Archive for the ‘WW2’ Category

Remembering John Charles Nauen of Kew Gardens died POW Far East 10 September 1941

September 11, 2018

 

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1939-45 panels, Kew Gardens War Memorial. Image: Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project

It is 75 years ago since Kew trained botanist J.C. Nauen died as a Far East Prisoner of War (FEPOW) in Burma around the 10 September 1943. His plant skills must have saved many POW lives from diseases of malnutrition.

John Charles Nauen worked as Assistant Curator of the Botanic Gardens Singapore from 1935.

He served with Kew colleague G.H. Spare (see weblink below), Nauen (or Naun) served as a Serjeant 5387, volunteer in the 3rd Battalion, (Penang and Province Wellesley Volunteer Corps) SSVF Straits Settlement Volunteer Force.

Trained at Kew, his botanic skills would have been  of great help gardening and collecting plants from the local area to help keep fellow prisoners alive.

Nauen died as a Japanese POW prisoner of war, aged 40, working on the infamous Burma-Siam railway in September / October 1943 of blood poisoning.

He was buried in 1943 at Tambaya then reburied in 1946 at Thanbyuzayat Cemetery. many small POW cemeteries were concentrated into larger memorial areas.

naun concentration cwgc

Image: CWGC archive. 

He is buried in Thanbyuzayat CWGC Cemetery in Burma, alongside 1000s of fellow POW victims from the Burma-Siam railway. He was the son of John Jacob and Clara Nauen of Coventry.

nauen cwgc

Some of Nauen’s plant collecting herbarium specimens survive at Kew, whilst he has an interesting obituary in the Kew Guild Journal 1946 and The Garden’s Bulletin Singapore September 1947 (XI, part 4, p.266).

naun kew guild obit 1a crop

“As the Japanese scale of rations was so meagre and vegetables and fruit entirely lacking, Nauen was one of the first to advocate gardening in real earnest and offered his professional experience to the authorities, but military bureaucracy did its best to discourage the efforts of mere privates and NCOS.

Nauen with his untiring zeal however continued to work on his own amongst all and sundry who were trying to cultivate the ground around their quarters, with seeds and cuttings when he could, and willingly gave of his knowledge.”

Nauen’s Kew Guild obituary 1946

What an amazing man, a quiet hero! It is a remarkable story, showing how valuable Kew trained botanists were in wartime in many different sitations. . Similar POW gardening stories can be read in Kenneth Helphand’s Defiant Gardens and the fascinating accompanying book Defiant Gardens: Making Gardens in Wartime (2008).

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Of all the possessions for a POW to drag through the jungle, Nauen chose two heavy volumes of Burkill’s Dictionary of Economic Products of the Malay Peninsula.

The story of his Kew and Singapore comrade Gordon Henry Spare is given on the Kew staff on the WW2 section of the Kew War Memorial blogpost:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/04/06/the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-in-world-war-two/

Some CWGC documents have his name spelt as NAUN.

naun cwgc 2

His headstone can be seen here on the TWGPP site :

https://www.twgpp.org/photograph/view/3756828

nauan twgpp

Additional link on the POW stories and the Volunteer Force that Nauen belonged to:

http://www.malayanvolunteersgroup.org.uk/

John Charles Nauen and his FEPOW and Kew comrades in WW2, Remembered.

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 10 September 1943.

 

The Blitz begins 7 September 1940

September 7, 2018

 

ZSL 1940 p2

The Times article republished and illustrated in War Illustrated November 15th 1940

The Blitz, during which Nazi Germany bombed London and other English cities in nighttime raids, lasted from Sept. 7, 1940, to May 1941.

The raids killed around 43,000 British civilians and left widespread destruction.

ZSL London Zoo was in the firing line for the first time in over twenty years since Zeppelin airship and airplane bombing of London in WW1.

