Posts Tagged ‘First World War’

47th Canada Battalion

August 4, 2016

Here we have yet another metal detector find by our old friend Norman. This was found in Market Lavington and dates to the First World War. It is a shoulder flash for the 47th Canada Battalion.

47th Canada shoulder flash dating from 1915/16

47th Canada shoulder flash dating from 1915/16

The battalion had quite a short history as outlined here (with thanks to Wikipedia).

The 47th Battalion (British Columbia), CEF, was an infantry battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. The 47th Battalion was authorized on 7 November 1914 and embarked for Britain on 13 November 1915. It disembarked in France on 11 August 1916, where it fought as part of the 10th Infantry Brigade, 4th Canadian Division in France and Flanders until the end of the war. The battalion was disbanded on 30 August 1920.

The 47th Battalion recruited in New Westminster, Vancouver and Victoria and was mobilized at New Westminster, British Columbia.

This shoulder flash was lost between November 1915 and August 1916 when this battalion was in England. We assume they trained on Salisbury Plain and clearly at least one man found time to visit Market Lavington.

100 Years Ago

June 30, 2016

June 1916 by Lyn Dyson

It was the calm before the storm.

The 1st battalion of the Wiltshires spent the month training and moving. They had instruction in open warfare, bayonet fighting, and advance artillery formation. They also received re-inforcements. Several days were spent in marching and at the end of the month they were at Varennes.

On 11th June the 2nd battalion completed the fire trench which they had started to dig in May, the battalion having worked night and day to do this. They were relieved on 12th June. They spent a week training in training trenches for special operations. And on 24th June they were back in the trenches. Up to the end of the month they mounted a constant bombardment of the enemy, and encountered little retaliation. The Flying Corps was very active over the area, fighting off the odd German plane, and shooting down balloons.

The 5th battalion spent the whole month at Sheikh Saad and saw no enemy action. On 22nd June there was a court of enquiry into the death of one of the officers, and this found that he committed suicide in his tent while of unsound mind. During the last week of the month they were having problems with marauding Arabs who were stealing their rifles. To prevent this happening they resorted to wrapping them in waterproof sheeting at night and laying them in a shallow trench covered with earth. The men then had to sleep on them. By doing this they lost only one rifle; that was on the night of 28th/29th June when Arabs got into the camp and wounded one of the men before stealing his rifle.

It was another quiet month for the 6th battalion. They did a lot of training during the days and there were working parties at night, usually digging. At the end of the month they were in Albert.

At 4am on 5th June, the 7th battalion marched out of Salonika headed for Dremiglava where they started to build a road to Kukus. The weather was very hot. The road making work was stopped at 6pm on 14th June, and at 7.30pm on 18th June the men marched to Summer Hill Camp on the main Salonika Road, where they remained for the rest of the month, undergoing training in continued very hot weather.


There were no casualties from our villages during June.

Another item of commemorative ware

June 7, 2016

Our President was delighted when he saw this in a flea market in Devizes. He couldn’t resist the temptation to buy it for the museum.

It is a piece of Arcadian Ware in the shape of a cannon.

Commemorative ware cannon

Commemorative ware cannon

It carries a crest and the name Market Lavington on the front of it.

'Don't point that at me!'. OK only to show the Market Lavington crest and name.

‘Don’t point that at me!’. OK only to show the Market Lavington crest and name.

The image in the crest is based on a photo of Market Lavington Church.

This item was made for sale in the shop of A Burgess and Son, Photographer etc. of Market Lavington.

Arcadian Ware china made for A Burgess and Son of market Lavington

Arcadian Ware china made for A Burgess and Son of Market Lavington

Now A Burgess was Alf and he died in 1918 which gives a good clue to the age of the cannon. But another clue is written on top.

War Edition ware - made between 1914 and 1918

War Edition ware – made between 1914 and 1918

This is ‘war edition’ and that refers to World War One. The item was made, no doubt amid patriotic fervour between 1914 and 18. It is part of a large range of war appropriate crested ware that was produced.

For the moment, this item can be seen in our ‘New Acquisitions’ display. Later we’ll have to decide whether it goes with commemorative china or First World War.

Many thanks Peter, for finding and acquiring this lovely item.

Jack Welch’s luggage label

May 7, 2016

Market Lavington man Jack Welch was a volunteer or reservist soldier before the outbreak of World War One. He served in the 1st/4th Wilts regiment.

On the outbreak of war this regiment was sent to India to replace regular soldiers, fully trained, who could come back to Europe to engage in the fighting in France and Belgium.

Jack spent several years in India and you can read the letters he sent home on

In amongst a collection of items recently given to us we came across a luggage label which we imagine Jack made. It takes the form of a piece of sheet metal into which a destination or identity card can be slotted. It has a ring for allowing it to be tied to luggage.

Jack Welch's luggage label has probably went from Market Lavington to India and back during World War One

Jack Welch’s luggage label has probably went from Market Lavington to India and back during World War One

In this case the card gave his name, regimental number and rank and also said he was in C Company. Jack has also embossed his name into the metal – readable from the back.

