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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

A Town's Post Men


Kitty55

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Hi Oh Wise Ones

Is there an easy way to find out who or how many postmen served during the war from my local town (Dereham) ? I've found 3 but with several thousand to look through, is there a list somewhere or any other way of doing it.

Putting Postman or postmen into various internet search engines or historical databases, i.e. findmypast, ancestry etc. doesn't work nor did asking at my local head post office.

Anyone got any answers before I continue searching one by one again. I've managed to get records for the Oddfellow members and Hobbies Factory but nothing in regards to the Post Office.

 

thanks and take care, Kitty

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Hi Moonraker

I've tried both and nothing there. It's just too complex for me - I'm not really interested in the war just the people from town fighting in it and what happened to them.

 

 

The Post Office site were very helpful and emailed me back almost immediately with details of how to find their research archive  - but unfortunately I can’t afford to hire a researcher and at present am too ill to travel as I’m lined up for several hospital operations – which start next Thursday.

 

 

The Post Office site also said they have no way of finding just (East) Dereham post men who fought in the WWI so I’d have to search by name anyway.

 

 

As for the National Archives – forget it – hate the place – so unhelpful and confusing as normal. Hence I worked for English Heritage, the National Trust and later on the Government. So I can research but not their (the national) archive DB – it’s just not logical – think they make it like that on purpose – sure finding a named person especially with regiment number is easy but nothing else is and the price for each record – ridiculous.

 

 

Guess I'll carry on using all the databases I'm already paying for (findmypast, ancestry, N&MA, FWR, Genealogist etc.) - it's just so slow - as a trained correlater it seems nobody can organise anything these days - well not in a logical manner for research anyway.

 

 

I can remember a very wise professor at Uni saying ‘if a database is easy to programme it’ll be dreadful to search. However if it’s complex to learn and programme it’ll be dead easy to find things’

 

 

AND HE WAS RIGHT !!!

 

 

- Modes (The MLA - Museums, Libraries & Archives) system was a classic example - boy, did that take me time to learn - and guess what - as I don't use it any more I've forgotten how to do most of it now.

 

I would appear that once more I'm asking awkward questions to/of people again - why am I always the first to ask and try to find something that nobody else does? - I must be mad.

 

Or should I say a crazy cat?

 

thanks and take care, Kitty

Edited by Kitty55
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9 hours ago, Kitty55 said:

I've found 3

 

I've got five!

 

I had more too, until I realised that a ridiculous amount of postmen lived in Dereham Road, Norfolk.

 

4054 Robert Bowers 2/4th Norfolks died 16/1/1916

369446 Ernest David Brown, RE

28321 Ernest Edward Sadler, Essex Regt

21052 William John Tufts, Yorkshire Regt

8111 Arthur William Tye, London Regiment

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by IPT
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Kitty,

 

I feel your pain, (databases not the ones taking you to hospital!)

 

I assuming that as you know everything there is to know about the Great War fallen of East Dereham, you are after more than just the War dead?

 

In which case is it just Postmen, or all GPO employees you are after?

 

My working life has involved reconciling lots of bits of partial information from different sources when there simply isn’t an existing dataset or definitive set of records – even when there should be!

 

If there is no Roll of Honour known to exist for the Dereham Post Office, (and the central Roll of Honour is effectively ruled out) is there any mileage in coming at it from a different angle ,combining the 1911 census with the 1912 Kellys Directory to get a baseline of GPO staff to check against? (Kellys would give you post-master \ assistant postmaster levels).

 

I use Genes Reunited simply because I find the search engine easier and more effective to use – although Ancestry and FMP may have got better and of course have a much wider record set – (just probably poorly indexed!). Certainly in the old days when I was using those, a search like “Dereham” + “Postman” would either give me nothing or thousands of irrelevant results. But Genes Reunited gives 43 results. Going through them, many are Dereham born postmen that have moved elsewhere, (which may still be of interest to you), have retired or come from nearby villages which give East Dereham as part of the address. But looking at the ones listed in the Mitford District who might specifically be working at the East Dereham Post Office I get:-

 

Robert Bowers, aged 40, married with three children, Army Pensioner + Rural Postman

14 St Nicholas Street, East Dereham. Born Watton, Norfolk – see IPT above.

And

Sergeant Robert Bowers, Norfolk Regiment 1916

 

Ernest David Brown, aged 26, single, Postman, boarding at 120 Norwich Road, East Dereham. Born East Dereham, Norfolk – see IPT above.

 

Edmund Coppen, aged 52, married, no children, Town Postman, 15 Wellington Road, East Dereham. Born North Elmham, Norfolk.

 

William Cuff, aged 24, single, Postman, boarding at 19/21 Quebec Street, East Dereham. Born Mistley, Essex.

 

Walter William Farrow, aged 38, married with three children, Postman, 21 Quebec Road, East Dereham. Born East Dereham, Norfolk.

 

William Feeke, aged 33, married with two children, Rural Postman, 15 St Nicholas Street, East Dereham. Born Litcham, Norfolk – see IPT above.

 

Thomas Foster, aged 47, married with adopted son, Aux.Postman, 19 St Nicholas Street, East Dereham. Born Shoreditch, London.

