The War Memorial

In November 1926, a Committee of eight 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:

Mr John Thistleton-Smith, farmer of Pudding Norton Hall

Mrs Elizabeth Thistleton-Smith of Pudding Norton Hall

Mr Alfred Morland Jee of Colkirk House

Mr Arthur De Mansfield Absolon: Two nephews fought in WW1

Mrs Susannah Huckins: Her husband Edgar was killed in WW1

Mr Henry Andrews: Ex-Serviceman. His brother Walter was killed in WW1

Rev Arthur Robertson Hoare: Ex-Serviceman. His brother Vincent was killed in WW1

Mr Bradbury Cubitt: Ex-Serviceman. His brother Matthew was killed in WW1

 

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 Campyngland) 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 (almost) 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.  Mr. Goodman, a Parish Councillor, 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 B. W. Doy ( thought to be 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,

please contact

colkirkwebsite@btinternet.com

 

COLKIRK WAR MEMORIAL

Names in alphabetical order

 

W. J. Andrews, ( Sergeant 22186 174th Company Machine Gun Corps, formerly Corporal 1113 3rd Bn. Rifle Brigade )

Walter James Andrews was born in Colkirk on 1st April 1889, the youngest child of agricultural labourer 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 was baptised in Colkirk on 26th July 1889 and by 1891 he was living with his family in Dereham Road, Colkirk.

By 1901 this farming family had moved to Spring Well, Whissonsett.

Walter joined the Militia (8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment) in September 1904. His age was recorded as being 17 years 5 months on his Attestation Form but he must have lied about his age as he was actually  only 15 years 5 months.

In 1905 he was posted to regular forces (3rd Bn. Rifle Brigade) and in 1911 is recorded as being with the 4th Bn. Rifle Brigade, based in Cairo.

No information has yet been found about Walter's life between 1911 until  February 1916 when he was wounded and had the rank of Corporal.

Walter must have recovered from those wounds as he was later posted to the 174th Company of the Machine Gun Corps (date unknown) and had attained the rank of Sergeant..

On Thursday 21st June 1917, Walter, aged 28, died at the No.3 Casualty Clearing Station, Lijssenthoek, Belgium, having suffered a fractured femur and gunshot wounds to both thighs. It has not been possible to establish exactly where Walter Andrews might have been when he was severely wounded but it is likely it was during the Battle of Messine which took place between  7-14 June 1917 as that was only 15 miles from the Lijssenthoek Casualty Clearing Station where Walter was taken.

Walter was buried at the Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery. His headstone reads: Sweet be his rest - His memory is dear.

            

Lijssenthoek Clearing Station, Walter's Headstone and Walter James Andrews

The Machine Gun Corps was created in October 1915. At that time, they used Maxim machine guns but these were already becoming obsolete so were replaced with Lewis machine guns which could fire up to 2.5 miles. The Corps suffered such heavy losses - 63,000 casualties and 15,500 men killed - that it was named the Suicide Club. Very few operational records exist of the Corps as nearly all were destroyed in a disastrous fire at the their HQ near Folkestone in 1920

 

H. A. Catton, ( Private 7971 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment )

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 20th 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.

 

A. B. Clements, ( Private 16063, 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment )

Alfred Benjamin Clements’ wife, Alice Margaret, was from Colkirk, hence Alfred's inclusion on the war memorial, although he came from London.

Alfred was born in 1890 and grew up in Finchley, Middlesex. His parents were Henry Clements, who was from the City of London, and Rebecca who was originally from Oxfordshire. Alfred married Alice Margaret Daws during the first quarter of 1910. It is unknown how they came to meet as Alice was from Norfolk but she was presumably working in London. Their daughter Kathleen was born in Finchley on 29th August 1910. By 1911, Alfred was working as a nurseryman in the same area. Another daughter, Caroline, was born in 1911. Her birth was registered in the Norfolk district of Wayland (an area about 20 miles west of Norwich). Their third daughter, Doris May, was born on 30th January 1914. By then the family was living in Colkirk.

Very little record of Alfred's service with 7th Battalion Norfolk Regiment survives as, along with thousands of other records, it was badly damaged during a devastating fire in WW2.  It is however known that whilst serving with the 7th Battalion, Alfred was killed during the Battle of Loos ( in NE France) on Wednesday 13th October 1915 aged 25 years.

The Battle of Loos lasted from 25 September to 16 October 1915. The 7th Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment lost 422 men during the battle. 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 attack on 13th October, the day Alfred lost his life, resulted in 3643 casualties, mostly in the first few minutes. British General J. E. Edmonds recorded that the attack: Brought about nothing but the useless slaughter of men.  

Alfred has no known grave but is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Pas de Calais.

 

A. J. Collins, ( Private 13807 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment )

The son of Robert and Florence Collins, Arthur Collins was born in Walsingham in 1899 but living in Oxwick by 1911, 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 Saturday 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.

