Norfolk War Memorials

Scottow

Part 2

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A close up view of the memorial listing and inscription

The second part of the blog looks at the last 5 men recorded on the war memorial at Scottow and significantly the fact that two brothers are listed on it.

George Cubitt

George Cubitt who served with the 1/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment and who died at the 2nd Battle of Gaza.

The first of the brothers was Private 242488 George Philip Cubitt who served in “C” Coy in the 1st/5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment. George was killed in action on 19th April 1917 during the 2nd Battle of Gaza. George was born in North Walsham and enlisted in Norwich. He was 21 and the son of Herbert and Blanche Cubitt of The Corner in Scottow. I have written about this battle twice now and will detail the exact events when the 100th Anniversary comes round in April 2017. But he died when the 5th Norfolks, along with the rest of the 163rd Brigade, assaulted Tank Redoubt with the Australian Camel Brigade and a tank called HMLS Nutty. The war diary for the 5th Norfolks stating,

‘The trenches to be attacked were 2500 to 3000 yards from line held by 163rd Brigade. One tank proceeded in the advance to assist in operations. Heavy shell fire from enemy artillery commenced immediately on the battalion moving forward, which caused casualties.’

George is now laid to rest in Grave XXIII. E. 12 in Gaza War Cemetery.

William John Elliott became Gunner 201859 in the Tank Corps and was killed in the Battle of Cambrai and took part in the assault on Havrincourt Wood serving with E Battalion. The first objective was Havrincourt village which was situated on Flesquieres Ridge. The Hindenburg Line here was positioned on a slope and had been hidden from British artillery observers and a number of German gun batteries were missed.

The advance of E and G Battalions were held up by tree stumps and although the infantry assault of the 62nd Division initially went well a German officer called Captain Soltau, who was serving in the 11th Battalion of the 84th Infantry Regiment, gathered together the remnants of the regiment and defended Havrincourt. They held up the 2nd and 6th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment for an hour before the first tank entered the village, commanded by Lieutenant William McElroy. This tank cleared out the village forcing the Germans back, although the tank had to reverse down a street and as this was happening a bullet hit the reserve petrol tank and it caught fire, but the fire was extinguished and McElroy fought off German attacks with his pistol. Eventually British infantry came to his aid and Soltau and his men were forced back to their battalion headquarters where he defended the area reporting to his regimental headquarters where he stated, ‘We are holding out to the last man.’ Soltau and his men were all killed.

During the advance on Havrincourt six tanks were put out of action by direct hits and it is in one of these tanks that William was killed. He was born in Scottow and enlisted in Norwich and is now remembered on a Special Memorial, reference number A. 40, in Ribecourt British Cemetery.

Herbert Cubitt

Herbert Cubitt who was the brother of George and who died of wounds on 1st May 1918.

Herbert Cubitt became Private, 57005 where he served in the 38th Company Machine Gun Corps. Herbert died of wounds on 1st May 1918 whilst the battalion were serving in the Warloy Sector. Between the 27th and 30th Aprl 1918 the battalion lost four men wounded. Herbert resided in Scottow and enlisted in Norwich. He is now laid to rest in Grave I. A. 12 in Doullens Communal Cemetery Extension No 2.

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The war diary for the 38th Company Machine Gun Corps.

Walter Christmas served as Private, 2154A in the 49th Battalion Australian Infantry. He was killed in action on 6th May 1918 at the age of 34. Walter was killed when the battalion was in the line around Villers Bretonneux. The battalion was involved in rewiring of their trenches and pushed forward two outposts. During this time enemy rifle grenades fell in their trenches and the war diary reports two men wounded. Walter was the son of Robert and Sarah Ann Christmas, of “Fairstead,” Scottow. He is now laid to rest in Grave B. 20 in Lonpre-les-Corps saints British Cemetery.

Arthur Cecil Hazelton became Private 300061 serving in the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. He was listed as being killed in action on 25th July 1918. On the day Arther died the battalion was in training around Busnettes. That night the enemy shelled the village and the battalion suffered three men killed and six men wounded.

The final man to die from Scottow was William Atkins. He became Private, 300061 serving in the 16th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment. William died on 20th June 1918 and he was born and resided in Scottow and enlisted in Norwich.

There is not much to see on the war diary and it looks as though William was killed during the relief of the battalion as they moved out of the line.

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The war diary for the 1st Battalion Royal Warwickshires during the period that William Atkins was killed.

William was born and resided in Scottow and enlisted in Norwich. He is now laid to rest in Row C. Grave 9 in Thiennes British Cemetery. In the Norfolk Roll of Honour he is listed as John ATKINS and this might relate to his brother.

Norfolk War Memorials

Scottow War Memorial

Part 1

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Scottow war memorial records the ten men who died serving in WW1 and who came from the parish.

If you drive around the county you will see the war memorials that now stand to remember the sacrifice made by most of the towns and villages in Norfolk. I will be writing about a number of these memorials throughout the remainder of the Centenary and driving by Scottow recently I decided to choose that memorial for my first commemoration.

Nowadays, many of us think nothing of getting on the ferry or travelling through the Channel Tunnel to go to France or Belgium but to many in that time it would have seemed as impossible as paying a visit to the moon. As the UK National Inventory of War Memorials notes,

‘War memorials are a familiar site in the landscape of the United Kingdom. They provide insight into not only the changing face of commemoration but also military history, social history and art history.’ 