 

James Fulcher, aged 42, married  with two children, Postman, 5, Clifton Terrace, South End, East Dereham. Born East Dereham, Norfolk.

 

George Guymer, aged 38, married with two children, Assistant Postman, 12 St Nicholas Street, East Dereham. Born Long Sutton, Lincolnshire.

 

Alfred Edward Heyhoe, aged 34, married with two living children, Postman, 130, South End, East Dereham. Born East Dereham, Norfolk.

 

William Andrew Johnson, aged 34, married with four children, Town Postman, 22 St Nicholas Street, East Dereham. Born Halesworth, Suffolk.

 

Robert John Killingray, aged 34, married with two living children, Rural Cycle Postman, 9 Cemetery Road, East Dereham. Born Stoke Ferry, Norfolk.

 

Robert George Leeds, aged 58, married with two living children, “T”.Postman, 3 St Nicholas Street, East Dereham. (Note – his son Ernest Claude Leeds, 23, is shown as a P.O.Clerk). Born Hockering, Norfolk.

 

Uriah Henry Luck, aged 42, married with two children, Town Postman, 34 London Road, East Dereham. Born East Dereham, Norfolk.

 

Alfred Lewis Newell, aged 17, single living at home, Postman, 1 Revenue Square, Commercial Road, East Dereham. Born East Dereham, Norfolk.

 

Ernest Rawling, aged 32, married, no children, Postman, 118 Norwich Road, East Dereham. Born East Dereham, Norfolk.

 

James Rawling, aged 36, married with two children, Postman, 43 Quebec Street, East Dereham. Born East Dereham, Norfolk.

 

Benjamin Reeve, aged 28, single, Postman, boarding at 48 High Street, East Dereham. Born North Elmham, Norfolk.

 

Ernest L Thompson, aged 45, married with 6 living children, Postman, 28 Elvin Road, East Dereham. Born Norfolk, Parish not known.

 

William John Tufts, aged 23, single, living at home, Postman, 146 Moorgate Terrace, South End, East Dereham. His employer is shown as D’ham Post Office! Born Reymerstone, Norfolk – see IPT above.

 

Ted Wilson, aged 39, married with 4 children, Postman, 5 St Nicholas Street, East Dereham. Born Barking, Essex.

 

Looking at the names IPT has kindly provided, there are two not covered in my list above.

 

There is an Edward Sadler, born Longham, Norfolk who is shown as a Postman. Aged 22 and single he was living with his single parent mother at a dwelling at Longham, East Dereham, Norfolk.

 

Arthur William Tye, aged 21 and a Postman, was recorded living with his parents at The Angel Inn, Swanton Morley, East Dereham, Norfolk. Born Swanton Morley.

 

I’’ll stop there, but as a rough guide:-

 

“Dereham”+ “Postmaster” = 15 hits, 13 in the Mitford District

“Dereham”+ “Messenger” = 5 hits, 1 in the Mitford District – Post Office Messenger Boy Stanley Brooks, aged 14, born East Dereham, living at 116 Norwich Road, East Dereham.

“Dereham”+ “Telegraphist”= 6 hits, 2 in the Mitford District

 

Realise there are some big gaps in this approach, but as these were effectively Civil Service jobs for life with a pension, I doubt many resigned. However there was a lot of moving around, and of course it won’t tell you who became old enough to work in the intervening years.

 

As for local papers, I’ve recently been looking at the copies of the Norfolk Chronicle for January 1915. That seemed to be filling column inches with lists of men from villages or employers who had answered their countries call. I suspect if there's any local paper likely to have a list of the those who went in the initial 1914 flurry then that’s the one.

 

Hope that helps,

Peter

 

PS - did the GPO have tied houses in St Nicholas Street or is that just a co-incidence!

Edited by PRC
20/10/16 Typo spotted 27/05/24 Reinstate link to headstone of Robert Bowers
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Hi Moonracker

I've got Genes Reunited but the only place I can find to enter "Dereham" + "Postmen" is in the Optional Keywords and that brings up nothing for me. How did you get your results?

 

Kitty

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Hi Peter

Got it now must have been my bad connection earlier (or my brain!) - sometimes some of the sites don't work very well for me until all others have gone to bed locally.

Wondered why I was getting so dim - I'd tried that in all my sites but nothing worked - but now they are - so another night gathering more info.

 

Thanks for reminding me to check again.

 

Oh by the way there are several others that I've found in the local paper (Dereham and Fakenham Times) including some lovely letters from the three I said I'd got. I have Abel and Bowers (extra to those three) as they are on the cenotaph in town anyway and have all been researched.

 

Then I've got two other families that I guess I'd forgotten about probably because they are already entered into the book under other titles.

 

One family's two boys fought in the Boer War and WWI, with another lad who lived in Canada joining them as a Canadian soldier in the early stages of WWI. Their father was the 'Local Post Master General' - as locals called the boss of the main head post office in Dereham Market Place - of course he wasn't the 'Post Master General' hence I've called him the 'local', but then many Dereham inhabitants wouldn't have known that as they never travelled further than the coast in those days - and that was only because the GER did several free trips to Yarmouth or Cromer each year. I've several post cards of those rushes from 1890's right up until the 1950's - an amazing amount of people could get on those trains!

