Archive for the ‘WW2’ 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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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.

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 Allotments Week August 2017

August 21, 2017

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A little corner patch of our wartime zoo keeper’s allotment, Newquay Zoo, August 2017 

National Allotments Week 2017 has just come to an end  (14 to 20 August 2017) – some great historic images on this history of allotments website:

https://www.learningwithexperts.com/gardening/blog/the-history-of-allotments

1940s WW2 Farming advert

August 21, 2017

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Goodbye Horse power, welcome to mechanised farming in the drive for more home grown food security … WW2 era farming advert from The Countryman, 1940s, in our World War Zoo Gardens collection

Happy 100th birthday Dame Vera Lynn

March 20, 2017

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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.

World War Zoo exhibition photos and garden launch Vera Lynn 1 30310809 058

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

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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

Moscow and Warsaw Zoo’s history in pictures

February 28, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

Staying in eastern Europe in wartime zoos –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

A question about wartime big cat keeping

January 31, 2017

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London Life, 28 March 1942

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interesting little read.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers,

Owen, Senior Keeper, Carnivore section,  Newquay Zoo

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

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

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

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

 

londonlifemag-home-guard

More Camouflage ideas for ladies … hide in a bush.

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

Unknown Zoo, Wartime Elephants

January 3, 2017

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

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

Is this in occupied Europe?

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

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

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

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

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

german-zoo1-ww2

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Remembering Henry Peris Davies ZSL staff died Far East 21.12. 1941

December 21, 2016

 

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Names of the five fallen ZSL staff from the Second World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010. This well polished plate has been replaced in 2014 with a new one.

Davies. Henry Peris (Lieutenant RA)    ZSL Clerk: Killed in action Far East 21.12.1941 

164971, Royal Artillery, 5th Field Regt, died aged 27.

Occasionally his official date of death is given as 31st December 1941.

Davies is listed on the Singapore memorial.

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

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

As well as being remembered on the Singapore War Memorial and the ZSL staff war memorial at London Zoo, 27 year old Henry Peris Davies is also remembered on the parish war memorial at Crymych, Pembrokeshire, Wales. This is presumably his home area.

Henry was the son of Evan and Anne Davies, and served with 5th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery.

A Probate record suggests that he was married and lived at 4 Mallard Way, Kingsbury and he left £1216 to his wife Ann.

Photographs of the Crymych memorial and his panel on the Singapore Memorial can be seen on Steven John’s website:

http://www.wwwmp.co.uk/pembrokeshire-war-memorials/crymych-war-memorial/

singapore-kranji-hpdavieszsl

Within Kranji War Cemetery stands the SINGAPORE MEMORIAL, bearing the names of over 24,000 casualties of the Commonwealth land and air forces who have no known grave including London Zoo’s Henry Peris Davies. Many of these have no known date of death and are accorded within our records the date or period from when they were known to be missing or captured.

Individuals are commemorated on the Singapore Memorial in this way when their loss has been officially declared by their relevant service but there is no known burial for the individual, or in circumstances where graves cannot be individually marked, or where the grave site has become inaccessible and unmaintainable.

The land forces commemorated by the memorial died during the campaigns in Malaya and Indonesia or in subsequent captivity, many of them during the construction of the Burma-Thailand railway, or at sea while being transported into imprisonment elsewhere.

Remembered 75 years on, Henry Peris Davies of ZSL London Zoo.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 21 December 2016.

5th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery : Henry Peris Davies’ Regiment

5th Field Regiment – Jephson (from Rawalpindi & Nowshera, India 1939-1941)  firing 16 x 4.5 inch howitzers 63rd Battery, 73rd Battery, 81st Battery. supported Indian Regiment troops.  

5th Field Regiment, Royal Artillery was commanded in 1941 by  Lt. Col. Edward William Francis Jephson

Times of Malaya’s blogspot :  http://malayacommand.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/1941-december-royal-artillery-indian.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BL_4.5-inch_Medium_Field_Gun

 


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