Posts Tagged ‘world war 1’

A First World War Medical Kit

May 19, 2012

Today we look at a tin containing its original contents – medicaments.

A First World War medical kit which can be found at Market Lavington Museum

This little tin was produced by Burroughs Wellcome and Co of London. The Wellcome name is still well known in the medical field.

As we can see, the tin contains Castor Oil, for the eyes. Protective Skin, Tincture of Iodine and Carron Oil for burns and scalds.

This collection was the property of Miss Rose Crouch. Rose was born Rose Brown Hiscock in Market Lavington. She first saw the light of day in 1904. Her parents were James and Amelia and they lived on High Street in Market Lavington. Rose married Henry G W Crouch in 1934.

Rose was widowed in 1957 but she remained a Market Lavington person. She died in 1987. Both Rose and her husband are buried in the Market Lavington churchyard.

It is believed that young Rose volunteered for the Voluntary Aid Detachment  towards the end of the first world war – she’d only have been 13 or 14..

The Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) was a voluntary organisation providing field nursing services, mainly in hospitals, in the United Kingdom and various other countries in the British Empire. The organisation’s most important periods of operation were during World War I and World War II.

A Card from Market Lavington to Canada in 1914

March 9, 2012

1914 was the opening year of World War I. George must have been one of the first Canadians to come over to join the allied army for he sent a card back to Canada, which was posted on 7th October 1914. Of interest is that the stamp is franked with a Pond Farm Camp mark and that is where George addressed his card as being from.

But let’s look at the image first. We have seen it before on a card we believe was sent by the lady of nun-like appearance in the picture. Click here.

Market Lavington High Street on a card posted home to Canada by a soldier in 1914

The view is taken ‘at the crossroads’ or Lamb Corner. The white building on the left was demolished to improve visibility for car drivers at this junction. The third lady from the left, in the group outside this house bears a strong resemblance to Rose Polden who ran a dressmaking business just around the corner on Parsonage Lane. The other ladies may well be her employees.

The now demolished house completely hides what is now the Post Office. Right at the far end on the left we are looking at what became Mr Hobbs’s shop and later, The Midland Bank.

On the right side of High Street we have a part of Mr Walton’s empire close to – where the hairdresser operates today. We can see the sign for the Kings Arms and can make out a Singer Sewing Machine sign on the corner of Chapel Lane – where the fish and chip shop is. Back then, it was Mr Elisha who had the haberdashery business.

The message gives a little of the impression that one Canadian soldier had of the area.

Card back - just what did a Canadian soldier make of Pond Farm Camp and Market Lavington?

He was clearly not impressed with Pond Farm Camp. His message reads:

Pond Farm Camp
Salisbury Plain

Dear Chick

We are moving away from this awful hole on Monday, to Bulford Barracks. It has poured rain today. The ground and ?tent? and mud up to the ankles – awful mess.
I have been in this town twice. Old fashioned and quiet and pretty.

Everybody well here


So, apart from finding Pond Farm Camp an awful hole, George felt Market Lavington was quiet, old fashioned and pretty. He was probably right.

Our Day – Market Lavington

March 2, 2012

First, shall we forgive Mr Burgess, the photographer, for getting a letter N back to front. The picture is a delight, captioned ‘Our Day’ Market Lavington.

Our Day, Market Lavington - a postcard at Market Lavington Museum

This looks like a market in full swing – except that the photographer has been spotted and many people have made sure they are in the picture. The location is, indeed, the Market Place in Market Lavington. The date is November 24th 1915 as can be made out in this image of a poster for the event.

Poster for the Market Lavington event on November 24th 1915

This poster tells us that the event was organised by the British Red Cross Society & Order of St John and it was to ‘help at the front our wounded from home and overseas’. Yes, this was the time of the First World War. The event would have been organised when the first Battle of Ypres was raging.

So yes, there was a Market – a charity market to raise Red Cross funds. Formal markets in the village had ended in the mid 1800s.

The Market Place has changed out of all recognition more than once. The large house at the back of the Market Place had been in the possession of Dr Lush and was often called ‘Doctor’s House’. It has completely vanished, although older residents do still remember it. It became a bus depot, then an agricultural engineer’s yard and then the bungalows we have now.

On the left, behind the hay cart, we are looking into St James’ Square, an area of housing that vanished in about 1960. Also in the Market Place you’d have found the fire station and a maltings.

From our point of view it is delightful that this event was organised, for we can get a feel of what markets in the village would have been like when Market Lavington was a market town.

Where was the landing strip?

February 26, 2012

Quite by chance, more than one local person has heard tell of a Market Lavington, World War 1 Air strip during recent weeks. What nobody knows is where it was.