 

My other favourite soldier was a gunner in the RHS & RFA writing home late in 1914 - he was a postman in town for ten years before, well liked, but not a local. He is included in the book as his letters are of too much importance not to have in it. Added to the fact that he was married three times, survived the war and had several children two of whom then went and accidently married each other without knowing they were related. Whoops! Hence I've put sections in each year called Gladys' Gossip - I've heard the gossip as a child, old women still talk of various things and some of them I've found documentation for too. But to be safe I've put it in the not sure sections - i.e. not 'Life in Town' but 'Gladys Gossip' which I guess is the shadier side of town, things like murders, punch ups at pubs, naughty ladies walking the street at night - oh yes we had a brothel then - I love reading about things like that and I know others do if only secretly. i expect the purple pages 'Gladys' will be quite well thumbed compared with the other more serious sections like Troops in Town, From the Front & Battle Front.

 

However the main reason for putting a 'Mates in Arms - Dereham Postmen' – called "All Back But ONE" - as a two page spread later in the book was because I've got a lovely postcard of them in posties uniforms with their bikes & post a few weeks before the first lot (the reservists) left town on 8th August 1914 - they all came back but one.

 

Another 'Mates in Arms - Canadians' is 'We're Back' - the lads who emigrated from town to Canada joined the Canadians and came back to train on Salisbury Plain occasionally returning home to town before they left for overseas. Many of them funnily enough had brothers either already in the forces, Ireland/India stations or as reservists working at home.

 

Anyway back to the posties research whilst I can

 

thanks and take care, Kitty

 

Anyone with any more advice or angles of looking at things? - I'm open to suggestions.

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Cheers you lot

I've got Dereham Military; Dereham Chefs etc all in Geneologist - brilliant and it cross references (sometimes) with military records -  don't ask me how I did it - I was just fiddling about as usual when it doesn't first suck seed for me.  Ha ha

 

Yep High on Success at present.

 

thanks and take care, Kitty

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7 hours ago, Kitty55 said:

 

I've got Genes Reunited but the only place I can find to enter "Dereham" + "Postmen" is in the Optional Keywords and that brings up nothing for me. How did you get your results?

 

That's all I did except no quotation marks or + -  and Postman rather than Postmen. Sorry, should have made it clearer. All too often it comes down to getting the balance of keywords right and the order, whichever database you use. My old lecturer used to drill it into us that the skill laid in asking a computer the right question - mind you we were all listening to Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy at the time which explicitly showed the perils of a poorly framed question :-) and we were working in machine code which really does date me!

 

Glad I helped to send you round the loop - sounds like you've stumbled on a way that will help with a number of your enquiries.

 

It also sounds like it will be a bit less of a tick and bash job - I would have suggested going on to check that the names identified from the Census were still alive up 1919, or if dead did they appear on the CWGC site, and that they were still in Dereham on the 1915 Norfolk Electoral Register, (prepared in late 1914). There would be gaps in both approaches but you'd end up with a hard-core of names where the quality of the data was a bit more than "Gladys Gossip" !

 

Good luck with your ops. Are you planning on doing anything to commemorate 2nd Gaza out your way in April - suspect with the volumes of dead and wounded for that one it had a significant impact on Dereham and the surrounding area,

 

regards,

Peter

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Hi

I've no idea if anyone will celebrate or even remember Gaza locally - not many people seem bothered about the Great War in town. Unfortunately at present I’m not well enough to do anything else except my book – but they will get several good mentions in there – including stories, letters, photos, soldier’s histories, soldier photos, etc. The British Legion might put on a fund raising dance for the evening that’s the kind of thing they normally do. However I can’t manage to do a display for the library this time like I would normally.

Anyway local people seem to prefer the Second World War with all the vehicles and machinery. Perhaps it's because there are many of the children that grew up in Dereham during the period still in town and nearly all their parents were more involved with producing the ammo, machines, etc. added to which of course the Singapore & Jap Camps had a lot of Dereham men in them – the Norfolks got hit again just like Gaza.

I personally prefer the Great War, hence I’m on here, because to me it involved people more and a great number of locals - i.e. over 2,000 went out of a population of only just over 4,700 who lived in town prior to the beginning of the war. Added to which the town more than doubled in size with soldiers in the first two years of the Great War.

And my love in researching history is the variety you find in the people involved not the politics – the common person is brilliant.

The town’s population maths is so for 1914 – 1919

4,700 inhabitants to start with

+ 2,300 extra soldiers into town within the first couple of months. (Aug & Sept 1914)

Minus 1,300 town lads either volunteering or are reservists leaving before or by Xmas 1914.

+ A few weeks later another 3,000 plus soldiers from elsewhere to enter the town.

Minus in 1916 another 1,000 local lads going to serve overseas and the older men for service throughout Britain (conscription).

So it wasn't until the middle of 1917 that the town ended up with about the same number of people (albeit half soldiers and half original inhabitants) as prior to the beginning of the war.

176 gave their lives not too many compared with other places and the number that went but it's really still too many. However, four times as many were severely wounded and unable to work properly afterwards – causing the town council a lot of problems after the war. Dereham was a labouring town after all in the middle of Norfolk.

