Two Soldiers of Bleue Maison

Two Soldiers of Bleue Maison

Bleue Maison CWGC © C Sklinar 2022

While on a long-awaited visit to my beloved ‘bolt hole’ in France I took another walk – a ten-minute walk down the road to the CWGC Bleue Maison near the Commune of Eperlecque. I’d been there many times and at one time had photographed all the headstones and later blogged about some of the young men who rest there.

This time though, I’d left the hard drive with all my photographs at home but the short walk down the road on a nice day was very pleasant.

In the cemetery are quite a few Royal Engineers and Cameron Highlanders with the odd other regiments and Canadians thrown in for good measure.

The cemetery covers the period 1918-1919 and sits between the main road through one of the centre villages and the back road to the main village. 

On this visit, I only photographed a few of the headstones – one with an unusual name or something that I thought would make research easy. A Canadian headstone would certainly do that but there was one British grave that stood out not only by the surname but by the regiment. One soldier, a captain by the name of Ronald Newton Caws of the Gloucester Regiment had been awarded the Military Cross but due to his rank I knew his service record would be only accessible via the National Archives, I gave him a miss and settled on E E Setchfield, Private SE/7275 in the Royal Army Vet. Corps., who died on the 19th of September 1917. The date I noticed was before the date carved into the boundary wall of the cemetery.

E E Sketchfield’s CWGC headstone © C Sklinar 2022

Anyway, back to E E Setchfield. I like to add meat to bones and find out who these men were before they served their King and Country. The Forces-war-records website has three entries, each providing a little more information as to E E’s full name. It is the latter of these that not only give a full name – Edward Ernest Setchfield but also additional information that could help find him in the census and other records.

Edward, according to the record, was born around 1980 in Emneth, Norfolk and served in the No. 2 Mobile Vet Section. 

In 1901, Edward was 20 years old and living with his parents, George and Mary and a younger sister, Maud. There is quite a gap between Edward’s and Mary’s age, so there may have been other children in between. Edward was working as a bricklayer at this time. Later this year Edward married a young lady called Rose Adamson in the Wisbech Registration District, but probably in Walsoken, Norfolk – where he is living in the census.

Ten years later Edward and Rose are living at 40 Elizabeth Terrace, Wolsoken. Rose and their two children, Hilda and Mabel, were all born in Wolsoken but Edward seems to change his place of birth on each document. Now he either didn’t understand the question or maybe it was ‘where are you from?’ This could mean the last place he lived or where he was born depending on how the question was understood. If the question had been ‘where were you born?’ this could have been the actual place. But all the documents seem to have listed his previous village as a place of birth. A tad confusing for those new to research.

Edward enlisted in the county town of Norfolk, Norwich and by May 1915 was in France. With only doing a quick search I can’t seem to find much about the No. 2 Mobile Section but at some time they must have been around the St. Omer region of France. The area has vast tracks of canals that were dug out many, many years ago and are known as the Marais. A wonderful place to visit and enjoy a guided tour on an electric boat – a slow tour as there is a strict limit on boat speeds. In the clear water, there is plenty of fish. and the air is countless dragonflies and birds. Ernest, as we know died on the 19th of September 1917 – he was not KIA as his entry simply states DIED. How did he die? His pension card indicates he drowned by accident while on AS. I can be a little more specific in this as the Roll of Honour website tells that Edward drowned whilst fishing. Could he have been fishing in the wide canal at Watten or one of the sections that are more like a maze where you could easily get lost? 

It took a week for the notification of his death to be received by the authorities and even longer for Rose to get the money from the Army. Rose also was to receive money for two children – Hilda Mary born 31 July 1902 and Herbert Edward born 8th of February 1913. There is no mention of Mabel who was a month old in 1911.

Rose never remarried and died in 1964 aged 86.

F S Stewart CWGC headstone. © C Sklinar 2022

In total contrast to Edward, the second soldier to be named in my ramblings is F S Stewart of the Canadian Army Service Corps, 2nd Canadian Aux. HT Coy. According to the CWGC F S Stewart is Fred Sidney Stewart served as Driver 2114941 and died on the 9th of September, 1918 aged 22 years of age.

Fred was the son of Adela and Donald Stewart of 38 Toronto Road, Buckland, Portsmouth. He enlisted in Calgary. Canada on the 4th of January 1917. And unlike many of the British WW1 Service Records the ones for Australia and in this case, Canada have survived. There is so much information to be learnt from such records including wills, soldiers’ movements and something I find most fascinating – a description. So the 38 pages can tell a great deal.

At the time of his enlistment, Fred was born on the 31st of March 1896, giving his address as Gen. Den. Calgary. His family were living in Portsmouth, Hampshire and from passenger records, Fred, a teamster, could have travelled to Canada around 1915-1916.

At 5’7½” in height, Fred was reasonably tall for the time. He had a fair complexion, hazel eyes, and black hair and weighed in at 138lbs.

On the 26th of March 1917, Fred left Canada and disembarked in Liverpool on the 7th of April from SS Metagama and was taken on strength at Shorncliffe. On the 9th of August, he left the UK and arrived in Le Havre the following day as a reinforcement. The following months are detailed as to his whereabouts including 14 days’ leave on the 2nd of March 1918. Rejoining at Caestre (between Hazebrouck and Steenvoorde). At midnight on the 27-28th May 1918, his status was changed to No2 Canadian Army Aux. (Horse) Coy. 

On the 9th of September 1918, Fred was admitted to 36 CCS and died the same day of Phthisis due to active service conditions. Currently, Edward and 58 others rest in Bleue Maison CWGC in the Commune of Eperlecque. 

The base of Fred’s headstone says ‘Until we Meet’.

