Archive for the ‘zoo history’ Category

Flu and The Zoo – remembering Norman Jennison Belle Vue Zoo died WW1 30 October 1918

October 30, 2018

 

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Norman Jennison (Image Source: Old Wrekinian WW1 Website)

Remembering Norman Lees Jennison of Belle Vue Zoo Manchester who died close to the end of WW1 on 30 October 1918 on the Italian front – of influenza. 

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Norman Jennison’s headstone (Image: Copyright TWGPP https://www.twgpp.org/ )

His family founded and ran the Belle Vue Zoological gardens in Manchester in Victorian and Edwardian times.

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Staglieno Cemetry, Genoa, WW1 section (Image source: TWGPP https://www.twgpp.org/ )

A Territorial Army soldier before the war, Norman Jennison served from 1914 onwards in Egypt, France (on the Western Front) and finally on the Italian Front where he died in hospital from Influenza.

He is buried in the remarkably vertical Staglieno Cemetery in Genoa

The Italians entered the war on the Allied side, declaring war on Austria, in May 1915. Commonwealth forces were at the Italian front between November 1917 and November 1918, and rest camps and medical units were established at various locations in northern Italy behind the front, some of them remaining until 1919.

From November 1917 to the end of the war, Genoa was a base for commonwealth forces and the 11th General, and 38th and 51st Stationary Hospitals, were posted in the city. Staglieno Cemetery contains 230 Commonwealth burials of the First World War. (CWGC information source)

Norman was one of two young members of the family that were killed in WW1, the other being his cousin James Leonard  Jennison (1917) https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2017/05/03/remembering-j-l-jennison-of-the-belle-vue-zoo-jennison-family-died-ww1-3rd-may-2017/

I wonder what effect these deaths of younger Jennison family members and potential future owner / managers  had on the zoo’s operations and eventual handing over in 1924 of Belle Vue Zoo by the Jennison family to new owners and operators (who under the Iles family took it through WW2) .

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Two Jennisons on the Belle Vue Zoo war Memorial Manchester WW1

You can read more about the memorial and the staff casualties of WW1 here:

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

You can read more about Norman Jennison’s life, military service and death here on his old school website WW1 page:

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http://www.oldwrekinianliveslost1914-18.uk/jennison

It was good to put a face to a name  finally.

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Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 30 October 1918 / 2018

Post Script 

In case the Old Wrekinian WW1 website section is ever lost, here is the text of it for reference:

 

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Norman Jennisons’ name appears on the Wrekin School WW1 Memorial (Image Source: Old Wrekinian WW1 Website)

Norman Lees Jennison was born in Gorton, Lancashire on 23rd April 1895 to Jane Porritt Jennison [née Ardern] and her husband Angelo Jennison. Angelo and his brother ran the Belle Vue Zoological Gardens in Manchester. This was a large zoo, amusement park, exhibition hall complex and speedway track opened in 1836 by John Jennison. During the First World War the gardens were used by the Manchester Regiment for drill and a munitions factory, complete with railway sidings, was also built.

After completing his education Norman left Wellington College in 1912 where he had spent five years in the Officers Training Corps [OTC] and was then employed as a clerk at the engineering firm of Schloss Bros, at their premises on Princes Street, Manchester.

Norman joined the army’s Territorial Force on 19th March 1914 as Private 2009 Norman Jennison with the 1/6th Battalion, The Manchester Regiment, and on the outbreak of war on 4th August he was fully mobilised the following day, agreeing to serve overseas as required. Together with his Battalion they left for Egypt on 10th September and arrived in Alexandria two weeks later, on 25th September.

In March 1915 his application for a commission was successful and he returned to England and joined the 20th (Service) Battalion (5th City), The Manchester Regiment, one of the city’s ‘Pals’ battalions, as a Second-Lieutenant at their base in Grantham, Lincolnshire where he remained for five months.

In September that year the Battalion moved to Larkhill and prepared for embarkation, arriving in France on 9th November 1915 aboard the ‘SS Princess Victoria’, which followed a rather wet and stormy crossing from Folkestone to Boulogne.