Over half the town became either wounded, depilated or had died – there were many deaths of ordinary people in town during 1914 – 1919 some simply from grief, many others from the various epidemics which hit town, i.e. one soldier brought measles into town in 1916 and quite a few youngsters and elderly occupants died. There was the Zeppelin Raid in 1915, several murders (especially dumped babies bodies) and a lot of starvation with bad living conditions also causing consumption, the country wide flu epidemic, local outbreaks of typhoid & small pox. The council did the best they could to prevent it all and believe me although I don’t like politics they really did do a good job and were very! organised early on in 1914.

My cross referencing of details for the book so far is –

I've already listed all those on the 1918/19/20 AVL lists,

the Dereham Roll of Honour (which supposedly listed everyone who went from town, what happened to them and the regiment they were in - well so far as their relations knew - there are several mistakes)

The 1915 Electoral roll

My Coleby Directories for 1910, 1915, 1916 & 1920 - these are incredible for information giving the names of all the postmen, shops assistants, footballers, firemen etc. Mr Coleby (a local bookseller and printer) would sent out invites via his shop/paper boys to residents each year two weeks before to enter their details on his forms, then he'd print it all up ready to sell for 2d just after Christmas each year - so every club, councillor, shop keeper, house owner etc. is listed not only in their street but also in alphabetical order at the back - plus there's some fab adverts, especially those that show what was available for sale at the time.

And there was the printer and stationer Mr Count who also did town directories and I've quite a few of those too - so much better than Kelly's, Hunt's, White's, Craven, etc. which have lots of mistakes in but can be quite useful when nothing else is available.

As well as this the town photograph really took his job seriously taking photos of everything during the war until he couldn't avoid conscription in 1917 when he became a photographer/mechanic in the navy air force transferring to the new RAF later and returning on holiday just in time for all the peace celebrations. He later left the forces in 1921.

But he wasn’t the only shop keeper to take photos – Leo Perry took what is called the Perry Series and sold them in his café in the Market Place. His younger brother was Sylvester Perry who moved to America to become a very well know painter and artist over there. Leo was far more in to the new gramophones etc. His shop was a place that the soldiers loved to hang out in just like Mr Charles Mott’s the man who sold cameras – many of which he’d modified to make them (the little Vespa ones) easier to use – guess where his shop was – at the back of Leos – so it faced into Quebec Street not the Market Place - for those who know Dereham.

Finally the last photographer in town during the war was one of Mr Count’s daughters who was a budding amateur photographer and artist, taking several unusual shots of things.

Then I also added the 1939 register from findmypast to my listings

All the listings of the SWB and MRIC on various sites,

the casualty listings from Genealogist site  

any full records I’ve been able to find on ancestry, findmypast or elsewhere

the overseas boarding passengers to find out all those who when looking for a better living in Australia, New Zealand and Canada and either came back to enlist or enlisted there and fought.

I’ve gone through the Local paper entering anything relevant to my five sections – Life in Town; Gladys’ Gossip; Troops in Town; From the Front; The Battle Front/World at Large.

I’ve also checked everyone on the CWCG sites etc. for the dead but most of that was done several years ago – so I’ve just checked again and found several more and so have gone through many sites re-checking again just in case there are new records available now. FWR is classic for that.

At present I’m reading through all the war diaries on N&MA to find out exactly where various town soldiers were wounded or killed and also cross referencing that with the LLT, and any diaries I have.

Not wanting to sound big headed or anything – and it’s taken me almost 7 years, on and off so far - I think I’ve done everything on this aspect now and next year will be advertising on Facebook and in the local rags to see if there are any other families I’ve missed or have more information on their relatives. I’ve already started contacting people on findmypast, ancestry, genes reunited etc. about photos & info and have exchanged several newspaper clippings for photos etc. – after all 'fair exchange is no robbery' – don’t they say.

This is a book about the people from Dereham for the people of Dereham today, so they should be involved in making it – if only in the little way of remembering their relations.

I can’t think of any other lists anywhere – but can anyone else? – I’d love to know if I’ve missed one somewhere.

Thanks and take care, Kitty

 

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Kitty,

 

And that's why I said you knew everything there is to know, (well probably more than any other individual). Just checking - does that extend to the micro-filmed copies of the Eastern Daily Press and Norfolk Chronicle at The Forum and the County Archive. (I'm saving the Norwich Mercury for later!)

 

Reason for asking is that I've recently been trying to do a small project myself - rather than the usual pick a place and research it, I took an action, the assault on the Quadrilateral at Flers-Culotte on the 15th September 1916 by the 9th Battalion and tried to work out a) its impact on Norfolk as a primary aim but b )also how significant or not a friendly fire incident was in a butchers bill of 432 Others ranks Killed, Missing and Wounded. I spent a lot of time going through the newspapers. As I don't find the Forum a conducive place to work, I took pictures of selected highlights so I could transcribe later. As a result I picked up some snippets that weren't needed for my project but I thought would come in useful when I got back to the War Memorial stuff. I've only got round to transcribing the images from the EDP from the 16th September to the middle of October 1916 - I think the bits that might be of interest to you are:

 

Eastern Daily Press, Tuesday September 19th 1916

 

Police-constable Reynolds, of East Dereham, yesterday received an official notification that his eldest son, Private Alfred Reynolds, Norfolk Regiment, has been killed in action. Private Reynolds was 24 years of age and had been eleven years in the service, having served in the old Volunteers and afterwards in the Norfolk Cyclist Territorials. Police-constable Reynolds has another son in the Norfolks who has been wounded.

