Archive for the ‘ZSL London Zoo’ Category

Remembering William Perkins ZSL London Zoo keeper died WW1 3rd October 1917

October 3, 2017

 

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03.10.1917 William Perkins Royal Garrison Artillery ZSL Keeper is his inscription on the WW1 bronze plaque on London Zoo’s staff War Memorial.

William Perkins served as 115806, Bombardier, 233rd Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery from 28 August 1916 until his death on 3rd October 1917. He arrived in France and Flanders along with the rest of his 233rd Siege Battery,  Royal Garrison Artillery, BEF / British Army on 22 December 1916.

William Perkins was born in 1878 in Lifton in Devon on the Cornwall / Devon border  to a gardener and labourer father Thomas and Cornish mother Emma Jane.

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Listed as a keeper on his wedding certificate, he married Lucy Elizabeth MacGregor in London in 23 August 1914 after the war broke out and they lived in Eton Street, NW London (near other London Zoo keepers).

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William Perkins is buried here in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium (Image: CWGC)

Perkins is buried in an individual plot in Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery, Belgium.

His headstone inscription (chosen by his wife or family)  reads “Lord teach me from my heart to say thy will be done”.

His CWGC cemetery record mentions that he was killed aged 39 in an enemy air raid on 3rd October 1917.

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Part of William Perkins’ WW1 Service records recording his attesting (enlistment) on 11 December 1915, call up in August 1916 and death on 3 October 1917.

William  Perkins was promoted from Gunner (artillery equivalent of a private) to Bombardier, the equivalent of an army corporal, on 16 September 1917 shortly before his death.

What was a Siege Battery?

William Perkins served with the 233rd Siege Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery.

Siege Batteries RGA were equipped with heavy howitzers, sending large calibre high explosive shells in high trajectory, plunging fire.The usual armaments were 6 inch, 8 inch and 9.2 inch howitzers, although some had huge railway- or road-mounted 12 inch howitzers.

As British artillery tactics developed, the Siege Batteries were most often employed in destroying or neutralising the enemy artillery, as well as putting destructive fire down on strongpoints, dumps, store, roads and railways behind enemy lines (source: Long Long Trail)

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-royal-artillery-in-the-first-world-war/the-siege-batteries-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/

Several zoo staff served with artillery units, possibly because of their familiarity with large animals like the many heavy horses required to move and supply the guns, as shown here:

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/definitions-of-units/what-was-a-siege-battery-of-the-royal-garrison-artillery/

Belgian Battery Corner Cemetery where William Perkins is buried is an appropriately named cemetery for an artillery soldier. It  occupies a site at a road junction where three batteries of Belgian artillery were positioned in 1915.

The cemetery was begun by the 8th Division in June 1917 after the Battle of Messines and it was used until October 1918, largely for burials from a dressing station in a cottage near by. Almost half of the graves are of casualties who like William Perkins belonged, or were attached, to artillery units. The cemetery was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens.

William’s Army Service Records WW1

We are lucky that William’s service papers have survived to give us some details of his Army Service. Many such records were destroyed during the Blitz in WW2.

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Amongst the more touching records in his service records is a list of his possessions after he was killed in an enemy air raid on 3rd October 1917. These would usually be returned to his wife Lucy or his family.

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This letter from his wife Lucy requests the return of his possessions, a further army form in his papers directs that this is done.

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His wife Lucy is eventually granted an army pension of 15 shillings a week. The couple had no children.

I have seen in the ZSL Library and Archive many of the ZSL staff record index cards for many of the staff listed in the war memorial listing when they joined, rates of pay and which animal section they worked on. I will add any details for William Perkins when I next find these notes!

To find out more about how zoo and botanic gardens staff fared in The Battle of Passchendaele 1917:

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

To find out more about ZSL London Zoo staff in WW1:

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

London Zoo keeper William Perkins, died 3rd October 1917, remembered 100 years on.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, 3 October 2017.