Several months were then spent in various aspects of training before Norman and his Battalion moved up to the front lines in February 1916 at which point they were part of 22nd Brigade, 7th Division.

In March 1916, the light Stokes2 batteries left battalion control and came under brigade command. On 14th April the 22nd Trench Mortar Battery [TMB] was formed and two weeks or so later Norman was attached to the Battery, where he achieved the rank of temporary Captain on 31st August.

At some point during that year Norman made an impact that brought his name to the attention of the GOC as he was recognised with the award of a ‘Mention in Despatches’, gazetted in January 1917. Six months later he was awarded the Military Cross, but the surviving records give no hint of his bravery in action.

In November 1917 the 20th Manchester’s and the 22nd TMB moved with their Division to Italy. This was a strategic and political move agreed by the British Government as part of the effort to stiffen Italian resistance to enemy attack after a recent disaster. Originally the idea was that they would be moved to the mountainous area of the Brenta, but the orders were changed and they ended up in the line along the River Piave.

Nothing is publicly known about Norman’s time in Italy for the following year but life here would have been very different to the conditions they had all experienced on the Western Front. It was often described as being “like another world”.

On 28th October 1918 Norman’s father received a telegram from the War Office which advised him that his son was seriously ill at No.11 General Hospital, although no mention was made as to the nature of his illness. We know today that the wording indicated that this was not war-related, although whether this was apparent to his family is unclear.

A further telegram was received by the family in Manchester the following day advising them that Norman was now ‘dangerously’ ill; again no specific mention of the nature of the illness. It also specifically mentioned that “permission to visit not granted” which at the time gave a further clue as to it being non war related but potentially contagious.

Had permission been granted it would have been too late as on Wednesday 30th October 1918 Captain Norman Lees Jennison, M.C., 20th (Service) Battalion (5th City), The Manchester Regiment; att. 22nd Trench Mortar Battery, died of influenza in No.11 General Hospital in Genoa at the age of 23. He was later buried in the city’s Staglieno Cemetery.

The telegram that advised Angelo Jennison of the death of his elder son arrived on 2nd November 1918.

It is also believed that during his period of military service Capt. Norman Jennison was awarded both the Meritorious Service Medal [MSM] and the Territorial Force Efficiency Medal [TFEM].

A cousin of Norman’s, Second-Lieutenant James Leonard Jennison, fell at the Battle of Vimy Ridge on 3rd May 1917.

Both were also remembered on the Belle Vue War Memorial at Gorton, Manchester and the Jennison family memorial at St Mary’s Parish Church, Cheadle.

Norman’s brother, Sydney Angelo Jennison, himself an OW, served with 14th (Service) Battalion, The King’s (Liverpool Regiment). He later transferred to the 3rd Skinner’s Horse, a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army where he finished the war with the rank of Captain. He died in 1975.

The Manchester Regiment is perpetuated today in the 1st Battalion, Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment (King’s Lancashire and Border).

www.oldwrekinianliveslost1914-18.uk/jennison

 

Remembering James Craythorne Keeper at Belle Vue Zoo Manchester died WW1 20th October 1918

October 20, 2018

 

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Belle Vue Zoo staff war WW1 memorial, Gorton Park Cemetery, Manchester

Private James G Craythorne, 1/6 Manchester Regiment, killed aged 19, on 20th  October 1918.

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This Belle Vue Zoo (Manchester) Keeper was ironically in the fighting for Belle Vue Farm, buried at Belle Vue (Farm) Cemetery, France.

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Belle Vue Farm Cemetery (TWGPP copyright image)

Three or four generations of the Craythorne family worked as small mammal and reptile keepers at Belle Vue Zoo. Another relative James Craythorne followed his own father into zoo work, was employed aged 12 from the 1880s to retirement in 1944 and was then replaced  by his son Albert!

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Two Manchester local history sites mention the Belle Vue Zoo dynasty of keepers from the Craythorne family and J. G. Craythorne’s death:

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

http://manchesterhistory.net/bellevue/craythornes.html

J. G. Craythorne – Remembered 100 years on from his death 20 October 1918, so close to the Armistice Day.

Read more about:

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

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens Project, Newquay Zoo, 20 October 2018.

