Posts Tagged ‘1917’

Believed to be Reginald Harry Burnett

July 8, 2016

This rather careworn postcard of a First World War soldier has recently come our way. The soldier is not named but we believe he is Reginald Harry Burnett of Easterton.

Reginald Harry Burnett - World War One

Reginald Harry Burnett – World War One

We can see various hand written notes around the edge. At the bottom it says ‘wounded May 3rd died May 7th 1917. Up the side it says, ‘died a prisoner of war on his way to Germany.


How do you identify an unknown soldier? The back of the card didn’t help much. It is by Gale’s Studios with a branch in Manchester.

Our first thought was to look up all those Commonwealth soldiers who died on that single day. There were 836 of them! But we have Richard Broadhead’s book of Devizes and District soldiers who died or were killed in World War One. It came up trumps for us and reminded us that we had featured Reginald before – but without this photo. Click here to see the old post. There you can find Reginald’s military history as well as a family photo.

Now of course, there could have been other men who were wounded on the 3rd May and died a prisoner of war on the 7th. But this photo was in the former home of Tom Gye who employed two of Reg’s brothers. We are sure the Gyes took an interest in the Burnetts. It seems reasonable that they had a card of Reginald.


A tremendous place

December 27, 2015

Our tremendous place is Market Lavington Manor House. It was described as such in a postcard sent in 1917. This is another item given to the museum in the run up to Christmas and here is the picture.

Market Lavington Manor on a card posted in 1917

Market Lavington Manor on a card posted in 1917

The photo probably predates 1917 and may well be Edwardian in origin. The style of caption certainly makes it look like an E Burgess card.


This card was posted in 1917 – just about readable on the postmark. It looks as though it was posted in Littleton Panell.

Postmark - enough to guess at and addressee

Postmark – enough to guess at and addressee

Of course, we have no idea who Mrs H Richardson was.

The simple message to her says:

The message sent to Mrs H Richardson of Longsight in Manchester

The message sent to Mrs H Richardson of Longsight in Manchester

Cliff and his crowd are on the 3rd floor of the Manor on the reverse side. It is a tremendous place and has not been occupied for a good number of years. Yours Bert.

Of course, we do not know who Cliff and his crowd were, but probably they were soldiers in training for World War One duties.

Bert was right about the building not having been occupied in any permanent way. Charles Awdry, the owner, died in 1912 and the building was largely unoccupied from then on. We have seen evidence of the building in use in 1914 as a hospital for Canadian soldiers and it seems likely that ‘a tremendous place’ would have found other military uses.

But possibly the grounds would not have looked as well tended as they do in the postcard picture.

Alfie buys some land

September 28, 2015

There’s no doubt that Alfie Alexander was one of the characters in our part of the world. He had an uncanny ability to hobnob with the great and good whilst also being something of a radical in many ways. He was always on the lookout for ways to earn just that bit more and one thing he did was refuse removal from the village. Rumour had it that he used to dump the refuse on a patch of land he had ‘up at the sands’ so perhaps this document tells us where the land was.

Let’s take a look at a few details from this document.

Document showing Alfred Alexander owns land in 1931

Document showing Alfred Alexander owns land in 1931

We can see it is dated 1931 and is a document showing that Alfie had purchased a plot of land.

These legal documents do not lend themselves well to the blog format so we’ll show a bit and explain the rest.


This is far too small to read, but as ever, you can click on the image to open an enlarged version.

This tells us that Alfie actually bought this land in 1917 from a person called George Grant Stevenson. Alfie paid £425 for it.

The document lists other transfers of ownership before this date and financial arrangements from 1917 onwards.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the document is the little map, drawn out on tracing paper.

Map showing the location of the land

Map showing the location of the land

From this we see that Alfie acquired the parts shaded in pink. This area lines Ledge Hill near the junction with King’s Road and thus had good access.

It could have been the ideal place to dump rubbish and it might have pleased Alfie’s radical views that it was close by the Manor Gate House.


Private Percival Lorenzo Oram

March 10, 2013

We have recently been sent this information from a relative of Percy.

Private Percival Lorenzo Oram was  no. 102811 of the 166th Battalion Machine Gun Corps. (Formerly in the Wiltshire Regiment.)

He was killed in action 31st July 1917 near Wieltje North East of Ypres Belgium on the first day of the Third battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) aged 20.

He was the only son of William & Louisa Oram of the New Inn (now the Drummer Boy) public house in Market Lavington.  Percy was employed by the Great Western Railway Company as a clerk in the traffic department at Trowbridge. He has no known grave and is remembered at the Menin Gate and on the Market Lavington War Memorial.

In August 1918 his parents put the following in a local paper:

When the roll is called up yonder

And our Saviour counts the brave

Our son shall be amongst them

For his precious life he gave

No loved one stood beside him

When he gave his last farewell

Not a word of comfort could he have

From those who loved him so well

No-one knows the silent heartache

Only those can tell

Who have lost their loved and dearest

Without saying Farewell.

Peercival Lorenzo Oram of Market Lavington

Peercival Lorenzo Oram of Market Lavington