HMS Delphinium, the mess decks, Boiler Rooms, Engine Room had all been searched and reported clear…” (Wessex Archaeological Report)

Thomas Tumbs remembered on war memorials

The CWGC website has a listing for Thomas Tumbs and the Plymouth Naval Memorial 

https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/3044422/tumbs,-thomas-james/

As he has no known grave, being lost at sea, his name is remembered on Panel 22 of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, which I visited in 2015 on a suitably wet and blustery day.

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

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

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Fellow Belle Vue Zoo Manchester sailor Matthew Walton’s war at sea in the Coronel and the Falklands are mentioned as the battle honours on this section of the Plymouth Naval Memorial, where T J Tumbs is also remembered (Image: Mark Norris)

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Belle Vue zoo’s sadly vandalised war memorial, Gorton Cemetery. Manchester lists their First World War dead – a tiny glimpse of the losses of men from zoos on active service in both world wars. Image: manchesterhistory.net

Thomas J.  Tumbs is also remembered on land at the Belle Vue Zoo Manchester zoological gardens staff WW1 memorial at Gorton Cemetery, Manchester.

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Thomas J Tumbs is remembered ( 6th name on left column of names) on the damaged Belle Vue memorial names section, thankfully carved in stone as the statue has been stolen. Image: manchester history.net photo

Thomas was the son of the late Charles and Mary Tumbs (nee Collis), of 1 Newton Street Gorton, Manchester. Tumbs married in 1905  Evie Lilla Tumbs (nee Harvey) , formerly of 32 Gloucester Street, Gorton.

Thomas was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. Like his father he is listed as working for a Locomotive Engineers ”, specifically, an  Electricity Labourer in the  Locomotive Engine industry. Sounds like a heavy manual job, a Stoker by another name! On 1901 he was a carter at a brickworks. No doubt his role at Belle Vue Zoo was equally labourious.

Thomas had a sister Sarah A Fryer, 33 Middlewood Street Gorton, Manchester (source: Royal Navy War Graves Roll 1914-19)

Thomas’ parents are buried in Gorton Park Cemetery where the Belle Vue Zoo staff war memorial is located.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, 2 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

 

 

 

National Poetry Day – Gardeners and Men! Kew Gardens WW1

September 28, 2017

To celebrate National Poetry Day 28 September 2017, a wartime poem from RBG Kew Gardens in  WW1 –

“For King and Country fought and died — Gardeners and Men !”

GARDENERS OF EMPIRE.

Tillers of the soil they were — just gardeners then,

In faith the day’s work doing as the day’s work came,

Peaceful art in peace pursuing — not seeking fame —

When through the Empire rang the Empire’s call for men!

Gardeners they were, finding in fragile flowers delight,

Lore in frail leaves, and charm even in wayside weeds.

Who, in their wildest dreams, ne’er rose to do brave deeds,

Defending righteous cause against relentless Might!

 

The wide world gave her flowers for them — the mountains high,

The valleys low, and classic hills all fringed with snow

Where fires by sunset kindled light the alpen-glow.

O ! Fate implacable ! — to see those hills and die !

 

The war god rose refreshed — Gardeners and Soldiers then!

Who, that slumbering Peace might wake, dared, with manhood’s zeal,

To make Life’s sacrifice to Love’s supreme appeal.

For King and Country fought and died — Gardeners and Men !

 

written by H. H. T

Probably Harry H. Thompson, editor of the journal,   The Gardener,  who left Kew in 1899.

Reprinted from the Kew Guild Journal, 1915. http://www.kewguild.org.uk/media/pdfs/v3s23p265-39.pdf

Read more about the poem, women gardeners at Kew – Gardeners and Women! and my favourite WW1 poet Ivor Gurney below:

I read Gardeners and Men out at a graden history in London in 2014, probably for the first time in a century or at least decades:

 

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/04/15/for-king-and-country-fought-and-died-gardeners-and-men/

 

Read more about Kew Gardens in WW1

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

Lost gardeners and zoo staff of WW1 in Passchendaele 1917

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

Happy National Poetry Day!

How will you celebrate it?

 

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 28 September 2017

 

World War Zoo Gardens hits its 8th Blogaversary 2017

August 14, 2017

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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/

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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/

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

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Remembering Munro Briggs Scott of Kew Gardens Herbarium killed 12 April 2017 WW1

April 13, 2017

Munro Briggs Scott of Kew Gardens Herbarium Staff was killed in action  in the Battle for Arras on 12 April 1917.

Munro Briggs Scott, 12 April 1917
2nd Lt. Munro Briggs Scott, 12th Battalion, Royal Scots, died 12 April 1917. Scott is commemorated on Panel Reference Bay 1 and 2 of the Arras Memorial.