Bleue Maison entrance gate © C Sklinar

A Headstone in St Ninian’s, Enzie, Banffshire

A Headstone in St Ninian’s, Enzie, Banffshire

During the night the 1911 was taken, 14-year-old William Spence Kerr lived at 2 Old Town, Keith. Also in the house was his father, Alexander, the caretaker of the local cemetery; his mother, Jessie who worked as a baker. William, who worked in the local grocers had three siblings – Charles, Winifred and George, the youngest aged just two.

Alexander had been born in Keith. Jessie (nee Spence) came from Boharm. William had been born in Enzie, while his siblings came from Huntly and Keith. They moved about a bit, didn’t they?

In 1915 William was serving in the Gordon Highlanders after enlisting in Keith. His Medal Card has information about William being awarded the 1915 Star. He entered the regiment with the rank of private and service number 1661/6, which was amended to 266003 later during his service.

William Spence Kerr.
Newspaper source unknown but acknowledged

William served in the 1/6th (Banff and Donside) Battalion Territorial Force. In early August 1914, the regiment was stationed at Keith, then moved south to Bedford. After transferring to the 7th Division, the mostly young soldiers took part in various actions on the Western Front, including in December the Christmas Truce.

In 1915 the Gordon Highlanders took part in the battles of Neuve Capelle, Aubers, the Second action of Givenchy, Loos before being moved to defend the communication lines. In 1916 they saw more action on the Western Front after being transferred to the 51st Division, including High Wood and Ancre. The division was becoming a force to be reckoned with and was handed more difficult assignments, including assaults on Arras throughout the year and in November the assault on Cambrai. By 1918 the division was well below strength due to their huge losses in 1917. The 51st, low in numbers managed to hold back the enemy as the front moved back and forth.

William, however, never had the chance to see the end of the war as he died of wounds on the 17th of February 1917 around Arras. He rests in Maroeul British Cemetery, about 6km northwest of Arras, between Houdain and Aubigny. The cemetery begun by the 51st (Highland) Division, was in Arras from March 1916. Almost half of the graves are those of the Highlanders. The London Territorials also have a number of soldiers buried there. Over 25 officers and men of the Royal Engineers who died in a mine explosion. All in all the cemetery contains 563 Commonwealth graves from the First World War and 11 German soldiers who also lost their lives during this time.

Back to William. In March 1917 his death is recorded in a local newspaper, followed by his obituary in August. By 1920 his mother had been awarded all monies due from the Army.

The Kerr family headstone in St Ninian’s Catholic Cemetery© C Sklinar 2021

In the small Catholic cemetery of St Ninian’s, Braes of Enzie stands the Kerr family headstone.

‘In loving memory of Jessie Spence beloved wife of Alexander Kerr. Died at Keith 24th May 1933 aged 63. And their family. William Fell in Action 17th Feb. 1917. Aged 20. Interred in British Cemetery, Maroeuil France. Allan, Mary and James died in infancy. Also their grandchild Magaret Kerr Grant daughter of Andrew and Winifred Grant. Died at Rothes 13th Dec. 1948 aged 8 years. And Alexander Kerr beloved husband of the said Jessie Spence. Died at Rothes 26th Sept. 1953 aged 83. R.I.P.’

A Walk Around Sugar Lane – Traub family

A Walk Around Sugar Lane – Traub family

If you come from Wakefield you may not be familiar with the surname Traub. In Wakefield you would be aware of the surnames, Hoffman and Zeigler – these families were known as pork butchers with a German background.

Mr Gottleib William Traub was a pork butcher born in Germany and running his business in Batley. William as he came to be known was born in Weinsberg on the 14th of October 1863.

When William came to England I don’t know. But I do know that on the 30th of April 1892 he married Mary Elizabeth Hartley in St Peter’s Church, Morley. William at the time used his full name of Gottleib William and he told the Curate in Charge, Mr James, that he was 28 years old, a butcher, living on Queen Street, Morley. He also informed the Curate that his father was named Christopher and he was a farmer.

Mary Elizabeth was 29 years of age when she walked down the aisle to meet William. Like William, she also lived on Queen Street. Her father was John Richard Hartley and like Williams, father Christopher, he was also a farmer. There were two witnesses on that memorable day, William Kynder Smith and Marion Smith Beck.

The marriage of William and Mary Elizabeth took a little finding as the transcriber wrongly interpreted the name as FRANK.

The young couple settled into married life and a year later Henry Ralph Kinder Traub was born (1893), he sadly died in February 1900. A daughter Sybil followed and by 1901 she was five years old. The family by now were living at 62 Town Street, Batley and William was now working for his-self and he was now a British Subject.

In the Valuation list for Batley in 1910 William is listed with a house and shop at 62 Town Street, Batley. One very interesting thing for the time is that William had owned an electric motor, 2 h.p.

Another ten years passed by and the family are still at 62 Town Street, Batley. Both William and Mary Elizabeth are 47 years of age, Sybil Elizabeth B is 15 and she has a younger sister, Muriel Pauline aged nine. The couple had been married 18 years and had lost two out of their four children. We know about Henry but not yet about Alix Mary Angela who was born in January 1899 and died on the 2nd of September the same year.

The First World War came and went. Life carried on year by year until 1939 when William and Elizabeth are living at 52 Brunswick Street, Dewsbury. Sybil has taken over the role of the head of the house. She works as a Secretary to Woollen Rag Company. Her mother Mary Elizabeth is classed as Incapacitated. William is a retired pork butcher and young Muriel is an elementary school teacher.

Following on from the 1939 Register in October of that year William, even though he had become a British Citizen was still included on the ‘Enemy Alien – Exemption from Internment – Non-Refugee’ list. He must have had to attend a Tribunal as the result was ‘Exempt from internment until further order’. His Identity Book number is also included – 200516.

