Celebrating Norfolk Day : a Salonika connection

Having lived in Norfolk for just 28 years I am still an ‘incomer’ but, even so, I would like to celebrate the very first ‘Norfolk Day’ of my adopted county. The challenge, then, is to find a Norfolk connection although this is by no means obvious as you won’t find the Norfolk Regiment – a fine county regiment – in the BSF’s order of battle.

However, that doesn’t mean that the Regiment wasn’t represented in the BSF. On my trip to the Doiran Memorial in 2016 I was struck by a number of panels listing, in all, 18 men from the Norfolk Regiment who have no known grave.

 

 

 

Panel from the Doiran Memorial to the Missing showing men from the Norfolk Regiment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A quick search on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site showed that they were all lost between 4 November and 21 December 1915, so in the earliest actions of the campaign. This was when the 10th (Irish) Division – with the French – advanced into Serbia, fought several actions against the Bulgarians and retreated back into Greece in the bitter winter.

But what were ‘Norfolks’ doing with 10th (Irish) Division? 10th (Irish) Division went to Salonika from Gallipoli, which is where 1/4th (TF) and 1/5th (TF) Norfolk Regiment were serving with 54th (East Anglian) Division. So either these men were transferred to 10th Division in Gallipoli to bring it up to strength, or they were a draft from Egypt sent to 10th Division in Salonika, rather than Gallipoli to join their battalions (both of which were evacuated to Egypt in December 1915). If you know the answer, please let me know.┬áI will just mention that 1/5th (TF) Norfolk Regiment was formed in East Dereham where I live.

As my photographs are not especially clear, here’s a full list of the names from the CWGC web site:

  • 3/8234 Serjeant E G GOODA
  • 16265 Private H S BARBER
  • 6145 Private J BRITTON
  • 5898 Private P BRYANT
  • 3/6934 Private G A CLARKE
  • 17728 Private H COOPER
  • 14103 Private A F COX
  • 3/7661 Private R W DREW
  • 17778 Private R G DYER
  • 3/10638 Private W GREEN
  • 17279 Private C HALE
  • 18470 Private H HORNSBY
  • 18047 Private H HOWES
  • 18872 Private R ROBERTS
  • 18676 Private A SCASE
  • 19366 Private A SCOTT
  • 17242 Private A SIMMONS
  • 16237 Private E C SMITH
The Doiran Memorial on Colonial Hill, northern Greece. Photo taken by the author in March 2016.
The Doiran Memorial on Colonial Hill, northern Greece. Photo taken by the author in March 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Author: SCS Web Editor

Robin Braysher joined the SCS in 2003 and soon after became editor of the Society's journal, 'The New Mosquito', a role he held until 2008. He then became the Society's web editor, a role he seems unable to shake off. His interest in the campaign comes from his grandfather, Fred, who served as a cyclist with the BSF from 1915-1917, mainly in the Struma valley. Opinions expressed in these posts are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Society.

2 thoughts on “Celebrating Norfolk Day : a Salonika connection”

    1. Thanks for contacting us, Mark. Men could end up serving with battalions a long way from home – it could all depend on when, where and how they came to join the army. There’s no doubt that 2/Cheshire – a regular army battalion – would have needed drafts of men, having suffered heavy losses at 2nd Ypres and Loos in 1915 with the rest of 28th Division, and many men on the sick list from malaria once they moved to the Struma Valley in 1916. George was one of nearly 200 men who were missing after a less successful action by XVI Corps on the night of 14/15 April 1918. I’ve sent you some more information about this.

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