 

Official intimation was yesterday received by Mr. William Coe, of Scarning Fenn, that two of his sons have been killed in the same action. These were Trooper Thomas Coe, aged 21, and Trooper William Coe, aged 23, both of whom belonged to the Yeomanry but were attached to the North Hants. Just over six months ago they joined the Army together.

 

Soldiers Died in the Great War records:-

 

Private 2936 Thomas Arthur Coe who was Killed in Action on the 1st September 1916 whilst serving with the Norfolk Yeomanry. Thomas was born “Scanning Fenn”, Norfolk, resident East Dereham and enlisted Norwich. Died in France & Flanders Theatre of War.

 

Private 2937 “Cornellus” William Coe who was Killed in Action on the 1st September 1916 whilst serving with the Norfolk Yeomanry. William was born Dereham, Norfolk, resident East Dereham and enlisted Norfolk. Died in France & Flanders Theatre of War.

 

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission site records

 

Private 2936 Thomas Arthur Coe, Norfolk Yeomanry attached 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. He died on the 1st September 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/761162/COE,%20THOMAS%20ARTHUR

 

Private 2937 Cornelius William Coe, Norfolk Yeomanry attached 7th Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment. He died on the 1st September 1916 and is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

http://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/761148/COE,%20CORNELIUS%20WILLIAM

 

News has been received that Private William Brunton, Norfolk Regiment, has been wounded and is now in hospital at Bristol. Private Brunton was brought up by his grandmother at Washbridge, East Dereham.

 

Mr. R.W. Kerrison, of Church Street, East Dereham, has heard from his second son, Private Reginald Kerrison of the Yeomanry, but attached to the North Hants, that he has been wounded and is in hospital.

 

Eastern Daily Press, Wednesday September 20th 1916

 

EAST DEREHAM

 

Captain Guy Wormald, Lancashire Fusiliers, of Pembridge Gardens, London, has been killed in action. He was a married man, 34 years of age, and was a son of the late Mr. John Wormald, of Morden Park, Surrey. Two of his brothers are well known at East Dereham, where they have resided for some years. These are Major Jack Wormald, of Etling Grange, who won the Military Cross for conspicuous bravery at Hooge on July 31st 1915, and Mr. Hugh Wormald, of Heathfield. Captain Wormald leaves a widow and two young children.

 

Eastern Daily Press Tuesday October 10th 1916

 

Private Leonard Lindley, Royal Fusiliers, who for two months was a clerk in the Capital and Counties Bank at Dereham, was killed on September 26th.

 

Eastern Daily Press, Wednesday October 11th 1916

Killed in Action (Births, Marriages and Deaths Column)

 

FIELD – September 28, Martin E. Field, Lance-Corporal, Bedford Regiment, dearly beloved husband of Kate Field, 13, St Nicholas Street, East Dereham.

 

Eastern Daily Press Tuesday October 17th 1916

 

Local Men in the Casualty Lists

 

Private Albert William Brooks, Norfolk Regt., of East Dereham, was killed on September 15th. He was a married man, 34 years of age, and resided at Barwell’s Court. He leaves a widow, but no child.

 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles Oakley, of Albion Terrace, East Dereham, have just heard that their son, Sapper William Oakley, Royal Engineers, was wounded on October 4th. Prior to the war Sapper Oakley was a member of the church choir. Mr. and Mrs. Oakley have three other sons in the Army, one of who was wounded and taken prisoner at Mons.

 

Private Ernest S.Thompson, Northumberland Fusiliers, of Toftwood, East Dereham, was wounded on September 16th and is now in hospital in Wales.

 

I vaguely remember umpteen articles and letters about the town council wanting to extend mains water supply to somewhere, (Neatherd? Moor?) and improve drainage to combat disease but there was the inevitable to'ing and fro'ing over who would pay - unfortunately wasn't what I was looking for so I don't have any images to transcribe.

 

Hope that helps and apologies if none of that is new to you,

 

Peter

Edited by PRC
21/10/16 Unwanted smiley
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Hi

Thanks for that - some I've already got, some is already mentioned in Nick Hartley's Scarning War Memorial Book but a few have added to what I have.

So you see - no matter how much you might think you know the wonderful and wicked thing about life is you NEVER EVER KNOW IT ALL!

I think life would be very boring if I did plus I'd never be able to look up my head would be too big and heavy.

 

thanks and take care, Kitty

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Hi PRC

Sorry forgot about the tied houses in St Nicholas Street - so far as I know, no they didn't - many places in Dereham however do seem to attract the same type of employee - but they might have done as Hobbies certainly had some in Commercial Road that they used for their employees alone. St Nicholas Street was developed around the time the new large post office was built in the Market Place around 1894 - I've got the actual date somewhere in 11TG's of town info but not on this laptop.

 

I've given up researching now - things going to slow and not downloading properly any more so guess that's it until a big footie match is on telly or after the weekend when everyone else is either at work or asleep.

 

thanks and take care, Kitty

 

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  • 7 years later...

Hello, hope you are still checking the GWF after 8 years ?   I have literally just dropped onto this by accident.  Wish I had seen this when you first posted.  If you are still looking at Dereham's Post Office staff etc in the war please let me know, I can help i'm sure.