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Remembering ZSL London Zoo Gardener Albert Staniford died Passchendaele 23rd September 1917 WW1

September 23, 2017

23rd September 1917  – Albert Staniford  ZSL London Zoo Gardener

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

Served as 174234 216 Siege Battery, Royal Field / Garrison Artillery RGA
Staniford is buried in an individual grave, II. M. 3. Maroc British cemetery, Grenay, France. Period of Third Battle of Ypres / Passchendaele, July to November 1917.
http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/523608/STANIFORD,%20A
ZSL gardener Albert Staniford was born in 1893 in the Regent’s Park area, the son of Annie and Alfred, who was also a gardener.

Albert’s  medal record card states that he served in both the Royal Field Artillery as 17692 and 216 Siege Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery as 174234 Gunner Staniford.

He embarked for France on 31 August 1915, entitling him to a 1915 star, alongside the Victory and British War Medals.
Albert Staniford served in France for two years before his death in September 1917, dying only three months after his marriage in London on June 6 1917 to Esther Amelia Barrs (b. 1896). The CWGC listing has no family inscription on the headstone.

Find out more about London Zoo staff in WW1

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

Albert Staniford, Gardener at London Zoo,

Remembered on the centenary of his death during the Battle of  Passchendaele and on the ZSL staff war memorial at London Zoo, 23 September 1917 / 2017

Blog posted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Garden Project, 23 September 2017

Remembering Albert Stanford, ZSL London Zoo gardener died WW1 23 September 1917

September 23, 2017

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

Albert Staniford, gardener at ZSL London Zoo, died 100 years ago today on 23rd September 1917 during the Battle of Passchendaele.

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

23rd September 1917 Albert Staniford ZSL London Zoo Gardener
Served as 174234 216 Siege Battery, Royal Field / Garrison Artillery RGA

 

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

Albert Staniford is buried in an Individual grave, II. M. 3. at Maroc British cemetery, Grenay, France, a casualty of the  Period of Third Battle of Ypres / Passchendaele, July to November 1917.

 

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http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/523608/STANIFORD,%20A

 

ZSL gardener Albert Staniford was born in 1893 in the Regent’s Park area, the son of Annie and Alfred, who was also a gardener.

His medal record card states that he served in both the Royal Field Artillery as 17692 and 216 Siege Battery,Royal Garrison Artillery as 174234 Gunner Staniford.

He embarked for France on 31 August 1915, entitling him to a 1915 star, alongside the Victory and British War Medals.

Albert Staniford served in France for two years before his death in September 1917, dying only three months after his marriage in London on June 6 1917 to Esther Amelia Barrs (b. 1896). The CWGC listing has no family inscription on the headstone.

Albert is remembered on the ZSL London Zoo war memorial, garlanded with poppy wreaths each year on Armistice Sunday.

A fellow London Zoo  gardener Robert Jones was killed earlier in 1917 at the Battle of Arras on 9th April 2017.

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

 

Robert Jones London Zoo Gardener killed Battle of Arras April 1917 WW1

April 9, 2017

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

09.04.1917 Robert Jones 9 Royal Fusiliers ZSL Gardener.

As Listed on the ZSL London Zoo WW1 Staff War Memorial

There are two current possibilities for this name, awaiting research:

Private GS/60595 Robert Jones, 9th Battalion Royal Fusiliers

This Robert Jones was born in Islington or Highgate, Middlesex around 1881 and was married to Bertha Lewin of Abbots Ripton, Huntingdon around 1905 / 1906 in Camden / Highgate.

He was formerly listed as 23358 6th Middlesex Regiment, having enlisted in Harringay and been resident in Highgate. On the 1901 census he is listed as a Gardener (not domestic) and in 1911 as a Nursery Gardener.