Long existing zoos such as Belle Vue (Manchester) and Bristol Zoo  had to put ARP (Air Raid Precautions) in place in 1939, along with newer 1930s zoos such as Chessington Zoo and Belfast Zoo.

https://www.zsl.org/blogs/artefact-of-the-month/zsl-london-zoo-during-world-war-two

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Some animal propaganda (ZSL chimps with tin hats) in  War Illustrated November 15th 1940

” The Zoo is in fact a microcosm of London …” 

Chessington Zoo

Chessington Zoo was bombed on 2 October 1940 and several staff family members were killed. https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/chessington-zoo-blitzed-2-october-1940-eyewitness-accounts/

www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/80/a5333780.shtml

Lovely Chessington Zoo home movie 1940 footage, a grand day out presumably before the October 1940 bombing  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IHeqmMWs7VM

LR Brightwell's wartime panda poster London Zoo 1942

LR Brightwell’s wartime panda poster for London Zoo 1942, encouraging zoo visitors and pandas to return  once the 1940/1 Blitz had quietened down. The “Off the Ration” exhibition encouraged Dig for Victory allotments like our World War Zoo Gardens but also encouraging zoo visitors  grow your own food animals (rabbits, chickens, pigs). 

Zoo Blitz Resources for Schools

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

inspire yr 6 ww2 doc

Interesting Year 6 cross-curricular topic map for WW2 – Blitz and Battle of Britain (now defunct 2014/15 Inspire Curriculum, Cornwall)  

The 1944/45 Blitz

Later in the war (1944/45) Chessington Zoo  was hit by a Flying Bomb – as mentioned in our blog post https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/chessington-zoo-blitzed-2-october-1940-eyewitness-accounts/

You can see Chessington zoo and circus staff clearing up the aftermath on YouTube https://youtu.be/T9CiQvwP1TQ 

London Zoo would also be affected by V1 and V2 bombing, including London Zoo veteran staff member Overseer W.W. T. Leney being killed in 1944 by a flying bomb at home. Nowhere in London or the Southeast was safe, night or day, at work or at home during the flying bomb raids. We shall mark the occasion 75 years on later next year on 25th November 1944 / 2019 with a fuller blogpost on Walter Leney.

The ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial:

Leney, William Walter Thomas, ZSL Overseer: Killed by flying bomb 25.11.1944

ZSL London Zoo veteran Keeper and Overseer William Leney at 65, old enough to have served in the First World war, was killed alongside his wife Kate Jane Leney (also 65) at 59 King Henry’s Road (Hampstead, Metropolitan Borough) by flying bomb. W.W.T.  Leney and wife died on 25 November 1944. Several flying bombs are recorded as having fallen around the London Zoo area, close neighbour of RAF Regent’s Park.

Studying the Blitz and Wartime Life? 

For more details about our schools wartime zoo / wartime life workshops for primary and secondary schools at Newquay Zoo, contact us via  https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/school-visits/primary

berlin elephant front

The last elephant left at the damaged Elephant house Berlin Zoo in 1943/44 after the Allied Air raids (Image source: Mark Norris, private collection from defunct press archive0.

Similar Allied air raids on German cities and industrial targets  caused extensive damage to German zoos in city and railway areas, as personally and vividly described  in zoo Director Lutz Heck’s Berlin Zoo memoir Animals – My Adventure. This will be the subject of a future blogpost as we approach the 75th anniversary of these raids in 1943 / 2018 and 1944 / 2019.

Remembering all those affected by the Blitz and air raids, 1940 /41 and 1944/45. 

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 7th September 1940 / 2018.

A Tale of Tin Hats WW2

September 6, 2018

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A Table or Tale of Tin Hats during our wartime schools workshops at Newquay Zoo.

Our WW2 Tin Hat collection has been busy again this year with school wartime zoo workshops at Newquay Zoo.

On the eve of the First Day of the Blitz (7th September 1940) 78 years on, we explore some of the protective head gear that zoo keepers and others may have worn in their various work and wartime roles.

https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/school-visits/primary

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

The ‘Tin Hats’ or Steel Helmets

Heavy – Tried on by many visiting school pupils!