 

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Scott’s name is one of the first panels on The Arras Memorial at the back here. (Image Source: CWGC)

 

M.B. Scott was  killed in the major Battle of Arras offensive planned for April-May 1917. The Arras Memorial commemorates almost 35,000 servicemen from the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth who died in the Arras sector between the spring of 1916 and August 1918 and have no known grave.

http://blog.cwgc.org/arras

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Munro Briggs Scott of  Kew Botanic Gardens Remembered on the WW1 section Kew Gardens staff memorial (Image Source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

Born in 1889 at East Wemyss, Fife, Scotland, Munro Briggs Scott was on the Herbarium staff at Kew around the outbreak of war.

He joined Kew ‘s local regiment, the East Surrey regiment in February 1916, then the Suffolk Regiment before joining the 13th Royal Scots, later attached to the 12th Battalion Royal Scots as an officer.

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Serving first as a Private 18094 in the East Surreys, then Lance Corporal 25909 in the Suffolk Regiment, Munro Briggs Scott was finally gazetted to become an officer on 22 November 1916.

Married in late 1916, he was posted to France on January 9, 1917 and killed by a high explosive HE shell three months later on 12 April 1917 at the Battle of Arras.

The University of Edinburgh alumni site has him listed as:

Buckhaven School. Student of Arts and Science, 1907-14; M.A. 1910; B.Sc. Botanical Expert at Kew Gardens. Royal Scots, Lieut. France. Killed at Arras on 12th April 1917. PI. LXXIII.

http://collections.ed.ac.uk/alumni/record/94755

 

m b scott probate crop2

AN OFFICER’S DEATH.—News has been received with feelings of the deepest regret of the death in action of Lieutenant Munro Briggs Scott, of the Royal Scots, who was married in November last to Miss Flora M. Forbes, M.A., daughter Mr John Forbes.

Lieutenant Scott had been wounded and while being attended to by the RAMC was shot dead – presumably by a sniper. Lieutenant Scott, who was a BSc of Edinburgh University and belonged to East Wemyss, had a brilliant scholastic career and thereafter received an important appointment as a botanical expert  at Kew Gardens which he held prior to enlistment.

Printed in the 25 April 1917 edition of  Perthshire Advertiser , Scotland

A slightly different story is told here, relating to how he was wounded, printed in 28 April 1917 – Fife Free Press, & Kirkcaldy Guardian – Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland:
east wemyss officer mbscott

You can read more about Kew Gardeners lost in WW1 on our blogpost here:

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

Munro Briggs Scott remembered 100 years on.

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

Laggard Spring 1917

March 21, 2017

Spring 1917 Wartime – March 21st , uncannily like the weather today a century later. Hail and sunshine.

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Homeland A Year of Country Days by PWDI (Percy W. D. Izzard) 1918

Here in the preface, Percy Izzard sets out the structure for his year of inspirational short pieces about country life. These are  made especially poignant or valuable as his work was read not only by “war-workers … men and women of country heart who are pent now for England’s sake in the reek of great towns” isolated from the countryside but also  “amid the cruel distractions of war” by troops in the trenches who obtained a Daily Mail from friends and families.

Based on letters received from soldiers, Percy Izzard realised that his daily entries  provided to “soldier lads in France and Flanders, in rough notes pencilled on the battlefields … glimpses of the Homeland  for which they long and fight.”

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This book of nature writing by Percy Izzard,  reproduced from his nature  column in the Daily Mail, begins unusually not on January 1st but on the first day of spring 1917, the spring equinox, March 21st.

It finishes a year later on March 20th and Izzard’s preface, written after preparing them for publication in book form, was written on April 21st, 1918.

Having checked the obvious date references, like references to Sundays etc, I am fairly sure this is written from March 1917 to March 1918 onwards as the First World War raged across Europe.

It finishes documenting country life in Britain during this year of attrition and killing, on March 20 1918  just as the Western Front collapses with the German onslaught of late March 1918.

The Writer Percy Izzard?

I have previously written about Percy Izzard and this Homeland book on this and a local history blog:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/remembering-william-donald-pascoe-april-1915-primrose-day-and-percy-izzard/

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/remembering-william-donald-pascoe-died-20-april-1915/

Percy W. (William) D. Izzard OBE (September 1877 – 1968) was the well-known gardening correspondent on the Daily Mail newspaper.

He was author of several books on gardening including Grow it Yourself: Daily Mail Practical Instruction Book on Food from the Garden in War-Time (1940), one of the  Dig For Victory books in my collection of WWII gardening books.

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

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 21 March 2017

 

Happy 100th birthday Dame Vera Lynn

March 20, 2017

vera lynn signature

One of my treasured books that I tracked down, because it had been signed by Vera Lynn!

Happy Birthday Dame Vera Lynn, 100 years old today 20 March 2017, from all at the World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo.