On the CWGC website he is listed as the husband of Bertha Jones of 22 Caxton Street, Little Bowden, Market Harborough. This Robert Jones died of wounds on 7 April 1917 (two days different from the ZSL dates on the war memorial plaque) and is buried in Faubourg D’Amiens cemetery in Arras. His headstone (photographed on the TWGPP website) bears the family inscription from his wife reads: “Thou art not far from us who love thee well”

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Robert Jones ZSL Gardener lies buried at Faubourg D’Amiens CWGC Cemetery, which is  surrounded by some of the names on the Arras Memorial including ZSL Librarian Henry G.J. Peavot. (Image source: CWGC)

The other Robert Jones possibility with the same date as the ZSL war memorial plaque is Robert Jones 472712, 1st / 12th Btn. London Regiment (The Rangers), aged 31 buried in Individual grave A2 , Gouy-en Artois Cemetery, killed or died of wounds on the first day of the Battle of Arras 1917. The CWGC lists him as the brother of Mrs. Clara Shafer, of 37, Cornwallis Rd., Walthamstow, London. He was born in 1886 in Grays, Essex and enlisted in Plaistow. He appears on the 1911 census not to have been a gardener but a coal porter in a gas works.

This coal porter seems less likely to be the ‘Robert Jones ZSL gardener’ but without surviving service or pension papers for either one that I have found so far, even the ZSL staff record cards give few clues as to which one is the ZSL Gardener.

Both deserve to be remembered.

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

 

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Names of the fallen ZSL staff from the First World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010 – name plaques since replaced or restored.

For more about the Battle of Arras and the Centenary

http://blog.cwgc.org/arras/

ZSL Gardener Robert Jones was not the only April 1917 casualty from London Zoo. Two weeks later, the ZSL Librarian would be killed at Arras.

21.4.1917 Henry George Jesse Peavot, Honourable Artillery Company, ZSL Librarian

B Co. 1st Btn, Honourable Artillery Company, aged 35.

Killed during Battle of Arras period, No known grave, listed on Arras Memorial. Married.

Henry George Jesse Peavot, a 35 year old ZSL Librarian served in B Company, 1st Battalion, Honourable Artillery Company and died on 21st April 1917.

He has no known grave and his name is listed amongst the 35,000 missing men listed on the Arras Memorial alone.

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Like many of these zoo staff, Peavot was married; his widow Maud or Maude Pravot as far as I can discover never remarried and lived to mourn his loss for almost seven decades until 1985. They had one child. Previously a ZSL typist, Maude kept in touch with ZSL for many years, a file of personal correspondence in the ZSL Archive appears to continue from 1917 to about 1932 and is likely to be pension related.

The legacy of absence and injury from the First world war is still ongoing or at least within our working and living memory, in families and professions such as zoo keeping across Europe.

Happy 100th birthday Dame Vera Lynn

March 20, 2017

vera lynn signature

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

Remembering William Dexter, ZSL London Zoo Keeper died Somme 23 October 1916

October 23, 2016

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William Dexter, ZSL London Zoo keeper killed in WW1 (Photo: Courtesy of Nova Jones, digital clean up Adrian Taylor ZSL)

Remembering today 100 years on ZSL Keeper William Dexter who died on 23rd October 1916 during the Somme battles.

You can read more about him at:

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

One of the things I remember most poignantly about Dexter is that he was finally identified by his number or initials in “a piece of boot” (according to his pension and service records) ‘19841 R.B.’ (for Rifle Brigade)

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Burial details of how William Dexter was identified. Source: CWGC

Remembered also by his granddaughter Nova Jones whom I met at London Zoo’s war memorial whilst researching there:

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Nova Jones, Dexter’s granddaughter, inspects his name on the new panels at the ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial. (Image: Mark Norris)

The old brass plaques are so well polished they were replaced in 2014 at the start of the WW1 centenary:

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Names of the fallen ZSL staff from the First World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010 (panels now replaced by new ones in 2014)

https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2014/08/03/remembering-ww1-in-zoos-and-gardens/

Remembered by his family and his workplace 100 years on.

 

Remembering G.P. Patterson, ZSL London Zoo staff died Somme 5th October 1916

October 5, 2016

 

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

Remembering G.P. Patterson of ZSL London Zoo staff who died 100 years ago today on The Somme on 5th October 1916.

His name is remembered on the ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial as

05.10.1916 Gerald P Patterson 19th County of London Regt ZSL Helper

The 19 County of London Regiment may be an error or his first regiment. A ‘Helper’ was a younger Keeper working his way up the ranks of London Zoo staff.

This is likely to be 43689 Private Gerald Phillips Patterson of the 8th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment was killed on 5th October 1916 during the Somme fighting.

