Posts Tagged ‘world war 1’

A Canadian Dragoon Cap Badge

December 2, 2013

We are less than a month away from 2014 – the year when we mark the centenary of the start of the First World War – the war to end all wars which would be all over by Christmas. Perhaps our political masters of the day never said which Christmas because it was over by Christmas 1918 – just four years late – and many men continued to die from injuries and illness after that date.

And, of course, the men who took part on our side were not just British. Soldiers from the old Empire fought as well and for many of them, an early taste of Europe was Market Lavington and the wild, wet lands of Salisbury Plain.

It is no surprise that we have odd bits of memorabilia, at Market Lavington Museum that belonged to soldiers from overseas. Today we look at a Canadian Dragoon cap badge.

Broken Royal Canadia Dragoons cap badge found in Market Lavington

Broken Royal Canadian Dragoons cap badge found in Market Lavington

This is clearly incomplete – the animal has lost its head. The other day our curator (who is not a military expert) discussed with a museum colleague just what animal it was. Was it a bull, or was it a horse, they mused. And they were both wrong. Military badge traders at have a badge for sale and they gave permission for us to use their picture of a complete badge on this blog.

A complete Royal Canadian Dragoons cap badge

A complete Royal Canadian Dragoons cap badge

This is actually a springbok – the animal we associate with South Africa. The Canadians wear this because of service in South Africa during the Boer War.

Our badge was dug up in the garden of Primrose House on White Street in Market Lavington – home of the Gye family. Perhaps the badge belonged to Edward Bliss Taylor, a Canadian serviceman who married Mrs Gye’s sister in 1919.

Alternatively, a Canadian called Harry Ryder stayed with the Gyes at Christmas 1916. And, of course, there were many other Canadians in the area.

Any further information about Canadian or other overseas servicemen who visited Market Lavington would be very much appreciated.

An Overseas Club Certificate

November 28, 2013

This blog post could be called another request for First World War stories. Here we look at work that children could do on the home front.

The child in question here is Bert Shore

Overseas Club Certificate awarded to Bert Shore in 1915

Overseas Club Certificate awarded to Bert Shore in 1915

Albert (Bert) Shore was the oldest child of John Shore, a Market Gardener and his wife Annie. He was born in 1906 in West Lavington and he probably lived in that parish during the time of World War One. In 1911 the family were certainly in West Lavington with a home on Rickbarton.

But Bert later married a Market Lavington girl, and one close to the hearts of people involved at the museum, for his bride, when he married in 1940, was none other than Flo Burbidge, born and raised at our museum building. The couple lived in Market Lavington and many of their artefacts ended up in our museum, including this certificate.

The certificate certifies that Bert Shore has helped to send some comfort and happiness to the brave sailors and soldiers of the British Empire, fighting to uphold liberty, justice, honour and freedom in The Great War.

We do not know just what Bert did but as someone aged 9, we feel sure he was proud of his certificate. This one was issued for Empire Day in 1915.

Calling up the older men

November 10, 2013

The First World War took a dreadful toll on the lives of soldiers. By 1918 all the younger men had been called up and even with the huge help of the allies – Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders and other ‘Empire’ peoples, not to mention the Americans, there were still not enough men. In the UK it was time to call up, or rather ‘call out’ men approaching the age of fifty who had served in the forces before. We have a poster about this call out at Market Lavington Museum. It is large and quite hard to photograph due to a reflective, protective covering. But here it is.

Poster calling out reservists born in 1870/71 for First World War Service

Poster calling out reservists born in 1870/71 for First World War Service

Presumably such notices were posted prominently in every community. The wording is couched in very legal jargon, but the message is clear. Former soldiers born in 1870 and 71 were being called up and would have to serve, like it or not. These were man aged 46 – 48. In terms of fitness they were getting on a bit.

But maybe they made the difference for of course, later that year the allied forces prevailed and the war ended.

