Posts Tagged ‘Kew WW1’

Remembering the March 1918 German Spring Offensive

March 21, 2018

Dawn on the 21st March 1918 saw a surprise German attack on a massive scale using specially trained Stormtroopers and almost early Blitzkrieg tactics. This caught the British and Allied troops unprepared and the German Army made huge gains in captured land, prisoners and equipment.

The Kaiser’s Battle, as it became known, saw Field Marshall Haig issue his “Backs to the Wall” order on April 11th 1918 which ends dramatically:

“ … Many amongst us now are tired. To those I would say that Victory will belong to the side which holds out the longest. The French Army is moving rapidly and in great force to our support.”

“There is no other course open to us but to fight it out. Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end. The safety of our homes and the Freedom of mankind alike depend upon the conduct of each one of us at this critical moment.”

http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/backstothewall.htm

Into this chaos were flung scratch regiments of any men available to fight, including troops who normally served behind the lines. Artillery lines were overrun, base camps and supply lines.

During this fighting two  Kew Gardens staff  James William Clark  and Charles Hubert Brown were killed both on 26 March 1918.

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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Charles Brown and James Clark’s names on the Kew Gardens Staff WW1 Memorial 

Gunner / Private Charles Hubert Brown, March 26 1918
Private Charles Hubert Brown, Royal Garrison Artillery (and Royal Sussex Regiment) died on the same day as a fellow Kew Gardener and gunner, James William Clark (see below).

Brown entered Kew from the gardens of Court Close, Eckington in September 1914, possibly as result of vacancies created by enlistment of Kew men. He had been rejected as medically unfit for the army owing to heart trouble. He tried to enlist twice more whilst at Kew, finally succeeding at the end of 1916. He died in hospital in France on the 26 March, 1918 as a result of shrapnel wounds to the head, according to his Kew Guild Journal 1919 obituary.

In the Kew Guild Journal it mentions “we had no further news of his movements” – so maybe this is why his regiment varies in listings. Charles Hubert Brown, 290133, 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment died on 26 March 1918 and is buried in plot VII.AA. Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension.

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Gunner  James William Clark, 26 March 1918
Gunner James William Clark, RMA/1656(S), Royal Marine Artillery, Howitzer Brigade, died 26 March 1918, aged 26. He is buried at Grave Reference VI. D. 8, Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery, Arras. He joined the Royal Marine Artillery in January 1916.

Clark is listed as the son of James William and Elizabeth Clark, of The Gardens, Torre Abbey, Torquay where James also worked before Kew amongst a number of Torquay posts at Braddon’s Hill Nursery and Normount Gardens.

He was born on August 24, 1891. Clark entered Kew in January 1913, working as a seed collector in the Kew Arboretum before working as Sub-Foreman Decorative Indoors at the end of 1914.

Clark is also remembered on his local primary school memorial, which Margaret Forbes-Hamilton and other ‘churchyard friends’ in Torquay are having restored. This memorial stone of Carrera marble in the churchyard in Torre to the fallen from the local primary school includes James William Clark, who was a young gardener at Kew and whose father was the gardener at Torre Abbey.

Clark was an only child, though had many cousins, and his parents must have been devastated at his death; the inscription on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone chosen by his family reads: “Thy will be Done. Dear Boy.”

Looking at the Graves Registration documents and Faubourg cemetery records for Plot VI or 6, Row D amongst the several thousand headstones and many thousands more names on the Arras Memorial (over 37,000 names), it is possible to see that James Clark lies in a row with comrades in a small cluster of burials from No. 6 Gun, Howitzer Brigade, Royal Marine Artillery who all died on 26 March 1918.

Clark lies alongside Gunner A.E. Skuse (or Skuce), Pte E.Jones, A. Lambert (Armourer’s Crew Royal Navy “HMS Excellent”) showing the strange mixture of units, ranks and nationalities (West Country English, Welsh, Scottish) that made up the crew of this one gun in a strange Royal Marine or Navy unit. Other Officers and Gunners from the Royal Garrison Artillery Siege Battery brigade are buried in the same row from the same fighting.