Many male and female wartime zoo staff members, if not called up into the Armed Forces, may have had a ‘second life’ in the form of a night-time  or weekend role in the Home Guard, Fire Service or ARP Wardens in their work or home area.

All these roles required  protective equipment and clothing, including steel helmets.

WW2 British Police Helmet 

Issued to Police staff and wartime Police reservists

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Fire Service Helmets

The NFS National Fire Service in Britain adopted the wartime Brodie Helmet style, rather than their traditional Roman / Napoleonic cavalry brass helmets.

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Not sure what HAL in red stands for, whereas their fire sector number was written as a number, in this case 34 (West London).

Their sector number was written as a number, in this case 34 (West London).

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Reproduction canvas shoulder hanger for your steel helmet – this helps to always keep it with you, along with your gas mask! 

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NFS Service Number 815946 

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NFS Sector or Fire Area 8 (decal) 

Newquay  lost many of  its AFS Auxiliary Fire Service Crew in the Plymouth Blitz in 1941. A memorial bell can still be seen at Newquay Fire Station today.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2011/04/21/the-plymouth-blitz-70-years-on-and-newquays-lost-wartime-afs-firecrew-remembered/

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Peaked cap and smart uniform: unnamed ZSL Whipsnade Zoo  Keeper c. 1939/40 ploughing up zoo paddocks for crop planting with Dixie the elephant, instead of horses. (source: Zoo and Animal Magazine, 1939/40) 

Peaked Caps

Male zoo keepers traditionally wore a smart military style, stiff peaked cap in public (right up until the late 1980s in some zoos). Many other jobs also had this everyday cap, as well as the steel helmet for Raid and ARP duty.

NFS crews also had a smart peaked cap, worn when not wearing the Steel Helmet.

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Rubber handled WW2 fireman’s axe, designed to avoid or insulate against electrocution if touching live wires. 

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Maple and Co?  1941 makers stamp on the canvas Fireman’s Axe holder 

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Information and voltage markings 

 

Irish / Eire Raid Warden Helmet

Distinctively a lovely Irish or emerald shade of green.

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Irish Republic / Eire ARP Wardens Helmet – The W looks rather amateurishly applied. Helmet Source: closed Fire Service museum / collection

Although a neutral country in WW2, unlike Northern Ireland, there were several occasions when Eire or the Irish Republic / Southern Ireland  was bombed by the German air force, presumably by mistake.

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

As a result Dublin Zoo staff would have had to had ARP precautions in place. The newly opened 1934 Belfast Zoo in Northern Ireland was in the Belfast Blitz area.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2016/04/16/belfast-zoo-and-the-belfast-blitz-19-april-1941/

http://www.belfastzoo.co.uk/about-us/zoo-history/elephant-angel.aspx

Zuckermann Helmet 1939/40

Designed by zoologist Solly Zuckerman at ZSL London Zoo for civilian workers and fire watchers

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MFP possibly refers to Main Fire Party or Precautions or similar 

Look out for a future blog post on ZSL London Zoo Scientist and primatologist Solly Zuckerman and how he designed and tested this helmet.

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Heavy helmets match to some of the heavy original WW2 clothing, much tried on by visiting school pupils during our wartime zoo / wartime life Schools workshops at Newquay Zoo.

World War Zoo Nov Dec Zoo Magazine pics 021 Whipsnade keeper in tin hat 1939

Primary history source material – Keeper Billett of Whipsnade Zoo ZSL in tin hat and gas mask pictured in the shortlived ‘Animal And Zoo magazine’, November 1939 (magazine / photo from the World War Zoo archive, Newquay Zoo). Can’t quite see the front marking on the helmet.

This part of a print (below) in our collection shows some of the range of labelled and marked helmets that would distinguish different ranks and different emergency services during and after an air raid.

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Note the NARPAC National Air Raid Precautions Animals Committee helmet.  

Some of the rarer variations of markings, if genuine, can command much higher prices to collectors than others. Beware imitations!