Remembering Charles Dare ZSL London Zoo died WW1 10 September 1918

September 10, 2018

 

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Charles Dare is remembered on the ZSL Staff War memorial at London Zoo. 

10.9.1918        Charles William Dare    County of London Regt             ZSL  Helper,
originally enlisted as 2965 or 610564  19th London Regiment, he served also as Private 245116,  2nd (City of London) Battalion  (Royal Fusiliers).

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Names of the fallen ZSL staff from the First World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010

He  was killed on active service,  aged 20 and is listed on the  Vis-en-Artois memorial, one of 9580 killed in this area in the “Advance to Victory”  having no known grave.

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Charles had been in France with the London Regiment since June 1917. On this medal roll entry and elsewhere he is Presumed Dead or D.P. on 10th September 1918, presumably because his body was never found. This is why he is remembered on the Vis En Artois Memorial, rather than having an individual grave or headstone.

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Charles Dare was killed during period of the 100 days of the  “Advance to Victory”  (August to November / Armistice  1918).

August 8th marked the beginning of the Battle of Amiens was known as the ‘Black Day’ of the German Army; on the 15th, British troops crossed the Ancre river and on the 30th, the Somme river.

Advances carried on throughout September 1918, when Charles Dare was killed. The Armistice came two months after Charles Dare’s  death on the 11th November 1918.

Family background
Charles Dare was born and lived in St. Pancras in  1898 and enlisted in Camden Town.

He had an older sister, Lilian E Dare, two years older, also born in St. Pancras.

His father Charles J Dare was a distiller’s clerk from Hereford, aged 38 in 1901 living at 16 Eton Street, St. Pancras parish / borough (London 1901 census RG 13/133). they stilllived there in 1911, not that far from Regents Park and the Zoo. His mother Mary A Dare, 37,  was born in Lugwardine,  Hereford.
A Helper in ZSL staff terms is a junior or trainee member of staff before they become a Junior then Senior Keeper.

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Charles Dare married an Emily Catherine Holloway (1897-1944) of Kentish Town, early in 1918. According to the UK Register of Soldiers Effects, they had a daughter Gladys born 10th March 1918 or 1919.

Charles’ widow Emily Dare remarried an Arthur Scraggs in 1930 but was sadly killed as a civilian by enemy action (presumably an air raid casualty) during the “Baby Blitz” on London WW2 at her home 179 Grafton Road, London on 19 February 1944. 187 planes of the Luftwaffe bombed London on this day as part of Operation Steinbock. It was the heaviest bombing of the British capital since May 1941.

You can read more about the other ZSL London Zoo casualties of WW1 remembered on the ZSL Staff War Memorial here:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/remembering-lost-wartime-staff-of-zsl-london-zoo-in-ww1/

Remembered on the centenary of his death – Charles William Dare, ZSL Helper (Keeper), died WW1 10 September 1918.

Blog  posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 10 September 2018.

The Blitz begins 7 September 1940

September 7, 2018

 

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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/

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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

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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.

100 Days and the Black Day of the German Army 8th August 1918

August 8, 2018

Today marks the centenary of the Battle of Amiens, known as the “Black Day of the German Army“. It was the  beginning of the end, the 100 Days Offensive that would see the end of trench warfare, retreat and ultimately the Armistice on November 11th 1918. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Amiens_(1918)

It has seemed a “long war” since we started centenary posts in August 2014 for each of the zoo or botanic gardens staff killed in WW1.

The 100 Days may seem the start of the end but several more zoo and botanic garden staff would die before November 11th.

Private Joseph Hayhurst, of Kew Gardens, 7th September 1918  

Hayhurst died serving as G/31695, Queen’s Own (Royal West Kent) Regiment, formerly 24251, KOSB King’s Own Scottish Borderers (Border Regiment), died 7 September 1918, aged 33. He is buried at the Unicorn Cemetery, Vendhuile, Aisne, France.

