Posts Tagged ‘1915’

The Kings Arms – 1915

August 5, 2016
High Street, Market Lavington as sent on a postcard to Canada in 1915

High Street, Market Lavington as sent on a postcard to Canada in 1915

Here we see the High Street at Market Lavington on a postcard that was posted in 1915. The prominent building and sign, on the right, is the Kings Arms. On the right, on the corner of The Market Place, there is the Post Office which is where the chemist is now.

The Post Office stood where the cmest's shop is now

The Post Office stood where the chemist’s shop is now

This card was posted to Canada.

The card was sent to Ontario, Canada

The card was sent to Ontario, Canada

We assume Bert, who sent it, was a Canadian soldier.

The brief message is transcribed below

The brief message is transcribed below

March 9th
Dear Sam
Received your letter this evening. Many thanks for epistaxis. We are still in England billeted near this village but expect to leave shortly.

Of course, we can’t make out the epistaxis or nose bleed comment! But it seems Canadians were still around in March 1915.


Reginald Hillier

December 25, 2015

Perhaps we shouldn’t really have this photo in Market Lavington Museum for Reg was born in Devizes and moved to West Lavington with his family when he was less than ten years old. His father was postmaster and grocer at Littleton Panell. Reg followed in father’s footsteps, and no doubt took plenty of his own for he became a postman.

However, it looks as though Reg signed up for military service during World War One for here we have him in a typical posed picture.

Reg Hillier - Christmas 1915

Reg Hillier – Christmas 1915

And it looks as though Reg used this as his Christmas Card 100 years ago in 1915.

We don’t actually know much about Reg, but as we celebrate Christmas 2015, we might remember that 100 years ago things were very different.

July 1915

July 31, 2015

100 Years Ago

by Lyn Dyson

The 1st battalion of the Wiltshire regiment spent the month taking their turn in the trenches at Hooge and St Eloi, with regular rest periods at Busseboom, Abeele and Dickebusch Huts. It seems to have been a quiet spell in hot weather.

The 2nd battalion moved from Lumbres to Tournehem where they were in good billets for a few days before marching onward to Wizernes. The first part of the month was spent in exercises and marches and parades, and it was not until midnight on 22nd July that they were in the trenches again at Richebourg St Vaast. The weather, which had been hot was now very wet. After a quiet morning on 24th July they came under heavy shell fire in the afternoon, during which two men were killed, including George Love of Market Lavington. Four men were wounded.

Towards the end of the month, things were relatively quiet, with some spasmodic shelling. The men passed the time building up the trenches and thickening the parapets.

George Edward Love killed in action 24th July 1915

George was born in Market Lavington about 1888, the eldest son of general labourer George Love and his wife Sarah Ann. In 1891 the family was living in the Market Place in Market Lavington, but in 1901 they had moved to Northbrook.

In 1911 George was serving in South Africa with the 1st battalion of the Wiltshire regiment. He later transferred to the 2nd battalion, and served in France from 7th October 1914.

In July 1915 the battalion was in the trenches at Richebourg St Vaast in France. After a quiet morning on the 24th July, they came under heavy shell fire in the afternoon, and suffered two men killed and four wounded. One of the fallen was George.

Henry Hooper’s bill for booze

July 9, 2015

On the face of it, you could be tempted to say that Henry Hooper was a big time toper. The amount of ale got through looks to be enormous on this bill.

Henry Hooper received this bill for drink in 1915

Henry Hooper received this bill for drink in 1915

The ale was supplied by James Neate – in business in Market Lavington since 1852. This bill was delivered to Henry Hooper in 1915. If we have added it up correctly, Henry received 180 gallons of ale in a four month period – plus a case of whiskey.

Interesting to note that the tax cost was a third or more of the price 100 years ago. Of course, the Great War was in full swing at the time and no doubt money was needed from all sources.

The truth is that Henry Hooper was a farmer and employer of men in West Lavington. No doubt much of the ale was for the men.

Henry had been born in Imber in about 1870. His father had farmed there but Henry had set up in West Lavington. On the 1911 census he gave his address as Hunts House in West Lavington.

Re-creating the Market

May 17, 2015

In 1915 a hugely successful ‘Our Day’ sale was held in Market Lavington to raise funds for the British Red Cross.

Red Cross Market in Market Lavington - 1915

Red Cross Market in Market Lavington – 1915

This event was re-created yesterday, 16th May 2015. For all sorts of reasons things had to be different For starters there are roads out of the Market Place and they had to be kept open. Both roads would have been entirely blocked in 1915. Secondly, no building shown in that 1915 picture still remains so, inevitably, the environment looked different. A major difference is that fit young men were present to be a part of the 2015 recreation whereas in 1915 most were away from home supporting the war effort.