Lesson Ideas for Primary School WW2 sessions 

inspire yr 6 ww2 doc

Blitz and Battle of Britain WW2 Cross Curricular Year 6 topic (the now defunct 2014/5 Inspire Curriculum, Cornwall) 

https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/education-clubs/school-visits/primary

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, on the eve of the Blitz anniversary 7th  September 1941 / 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Remembering Merchant Navy Day 3rd September 2018

September 3, 2018

 

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).

Punch onions uboats 1917

A 1917 Punch cartoon from our World War Zoo Gardens archive collection

Remembering the brave men and women of the Merchant Navy past and present on Merchant Navy Day every 3rd September, who keep us and our animals supplied and fed in peacetime and wartime:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/remembering-merchant-navy-day-3-september-from-a-zoo-keepers-perspectivenwall/

mercahnt navy the common task punch

Food Security: the Dig For Victory gardener and the Merchant Navy, twinned in “The Common Task” Punch cartoon in my collection (March 19, 1941)

Another reason to be thankful and also Dig for Victory! Dig for Plenty! 

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Merchant Navy Day tributes, 2014  Tower Hill Memorial (Image: Mark Norris) 

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“And Have No Grave But The Sea” – Tower Hill London CWGC War Memorial for Merchant Navy sailors of WW2   (Image: Mark Norris, 2014)

Remembering the Merchant Navy Crews involved in wartime along our Cornish coastline as well:

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

Remember as well the Merchant Navy crews buried in our local Newquay Cemetery including stewardess Louisa Tearle and also the crew of SS War Grange torpedoed off Newquay May 1918:

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

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 3rd September 1939 / 2019.

Jumpy Frogs, Seed Saving and Scent in our Wartime Allotment at Newquay Zoo

August 23, 2018

 

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Captured on camera at last … a youngish well camouflaged froglet, August 2018.  

I have spotted frogs hopping around the World War Zoo gardens allotment several times whilst weeding  and watering this summer. This is the first time I  have caught them on camera.

It is a young Common or European FrogRana temporaria, a little smaller than the one I saw in the same place several weeks ago  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_frog

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Frog still from film clip 

This common frog is a good sign, that things have stayed damp and healthy for wildlife on this allotment plot. This frog is also some free slug control, as I use no slug pellets or chemicals, as  many of these plants are intended as food for our zoo animals.

These tiny carnivores will be hunting slugs, snails, insects and worms across our tiny allotment on the Lion House lawn, right next door to the Lion House where our larger carnivores live at Newquay Zoo.

It’s nearing the end of the summer season for the World War Zoo Gardens wartime garden allotment.

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World War Zoo Gardens allotment plot at Newquay Zoo, emptying and thinning out as the holiday season ends, 23  August 2018 

I find it hard to believe that it’s also our World War Zoo Gardens  project’s 9th Birthday this Bank Holiday weekend, so it got a quick trim and tidy up before I have a couple of days off.

You can revisit our first blog entries in August 2009 onwards https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2009/08/12/world-war-zoo-project-–-newquay-zoo’s-wartime-garden-2009/

Some Broad Bean seeds have been saved and dried, others have been a rare very fresh food treat, tricky things to pod for  our Macaques and other monkeys. Seed saving was an important feature of the wartime garden, to set aside seeds for planting the next year.

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Poppy seed  heads in a zoo café brown paper bag and Broad Beans seeds to  save, August 2018 

Our contribution to the nationwide Ribbon of Poppies project planted for Armistice 1918 / 2018 is now almost over, just a few poppies in flower left.

The dried seed heads have been collected up in a café brown paper bag to dry off (plastic bags don’t work well for this) whilst some have already self-seeded for next year’s Ribbon of Poppies. Plenty of keepers and zoo staff died after 1918 from the effects of war service as mentioned here – we will mark each sad centenary with a blogpost  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/08/08/100-days-and-the-black-day-of-the-german-army-8th-august-1918/

On a more cheerful and smelly note, we have been harvesting herbs for zoo animal scent enrichment,  especially our carnivores.

