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Bob Martins, Norfolk Regiment, KiA?


high wood
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This young lad signed his postcard, Bob and sent it to a Mrs Martins of 40, Church Road, Gorleston on Sea, Great Yarmouth on the 23rd December 1914. The message partly reads that he shall not be home as leave is only granted to married men. From this, it is easy to assume that he was Bob or more correctly, Robert Martins of the 5th battalion Norfolk Regiment. He has given his return address as C Company, 69 Silver Street, Peterborough. The Peterborough address indicates 2/5th battalion, Norfolk Regiment as they were stationed there in December 1914.

A search of the medal index cards reveals that there was only one man called Robert Martins in the Norfolk Regiment:

Fred Robert Martins born Yarmouth 1896. Fred Robert Martins had the service number 3/7340 and was killed in action on 31st July 1916 with the first Btn Norfolk Regiment. The CWGC give no details about his next of kin but SDGW reveal that he was born and enlisted in Great Yarmouth. Given that Fred Robert Martins was 18 in 1914 could this be him in the photograph? Is there any way of finding out his home address?

FreeBMD reveals that there was also a Robert Joseph Martins born in Yarmouth in 1892 but he does not appear to have served with the Norfolk Regiment.

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Frederick R Martins' MIC gives his qualifying date as 31.8.1914, so quite an early entry. Unfortunately haven't turned up any papers either on Ancestry or FMP.

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Yes, I do think he looks very young in the photo.

Freddy Martins, his brother Robert and widowed mother Maria were living with his brother-in-law in the 1911 census. The address is given as 14 Row 97 Great Yarmouth

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Louise,

thank you for your input.

31st August 1914 is very early to be going to France for someone born in 1896 but it is possible. A Frederick Martins, 3017, Norfolk Regiment later 5700-202624 10th Btn Worcestershire Regiment was killed in action 21st March 1918. CWGC give no next of kin details. There may be a connection.

Robert could be the brother of Mrs Martins. Frederick Martins married Laura Brown in Yarmouth and they had a son, Christopher J A Martins in 1917. There was a Robert Brown who served as 4759-241032 5th Btn Norfolk Regiment.

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You're welcome, Simon. It's not Freddy's older brother, as he was 30 in 1911. There's another family of Martins living in Yarmouth, including a Robert b.1898 (again just a row number for an address: must be something wrong there). Even younger, of course, but he may have been kept at home for a while. However, doesn't explain why it's only sent to the mother if he's the man. The brother angle is interesting. Maybe he didn't serve abroad, so no MIC? - a problem we've got with our Norfolk man, the Corazzo in my signature. We have a photo of him which has been identified as the Norfolks, but it's the only proof the family have.

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Well, I've checked out 40 Church Street, Gorleston, Yarmouth in 1911 - and there's several ladies there called Martin, but only one of them is married: Richenda aged 29. Her maiden name appears to be Sutton (unmarried sister also living there), but the household appears to be made up entirely of women. I've checked the original and they don't use an "s", so it may be a simple mistake.

Off to see if Richenda had a younger brother Bob...

ETA - just one brother William b.1895 in the 1901 census (and a George Henry b.1889 in 1891): she's already married but still no sign of hubbie...

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The Census summary books have the householder at No. 40 Church Road, Gorleston as "R Martin" with 5 females, no males present.

The 1911 census of 40 Church Street, Goleston shows:

"Richard" (Richenda) Martin, Wife, 29 years ols, married 11 years, 4 children, 2 living,, housekeeper, born at Great Yarmouth

"Richard" (Richenda) Dorothy Martin, daughter, 9, born at Gorleston

Andessa Mabel Martin, daughter, 5, born at Gorleston

Harriett Sutton, sister, 27, sorter at clothing factory, born at Great Yarmouth

Gertrude Martin, sister-in-law, 16, bow maker in silk factory, born at Gorleston

Could he be Richenda's (seniors) brother, e.g. a Sutton - Bob Sutton?

Richenda Susannah K Sutton married George Thomas Martin in Yarmouth in OND Qtr 1899

Steve.

EDIT: Oops, sorry Verrico. I was a bit slow there!

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Not at all, Steve - thinking along the same lines!

In the absence of a Robert Sutton, I rather like William - in 1901 it's just the two of them in the household indicating she had a large role in his upbringing. I would expect him to hope to be home for Christmas. So I'm wondering if it's just one of those nicknames that stuck. Would have to back it up but unfortunately I need my beauty sleep.

