Great War Britain Norfolk

Bio: I am a battlefield guide, military researcher and author of two books. I have been visiting the battlefields of WW1 and WW2 since I was 13 years old and have a passion for these subjects. I now live in Norfolk and write about the history of Norfolk in the Great War and beyond. Both of my books can be seen and purchased via the links. http://www.jarrold.co.uk/departments/books/local-books/and-they-loved-not-their-lives-unto-death-by-steve-smith http://www.jarrold.co.uk/departments/books/local-books/great-war-britain-$9-norfolk-$9-remembering-1914$91918-by-steve-smith

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42 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Steve
    I read with interest your posting on the Zeppelin raid on Dereham.

    The D (Wantage) Squadron of the 1/1st Berkshire Yeomanry was billeted in Dereham between December 1914 and the sailing for Egypt of the 2nd Mounted Division in April 1915.

    I have a few photo taken of the unit mostly taken at East Barsham Manor. but not much written of their time there.

    I thought I would get in touch with yourself and perhaps Kitty to exchange information to our mutual assistance. One query to start – EDP ? East Dereham Post ?


  2. Hi Steve
    I had a bit of a senior moment in my last post Berkshire Yeomanry spent a little time in Dereham in mid August 1914.

    However I was mixing up Barsham and Dereham. Don’t know why as I spent some considerable time around Dereham on an AARC Exercise LOG LEAP I think 1998.

    Anyway do you have anything on Barsham from 1914 1915 ?


  3. I run a photo archive on facebokk called Norwich & Norfolk people photo project you might like to have a look have several ww1 photos I wondered if I could share some of your photos properly sourced of course I would not without permission, there is a short video explaining some of our ethos http://youtu.be/Py6h6z-_vsA

  4. I am interested in the Sandringham Company at Gallipoli. In a recent article you Quoted “The Sandringhams at Sulva Bay” by Dick Rayner. I can’t find this book on Amazon or Ebay. Could you give me source to purchase a copy.

  5. Hello,
    I’m currently researching a series of autograph books owned by a nurse in Camiers, and one of the entries in these books is by a Private A Barnes of the 1st Norfolk Regiment who wrote about the Christmas Truce of 1914. I sort of stumbled upon this blog and your posts regarding the Truce, but I’m wondering if you have any information at all about this Private Barnes. His service number is 9026, if that helps. Thanks in advance!

    • Hi Max,

      Albert Barnes joined the 1st Battalion in France as a draft on 3rd December 1914. He went on to serve in the 2nd, 32nd and 26th Royal Fusiliers with the service number L/17453. He was medically discharged on 18th September 1919.

      There’s not much else I can find on him at the moment but I would be interested to see the entry that relates to the truce!

      Many thanks,


      • Thanks very much! I just needed a little bit of info on him to include in the exhibit I’m putting together on the autograph books. Thanks for your help! You’ll be able to read Private Barnes’ entry and others when the exhibit goes online next month at record-keeper.blogspot.com. I was thinking of also using a photo from one of your blog posts in the exhibit; everything will, of course, be cited appropriately, with a link back to your site. Would this be alright?

      • Hello again! Here is the link to the project I mentioned in my previous comment a couple of months ago! It is finally finished, and I would be honored if you would have a look at it! One of the post features a citation of your website and research, and focuses on the 1st Norfolk Regiment. Find the exhibit here: http://record-keeper.blogspot.com/

  6. good morning was very interested to see of your talk on the “Vanished Battalion” at the Forum, about 20 ?? years ago Steve Snelling very kindly gave me a copy of hand written diary from a man who was in this battalion and at Gallipoli

    • Hi John,

      My talk looks at a number of accounts of men who were there and is designed to show that men came back and refuted the version of events given by Hamilton.

      Steve is a lovely guy and we have helped each other out on numerous occasions. Who was the man who wrote the diary?



  7. Hi, I just wanted to thank you for your extraordinarily comprehensive and informative blog. I have only lived in Norfolk for 5 years or so, but my maternal grandmother’s brother in law was Lt Col Henry Gielgud, and I very much appreciated your background to Cambrai in 1917 during which (as you describe) he and many others in the battalion died. My wife and I will be going over to Belgium in May, and plan to visit some of the main WW1 sites, including Cambrai, Louverval cemetery, and Ypres where the 7th Norfolks saw action

  8. Hello! I am an Archive Researcher looking for images of 5th Batallion Norfolk. Please could you let me know what is the original source for the images found on your website?

