Bawburgh Village

The World Wars

We will remember them

Each year there is a short but poignant memorial Service at the War Memorial, Bawburgh Church, dedicated to the Fallen inscribed on the stone (see below).  A wreath is laid and crosses placed, one for every soldier who died in World War 1 and 2 in defence in their country.

The Bawburgh War Memorial, with its red granite wheel cross design, is dedicated to the lives of 9 men from the village who “made the supreme sacrifice” in World Wars I & II. The memorial was unveiled in October 1920 by Mr Barclay of Colney Hall, with the vicar and the Dean of Norwich leading the service, at which the congregation numbered close on five hundred.

Extract from Eastern Daily Press 13 October 1920

Bawburgh War Memorial - Unveiling Cermony

Memorial today with added names from 1939-1945 conflict

The war memorial, which has been placed just inside the church gate at Bawburgh, was dedicated on Sunday afternoon. The church was filled to overflowing, the congregation numbering close to five hundred. The service was taken by the vicar, the lesson being read by Mr F Jackson. At the conclusion of the service in church the memorial hymn “The Supreme Sacrifice’ was sung. A procession was then formed, to the memorial, as follows; Cubs, Scouts, Guides, choir, unveiler, churchwardens, clergy, bugler, band, relatives and the committee, after which the congregation joined. The memorial was unveiled by Mr H G Barclay, of Colney Hall, who spoke feelingly of the men who had laid down their lives. The Dean of Norwich preface the dedication of the red granite wheel cross by reading the inscription “To the glory of God, and in grateful memory of Dan Walter Allison, Alphonso Edward Allison, William John Child, Herbert Henry Woods, Herbert Horace Gould, Cyril Stephen Harmer and Horace Albert Allison who made the supreme sacrifice in the Great War 1914-1919. Their Name Liveth for Evermore.”

A collection was taken for the Norwich Medical Charities, and amounted to £11 6s. After the Benediction, Corporal H Green* of the Norfolk Depot Regiment, sounded the Last Post and the ceremony closed with the National Anthem. A number of floral tributes were placed on the mound by relatives and friends of those commemorated. The memorial which stands on a raised concrete bed covered with turf, is 7ft 6 in high and is the work of Mr J R Childs of Chapel Field Road, Norwich.

In the following commemorations, three names on the memorial are brothers from the Allison family. Their father William was Parish Clerk from 1912-39, and he and his wife Maria (or Matilda) had nine children. Resident of Bawburgh is one granddaughter - Jean Asker – daughter of Fred Allison – a brother of the lost soldiers.

War Memorial is Grade II Listed

On the 13th February 2017, Historic England, the organisation responsible for deciding which bui-ldings and monuments should be listed, agreed that the war memorial in the churchyard would be Grade II listed. This means it is protected by law. Historic England commissioned a report outlining the reasons for listing the cross. It states "Bawburgh's War Memorial, remembering those from the parish who fell in the First and Second World Wars, was erected c.1920. Standing in the village churchyard, it is a simple yet dignified memorial. This is a good example of the polished granite wheel-headed cross type of war memorial. It has group value with the listed church and other nearby listed buildings."  The report also details the history of the cross, "Bawburgh's memorial was sited in the churchyard with the funds being raised by public subscription. The memorial was presumably erected in 1920, and certainly before October 1920, when it was photographed with floral tributes for the Thetford and Watton Times and People's Weekly Journal. It was decided that it should take the form of a wheel-headed pink granite cross, and should be placed by the path leading to the church, facing the way the parishioners would enter. It was made by J R Childs of Chapel Field Road, Norwich and was unveiled in October 1920 by Mr Barclay of Colney Hall and dedicated by the vicar and the Dean of Norwich. The memorial commemorates seven local servicemen who fell in the First World War and two men who fell in the Second  World War." The report concludes, "After examining all the records and other relevant information and having carefully considered the architectural and historic interest of this case, the criteria for listing are fulfilled. Bawburgh War Memorial is therefore recommended for listing at Grade II."

The Great War 1914-1918

Private Dan Walter ALLISON (7280)

Private Dan Walter Allison was born in Costessey, 27th November 1887. Enlisting on 26th November 1908, he was killed in France on 11th November 1914, aged 26, whilst serving with the 1st Battalion, Scots Guards.  His name is etched on the Menin Gate Memorial, one of four to the missing in Belgian Flanders, which cover the area known as the Ypres Salient. The Salient was formed during the first Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914, when a small British Expeditionary Force succeeded in securing the town before the onset of winter, pushing the German forces back to the Passchendaele Ridge.  

