Saturday, 29 September 2012

PICKWICK  has made his views known on crime, immigration, local history, our lost railways, and forgotten heroes. Now, in an attempt to secure a big media deal alongside Jamie, Gordon and Delia, he brings you a series of recipes for wonderful meals, using mostly local products, or at the very least, stuff which can be bought locally for next to nothing.

WISBECH MUSSELS  has a very simple starting point. From late September onwards, go to Rout's fish stall on the market and buy a kilo of live mussels. Forget oysters and scallops - these beauties are a third of the price and twice as tasty. A big bag will cost you less than £3.00. If you are very lucky, your dosh will buy you a conversation with Mrs Finnis, the proprietor - she is wickedly funny and has a brilliant sense of humour.

Next, you will need a can of chopped tomatoes, some bitter beer and a bottle of cheap white plonk. If you can get to B&M Bargains, all this will cost you under a fiver.

Pop next door to Morrisons, and buy a few chunks of spicy Chorizo sausage, and a loaf of crusty French bread. If you can get to LIDL, buy some lovely Chinese 'single-bulb' garlic. It comes in a pretty little basket, and although it isn't quite as strong as the usual stuff, it has a sweet taste, and is fifty times easier to prepare. Grab some dried or fresh parsley, and we are ready to roll.

Chinese garlic
Chorizo sausage

Cube the chorizo, and simmer it gently in some olive oil. Keeping the lid off the pan, add the tomatoes and chopped garlic. When the liquid has reduced, chuck in the parsley and the plonk. You need to have cleaned the mussels in cold water, pulling off the little beards of seaweed, and ditching any open or broken shells. 

Tip the cleaned shellfish into the pan, put on the lid, and turn up the heat. In about four minutes, the mussels will be done. Put them into bowls, pour the juice over them, crack open the beer, slice the bread, and you are in Food Heaven, Wisbech style!


Sunday, 9 September 2012

In a quiet corner of the parish church, high up on a wall, is a forgotten memorial to a forgotten school. The Barton School had opened for business in the middle years of the nineteenth century, and had for many years been run by a family called Stanton. Many of the sons and brothers were clerics, and the school had a strange, almost symbiotic relationship with the Grammar School. At one point, one Stanton brother was Head of Barton School, while another was Head of the Grammar School. Debts and scandal forced the school to close in 1913.

Despite the air of shabby gentility which The Barton School must have had in its final years, many of its ex-pupils would have been seen, by the standards of the time, good officer material. Several of the men mentioned on the Roll of Honour appear to have no obvious connection with Wisbech, but it must be remembered that the school took boarders, and these might have come from far and near. Names with an asterisk also appear on the main town war memorial in The Crescent.

W.L. Blake - Probably William Lovewell Blake, 2nd Lieutenant in The Norfolk Regiment, who died on March 27th 1918. He is buried in Doullens Cemetery Extension, near Amiens, France. He was the son of George Lovewell Blake & Elizabeth Ellen Blake, of Great Yarmouth.

Wm Bodger* - Bill Bodger was a Sergeant in The Cambridgeshire Regiment. His relatives are the Bodgers who run the agricultural machinery business in Wisbech. He was a committed Christian, was involved with local scouting and youth groups, and had been awarded a Humane Society medal for saving a child from drowning in a local river.. He was killed on July 31st 1917, the first day of The Third Battle of Ypres, more commonly known as Passchendaele. His body was never found, and his name is inscribed on the Menin Gate in Ypres. He was the son of Grace Shepherd Bodger & late Richard Bodger. Lived 21 High Street, Wisbech.

Bill Bodger

Nigel Bruce* - his name also appears on the Wisbech Grammar School memorial. He lived on Harecroft Road, and was an airman. He was something of a daredevil, and the local paper reported that he once landed his aircraft on a field near his home. His luck ran out, and he was killed in a mid-air collision on September 19th, 1918. His body was never recovered, and his name is on the Arras Memorial To The Missing.