Bob

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Another one from the local newspapers

Norwich Mercury Saturday December 5th, 1914.

A SOLDIER’S BATTLE.

DEREHAM POSTMAN’S EXPERIENCES.

Gunner Robert Audley, of the Royal Horse Artillery, is at his home in Dereham recovering from severe injuries due to shell fire. He had a wonderful escape from death at the end of weeks of hard fighting. His battery, F Battery, of the Royal Horse Artillery, was included in the force landed at Ostend to dash for Antwerp. The town fell before the British soldiers could arrive, but they covered the withdrawal of the Belgian Army, and the guns played the all important part. Audley will never forget the work of the Artillery as the held the Germans at bay as long as possible, and then made a dash for safety, only to wheel again and spread death and destruction. He saw the bridges blown up directly the guns had crossed, and his only experience with this phase was when the Horse Artillery dashed into action to extricate his Majesty’s Foot Guards from a position of peril. Three weeks of the hottest fighting on the canal near Ypres, and then came the “Jack Johnson” which caused him to take a compulsory rest in Dereham.

The gunner is well known in Yarmouth. After he was placed on the Reserve he was appointed postman at Yarmouth, and he was transferred to Dereham a year ago. While he was ordered to rejoin the Army his wife and family remained at Dereham.

When our representative called at Audley’s house he found him in considerable pain. His ribs were so badly smashed that he finds it difficult to rest, and he knows it is a matter of time before he fully recovers. Audley was deeply interested in Sir John French’s latest despatch, and the production of a newspaper warmly him quickly into enthusiasm. He recalled that he had seen the Commander-in-Chief in the trenches telling the men that he relied on them to hold the position at all costs. They received the message frequently at Ypres. “Yes”, said Audley, “Sir John French is not only a great soldier, but he is a man. The men love him. He takes them into his confidence, and they are worthy of the truth. If he tells them they must hold a position they do so, be the cost what it may.” To a remark about the officers, Audley observed, “Yes, they are fine chaps, but at Ypres it is a soldiers battle – it is the dogged fighting of the men that does it. The officers can only take a rifle and bayonet and do their bit with the men. In fact there are no officers; rank has been broken down – all fight as Tommies.” “What about the right of the line,” asked the reporter. Audley was silent for a time, and then said: “The Artillery has to work under conditions we never expected. The Horse Artillery don’t gallop into action at Ypres. The Cavalry have had to leave their horses, and our guns are entrenched every time they are used. We screen them with furze and with mould, and we carry the ammunition to the guns through trenches six feet deep.” Audley praised the Infantry of the line very highly. “They have to act like rabbits and cannot remain within range of the enemy’s guns with-out burrowing into the ground. You are never sure of an hour’s sleep.” What about the injuries asked the reporter. “I had some narrow escapes at Ypres. One Sunday morning I had an exceedingly narrow escape. I was going to the rear with the horses, when a stray bullet passed through the sleeve of my coat, then through the flap of the saddle of the horse I was leading and struck the buckle underneath. I have got the bullet here. It is Belgian; but that sort of thing often happens. On the Sunday night we were getting up reinforcements and the Germans were searching the road with their Jack Johnson shells, and when we went over the road it was full of deep holes. The French battery on our right copped the first one, which destroyed several of their horses and men. On the Monday morning they put three shells where our horses were, half a mile behind the battery. One caught me quite across the back in its flight and then continued for 36 yards, where it burst amongst the horses, injuring two or three so badly that they had to be killed. I was flung underneath the limber, with four fractured ribs on my right side. I was rendered unconscious and conveyed to Ypres Hospital. The Germans fired on the hospital that night, and I with the other wounded men were conveyed by train to Boulogne. Here we were admitted to the Duchess of Westminster’s Hospital, where I was attended by Dr. Thompson, who turned out to be an Ormesby gentleman, and he described it as a marvellous escape. I have to return on December 23rd.  The same night I got hit two of our men went from the guns to get cans to make tea, and a Jack Johnson came right in between them. The cook of our section was brought into hospital the same night wounded in the skull, both hands and his left thigh. The first day we went into action in Belgian one shell struck the wheel of the gun carriages and blew part of the man’s face away and laid the gunlayer dead across the gun sights. Our lieutenant also got shot through the body with a stray bullet, and he died the same night. After that it was constant fighting – fierce battles with artillery in the daytime and at night ??? start sniping ??? make rifle attacks. The infantry are doing a grand job under cover of artillery fire, but the enemy’s numbers are beginning to tell on our men. Our troops are quite confident of victory, and they work with good heart. Their aeroplanes were following us all the time. They come over four and five at a time, but they get up to such a marvellous height that we cannot get at them. I saw one brought down one afternoon on the Marne. It was flying the Union Jack, and it threw out some star lights like ours to mark the positions of the guns, and it also threw out some German lights. The French spotted this, and brought it down. Its petrol tank burst and it came down all blazing. There were two men in it, and one jumped out and the other came down in the machine. Both were killed, and they proved to be Germans.”

Audley concluded by stating he was instructed to report himself on December 23rd, but whether he could do so was another matter. He wanted to get back to the front as soon as possible.