Sadly, although Mary Elizabeth nee Hartley, was a British Citizen by birth and parentage, at the time of her marriage she took her husband’s country of birth. So she also has an ‘Enemy Alien Card’. In the 1939 Register, her occupation is ‘incapacitated, by October on her card she is now a housewife. Mary’s Identity Book number follows on -, 200517

In the early autumn of 1942, Mary Elizabeth died, she was 79 years old.

Traub headstone in Sugar Lane Cemetery © C Sklinar 2016

The following year Sybil Elizabeth Bohn Traub died o the 16th of January (1943) at Dewsbury & District General Hospital. Her Probate was also granted in Llandudno and again Muriel was to receive money to the value of £2305 4s 4d.

William died on the 28th of January 1944. Probate was granted in Llandudno on the 27th of March to Muriel Pauline Traub, a spinster with effects to the value of £5208 14s 3d. You may ask why was Probate in Llandudno? Due to the was much of the probate staff transferred to Llandudno for the duration. If you look on the index pages for the period 1939-1945 there are a great number of Llandudno registrations.

Muriel Pauline went on to have a long life. She died in Stockport in the first quarter of 1997. Later the 0same year Muriel’s Probate is granted. As she died in 1997 she is just outside the criteria for searching via Ancestry or FindMyPast. I said earlier that Muriel had been a teacher. FMP has her Teachers Registration. She registered on the 1st of January 1933. Registration no. 90506. After training at the Mather Training College, Manchester, Muriel attained a Board of Education Certificate. Later teaching at Whingate Road Council School, Leeds.

Traub headstone in Sugar Lane Cemetery © C Sklinar 2016

So, we now know a bit about the Traub family. But it is only the two children who died in infancy that are remembered on the Hartley family headstone which reads: In Memoriam. John Richard Hartley of Wakefield was born on March 28th 1836. Died February 16th 1874. Also Elizabeth Ann Beck of Morley. Born April 28th 1838. Died February 15th 1904. Also Frederick Leonard Beck son of the above. Born January 1st 1880. Died March 24th 1924. At Rest. Also, Henry Ralph Kinder, the beloved son of William and Mary Elizabeth Traub of Batley Carr, was born July 9th 1893. Died February 2nd 1900 and Alix Mary Angela, daughter of the above. Born January 28th 1899. Died September 2nd 1899.

Book Review – Fred’s Letters by Jo Fox

Book Review –  Fred’s Letters by Jo Fox

Towards the end of 2021, the 11th of November to be precise, I was invited by a WFA (Western Front Association) friend to a book launch taking place at Elland Road. I didn’t know the author, but we did, however, all share a common interest in World War 1. My particular interest is in the soldiers, not the battles. So this book was right up my street.

Fred's Letters book cover

Fred’s Letters book cover

The book – Fred’s Letters by Jo Fox is an insight into the war of Fred Emms, a Leeds man who wrote to his sister from January 1915 to August 1918.

Jo tells the story through Fred’s letter and includes photographs, information on how the soldiers spent their days – either passing time or during battles. Jo in telling Fred’s story includes details on events at the time Fred’s letters were sent to his sister.

Not only do the 10 letters give an insight into a soldier’s war but also tell the reader how life and events carried on at home – home being the Holbeck area of Leeds.

To me, the battles, important to many WW1 researchers, are not as important as the men who fought. No matter what their rank or their status they were all part of a family loved by someone and part of a community that cared.

Jo Fox cares deeply that her great uncle Fred should not be forgotten. This book completes her task, Fred will not be forgotten.

If you have family who lived in and around the Holbeck area of Leeds or is just interested in soldiers’ lives and times in the 1914-1918 time frame, give Jo’s book a try – you will not be disappointed.

Fred’s Letters is £10 and is available from:
Etsy or searching Fred’s Letters

ISBN978-1-3999-0930-3

Antigua and Bardua War Memorial pt 1

Antigua and Bardua War Memorial

St John’s Cathedral, Antigua © K Sklinar 2021

I think in some respects my children know me too well! A set of images of a war memorial were attached to a message. Followed shortly after by images of the war memorial, images of a cathedral and a tomb appeared. The memorial remembers those who fought in World War One on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda. Though the dark stone memorial has six sides, only three are used. One is in the memorial brass plaque, and one brass panel on each side shows the names. A further small plaque commemorates six islanders from the 1939-1945 conflict.

Before I tell you about the young men whose names are on this memorial, let me give you some background information.

The memorial was erected in 1919 and honours 24 young men. During this period, 1914-1918, over 16,000 men and women volunteered to serve. A new regiment, the British West Indian Regiment (BWI Regiment), was formed in October 1915. A large number of men from the islands, joined this regiment, while others joined existing regiments.

Antigua and Barbuda War Memorial © K Sklinar 2021

Antigua and Barbuda War Memorial © K Sklinar 2021

Returning to the men who are listed alphabetically on the memorial.

Dennis John Freeland Bradbury is first on my list. He was born in Antigua in 1898, the son of Patric Joseph O’Leary Bradbury and his wife Ellen Mary Freeland. Ellen and Patrick are both originally from England, but Patrick’s job required them to move abroad. Oxford-educated Patrick served as Second Master at Antigua Government School. Later Inspector of Schools in Jamaica, followed by Director of Education.

Dennis and his younger brother Basil, in 1911, were living with their aunt and uncle, Georg Henry and Mary Ann Doggett, at Abbey House, Cambridge. Were they here to be educated?