A similar view for the 2015 re-creation


Our photographer grabbed a high vantage point for this photo which covers a very similar area.

Red Cross nurses appeared to be out in force for the 2015 market.


They were offering people the chance to have a bandage applied so that they looked like a wounded serviceman or woman – or, indeed, a civilian.

Our curator had a head bandage and here is pretending to need the support of a nurse who is actually one of our wonderful team of stewards at the museum.


The museum was able to display photos of the 1915 event on the window of the chemist’s shop.


Our thanks go to Day Lewis Pharmacy for the use of the space which matched a window used to display notices 100 years previously.

We’d also like to thank the local folks who normally park their cars in the Market Place. As people arrived to set up stalls, the whole area was completely devoid of cars – a real testament to the support our village gives to local events.

And thanks must also go to the members of the First World War group who worked tirelessly to make the event a success. We can only wonder as to whether the event in 1915 was fun. The recreation certainly was although moments had the solemnity that perhaps was felt at the original event.

Let’s finish off with some more of those delightful nurses.




Canadian Soldiers at the Green Dragon

March 12, 2015

The powers that were may have suggested that the conflict we now call the First World War would be over by Christmas, but of course it wasn’t. That means we are still marking 100 years of the First World War now and will mark different events right through until the boys came home.

Or perhaps that should read, ‘until the boys went home’ for many of the fighting men were not UK citizens. Today we look at a photo, sadly with a bit of damage, which reminds us just how many men from Canada were involved. This is a group shot of members of the 8th Battery of the Canadian Field Artillery and it was taken at the back of The Green Dragon as the caption shows.

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

The photograph itself is fairly intact.

The men are in the yard at the back of the Green Dragon in Market Lavington

The men are in the yard at the back of the Green Dragon in Market Lavington

You can click on this picture and that of the names, below to see a much larger image.

The photographers are clearly named.


They were Burgess Bros of Lavington.

It is the area with the names of the men that has suffered most, but even so, most are clear to read.


The information below comes from a Libraries and Archives of Canada website at .

8th Battery, Canadian Field Artillery

Background Information Organized in November 1914 in England under the command of Major S.B. Anderson, most of the personnel formerly belonged to the 19th Field Battery (Moncton), Non-Permanent Active Militia.

Arrived in France in February 1915. 2nd Brigade, 1st Canadian Divisional Artillery. Transferred to 12th Brigade in June 1916. One section absorbed by 5th Battery and one by 7th Battery on 21 March 1917. Battery ceased to exist 24 March 1917. Disbanded by Privy Council Order 3417 of 7 January 1918. Perpetuated by 8th (Moncton) Field Battery.

 Mascot: bear (“Winnie”) presented to London Zoo, Jan. 1915 (GAQ 11-22).

Now that last sentence fascinates, for the mascot bear was the one that a certain Christopher Robin Milne fell in love with at London Zoo and, as a result, named his Teddy Bear  ‘Winnie the Pooh’.

100 Years Ago

February 28, 2015

February 1915

The 1st battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment were in the trenches at Kemmel, about six miles south west of Ypres, with regular periods of rest at Locre. Things remained fairly quiet, and although there was daily shelling or sniper fire, and a good deal of rifle fire at night, there were few casualties.

The 2nd Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment was at Fleurbaix, in France. All was pretty quiet there too, but the battalion HQ at Fleurbaix was shelled on 19th February, and rendered uninhabitable. They took over a large house near the Brigade HQ the next day, but this was bombed on 22nd February, and three men were wounded.

There were no casualties from any of our villages during February.

Lyn Dyson 01380 813943  e-mail:

100 Years Ago

January 31, 2015

January 1915 by Lyn Dyson

The 1st Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment spent the whole of January 1915 in the trenches Kemmel, Belgium, with regular periods of rest in Locre. The pattern was to spend  four days and nights in the trenches, followed by about four nights of rest. Although there was regular shelling from the enemy, and several men were killed, it was generally considered to be a quiet time. The weather was bad, and the trenches became very wet. Pumps were used to try and control the amount of water in the trenches. Men in the front line trenches during the day were generally relieved during the night. It was found that if they didn’t do this, there was an increased amount of sickness amongst the troops.

The billets for the rest days were about three quarters of a mile behind the front line. When resting every effort was made to keep the men fit. They had hot baths and clean washing when possible; they did short route marches, fatigues work and had some classes of instruction.

Even during this relatively quiet period, during January the battalion lost 18 men killed and 16 wounded. The worst day was 23rd January when they suffered heavy shell fire, the trenches were damaged, and eight men, including William Plank were killed.