No obvious match on CWGC. MIC for Gunner 20216 Robert Audley 14th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery first landed in France 5th October 1914. Later was Gunner 20216 Royal Field Artillery.

Cheers,
Peter

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Hello

Yes I'm still here, just really busy writing some Dereham books now - the ones that the publsher's want which unfortunately doesn't include any war books yet but they are still in my melting pot so to speak. I love finding the weird stories that I usually happen upon whilst searching through them.

12 hours ago, SKBob said:

Hello, hope you are still checking the GWF after 8 years ?   I have literally just dropped onto this by accident.  Wish I had seen this when you first posted.  If you are still looking at Dereham's Post Office staff etc in the war please let me know, I can help i'm sure.

Bob

Yes please but I've not got much further with them as yet. That's the trouble with being a town historian that all seem to now know via FB, eveyone wants something different - at present I'm nose high in Market Gardeners - though luckily I've found a few in their families that fought in WWI. My next job is researching the Civil War in Dereham, then some footballers, oh, such a variety of things to do.

Here's hoping I can remember how to read a soldier's records - though I was never really much good at it in the first place to be honest.

Bob - I'll try to find time to compile my list of postmen from Dereham but as it's half term guess what Nanny's doing tomorrow - yep, babysitting again whilst Mummy goes to work along with another two from one of my son's who will also be arriving tomorrow.

thanks and take care, Kitty xx

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12 hours ago, PRC said:

Another one from the local newspapers

Norwich Mercury Saturday December 5th, 1914.

A SOLDIER’S BATTLE.

DEREHAM POSTMAN’S EXPERIENCES.

Gunner Robert Audley, of the Royal Horse Artillery, is at his home in Dereham recovering from severe injuries due to shell fire. He had a wonderful escape from death at the end of weeks of hard fighting. His battery, F Battery, of the Royal Horse Artillery, was included in the force landed at Ostend to dash for Antwerp. The town fell before the British soldiers could arrive, but they covered the withdrawal of the Belgian Army, and the guns played the all important part. Audley will never forget the work of the Artillery as the held the Germans at bay as long as possible, and then made a dash for safety, only to wheel again and spread death and destruction. He saw the bridges blown up directly the guns had crossed, and his only experience with this phase was when the Horse Artillery dashed into action to extricate his Majesty’s Foot Guards from a position of peril. Three weeks of the hottest fighting on the canal near Ypres, and then came the “Jack Johnson” which caused him to take a compulsory rest in Dereham.

The gunner is well known in Yarmouth. After he was placed on the Reserve he was appointed postman at Yarmouth, and he was transferred to Dereham a year ago. While he was ordered to rejoin the Army his wife and family remained at Dereham.

When our representative called at Audley’s house he found him in considerable pain. His ribs were so badly smashed that he finds it difficult to rest, and he knows it is a matter of time before he fully recovers. Audley was deeply interested in Sir John French’s latest despatch, and the production of a newspaper warmly him quickly into enthusiasm. He recalled that he had seen the Commander-in-Chief in the trenches telling the men that he relied on them to hold the position at all costs. They received the message frequently at Ypres. “Yes”, said Audley, “Sir John French is not only a great soldier, but he is a man. The men love him. He takes them into his confidence, and they are worthy of the truth. If he tells them they must hold a position they do so, be the cost what it may.” To a remark about the officers, Audley observed, “Yes, they are fine chaps, but at Ypres it is a soldiers battle – it is the dogged fighting of the men that does it. The officers can only take a rifle and bayonet and do their bit with the men. In fact there are no officers; rank has been broken down – all fight as Tommies.” “What about the right of the line,” asked the reporter. Audley was silent for a time, and then said: “The Artillery has to work under conditions we never expected. The Horse Artillery don’t gallop into action at Ypres. The Cavalry have had to leave their horses, and our guns are entrenched every time they are used. We screen them with furze and with mould, and we carry the ammunition to the guns through trenches six feet deep.” Audley praised the Infantry of the line very highly. “They have to act like rabbits and cannot remain within range of the enemy’s guns with-out burrowing into the ground. You are never sure of an hour’s sleep.” What about the injuries asked the reporter. “I had some narrow escapes at Ypres. One Sunday morning I had an exceedingly narrow escape. I was going to the rear with the horses, when a stray bullet passed through the sleeve of my coat, then through the flap of the saddle of the horse I was leading and struck the buckle underneath. I have got the bullet here. It is Belgian; but that sort of thing often happens. On the Sunday night we were getting up reinforcements and the Germans were searching the road with their Jack Johnson shells, and when we went over the road it was full of deep holes. The French battery on our right copped the first one, which destroyed several of their horses and men. On the Monday morning they put three shells where our horses were, half a mile behind the battery. One caught me quite across the back in its flight and then continued for 36 yards, where it burst amongst the horses, injuring two or three so badly that they had to be killed. I was flung underneath the limber, with four fractured ribs on my right side. I was rendered unconscious and conveyed to Ypres Hospital. The Germans fired on the hospital that night, and I with the other wounded men were conveyed by train to Boulogne. Here we were admitted to the Duchess of Westminster’s Hospital, where I was attended by Dr. Thompson, who turned out to be an Ormesby gentleman, and he described it as a marvellous escape. I have to return on December 23rd.  The same night I got hit two of our men went from the guns to get cans to make tea, and a Jack Johnson came right in between them. The cook of our section was brought into hospital the same night wounded in the skull, both hands and his left thigh. The first day we went into action in Belgian one shell struck the wheel of the gun carriages and blew part of the man’s face away and laid the gunlayer dead across the gun sights. Our lieutenant also got shot through the body with a stray bullet, and he died the same night. After that it was constant fighting – fierce battles with artillery in the daytime and at night ??? start sniping ??? make rifle attacks. The infantry are doing a grand job under cover of artillery fire, but the enemy’s numbers are beginning to tell on our men. Our troops are quite confident of victory, and they work with good heart. Their aeroplanes were following us all the time. They come over four and five at a time, but they get up to such a marvellous height that we cannot get at them. I saw one brought down one afternoon on the Marne. It was flying the Union Jack, and it threw out some star lights like ours to mark the positions of the guns, and it also threw out some German lights. The French spotted this, and brought it down. Its petrol tank burst and it came down all blazing. There were two men in it, and one jumped out and the other came down in the machine. Both were killed, and they proved to be Germans.”