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Louise and Steve, thank you both for your late night researching efforts. I am now slightly more confused than I was before though as the postcards says Martins and the census says Martin. I like the Bob Sutton idea and I have checked FreeBMD and found not one but two Robert George Suttons born in Yarmouth between 1890 and 1900. One Setember Qtr 1896 and the other March Qtr 1898. I will now check the medal index cards to see what they have.

Simon

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Three William Suttons in the Norfolk Regiment: 6642 William Sutton; 27116 William D Sutton, 1839-240137 William A Sutton (5th Btn) Later WR/193395 R.E.

One Robert Sutton: 3/6212 Robert Henry Sutton and one William C Martins 4326 in the Norfolk Regiment.

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The problem is tying the Roberts into Richenda's family, Simon. Her parents were George and Harriet. The only Robert I can find born in Great Yarmouth area in the 1901 census is the 3-year-old son of a Sarah. He's still at home in 1911. The later census throws up a 15-year-old Robert Burns Sutton with his parents John Henry and Esther Sarah in the Norwich region. I can't trace any others of that name born in the 1890-1900 period.

Perhaps the family had added the "s" by the outbreak of war. It just seems too big a coincidence that the property was occupied by the Martin family in 1911. Richenda's father was a fisherman and I wonder if it was her husband's trade too: might account for his absence on both census returns. Might also account for William being absent if it were a family business.

And one B Sutton:-

Name: B Sutton

Regiment or Corps: Norfolk Regiment, Norfolk Regiment

Regimental Number: 5764601, 72037

whose entitlement was an Indian GS [Wagn?] 1919-1921! However, he gives his address as near Worksop.

I still like Billy-Bob!

ETA wouldn't it be wonderful if he were the William Robert Sutton born 1897 in Blofield! It's not that far away but still can't tie him in and he's a bit too young for Richenda's brother...

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Papers survive for 6642 William Sutton, showing him to have enlisted in 1903 aged 18, so he can be ruled out (sadly DoW in 1917).

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Louise,

thank you again for your sterling efforts. Is it possible for you to find a home address for Frederick Robert Martins please? He was born and enlisted in Gorleston.

Thank you.

Simon

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Can't see any Frederick Roberts in the 1911 census, Simon - but it brings us back to young Freddy (mother Maria, brother Robert) and a 30 year old. Both give birthplace as Great Yarmouth.

ETA: I assume he's this man:-

Name: MARTINS, Fred Robert

Registration district: Yarmouth

County: Norfolk

Year of registration: 1896

Quarter of registration: Jan-Feb-Mar

Can't get a match for a Martins but there's a Fred Martin b.1896 birthplace given as Norwich. Mother Laura is head of household. They are living in Norwich.

In the 1901 census, there's a Fred Martin b.1896 New Catton (still Norwich), son of Frederick and Emily.

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He is listed as Fred Robert Martins on FreeBMD but as Frederick Robert Martins in SDGW which also says that he was born and enlisted in Great Yarmouth.

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I can tell you a little about Silver Street, Peterborough, as I used to live at the other end of the road. In 1914 the houses wouldn't have been much more than 10 years old so far as I can remember from the deeds. Terrace, 3 up, 3 down at that time I think. I can't think exactly where 69 would have been - and I don't know if the numbering's always been the same. If it has, the odd numbers are on the north of the street. Somewhere in the higher numbers on that side there was what had I think been a bakery, originally with its own shop attached, this was where a side street comes into the road

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I don't think the numbering has changed much in Peterborough. Though my family come from "Sarf of the river (Nene)" it is the wrong end of town for me these days. It looks like No. 69 is right at the very end of the dead end of the road where it butts up to the back of the terraces on Palmerston Road, the backs of the gardens of which form the wall of the dead end of Silver Street. The side road would be Orchard Street. The shop on the corner, though now a house was pretty obviously previously a shop - the bricked up shop doorway is pretty obvious when you view it on Google streetview.

Steve.

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Thanks Stebie

Orchard Street had come to mind but I wasn't absolutely sure. The shop/bakery has a further brick building attached to it - more on the Orchard Street frontage, but what I assume was the original bake shop. I think that was still in use as a bakery even in 2002 when I moved

What I was half thinking is that most of the families along there wouldn't have had much room to have men billeted on them, and if some might actually have been put up in a storeroom of the bakery or something, but it sounds like numbering doesn't quite work

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