Martham – War Memorial (Robert Rivett)

Robert Alfred Rivett is listed on the war memorial in Martham and, in my previous post about Elijah Long, I mentioned the burnt war records. And Robert’s war records survive, although they are partly burnt, which makes looking at them moderately challenging as some information has been lost. Robert, who worked as a fisherman, was the son of David Moore, who lived at Somerton Road in Martham. He was enlisted in Great Yarmouth on 10 August 1914 into the 3rd Battalion of the Norfolk Regiment, which he joined as a private on 26 September 1914, service number 3/7837. Robert was 5’9″ in height, was aged 37 and weighed 12 stone.

Robert’s war records show that he was wounded in action on 18 March 1915 and a few weeks later there is a request from his family to see him, where he was described as “seriously ill”. A doctor noted that he had “developed paralysis of the diaphragm”, which would have likely meant he had been caught by the poison gas which the Germans were using at the time. Robert died at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Netley, Hampshire, on 4 January 1916 and the cause of death was “gunshot wound to the spine”. He was duly buried in the church at Martham, in the churchyard extension.

In the records, there’s a copy of the letter written by David Moore, Robert’s father, which mentioned that his wife Emma Moore had died and that he was Robert’s next of kin. Unfortunately, as it’s partly burnt, it’s hard to get a wider context of the letter, but the long chain of letters to and from David Moore to the army are highly unfortunate and there seems to have been a misunderstanding. The army wanted to know the address details of Ernest Rivett, who was Robert’s brother, to send him the 1914 star medal and David wrote to the army on 1 August 1919 saying “why are you not more careful and indifferent of our feelings? Anyway you have got what you want”. The confusion appears to have been the different surnames and there are some inconsistencies with the information provided by Robert, so the cause of the difficulty is perhaps understandable.