Jack V. Burks - probably Jack Victor Burks, Private 14647 of The Northamptonshire Regiment. He was killed at the Battle of Loos on September 25th 1915. His body was never recovered and his name is on the Loos Memorial To The Missing. He was the son of Charles Wells Burks, The Firs, Eastfield, Peterborough. Employed by Fox & Vergette, auctioneers, Peterborough.

Edward Burgis* - was Second Lieutenant in The Manchester Regiment, and was killed near Ypres on October 16th 1917. His body was never identified, and his name is on the Tyne Cot memorial To The Missing. He was Manager of English Brothers basket factory. Third son of Mr & Mrs Burgis, North Farm, Docking, Norfolk; husband of Mrs Burgis, 58 Lynn Road, Wisbech. Served on Western Front in 15th London (Civil Service Rifles) May 1916 to March 1917, & commissioned August 1917.

Leonard W. Brooks - probably 2nd Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps, but formerly of The Hampshire Regiment, killed in action on July 6th 1917, and buried in Bully-Grenay Communal Cemetery Extension. He was the elder son of John & Emma Brooks, Church St, Peterborough. He owned a bakery & corn business at Elm Bridge.

Fred Chapman* - was a 2nd Lieutenant in The Royal Fusiliers, and was killed on August 22nd 1918. He is buried in Bray Vale Military Cemetery. He was the Son of John & Elizabeth Chapman, of Wisbech; husband of Rose Mary Chapman. Lived 2 Barton Road, Wisbech.

J.G.Chivers - was probably Lance Corporal John Gibbs Chivers., of The Royal Engineers. He was born in Sawston, enlisted in Grantham, and died at sea on December 30th 1917, almost certainly on the merchant ship Aragon, sunk by an enemy submarine at the entrance to Alexandria harbour, Egypt. His name is on the Chatby Memorial, Alexandria.

Fred Clarke* - was Serjeant Frederick Clarke, 16568, of The Norfolk Regiment. He was killed on October 12th 1916 in the later stages of The Battle Of The Somme, and his name is commemorated on The Thiepval Memorial.

Bernard Cockett - Bernard Charles Cockett,  of the Northamptonshire Yeomanry was a Walsoken man  who died at home of spotted fever on 21st March, 1915 aged 21. Bernard was the son of Alfred and Gertrude Cockett of the Mount, Norwich Road, Walsoken and he is buried in Wisbech Borough Cemetery. His parents erected an elaborate memorial, which has now crumbled. An official GWGC headstone was put up at a later date.

L.B.D. Colls - maybe Corporal Lisle B. D. Colls, of The Australian Imperial Force, according to Cambridgeshire 'Roll of Honour'. Died on the first day of the Gallipoli landings, April 25th 1915. His body was never found and his name is listed on the Lone Pine Memorial. His parents lived in Harrogate, so his Wisbech connection is unverified.

Stanley Dann* - Trooper, 1/1st Norfolk Yeomanry. He was killed in action on December 12th 1915, just before the final withdrawal from Gallipoli.He was aged 17. Named on the Helles Memorial, Turkey. Son of Mr C W Dann, Wisbech.

A.E. Dorman - Bombadier Arthur Edward Dorman, 1st Bde Australian Field Artillery. Died November 14th 1916 age 28. Son of Edward Meadwell Dorman & Emila Jane Dorman. Native of Uppingham, Rutland. Buried Warlencourt British Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Edward Fletcher - No information

Eric Gardiner* - Private Ernest Frederick Gardiner, Honorable Artillery Company. Died of wounds on April 20th 1915, age 23. Son of Frederick J Gardiner, Editor and proprietor of Wisbech Advertiser newspaper, and Amelia Gardiner, of Trevordale, Alexandra Rd, Wisbech. An accountant in London & Paris. Originally buried in Elzenwalle Chateau, but later moved to Voormezeele Enclosure No 3, Belgium. Eric's name is on the kerbing of the Gardiner family memorial in Leverington Road cemetery.