The main evidence comes from a piece which was  posted on ‘The Great War’ forum on the web. This piece said,

At the National Archives I was looking through MUN 4/5850, “Guarding of buildings at aerodromes awaiting disposal”, when I came across a long list of “RAF stations for relinquishment or disposal up to 30/6/19”. They appeared to be mostly minor establishments, but I was surprised to see that “Market Lavington landing ground” was included, Market Lavington being a small town on the northern edge of Salisbury Plain.

I thought I knew my Wiltshire WWI airfields, but this was a new one on me. I consulted Rod Priddle, author of the 396-page Wings over Wiltshire, which inferred that there was a landing ground near Market Lavington early in WWII, but it was subject to air pockets, leading to its closure and a transfer of operations to New Zealand Farm by October 9, 1940. He was unaware of a WWI landing ground there.

There were two WWI landing grounds at Tilshead, four miles to the south of Market Lavington.

Any information will be very welcome. There are a number of AIR 1 files that may be worth my while consulting next time I visit TNA, but I wonder if they will have much to say about what would appear to have been a very modest facility.


Now we know about the World War II air strip which was on Salisbury Plain, quite close to the present Lavington Vedette. Indeed, we are reliably informed that a strange but extant pipe in the ground was a refuelling point for aircraft that landed there.

Refuelling point for aircraft at the World War II landing site on Market Lavington Hill

Can anybody help us solve the mystery of the location of the older air strip?

The Old House to Portugal

January 8, 2012

The Old House stands between Parsonage Lane and the churchyard. It is, very much, thought to be the oldest house in the village of Market Lavington albeit much changed over the years. This postcard, showing the house, was posted in 1917.

The Old House, Market Lavington - a card posted in 1917

If you are an older resident you may refer to this building as Bouverie House for Miss Ann Pleydell Bouverie lived her somewhat reclusive life there for many a year.

This postcard made its way to Portugal. We assume at least one Portuguese military person was in Market Lavington and sent this card (there were others) back home. The back of the card shows that the message has been approved by the censor.

The card was sent to Portugal

Sadly, we have no Portuguese speaker to translate the message for us.

A message for translation

Can anyone out there in blogland help?

Canadian Servicemen Remember.

September 22, 2011

Today we are looking at a photo taken in Canada in about 1950. The photo shows Canadian servicemen who spent time in Market Lavington during World War 1. They are standing by a war memorial, presumably remembering former comrades.

Canadian servicemen, most with World War 1memories of Market Lavington, at a Canadian war memorial in about 1950

The man on the left had, perhaps, the biggest connection with Market Lavington, for he married a local girl. His name was Bliss Taylor and he married Mary Redstone. Mary was the sister of Ethel Gye and her mother had been the head of Easterton School.

Then, reading from left to right we have William Lerette, Edward Lutes and Albert Humphrey. The next man, believed to be William Snow, was never at Market Lavington. Next is Stanley Steeves and then John Horseman. Frank Ryder – next to the right end is remembered by the Gye family for staying with them the Christmas that Bessie was born which was 1916. Finally, we have James LaFrance, another of the men who was not at Market Lavington.

Old comrades who missed this photo call include Neil Mackinnon and Arne Neilson.

Well done Ethel Gye - a lovely caption on the back of the photo.

We wonder if any descendants of these servicemen might have heard any tales of Market Lavington. We’d love to hear from them.

Australians in the Market Place

May 8, 2011

Soldiers from all round the world – members of the British Empire and others – all rallied to the cause in the First World War. Just what the cause was, most probably was an unknown quantity to men who spent weeks sailing to Britain from the other side of the world, to fight a world war.

Salisbury Plain was already established as a training area so it was not surprising that these fighting men from overseas gathered in places on and around Salisbury Plain and that included Market Lavington. Our photo, which we think dates from 1916, shows Australian forces in Market Lavington Market Place.

australian Soldiers in Market lavington in about 1916

This was a very different Market Place from the one we know today. The soldiers are parading with a view of the east side of the market place behind them. These days, the buildings there date from around 1990 and include the chemists shop on the corner and a hairdresser’s.

Back then the buildings dated from the 16th or 17th century and included Mrs Hayne’s sweet shop and, on the corner where the chemist shop is now there was Briant Tobacconist shop.

briant's shop stood where the chemist shop is in 2011

Between 1916 and 1990 (in about 1960) the old Tudor buildings were pulled down and replaced with a car park and yard for agricultural engineers. It was when that was no longer needed that Rochelle Court was built.

But to return to the soldiers. It is no doubt a long shot that any of them might be recognised but here’s a close up of a few of them.