Remembering all the men lost on both sides in the March 1918 offensive.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens, Newquay Zoo, 21 and 26 March 1928 / 2018.

 

 

 

 

Gertrude Jekyll’s Google Doodle

November 29, 2017

google doodle

Great to see a colourful Google Doodle celebrating Gertrude Jekyll (rhymes with treacle), famous Victorian and Edwardian garden designer on her 174th birthday.

Gertrude Jekyll was a friend of Herbert Cowley, a slightly forgotten garden writer, photographer  and magazine editor, who trained at Kew Gardens and was invalided out of the WW1 trenches with serious injuries.

Herbert Cowley died  in Newton Abbot, Devon 50 years ago this November 1967.

Herbert Cowley 1885-1967

Herbert Cowley (1885-1967) from his Kew Guil journal obituary 1968

Herbert Cowley (1885 – 1967) took photographs for Gertrude Jekyll including many of her in her Munstead garden. this like many late WW1 gardens was sacrificing sections to produce food for the war effort.

The Fate of The South Border

The Fate of The South Border, Gertrude Jekyll, January 20, 1917, The Garden magazine

The Google Doodle of Miss Jekyll, featuring her tiny portrit amongst colourful borders of flowers, reminds me of a lovely article by Judith Tankard for Country Life (a magazine that Herbert Cowley worked and wrote for), blending the famous image of Gertrude Jekyll in her Munstead Garden in 1918 with how it has been restored today.

gertrude jekyll

Gertrude Jekyll photographed by Herbert Cowley, back in her garden in this article / photograph by Judith Tankard in Country Life, 27 April 2011  

http://judithtankard.com/_pdf/contry_lif_427_11.pdf

 

Gertrude Jekyll would be involved after WW1 with architect Edwin Lutyens and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission  in the planting and design in some of the many cemeteries they maintain for Allied casualties, creating that little bit of a country garden or English garden all over the world.

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

Gertrude Jekyll has an official website http://gertrudejekyll.co.uk/

Herbert Cowley does not have an official website, however some of his books on Alpine or Rock Gardening are still in print almost a hundred years later.

There wasn’t much material pre-2013 about Herbert Cowley, lots about Gertrude Jekyll, so I researched enough to write this blog article and the Wikipedia article https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Cowley.

Gertrude Jekyll, happy birthday! 

Herbert Cowley, remembered 50 years after his death.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo, 29 November 2017.

 

 

Remembering Herbert Southgate of Kew Gardens died WW1 Gaza 19 April 1917

April 19, 2017

 

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Herbert Southgate of  Royal Botanic Gardens Kew –  Remembered on the WW1 section Kew Gardens staff memorial (Image Source: Mark Norris, World War Zoo gardens project, Newquay Zoo)

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Fellow Norfolk regiment soldiers Foyster and Snelling who died on the same day lie buried near Herbert Southgate, Gaza Cemetery. Source: CWGC

Serjeant Herbert William Leonard Southgate, 240701, ‘A’ Company, 1st/ 5th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment, died on 19 April 1917, aged 28.

He is buried at Grave Reference XXX. F. I, Gaza War Cemetery, Israel / Palestine area. http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/651381/SOUTHGATE,%20HERBERT%20WILLIAM%20LEONARD
Previous to training and working at Kew Gardens in 1910-12 and 1913, he had worked at Raynham Hall Norfolk and Westonbirt, Gloucestershire. http://www.holfordtrust.com And http://www.hha.org.uk/Property/2673/Westonbirt-House–and–Gardens

He was noted as an orchid specialist. He also worked on The Gardener’s Magazine for a brief time.

He most likely died during the Second Battle Of Gaza (17-19 April, 1917) fighting against the Turks and was posted missing until his body was found seven months later and buried by British troops. Gaza was finally recaptured in November 1917. Herbert served with his younger brother, one of many Soi.