He is buried in an individual grave XI. C. 4. in Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, Somme, France. There is no family inscription on his headstone, pictured on the TWGPP website.

The life of his battalion during the Somme battles is well set out in the Somme school visit site

http://www.schoolhistory.co.uk/forum/index.php?app=core&module=attach&section=attach&attach_id=2956

It is likely that Patterson went into action with the Norfolks on the 1st of July 1916, the first day of the Somme as part of the 18th (Eastern) Division as part of K2, Kitchener’s 2nd Army Group of New Army volunteers.

Patterson was most likely killed during the attack and capture of the Schwaben Redoubt on the 5th October 1916. The next day his battalion went back for rest out of the line.

Somme poppies, Thiepval area, 1992

Somme poppies, Thiepval area, France taken on my first trenches tour, 1992 (Copyright: Mark Norris)

Many of Patterson’s 8th Norfolk battalion who were killed and whose bodies or graves were not found are remembered on the nearby Thiepval Memorial on the Somme, alongside other ZSL staff like Albert Dermott.

Read more about him and the other ZSL London Zoo staff on their WW1 memorial at our blogpost:

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

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Names of the fallen ZSL staff from the First World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010. This well polished metal plate was replaced by a newer more  legible one  in 2014, the start of the WW1 centenary. 

G.P. Patterson, remembered.

Posted by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo / World War Zoo Gardens project, 5 October 2016.

Remembering the Somme Battle of Thiepval 1916

September 26, 2016

 

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Routledge is one of several British zoo staff with no known grave are remembered amongst thousands on the Thiepval Memorial on the Somme (Image: CWGC website)

Remembering today the thousands who died on each side of the Somme Battle of Thiepval  including 100 years ago today on 26 September 1916:

Wilfred Omer Cooper, writer and naturalist,  FLS Fellow of the Linnean Society, died Somme 26 September 2016

Alfred Routledge, Belle Vue Zoo Manchester staff, died 26 September 2016  September 1916

1. Wilfrid Omer Cooper
Born 1895, he was killed in 26 September 1916. He had been involved with the Bournemouth Natural Science Society, studying isopods.

Elected to the Linnean Society only in Spring 1915, Cooper  was still a private G/40113 in the 12 Battalion Regiment, Middlesex Regiment when he died aged 21. He has no known grave and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the missing of the Somme battles.

He is listed on the CWGC website as the son of the late John Omer Cooper (died 1912) and Mrs. Mary Elizabeth Thompson Cooper, 6 Queensland Road, Boscombe, Bournemouth.

On the listing for Soldiers Died in The Great War (SDGW) he is listed as born at Boscombe, Bournemouth, Hants and resident at Bournemouth. He enlisted at High Beech, Loughton and was originally listed as formerly B/23290 Royal Fusiliers. He is the author of several papers and books including The Fishing Village and other writings (Literary and Scientific) posthumously published in Bournemouth by H.G.Commin 1917, the author one Wilfrid Omer-Cooper.

Read more about Cooper and the Linnean Society losses in WW1 here:

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

http://thebournemouthian.co.uk/2016/07/01/bournemouth-school-and-the-battle-of-the-somme/

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Taken from the ‘Bournemouth School and WW1’ website

 

 

2. Alfred Routledge, Belle Vue Zoo Manchester staff, died 26 September 2016

He died serving with the 11th Battalion Manchester Regiment on The Somme, aged 23 on 26 September 1916. He was killed in an attack on Mouquet Farm which was part of the final and successful British attempt to capture the village of Thiepval.

The village occupied high ground in the centre of the battlefield and had been a British objective on the first day of The Battle of The Somme on 1 July 1916.

Alfred Routledge is one of the many “Missing of the Somme”  listed on the Thiepval memorial, having no known grave. Routledge was  killed in the  final days of taking Thiepval village, one of the original objectives of the 1st July 1916, the first disastrous day of the Battle of The Somme two months earlier.