The battles of the Ypres Salient claimed many lives on both sides and the site of the Menin Gate was chosen because of the hundreds of thousands of men who passed through it on their way to the battlefields.  The memorial bears the names of more than 54,000 officers and men whose graves are not known.

Lance-Corporal Alphonso Edward ALLISON (16588)

Lance-Corporal Alphonso Edward Allison was born at Bawburgh on 6th September 1893. He enlisted in November 1914 and died of wounds in France on 13th October 1916 aged just 23. He served with the 7th Battalion, Norfolk Regiment.

He is buried at Heilly Station Cemetery, Mericourt-L’Abbe. The 36th Casualty Clearing Station was based at Heilly from April 1916, and it was joined in May by the 38th, and in July by the 2/2nd London, but these hospitals had all moved on by early June 1917. The cemetery was begun in May 1916 and was used by the three medical units until April 1917.

The burials in this cemetery, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, were carried out under extreme pressure and many of the graves are either too close together to be marked individually, or they contain multiple burials. Some headstones carry as many as three sets of casualty details, and in these cases, regimental badges have had to be omitted. Instead, these badges, 117 in all, have been carved on a cloister wall on the north side of the cemetery.

Corporal Horace Albert ALLISON (12886)

Corporal Horace Albert Allison, of the Royal Marine Artillery, was born in 1890 and died aged 28, serving overseas with HMS Africa towards the end of WWI, on 14th September 1918.  HMS Africa was attached to the 9th Cruiser Squadron for service in the Atlantic Patrol.  Based mainly at Sierra Leone, HMS Africa escorted convoys between Sierra Leone and Cape Town, and she underwent a refit at Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in late 1917 to early 1918.  In October 1918, HMS Africa returned to the UK.

Cpl Allison’s final resting place is in the Freetown (King Tom) Cemetery, Sierra Leone.  In this cemetery there are 129 WWI burials, many of them due to an epidemic of sickness in September and October 1918. The cemetery also contains 135 non-war burials and 21 war graves of other nationalities which are in the Commission's care. Another memorial in this cemetery commemorates 35 casualties from both World Wars whose graves elsewhere in Sierra Leone were deemed unmaintainable.

Lance Corporal William John CHILD, (250618)

Lance Corporal William John Child was part of the Child family who bought and ran the Bawburgh Milling business early in the 20th century. Born in Bawburgh on 3rd August 1894, Lance Corporal Child enlisted on 19th October 1915 into the 3/4th Norfolk Regiment, and later transferred to the 6th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry. He died of wounds in France on 15th Apr 1917, aged 22, and is buried in the Warlincourt Halte British Cemetery, Saulty.

The site of the cemetery was chosen in May 1916. It was used from June 1916 to May 1917 by the 20th and 43rd Casualty Clearing Stations, and from April to June 1917 by the 32nd Casualty Clearing Station. Plot VII, where L/Cpl Child is buried, was filled in April and May 1917 - the months of the Battles of Arras.

Designed by Charles Holden, the cemetery contains 1,266 Commonwealth burials of the WWI. There are also 29 German and two French war graves.

Private Herbert Henry WOODS (40988)

Private Herbert Henry Woods was born in Bawburgh on 6th July 1881, the son of Henry Arthur and Amelia Maria (Minnie) Woods of Church Street, Bawburgh. He married Ada, who was also from Bawburgh, and it is thought they lived at Valley Farm. Ada later moved to 4 Harts Lane with her daughters Ivy and Violet. Ivy married Walter Lake and moved next door to No 3. Many villagers will remember Ivy with great affection; she died on 4th September 2006 aged 91.

Herbert’s younger brother Ralph Gordon Woods (320278) became an acting Lance Corporal in the12th Norfolk Regiment, serving in Egypt and Palestine. He was awarded a D.C.M. (Distinguished Conduct Medal). His daughter (Barbara Woodrow) says that he caught a grenade and threw it back! Ralph was born on 9th September 1893 in Bawburgh, and died at home at 2 Harts Lane in September 1967. He was a gardener and groom at Bawburgh Hall, later becoming a carpenter.

Being in his thirties during WWI, Herbert Woods enlisted later than many others on 2nd June 1916, and served with the Middlesex Regt. He died of his wounds, aged 35, at the 30th Casualty Station, France, on 28th April 1917. He is buried at Aubigny Communal Cemetery.
From March 1916 to the Armistice, Aubigny was held by Commonwealth troops. The 30th Casualty Clearing Station buried its casualties in Aubigny Cemetery during 1916 and 1917. The cemetery extension, designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield, contains 2,771 Commonwealth burials of the WWI and seven from WWII. There are also 227 French burials and 64 German war graves.