Soldiers of the 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment

The 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment had arrived in France at Boulogne on 25 July 1915. From there the Battalion went to Flesselles, just north of Amiens in northern France. They fought in the Battle of Albert at the Somme from its first day (1st  July 2016) when they successfully took six enemy trenches. The Battalion was relieved three days later but by then had suffered 385 casualties. On 19th July, they took part in the attack on Delville Wood and successfully cleared part of the wood over the next four days but  with 293 casualties. The Battalion suffered 2000 casualties in total at the Somme. They then took part in further battles up until 5th October 1916 after which they stayed in trenches before moving on to operations in the area around the River Ancre to the north of Amiens in 1917. In February 1918, the Battalion was disbanded and returned to England. 

 

A. Cooke, ( Private 17793 8th Battalion East Surrey Regiment )

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.

The first record that has been found of Arthur's wartime service is on 30th July 1916 which shows he was in the 12th Battalion of the East Surrey Regiment. He moved to the 1st Battalion of the same Regiment on 1st August 1916 and was then posted to their 8th Battalion on 7th October 1916.

Arthur must either have already been in France by then or arrived very shortly afterwards as there is a record for him on 16th October 1916, just over a week later, which states : Previously reported as missing, now reported as not missing.  Arthur was taken ill with pyrexia (fever) not long after that, as there is a record of him being transported on the 31st Ambulance Train on 3rd and 4th November 1916 from Contay to Rouen in northern France.

 

Ambulance train, carried 500 soldiers and 50 medical staff and orderlies

                                                                                                            

No record has been found of what happened to Arthur after that, until Tuesday 6th August 1918 when he lost his life at the Somme 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. Both men are also commemorated on the Wymondham War Memorial. 

 

Wymondham War Memorial

 

R. Cooke, ( Private 14772 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment )

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 28th 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.

(See A. J. Collins for information on the 8th Battalion Norfolk Regiment)

 

M. G. Cubitt, ( Private 19539 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards )

Matthew George Cubitt was born in 1897, the son of Fred and Anna Cubitt of Colkirk.  

George joined the 4th Battalion Grenadier Guards and lost his life aged just 19 years on Tuesday 25th September 1916 ,the first day of the Battle of Morval on the Somme. 

Preparations for an ambitious offensive by several Guards Brigades, including the 4th Battalion in which Matthew served, were delayed by inclement weather but the attack was eventually started on 25th September. It was preceded by an artillery bombardment which opened up most of the German barbed wire defences although there were some intact sections of wire hidden in uncut crops which delayed the advance and resulted in many casualties.  A single tank helped clear a route and the German troops in the trenches were eventually overpowered. The battle resulted in nearly 3000 British  casualties.

George has no known grave but is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial at the Somme.

 

J. W. Dunn, ( Private 766365 3rd Battalion Canadian Infantry )

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.  By 1911, James had moved to Marham in Norfolk where he lodged with the Codling family and worked as a gardener.

     

James William Dunn and his parents, Oscar and Sarah

 

Sometime after 1911, James  emigrated to Canada and went to live in or near Streetsville, a neighbourhood of the city of Mississauga in Ontario. On 1st November 1915, shortly after the first recruitment meeting was held in Streetsville, James and ten other local boys enlisted in the 3rd Battalion of the Canadian Infantry. It was recorded that James was 5ft 8ins tall with a medium complexion, gray eyes and dark brown hair. The local paper, the Streetsville Review, wrote that it was: A fine showing for a small place like Streetsville and reflects credit on this loyal old village. The men who are enrolled are a fine class and every one of them will be sorely missed.  

Before James went overseas, he was presented with a safety razor by the brothers of the Oddfellows Hall of which he was a beloved member. The Streetsville Review reported that James Halsey of the Grand Order of Oddfellows said: In presenting this to you, it is our hope that whilst you are fighting "Somewhere in France", or wherever you may be, your closest shave will be the one from this razor.

In 1916 at the age of 22 and after a period training in England, probably at the Canadian Army Military Training Camp at Bramshott  in Hampshire , James was posted to France but he kept in touch with people back in Streetsville through letters, some of which were published by the Streetsville Review. One such letter was included in the 7 June 1917 edition:

766365, 13 Platoon, D Company, 3rd Battalion, Canadians, France

Mr and Mrs J. E. Bailey

A few lines to let you know all is well with me up to the present. We sure have some heavy fighting lately but we are blessed with good weather now, something like spring. Everything is    looking nice and green the grass and grain is coming along fine. How is Jack and Frank getting along? Did they come out of the scrap all right? I don't seem to be able to meet any of the old boys no matter where I go. We had a Thanksgiving Service on Sunday. It went off great but the sun was hot. It is about all that is doing. I see by the papers that meat is quite a price this summer. Does it affect the trade much? I suppose you will be getting busy by this time. I often wish I was back on the old wagon but I am afraid it won't be this season as it will be well into the fall before the war is ended by the look of things at present. Peace cannot come too soon to suit me. Well, I think this is all. Trusting all are well.