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Carnivore Keepers’ food prep bench, with fresh bundles of  Mint, Lemon balm and  Rosemary, tied up with dry palm frond “twine”, August 2018. 

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Food prep – Locusts, mealworms, soaked pulses, hard boiled eggs, needlefree syringes for vitamin supplements and my fresh bouquet of Rhubarb Chard and Spinach tops. As I scrawled on the Primate Keepers’ whiteboard, these are possibly the last of the 2018 season? 

So Happy Birthday to the World War Zoo Gardens project at Newquay Zoo, nine years young.

Our coming year 2019 sees Newquay Zoo’s 50th anniversary (26 May 1969 / 2019) https://newquayzoohistory.wordpress.com/

It is  also in September 2019 the 80th anniversary of the Outbreak of World War Two, when zoo keepers in many nations dug up their lawns to feed their zoo animals.

As the WW1 centenary comes to an end, I expect this 80th anniversary of 1939/2019 will bring a resurgence of primary school projects marking the 80th anniversary of WW2 including our schools workshop / talks https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2015/09/07/remembering-the-start-of-the-blitz-7-september-1940-and-a-happy-new-school-term/

Enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend!

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo, World War Zoo gardens project, 23 August 2018.

Gardening with Children 1908 and 2018

August 15, 2018

Jekyll children

 

1908 and 2018 – an interesting question: How best do you involve children in gardening? This is something staff at a zoological or botanic garden are sometimes asked, because gardening can be good for wildlife, for sustainability and for your mental health.

A blog comment or email from the USA arrived at Newquay Zoo recently:

“My name is Scott. I am writing to you because as a gardening Dad with two kids I understand how important it is to spend time with them in a constructive way.”

I am fortunate to have (had) lots of fun chats with children and families whilst working in our World War Zoo Gardens wartime allotment at Newquay Zoo. Some children sneakily eat the edible stuff when I’m not there. Best of all, children often tell me about what they grow at home or in school.

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2018/08/06/overheard-at-the-world-war-zoo-gardens/

How to Get Children Gardening

Back in 1908 the famous British garden writer and designer Gertrude Jekyll (rhymes with treacle) wrote a surprising book for its time called Children and Gardens. It was published by Country Life in both Britain and America.

Since reprinted and still available, you can also read a scanned Archive.org  copy here, free:

https://archive.org/stream/childrengardens00jeky

Within a decade as World War 1 ground on, as most of the younger gardeners were called up on active service, these same British children would be encouraged at home and school to grow their own  food. The German U-boat submarine blockades seriously hit the import of food to Britain by merchant shipping.  Bad harvests were recorded in 1916 / 1917, leading to food ration books being issued in Britain in 1918.

American children were also encouraged to grow food, as part of Uncle Sam’s patriotic United States Schools Garden Army, after the USA entered the war in 1917. https://blogs.loc.gov/inside_adams/2017/01/the-school-garden-army-in-the-first-world-war/

This was WW2 Dig For Victory  25 years early, as mentioned in my March 2013 blogpost on Herbert Cowley, an injured WW1 gardening writer who was a friend and photographer to Gertrude Jekyll:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/dig-for-victory-1917-world-war-1-style-the-lost-gardeners-of-kew-and-the-fortunate-herbert-cowley-1885-1967/

Gertrude Jekyll in 1908 had some interesting ideas about giving children ownership and pride in their gardens:

childrengardens00jeky_0039

Staking your territory and naming it in plants.

I hope Gertrude Jekyll’s book encouraged at least a few parents of  posh Edwardian children to let them get a little bit dirty, wear practical working clothes and grow some food in real dirt.

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It might have given them a tiny but valuable appreciation of the manual toil of the working classes around the world who put food on their tables.

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From Children and Gardens … almost a feel or  look of Heligan gardens before that garden went quietly to sleep after WW1.

Hopefully some Edwardian children had some muddy, spud eating fun growing up, because of Gertrude Jekyll’s 1908 book.