Some of the Australians in the Market Place at Market Lavington. How many of them were killed in the war, or fell victim to the flu outbreak at the end of the war?

Do get in touch if you can tell us anything.

Wilfrid (or Wilfred) Moore

April 23, 2011

Today’s posting stems directly from yesterday’s. The letter we saw yesterday, from Sam Moore to his son, Wilfrid, serving in  the first war, looked to have been written in 1915, but this didn’t ring true so here we look at some of Wilfrid’s war record which points to the letter being sent at the end of 1918, with the war over.

First of all, we have Wilfred’s attestation document. Many records from world war one have been damaged by fire and water. But Wilfred’s was amongst those that escaped total destruction.

Wilfred Moore's attestation document has largely survived

It tells us that Wilfred, a fruit preserver of Easterton, Wiltshire, signed up in December 1916, aged 18 years and 10 months old.

The active service record has survived a little more intact.

Wilfred Moore's service record

He embarked at Folkestone, for France on 26th March 1917 and disembarked at Boulogne the following day.

On 14th April 1917 he joined 121 company in the field.

Ten days later he had a salutary lesson in military discipline when he was deprived of fourteen days pay for having a dirty bayonet on parade.

He was hospitalised a couple of times. The record does not say why, but his application for a pension was rejected because he had no disability – something signed to by Wilfred himself.

Wilfred Moore's disability statement

Sam Moore, who so earnestly wanted his son home to help in the jam factory did not have too long to wait for he was demobbed on 27th January 1919.

We can also see that Wilfred was not serving in France in 1915 so our letter, as shown yesterday,  must be after that.

A letter to the front

April 22, 2011

Market Lavington and Easterton were no different from the rest of the country during World War One. The young men were away at the front and worried parents and partners were back at home, sending letters to try to support their fighting folk.

One such letter has recently been given to Market Lavington Museum. It comes from Samuel Moore who lived along The Drove in Easterton and who was running his fruit preserving and jam business. The letter was sent to his son, Wilfrid.

The museum has ben given a photocopy of an original letter which Wilfrid carried with him until he left the army. The condition is amazingly good.

Sam Moore wrote the letter on company memorandum paper with this header.

SamuelMoore letter header

And this gives the time and date and destination of the letter.

The letter, dated December 31st 1918, was addressed to Private Wilfrid Moore, British Expeditionary Force in France

The letter itself is largely Sam suggesting his son is in neglect of his duties at the jam factory whilst he is away fighting the enemy. It is a fascinating insight into ways of thinking.

First part of the letter

Dear Wilfrid

Since your absence, 2 years ago we have made ‘Herculean’ efforts to fill the gap you left when joining the army and we have also done much to defeat the enemies objects by putting on the market all the produce we possibly could. And I am pleased to say our products have given much satisfaction. We are already asked to increase our output tenfold but this cannot be done unless you return to your former duties. That is the superintending of the Bottling Department and the preservation of the fruit in our unique way for the production of the highest class jams. To speed matters up would it be advisable that you should make a direct appeal to your commanding officer?


The letter continues

This would be in accordance with the government plan for demobilisation. I am already asked what men and women I could employ but this entirely depends on your early return. It has been quite impossible to find people who are capable of carry out our plans and methods without almost wearing me out. And I am beginning to find the strain of this very much now. My memory is getting very bad indeed. I think it is a pity that something should have been done whilst you were on leave. I hope that you arrived in time and that you did not miss your train.

From your loving father

Samuel Moore.

The Potter family at home

April 7, 2011

The Potter family (and two soldiers) at their Parsonage Lane home in 1915 - a photo at Market Lavington Museum

A close up on the people

Edwin Potter was born in about 1876. He was the son of Edwin who ran the horse bus service between Market Lavington and Devizes. Our Edwin, the younger, was brought up in premises next to The Green Dragon which had formerly been The Bell Inn (now Old Bell House). In 1901 he worked for his father, who also farmed, as well as running the buses.

Edwin Potter

Edwin married Mary Ann Pike in the spring of 1903. She had been living in West Lavington in 1901.

Mary Ann Potter (formerly Pike)

The couple were blessed with children. Helena May was born in 1904, Amy Kathleen in 1906 and Edwin John in 1908. This family occupied a house on Parsonage Lane in 1911 and they were there when our photo was taken in 1915. Also present were two soldiers, believed to be Canadian, who were billetted on the family.

Edwin and Mary Ann remained at Parsonage Lane, for the rest of their lives. Mary Ann died in 1951. Edwin survived until 1959.

Of the three children on this photo, we have met Helena May frequently. She became Mrs Elisha, and taught at Market Lavington School.

Amy Kathleen married Frank George in 1931.

Edwin John married Dora Ellis in 1944.