From yours truly,

J.W.Dunn

The Mr and Mrs Bailey to whom James wrote is likely to have been James Edward Bailey, a farmer, and his wife Sara and their son John. They lived at Lot 15 ,Concession 4, near Churchville which was about 5 miles from Streetsville so perhaps James either worked for them or lived with them.  

At Christmas 1916, the women of Streetsville Methodist Church sent James and many other Streetsville boys a Christmas Box of dates, hand-knitted socks and cigarettes.

James was just 24 years old when he was killed in action on Saturday 31st August 1918, only 6 weeks before the end of the war. He was manning a Lewis machine gun at an outpost near the Arras-Cambrai road during the 2nd Battle of the Somme (26 August - 03 September) at Arras in Northern France. James  was seriously wounded by enemy shellfire receiving numerous wounds in the legs and body. He was given immediate attention by a stretcher bearer and evacuated to No.3 Canadian Field Ambulance but died  shortly afterwards.    

James is buried in the Faubourg D’Amiens Cemetery at Arras in northern France.  He is commemorated on three War Memorials, those in Colkirk, Norfolk, Streetsville, Ontario and Weasenham, Norfolk ( presumably because his parents moved in about 1911 from Colkirk to Weasenham). He is also memorialised on the gravestone of his infant brother in St Mary's Church, Colkirk, Norfolk, the village where he was born.  

                    

Photos of (L-R) - James's headstone in Arras, Streetsville War Memorial, Weasenham War Memorial and the Memorial Headstone in Colkirk Churchyard

 

  

R. G. Greef, ( Leading Seaman Royal Navy 201073 )

Reginald George Greef was born on 7th December 1882 in Oxborough (near Swaffham).

Aged 15, he enlisted in the Royal Navy and joined his first ship, the St Vincent on 26th September 1898. His enlistment form records that he was 5ft 6in with brown eyes and brown hair with a fresh complexion.

On 17th June 1905 Reginald joined the Royal Fleet Reserve. He re-enrolled in the Royal Navy and was due to serve until 6th December 1917 although the records show that he was not demobbed until 5th June 1921.

In August 1918 he was Mentioned in Despatches for his actions against enemy submarines.

 

Reginald and Eliza Greef

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 on Sunday 10th May 1925, aged 32. 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, 12th ( County of London ) Battalion, London Regiment ( The Rangers )

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 Robertson Hoare

 

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. The Rangers landed in France on Christmas Day 1914 and then travelled to the Ypres area in Belgium.   Between November 1914 and February 1915, there had been ongoing small scale raids around Ypres. The village was held by the Allies but their determination to keep hold of it left them in a difficult defensive position as the Germans held the higher ground.

 

                

The Rangers, on the march and Vincent's Headstone

Vincent was killed in action on Monday 15th February 1915, aged 41, at Ypres so almost certainly during one of the skirmishes which was taking place at that time.

He was buried in the extension to the main Ypres Cemetery and  also commemorated on the Menin Gate. His headstone reads: God proved them – and found them worthy – for Himself.  

 

W. Hoare, ( Captain Durham Light Infantry )

It had been thought by some that the W. Hoare named on the Colkirk War Memorial was Walter Robertson Hoare, the brother of Vincent, but Walter did not die until 1941.

The W. Hoare on the memorial is in fact Wilfred Gurney Hoare (who may have been a distant relative of Vincent). He lived in Fakenham Rd, Colkirk from 1907 to 1910. Wilfred was born in Newcastle in 1876 and served in the Durham Light Infantry but whilst attached to the 2nd Battalion of the Wiltshires, he  was killed on Wednesday 10th March 1915, the first day of the battle of Neuve St Chappelle. He was aged 38.

The battle of Neuve St Chappelle began on 10 March 1915 with a 30 minute bombardment by the British artillery, the heaviest bombardment that was to be undertaken until 1917.  At 1:30pm, the troops were ordered to advance with a 25 yard gap between each of the companies.   The push forward continued until the early evening. The Wiltshires managed to move up to the German front line and took over 100 German prisoners. After a further advance of around 100 yards, the troops were confronted by a wide wet ditch held by the Germans. There followed a fire fight at close range during which Wilfred was killed.

Wilfred's body was never recovered but he is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial to the Missing at Pas de Calais in France.

 

E. P. Huckins, ( Private 18111 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards )

Edgar Phillip Huckins was born in Combe, Oxfordshire during the second quarter of 1879 . He and his twin brother Edwin Arthur were the 5th and 6th children of agricultural labourer Walter Huckins and his glovemaker wife Mary Ann (Woodward).

Edgar Philip Huckins

By 1901, Edgar had left Combe and gone into service as a footman at 106 Eaton Square in Westminster, London. The house was owned by Alice Elizabeth White, the widow of wealthy General Sir Henry Dalrymple. Also working in the house as an under housemaid was Susannah Nelson from Great Ryburgh in Norfolk. Edgar and Susannah married in the second quarter of 1901. Married couples were usually not allowed to work together in the same house so that may explain why, by the time their daughter Elsie Maud was baptised on 3rd  April 1904, they were living in Willesden in London and Edgar was working as a porter.