Meanwhile the 2nd battalion was in the trenches at Fleurbaix, in France. There was a lot of sickness amongst the men, mainly from the recent volunteers of Kitchener’s army. The regular soldiers and reservists were said to stand up to the hardships of trench warfare with greater fortitude and even cheerfulness. Here too the trenches were in poor condition, with the men constantly working pumps to try to keep the water out. At times there was up to four feet of water. Towards the end of the month, conditions improved with the use of wooden platforms built by the Pioneers.

The 2nd Battalion followed a pattern of up to a week in the trenches followed by four days’ rest. A Divisional Football League was drawn up and the battalion played their first match, against RAMC, on 28th January. They lost by seven goals to one.  In the evening, the battalion put on a concert which was described as fairly successful, and some talented performers were noted for future reference.

William Plank killed in action 23rd January 1915

William was born about 1882 in Lavington (which one?), the son of William Plank, a farm carter born in Rushall, and Mary Anne who came from Urchfont. William was the oldest of six children.

The family was quite mobile, spending time in Etchilhampton, and South Wales before settling in Rowde.

In 1907 William was working as an agricultural labourer for D W Butler in Rowde. The family was living at Rowdeford Farm Cottages. At this time William enlisted in the 3rd battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment, but his period of service lasted only twenty five days as he bought himself out for the sum of £1. He was given a good character reference.

William joined Kitchener’s army and arrived on the Western Front on 4th January 1915, where he joined the 1st battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment at Kemmel in Belgium. The battalion was already well ensconced in the trenches, with periods of respite during which the fusiliers took up their positions.

Following one such rest period in Locre from 16th to 19th January, the men marched back the two miles to the trenches on 20th January. It was reported that the trenches were in a shocking state when they took them over from the 5th fusiliers.

Over the next few days they suffered heavy shelling and on 23rd January the trenches were hit by shellfire from 6” Howitzers at 12 noon and 4pm. Throughout the night there was continuous rifle fire. On this day the battalion lost eight men killed and four wounded. William Plank was one of those killed in action.

William was buried at the Wytschaete Military Cemetery and is remembered on the war memorials at All Cannings and Rowde.

The Market Place in 1915

January 6, 2015

We have used this picture before on this blog – about five years ago when the blog was young. As many more people look at our blog now, it seemed worth repeating this image – particularly as we are now fairly confident we can date it to 1915.

Back in November 1915 Market Lavington held ‘Our Day’. This was a fund raising market, held in the Market Place, with the idea being to raise cash for the British Red cross to help fund care and treatment for servicemen and others in difficulty.

We are pretty confident that this image shows goods arriving to be sold in the market.

Goods arriving for sale in the Market Place - November 1915

Goods arriving for sale in the Market Place – November 1915

We understand that the First World War Group in Lavington are planning to recreate this event, more or less 100 years on – but in the summer which might seem more suited to an outdoor market.

Points of interest include signs on Market Place buildings.

Market Place signes for Tom Haines and Counties Steam Laundry

Market Place signes for Tom Haines and Counties Steam Laundry

We have a sign for T K Haines – Tom Haines and he certainly had premises at that spot in 1915. The other sign looks to be for Counties Steam Laundry. We still don’t know any more about this. Was this an agent’s sign? Or was the laundry actually in the Market Place here?

Reverend Sturton and M.r Walton were officers for some kind of club

Reverend Sturton and M.r Walton were officers for some kind of club

We know nothing of the organisation with members in the corner shop window. Mr Sturton was the Market Lavington vicar and Mr Walton was the proprietor of his department store centred around the crossroads.

Can you name any of these people from 100 years ago?

Can you name any of these people from 100 years ago?

No, we can’t name any of the people in the photo.

This photo is also a reminder that the First World War continued 100 years ago. You can still read one man’s view of it on the Jack Welch Diaries (there is a link on this blog). And we’ll continue to have our monthly war report from Lyn Dyson.

Arthur Walton – Poultry Farmer

June 23, 2014

Much can be discovered from bill heads and letter heads and here is something we only knew about when we were given the opportunity to copy a collection of such bill and letter heads recently. It concerns the activities of Arthur Walton.

We knew of Arthur as the owner of the Lavington Supply Stores. This was Market Lavington’s very own department store, with a separate branch in Easterton and another at Pewsey.

We did not know of Arthur Walton, the poultry farmer which this letter head shows. It was sent on February 19th 1915.

Letter from Wiltshire Down Poultry Farm signed by Arthur Walton

Letter from Wiltshire Down Poultry Farm signed by Arthur Walton

The Wiltshire Down Poultry Farm seemingly shares its phone number with Mr Walton’s shop and this letter is signed A M Walton. He must have been renting a property from Mr Holloway at West Lavington. Arthur is having a gripe about the state of the building – presumably where his poultry man lived.

The letter is about the cottage at Brazen Bottom

The letter is about the cottage at Brazen Bottom

Brazen Bottom was one of the hill farms. Much of it still exists, but it is under military occupation now