Audley concluded by stating he was instructed to report himself on December 23rd, but whether he could do so was another matter. He wanted to get back to the front as soon as possible.

No obvious match on CWGC. MIC for Gunner 20216 Robert Audley 14th Brigade Royal Horse Artillery first landed in France 5th October 1914. Later was Gunner 20216 Royal Field Artillery.

Cheers,
Peter

Hi Peter

I found his MIC on the Genealogist site several years ago which helped me find it on Ancestry too along with the Medal record listings. I also found all that you have typed in, in the Dereham & Fakenham Times, 5th December 1914 - but thanks anyway. I've also done all his family history and spoken to a family member recently too. However, I never get bored with seeing the same thing from another source as it just confirms things for me, so please keep it up.

Though you have reminded me that I've not done his 1921 census or 1939 register yet - but then I've got to do this for most of those I researched originally ten years ago - goodness time flies.

I've actually managed to get to near the end of the C surnames now - might not seem much but almost 1/6th of Dereham's soldiers' surnames began with a B! Thought I'd never get to the end of them but I made it.

thanks and take care, Kitty xx

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Hello Kitty -  sorry I was probably looking at this thread the wrong way round and thought it quiet, am now finding it most interesting.

I worked for The Post Office (boo !) and when it split in the 80's moved to Royal Mail (hurray !) for a total of 30 + years before retirement. In my latter years I took an interest in the various war memorials in my own and other local sorting offices and started to compile a list of those Norfolk & Suffolk Post Office staff that I could find who lost their lives during the Great War (currently 160+) and research their stories when time allowed. As a side line I also recorded those that I could find who appeared to serve but do not show up as casualties. At the time Dereham was one of the offices which had old staff books covering the period and I was able to go through them when I visited (they are not there now). As a result I still have the list of all Dereham and Dereham area names and some info that I managed to compile from the books - about 300 names in total.

I think that maybe we should have a coffee and a chat at some point ?  I am not that far from Dereham and can easily meet up.

Oh and apologies if previously flagged, but in Ancestry.co.uk (in the Schools, Directories & Church Histories section) you can access UK, Postal Service Appointment Books 1737 - 1969 It won't show everyone as some of the types of part time and ad hoc work were not considered as established (ie permanent) positions, but it will show the office plus starting month & year for anyone you do find including more than one entry for the individual if they were subsequently promoted etc.

Come back when convenient, am now checking all the posts in this thread for anyone I don't know about !

Regards Bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 28/05/2024 at 09:51, SKBob said:

Hello Kitty -  sorry I was probably looking at this thread the wrong way round and thought it quiet, am now finding it most interesting.

I worked for The Post Office (boo !) and when it split in the 80's moved to Royal Mail (hurray !) for a total of 30 + years before retirement. In my latter years I took an interest in the various war memorials in my own and other local sorting offices and started to compile a list of those Norfolk & Suffolk Post Office staff that I could find who lost their lives during the Great War (currently 160+) and research their stories when time allowed. As a side line I also recorded those that I could find who appeared to serve but do not show up as casualties. At the time Dereham was one of the offices which had old staff books covering the period and I was able to go through them when I visited (they are not there now). As a result I still have the list of all Dereham and Dereham area names and some info that I managed to compile from the books - about 300 names in total.

I think that maybe we should have a coffee and a chat at some point ?  I am not that far from Dereham and can easily meet up.

Oh and apologies if previously flagged, but in Ancestry.co.uk (in the Schools, Directories & Church Histories section) you can access UK, Postal Service Appointment Books 1737 - 1969 It won't show everyone as some of the types of part time and ad hoc work were not considered as established (ie permanent) positions, but it will show the office plus starting month & year for anyone you do find including more than one entry for the individual if they were subsequently promoted etc.

Come back when convenient, am now checking all the posts in this thread for anyone I don't know about !

Regards Bob

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Bob - I've sent you a message about meeting up if you should wish too.

thanks and take care, Kitty xx

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On 27/05/2024 at 14:14, DavidOwen said:

@Kitty55 still visits the forum so this should alert them to your offer.

Thanks for the notifcation about this addition to the this feed.

take care, Kitty xx

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