The Southport Visitor opened up a window on the young Dennis on the 30th of November 1916. Denis’s uncle, Dr J. A. Bradbury, former union medical officer for Wigan, wrote that he attended the Moravian School, Leeds (Fulneck School) and later Cambridge University.

In the midst of the Great War, Dennis joined the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, later the North Lancaster Regiment.

Dennis was wounded in 1916 and taken to a base dressing station where he died, aged 19, on the 15th of November 1916. He rests in Mailly Wood CWGC Cemetery, Picardie. The UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects shows a considerable amount of money to be paid to his family.

The base of his headstone are the words “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die!.
On the memorial, James Harvey Bryson is listed as the second name. James Bryson was the only child of Robert and Isobel Bryson of Antigua. He was born on the 12th of May 1899. De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1919 includes an interesting biography for James.

Initially educated at Kenley School, time at Aldenham School followed At Aldenham, James took part in both football and athletics and was a senior cadet in the O.T.C. On leaving time at school he joined the army. He was Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the R.F.A., in June 1918 and served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders in August of that year. A few months later he was Killed in Action near Cambrai on the 20th of October 1918 aged 19. James rests in Cambrai East Military Cemetery. Information in a booklet held at the cemetery tells that James served with “Y” 24th Trench Morter Battery and that his parents at this time lived at Dunmara, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire.

Like the previous officer, James’ family would receive a considerable amount of money owed for services. James’ name is included in the Aldenham School War Memorial, as well as the list of Ireland’s World War I Casualties 1914-1922, and as we know the Antigua memorial.

In April 1919, Probate for James of 113 Landsdowne Place, Hove, Sussex, was granted to Robert Bryson, Esq., with effects totalling £270.

As well as having his own grave, James is included on that of his grandfather, James M Bryson in, New Calton Cemetery, Edinburgh. The burial place of James M Bryson who died 6th January 1894 aged 69 years. Mary Dunn his wife died 30th August 1902 aged 67 years. James died 3rd Jany 1870 aged 9 months. Jessie Gillespie died 2nd Sept 1875 aged 15 years. Maggie Bannatyne died 27th May 1880 aged 21 years and in proud and loving memory of James Harvey Bryson 2nd Lt. RFA who fell in action in France on 20th Octr 1918 aged 19 years interred at East Cambrai son of Robert Bryson Antigua and grandson of the above James M Bryson. David Dunn Bryson died 26th Jany 1933(?) aged 77 years, Mary Dunn Bryson widow of Peter Bonthron died 30th April 1938 aged 75 years”.

The Scotsman Saturday 20 October 1923 remembers James – “In proud and loving memory of James Harvey Bryson, Lieut., R.F.A., killed in action on the 20th October 1918, aged 19, only and dearly beloved son of Robert Bryson, Antigua, B.W.I., and “Dunmara”, Bourne End, Bucks., and grandson fo the late James M Bryson, Inverleith Row, Edinburgh. “Eternal honour give to those who died in that full splendour of heroic price that we might live”. There is also a mention of James on his parents’ gravestone in Hove Cemetery, Old Shoreham Road, Hove.

The third name on the memorial and the final name for this section is that of Ernest Brooks.

Ernest born around 1892, was the son of William Brooks of Sea View Farm, Antigua. Sea View Farm is a township located in the parish of St George – located approximately halfway between the capital city of St John’s and the island’s largest reservoir, Potworks Dam.

British West Indies insignia on CWGC headstone

Ernest served in the BWI (British West Indies Regt.,)9th Battalion, as Private 11847 from roundabout July 1917. Ernest was injured and taken to No 4 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) where he died on the 5th of October 1917. Dozinghem Military Cemetery is the final resting place of our young soldiers and over 3,300 others. These soldiers are made up of Commonwealth soldiers from both world wars including those from the Allied withdrawal from Dunkirk and 65 German war graves.

The website Lives of the First World War includes information that Ernest’s medals were not claimed. Monies owing to Ernest, according to the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, were sent by Crown Agents to an Antiguan bank account. Another entry for Ernest in the same collections has differing amounts of money being paid to his father, William – this time via the Colonial Society, Antigua.

This link of how to research a BWI soldier may be of interest

Looking for a Caribbean soldier who died in WW1 try this link, Caribbean Roll of Honour,

Little Wooden Cross

Little Wooden Cross

As I’ve said before, family history friends are the best. Not forgetting the family of family history friends! I was recently given a little wooden cross by one of these friends. It is nothing extraordinary to look at. It does, however, become two separate sections – the cross detaches from the tiered base. Was it meant to be portable? Or, has it over time become two pieces?

Hartlepool Wooden Cross © 2022 C Sklinar

This item is supposed to have been made from debris wood as the result of the Hartlepool Bombardment. It was said to be from World War 1. Was there a bombardment during this time? I know from my family history that Scarborough was bombed in the later war, WW2 – close relatives of mine were killed as a result of a direct hit on their house. The house was destroyed. My dad used to tell me that he cycled from Wakefield to the Scarborough house to watch cricket from one of their bedroom windows as it overlooked the cricket ground.

Anyway, back to the little cross and Hartlepool.

Who made the cross and why is this unknown but the story of the bombing and the impact it had on the area is documented.

On the 16th of December 1914, roundabout breakfast time 130 people were either killed or injured in forty horrific minutes when it is reported that over 1000 shells were directed at the town from a German warship. During the same day, Whitby and Scarborough were also the targets of enemy warships. As I’ve said, I knew about Scarborough during the 1939-1945 war but, in 1914, that was all new!

In 2020 found in a box of broken cameras and lenses was a short newsreel showing the aftermath of the bombardment and photographs taken at the time showing the damage and the people of Hartlepool getting on with their lives.