By 1906, Edgar and Susannah had moved back to Norfolk and had settled in Colkirk, just  2 miles from Susannah's home village of Great Ryburgh. Their son William John was baptised in Colkirk on 4th October of that year. Edgar was working at F&G Smith's Maltings in Great Ryburgh.

Edgar enlisted as a Private in the 1st Battalion of the Grenadier Guards on 14th September 1914. The Battalion took part in the 1st Battle of Ypres in October 2014 where they suffered catastrophic casualties. After several more battles across Belgium and then France, the  Battalion joined the 3rd Guards Brigade of the Guards Division in August 1915. At the end of the following month they took part in the Battle of Loos. On one day and in the space of just four hours, the  twelve attacking battalions suffered 8000 casualties out of 10,000 men.

Edgar was killed in action on Christmas Eve, Friday 24th December 1915 at the age of 36. It has not been possible to establish exactly where he lost his life. He has no known grave but is commemorated on the Loos Memorial at Pas de Calais, France.

Edgar's grandson, John Whiteside, still lives in Colkirk.

 

A. A. Nelson, ( Private 19299 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment )

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 on Friday 18th February 1916, aged 23, 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. 

(See H. A. Catton for information on the Battle of Kut).

 

H. Nelson, ( Corporal 17245 122nd Heavy Battery Royal Garrison Artillery )

Born in 1884, Harry was the son of Frederick and Harriet Nelson. Harry married Ann Mary Pearson in 1912. They had two children - Victor born in 1913 and Winifred born in 1914. 

Ann Mary Nelson with Victor and Winifred

In October 1914, Harry enlisted as a Bombardier in the 122nd Heavy Battery of the Royal Garrison Artillery  which had been formed that same month. It comprised men of the Southern Division, Royal Garrison Artillery who were drawn from a number of coastal artillery companies. The Battery formed at Forts Nelson and Fareham before moving to Woolwich for a period of training. The men tended to be big with a more technical appreciation of the complexities of firing huge guns at moving ship targets. 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.

Harry was a bombardier on the formation of the battery. He was posted to France in March 1915. By May 1915, the battery was positioned near the village of Potijze, near Ypres in Belgium. 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 probably promoted to replace one of the NCOs killed or wounded and also because he had been noted for his work during this grim period. Harry was included in a list which recorded: The following NCOs and men performed their duties in a particularly meritorious manner.

On 15th November 1915, Harry was wounded whilst on guard duty near the billet at Kruistraat ( just south of Ypres ).

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.

Harry died of his wounds the following day, Tuesday 16th November 1915,  aged  32 years.  He was buried at Lijssenthoek Military Cemetery, Poperinge, West Vlaanderen, Belgium.

Harry Nelson's Headstone

Inscription reads: Death Divides - Memory Clings - From Wife and Children

                                                                                                        

E. W. Pope, ( Captain 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade - the Prince Consort's Own )

Ernest William Pope was born in 1872 and baptized on 25th April 1872 in Fakenham Parish Church. He was the only son of Stephen Ratcliffe Pope, a solicitor, and Francis Elizabeth Pope of Colkirk House. Ernest's parents also had five daughters. Ernest achieved the rank of Captain in the 7th Battalion Rifle Brigade (the Prince Consort’s Own).

Ernest was killed in action at the battle of Delville Wood on the Somme, northern France on Friday 18th August 1916 aged 44 years.

The battle of Delville Wood had started on 15th July 1916 with an initial attack by the South African Infantry. The British relieved the South Africans on 20th July.  Delville Wood and the nearby village of Longueval had to be captured before there could be any further advance. The attack on 18th August, the day Ernest lost his life, started with an artillery barrage. The 7th Rifle Brigade, Ernest's unit, were engaged in hand to hand fighting during the counter attack by the Germans. Delville Wood was initially captured on 27th August 1916 but not finally held securely until 15th September 1916. The battle was one the bloodiest on the Somme - the Delville Wood cemetery has 5493 burials, of which two thirds are of unknown soldiers.

Delville Wood

Ernest has no known grave (although he may be one of the unknown soldiers buried in the Delville Wood cemetery) 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.

The Memorial Plaque in Fakenham Church

 

A. C. Scott, ( Private 467696 430th Agricultural Company, Labour Corps )

Private Alfred Cecil Scott was born in 1895, in Ingoldsby, Lincolnshire to Alfred (a shepherd) and Emma Scott. He had an older brother, Bertie, born in 1893.

He started school in North Witham, Lincs on 30th November 1900 when living at Hall Farm.

By 1911 the family had moved to Brisley Rd. North Elmham, Norfolk and Alfred was recorded as Cecil ( perhaps to avoid confusion with his father ) and working on a farm.

They moved to Hill Farm, Oxwick, Norfolk in 1913

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 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 Agricultural Companies of the Labour Corps whose HQs were in Norwich.   

Alfred Scott's Headstone

He died at home from Influenza and Pneumonia on Monday 25th November 1918, aged 23, two weeks after the war ended, and was buried nearby, at All Saints Church, Oxwick.

