Posts Tagged ‘WW1’

Christmas 1916

December 25, 2016

This was the third Christmas of the First World War. People on both sides of the war were away from home, suffering hardships, injury and of course, in some cases, death. By the middle of 1916 conscription into the armed forces had been introduced. Presumably there were no longer enough volunteers.

Back at home people did what they could to help. In the Lavingtons Bert Shore was one of many in the Over-Seas Club and he was awarded this certificate which said A HAPPY XMAS in words and semaphore.

Over Seas Club Christmas 1916 certificate for Bert Shore

Over Seas Club Christmas 1916 certificate for Bert Shore

Bert had helped to send some Comfort and Happiness to the men in the forces.


Mary Redstone marries

September 4, 2016

It is the First World War and Market Lavington and Easterton’s young men are away from home on military service. But young men from the commonwealth – notably Canada, are over here, learning the coarse arts of war on Salisbury Plain. It is no wonder romances sprang up between the local lasses and the overseas men. Some ended, as romances will, when separation occurred. Some ended with the oh so sad death of the serviceman. But some came to fruition and ended in marriage. Mary Redstone, an Easterton lass, married her Canadian, Edward Bliss Taylor, after the war ended in 1919. The marriage was local but the couple made their permanent home in Canada.

We have a copy of a wedding photo.

Group at the Easterton wedding of Mary Redstone and Edward Bliss Taylor in 1919

Group at the Easterton wedding of Mary Redstone and Edward Bliss Taylor in 1919


We are not certain of the location but we think this could be almost the last house in Easterton – we know the Redstones lived there. We don’t know most of the people in the image but imagine there are more Redstone relatives than Taylors. Let’s concentrate on the three we know.


The Reverend King, Vicar of Easterton with the happy couple

Mary is clearly in the middle with Canadian serviceman, always known as, Bliss on her arm. Are they Sergeant stripes he sports on his wrist? The vicar is the Reverend King who was Vicar of Easterton. It was his insistence on improvements to the road that loops round from Easterton to the top of Spin Hill in Market Lavington that led to the road being given his name – King’s Road. No apostrophe is used these days so it is just Kings Road.

We have seen Mary before on this blog – as a much older woman in 1972 when she visited her old home. You can click here to read that.

Jasper Steven Chapman

August 16, 2016

1673 Private J. S. Chapman Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry 5th April 1916 aged 22

Jasper was born about 1894. His parents were William, a market gardener and Ann. They lived in the Fiddington Clay area of Lavington.

Jasper’s father, William, died when Jasper was about four, in 1898

In 1901 Jasper lived with his mother and siblings on Lavington Lane in West Lavington.

In 1911 Jasper, aged 17 was with his mother in Market Lavington. Jasper was described as an outfitter’s assistant. He worked for Mr Walton.

Five years later, whilst serving with the Wiltshire Yeomanry, Jasper took ill and died. He followed his father into the Drove Lane Cemetery in Market Lavington.

Jasper Chapman's Grave at the Drove Lane Cemetery in Market Lavington

Jasper Chapman’s Grave at the Drove Lane Cemetery in Market Lavington

Jasper has a war grave in the Drove Lane cemetery and can be located on the Commonwealth War Grave website.

Initials: J S
Nationality: United Kingdom
Rank: Private
Regiment/Service: Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry
Age: 22
Date of Death: 05/04/1916
Service No: 1673
Additional information: Son of William and Ann Chapman.
Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Jasper is commemorated on the war memorial in Market Lavington churchyard.


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.

The Kings Arms – 1915

August 5, 2016
High Street, Market Lavington as sent on a postcard to Canada in 1915

High Street, Market Lavington as sent on a postcard to Canada in 1915

Here we see the High Street at Market Lavington on a postcard that was posted in 1915. The prominent building and sign, on the right, is the Kings Arms. On the right, on the corner of The Market Place, there is the Post Office which is where the chemist is now.

The Post Office stood where the cmest's shop is now

The Post Office stood where the chemist’s shop is now

This card was posted to Canada.

The card was sent to Ontario, Canada

The card was sent to Ontario, Canada

We assume Bert, who sent it, was a Canadian soldier.

The brief message is transcribed below

The brief message is transcribed below

March 9th
Dear Sam
Received your letter this evening. Many thanks for epistaxis. We are still in England billeted near this village but expect to leave shortly.

Of course, we can’t make out the epistaxis or nose bleed comment! But it seems Canadians were still around in March 1915.

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.

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.

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.

100 Years Ago

May 31, 2016

May 1916 by Lyn Dyson

1st battalion

After nearly a week at Acq, the men were back in the trenches at La Targette, France. They did quite a bit of night time bomb throwing and fired rifle grenades and Lewis rifles. During the day their snipers were busy. They inflicted some losses on the enemy with few casualties of their own.

On 10th May they moved to Pylones. They suffered daily enemy action, and inflicted plenty on the enemy too. At the end of the month they had lost 6 men killed in action and 8 died of wounds. 63 men were wounded, and another 5 men were wounded but remained on duty.

2nd battalion

The battalion was involved in working parties and trench work all month around Carnoy on the Somme. They were subject to intermittent artillery and sniper fire, but things were relatively quiet. On 28th May, at 9.30pm they were moved to the front line. They were tasked with building a fire trench 100 yards in front of the front line, and it had to be completed by 1.30am. They achieved this under occasional sniper fire and short bursts of machine gun fire. When they withdrew they were rewarded with cocoa.

5th battalion

The battalion was serving in Mesopotamia. In May it was very hot, and the men found it very trying. More than 40 men a week, and many officers were evacuated to hospital. They saw no enemy action from the Turks whilst they were at Bait Isa. From 20th May they were at Rest Camp at Masons Mounds where they did drill and physical training and bathing. On 30th May they moved on to Sheikh Saad.

6th battalion

There was no trench work during May. The battalion was engaged in training in machine guns, signalling and bombing at Quernes in Picardie, in the mornings and sports in the afternoons.

7th battalion

This battalion was in Salonika and apart from four days in Balavca in the middle of the month, the routine for the men of this battalion remained unchanged. The weather was very hot with a few thunder storms. They were still at Salonika at the end of the month, and still continuing work on the trenches.

There was one casualty from our villages in May 1916.

Private William Copeland Austin Killed in Action 11th May 1916

William was born in Sussex in 1896, the son of Scottish parents, Robert and Isabella Austin. Robert was a domestic gardener, and in 1901 the family lived in Shaw, Wiltshire where William’s younger brother, Hector, was born.

In 1911 Robert, Isabella and Hector were living at Russell Mill, while William was in lodgings in Devizes and working as an apprentice printer. By 1915 the family was living in Hawkswell Cottage, Little Cheverell.

On 9th November 1915 William enlisted in the Royal Scots (Lothian) Regiment, and he was posted straightaway. After training he embarked at Folkestone on 10th March 1916 and joined the 13th Battalion in the field in France on 1st April 1916.

William was posted as missing on 11th May 1916 at Loos in France, and later presumed killed in action on or around that day. His brother Hector later served with the 3rd Battalion of the Wiltshire Regiment in Ireland.