Wm Halstead - Corporal John William Halstead, 1/1st Btn Cambridgeshire Regiment. Killed in action on September 4th 1916. Son of Mr & Mrs Joseph Halstead, Grassgate Farm, Walsoken. Knightsbridge Cemetery, Mesnil-Martinsart, France.
N.C. Hardwick - Lieutenant Nathaniel Charles Hardwick, 10th Btn Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry Died September 15th 1917, aged 42. Son of Charles Hardwick, of Sutton, Surrey; husband of Julia G Hardwick, Mount Pleasant, Bodmin, Cornwall. Buried Ramscapelle Road Military Cemetery, Nieuwpoort, Belgium.

Fred Heanes - Private Fred Heanes 4th Btn North Staffordshire Regiment. Died of wounds May 8th 1919, age 21. Buried in Sutton St James Churchyard, Lincs.
P.A. Clarke - No information

C.W.F. Hopkin* - Private Charles William Fisher Hopkin, 11th Btn Notts & Derby Rgt (Sherwood Foresters). Killed in action October 5th 1918, age 27, at Guisancourt Farm. Buried Guizancourt Farm Cemetery, Gouy, Aisne, France.

P.L. Hutchinson - No information

Sidney Lambert* - Private Sidney Theophilus Lambert, 1/1st Btn Cambridgeshire Regiment. Died of wounds August 29th 1918, age 21. Son of Ambrose Victor & Anna Sarah Lambert, of 1 Victoria Place, Wisbech. Buried Daours Communal Cemetery Extension, Somme, France.
Ernest Leake* - Rifleman Ernest Leake, 13th Btn London Rgt (Kensington Rifles). February 16th 1918, age 22. Buried in Wisbech Borough Cemetery. His parents put up a modest memorial at his graveside, but an official CWGC headstone was added later.

P.G. Miller - Able Seaman Percy George Miller, Drake Btn Royal Naval Division. Killed in action April 23rd 1917. Lived Elmville, Wisbech. He probably died in what was known as The Second Battle Of The Scarpe, part of The Battle Of Arras.

Thos. Morton - Trooper Thomas Morton, Trooper, 1st Norfolk Yeomanry. Died of jaundice December 5th 1915. Son of Mr James Morton, The Hook. Buried in Ari Burnu Cemetery, Gallipoli. He is also named on the Wimblington war memorial.

A.H. Muirhead - 2nd Lieutenant Alexander Hugh Muirhead, 1/1st Btn Cambridgeshire Regiment. Killed in action July 31st 1917, age 35, by sniper. Only son of Alexander Muirhead, Glenvarloch, Lyndenwood Rd, Cambridge. Educated Perse School, Cambridge, & Barton School, Wisbech. Joined Suffolk Yeomanry as a Trooper. Sgt, served in Gallipoli campaign, 1915. Commissioned 1916, 3/1st Btn Cambs Rgt & drafted to 1/1st Btn 27-5-17. He died on the opening day of the Third battle of Ypres. His body was never identified, and his name is listed on The Menin Gate.

W.S. Nevill - 2nd Lieutenant William Sim Nevill, Royal Garrison Artillery. Died September 25th, age 26. Son of John & Flora Nevill, of Glasgow; husband of Janet McNeil Nevill, 3 Pangrove Terrace, Glasgow West. Buried in the Guards Cemetery, Lesboeufs, Somme, France.

L.J. Parker* - Private Leonard J. Parker, 38th Btn (Eastern Ontario Rgt) Canadians. Killed in action November 1st 1916, age 27. Only son of Mrs E F Parker & late Mr J T Parker, 101 Norfolk Street, Wisbech. Buried in Adanac Military Cemetery, Miraumont, Somme, France.
H.S. Pick - Corporal Harry Shelton Pick, 09th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. Died October 2nd 1915, age 29. Son of Thomas & Ellen Pick; husband of Gertrude Pick, of Rusthall, Tonbridge Wells. Buried in Boulogne Eastern Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

G.W. Sanderson - Gunner George William Sanderson, A Bty, 50th Bde, Royal Field Artillery. Killed in action 21-3-18, age 19. Son of George R & M R Sanderson, of 54 St Chad's Rd, Derby. Born Holbeach, Lincs. Buried in Peronne Communal Cemetery Extension, Ste Radegonde.
H.S. Scorer - Captain Herbert Selwyn Scorer, C Company, 5th Btn Lincolnshire Regiment. Died October 13th 1915, age 29. Son of John Norton Scorer & Susan Scorer, of The Limes, Fletton Avenue, Peterborough. Listed on The Loos Memorial To The Missing.