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Herbert Southgate is surrounded by fellow 1/5th Norfolks, killed on the same day in Gaza. Source; CWGC

 

Born on 19 September 1888, he is listed as the son of Herbert William and Hannah Southgate, of East Raynham, Fakenham, Norfolk (hence enlisting in a Norfolk Regiment).

The inscription on his headstone from his family reads “Thanks be to God who giveth us victory through Jesus Christ”.

Herbert Southgate, remembered at Kew Gardens and through the work of CWGC a 100 years after his death. 

southgate gaza cemetery CWGC

Herbert Southgate is buried in Gaza Cemetry. Source: CWGC

Read more about the staff of Kew Gardens who served in WW1:

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

1/4 and 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment

http://www.longlongtrail.co.uk/army/regiments-and-corps/the-british-infantry-regiments-of-1914-1918/norfolk-regiment/

1/4th Battalion
August 1914 : in Norwich. Part of Norfolk and Suffolk Brigade, East Anglian Division.
May 1915 : the formation was retitled as 163rd Brigade, 54th (East Anglian) Division.
29 July 1915 : embarked at Liverpool and moved to Gallipoli via Mudros. Landed at Suvla Bay on 10 August 1915.
19 December 1915 : evacuated from Gallipoli and arrived at Alexandria. Served in Egypt and Palestine thereafter.

1/5th Battalion – which Southgate served in.
August 1914 : in East Dereham. Part of Norfolk and Suffolk Brigade, East Anglian Division. Record same as 1/4th Battalion.

So Kew’s Sergeant  Herbert Southgate may have served at Gallipoli also.

You can also read more about the Battle for Gaza where Southgate and many other Norfolk soldiers lost their lives on this interesting website:

http://greatwarliveslost.com/2017/04/18/thursday-19-april-1917-we-lost-2083/

I was surprised to discover the similarities with the Western Front – gas and tanks:

In keeping with the “Western Front” flavor of the battle, the British introduce poison gas and tanks to the eastern battlefield for the first time. Two thousand gas shells and six tanks are available. While the tanks are certain to be deployed, doubts remain about whether to use gas due to operational concerns.

It is estimated that the Turkish forces occupying the Gaza-Beersheba defenses number between 20,000 and 25,000. As the infantry attack is about to commence, the guns concentrate on the Ali Muntar strong point, south east of Gaza. This includes the firing of gas shells for the first time.

One result of the prolonged bombardment is to provide the Turks with ample warning that a major attack is imminent, giving them plenty of time to finalize their defenses.      (Great War Lives Lost website entry for 19 April 2017)

Blogposted by Mark Norris, World War Zoo Gardens project, Newquay Zoo

Remembering F.T. Pursell Kew Gardens WW1 died 4 April 1917

April 4, 2017

Frederick Thomas Pursell or Purssell, died 4 April 1917
Gunner / Sergeant Frederick T Purssell or Pursell, 51510, Royal Field Artillery, 70th Bty. 34th Army Brigade, died 4 April 1917 in Ypres.

He is buried at Grave Reference IX. F. 16, Vlamerthinge New Military Cemetery, Belgium. Just outside the normal range of German shell fire, the village was used both by artillery units (such as Pursell belonged to) and field ambulances. There is no family inscription on his headstone, pictured on the TWGPP website.
Listed as one of “six Members of the labouring staff killed in action” in the Kew Guild Journal 1919 Roll of Honour. In the 1911 census Purssell is listed as a Stable Hand (Student Part Time) at the “Royal Gardens Kew”. He was born in Surrey around 1894 to a father Roger Purssell who was a bricklayer, living at Pond Cottage in Kew.

CWGC Graves registration documents reveal that he was killed or died on the same day as 3 others of his 34 Army Brigade Royal Field Artillery colleagues, Wainwright, West and Cronin lie buried alongside him.

Remembered on the Kew Gardens staff war memorial – read more at:

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

Remembering the Somme Battle of Thiepval 1916

September 26, 2016

 

cwgc thiepval

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/

wilfred-omer-cooper

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.

kew divers

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.


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