CWGC lists him as the son of the late Alfred and Emily Barton Routledge of 504 Gorton Lane, Gorton. Married. Routledge and fellow Belle Vue Zoo staff Sidney Turner and Ralph Stamp are remembered on the St. James Parish Church war memorial at:  http://gortonphilipsparkcemetrywargrave.weebly.com/st-james-church-gorton.html

Read more about Routledge and the Manchester men of Belle Vue Zoo in WW1:

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

Late September  and early October 1916 was a bad few weeks for British zoo and botanic gardens staff. No doubt the zoo and gardens community was equally affected by the losses in Germany.

Kew Gardens staff

The follwing Kew Gardens men will also lose their lives in the closing months of the 141 days of the Somme fighting:

Sergeant Sydney George Cobbold, S/12906, 8th Battalion, Rifle Brigade died on the 3rd October 1916, aged 28. He has a known grave in a small Somme cemetery.

Sydney Cobbold (Kew Guild photo)

Sydney Cobbold of the 8th Battalion, Rifle Brigade died 3rd October 1916, Somme area (Kew Guild photo)

Rifleman John Divers, service number 7056, 1st / 9th Battalion, London Regiment (Queen Victoria Rifles) and also County of London Cyclists, died on 9th October 1916.

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June 2016: Kew staff commemorate  John Divers near where he was killed on the Somme  in 1916.  

 

Rifleman / Corporal Herbert Martin Woolley, “Essex Regiment”  is most likely to be Rifleman 3844, 1st / 5th Battalion, London Regiment (London Rifle Brigade), died 9 October 1916.

Herbert is commemorated on Panel Reference Pier and Face 9 D, Thiepval Memorial, along with fellow Kewite John Divers.

I will blog post 100 years on the anniversary of each of their deaths. In the meantime, read more about them at:

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

London Zoo

ZSL London Zoo lost the following young keeping staff (‘Helpers’)  in the latter part of the Somme battles in September and October 1916.

15.9.1916        Arthur G. Whybrow      2547, 19 Bn. County of London Regt.  ZSL Helper.

05.10.1916      Gerald P Patterson       19th County of London Regt.     ZSL Helper

and an older Keeper whose grand-daughter I met whilst researching at London Zoo:

23.10.1916      William Dexter  Kings Royal Rifles, Rifleman    ZSL Keeper 

I will blog post 100 years on the anniversary of each of their deaths. In the meantime, read more about them at:

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

A lucky wounded survivor  who went on to found an amazing zoo …

George Mottershead (of the BBC ‘Our Zoo’ fame) of the Manchester Regiment will be severely injured on the 15th October 1916, surviving a spinal wound that nearly killed him and left him paralysed for several years bfeore he struggled to walk again and create Chester Zoo in the 1930s. He would lose several brothers or family members in WW1.

Remember all these men and their families  100 years on.

Scheduled blogpost for 26 September 2016 by Mark Norris, Newquay Zoo / World War Zoo Gardens project.

Remembering Albert Dermott ZSL Somme 10 July 1916

July 10, 2016

 

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

Remembering those killed on the Somme 10 July 1916 including:

Albert A. Dermott of London Zoo staff, ZSL Messenger 

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

T. Percy Peed  nurseryman, S.Staffs Regiment

Geoffrey Watkins Smith, FLS

Printed in the Proceedings of The Linnean Society for 1918/9 is a short roll of honour listing eight fellows or employees who died in the First World War. Amongst them Geoffrey Watkins Smith, is described as “one of the most brilliant of the younger generation of Zoologists” (proceedings, 1916-17, page 64-65).https://worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/2013/09/

Remembered all at:

https://wordpress.com/post/worldwarzoogardener1939.wordpress.com/77631

Remembering Leonard Peachey London Zoo staff killed in RAF crash 18 December 1940

December 18, 2015

From Zoo Clerk to Air Gunner …

75 years ago today on 18 December 1940 one of London Zoo’s young clerks Leonard James Peachey was killed in an RAF air  crash during WW2.

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Leonard Peachey, ZSL Clerk is buried among these RAF graves at North Coates (St Nicholas) Churchyard, Lincs. Image: cwgc.org

 

The first of ZSL’s five WW2 casualties, ZSL London Zoo  Clerk Leonard Peachey  is buried among the RAF graves at North Coates (St Nicholas) Churchyard, Lincs.

