On Monday 21st September the Archive will be holding an Open Day. This is the second open day held as part of the Enfield at War Project. The first one back in January was a great success and we hope this one will be too. We will have on display the WW1 books of remembrance and you will be able to see our new interactive kiosks in action.
The interactive kiosks will have pictures and test illustrating what was happening in The Borough of Enfield during both World Wars. On them you will also be able to listen to the reminiscences people who lived in Enfield during World War Two and watch a filmed retelling of the shooting down of the Cuffley airship in 1916
As part of the project we have been producing war related walks around the Borough of Enfield. The latest one has just been published. This is for Edmonton in the Second World War. You will be able to pick up one of these and the others at the open day. There will be one more walk to come for the Enfield area which is due soon.
We would also like to hear from anyone who has personal memories of the Second World War as we are collecting oral histories for the project
Many existing factories in the area went over to war production. The Genotin Blouse Factory in Enfield Town went over to the production of military shirts. The Bycullah Athenaeum was taken over by Klingers
for the manufacture of military clothing and hospital garments. Many small munitions factories sprang up such as those in the old cartridge factory in Tile Kiln Lane. Weir Hall was requisitioned for use as a munitions factory. Furniture factories were used to make airplane parts. Existing military factories such as the Royal Small Arms in Enfield Lock rapidly expanded, taking on more workers.
Eley’s Cartridge Factory
Eley’s in Angel Road Edmonton made munitions including hand grenades and anti-Zeppelin bullets
Ponders End Shell factory
Established in late 1914 it became one of the largest munitions works in the country. In 1918 during the German offensive the workers doubled their production working around the clock. The works closed in 1919.
Morsons chemical factory set up in Ponders End in 1901. The First World War saw major expansion making opiates, antiseptic field dressings for the troops and allegedly the first poison gas.
United Flexible Tubing
This was set up in the former crape factory. The tubing was used by the Admiralty for charging torpedoes, re-fueling submarines and as part of early submarine detection equipment.
The war created a huge demand for parts for radios leading to an increase in production of valves at Ediswans. This in turn led to an increase in profits.
Most of Bellings production was given over to war work. They made heating and cooking equipment for submarines, large baking and steaming ovens for canteens, and electric glue-pots for industrial purposes.
Royal Small Arms
This began production in 1816. By the First World War it was producing the Short Magazine Lee-Enfield rifle which was the standard British Infantry weapon in both world wars. Over 2 million of these were made during the First World War. Jobs there were well paid and much sought after. By June 1917 7040 men, 1448 women and 1095 boys were employed at the factory. They were producing 10,500 rifles a week.
During the Great War the increasing numbers of wounded were treated first in France and then shipped back to the United Kingdom. Here extra hospitals beds had to be found. In Edmonton the War Office took over the infirmary of the workhouse in Silver Street and it was renamed the Edmonton Military Hospital.
The first wounded soldiers arrived at Edmonton Low Level Station on 14th May 1915. There were 139 including 98 on stretchers. They were met by large crowds. The sight of these men, some very severely wounded, caused a rise in anti-German feeling and led to stones being thrown at premises with foreign sounding names.
Some of the men who died from their wounds were buried in a specially set aside section of the Edmonton Cemetery.
The continuation of the war meant more hospital beds were needed and many of the big houses in the area were requisitioned.
Arnos House became a 68 bed military hospital and St Mark’s Institute in Bush Hill park provided 50 beds. In 1917 an emergency hospital of 40 beds was set up in Elm House, Enfield.
At Grovelands house there was a gas decontamination room in the basement as many of the wounded were suffering from the effect of poison gas. Roseneath and Tottenhall School in Southgate were both used as voluntary hospitals for the wounded. Those soldiers who had recovered sufficiently were allowed out but had to return to the hospitals at night. They were a distinctive sight in their blue hospital uniforms with white facings.
There were various entertainments laid on for the wounded troops such as the one at Roseneath in May 1915 when some young Winchmore Hill ladies staged a ‘dramatic entertainment’ which raised money for the hospital as well as entertained the wounded soldiers. 500 wounded soldiers were entertained at Pymmes Park in 1916 and there were fetes at Grovelands and Broomfield Park. Local cinemas reduced their prices for wounded soldiers.
Recent research has unearthed the story of a local man Private (air mechanic) Arthur Tom Harman of Edmonton who won the Distinguished Flying medal for his part in shooting down a Zeppelin in 1918.
Arthur Tom Harman was born on 27th September 1894 in Edmonton. The 1901 Census shows him living at 2 Galmer Cottages, Maldon Road. He is living with his father Arthur, his mother Louisa and sister Louisa, age 3. His father’s occupation is given as a general labourer. Arthur Harman was a pupil at Latymer School. By 1911 his mother is described as a widow. She is working in a restaurant as a cook. The family are living in Balfour Road. Arthur is sixteen and has left school and is working as a printer. Prior to joining up he worked as a mechanic at the South Metropolitan Gas Company in Rotherhithe
On his service record he is described as 5ft 10½ in with brown hair and grey eyes. His next of kin is recorded as his wife Elsie Howard who he had married in 1917. She was the daughter of a Detective Sergeant Thomas Howard who was in the CID at Edmonton. He joined the navy in January 1916 and transferred to the RAF in April 1918.