To see the newsreel and read about the events of the day click on the following links

March 2020 BBC News

The Newsreel on the Yorkshire Film Archive

When Germany Bombarded Hartlepool December 2014

Wikipedia’s information on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby

A Walk Around Sugar Lane with the Addition of a Surprise!

A Walk Around Sugar Lane with an Added Surprise!

Why is it when you have a plan, something always gets in the way? In this case, it was two things! The first was out of my control. I’ll not bore you with that, the second was my daughter’s fault! Bless her she sent me a short video of a churchyard and two close-up shots of a tomb. Why did she do that? Being kind and knowing that mum likes that kind of thing, she also sent me a photograph, with details of a war memorial. Last night, I did a little research on the names on the tomb when I should have been writing about Sugar Lane. They were, however, an interesting family who lived in very different times and are worthy of having their story told – later!.

But back to Sugar Lane. From all the photographs I have of this cemetery, I always find it hard to decide which headstone to tell you about. Why did I choose this one? Did I have the slight inkling where it would lead? A subconscious feeling?

Harrison, MacKenzie, Grace headstone © C Sklinar 2014

The headstone – a rounded top, now darkened with age has the words ‘In Affectionate Remembrance’ following its curve.

The first name on the carved stone is that of Lucy Eleanor Stewart the beloved wife of Henry Harrison. Lucy died on the 10th of August in the year 1874. At first glance, you could think that ‘Stewart’ was her maiden name. Well, if you were in Scotland, it could well be, as older Scottish headstones 99% of the time use the wife’s maiden name. As it happens, this could be the case as Lucy was born in Jedburgh, Scotland. And what a time I had finding her, as in the 1871 census she is Hampshire living with her aunt, Henrietta Powell. Lucy is 18 years old now and has no occupation. Her name was difficult to find as at first glance it looks like ‘Lucy EMc’ with Kenzie written half a line above. By now I was aware that her maiden name was MacKenzie. How did I know this? Her marriage entry in the Parish Register’s held the information. On the 19th of February 1873, Lucy, aged 20, of Clarendon Street, Wakefield, the daughter of William Richard MacKenzie, draper, married Henry Harrison, full age, living on Hatfield Street, Wakefield, a Police Clerk and son of Edward Harrison a chemist, in the beautiful St John’s Church, Wakefield.

St John’s Church, Wakefield via Google

Both Henry and Lucy signed the register, as did Thomas Ashmore and someone whose name looks like Kington (?). On close look, it could be McKenzie?

Lucy’s short life ended on the 10th of August 1874, after only 18 months of marriage. Probate Administrations were in Wakefield on the 4th of December 1900 – why such a long time between her death and Probate? Her effects totalled £82 11s 5d. By now Henry was a Police Superintendent.

Question? Could Lucy’s death have been due to giving birth? Leonard Stewart Harrison was baptised on the 21st of August 1874 at Holy Trinity Church, Wakefield, after being born on the 4th of the month. Leonard joined the Navy at an early age and by 1911 had been married for 15 years, had two children (aged 15 and 4 years old) and held the rank of Petty Officer and was living in Devonport. He died in 1928.  He rests in Harehills Cemetery, Leeds.

Henry married again on the 26th of April 1876 in St John’s Church, Wakefield. His second wife was called Elizabeth Grace, she was aged 23 when she walked down the aisle. Both Henry and Elizabeth were living on Hatfield Street at the time – could this have been how they met? Elizabeth’s father was John Grace, who worked as a joiner. As well as the ‘happy couple’ signing the PR, John Hardman, Betty Lawson and Mark Grace also wrote their names.

In 1881, Henry, Elizabeth and Leonard were living on Wakefield Road, Soothill, nr Dewsbury. Henry was now an Inspector and Clerk of Police aged 32 and stated that he was born in Sheffield.

In 1886 Elizabeth gave birth to a little boy, who they called Fred. Sadly, Fred was to die on April 8th 187 aged 23 months.

Ten years later in 1901, Leonard is no longer in the family home. As we know, he is now in the service of the Queen. Henry and Elizabeth are living in Hook, near Goole. Home is on Escourt Terrace – The Police Station, in fact, the Superintendent’s House. There are two new additions to the family, Anne, aged nine and Henry, aged two. The family seem to have been on the move in the past 10 years as Anne was born in Dewsbury and young Henry in Otley.

Another ten years on and the family now live in the Police Court House, Goole. The family has increased with the addition of Lawrence aged eight and Nowill also eight – were they twins?  A look at their birth certificates will tell you as the times of birth would be included.  Unlike a Scottish certificate where all times of birth are included regardless of multiple births.

The year 1910 was a sad year for the Harrison’s – Henry died on the 10th of August and his death was registered in the Selby Registration District. Henry of Barff Holme, Brayton Road, Selby had his Probate granted on the 26th of September when Elizabeth was responsible for £1144 12s 3d.

1911, Elizabeth now aged 58 included information about her marriage and children, don’t you just love Elizabeth! She added that she had been married 34 years, had had 6 children and two had sadly died. On census night included with Elizabeth were Henry, Lawrence and Nowill, along with Edith Hardman, a cousin, aged 40, who was the housekeeper.

A clue to what happens next can be found on the base of the families headstone. ‘Elizabeth Harrison widow of the above (Henry) died January 22nd 1927 aged 74 years interred in Mount Royal Cemetery Montreal Canada’.

On the 19th of June 1914, Elizabeth, Henry, Nowill and Olive E (Who is she?) disembarked at Quebec after being onboard the vessel SS Tunisian. Olive, it appears, was going to Canada to marry!