Because Alfred had served in the military, in wartime, he was entitled to a Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstone, the inscription on which reads: Dearly loved.   

 

 

B. W. Doy ( 1939 - 45 )

B. W. Doy is commemorated on the Colkirk war memorial in respect of the 1939 - 45 war.  

Very little hard evidence has been found about his life. For example, there is no record of a birth or death of a B. W. Doy in any of the standard records.  

However, the birth records for the local area record the birth of a B. G. Doy in 1917 with mother's name as Havers but no marriage can be found between Doy and Havers.

Furthermore, information from local people suggests that the B. W. Doy on the war memorial was related to Ivy Elizabeth Ramm (nee Doy), the wife of Jack Ramm the village postman and there is an Ivy Elizabeth Doy and a Basil G. Doy recorded as both having a mother with the maiden name of Havers.

No record has been found in any source of when or where Basil died, which is surprising given that he must have lost his life in connection with WW2 in order to be commemorated on the village war memorial and military records of casualties are usually highly accurate.

Basil is however mentioned in a book on the history of Colkirk written by Bill Bailey ( local resident ) that states Basil lost his life at Dunkirk in 1940 although it has not been possible to prove that. It is even possible that Basil survived the war but died years later as a consequence of the war as his name was not added to the war memorial until 1951, but no record of a death can be found.

So why was Basil recorded on the war memorial as being B W Doy when in all likelihood his middle initial was actually G?

Basil's father died in 1956 and his mother in 1979 but perhaps his sister, Ivy had his name added to the memorial as it has been said locally that he would be living with her and Jack on his return from the war.

Perhaps Ivy inadvertently believed his middle name was William when in fact it was George (possibly because Basil’s father was William George Doy).

 

 

Colkirk Roll Call

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 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 the 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.

Amen

5th Century Prayer

 

Transcribed names have been put into alphabetical order

  Possible matches to the transcription and Commemorated on the Colkirk War Memorial )

Royal Navy

Name

 

Catton. G

Ernest George Catton

Born 9th June 1895 to Walter and Jessie Catton; baptised 25th September 1895 in Colkirk

Served in the 5th Bn. Duke of Cornwall's Lt. Infantry as a Private from 25/09/1911 to 27/11/1914

It appears Ernest them left the armed forces and worked as an asylum attendant (it is not known where) until....

2/03/1917 - officer's batman; service no. 226199 (no further details available)

29/06/1917 - enlisted in the Royal Naval Air Service, service no. F32304.

1/04/1918 - transferred to the RAF Reserve list (the RAF was formed on 1st April 1918);  service no. 232304.

3/10/1918 - posted to 250 Sqdn (a reconnaissance squadron on anti submarine patrols)

26/02/1919 - posted to 236 Sqdn  (also a reconnaissance squadron on anti submarine patrols)

21/03/1919 - end of service

Worked as a mental health nurse after the war

Died 1969

Buried in Withiel Churchyard, Cornwall

 

 

Goodman. A

Edward Arthur Goodman Royal Navy 215093 in 1901

Born 6th March 1885 to Edward and Emma Goodman#

Baptised 21st October 1885 in Colkirk

Died 1939

Buried 14th December 1939 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 

Greef. R

Reginald George Greef b.1882 d.1925. Leading Seaman Royal Navy 201073. Mentioned in Dispatches 1918. Gazette issue 30833, Honours for services in action with enemy submarines.

Born 7th December 1882 in Oxborough, Norfolk

Died 10th May 1925 in Kings Lynn, Norfolk

Buried 14th May 1925 in All Saints Churchyard, South Lynn, Norfolk

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM

C.P.O. Lake. E

Albert Ernest Lake  C.P.O Royal Navy 142290 from 1887. Mentioned in Dispatches  1918. Gazette issue 30536

Born 1871 in East Stonehouse, Devon to Richard and Mary Ann Lake

Died 1938

Buried 19th October 1938 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
     

Royal Marines

Name

 

Col. Sgt. Bartaby. W

Walter Bartaby  3172 Royal Marine Artillery from 1886 to 1907 (Acting Warrant Officer 2nd Class). Rejoined in 1914 and served to 1918.

Born 1870 to Edward and Elizabeth Bartaby

Baptised 2nd August 1876 in Colkirk

Died 1923

Buried 31st March 1923 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
     

Army

Name

 

Absolon. A

Alfred George Absolon  Temp. 2nd Lieutenant, Machine Gun Corps.

Awarded the Military Cross

"Gazette issue 31356 23rd May 1919. Military Cross. His Majesty the King has been graciously pleased to approve of this award in recognition of gallantry and devotion to duty in the Field. Awarded the Military Cross for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty at Sharqat, 29th October, 1918. Exhausted after a forced march of sixty miles and suffering from ill health, he conducted his section over 1,500 yards of shell-swept ground to a ridge exposed to heavy fire, rallying and taking with him on the way a Lewis gun team. He at once came into action and enfiladed the enemy's advancing line, thereby being largely instrumental in breaking up the hostile counter-attack."