Absorbent Cotton

October 26, 2013

A number of medicaments from the First World War era have come to the museum from Rose Crouch. This pack of absorbent cotton is an example.

Absorbent Cotton dating from the First Workld War era given to Market Lavington Museum by Rose Crouch

Absorbent Cotton dating from the First Workld War era given to Market Lavington Museum by Rose Crouch

This is a cube like package – about an inch cube but it contains a quarter of an ounce of compressed cotton. It dates from about 1914-18 and no doubt would have been the kind of stuff used for emergency, albeit minor, first aid during the conflict.

Mrs Crouch was born as Rose Hiscock in 1904. She was the youngest of ten children born to James Hiscock, a house painter and his wife Amilea. Eight of the ten were still alive at the time of the 1911 census Rose had older brothers who fought for their country during World War One.

Perhaps some of the boys came home to recuperate from injuries – for it seems it would have been this Hiscock house on High Street, Market Lavington that had the stock of medicaments and first aid gear.

We will soon be preparing for the 100th anniversary of the start of World War One. We have received some personal stories about Market Lavington folk, but we still seek more.

Can you help?


October 2, 2013

As our lovely 2013 summer season draws to a close (We shut, officially, on the 30th October) work is in hand, preparing for what we hope will be a very successful 2014. It might be fair to say that 1914 was not the most wonderful of years and we, in common with museums up and down the country, will be marking the centenary of the war we now call the First World War.

Amongst treasures we have at Market Lavington Museum are transcripts of letters sent home, right through the war, by Jack Welch. He was Peggy Gye’s father and he spent most of the war in India. He also took photos whilst there and amongst them is a rather faded one, simply captioned ‘Jack’.

Jack - a World War One photo in the album of Jack Welch of Market Lavington

Jack – a World War One photo in the album of Jack Welch of Market Lavington

We’d better try some jiggery-pokery to improve that.

We think this could be Jack Mullings, also of Market Lavington

We think this could be Jack Mullings, also of Market Lavington

That may be a bit clearer – and so that is Jack – but Jack who?

We don’t think it is Jack Welch for we have other photos of him. There were at least two other local Jacks who were out in India and who get mentioned in the letters home. One is Jack Kellaway and the other is Jack Mullings. We think this person bears a family resemblance to the Mullings family – the basket makers in the village. This is Jack’s brother, Sid.


Sid Mullings, the basket maker, was Jack’s brother

 Jack Mullings did not make it through the war. He was killed in Egypt (Jack Welch was seriously injured). This is Jack’s brief letter home.

April 13th 1918

My dear Mum & Dad

Just a few lines at the earliest possible date to inform you that I have managed to get wounded again on Wednesday, & my writing is consequently poor as I am on my back with a broken leg, & much hope to get to Cairo or perhaps to Blighty this time.
Please forward this letter to Floss, I have sent her a card.
Our Battalion has had an awful time, I am afraid poor old Jack Mullings was killed, also Doug  Joilliffe & many others.

Best Love & Kisses
Ever your Loving

If you are aware of the identity of Jack PLEASE get in touch.

Australians in World War One

August 24, 2013

As we move towards 2014, and that centenary of the start of the First World War, this is a reminder that we shall be devoting display space to that war.

We still seek personal stories and any other memorabilia that people might have.

Today, in particular, we are calling our friends in Australia. We have shown a photo of Australians marching through Market Lavington (click here) but here we look at two Australians who had a portrait taken, no doubt to send home to their loved ones.

Two Australian soldiers who spent time in Market Lavington in 1916

Two Australian soldiers who spent time in Market Lavington in 1916

These two chaps are, on the left, Charles Alexander McKewan and on the right Alf McAfee – or so it says on the back.


The photo is dated September 12th 1916.

Sadly we know nothing further of these two men or of the many other Australians who spent training time in our village.

Can anyone out there tell us anything of their Ozzie ancestors in Market Lavington?


