The War Memorial
In November 1926, a Committee of 8 people was set up to investigate the provision of a War Memorial. The Committee included ex-servicemen and representatives of the families who had lost their loved ones. Two possibilities were considered: either a Parish Hall (which had been suggested by Colkirk W. I.) or a stone memorial. A small fundraising committee was set up with separate funds for a stone or a Parish Hall giving people the option of donating to their preferred cause. It was eventually decided that a stone memorial would be more appropriate.
In December 1926 three possible sites were considered for the memorial. It was decided that the site by the gate leading to the sawpit (which it is thought was then located at the end of the Campying Land) was the most suitable. The proposed design was displayed in Mr. Crane's shop in Colkirk for public inspection.
By January 1927 sufficient funds had been collected to cover the cost of a memorial stone.
The design was agreed and included a separate base stone. It was agreed at the time that only the names and initials of the men who had lost their lives would be engraved and in the order in which their deaths occurred ( although the names were ultimately engraved in alphabetical order ).
Although he did not die until five years after the war, Reg Greef's name was included because his death was the result of having being gassed ( so the full War Pension was granted to his children) and his family had specially requested that his name be memorialised. This was agreed unanimously by the committee.
Wording was to be: To the Glory of God. In loving memory of our men who fell in the war 1914 - 1918.
The land for the memorial site was donated by the Rector, the Rev. A. R. Hoare. A Parish Councillor, Mr. Goodman, offered his time and expertise in laying the concrete foundation.
The memorial was to be tended by the Colkirk Women's Section of The Royal British Legion. In 1949 they asked the Parish Council to take some action regarding the state of the railings around the War Memorial. It was agreed to remove the railings and dispose of them by tender. This was done and in 1951 arrangements were made to clean, face and black the lettering, and also to inscribe the name of Basil Doy who was killed in World War II. This work was done by Mr. Percival of Dereham at a cost of £10.
The War Memorial is situated at the eastern end of the Campyngland ( near the Church ) and is maintained by voluntary help within the community. The memorial stone which carries 17 names ( 16 from WWI and one from WWII ) was refurbished in 2002 and the concrete surround replaced in 2007 ( work paid for by the Parish Council )
If you can provide further information about any of those commemorated on the memorial,
Roll of Honour
(CWGC: Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
W. J. Andrews, ( Sergeant 22186 )
Walter James Andrews was born in Colkirk in 1889, the youngest child of Christmas and Susannah Andrews (nee Farrow) who already had two other sons and six daughters ( William, Henry, Mary Ann, Susan, Betsy, Rose, Lily and Kate ).
Walter enlisted in the army in Fakenham in 1911. He was eventually posted to the 174th Company of the Machine Gun Corps where he achieved the rank of sergeant.
On Thursday 21 June 1917, Walter died at the Lijssenthoek Casualty Clearing Station in Belgium after having suffered a fractured femur and gunshot wounds to both thighs. He was buried at the nearby Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. His headstone reads: Sweet be his rest - His memory is dear.
427 men died on this day in 1917
H. A. Catton, ( Private 7971)
Born in 1891 in Colkirk, Herbert Arthur Catton was related to Walter James Andrews. Herbert’s parents were Herbert and Eberlener Catton. Eberlener’s mother, Susannah Farrow, was married to Christmas Andrews. They were the parents of Walter James Andrews making Walter the uncle of Herbert Catton.
Having joined the 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment, Herbert went to war in August 1914 as a member of the 18th Indian Brigade. In November of that year, he embarked for Mesopotamia (now Iraq). He eventually arrived in the town of Kut which is 100 miles south of Baghdad.
In December 2015, the 8000 strong British-Indian garrison at Kut was besieged by the much larger Ottoman (Turkish) army. In April 1916, the garrison surrendered to the Ottomans. The Ottomans force marched the captured British and Indian soldiers to imprisonment at Aleppo in Syria. Some 70% of the British soldiers and 50% of the Indian soldiers are believed to have died on that march.
Herbert died near Baghdad, almost certainly whilst on that forced march, on Saturday 20 January 1917 aged 25. He was initially buried in the Kourbali Cemetery near Baghdad but later reburied in the Baghdad War Cemetery. His headstone reads: Buried near this spot.
Herbert was Mentioned in Despatches for his distinguished service at Kut.
296 men died on this day in 1917
A. Cooke, ( Private 17793 )
Private Arthur James Cooke was born in Oxwick in 1892, the son of George and Ann Cooke. He married Hilda Edge in 1914, presumably just before joining up. Arthur was posted to the East Surrey Regiment. He lost his life at the Somme in France on 6 August 1916 aged 26 years. Arthur has no known grave but he is commemorated on the Pozieres Memorial at the Somme.
