Archive for the ‘WW2’ Category

Mr Middleton Calendar Boy of February 1940

July 18, 2018

middleton 1940 calendar

middleton 1940 calendar close up

Close up on this February 1940 Calendar page of Mr Middleton the famous veteran BBC Radio Gardener, broadcasting from 1934 until his death in 1945.

A random lovely item from our World War Zoo Gardens Collection.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._H._Middleton

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 18 July 2018

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The Battle of Britain Begins 10th July 1940

July 10, 2018

World War Zoo Children evacuation suitcase items 001 spitfire wooden toy

The Battle Of Britain in miniature for a wartime boy? A beautiful wartime handmade wooden Spitfire toy, in our World War Zoo Gardens Collection at Newquay Zoo. 

On 10 July 1940,  the Battle of Britain began.

Running from the 10th July to  31 October 1940, the Royal Air Force defended the U.K’s towns, coasts and airfields against a large-scale air attack by Nazi Germany.

2018 also marks the 100th anniversary of the RAF being formed out of the Royal Flying Corps in 1918.

Considered as the first major military campaign fought entirely by air forces, Nazi Germany sought to force Britain into a peace agreement, to disrupt the country’s war supply production and to demoralise the population by bombing.

Picture World War Zoo gardens Newquay Zoo May June 2010 089

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

One such attack was on Falmouth Docks  on 10 July 1940, around 3pm when ten docks and Merchant Navy staff were killed. Many more were injured.

Quite often when I have been in the Falmouth area on this date,  maroons or sirens are sounded mid afternoon around 3pm on 10th July to mark this sad event.

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Charles Pears (1873 -1958), painting “The Bombing of The British Chancellor 10 July 1940”, signed, oil on canvas, a large painting at 80 x 125 cms and presented by the Falmouth Harbour Commission, 1993. Copyright: Falmouth Art Gallery www.falmouthartgallery.com

The event is remembered in the dramatic painting by Charles Pears, which once hung in the Docks Office and now hangs in Falmouth Art Gallery:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/07/09/remembering-the-british-chancellor-and-the-bombing-of-falmouth-docks-10-july-1940/

Local civilians killed on board SS British Chancellor or at Falmouth docks, 10 July 1940
George Eric Bastian, aged 40 from Mabe
Walter Samuel Knott, 48, Falmouth
Charles Palin from Falmouth
Henry Arthur Pellow, aged 40 from Falmouth
Samuel Prouse, aged 64
Leonard John Tallack of Mylor
Merchant Navy crew of SS British Chancellor, mostly buried in Falmouth Cemetery:
3rd Engineering Officer John Carr, 26 (buried in Sunderland)
2nd Engineering Officer William Joseph Crocker, 36 (of Portsmouth)
Chief Engineering Officer Charles Halley Lennox, 56 (of Glasgow)
3rd Engineering Officer Philip George Lucas Samuels, 26
Further family information on CWGC.org records can be found for most of these men.

These men would be numbered amongst 40 000 civilians  killed over the course of the Battle of Britain campaign from 10th July to 31 October 1940.

How does this link with the World War Zoo gardens project at Newquay Zoo?

The need for Britain to grow its own secure food supply as part of the “Dig For Victory” campaign was never more vital once docks and merchant shipping were under regular attack by plane and submarine. This food security issue is one of the things that the World War Zoo gardens project was created to mark and remember, along with the loss in WW2 of zoo and botanic gardens staff including some who served and died with the RAF.

 

battle of britain infographic

Interesting Infographic from the RAFBF about the Hardest Day 18th August 1940. 

 

How is The Battle of Britain Remembered in Schools?

The Battle of Britain, Radar  and the Blitz are still studied at primary school level in the new 2014 History curriculum, something we link with during our wartime zoo workshops.

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

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/remembering-the-start-of-the-blitz-7-september-1940-and-a-happy-new-school-term/

Battle of Britain Day is officially remembered each year on 15 September 1940. A recent 2015 blogpost linked to some interesting schools and web resources:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/09/15/battle-of-britain-day-remembered-15-september-1940/

Newquay war Weapons Week Benenden school evacuated Newquay Copyright Newquay Zoo

St George and the wartime dragon, ready for St. George’s day this week – striking Battle of Britain imagery from Carmen Blacker and Joan Pring’s wartime design for Newquay War Weapons Week, 1941 whilst evcauted with Benenden school to Newquay. Copyright Newquay Zoo

On September 7th 1940, the London Blitz bombing began during the closing stages of the Battle of Britain. running on almost nightly until  May 1941. London Zoo and Chessington Zoo amongst many other places did not escape  bomb damage.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/09/28/london-zoo-in-the-blitz-26-27-september-1940-from-magazines-and-press-articles/

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

Further Blitz and Battle of Britain related blogposts from 2010 onwards:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/09/07/blitz-battle-of-britain-broad-beans-and-dig-for-victorys-70th-anniversary-at-the-world-war-zoo-gardens-newquay-zoo/

and a 2010 post about another significant Battle of Britain date Adler Tag or Eagle Day 13 August 1940 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adlertag

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/10/25/acorns-adlertag-and-autumn-in-the-wartime-zoo-garden-and-a-bit-of-time-off-for-a-wartime-time-safari-all-around-us/

Blogposted on 10 July 1940 by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo.