The back of the frame with embossed information

The back of the frame with embossed information

That’s clear to read – number 1267 Welch of the ¼ Wilts Regiment.

We can imagine this label has been to India and back – a well-travelled item.

A First World War romance

January 5, 2016

At the end of 1914 and into 1915 Canadian soldiers were training on Salisbury Plain. It was to be expected that romances would spring up between the Canadian men and local girls. One local girl who fell for a Canadian was Dorothy Merritt of Church Street in Market Lavington. Dorothy was born in 1896 and was the daughter of John who led the Market Lavington band for 60 years. Dorothy would have been 18 in 1914, no doubt just the age to fall for the charms of a young Canadian soldier.

We have a copy of this card sent to Dorothy.

Card sent to Dorothy Merritt of Market Lavington by a Canadian soldier

Card sent to Dorothy Merritt of Market Lavington by a Canadian soldier

Clearly this was posted in the UK for it has a British stamp but the postmark is partly unreadable. Interesting that the address is just name, village, county.

"I can't get away this week'

“I can’t get away this week’

It sounds as though romance will need to be deferred for a while. Actually, the tone is hardly romantic and nor was the card which showed a personage at the embarkation camp of Valcartier in Canada.

The card front

The card front

We think this romance was to end very sadly. The same collection of Merritt memorabilia had this photo.


The back has a caption on it.


Tim my Canadian
Died of wounds Netley Hospital

It is all so poignant.

What happened to Dorothy? We’d love to know.

Unveiling the Stone

May 18, 2015

Yesterday we looked at the re-creation of the 1915 Red Cross Market in the village.

The market finished and crowds went to the official unveiling of the First World War Remember Stone situated on The Green, just outside the church. And that’s what this blog post is about.

The event started with the delightful youngsters from St Barnabas School performing some Maypole dances.

Maypole dancing on The Green before the unveiling of the stone - 16th May 2015

Maypole dancing on The Green before the unveiling of the stone – 16th May 2015

We were lucky with our weather and members of the audience could sit and lounge on the grassy slopes.


The action then turned to the stone which had very largely been thought of and acquired and got to the site by villager Mike. The stone was suitably draped in the union flag weighted down by members of the 1st World War Commemoration Committee.


It is intended to be, not just an ornament and simple memorial, but also a seat commanding a fine view over the vale to Salisbury Plain.

Frank, the chairman of the group arrived and by now the official unveilers had taken seats on the stone.


Frank delivered a brief speech in which he explained why and how the stone had been organised.



The crowd looked and listened attentively.


Then came the moment of unveiling which was done by Emma Cheetham who was voted the Community Minded Person of the Year for this year assisted by Taylor and Finlay Kiddle whose Great Great Great Uncle James had been killed in the 1914-18 War.



Then our Rector, James Campbell, added a few well chosen words before people made their way into the church to see the Wiltshire at War exhibition.


Many people felt that this day, May 16th 2015, was history in the making in Market Lavington. The remember stone should last for hundreds of years and serve as a lasting reminder of the sacrifices made in that Great War, 100 years ago.

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’.

The arrival of the Commemoration Stone

August 2, 2014

One of the ideas that the First World War Commemoration Group had was to place a stone, which could be used as a seat on the green just outside the church. In the fullness of time the stone will have a suitable inscription to mark the centenary of World War One and there will then be an official unveiling ceremony.

At the museum we decided the arrival of the stone was history in the making and we were there to record the scene.

Here comes the stone – into the Community Hall area.

image002 Mike Bridgeman watches, ready to tell the driver where the stone is to go. The stone was very much Mike’s idea and he has done the organising that has meant the stone has arrived.


The stone is quite a beast!


Mike and driver discuss tactics.



The stone is transferred to the front loader for the journey up to the site.



Up the path…



…and onto the green.


The stone is lifted off the pallet



It is slowly edged into place


and when all is right it is lowered.


Spot on!


It seemed fitting that Mike should be the first person to try the stone as a seat

We know that the First World War Commemoration Group wish to thank Martin Bodman for all he has done to help them get the stone into place.


First World War Medals

May 14, 2014

If you joined up in 1914 for World War One then the chances are you were awarded three medals – the 1914 star, the war medal and the victory medal. These three medals are very common and got given common names, Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.

If you didn’t join up in 1914 you just got the two medals without the star and these were sometimes given the alternative names of Mutt and Jeff.

These medals are common and do not normally command all that much value.

We were very recently given a Mutt and Jeff pair.

Victory and War medal from the First World War

Victory and War medal from the First World War

There we have the victory medal on the left and the war medal on the right.

These medals have the name of the recipient embossed around the edge.

These medals were awarded to W G Crouch

These medals were awarded to W G Crouch

These two bear the name of 30114 private W G Crouch of the Grenadier Guards.

We are not 100% certain who W G Crouch was but we can take a guess. We know they were in the possession of Rose Crouch who lived on High Street in Market Lavington. Her husband had been a village policeman and his full name seems to have been Henry William George Crouch. He was born in 1899 so would not have been of an age to sign up until 1917/18. He would not have been awarded a 1914 star. So we think this was the man who received these medals, but there is a chance it might have been his father.

Any further information would be gratefully received.