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

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Nova Jones, William Dexter’s granddaughter, inspects his name and that of fellow keepers like Charles Dare on the restored panels at the ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial, 2014 (Image: Mark Norris) 

Charles William Dare, ZSL London Zoo, 10 September 1918

Dare was a young keeper or ZSL ‘Helper’ , London Zoo. Died serving with County of London Regiment, 245116, London Regt (Royal Fusiliers), remembered on the Vis-en-Artois memorial having no known grave, 10 September 1918

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/remembering-lost-wartime-staff-of-zsl-london-zoo-in-ww1/

 

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RBG Kew Gardens staff WW1 memorial 

Private Sidney George Comer, of Kew Gardens, 22 September 1918.

(Formerly Killerton Gardens, Devon  and Boconnoc, Cornwall.) Comer died serving with the US Machine Gun Corps and Tank Corps, US Army.

Comer died of pneumonia, presumably as part of the influenza pandemic that swept the world at the end of WW1, also killing Belle Vue Zoo’s Norman Jennison. 

Robert Service, Kew Gardens, 28th September 1918
Gunner Robert Service, 1257927, 4th Canadian Trench Mortar Battery, Canadian Field Artillery, died 28th September 1918. He is buried at Grave Reference I. D. 18, Bourlon Wood Cemetery.

Private James George Craythorne, Belle Vue Zoo, 20 October 1918

Craythorne died serving with 1/6 Manchester Regiment, killed  ironically in the fighting for Belle Vue Farm, buried at Belle Vue (Farm) Cemetery, France. One of several generations of Craythornes who worked at Belle Vue Zoo Manchester.

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

Captain Norman L Jennison, MC (Military Cross), Belle Vue Zoo, 30 October 1918

Jennsion died serving with 6th Manchester Regiment (Territorials), dying of flu, Italian Front, Genoa, Italy. Norman Jennison was the son of Angelo Jennison, one of the two Jennison brothers who owned and ran Belle Vue Zoo Manchester.

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Belle Vue Zoo’s now vandalised war memorial – luckily the names, although hard to read, are inscribed in stone as the brass statue has been stolen. Image: manchesterhistory.net

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Belle Vue zoo’s sadly vandalised war memorial, Gorton Cemetery. Manchester lists their First World War dead. Image:manchesterhistory.net

But not quite the End …

When fighting has ceased, sadly more names are added to staff memorials from 1919 on into the mid 1920s, Dying from the Effects of War Service” as the battered Belle Vue Zoo war memorial in Gorton puts it. We will schedule a blog post on the centenary of each of these passings.

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Our ribbon of poppies and more edible flowers in our World War Zoo gardens allotment, Newquay Zoo, Summer 2018. 

Our ribbon of poppies is fading and seeding itself for next year.

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Our  keepers’ memorial plaque, Newquay Zoo, Autumn 2015

No doubt this collection of names from Britain and its Empire is mirrored by the names of many lost French, German, Austrian and other zoo keepers and botanic gardens staff worldwide killed or wounded in WW1. Our World War Zoo garden and its ribbon of poppies quietly and colourfully remembers  all of them, their colleagues and families.

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Cabbages and Poppies in the World War Zoo Gardens, allotment, Summer 2018. 

Blog Posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 8th August 1918

 

 

 

 

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.

Remembering Lost Gardener John Leonard Veitch Kew Gardens WW1 21 May 1918

May 21, 2018

One of the Veitch Nursery Family, famous sponsors of plant collectors and plant hunters, was killed in the First World War.

Major John Leonard Veitch, Military Cross, 7th Battalion attached 1st Battalion, Devonshire Regiment, died on 21st May 1918, aged 31. Mentioned in Despatches.

His death must have seriously affected the future of the Veitch Nursery, as happened to so many lesser-known plant nursery firms in Britain and across Europe.

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Vietch is buried in the tiny Thiennes Cemetery. (Image: CWGC website)

He is buried at Grave Reference Row A. Grave 1, Thiennes British Cemetery, France.

A photograph of his headstone can be seen on the TWGPP website. According to CWGC records, the inscription on his headstone chosen by his family is “Unto God’s gracious mercy and protection we commit thee”.