Born 1893 to Augustine and Amy Absolon

Brother of Leonard Absolon

Died 1979 in Chichester, Sussex

 

 
Absolon. S Leonard Ord Absolon  Private 56146 Machine Gun Corps. Wounded in action 11th October 1918

Born 4th September 1895 to Augustine and Amy Absolon

Brother of Alfred Absolon

Baptised 18th October 1895 in Colkirk

Died 1976 in Colchester

 

 

 
Adhimar. H Frank Charles Douglas Adhimar  Private SS/16295 RASC, Corporal WR/267932 Royal Engineers (Railways), Corporal 250716 Royal Engineers.

Born 1884 to Arthur and Emma Adhimar

Baptised on 13th April 1884 in Kennington, Surrey

Died 1961 in Watford, Herts

 

 
Andrews. C Charles Andrews  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 27th October 1891 to Christmas and Susannah Andrews

Brother of Walter James Andrews

Baptised 10th February 1892 in Colkirk

 

 
Andrews. H Henry Andrews  1894 Service No. 2037 Militia – Norfolk Artillery  Not yet found in WW1 Military Records

Born 11th August 1876 to Christmas and Susannah Andrews

Brother of Walter James Andrews

Died 1961

Buried 25th February 1961 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Andrews. W Walter James Andrews  Sergeant 22186 Machine Gun Corps, died of wounds.

Born 1st April 1889 to Christmas and Susannah Andrews

Brother of Charles and Henry Andrews

Baptised 26th July 1889 in Colkirk

Died 1917

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM

Bartaby. A Albert Ernest Bartaby  Private 22882 3rd Norfolk Regiment

Born 12th July 1896 to Christmas and Mary Anne Bartaby

Baptised 28th October 1896 in Colkirk

Died 1957

Buried 14th November 1957 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Bayfield. W

William Bayfield  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 1889 to George and Harriet Bayfield

 

 

 
Betts. G George Betts  Private 26116 Norfolk Regiment. Wounded in April 1918

Born 1884 to William and Fanny Betts

Baptised 10th February 1884 in Gateley

Died 1959

 

 
Broom. A Nothing found yet

 

 

 
Catton. E Ernest Catton  Private 241143 Norfolk Regiment. Wounded in November 1917

Born 1886 to James and Martha Catton

 

 
Catton. G George Catton  Private then Sergeant S4/060476 RASC

Born 27th May 1894 to James and Martha Catton

Baptised 18th July 1894 in Colkirk

 

 
Catton. H Herbert Arthur Catton  Private 7971 2nd Bn. Norfolk Regiment

Born 1891 to Herbert and Eberlener Catton

Died 1917

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM

Catton. J James Catton  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 1881 to James and Martha Catton

 

 
Catton. W Horace William Catton Private 72889 Royal Artillery 1915 - 1918 then Corporal 39808 RASC from March 1918

Born 1895 to Herbert and Eberlener Catton

 

 
Clarke. F Frederick Clarke  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 1884

Died 1950

 

 
Clements. A Alfred Benjamin Clements Private 16063 7th Bn. Norfolk Regiment

Born 1890

Died 1915

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM
Coker. E Edmund Coker  Private 14273 8th Bn. Norfolk Regiment. Wounded in action September 1916, gunshot wound to head. Sergeant from November1917. Transferred to 13th Bn. East Lancs Regiment 41499 from November 1918

Born 11th December 1894 to Abraham James and Martha Coker

Baptised 27th July 1898 in Colkirk

Died 1951 in Woolwich

 

 
Collins. A Arthur Collins Private 13807 8th Bn. Norfolk Regiment

Born 1899

Died 1916

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM
Cooke. E Arthur James Cooke  Private 17793 8th Bn. East Surrey Regiment

Born 1893 in Oxwick to George and Anna Cooke

Brother of George Cooke

Died 1916

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM
Cooke. G George Richard Cooke  Private 14772 8th Bn. Norfolk Regiment

Born 1894 in Oxwick to George and Anna Cooke

Brother of Arthur Cooke

Died 1916

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM

Crane. I

Henry Jasper Crane   Jasper Harry Crane Private 16633 3rd Norfolk Regiment

Born 5th July 1894 to Jasper and Emma Crane

Died 1974

Buried 20th August 1974 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Cubitt. B Bradbury (Briar) Cubitt  Private 14723 9th Norfolk Regiment. Wounded in action January 1918

Born 1893 to Frederick and Anna Cubitt

Brother of Matthew George and David Cubitt

Died 1974

Buried 26th October 1974 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Cubitt. G Matthew George Cubitt  Private 19539 4th Bn. Grenadier Guards

Born 1897 to Frederick and Anna Cubitt

Brother of Bradbury (Briar) and David Cubitt

Died 1916

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM
Cubitt. W David Cubitt  Sapper 145369 Royal Engineers. Wounded in action by a Gas Shell in April 1918

Born 24th January 1886 to Frederick and Anna Cubitt

Brother of Bradbury (Briar) Matthew George Cubitt

Baptised 24th February 1886 in Colkirk

Died 1974

 

 
Dawson. G Arthur Gordon Dawson  85849 Royal Garrison Artillery in November 1915

Born 6th January 1897 to Arthur and Deborah Dawson

Baptised 27th June 1897 in Colkirk

Died 1985

Buried 24th October 1985 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Dungar.? Nothing found yet

 

 

 
Dungar. A

Arthur William Dunger   Private 16636 3rd Bn. Norfolk Regiment. Wounded in action, Gunshot wounds to Rt Shoulder 1916, Lt Thigh 1917 and Gas Poisoning 1918.