 

 

Remembering W. S. H. Menzies of Kew RAF WW2 died 2 July 1943 75 years ago

July 2, 2018

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Kew Gardener “Tom” Menzies is buried in Sleaford Cemetery amongst other RAF graves. 

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W.S.H. Menzies, 2 July 1943
Sergeant William Sydney Hugh Menzies, Sergeant Wireless Operator, RAF (Volunteer Reserve) buried Sleaford Cemetery, Lincolnshire. Garden boy at Kew 1936-38. Son of William Duncan Graham Menzies.

From the Kew Guild Journal 1943 for “Tom” Menzies

D641D2B2-359E-48DB-9154-2F353EE75B1D

http://www.yorkshire-aircraft.co.uk/aircraft/planes/dales/bj965.html

W.S.H. Menzies, Gardener of Kew and Tresco Abbey, RAF remembered 75 years on, along with the crew of Wellington Bomber BJ965.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo.

 

 

 

The Dambusters Do A Bit Of Gardening

May 15, 2018

dambusters-gardeningYou may have noticed news stories about the 75th anniversary of the Dambusters Raid in May 1943 on the Ruhr Dams.

Hard to look at this photo  and not think of the theme tune to The Dambusters movie. (Duh Duh duh duh duh duh de duh duh …)

I picked this wartime photo up as a copy from an online source, as it shows a little off-duty R&R and Dig For Victory, although it is hard to see exactly what is being planted.

These airfield gardens are the kind of ephemeral gardens that sprung up briefly in wartime, remembered today only in photographs or ‘ghost marks’ on the ground (as such traces were called by Kenneth Helphand, Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime).

Obviously not all of these RAF Bomber Command crews would live to see these gardens flower and vegetables harvested, given the low life expectancy and high casualty rates of such bomber crews. Such wartime gardens also gave pleasure and rations to downed RAF crews, gardening in POW (Prisoner of War) Camps in Occupied Europe.

dambusters-gardening

Guy Gibson, his black dog mascot and some of the Dambusters crews of 617 Squadron gardening between sorties.

This curious (posed propaganda?) photo shows one of Guy Gibson’s Dambusters crews gardening for relaxation in between bombing  sorties.

Interestingly it  looks possibly like flowers rather than vegetables during the WW2 Dig For Victory campaign.

In the background, you can see their iconic and famous  Lancaster bombers.

The Dambusters crews No. 617 Squadron are famous for taking part in the attack on the Mohne and Ruhr Dams as part of Operation Chastise.

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

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No._617_Squadron_RAF

This picture is likely to have been taken at their base at RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RAF_Scampton

This Wikipedia entry also shows the grave of his famous black dog mascot who died the same night as the raid.

The Commanding Officer of 617 Squadron  Guy Gibson (1918-44) has local Cornish connections to Porthleven, near to us here in Cornwall. Some of the local road names in Porthleven have Gibson and aircraft connections, and there is a plaque to him on the famous Porthleven harbour tower.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Gibson

http://www.rocassoc.org.uk/open/items/gr10/guy_gibson.htm

The Dambusters have a memorial garden in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire commemorating those who took part in the raids. http://www.dambusters.org.uk/commemoration/

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 15 May 2018.

Growing vegetables above and under ground – a strange wartime connection

May 8, 2018

 

 

messynessy underground growing

screenshot from Messy Nessy’s blog piece on Growing Underground 

Interesting blog post on the Messy Nessy Chic travel blog website about Growing Underground, a novel use for London’s old deep air raid shelters from WW2.

 

http://www.messynessychic.com/2014/02/11/london-has-a-subterranean-veggie-farm-in-an-abandoned-wwii-bunker/

messy nessy growing underground 2

The blog post about reusing London ‘Deep Shelters’ as  hydroponic salad farms also shows several  interesting archive photos of their original air raid use by civilians.

https://www.facebook.com/growingunderground

http://growing-underground.com/

Billed as Zero Carbon Food, the underground London project cuts down on food miles and ‘plot to plate’ food minutes, but they are not quite as close to their consumers as our tiny zoo allotment to its animal customers here at Newquay Zoo. Admittedly they have 2.5 acres underground in London, we have a postage stamp tiny plot of a few metres as a display garden on a once scraggy old lawn edge near our Lion House.   Jersey Zoo (Durrell Wildlife Trust) has also used an adjacent market garden for many years.