Rifleman Cyril Stephen HARMER

Rifleman Cyril Stephen Harmer was born in 1898, and he was the son of Anna Eliza Harmer (nee Perkins) of Church Street, Bawburgh and the late Stephen Harmer – Stephen and Anna were married in Bawburgh Church on Christmas Day 1891!

Private Harmer originally enlisted into the Norfolk Regt and later joined the 2nd Battalion, Royal Irish Rifles as a Rifleman. He died on 24th July 1918, aged only 20, and is buried in the Bertenacre Military Cemetery, Fletre. The cemetery was made by French troops (as the Cemetery "du Calvaire de Bertenacre", from the crucifix on the main road), and used in July-September, 1918, after the Battles of the Lys (also known as the 4th Battle of Ypres), by the 36th (Ulster) Division – whose units included the 2nd Bn of the Royal Irish Rifles.

After the Armistice, the 115 French and two German graves were removed, and British graves were brought in from the Royal West Surrey Cemetery, Fletre.

There are nearly 150 war casualties from 1914-18 commemorated in this site. One grave from the 1914-18 War, destroyed by shell fire, is represented by a special memorial. The cemetery covers an area of 716 square metres and is enclosed by a rubble wall.

Private Herbert Horace GOULD (37383)

Private Herbert Horace Gould was born on 10th March 1888, the youngest son of James Peter Morter and Maria Susannah Gould. Early in the 20th century (1901 census) Herbert (aged 13) lived at Bridgefoot, New Road, with his mother, three elder brothers and baby sister Sarah. On 3 November 1912, Herbert married Eva Daynes and they lived together In King’s Head Cottages. Subsequently, after Herbert’s death, Eva married Herbert Green*, a Corporal of the Norfolk Depot Regiment.

Herbert was a member of the Royal Fusiliers, having done his military training in Falmouth before seeing action in France. It is likely that he fought in the third battle of Ypres between 31 Jul and 10 Nov 1917, as part of a major British offensive against the German’s Western Front in 1917 - to capture Roeselare (a vital railway centre and key supply centre to the German disposition in Flanders). During that offensive there were over 250,000 casualties, and of the 235,476 fusiliers who took part, 21,941 lost their lives.

Private Gould was killed in action aged 29 on 19th September 1917, but sadly his place of burial is unknown, and he was subsequently awarded both the Victory and British campaign medals. For Doreen Goldsmith and Wally Gould, current villagers of Bawburgh, Herbert would have been their great-uncle.

Previous Armistice Service recollections by Barbara Woodrow of Hoveton in 1990

Ralph Woods, my father and an unnamed footballer in the 1920 group shown in Bawburgh News in December 1990, was the youngest son of Henry & Minnie. During the First World War he was in Egypt and Palestine and was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. For many years he was in the church choir and was Scout Master when the Bawburgh Troop was started. Whilst he was Scout Master, he made a large wooden cross for the Armistice Service which was always held on the evening of November 11th. The back and sides were covered with a fine mesh setting and the front was of glass. The Rover Scouts used to come to our house on the evening before the service and cover the netting with laurel leaves and poppies. The lettering on the front was “Lest We Forget 1914-1918” was illuminated by torch batteries and bulbs from the inside. The Rovers carried the cross to the church, followed by the Ranger, Scouts and Guides. It is believed it became an Armistice tradition for a number of years.

Second World War 1939-1945

Leading Airman Percy William Clitheroe DSM (P/FX 79969)

Leading Airman Percy William Clitheroe was first shot down on a Royal Navy raid on Narvic in Norway, from which he recovered. But shortly after this, on 26th May 1941, Percy's crew was lost on a sortie launched to locate the evasive Bismarck and so he played a very active part in the ultimate success of this incredible and bravely fought mission, but at the high cost of his own life. Percy's name is engraved on the memorial (Bay 2. Panel 8) at the principal base of the Fleet Air Arm, Lee-on-the-Solent in Hampshire. His parents received his DSM from the King at Buckingham Palace in January 1944.

Corporal Herbert H. Mortimer (5772279)

Corporal Herbert Mortimer was the nephew of Herbert Woods, who died in the First World War. He followed in the footsteps of his older brothers Cyril and Ronnie and joined up into the Norfolk Regiment. Tragically, as a result of his battle experiences he suffered from shell shock and became deaf and it is likely that his loss of hearing resulted in him being shot by enemy snipers as he could not hear his comrades calling him back to take cover. Herbert became a Corporal in D Company, 1st Battalion, Royal Norfolk Regiment, and was killed in action serving in North West Europe in 4th August 1944. Herbert was temporarily buried at La Chapelle but was-interred and is now buried in St Charles de Percy War Cemetery, a few miles north-east of Vire, France.