Born 16th September 1896 in Mitford Reg. Dist.

Died 1974 in Fakenham Reg. Dist.

 

 
Forder. A Arthur Forder  Private 8072 Norfolk Regiment and 368811 Labour Corps

Born 1875

Died 1950

Buried 21st December 1950 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Frost. W

Frederick William or William Frederick Frost   Not yet found in Military Records

Born 8th December 1896 to Frederick and Lizzie Frost.

Baptised 27th July 1898 in Colkirk

Died 1968 in Australia

 

 
Gibson. I John Thomas Gibson  Gunner 98738 19th (R) Battery Royal Field Artillery. Wounded in action in 1916, gunshot wound to neck.

Born 1878 in Stibbard to Henry and Alice Gibson

Married to Louisa and living in Colkirk in 1911

Died 1961

 

 
Goodman. D Horace Douglas Goodman  Private M2/167166 Army Service Corps.

Born 14th September 1890 to Edward and Emma Goodman

Brother of Gerald and Leonard Goodman

Baptised 23rd November 1890 in Colkirk

Died 1941 in Fakenham Reg. Dist.

 

 
Goodman. G Gerald Goodman  Driver 84681 Royal Engineers. Wounded in action January 1918.

Born 22nd July 1892 to Edward and Emma Goodman

Brother of Horace and Leonard Goodman

Baptised 18th September 1892 in Colkirk

Died 1974 in Kings Lynn

 

 

Goodman. V

Leonard Victor Goodman  Driver 85107 and 343962 Royal Engineers

Born 27th April 1897 to Edward and Emma Goodman

Brother of Horace and Gerald Goodman

Baptised 8th September 1897 in Colkirk

Died 1985 in Hampshire

 

 

Greef. A

Algernon Cook Greef  Sergeant 12997 Norfolk Regiment. Wounded in action 22nd August 1916

Born 1878 in Caldecote, Norfolk to John and Mary A Greef

Brother of Edgar and Reginald

Died 1964 in London

 

 

Greef. E

Edgar Greef  Corporal SE/7165 Royal Army Veterinary Corps

Born 1877 in Caldecote, Norfolk  to John and Mary A Greef

Brother of Algernon and Reginald Greef

Died 1940 in Surrey

 

 
Hall. F Frederick John Hall  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 1892 

Brother of Edgar Hall

Died 1980

 

 
Hall. I Edgar Thomas Hall  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 1887 

Brother of Frederick Hall

 

 
Hardy. N

Nothing found yet

 

 

 
Hazel. A

Albert Ernest Hazel  Driver T/325813 or T/325913 Army Service Corps

Born 1894

Died 1965 in Rochford

 

 
Rev. Hoare A.R

Rev. Arthur Robertson Hoare  Temp. Chaplain 4th Class. Mentioned in Dispatches 1917, Gazette issue 30445.

Born 17th October 1871 to Walter and Jessie Hoare

Baptised 19th November 1871 in Stibbard

Died 1941 in Thetford

 

 
Howe. S

Charles Euphrates Serapis Howe  Private 3747 3rd Norfolk Regiment in 1897 for 6 years. Then in 1914 Gunner 85691 Royal Garrison Artillery and Gunner 49453 Labour Corps.

Born 13th August 1879 to Charles and Ann Howe

Baptised 2nd November 1879 in Colkirk

 

 
Huckins. E Edgar Phillip Huckins  Private 18111 1st Bn. Grenadier Guards

Born 1879

Died 1915

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM

Johnson. A Arthur Johnson  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 1894 

Brother of Frederick Johnson

Died 1969

 

 
Johnson. M Frederick Johnson  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 1878 

Brother of Arthur Johnson

Died 1957

Buried 8th July 1957 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Kelly. W

William Edward Kelly Private M2/131206 3rd Bn. Army Service Corps. Awarded the Military Medal in July 1917 for bravery in the field. Gazette issue 30172

Born 30th December 1897 to William and Evelyn Kelly

Baptised 27th July 1898 in Colkirk

Died 1964

 

 
Lake. G George Walter Lake  Private 29676 Norfolk Regiment. Wounded in action in September 1918

Born 1882 to William and Sarah Ann Lake

Brother of Urban Lake

Died in 1952

 

 
Nelson. A Albert William Nelson  Private 19299 2nd Bn. Norfolk Regiment

Born 1892

Died 1916

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM

Nelson. H Harry Nelson  Corporal 17245 Royal Garrison Artillery

Born 1884

Died 1915

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM

Nelson. I  

Nothing found yet

 

 
Nobes. W Nothing found yet

 

 

 
Parker. A Alfred Parker  Not yet found in Military Records

Born 1892

Brother of George Parker

Died 1951

 

 
Ramm. D Daniel Ramm  Norfolk Regiment 18963

Born 1898

Brother of John (Jack) Ramm

Died 1980 in North Walsham

 

 
Ramm. I John (Jack) Ramm  Norfolk Regiment 16665, wounded in action.

