Posts Tagged ‘world war 1’

Returning heroes

August 7, 2016

Huge numbers of men were killed in World War One but the majority of our soldiers, sailors and airmen did return home. In Market Lavington and Easterton a day in 1919 was made the welcome home day with a meal and a big group photograph. We have a framed copy of the photo.

Returning soldiers, sailors and airmen of World War One

Returning soldiers, sailors and airmen of World War One

It can be hard to photograph a picture under glass, particularly head on, but here’s a best attempt.

Can any be identified?

Can any be identified?

We can do a bit of a zoom on this – in two parts.image005


The caption on the back of the frame gives one bit of information – but we are still unable to be certain as to which man in the photo it refers to.

The only name given with the photo

The only name given with the photo

19th from left, 2nd row from back is Thomas Maynard of the Coldstream Guards and Easterton

Any further information would be gratefully received.


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.

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 message from King and Queen

March 20, 2016

Christmas 1914 was supposed to have seen the war over. When it clearly wasn’t the ‘Royals’ thought they should send something to all servicemen. The King and Queen (George and Mary) sent a simple message with slight variations.

One of these cards was in the collection recently shared with us. It must have been sent to a member of the Coleman family but we are not sure which one.

Card Front

Card Front

The front carries an image of King and Queen.

The King is dressed in his army uniform which means this card was sent to a soldier and not a sailor.

The message on the back is signed by King and Queen. It may look handwritten but this is, of course, a print.

Card back

Card back

The message ‘May you soon be restored to health’ indicates that the recipient was sick or had been injured at the time the card was sent.

Of course, we’d love to know just which Coleman received this card, but we do know it definitely came to a Market Lavington man.

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.

November 1914

November 30, 2014

100 Years Ago by Lyn Dyson

1st Battalion

At the beginning of November the 1st battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment was in Locre, Belgium where they were joined by the French and briefly by the 2nd battalion of the Wiltshires. They were to hold themselves in readiness to support the line. The 1st Wiltshires had lost about 350 men and 14 officers, either killed or temporarily out of action after the battle at Neuve Chapelle at the end of October.

On 5th November they marched to Hooge. The roads were very muddy and congested with traffic. They were put in reserve in dugouts in a wood. Over the next few days they found the dugouts were useless against high explosive and common shell, but were good protection from shrapnel. The mornings were foggy, and things were relatively quiet. They made the occasional foray looking for snipers, but found none; there was regular shelling and several men were killed or wounded. On 15th November it started snowing, and the trenches were very wet. On 17th November the battalion executed a bayonet charge when 150 Germans reached their trenches. They were driven out, but 50 Germans were killed and many others were wounded. At the end of that day the battalion had lost 11 killed and 15 wounded.

The weather turned very cold, with snow and freezing conditions. On 21st November after 15 days in the trenches, the battalion marched twelve miles from Hooge to Westoutre, where they were expecting more comfortable billets and some rest. On the way they were shelled by light shrapnel, which caused considerable consternation, and eight men were killed, including Albert Fiddler from Great Cheverell. Twenty one men were wounded.

The battalion spent a week in billets in Westoutre, resting and re-organizing. On 30th November they were back in trenches at Kemmel.

2nd Battalion

The 2nd battalion of the Wiltshire regiment began the month in Ypres. On 3rd November they were ordered to reserve trenches at Gheluvelt, from where after three days they marched to Grapperies in France, where they rested for two nights and then moved on to Ploegsteert in Belgium where they occupied support trenches for two nights.

On 12th November they marched to Bailleul in France where they were in billets. Two men from the battalion were court martialled for deserting. They were sentenced to two years imprisonment with hard labour, 18 months of which was later remitted. After five days in billets, the battalion spent three days in trenches, and the pattern until the end of the month was for three days in the trenches, followed by three days in billets.

Private Albert William Fiddler 6802 Killed in Action 21st November 1914

Albert William Fiddler was born in Easterton in 1886. His father was Thomas Fiddler, a farm carter from Eastcott, and his mother Annie came from Worton.