C.F. Snow - 2nd Lieutenant Charles Foote Snow, Royal Field Artillery. Killed in action June 30th 1916, while acting as forward observation officer, age 28. Elder son of Mr & Mrs W H Snow, Westgate, Peterborough. Had served in German South-West Africa under Botha & re-enlisted on return to UK. Buried in London Rifle Brigade Cemetery, Ploegsteert, Belgium.

R.G.O. Stanton - Lieutenant Robert Greenlow Openshaw Stanton, 4th Btn Royal Marine Light Infantry. Died April 28th 1918, age 21. Son of William Edwin & Anne Openshaw Relph Stanton, of Market Deeping, Lincs. Buried in Market Deeping Cemetery, Lincolnshire.

R.W. Tunnard* - Sergeant Raymond William Tunnard, 12th (Yeomanry) Btn Norfolk Regiment. Killed in action August 18th 1918, age 24. Formerly C Squadron, Norfolk Yeomanry. Son of Charles and Annie Tunnard, of 12 Market Place, Wisbech. Buried in Le Grand Hasard Military Cemetery, Nord, France.

A.E. Thorpe* - 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Edward Thorpe, 11th (2nd Hull) Btn East Yorkshire Regiment. Died of paralysis on December 6th 1918, age 26. Son of George and Ellen Thorpe, of Wisbech. Husband of Dora Thorpe, 30 Milner Rd, Wisbech. Buried in Longuenesse (St Omer) Souvenir Cemetery, Pas de Calais, France.

Harold Walsham* - Private Harold Walsham, 1st Btn King's Shropshire Light Infantry. Killed in action April 23rd 1918, age 27. Son of Annie Walsham, of 6 Upper Hill Street, Wisbech, and the late Jesse Walsham. Listed on the Pozieres Memorial, Somme, France.
Bryan Ward - No information

Arthur Wilson - No information
H. Saunders* - Lance Corporal Herbert Saunders, C Company, 1st Btn Rifle Brigade. Killed in action May 18th 1918. Lived Norfolk Street, Wisbech. Buried in Le Vertannoy British Cemetery, Hinges, Pas de Calais, France.

Stanley T. Aubin* - Rifleman Stanley Thomas Aubin, 2th Btn King's Royal Rifle Corps. Died of wounds December 2nd 1917, age 25. Son of Thomas Aubin, of 28 North Brink, Wisbech. Listed on the Cambrai Memorial, Louverval, Nord, France. Aubin died during The Battle Of Cambrai, and it is likely that he was buried in a makeshift grave which was later lost.

Leslie Parren* - Corporal Leslie Southwell Parren, 12th (Norfolk Yeomanry) Btn, Norfolk Regiment. Drowned at sea (HT Aragon) December 30th 1917, age 23. Son of John Robert and Rose Ellen Parren, of Lindon House, South Brink, Wisbech. Listed on The Chatby Memorial, Alexandria, Egypt. There is a macabre story attached to the death of Leslie Parren, which was related to me by a family member. Parren was on his way to the Far East when his troopship, Aragon, was hit by a mine. He was lucky enough to be picked up by a destroyer, HMS Attack, but that was promptly torpedoed. Meanwhile, back at their South Brink home, Parren's mother awoke with a start in the middle of the night to see, at the foot of the bed, a ghostly hand emerging from what appeared to be the surface of the sea. She cried out to her husband, "It's Leslie…!" He pacified her, and she went back to sleep. Several days later came the news that Parren had been lost at sea, presumed drowned.

HM Troopship Aragon
HMS Attack
Some of the information on this list is the result of my own researches into my book, 'Three Men Went To War', but much is due to the efforts of Cliff Brown, of March, for a page on the Cambridgeshire 'Roll of Honour' site. Many thanks to him for permission to use the information.