ZSL Clerk Leonard Peachey,  RAF Volunteer Reserve,  died aged 32 as Sergeant Wireless Operator / Air Gunner in an air  crash, serving with 22 Squadron in Lincolnshire at RAF North Coates / Cotes (various spellings exist!).

He is buried in North Coates (St. Nicholas) Churchyard, Lincs alongside the rest of his crew from 22 Squadron, and buried alongside in adjoining graves in the same row:

  • Sergeant Pilot Dennis George How, RAFVR (aged 23)
  • Sergeant Observer Paul Victor Renai (aged 22, from Wellington, New Zealand) 
  • Sergeant Wireless Operator / W.E. Mechanic Ralph  Gerald Hart (22).
The roles involved – pilot, observer, wireless operator / mechanic and Peachey’s own role as Wireless Operator / Air Gunner suggest that this is an entire Beaufort crew of 4.
There is more about Bristol Beaufort  and the roles of its crew of four  at this site:
http://www.pilotfriend.com/photo_albums/timeline/ww2/Bristol%20Beaufort.htm
You can see inside the cramped cockpit of one of these Bristol Beauforts of Peachey’s 22 Squadron here: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205212625
Peachey’s air gunner post can be seen here in this 22 Squadron Beaufort photo around December 1940 (sadly not his individual aircraft) http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205208658. The caption reads:
Air gunners at their positions on board a Beaufort Mark I, L4461 ‘OA-J’, of No. 22 Squadron RAF at North Coates, Lincolnshire. One gunner occupies the Bristol Mark IV turret, mounting a single .303 Vickers K-type gas-operated machine gun. For added protection against beam attacks, 22 Squadron has installed another K gun, mounted in the port entry hatch. IWM photo CH 637

Peachey’s headstone can be seen at http://twgpp.org/information.php?id=4066060

Leonard Peachey in the London Zoo staff records

ZSL London Zoo has not only a fine library but an amazing archive including staff records cards dating back to Victorian times.

Leonard was born on 19 October 1909. He joined the zoo as a young Office Boy on July 17 1927 on 27 shillings and 6d a week, promoted to Messenger by 1928 and finally Clerk on 20th December 1935.

His Pay increases and records then tended to be in mid December eerily almost on the date or  day of his air crash. On the 17th December 1938, his Clerk’s pay went up a further 5 shillings to 95 shillings a week.

The following year, he would be dead in an air crash.

His record card mentions that he was a ‘Territorial called  RAF  16 September 1939′ two weeks into the war (presumably the RAF VR Volunteer Reserve). His record card simply recalls 18.12.40 Killed in Air Crash North Coates Lincs.

A married man, his family address like many London Zoo staff shifts around the North London area, in his case  finishing at Woodhouse Road Finchley (with a temporary address in 1936 curiously at Veyges, Bystock, Exmouth, Devon; a long journey to work!)

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Royal Air Force Coastal Command, 1939-1945. Aircrew of No. 22 Squadron RAF walking away from their Bristol Beaufort Mark 1s after a mission, at North Coates, Lincolnshire. Wikipedia Public Domain source via Daventry B J (Mr), Royal Air Force official photographer – http://media.iwm.org.uk/iwm/mediaLib//51/media-51626/large.jpg Photograph CH 639 from the collections of the Imperial War Museums.

From zoo clerk to air gunner … Peachey’s life in the wartime RAF

Peachey’s 22 Squadron brought the Bristol Beaufort into operational service in 1939/ 1940: a preserved Beaufort can be seen at the RAF Museum Hendon  RAF Museum Bristol Beaufort In their illustration, Peachey’s exposed position as a dorsal (mid to back of plane) ‘rear gunner’ can again be seen.

There is an interesting Wikipedia Bristol Beaufort article describing and picturing  the Beaufort.

Several of the first production Beauforts were engaged in ‘working-up trials’ and final service entry began in late November 1939 / January 1940 (according to different sources) with 22 Squadron of RAF Coastal Command.

After this intense work up at RAF North Coates in Lincolnshire, the Squadron resumed operations in April 1940, beginning with mine-laying sorties.