Arthur’s brother, George, also lost his life in WWI…..
R. Cooke, ( Private 14772 )
The R. Cooke commemorated on the Colkirk War Memorial is actually George R Cooke, the younger brother of Arthur by two years.
He probably used R. Cooke to distinguish himself from his father and is also on the Wymondham War Memorial as George R Cooke
George joined the 8th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment. He died aged just 22 years at the Somme on Sunday 28 May 1916 as a result of accidental drowning and five weeks before his Regiment had even engaged the enemy.
George is buried at Bray Military Cemetery at the Somme.
229 men died on this day in 1916
A. J. Collins, ( Private 13807 )
The son of Robert and Florence Collins, Private Arthur Collins was born in Oxwick in 1899 so almost certainly knew the Cooke brothers. Like George Cooke, Arthur also joined the 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment so those two young men may well have served together.
Arthur was killed aged just 17 years on 1st July 1916, the first day of the Battle of Somme. On that dreadful day, there were 57,400 casualties and 19,240 young soldiers lost their lives – one every 5 seconds.
Arthur is one of thousands who have no known grave but he is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial at the Somme.
19,240 men died on this day in 1916
A. B. Clements, ( Private 16063 )
Private Alfred Benjamin Clements’ wife, Alice Margaret, was from Colkirk, hence Alfred's inclusion on the war memorial, although his parents, Henry and Rebecca, came from London.
Whilst serving with the 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment, Alfred was killed during the Battle of Loos ( in NE France) on Wednesday 13 October 1915 aged 25 years.
The Battle of Loos lasted from 25 September to 16 October 1915. It was the biggest British attack of 1915 but was hampered by a lack of grenades and bombs. It was the first time that the British used poison gas against the enemy. The 7th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment lost 422 men, of whom Alfred was one, during the 22 days of the battle.
Alfred has no known grave but is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Pas de Calais.
2500 men died on this day in 1915
§ Location: Hulluch Quarry. Stalemate. The German counter-attack of 8th October had disrupted British plans for their own offensive at Loos.
On 13th October they were ready to begin their attack. The objective of XI Corps was the area around the Hohenzollern Redoubt.
Situated on the edge of the mining town of Auchy-lez-La-Bassée (now Auchy-les-Mines), the Redoubt was a network of trenches, deep shelters and machine gun posts. Captured by the British in the initial attack, it had been lost again in a German counter-attack on 1st October.
Whilst 46th Division would attack against Redoubt itself, 12th (Eastern) Division were to attack Gun Trench and the Hulluch Quarries to the south-west. Attacking Hulluch Quarries, 35th Infantry Brigade, led by 7th Norfolk Regiment and 7th Suffolk Regiment came under heavy machine-gun fire but managed to gain a foothold in the south-western area of the Quarry.
37th Infantry Brigade, led by 7th East Surrey Regiment and 6th The Buffs (East Kent Regiment), advanced on Gun Trench, 7th East Surrey Regiment clearing their area of the trench but 6th The Buffs (East Kent Regiment) were unable to advance on their objective in the face of heavy machine-gun fire. The Division suffered 3354 casualties in its period in action at Loos.
M. G. Cubitt, ( Private 19539 )
Private George Cubitt was born in 1897, the son of Fred and Anna Cubitt of Pattersley.
George joined the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards and lost his life aged just 19 years on Tuesday 25 September 1916 at the Battle of Morval on the Somme. The Grenadier, Scots and Irish Guards Divisions were all involved in the battle which resulted in over 2000 British casualties.
George has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial at the Somme.
1071 men died on this day in 1916
Location: attack north-west of Lesboeufs. Preparations for an ambitious offensive against Morval, Lesboeufs, Goudecourt and Martinpuich were delayed by inclement weather but the attack was eventually started on 25th September. Fourth Army's XIV Corps with the 5th, 6th and Guards Divisions advanced steadily, taking Morval and Lesboeufs by late afternoon.
The attack was preceded by an artillery bombardment which had opened up most of the German barbed wire defences although there were some intact sections of wire hidden in uncut crops. XV Corps' advance was delayed for this reason which caused many casualties.
A single tank helped to clear a route into Goudecourt village which was taken by British forces later during September 26th. During the same day British and French troops had taken Combles enabling a new front line to be established north of the village, improving communications between the British and French armies.