Born 1896

Brother of Daniel Ramm

Died 1976

Buried 1st October 1976 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Sake. U Urban Ernest Lake  Hampshire Regiment 22479, wounded in action in 1917, (gunshot wound to chest), returned to duty after 5 days treatment.

Born 7th September 1891 to William and Sarah Ann Lake

Brother of George Lake

Baptised 1st November 1891 in Colkirk

Died 1966 in Fakenham Reg. Dist.

 

 
Syson. A Alfred Ernest Syson  Private 41235 South Staffordshire Regiment

Born 1887 

Brother of Charles Syson

Died 1964 in Fakenham Reg. Dist.

 

 
Syson. C Charles Reginald Syson  Private 3082 Norfolk Yeomanry. Served from Jul 1916 to Nov 1916, discharged due to sickness.

Born 1888 

Brother of Alfred Syson

Died 1973

Buried 29th May 1973 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Toll. A Arthur Toll  Private DM2/168568 Army Service Corps.

Born 16th May 1883 to Matthew and Diana Toll

Brother of Walter Toll

Baptised 11th February 1885 in Colkirk

Died 1974

Buried 22nd July 1974 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Toll. T Walter Toll  120237 Royal Garrison Artillery Served from Feb 1916 to Mar 1917, discharged due to sickness.

Born 15th June 1880 to Matthew and Diana Toll

Brother of Arthur Toll

Baptised 12th April 1882 in Colkirk

Died 1960

Buried 26th March 1960 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Sgt. Utting Ernest Utting

Born in 1896 to Thomas and Elizabeth Utting and baptised on 26th July 1896 in Kettlestone.

1st September 1914 - Enlisted as Private 13887 in Norfolk Regiment aged 23

29th January 1915 - Promoted to Lance Corporal

17th July 1915 - Promoted to Acting Corporal

18th August 1915 - Posted to France

30th May 1916 - Promoted to Lance Sergeant

1st July 1916 - Promoted to Acting Sergeant

3rd July 1916 - Promoted to Sergeant

20th November 1916 - Promoted to Company Sergeant Major

19th December 1916 - Awarded the Military Medal, Gazette 27873

12th May 1918 - Transferred to 10th Essex Regiment 43965

14th June 1918 - Awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, Gazette 30750

26th August 1918 - Returns from France wounded ( gunshot wound to left hand, fingers amputated ) and entitled to wear a wound stripe.

March 1919 - Discharged from Army aged 28 as no longer physically fit for service.

Silver War Badge issued.

 

 
Sgt. Vinnicombe George Godfrey Vinnicombe  Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 200550 Norfolk Regiment.

Born 14th January 1893 to James and Edith Vinnicombe

Baptised 24th February 1893 in Colkirk

Died 1956

 

 
Woodhouse. B Ernest Arthur Woodhouse Private 134181 Labour Corps 

Born 26th March 1883 to Henry and Mary Ann Woodhouse

Brother of Gerald Woodhouse

Baptised 8th July 1883 in Oxwick

 

 
Woodhouse. G Gerald John Woodhouse  Private 14721 Norfolk Regiment then 561948 Labour Corps. Wounded in action, gunshot wound to left leg in April 1918.

Born 4th April 1893 to Henry and Mary Ann Woodhouse

Brother of Ernest Woodhouse

Baptised 18th July 1894 in Colkirk

 

 

 

The following were accepted for Home Service only.

Collins. R Robert John Collins (1914/15 Oxwick Electoral Roll and 1901 Census)

Born 1878

Possibly the father of Arthur Collins on the War Memorial

 

 
Newton. ? James Newton (1914/15 Oxwick Electoral Roll) (Gateley in 1911 Census )

Born 1889

 

 
Turner. R Robert Turner (1914/15 Colkirk Electoral Roll)

 

 
Wright. W William Wright (Colkirk Electoral Roll)

Born 1884

Buried 26th March 1964 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 

 

The following offered themselves for Service but were not accepted

Crane. D David Crane

Born 1889

 

 
Daws. E Edward Daws

Born 1876

 

 
Knights. C Nothing found yet

 

 
Nelson. E Edward Nelson

Born 1898

 

 
Nelson. W Willie Nelson

Born 1898

 

 
Parker. G George Parker

Born 1896

Brother of Alfred Parker

Died 1971

Buried 13th February 1971 in Colkirk Churchyard

 

 
Scott. C Alfred Cecil Scott Private 467696 Labour Corps

Born 1895

Died 1918

For more details see War Memorial entry above

 

WM

Updated on 11th February 2021

 

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