Canada Rise then and now

July 19, 2013

Canada Woods and the 1970s housing on a road called Canada Rise were so named because Canadian soldiers occupied the area whilst training, during World War I.

Today we are looking at a wintry photo of the new road – Canada Rise which had been put in before the houses were built.

Canada Rise, Market Lavington, under construction in 1971

Canada Rise, Market Lavington, under construction in 1971

The year is 1971 and the developers have their sign board up.

Robinsonbuild have their signboard up

Robinsonbuild have their signboard up

All we can make out is the name Robinsonbuild.

The scene is very open which is partly due to it being winter. Let’s compare with 2013.

Canada Rise in June 2013

Canada Rise in June 2013

The road is, of course, the same although it is now finished and has its pavements. But we have an amazingly wooded scene.  Housing, some of which looks straight down the hill, can barely be seen through the trees.

Forty two years, and a change of season have turned a rather bleak scene into a mature looking residential road.

Collecting for the centenery

May 17, 2013

Next year – 2014 – we will mark the centenery of the start of World War 1 which, sadly, did not live up to the name given – the war to end all wars.

Market Lavington and Easterton played quite significant roles in the war. First of all, many of our own young men served in the forces and in the various theatres of war which opened up during the next four years. If you have personal stories – letters, postcards or just things told you about how the ordinary chaps from our area coped during the war –  then we’d love to hear from you so that we have the opportunity to share your stories with a wider audience. Maybe you have photos of a local soldier (and for us that means from Market Lavington or Easterton) in uniform and just a little tale of what the soldier did. It would be good to be able to honour such men who served.

But our parishes also had a wider role. Salisbury Plain was a training area for Commonwealth troops and we know that many Australian and Canadian soldiers spent time in Lavington and Easterton before being sent to the front to fight. People all over the world may have tales they have heard about Market Lavington and, in particular, the Pond Farm Camp.

Here, as a reminder, is a  little medallion from Valcartier Camp in Canada. This was an embarkation point for soldiers coming to train in England.

Medallion from Valcartier Camp, Canada, found in a house in Market Lavington

Medallion from Valcartier Camp, Canada, found in a house in Market Lavington

This medallion was found in a crack in a cupboard at 60 High Street, Market Lavington. The house had been occupied by Mrs Crouch and her sister married a Canadian who was billeted in Market Lavington. It was a more recent resident at the house who found this item and gave it to the museum.

It’s people like the descendants of  Mrs Crouch’s sister that we’d love to hear from with any tales they might be able to share.

You can contact our curator on .

Market Lavington, Easterton and the First World War

March 13, 2013

Next year, 2014, it will be 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. This occasion is being marked up and down the country and we, in Market Lavington, will have our own part to play in it.

Apart from our own local lads who went away to fight – and some of them never returned – our area was also a place where soldiers from the empire trained and were billeted. We have several photographs of Canadians and Australians in the area, and a part of our village is known as Canada because of the solders from that dominion who were encamped in the area.

Wiltshire’s Great War Centenary Group are holding a meeting on 21st March at Devizes School. We have booked a table but this event – and more importantly the events to mark the occasion – could involve a wide range of community organisations.

If you would like to be involved then the person to contact is Tim Burge of the Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre based in Chippenham.

One of the items we have at our museum is a handkerchief, sent back by a Market Lavington lad to his loved one. Slightly oddly, it is a souvenir of Ypres which we’d have thought people might have wanted to forget!

Souvenir of Ypres handkerchief sent to Market Lavington during World War I

Souvenir of Ypres handkerchief sent to Market Lavington during World War I

The machine embroidered image is of Les Halles in Ypres. Ypres, of course, is a town in the French speaking part of Belgium.

The image shows up much better if you can get the light behind it.

The image on the handkerchief

The image on the handkerchief

It may seem odd looking ahead to 2014 when we haven’t yet opened for the 2013 season, but if you have any first world war memorabilia that you may be able to let us use for 2014 displays, do get in touch. Remember, we only want Market Lavington or Easterton items.

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