The German offensive of April 1918 pushed the front line back almost as far as St. Venant in this sector and this was one of the cemeteries made for Commonwealth burials arising from the fighting in the area. Thiennes British Cemetery was started by the 5th Division in May 1918 (when Veitch was amongst the first to be buried) and used by the 59th and 61st Divisions before being closed in August 1918. It is a small cemetery of only 114 First World War burials in the cemetery, Veitch’s grave being the first A1.

He is listed as the son of Peter Christian Massyn Veitch, J.P. Esq, and Harriett Veitch (nee Drew) 11 Elm Grove Road, Exeter of the famous Veitch nursery family.

His Kew Guild Journal 1919 obituary lists him originally enlisting in August 1914 in the 7th Cyclists Battalion of the Devon Regiment, his local regiment.

He was in France from 1915, noted as being on front line duties since December 1915 and fought through the battle of the Somme in 1916. He was wounded in the shoulder at Vimy Ridge. After service in Italy, Veitch was killed by a stray machine gun bullet in the Nieppe Forest area of France on May 21, 1918. Another Devonshire Regiment man, Private Harold Harrison, lies buried beside him, killed on the same day.

A month earlier Veitch had received his recommendation for a Military Cross “for his excellent defence of the Lock, just east of the Forest of Nieppe, in the middle of April, when he stopped five attacks. He had the honour of dying in temporary command of our famous battalion.” (letter to Veitch’s father from his Colonel).

He was at Kew from 1908 to 1910, before joining the family nursery business in 1910. Educated at Exeter School, he spent time studying horticulture in Germany and Holland before entering Kew.

Veitch  Nursery history and links

John Leonard Veitch’s  father was Peter Veitch, and his sister Mildred was the last of the Veitch family to continue the Nursery business until 1969 when she sold the last Veitch Nursery site in Exeter to St. Bridget’s Nursery, who still run this today.

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

“The firm of Veitch had by the 1914/18 war been responsible for introducing an astonishing 1281 plants which were either previously unknown or newly bred varieties. These included 498 greenhouse plants, 232 orchids, 153 deciduous trees, shrubs and climbing plants, 122 herbaceous plants, 118 exotic ferns, 72 evergreen and climbing plants, 49 conifers and 37 bulbous plants. In the years to come, more plants followed.”

Quote taken from St. Bridget’s Nursery website https://www.stbridgetnurseries.co.uk/about-us/veitch-family-history/, the Nursery being on a former Veitch Nursery site.

Had John Leonard Veitch survived and had a family, the history of Veitch’s Nursery may have continued longer, even up to the present day. A story no doubt similar to many nurseries, estates and small businesses across Britain and Europe.

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

Other Kew Gardens staff casualties had worked for Veitch nurseries such as Gordon Farries (died WW1 20 April 1918). The Veitch Medal of Honour (VMH) is still a prestigious award for gardeners.

You  can read more about Kew Gardens staff in WW1 at

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

https://www.theexeterdaily.co.uk/news/local-news/chiefs-launch-search-ww1-players

Blogposted on the Centenary of John Leonard Veitch’s death by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens Project at Newquay Zoo, 21 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/

Remembering Joseph Fuller of Belle Vue Zoo died WW1 14 April 1918

April 14, 2018

warmem2 Belle Vue today

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

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Belle Vue Zoo’s now vandalised war memorial – luckily the names, although hard to read, are inscribed in stone as the brass statue.

Sergeant J Fuller of Manchester died serving with the Devonshire Regiment / Pioneer Corps on 14 April 1918. Buried Amiens, France. He may well be the J Fuller mentioned here on the staff War Memorial, although the Jennison Family directors mentioned “Fuller of the Guards” at the 1926 Dedication of the Staff War Memorial.

On March 1918 The Germans launched the first of their offensives in a final bid to win the war. The British bore the brunt of these offensives in March and April and, although the British were forced to concede considerable ground, the line never broke.

Sergeant Fuller was married and lived at 9 Millen Street, West Gorton.

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On the 1911 Census this Joseph Fuller was a Journeyman Baker. Hi He was serving with the Labour Corps, having transferred from The Devonshire Regiment.