In the Guards Division the advance was carried out by 3rd Guards Brigade on the left, attacking the trenches between Guedecourt and Lesboeufs, and 1st Guards Brigade on the right, against Lesboeufs village. The 3rd Guards Brigade, 4th Grenadier Guards and 2nd Scots Guards, the lead battalions, 1st Grenadier Guards and 1st Irish Guards in support, advanced behind a creeping barrage; a number of German troops sheltering in a trench put up a strong resistance before the Guards could over power them.
Around 150 Germans were killed. As the second objective was reached the support battalions passed through, quickly taking the third objectives beyond the Lesboeufs to Guedecourt road, and also making contact with the 6th Division.
A German counter-attack stalled short but was able to provide covering fire while their artillery withdrew to a new front line some 1,000 yards east of Morval. The Division suffered 2280 casualties during the battle.
J. W. Dunn, ( Private 766365 )
Private James William Dunn was born on 14 September 1893, the son of Oscar and |Sarah Dunn from Oxwick. As Oxwick is only a small hamlet, it is likely he knew brothers Arthur and George Cooke and also Arthur Collins.
However, James was not posted to a British Regiment; instead he joined the 3rd Battalion of the Canadian Infantry. James was just 24 years old when he was killed in action on Saturday 31 August 1918 (so very close to the end of the war) although it is not known exactly where he lost his life.
He is buried in the Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery at Arras in northern France. His headstone simply reads: RIP.
R. G. Greef
Reginald George Greef was born in 1883 in Oxburgh ( near Swaffham). His service record indicates that he had served in the Navy prior to 1914 and was then in the Royal Fleet Reserve by the start of WWI so could be called up. Reginald held the rank of Leading Seaman. In August 1918 he was Mentioned in Despatches for his actions against enemy submarines.
His wife Eliza, whom he had married in 1911, died in 1924, probably as a result of childbirth as their daughter Eileen was born at that same time. Reginald died in Kings Lynn just a year later. Eileen, now an orphan, was brought up in Oxwick (by persons unknown) which probably explains why her father is commemorated on the Colkirk war memorial
V. R. Hoare, ( Major )
Vincent Robertson Hoare was born in March 1873 in Colkirk, the son of Rev. Walter Hoare, who was the Rector of Colkirk, and Jessie Mary Robertson.
Vincent was educated at Eton and later fought in the Boer War as a trooper in the Suffolk Regiment. In November 1901, he married Elsie Hogg, the aunt of Quintin Hogg (later Lord Hailsham). By 1908, he had achieved the rank of Captain and was serving in the Hampshire Regiment.
Later promoted to Major and then to Acting Lt. Colonel, Vincent served in the 12th Battalion of the London Regiment ( the Rangers) during WWI. He was killed in action on Monday 15 February 1915 at Ypres. He was buried in the extension to the main Ypres Cemetery and is also commemorated on the Menin Gate. His headstone reads: God proved them – and found them worthy – for Himself.
284 men died on this day in 1915
W. Hoare, ( Captain )
It had been thought by some that the W. Hoare named on the Colkirk War Memorial was William Hoare, the brother of Vincent Hoare, but in fact this is Wilfred Gurney Hoare, a distant relative of Vincent. Wilfred was born in Newcastle and served in the Durham Light Infantry. He was killed at Neuve Chappelle in March 1915 and is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial to the missing at Pas de Calais in France.
1427 men died on this day in 1915
E. P. Huckins, ( Private 18111 )
Edgar Phillip Huckins was born in Oxford but moved to Colkirk as he married local girl Susanna Huckins. Edgar was a Private in the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards. He lost his life on Christmas Eve, Friday 24 December 1915 at the age of 36. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Pas de Calais, France.
His grandsons, David and John Whiteside, still live in Colkirk.
249 men died on this day in 1915
A. A. Nelson, ( Private 19299 )
Like Henry Catton, Private Albert William Nelson was born in Colkirk. Albert also served in the 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment and was involved in the Battle of Kut so he and Henry almost certainly knew each other. Albert died of his wounds in February 1916, two months before the garrison at Kut surrendered to the Ottomans.
Albert had been born in Colkirk in 1892. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in Iraq.
166 men died on this day in 1916
H. Nelson, ( Corporal 17245 )
Born in 1884, Harry was the son of Frederick and Harriet Nelson. Harry married Ann Mary Nelson. They had two children - Victor born in 1913 and Winifred born in 1914.