Albert was the second son and he grew up with seven brothers and sisters. In 1891 the family was living in Bishops Cannings, but by 1901 they had settled in Great Cheverell where Albert and his older brother John were working as under carters.

In 1904, at the age of eighteen, Albert enlisted into the army in the 3rd Wiltshires. At that time he was working for Mr Coleman and the family was living at Great Cheverell Green.

Albert was no longer in the army by 1911, when he was working as an agricultural labourer and lodging with the Ridout family in Little Cheverell. In 1912 he married the daughter of the house, Alice Ridout. They had a daughter, Margery born in 1914.

It isn’t clear whether Albert re-enlisted into the 1st Wiltshires before war was declared, or whether he was on the army reserve and was called up. He was in the very first wave of arrivals in France on 14th August 1914.

The regiment was engaged at Mons and Ypres and on 21st November, after spending fifteen days in the trenches, they were shelled by light shrapnel, whilst marching on the road from Hooge to Ypres for a period of rest. Eight men were killed, including Albert, and twenty- one were wounded. Albert has no known grave but is remembered on the Menin Gate at Ypres and on the war memorials at Bratton and Little Cheverell.

Alice remarried in 1916. Her new husband was William McGuinness, and they had at least two children; Douglas born in 1917 and Kathleen born in 1920.

Veg for the wounded

October 11, 2014

Very understandably there has been much concentration, this year, on the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. Indeed, within days of the start of that conflict, injured men were back in British hospitals receiving treatment. Market Lavington played its part in looking after these men as this letter shows.

image002 image003This letter, dated 10th September 1914 comes from The London Hospital and is signed by the matron – the head nurse – Eva Luckes. She is being thankful for the supplies of fresh vegetables sent to the hospital by Mr Frank Davies had collected and sent to the hospital.

Frank Davies still has grandchildren in the village – one of whom has recently retired after a long stint as the village newsagent. The family have always taken an active part in village life.

But perhaps in this case it is the date which causes most horror. The war had barely started and already men were having to be hospitalised and there had been enough time to collect produce and send it to the hospital.

The home front was alive and well very early in that war which was supposed to end all wars.

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.

A grand start to a new year

January 5, 2014

The first donation to Market Lavington Museum, in 2014, is an entirely appropriate one for it relates to World War One. In this year, of course, we mark the centenary of the outbreak of that truly awful event.

Of course, nearly 100 years ago, the people did not know how awful the war was to become. Young men saw it as a superb chance for a bit of adventure and they volunteered in droves. The new gift lists all those men of Market Lavington who had volunteered for war service in 1914. It is in the form of a large poster and was produced by a local newspaper.

Market Lavington men who volunteered for war service in 1914 are remembered on this poster

Market Lavington men who volunteered for war service in 1914 are remembered on this poster

Those with memories will know that we already had such a list in the museum. Our first one was in rather fragile condition. This one is neatly framed behind a plastic covering which makes it altogether much safer for display. You can expect to see this new one if you visit any museum events this year.

We’d like to send thanks to Tessa for her fine donation to the museum.

Oh, and if anyone has a similar item for Easterton we’d love to see it and make a copy.

Overseas Help at Christmas

December 26, 2013

Bert Shore has featured a few times in this blog. Earlier this month we looked at a very old multi-tool he had – something which may have originally belonged to his grandfather. Today, we look back again to Bert’s own childhood and his involvement with one aspect of World War One – The Overseas Club. The Patron of this club was His Majesty the King. That would be George V for we are looking at 1915. And here we see Bert’s certificate for Christmas Day Gifts which helped to bring happiness to brave sailors and soldiers.

Christmas Day Gifts from Bert Shore of the Overseas Club

Christmas Day Gifts from Bert Shore of the Overseas Club

The aims of the Overseas Club are explained on the certificate.

The Overseas Clun Mission

The Overseas Clun Mission

We also have the banners of six empire countries.



It is interesting that India sent many men to fight for the allies at a time when British soldiers were based in India to attempt to keep order. We also note that Newfoundland was a country in its own right. It did not become a part of Canada until 1949.

Once again, we do not know what Bert Shore actually did to earn his certificate but I dare say men, bogged down in the mud, were pleased to know that they were thought about back home.