This Growing Underground idea reminds me of the Verticrop hydroponic experiment hosted at Paignton Zoo  c. 2008/2009 for a couple of years during a fascinating trial period. An innovative way  for growing fresh salad on site for the zoo animals?

https://www.bgci.org/resources/article/0784/

http://www.cityfarmer.info/2009/11/20/time-magazine-names-valcents-vertical-farming-technology-one-of-top-50-best-innovations-of-2009/

Verticrop (by Valcent) was put in experimental place at our sister zoo, Paignton Zoo in 2009 around the same time our above-ground World War Zoo garden allotment was set up here at Newquay Zoo.

I think I prefer to garden above ground and I have just planted the next lot of Ladybird poppies (for The Ribbon of Poppies Initiative). I’ve also planted  more leek seedlings, cabbage, broad beans and  rainbow chard to replace the snow and ice damage of February and March 2018. The planting areas are filling up nicely.

Maybe gardening underground you don’t get the peacocks and pigeons alongside snails as a plant eating ‘pest’ that I have to withstand here at the Zoo.

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

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World War Zoo Garden planting areas, Newquay Zoo – after the snow and ice of the Beast from the East, March 2018, not much survived except colourful Rainbow or Rhubarb Chard. 

 

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Looking leafier – May 2018 after replanting 

 

 

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Poppy seedlings coming through, Ladybird poppy flower heads forming. Our part of the Ribbon Of Poppies for Armistice 1918 / 2018 is now in parts growing well. 

 

However and wherever you garden, enjoy your day and your garden!

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens, Newquay Zoo, 8 May 2018.

 

 

Remembering Cuthbert St. John Nevill FLS Linnean Society died WW1 18 April 2018

April 18, 2018

 

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Cuthbert St John Nevill photograph (from Rosemary’s  Relatives website)

Cuthbert St. John Nevill was a Fellow of the Linnean Society FLS  who was killed during the Spring Offensive of 1918.

https://www.linnean.org
Born in 1889, Nevill was killed on 18 April 1918. The eldest son of a stockbroker Sir Walter Nevill, Highbury New Park, London, he was educated at Eastbourne and Uppingham.

He worked as a member of the Stock Exchange and joined the City based HAC Honourable Artillery Company with whom he served in Egypt and Aden in 1915, thus being eligible at his wife’s post-war request for a 1914-15 star alongside his British War and Victory medals.

Transferred as a Second Lieutenant to the C Battery, 251st Brigade, Royal Field Artillery and commissioned in 13 April 1916, he served with the RFA in France until his death in service on 18 April 1918.

He is buried at III A 1, Chocques Military Cemetery, where many of the burials are related to the No. 1 CCS Casualty Clearing Station.

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Cuthbert is buried in Chocques Militray Cemetery (Image CWGC) 

In 1918, Cuthbert married Miss Eunice May Le Bas (1890 – 1979) of Guernsey.

Widowed within the early months of her first marriage, she remarried another officer (possibly wounded as awarded a Silver War Badge), J.C. Oakley-Beuttler Lieutenant in the Royal Guernsey Light Infantry (1888 – 1940) in November 1919.

 

Several other Linnean Society fellows were killed in WW1, recorded on their Roll of Honour – see my 2013 blog post:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/09/11/lost-fellows-the-linnean-society-roll-of-honour-1914-1918/

https://rosemarysrelatives.wordpress.com/2007/11/09/in-memory-of-my-nevill-relatives-who-died-in-the-great-war/

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

March 8, 2018

my home Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

wartime clothing

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

 

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

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

 

 

Wartime January Gardening Advice

January 26, 2018

 

middleton calender coverA wet but mildish start to the year with nothing much happening in the World War Zoo wartime garden at Newquay Zoo in January.

What would Wartime gardening expert Mr. Middleton have to say about January gardening?

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/01/16/mr-middletons-january-gardening-advice-1943/

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

100th Anniversary of the Russian Revolution 7th November 1917

November 7, 2017

Russian WW2 DFV postcard 1942 (3)

Russian Dig For Victory WW2 style (Image Source: Postcard, unknown source)

Posted to mark the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution.

 

During WW2, as in Britain, many city areas in Russia were dug up and planted to provide food in beseiged towns and elsewhere to support the war effort.

Note the air raid shelter in the centre.

Note also the woman in front who is wearing a medal.