Harry enlisted as a Bombardier in the 122nd Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery in October 1914. He was posted to France in March 1915 and promoted to Corporal in May of that year. Less than six months later, on 16 November 1915 and aged just 32 years, Harry died of his wounds whilst fighting near Ypres.
Buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.Headstone Inscription: Death Divides – Memory Clings – From Wife And Children
188 men died on this day in 1915
His grandson Mike High recently visited his grave in the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Belgium.
He then gave the cemetery Harry's details to be used on their website.
Harry's life is now featured on this website, he was a Colkirk man who gave his life in a foreign land .
Harry was a member of 122nd Heavy Battery, part of 11th Heavy Brigade. The Battery had been formed in October 1914 from men of the Southern Division, Royal Garrison Artillery - they were drawn from a number of coastal artillery companies, mainly believed to be stationed in the Portsmouth/Fareham/Isle of Wight areas.
They formed at Forts Nelson and Fareham before moving to Woolwich for a period of training. They had to learn the new techniques of heavy artillery in mobile field work including learning to ride and looking after horse drawn guns and equipment. They tended to be big men, with a more technical appreciation of the complexities of firing huge guns at moving ship targets.
Gun of the type used at this time Harry's headstone
Harry was a bombardier on the formation of the battery. By May 1915, the battery was positioned near the village of Potijze, near Ypres. On 8th May 1915, the Germans launched a major attack and the battery was hit by some 1200 rounds. Six men were killed and thirty wounded. Harry was promoted to Corporal on 9th May 1915. He was obviously promoted in place of one of those killed or wounded but also because he had been noted for his work during this grim period. Harry was included in a list which said " The following NCOs and men performed their duties in a particularly meritorious manner ".
Harry is shown to have been wounded at Kruistraat ( just south of Ypres ) on 15th November 1915 with a note saying " died ".
The battery journal for Monday 15th November 1915 states: Weather cold and misty. Enemy busy crumping round our old billets and our observation post. Two men of the guard wounded near the billet in the afternoon, Cpl. Nelson and Gr. Perry or Parry. Calibrated from Hill 40 in the morning ' .
It later went on to say ' The shell that wounded the two men was found to be a French 155mm. This was odd ' ( This was probably a captured gun ).
Photos and Regimental archive information courtesy of Alan Jones
E. W. Pope, ( Captain )
Ernest William Pope was born in 1872, the son of Stephen Ratcliffe, a solicitor, and Francis Elizabeth Pope of Colkirk House. It is unknown why he took his mother’s, rather than his father’s surname. Ernest achieved the rank of Captain in the 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade (the Prince Consort’s Own). He was killed in action at the Somme, France on 18th August 1916 aged 44 years.
Ernest has no known grave but he is commemorated on both the Thiepval Memorial at the Somme in France and in St. Peter and St. Paul Church, Fakenham where a brass plaque bearing the Regimental crest ( located on the north wall close to the Chancel) reads:
To the glory of God and in proud and loving memory of Capt. Ernest William Pope, 7th Batt Rifle Brigade, killed in action at Delville Wood, August 18th 1916. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends
Location: Delville Wood. British victory but at a huge cost in casualties. British success at Bazentin Ridge created a salient in the new line bordering Delville Wood and part of Longueval still held by the Germans; any further British advances depended on the capture of both.
An initial attack by South African infantry on 15th July developed into a battle of attrition until the South Africans were relieved on 20th July. Savage fighting with the advantage see-sawing between British and German armies continued through July and into August.
Units of the 14th (Light) Division relieved the 17th Division overnight on 12/13th August and on 18th August 43rd Brigade made an attack into Delville Wood under artillery cover; 6th Somerset Light Infantry and 6th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry the attacking battalions, 6th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and 10th Durham Light Infantry in support. 6th Somerset Light Infantry securing their objective, and holding it against German counter-attack with relatively light casualties, 6th Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry faced more resistance and suffered heavily in the hand-to-hand fighting which ensued to capture their position.
As 41st Brigade attacked the south of the wood, 7th Rifle Brigade and 7th King's Royal Rifle Corps captured part of Wood Lane and Orchard Trenches, hand to hand fighting broke out as enemy bombing parties counter attacked; in retaliation British small arms fire and trench mortar shells bombarded the German positions. On 21st August, 8th King's Royal Rifle Corps of 41st Brigade suffered almost 200 casualties from enemy small arms fire as they advanced through a smoke screen, gaining more ground in the process.