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He died on 14 April 1918 and is buried in St Pierre Cemetery, Amien. This town and railhead was a key objective of the German offensive but never fell.

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

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

Remembered.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 14 April 2018.

Part of the worldwide Ribbon of Poppies planted at Newquay Zoo for the WW1 Centenary

April 11, 2018

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Part of the 2016 crop of Poppies at the World War Zoo Gardens at Newquay Zoo

We have planted more poppy seeds at Newquay Zoo as part of the Ribbon of Poppies Remembrance event to mark 100 years since the end of WW1.

 

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Some ever so useful fake or silk poppies (from 2015)

 

I have  registered our  little poppy patch with Ribbon of Poppies at Eventbrite.

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Inspired by The Memorial Mob, this event which is free to join wherever you are. Twitter #RibbonofPoppies    http://thememorialmob.webs.com/

https://www.facebook.com/RibbonofPoppies/

I was tipped off about this Ribbon of Poppies event or initiative by Rosie and the Gardens staff at Wild Place, part of Bristol Zoo http://www.wildplace.org.uk/

They are thinking of planting not just red Flanders Poppies but working out if they can find 100 varieties of Poppies to grow for 2018.

Wild Place’s walled gardens and its Sanctuary gardens are  an interesting ‘wartime garden’ in itself, as I posted  in 2014:

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/digging-into-bristol-zoos-wartime-garden-past-mystery-photograph-solved/

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100 types of poppy? Having bought poppy seeds in different garden centres, I was surprised to find that there probably are that many ornamental varieties of poppy.

I have mostly bought Papaver rhoeas, the Flanders or Field Poppy but also an ornamental poppy Papaver somniferum, a variety named a suitably brave ‘Victoria Cross’. 

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Some of the poppy seeds are saved from previous years, some have been bought from various suppliers including a special packet from  Heligan Gardens as part of the Heligan 1914 – 1918 centenary celebrations.

Part of the profits from some of these seeds appropriately  goes to service charities Royal British Legion and SSAFA.

Thousands of poppy seeds have now been scattered on the front section of our allotment garden, backed up by some Ladybird Poppies (Papaver commutatum), a hardy annual poppy which will also self sow.

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http://www.centenarynews.com/article/call-to-sow-ribbon-of-poppies-for-2018

Poppies are bee-friendly and wildlife friendly plants, great for our native species focus this year.

 

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Our  suitably rusty memorial to wartime zoo keepers and gardeners  past, based at Newquay Zoo for the last ten years  (2018)  

 

Why mark this in the modern zoo? Many zoo staff joined up or were conscripted from such zoos as were open in 1914 (and 1939) including  Bristol, London, Belle Vue and Edinburgh Zoos. Not all of them came back, complete in mind and body. Sadly their stories and sacrifice have sometimes been forgotten over the years. No doubt the same story can be told for each of the towns or village communities surrounding our zoos and gardens today, and to the families of many  of our visitors today from all nationalities.

The same happened to staff in botanic gardens like Edinburgh or Kew. Over the last (almost) ten years we have posted on the blog on the anniversary of each WW1 zoo or botanic gardens related casualty. A few of these stories are collected here: https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/ww1-related-posts/

This was another of our poppy posts on the 100th anniversary of the 1915 ‘poppy’ poem In Flanders Fields – some very useful fake silk poppies on show! https://wordpress.com/post/worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/979

Inspired to get involved?

I hope that you and your family, your workplace, your zoo or botanic garden, your garden, your street or your park are inspired to take part in the nationwide or even international Ribbon Of Poppies, even with just a small pot of ornamental or Flanders Poppies. Sign up and find out more: Get involved!

https://www.facebook.com/RibbonofPoppies/

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 11 April 2018

NB. Unlike some of the Ribbon of Poppies venues, please note that Newquay Zoo is not a ‘free to enter’ venue – more about our ticket prices and annual passes: https://www.newquayzoo.org.uk/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-prices

To finish: a couple of shots of recent and surviving planting in the World War Zoo Gardens, such colourful veg just to the right of where our poppies are sown.

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