The action for which he received the DFM took place off the north east coast on 5th August 1918. A squadron of Zeppelins attempted a raid on the coast. One of the Zeppelins was L70 which was one of the latest X class on its maiden flight. On board was Fregattenkapitan Pieter Strasser Chief of the Naval Air Division. Two of the planes that went up to tackle the Zeppelins fired on L70. In one plane was pilot Major Cadbury and Captain Leckie and in the other Arthur Harmon and probationer Lieutenant Ralph Keys. Between them they succeeded in destroying the large German airship. It was actually Harman who shot down the airship while Keys concentrated on piloting the plane. The Zeppelin fell into the sea with the loss of all 28 of the crew. According to the Tottenham & Edmonton Weekly Herald the commander of the Zeppelin had a ‘record of baby-killing in England’. Due to a fault in the plane’s instruments Keys thought he was at 500ft when in fact he was a 50ft and commenced a nose dive. The plane crashed and both Keys and Harman were injured. Fortunately both recovered. The loss of Strasser who was the driving force behind the use of Zeppelins meant that this was the last Zeppelin raid on Britain during the First World War.
Over the last two years volunteers and staff at the Enfield Archive have been working to produce a list of those who died in the First World War. This has involved many hours searching through newspapers, school records and the Commonwealth War Graves website and matching names to addresses.
If there is anyone we have missed we would love to hear about it so that their names can be included. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 0208 379 2724 or write to us at Enfield Local Studies Library and Archive, 1st Floor Thomas Hardy House, 39 London Road, Enfield EN2 6DS. Or just pop in and tell us and you can see what else we hold about the impact of both World Wars in Enfield. We are open 9.30 – 5pm Monday to Friday. The photos are of a few of the local men who laid down their lives during the First World War.
Also added to the website (see link above) is the film of the dramatized re-telling of the shooting down of the Cuffley Airship which was brought down by William Leefe Robinson in 1916.
Although Gallipoli is thought of as mainly involving Australian and New Zealand troops many other nations took part. One local man described to the Southgate Recorder that the troops were truly international with English, Irish, Welsh, Scots, French, Jews, Indian and Senegalese as well as the Anzacs.
Wounded & missing
British Empire *
* excluding Anzacs
By 1915 the situation on the Western Front was a stalemate. Churchill hoped to break the stalemate by forcing Germany to fight on two fronts. By capturing Gallipoli on the western side of the Dardanelles the Allies hoped to remove Turkey from the war and possibly persuade some of the Balkan states to come in on the Allies side.
It was originally intended to be a naval operation. The attack began on the 19th February 1915. Bad weather caused it to be abandoned after three battleships were sunk and others damaged.
The delay allowed the Turks time to prepare defences and re-inforce the troops.
On 25th April troops started to land. The Australian and New Zealand Troops forced a bridgehead at Anzac Bay. The British tried to land at five points around Cape Helles but were only able to establish a foothold on three before having to call for re-enforcements. French troops landed at Kum Kale after launching a feint at Besika Bay.
After this very little progress was made. Anzac Bay was surrounded by steep cliffs which kept the Australian and New Zealand troops penned up on the beach at the mercy of Turkish shells and sharp shooters.
Conditions were appalling. In summer it was extremely hot and in the winter months freezing cold. There was an inadequate supply of fresh water. It was difficult to bury the bodies of the dead due to the rocky terrain and the constant shelling of the Turks. Hot weather and putrefying bodies produced swarms of flies. This and the lack of clean water contributed to the spread of diseases such as dysentery, diarrhoea, and enteric fever. Of 213,000 British casualties 145,000 were from disease.
The end came with the evacuation of the ANZAC bridgehead and Suvla Bay (10th-19th December 1915) and the evacuation of Cape Helles(10th December 1915 – 6th January 1916).
We don’t know exactly how many local men were at Gallipoli. We have the names of some of those who died there:
Private John Robert Akers, 2nd Royal Fusiliers
Albert Howard Andrews, 6th Lincoln Regiment
Frank Gilderoy Batters
Sergeant Garnett Arnold Baughan, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
Private WP Bryant of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers from Edmonton
JM Findlay Dickson son of RS Dickson of Palmerston Road
Geoffrey Frangcon-Davies, Honourable Artillery Company
Sergeant Austen Campbell Dent
Lance Corporal AG Dring, 2nd Royal Fusiliers
Victor Gadd went down with the ‘Goliath off the Dardanelles
Private WH Hartridge
Private SV Loveday, 21st battalion Royal Fusiliers
Jack Maller, New Zealand Army
Corporal William Ernest Miller, son of Daniel & Emily Miller of 6 Allandale Road, Enfield Wash
Ernest Verrill Nunn
Sergeant WJ Piggott, 1st London Field Company
Corporal Gordon Robinson, RAMC son of Benjamin and Mary Ann Robinson of 160 Chase Side, Enfield
Sub Lieutenant Eric Vyvyan Rice son of Sir William Rice of Grasmere, Bowes Park (one of six brothers serving in the armed forces)
Herbert James Wigg
If you know the names and stories of any others who took part in the landings at Gallipoli we would love to hear from you.
There will be a commemorative event to mark 100 years since the start of the Gallipoli campaign in the War Memorial Garden at Broomfield Park, Aldermans Hill on 26th April from 15.00- 17.00
The existence of airships and planes brought the war to the civilian population in a way not experienced in previous conflicts. The number of street lights was restricted and others partly darkened. The first bombs dropped in the area fell on the night of 2/3rd September 1916. At about 1.30 am airship SL11 dropped bombs on the Stud Farm at Clay Hill killing three horses. Bombs were dropped at Worlds End Lane, Chase Road and other areas of Enfield and Ponders End. The airship was shot down by Lieutenant Leefe Robinson and crashed in Cuffley. From 1917 the Germans used the long range Gotha bombers for raids on the country.
We only have a couple of photos of bomb damage from the First World War. As well as the one above we have a photo of a nurse pointing to the crater made by a torpedo.
If anyone has any other photos showing the effects of bombing in the First World War we would love to see them.
The Enfield Town First World War Heritage Trail is now available from all Enfield libraries.