Flares indicated the new line's position to aerial observers to reduce the risk of the attackers coming under fire from their own artillery in such close combat. 42nd Brigade attacked in strength on 24th August and over the following days, further attacks saw more gains in territory and the establishment of defensive posts in the shattered trenches.
14th Division were relieved by 24th Division on 31st August, having lost more than 3,600 casualties during their 18 days at Delville Wood.
A. C. Scott, ( Private 467696 )
Private Alfred Cecil Scott was born in Lincolnshire in 1895 although his parents, Alfred and Emma, were farming in Oxwick by the time of Alfred’s death in 1918.
Alfred initially enlisted in the Bedfordshire Regiment in February 1916. However, he was later posted to one of the Agricultural Companies of the Labour Corps back in England.
The Labour Corps was formed in 1916 and had nearly 390,000 men of whom 175,000 worked in the UK to provide extra manpower in essential activities such as farming and mining. The majority of the men in the Labour Corps had been deemed medically unfit for front line active service, usually due to having been wounded, but found capable of doing other wartime work.
Alfred was assigned to one of the five Agricultural Companies of the Labour Corps whose HQs were in Norwich. He died locally on 25 November 1918, a fortnight after the war ended, and was buried at All Saints Church, Oxwick. Because Alfred had served in the military, he was entitled to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone, the inscription on which reads: Dearly loved.
B. W. Doy ( 1939-45 )
Basil W. Doy.
Born 1917 in Mitford Reg. Dist. Mother's maiden name Havers. Lived in Oxwick. No further information available.
Colkirk Roll Call ( in St. Mary's Church )
The Roll Call hanging in the church is a copy that was made ( sometime in the 20th Century ) of the water-damaged original .
There are a quite a few mistakes involving initials and surnames. I would think this was due to the copier's interpretation of the damaged original.
It can also be seen that not all of the names on the War Memorial appear on the Roll Call and those that are were not recorded as having lost their lives.
A Transcription of Colkirk Roll Call:
Colkirk Roll Call
August 1914 - November 1918
The Lord Jesus Christ
Be with thee to defend thee.
Within thee to refresh thee.
Around thee to protect thee.
Before thee to guide thee.
Behind thee to justify thee.
5th Century Prayer
Transcribed names have been put into alphabetical order
Possible matches to the transcription in blue, confirmed matches in green and WM for listed on the Colkirk War Memorial )
Catton. G ( Ernest George Catton?)
Greef. R Reginald George Greef WM
C.P.O Lake. E ( Albert Ernest Lake? )
Col. Sgt. Bartaby. W ( Walter Bartaby?)
Andrews. H ( Henry Andrews? )
Andrews. W Walter James Andrews WM
Bartaby. A ( Arthur or Albert? )
Betts. G ( George Betts? )
Catton. E ( Ernest Catton? )
Catton. G ( George Frederick? )
Catton. H Herbert Arthur WM
Catton. W ( William Catton? )
Clarke. F ( Frederick Clarke? )
Clements. A Alfred Benjamin Clements WM
Collins. A Arthur Collins WM
Cooke. G ( George Richard Cooke? ) WM
Cubitt. B ( Bradbury Cubitt? )
Cubitt. G George Cubitt WM
Cubitt. W ( William Cubitt? )
Dawson. G ( Gordon Dawson?)
Forder. A ( Arthur Forder? )
Goodman. D ( Douglas Goodman? )
Goodman. V ( Leonard Victor Goodman? )
Rev. Hoare. A.R Arthur Robertson Hoare
Huckins. E Edgar Phillip Huckins WM
Johnson. A ( Arthur Johnson? )
Nelson. A Albert William Nelson WM
Nelson. H Harry Nelson WM
Nobes. W ( William Nobes? )
Parker. A ( Alfred Parker? )
Ramm. D ( Daniel Ramm? )
Ramm. I ( John or Jack Ramm? )
Sake. U ( Urban Lake? )
Syson. A ( Alfred Syson? )
Syson. C ( Charles Syson? )
Toll. A ( Arthur Toll? )
Toll. T ( Thomas Toll? )
Sgt. Utting ( Percy Utting? )
Sgt. Vinnicombe ( George Vinnicombe? )
Woodhouse. B ( Bertie Woodhouse? )
Woodhouse. G ( Gerald Woodhouse? )
The following were accepted for Home Service only:
Collins. R ( Robert Collins? )
Wright. W ( William Wright? )
The following offered themselves for Service but were not accepted:
Nelson. W ( Willie Nelson? )
Parker. G ( George Parker? )
Scott. C Alfred Cecil Scott WM
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