In 1916 Lawrence was living at 317 Gordon Avenue, Verdun, Quebec. with his mother. He worked as a teacher but on the 4th of March, he Attested into the Canadian Army. He was 25 years old, rather small in height at only 5′ 3″. He had fair hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion and signed his name with a very fine hand. Serving as Sgt, 3082370 in the 1st Quebec Regiment. On the 14th of March, 1918, his enlistment was cancelled. In between time he was back in Yorkshire but appears never to have gone to Europe. His Canadian Service Records hold a great deal of information.

Henry  Jnr also served in the Canadian Forces and at the time of his enlistment was married to Charlotte. Henry, taller than his younger brother was 5′ 10″ tall and again had fair hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He also had a scar on his right forearm from an accident in 1909. Serving as 2753299, he held the rank of C.S.M (Company Sgt Major). And again, so much information about him is included in his Service Records.

Henry, Lawrence and Nowill married and had families.

Nowill and Henry are not mentioned on the family headstone, however, a little about them adds to their families information.

One thing I did find and was it was quite a surprise! When researching Elizabeth Grace is that she is connected to the Grace family I link into – another relative or two added to the tree, albeit at a bit of a distance.

The story of this headstone comes to an end. From a few names and dates on a headstone, another story has been told.

A Soldiers’ Little Brown Book

A Soldiers’ Little Brown Book

We all need friends, and sometimes family history friends are just the best! Don’t you agree?
Christmas time, we either post Christmas cards or hand-deliver. While delivering one such card to a family history friend I was handed a little wooden cross. The cross no more than six inches in height has a story to tell, but that will have to wait. Following a cup of coffee, I was then handed a small book.

Lord Robert’s YMCA book

The book had the logo of the YMCA on the cover. The once red upturned triangle now faded as is the blue bar that sits over the triangle and includes the words YMCA. It is old but how old?
It didn’t take me too long to open the book and find out.
Written inside was the date 25th Aug. 1914. The Aug could at first glance be mistaken for May, but it is Aug. The date of 25th May would be too earlier to match in with the rest of the information. What information?

The inside cover has the wording ‘Lord Robert’s Message’ with the following words ’25 Aug 1914. I ask you to put your trust in God. He will watch over you. You will find in this little book guidance when you are in health, comfort when you are in sickness and strength when you are in adversity. Roberts.’

The words are not always clear and easy to read as they look handwritten and probably are or is it facsimile writing  I know for one, that if I was handwriting an inscription in several books my hand would be unreadable after a couple. Another question now rises – Who was Lord Robert’s? Maybe later! But now back to the little YMCA book.

I always look into books, especially older books, you know what I mean. Bibles, Prayer Books, Sunday School and School prize books and so on as they can and sometimes do, have names and dates and if you are very lucky, an address. On this occasion was I lucky? Yes, I was lucky!

What do we know so far? There is a YMCA pocketbook given to a soldier in or after August 1914 by Lord Roberts. The pocketbook is the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. So far so good.

My luck was in as a name and address are written in pencil. Extra luck also included a place where the soldier was at one time during his service.  Who was the recipient? P Auty? Who is he, was he?

The first stop on the hunt for P Auty was Ancestry. Not many to work my way through, however, nothing to confirm who he may be in the 1911 census. I did forget to mention that included in the pencil written words was this person’s service number – another bonus but Ancestry didn’t come up with any ‘hits’. A search of FMP also had no results. I then tried ForcesWarRecords – not a site I use a great deal, as 99% of their information is found elsewhere. This time, however, using the service number it did good! The Service Number M/335469 belong to a P Auty only this time the ‘P’ became Phineas. I had found my young man. Just to add a little more info. in the 1911 census, there was another young man in the family, his name was Paul. There needed to be some confirmation as to whether the book belonged to Phineas or his brother Paul.

Phineas was born at West Ardsley to Jonathan Auty and his wife Eliza (later documents have him being born in either Castleford or Pontefract). He was baptised in All Saints Church, Castleford the 6th of December 1881. There is an online family tree with a birth date of 1st of May 1880 – which means he should be included in the 1881 census. The GRO has a birth registered in Wakefield in the 2nd quarter of 1880 – this does tie in with the birth included in the online tree. This information doesn’t match with the 1881 census as no Phineas is included with the family living at Lock Lane, Allerton Bywater. The first appearance of Phineas in a census is the very faint scan of the 1891 census when the family are in Castleford.

The 24-year-old Phineas can, however, clearly be found on the 1901 census living in Baumber, Lincolnshire, with William Greaves (a shepherd on a local farm) and his family and working as a Stable Lead (Groom) – a couple of other Stable Lead’s are also with the Greaves family. Baumber is a small rural community that in the 2000 census had a population of 168.

Following on, the next census in 1911, Phineas is back living with his parents and siblings at 3 Nutt Street, Pontefract. Who was in the house on census night? Jonathan aged 65, still working as a coal hewer. Jonathan’s wife Eliza aged 63. Phineas is the eldest child living at home. He is now 30 years old and employed as a groom, employed by a veterinary surgeon. Margaret Annie Auty a daughter-in-law, aged 34 had been born in Barnard Castle. She had been married five years and had one living named Florence Xenie, but had sadly lost a child, who I later found had been named Paul.

Margaret Annie had married Phineas Auty in April 1905 in Pontefract. Phineas and his wife at some time in the previous two years had lived in Scotland. A visit to Scotlandspeople provided a birth entry for Florence Xenie. She was born on the 24th of December 1909. The Scottish information also gives her time of birth – at 6h 47m p.m. in West Barns, Dunbar. West Barns is a small village in East Lothian, some 10 miles south of North Berwick and 28 miles east of Edinburgh. Another tick for Scotlands documents also includes the maiden surname of the mother and the date and place of their marriage. In this case Burney Margaret’s maiden name. The marriage is included as of April 19 1904 and should be according to English church records 1905.