And because many people were unable to travel to the war memorials that stood in France and Flanders, funds were raised locally or nationally to erect memorials at home, many of which mirrored those abroad.

Other localities requested that memorial tablets were erected in their local place of worship. This occurred in my own local church in Worstead with a tablet commissioned – using funds raised by the villagers – to remember the seventeen local men who had fallen. It was dedicated on 11 November 1921. Scottow like many other parishes had their memorial dedicated in the 1920s and it records the ten men who died in WW1. And this blog now looks at these men.

There are ten men listed on the war memorial and they are William Atkins, Harry George Barnard, Hedley Bird, George Chase, Walter Christmas, Arthur Coleman, George Philip Cubitt, Herbert Cubitt, William John Elliott, Arthur Cecil Hazelton and Armine Pike. Eight of these men served in the British Army one served in the Australian Army and one served in the Royal Marines all have a story to tell.

The first man to die was George Chase. George became Private, 3/10812 in the 1st Battalion Norfolk Regiment and he landed in France on 1st May 1915. He was born in Rushton and enlisted in Norwich. By the time George got to the battalion they had moved from the Ypres Salient to the Somme. They were serving in trenches around Fricourt, relieving the French 119th Regiment, where they spent twenty days in the front-line losing six men in that period. Although it is not mentioned how he died I know that from other war diaries that losses in this sector predominately came through snipers.

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George Chase’s grave in Norfolk Cemetery.

In 2014 I took a group from Norfolk to the Somme and we followed the Norfolk Regiment’s war in that sector. Without knowing I took a photo of George’s grave as I try to photgraph Norfolk Regiment graves whenever I see them. He now rests in Grave A.10 in Norfolk Cemetery near Bercordel-Becourt.

Next we have Arthur Coleman, He enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry at Glasgow on 22nd September 1914 and became Private CH/19180 where he served in the Chatham Battalion in the Royal Naval Division. He landed at Cape Helles on 22nd November 1915, serving with the 1st Royal Marine Battalion and contracted an illness where he was evacuated and sadly died on 14th December 1915. He was the son of Cubitt Arthur and Kate Coleman of Cranwich Rectory in Mundford and now rests in Grave B. 53 in Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery.

There was a large gap after this and the next man died in the mud of the Somme as that campaign was coming to a close in November 1916. Armine Pike enlisted in Norwich and initially became Private 3149 in the Norfolk Regiment but when he went to France he was sent to the 1/5th Battalion Northumberland Fusiliers and given a new regimental number of 241816.

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Gird Trench and Gird Support in grid 17 and 18 on a trench map.

He was killed in action during the Battle of the Ancre when on 14th November 1916 the ANZAC and 3rd Corps attacked the German front line to the east of the Butte de Warlencourt. They advanced on Gird Support Trench with the Australian 19th Battalion on their right but this was found to be too wet to consolidate so they withdrew to Gird Trench positioned astride the Eaucourt I’Abbaye-Le Barque road. Here they tried to renew their advance to capture and hold Gird Support but all efforts were beaten off with heavy machine gun fire. They then held the ground that had been captured but had to fight off a number counter attacks. Armine is buried very close to where he fell that day and is now laid to rest in Grave IV.F.6 in Warlencourt British Cemetery.

16 Cheshires

The war diary for the 16th Battalion Cheshire Regiment detailing what happened to the battalion between 1st and 6th March 1917.

The next man to die was Hedley Bird who initially joined the Royal Engineers in Norwich. But like Armine Pike he was sent to an infantry unit and ended up as Private 57811 in the 16th Battalion Cheshire Regiment. Hedley was killed in action on 3rd march 1917 whilst the battalion was serving in trenches around Chilly. On the night of the 2nd and 3rd March 1917 the Germans mounted a trench raid with the war diary stating.

On the night of 2nd-3rd March enemy raided in two places on front line, one on W Company frontage repulsed without entering trench. On Y Company front the Hun entered the line and inflicted losses as follows 3 officers wounded, 1 officer gassed, 6 O.R’s killed, 15 O.R’s wounded and gassed and 19 O.R’s missing. 1 Lewis Gun captured. 1 officer, W Coy gassed. From reports received it would appear that the enemy suffered several losses during the raids.

Hedley is now laid to rest in Grave I. AA. 1 in Fouquescourt British Cemetery.

The last man we will look at in Part One was Harry George Barnard who was born in Frettenham and who enlisted in Norwich where he became Private 269784 in the 1/7th Battalion Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment). Harry was killed in action on 19th May 1917 whilst the 1/7th Battalion were positioned in the Loos Sector.

Two raids happened that night with A Company raiding the German line at the junction of Nash and Netley trenches under an initial barrage from 18 pounder guns. While that was going on a party of 101 Germans raided the left side of the sector held by B Company. This resulted in a struggle between the two groups where ground had to be given up while B Company fought off the raiders and a party of Germans were seen in the old German line who were fired on forcing them to retire. In both of these raids four men were killed, two from A and two from B. Harry was one of the men killed in B Company.

He is recorded on the CWGC site as being the son of William and Marian Barnard of Swanton Abbot and is now laid to rest in Grave II. O. 15 in Maroc British Cemetery

In the second part of this blog we will look at the last five men listed on the war memorial.