    • Hi Joanna, they are a mixture of Imperial War Museum and local images from my collection. Which ones in particular are of interest to you and is there any reason for that other than the fact that it’s for archives? Which archives are they for?



  9. Hello I’ve really enjoyed reading lots of the history here.

    I came here as I’m reserching my Great Uncle William Robert Moore
    As I discovered him on my family tree research on Ancestry.Com

    My Mother his Neice as did I not know he was my GrandFathers Brother and that he died at Gallipolis serving with the 1/4Norfolks Private Regiment 4337
    He was born in Norwich 1880.

    I have found a few military papers about him on Ancestry like his medal award with his details etc but not much else.

    If you have any information about him like his memorial and photo of him and his life in the military, or where I could look to find such things please let me know.

    I would be so grateful for anything however small to help my family and the world know about my brave great uncle

    Kindest Regards


    • Hi Melita,

      I’m glad you like my blogs.

      Do you have access to their war diary for this period? If not I could send them to you.

      They were in trenches when he was wounded and it looks like he died the same day.



      • Hi Steve,

        Thankyou so kindly for your help, I do not have access of the war diary no so if you could send it to me I would be extremely grateful.

        Do you know where I could find out where he’s buried?

        I have found out about a museum in Norwich that covers the Norfolks so I may try there too as I’m so wanting a photo of William if there is one and any information about him.

        Kindest Regards

        Melita 😊

      • Hi Military,

        If you pass me an email address I’ll send you copies of the war diary for the time he was with them in Gallipoli.

        He is commemorated on the Helles Memorial because sadly he has no identified grave.

        The Norfolk Regiment Museum might be able to help you but sadly they hold very little information about the men and will more than likely not have a photo. But never say never!

        Regards ,


  10. Hi, I am our family history researcher, and organising a reunion in October, which I am compiling a Roll of Honour. I have the full family details for Captain John Eliot Hancock, who was born in Tasmania, and died in 1918. I am wondering if it is possible to obtain a photo of him. I am in Queensland, so distance is a bit far. Thanks in advance Kristine Herron. herronjk@bigpond.net.au

  11. Hi. During my research into family history I stumbled across your site. A very interesting read. As I read I came across a photo of my great uncle,Edgar Robert Smith on here. I am trying to find out what he received his M.M. for. If anyone has any information I would be very grateful. His brother Frederick died May 9th 1917 of wounds. He was in the Norfolk Regiment 8th Bn. He is buried in London cemetery Neuville- Vitasse. There was a third brother who served with the Norfolk Regiment. He survived the war leaving the Army in 1920. He was called Charles Smith.

  12. Hi Steve, have just been put onto your website by my cousin Paul. I was most interested in your article on Arthur Joseph James Fairbairn (Staff Sargeant) He was my grandfather and I visited his grave early last year (2019) The gravestone you show is fairly modern but just in front of it is the original one, after 100 years there isn’t a lot left of it. Do you have any more details of grandad you could pass on?
    Andy Fairbairn

    • Hi Andy,

      There is further info on his war record on Ancestry if you have access to that? Although pretty much what I wrote in my blog is what’s recorded in that record.

      Other than that I can’t really help you with much more.



  13. Steve
    I don’t know that this is the best place to make contact but I can’t see an email address either here or on your twitter feed, so here goes.
    I’ve been directed your way by one Ruth Bloom who was named as generic further researcher for WW1 histories. She found your thread on Gallipolli in particular (which I have read and found very interesting) and has suggested I make contact. Its probably easiest just to paste my initial email below –
    I’m making a trip Gallipoli with my father at the end of March.
    His grandfather was part of the Sandringham company that was lost in the battle, although he survived. We know very little about his service and understand that the company records have been lost. We believe he was injured (possibly why he wasn’t with the company at the key moment?) but again, we have no formal record of this.
    It would be great to get something concrete about what happened to him during the war, particularly around Gallipolli.
    His details (as given to me by my Dad) are Sergeant William Henry Jakeman no. 1370.
    Please let me know if you can assist, any costs involved and whether 10 weeks is a feasible timeframe to have something put together!
    Ruth noted that you have a quote from one Sgt T Jakeman of C Company 1/5, perhaps this could be William Henry?
    Any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated, particularly by my increasingly elderly father!
    If you could contact me on Andrew.feather@MSAmlin.com that would be very helpful.

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