Russian Zoos in wartime – web material

from the All About Zoos website – Moscow Zoo entry

But in the turmoil of the Revolution of 1905 the Moscow Zoo was severely damaged: the buildings were ruined, the library was set on fire, many animals perished. So, for the second time the Society was forced to turn over the Zoo to private owners.

Then in 1914 World War I broke out. For the Zoo this meant that in the autumn of 1914 the only building that remain to this day was transformed from the director’s premises to a hospital for wounded WWI soldiers.

The WWI impact compounded Russia’s suffering from a number of economic and social problems, which resulted first in the 1917 February revolution followed by the October revolution.

In the aftermath of the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 and the fall of the Russian Empire, the Society ceased to exist, and in 1919 the Zoological Garden was declared national property and transferred under the responsibility of the ministry of Culture of the communist Moscow parliament, the Mossovet.

In 1922 it was transferred to the authority of Moscow City Council and since then it has been supported by the City Authorities. Construction work began on the Zoo grounds. The Zoological Garden premises almost doubled in size with the establishment of the ‘New’ territory on the opposite side of Bolshaya Gruzinskaya street.

New exhibits, which followed the principle of Carl Hagenbeck’s bar-less enclosure design were established. One of the most interesting exhibits of the Zoo called ‘Animal Island’ still exists. It was a high stony rock surrounded by a deep water ditch that separated the visitors from bears, tigers, lions and other large predators on the ‘Island’. The total size at the time was nearly 18 hectares.

In 1926 the Zoological Garden was renamed ‘Zoological Park’. At that time the range of activities extended, the animal collection increased considerably with expeditions collecting wildlife in Central Asia, the Far East and the Caucasus. New departments were established, focussed on for instance scientific research, education, veterinary science and nutrition. In those same years Moscow Zoo was the first zoo in the world where educational activities were the main priority.

In 1924 the Zoo had established the Young Biologists Club that gathered like-minded young people that joined in real scientific research. Many of them became a Zoo employee. The Club was founded by Petr Manteifel, who also was the pioneer father of the science called ‘zoo biology’. Manteifel and his young biologists discovered a way of artificial breeding sables (Martes zibellina), which were on the verge of extinction due to man’s insatiable pursuit for its expensive fur.

In the 1930s during Stalin’s great purge many members of the Young Biologists Club were arrested accused of spreading anti-soviet propaganda and liberal-minded ideas and having contact with German colleagues at Berlin zoo, some were even executed as foreign spies.

The Young Biologist’s Club was considered a non-governmental organisation beyond the direct control of the authorities, which in fact was partly true because the Club was a real democracy, with membership available to all.

World War 2 – known as ‘The Great Patriotic War’

Although many animals were evacuated and many of the zoo staff were called to arms at the beginning of World War II the Zoo was kept open. Of the 750 employees at autumn 1941 only 220 remained on the staff, most of them women.

Getting enough food for the animals was a constant challenge, for instance carcasses of killed horse at the battlefield around Moscow were brought to the zoo. More than six million people visited the Zoo from 1941 to 1945 to enjoy the sights of animals that had remained.

At wartime the scientific work proceeded, perhaps even more intense than before or after the war. The scientific staff worked especially on development of antibiotics.

But the most important mission of the Zoo during the war was to give people hope. It produced the illusion of a peaceful life until people survived through the desperation of the war with the Red Army soldiers as the most frequent visitors of the Zoo. Which were given the pleasure of watching newborn offspring even during the war.

During the Soviet Union period (1922-1991) not many highly ranked people cared about the zoo – no Soviet leader had any interest in it. The city encroached on the zoo premises, while the zoo needed additional space for the ever expanding zoo population of animals because the breeding results were still excellent …

(Article Information Source: Moscow Zoo website; Zoo with a Human Face, to the 150th anniversary of the Moscow Zoo – a documentary by Darya Violina and Sergei Pavlovsky, 2014; Zoo and Aquarium History by Vernon N. Kisling, Jr., 2001; Wikipedia

 >>Article Source: About Zooshttp://aboutzoos.info

Arguably I think that the biggest tragedy of WW2 that affected zoos was the cutting off of cooperative work and breeding programmes between Cold War zoos in the USSR, Eastern Europe and Russia from the Western Europe, USA and  rest of the world zoos from the 1940s through to the late 1980s.

This was well covered in the morning of talks about the development  of regional and national zoo assocaiations at the 2011 Chester Zoo / Bartlett Society / SHNH / WAZA / Linnean Society Zoo History conference.

It is well covered  in the book  77 Years: The History and Evolution of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums 1935-2012 by  Laura Penn, Mark Gusset and Gerald Dick.

Together again at last …

Posted by Mark Norris, World war Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 7 November 2017.


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