The Squadron’s torpedo operations against enemy shipping used several bases during the war including RAF North Coates, RAF Thorney Island Sussex, RAF Abbotsinch and RAF Portreath and RAF St Eval in Cornwall, only a few miles from where our project base at Newquay Zoo for the World War Zoo Gardens allotment is based.

It was presumably during  these operations that ZSL London Zoo clerk and RAFVR Sergeant Leonard Peachey and his fellow Sergeants in the crew were killed on 18 December 1940.

22 Squadron was re-formed at RAF Thorney Island in 1955 as a Search and Rescue Helicopter Squadron and was finally stood down from Search and Rescue duties with the Bristow privatisation in October 2015. Further squadron information from http://www.22squadronassociation.org.uk/Hist1546.html

Peachey’s airfield is now home to the North Cotes Flying Club but the main concrete runways that Peachey’s 22 Squadron have now been removed for agriculture. Photos of the now discontinued airfield can be found on various sites including http://i388.photobucket.com/albums/oo322/Ossington_2008/NorthCoates39-94.jpg

These photos are amongst  others on the informative Airfield Information Exchange website: http://www.airfieldinformationexchange.org/community/archive/index.php/t-1068.html

I came across the Airfield Information Exchange website whilst researching a  forthcoming 2016 blogpost on British zoos that were once wartime airfields. Watch this (landing) space.

The circumstances around his air crash 18 December 1940

Researching the crash there appeared to be one most likely candidate (right type of plane, right squadron, right date) for Peachey’s fatal air crash.

Leonard Peachey and crew were the crew of 22 Squadron’s Bristol Beaufort L4516 OA-W which crashed on 18 December 1940 listed as “Marshchapel  – Engine Failure after take off for Wilhelmshaven, aircraft stalled and crashed.” (Source: http://www.bcar.org.uk/1940-incident-logs)

This plane L4516 OA-W is photographed around the same time in the Imperial War Museum archive by official RAF  war photographer  Flight Lieutenant Bertrand John Henry Daventry in 1940.

The caption for one IWM photo  (CH 1851) offers some interesting additional information:  http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205210000 :

Mark XI aerial torpedoes being taken out on trolleys towards a Bristol Beaufort Mark I, L4516 ‘OA-W’, of No. 22 Squadron RAF at North Coates, Lincolnshire. Shortly after this photograph was taken, L4516 was destroyed when it stalled after a night take-off from North Coates and hit the ground near Marshfield, detonating the mine it was carrying.© IWM (CH 1851)

Is this Peachey’s crew and aircraft? A helpful aircraft historian at the RAF Museum sent me the following helpful infomation from the first volume of Coastal Command Losses by Ross McNeill confirming that the crew of L4516 is that resting in the churchyard at North Coates after taking off at North Coates at 20.10 for the target of  Wilhelmshaven

Stalled due to an engine failure shortly after take-off and crashed at Marshchapel, Lincolnshire. The Time Impact Mine exploded setting the aircraft on fire and killing all the crew. Sergeant Renai of Wellington, New Zealand and the other crew members (Hart, How and Peachey) rest locally in St. Nicholas Churchyard, North Cotes, Lincolnshire.

Wilhelmshaven was a German naval base and port, hence the mines and torpedoes that these 22 Squadron Coastal Command aircraft were pictured carrying.

Leonard Peachey and crew / colleagues are mentioned in this RAF North Coates related blogpost, showing the original preserved airfield gates that Leonard and crew would have known.

http://2ndww.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/raf-north-coates-lincolnshire.htmlhttp://2ndww.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/raf-north-coates-lincolnshire.html

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Names of the five fallen ZSL staff from the Second World War, ZSL war memorial, London Zoo, 2010 – these worn original plaques have now been replaced with new ones.

Peachey is also remembered on the ZSL London Zoo staff war memorial WW2 plaque.

ZSL War Memorial 003small

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

Leonard Peachey and his Crew L4516 OA-W remembered, each November by London Zoo staff and 75 years on by the World War Zoo Gardens project online.

Posted in remembrance by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo

 

 


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