When trying to work a timeline as to when the couple were in Scotland. I know it must have been after 1905. Why? The couple married in 1905. Their son Paul Rowland Auty was baptised in May 1905 and sadly had been buried by July. This leaves a window of Autumn 1905 to December 1909 when Florences’ birth was registered in Haddington. Arriving back in Pontefract before census night 1911.

I mentioned earlier that ForcesWarRecords gave me information about Phineas’ war service. His service number was M/334569 but I didn’t mention he served with the Army Service Corps (A.S.C.). There is no surviving Service Record for Phineas so when he enlisted is unknown.

Could it have been early on in the war? Lord Robert‘s died in November of 1914, so either Phineas obtained a book before November or Lord Robert had written many books ready to hand out?  Lord Robert’s visited the troops in France and it was there that he died aged 82 in November 1914 from pneumonia while visiting with Indian troops near St Omer.  His body was then returned to the UK before being buried in St Pau’s Cathedral.   For information – Lord Robert’s and one of his sons were one set three of father and son’s to be awarded  the Victoria Cross.  His son The Hon. Frederick Hugh Sherston Roberts, VC was killed in action during the Boer War in  1899.

Lindi German East Africa via Pinterest

What is also written in the book gives a clue to what happened to Phineas in 1917. Dec 25/17 is written with the following address – South African Stationery Hospital Lindi German East Africa.  This part of what became known as The Great War was fought in a series of battles and guerrilla movements.  The campaign had all but ended in November 1917.

The War in German East Africa via Wikipedia

Had Phineas been injured?

Did Phineas survive?

Yes, he did.

He, according to Fold3 had been granted a pension after being discharged on the 17th of January 1917. What the pension was for is unknown but he had a 20% degree of disability and for that was awarded a Pension on a conditional basis – was his medical condition hoped to improve. Anyway, he was awarded on 9th December 1920 the sum of 8/- for himself and 3/6d for his wife and child weekly. In June of 1922, according to the military, there were no grounds for any further payments. Had he regained his fitness and was now able to work? Or, had the military decided he was fit anyway? But he did come away with the Victory and British Medals!

Phineas Auty Medal Card via Ancestry.co.uk

Phineas died in Pontefract Infirmary and was buried in Ackworth cemetery in September 1938. His wife, Margaret was living in Hemsworth when the 1939 Register was taken. There are two redacted entries for the same household. Could one have been Florence?

Margaret died in 1943.

Florence Xenia married in early 1948.

Finally, the back page in the YMCA book is written by Florence on January 29th (no year) but she did live at Low Ackworth and I presume that this was done in her younger years.

Another Walk Around Sugar Lane – Elvey

Another Walk Around Sugar Lane

The past two years have affected so many families – I hope you have written up your part in this worldwide event as part of your history. Your thoughts, your actions, how you have tried to keep life normal. And what you have done to keep busy. All this information forms part of who you are – family historians like to have this kind of information, well I know I do!

Some of you may have increased your efforts to add names and dates to your family history. I for one, have done this, concentrating on my One-Name Study. During July, I spent another two glorious weeks in Scotland visiting family farms, kirkyards and cemeteries and a wonderful time with the curator of the Highlanders Museum, but that’s another story.

I don’t know why but, I always feel at peace in a nice cemetery – could it be that not many people visit or I am happy on a nice day to get my daily 10,000 steps in a sometimes beautiful place. Well, although Sugar Lane is a nice cemetery and I do find its inhabitants fascinating and it is one of my favourite places it is not one of the most beautiful burial grounds I have visited. But, saying that, there are, some wonderful stories waiting to be found within its stone boundaries.

Edward Anderson Elvey. What can that name and his headstone tell us and where will we be led? Well, for a start he lived at Gathorne Terrace, Sandal when he died on the 20th of February 1919. Probate was granted in May of the same year to William Henry Kingswell, solicitor, William Scholey, solicitor’s clerk, May Roberts, wife of Walter Harold Roberts and Arthur Edward Elvey, music teacher. His total effects were £36137 13s. Who was Edward to have amassed this amount of money during his life?

Edward, born in 1840 in Lynn, Norfolk, was the son of John Elvey, a bricklayer, and his wife, Elizabeth.

In 1851, the family were living in the parish of Tilney St Lawrence. John Elvey was aged 48 and working as a Master Builder. Edward was the youngest of four children living at home.  

The 1861 census, however, does raise an important question. John Elvey was by 69 years of age and his wife, Elizabeth, was 60. Edward and an elder brother were still at home but, there was also a child. Who was the child? Her name was Eliza, aged three years old, her relationship to the head of the household was … daughter! Daughter, who’s daughter? Could Eliza be her mother? Although an interesting question, this is Edward’s ‘This is your life’ and an interesting life it is.

Two years after the 1861 census, in 1863, Edward married Elizabeth Markham in the Lincolnshire market town of Boston. The couple moved to Wakefield before 1865 as Arthur their son was registered in the town. Why a move to Wakefield? A look on the FreeBMD website shows quite a few Elvey people were in Wakefield at the time. Did they have family in the area?

The 1871 census narrows down the question about moving to Wakefield. The census entry, hard to find on Ancestry due to a mistranscription, was easily found on FMP. The family living in Regent Street, Belle Vue has Edward but his surname does need the researcher to know the family as the enumerator’s writing looks like ‘Sloey‘. Anyway, the 1871 census shows a child older than Arthur by one year being born in Skirbeck, Lincolnshire – a girl named ‘Char E’ (according to FreeBMD Charlotte Elizabeth was born in 1864 and registered in Boston). This census also shows that the couple had another child, Rob, aged two. 