Dyb Dyb Dig!

It is also interesting to note that the Baden Powell Scout Movement came into being around this time (1907/8), quickly followed by the Guides (191)) for the kind of girls who had already cleverly highjacked or gatecrashed their brothers’ opportunities to set up scout troops.

http://www.scoutsrecords.org/explore.php?dil=&icerik=80&bparent=CB6FCCF1AB7A8F1765FC3A9D09C9ACAE&

Girl Guides can be seen market gardening in 1917 here in this IWM image Q 108289 : https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205087807

Interesting IWM WW1 Centenary article:

https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/10-ways-children-took-part-in-the-first-world-war

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918

WW1 school girls  involved in gardening –  IWM image Q31135

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 31155)

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918

IWM Q31153 Horace Nicholls’ WW1  photo of British Schoolgirls growing food. 

CHILDREN ON THE HOME FRONT 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 31153)

Some photos even show air raid shocked children gardening as convalescence and therapy https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205296421

THE MEDICAL SERVICES ON THE HOME FRONT, 1914-1918

© IWM (Q 30542)

Caption: Air-raid shocked girls from the Llangattock School of Arts and Crafts, gardening their own plots at the Kitchener Heritage home for air-raid shocked children and educative convalescence for disabled soldiers at Chailey, Sussex. IWM Collection:  THE MEDICAL SERVICES ON THE HOME FRONT, 1914-1918 © IWM (Q 30542)

2018: It is the final year of the 1914-18 centenary. Within ten years of 1908, plenty of the young boys shown in Gertrude’s book would have been in khaki uniform and have had a very different experience of digging and mud than you could ever wish for anyone.

Some of the girls could have ended up working the land in the WW1 version of Land Girls, growing herbs or nursing for the same war effort.

childrengardens00jeky_0164 campfire

As the book was reprinted in 1933, some  photographs appear to have been retaken orupdated,  as I have seen some charmingly relaxed 1930s/ 1940s versions of my parent’s generation.

These 1908 pictures of children in the garden are surreal, whimsical, reminiscent of E. Nesbit and The Secret Garden, Cottingley fairies, Beatrix Potter and Alice in Wonderland.

childrengardens00jeky_0157 fun

Some garden sandpit, this one!

childrengardens00jeky_0158 in the sand pit

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This is in part an improving, natural history book, practically written advice to children and written for children (and parents) to read.
childrengardens00jeky_0167 tea kitchen

There is a whole chapter on Gertrude Jekyll’s cats sunning themselves in the garden, a hundred years before Youtube and The Internet was invented to show cute cat videos.

childrengardens00jeky_0109 first garden

Lots of personal childhood experiences in Gertrude’s book.

Most important is a patch of ground that a child can call its own to play, dig  or grow stuff. Modern urban British back gardens tend to be far too tiny.

trelawney-garden-centre-and-bop-wartime-garden-blog-0810-001

Gardening advice, Boy’s Own Paper August 1940 – I’m not sure children would be allowed to mess around with Derris Dust today!

Dig for Victory gardens (or Victory Gardens in the USA) in WW2 were important ways to feed the family and involve schools and children in the war effort.

Popular monthly children’s magazines would have gardening articles by famous gardening authors:  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2010/08/04/gardening-and-garden-centres-for-growing-wartime-boys-tomboys-and-garden-gnomes-“go-to-it-lads”-the-boy’s-own-paper-august-1940/

 

Scott’s email 2018

1908 / 1918 / / 1940 / 2018: I was reminded of all this Children and Gardens material when I received an interesting email from a fellow blogger in the USA:

“My name is Scott and I am writing to you because as a gardening Dad with two kids I understand how important it is to spend time with them in a constructive way. This seems particularly important today as kids would rather spend their time watching Disney Channel or playing video games when given a choice between TV and playing outside.”

I’m sure the Wild Network movement would agree with Scott about the threat of us all becoming a nation of “glassy eyed zombies” on I-pads and I-phones, or as my 1970s childhood version, “square eyed”.  However, before anyone complains,  video games and cartoons have their place in life.