I watched an excellent new BBC documentary at the weekend shown to mark Dame Vera Lynn’s 100th Birthday on 20 March 2017. Many famous people and Burma veterans talked about their personal connection with Vera Lynn and her music in person or through her radio broadcasts.

I was very happy to see a brief momentary glimpse in Vera’s post-war home movies of her family garden and orchard.

Dame Vera Lynn has long been a treasured part of my family memories, growing up with wartime evacuee parents who played many of the old wartime songs.

Little did I realise until I started the World War Zoo Gardens project at Newquay Zoo back in 2008/9 that my late Mum would reveal a strange wartime connection to Vera Lynn, that she had had as a tiny and unhappy evacuee in Ditchling, Sussex where Dame Vera Lynn lived:

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

I was very proud to show Mum a copy of the book when this experience of Mum’s  was briefly written up in Duff Hart-Davis’ Our Land At War.

Last year my brothers scattered Mum’s ashes from Ditchling Beacon out over the Sussex countryside where Mum  had lived as an evacuee and had been an unwilling look out for an evacuee scrumping gang in Vera Lynn’s orchard.

Coming from similar parts of London and not that far apart in age, Mum and Vera Lynn also had a few spoken phrases in common, that watching Vera Lynn interviewed reminds me of my late Mum.

Whilst I never planted an apple tree in the World War Zoo Gardens wartime allotment, we now have two container planted English apple trees in my home garden, one named Vera and the other named after my Mum.

This Vera Lynn story is a family one  with photos that I tell school children who are visiting Newquay Zoo for our Wartime Zoo / Life schools workshop.

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Part of our August 2009 wartime garden launch exhibition display – sheet music and “Sincerely Yours” BBC  original press 1940s photos of Vera Lynn.

vera lynn book cover

An excellent book written by Vera Lynn, well worth tracking down (1990)

Whilst we tend to think of Dame Vera singing to servicemen, she also had an important role through her radio broadcasts in the lives of wartime women, at home and in the services. She wrote a fabulous book about it, Unsung Heroines, cleverly titled, alongside her own autobiography Some Sunny Day.

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Dame Vera Lynn pictured centre with Dutch resistance heroines Joke Folmer GM and Nel Lind, Utrecht, July 1990.

 

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Lovely pic of Dame Vera Lynn Burma 44 surrounded by nurses, the unsung heroines of the Forgotten Army.

Vera Lynn, The Forgotten Army and the Burma Star

Dame Vera Lynn is much praised for her front line ENSA concerts to the Forgotten Army in Burma, where many of the proud Burma Star veterans had served that I was privileged to meet at Newquay Zoo one day.

Sadly my wartime zoo researches also reveal that some of the London Zoo and Kew and Melbourne Botanic Gardens staff serving in the Far East never survived, dying in the Burma and Singapore jungles or in the infamous Far East Prisoner of War camps:

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

I believe that my navy grandfather helped transport many of these skeletal POW survivors  home on his aircraft carrier. My Mum did not see him for most of / during the War due to her evacuation and his naval service.

Dame Vera will be much in the thoughts today  of many of the Burma Star veterans like those interviewed for the BBC programme at the weekend.

 

Happy 100th Birthday Dame Vera Lynn! May you have good health and many more birthdays!

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

and a link to Dame Vera’s special charity https://dvlcc.org.uk/

vera lynn 100

Happy Wartime Christmas Birthday Peggy Jane Skinner

December 20, 2016

 

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Peggy Jane Skinner’s 1943 diary and a photo believed to be her. Source: Mark Norris, WWZG collection.

Today is a birthday reminder of one of our wartime diarists from our wartime collection, wartime student Peggy Jane Skinner:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/peggy-skinners-wartime-christmas-1940/

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/happy-90th-birthday-peggy-jane-skinner/

On what would have been her 92nd birthday (Peggy was born 20th December 1924 and died in 2011), we send her  giftwrapped her favourite 1940s film star Tyrone Power.

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1940s heart throb Tyrone Power (Image: Wikepedia source)

 

Happy birthday Peggy!

Scheduled Blog post by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo. 20 December 2016

Living Memory and 141 days of the Somme

November 18, 2016

18th November 1916 – the Battle of The Somme finally ceased after 141 days.

This period of the war from  1st July 1916 to 18 November 2016 has been marked by many centenary or anniversary projects across Europe and the Commonwealth.

Lovely touch, we have just received this smart certificate from the Living Memory team at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission for our research and blog post about our local CWGC War Graves ‘at home’ in Newquay cemeteries, linked to the 141 days of the Somme battle.

Thanks very much to the Living Memory team.

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

Read more at:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/10/19/the-somme-the-ennor-family-living-memory-and-our-local-cwgc-headstones-in-newquay/

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