Scott at the Architypes blog continues:

“Now as a blogger I have combined my experience with gardening and kids to create a helpful guide to prove that with a little creativity you can get kids excited about gardening.

You can see Scott’s ideas here: https://www.architypes.net/gardening/kids/

Scott came across World War Zoo gardens through our blog post  https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/category/vegetable-gardening/page/4/ while doing some research and thought you might be interested in some of his ideas.

“Perhaps you could mention it on your blog or links page. Please let me know what you think, it would be great to work with you. Thanks for your time, Scott.”

There is some good advice from Scott in his article that I’m sure Gertrude Jekyll and the 1940s Dig For Victory gardeners would approve of.

Thankfully there are today some good books and websites on involving children with gardens, both in school, home and the community. Here are a few more websites from the UK, Australia and America, once you have read through Scott’s ideas:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/gardening_with_children/

https://www.rhs.org.uk/education-learning/gardening-children-schools

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/gardening-for-children

https://kidsgardening.org/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/special/children

As the modern Gerturde Jekyll of gardening TV today, Alan Titchmarsh, would say: “Whatever the Weather, Enjoy Your Garden!”

childrengardens00jeky_0171 paired children

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, August  2018.

 

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Our contribution to the UK-wide “Ribbon of Poppies”, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, July 2018. This is where I start singing from our old school hymnbook Pete Seeger’s 1950s / 1960s protest song “Where have all the flowers gone?” 

Overheard at the World War Zoo Gardens

August 6, 2018

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Rationing Section – World War Zoo Gardens sign, Newquay Zoo, Cornwall, UK

Overheard early today whilst quietly watering the very dry and thirsty plants at the World War Zoo Gardens recreated zoo keepers’ allotment at Newquay Zoo.

A small family group approached the garden and looked at all the plants and then the garden sign.

Visiting Mum to her small boy: “See this ration book here on the sign?” 

Small boy looks at ration book on the sign and nods.

Mum: “This is what Granny had when she was a little girl.” 

“During the war food was rationed by these coupons and you often didn’t have very much food on your plate.”  

I want you to think about that ration book tonight and the next time you don’t eat all the vegetables and food on your plate.

Small boy stayed thoughtful and quiet throughout this last bit, before the family all walked away to look at more animals.

Point well made, I kept respectfully quiet, as this child was already outnumbered by family adults.

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World War Zoo Gardens allotment, Newquay Zoo, July 2018 

I have overheard some fantastic family learning and conversations going on amongst visiting groups, whilst working in our zoo wartime  garden allotment next to the Lion House.

I have had great conversations with zoo visitors old and young about the plants and the history side.

I have heard the garden talked about and identified variously as Mr Bloom’s Garden, Mr McGregors’ Garden (hopefully without Peter Rabbit) or Granddad’s allotment.

Today’s overheard conversation  taught me one thing:

You can read books on interpretation and signage.

You can undertake brilliant visitor evaluation research on signage impact.

You can write wordy Learning Outcomes for your education project.

You can use long words like food security, Education and Engagement, cross-generational learning or  inter-generational learning.

What you can’t easily do is measure how wonderful and simple that parent / child / family interaction was. 

Thanks to that Mum, she made my day. It made the whole garden project worthwhile.

I will make sure to clear my plate tonight.

Herbs and garden sign Newquay Zoo 2015

On the fence next to the lion enclosure, bundles of herbs and some garlic seed heads for our monkeys, harvested October 2015 (Image: Mark Norris)

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 6th August 2018.

 

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

July 27, 2018

 

Percy Murray Adams ZSL Whipsnade Keeper

Percy Murray Adams (Gunner RA) ZSL Whipsnade Keeper

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy times at Pre-war Whipsnade

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keeper Adams’ Life as  a Japanese POW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mr Middleton Calendar Boy of February 1940

July 18, 2018

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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

The Battle of Britain Begins 10th July 1940

July 10, 2018

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

 


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