Ten years on the family are still living in Regent Street but the family has grown a little. Charlotte is not with the family but Maud aged seven and Mary aged one join their elder siblings. Things must be looking up for Edward as he now employs seven men and one apprentice. Regent Street at the time was home to clerks, pork butchers, Inspector of Police (W.R.C.), tailors, assistant to H.M. Inspector of Schools, cabinet makers etc., skilled or semi-professional people.   

Charlotte Elizabeth has rejoined the family by 1891, while Arthur seems to have left. The two younger children Maud an apprentice milliner and Mary, a scholar are still with their parents.  

By 1901 all the children have left home that is except 21-year-old Mary. Edward has taken an extra step in his building work and is now a ‘builder and contractor’. But home is still on Regent Street. just a stone’s throw from Sugar Lane.  

The final census available at the moment is 1911 and what a trail to find Edward and his family. I always start with a general search and in this case simply Edward’s full name – Edward Anderson Elvey. The usual results came up – census 1851-1861, 1881-1901 – no 1871 or 1911. I’ve already mentioned the 1871 and the transcribed name but the 1911 census, well that took a little while longer.

There was nothing on FMP. so Ancestry would have to find him. There was no Edward Anderson Elvey. No E A Elvey. No Elvey living in Wakefield that matched. A sideways tack was needed. It came down to searching solely the 1911 census for any Edward Anderson Elvey with any variants. Nothing. My next and final search came up with the goods. Edward Anderson, no surname and living in Wakefield. Found him! Edward Anderson Etrog, I ask you? 

Edward and Elizabeth were still together but now living at 13 Gawthorne Terrace, Barnsley Road, Sandal. As the old song goes ‘Been together now for 40 years but in this case 47! Mary aged 31 was still at home and still single. But there were a few additions to the household, so the house needed to be big enough (7 rooms) to house them all. There was a 16-year-old grandson, Joseph Edward Dawson. Dorothy May Baldwin aged 29, a sick nurse, possibly born near Bridlington (which member of the family was sick?) and finally, a general servant, Beatrice Patrick age 18 and born in Leeds. It could have been Elizabeth that was not feeling well. But I’ll come back to her later.

What happened during the intervening years? Well, five children were born but one sadly had died before 1911. One event that could have changed their lives took place in May of 1901 with subsequent taking place in December of that year. Archers (Limited) of Westgate, New Mill, Wakefield, cocoa-matting manufacturers took Edward to court for the loss of light. In 1898 Edward owned adjoining property known as Plumpton House Estate and sold a building on that site to Archers. In 1901 Edward began building a row of cottages approximately 10 feet away from the office windows, which if completed, Archer’s would have almost all of their light entirely shut off. Edward denied all the accusations insisting that there would be ample light for the company to continue their work. He offered £25, which he brought into the court in notes, with the denial of liability. Witnesses, including architects, gave evidence in support of the plaintiff’s case – the hearing was adjourned. Did he think that he could buy them off? Sadly, I don’t know as I can’t find another newspaper entry.

1917, Elizabeth died on the 26th of June. Had she been ill since 1911? Had Elizabeth had several nurses during her illness? The reason I bring this question forward is that on the 15th of January 1918 widower, Edward Anderson Elvey, builder of 13 Gathorne Terrace, Sandal married Louisa Smallwood Talbot, aged 42, a trained nurse of 16 Eddlesburn Street, in All Saints, Leeds (Parish Church). Louisa was included in The Midwives Roll 1926, which tells that she enrolled in 1905 after taking her exam in 1904.

Just over six months later on the 20th of February 1919, Edward died. Probate for his estate was granted on the 14th of May to Henry Kingswell solicitor, William Scholey solicitor’s clerk, May Roberts (daughter), wife of Walter Harold Roberts, and Arthur Edward Elvey (son) music teacher. With the effects being valued at £36,137 13s.

The burial plot in Sugar Lane does not have a headstone or kerbstones, instead, the plot is covered in a granite tomb-like structure. Edward and Elizabeth seem to rest together and their names, birth and death dates are carved in the dark grey surface. There is another name included but that again is being written up along with others in a larger format.

Finally, Louisa Smallwood Elvey who was born on the 4th of December 1875 died in the September quarter of 1969. Probate tells that Louisa of 21 Wintrley La Rushell Staffordshire died on the 15th of August 1969. Probate was granted in Birmingham on the 22nd of October the same year. With effects being £3,800. She rests in Ryedroft Cemetery, Walsall, along with at least one other person named Upton.

From two names on a grave marker so much information can be learnt from just a little bit of research.

Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin – The Logie Family

Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin – The Logie Family

While on a ‘FAMILY HISTORY’ holiday in Scotland last year I visited many of the cemeteries and kirkyards where my relatives rest and photographed their headstones.  While in these cemeteries I also photographed a large number of headstones with either a military connection or some wording that made the memorial interesting.

In Linkwood Cemetery, Elgin is a headstone quite close to where I had parked my car. The headstone remembers people belonging to the Logie family.

Logie family headstone in Elgin’s Linkwood Cemetery

Who is mentioned on the granite memorial?

I’ll start with George Logie for no other reason than his name was more prominent than the others.

George was 21 years old when he was Killed in Action on the 31st of August 1918.

After enlisting in Elgin, George served in the 2nd Seaforth Highlanders as Private 2604 and 265914. At some time in his service, George must have changed his battalion to have had two service numbers. This is verified by his medal card, which also confirms the awarding of the British and Victory Medals. As there was no 1914 or 1915 Star in George’s medal entitlement he must have joined the service after 1915.

George’s father was William name was struck through and his mother Isabella (nee Phimister) becomes the next of kin and eligible to take over the small pension. The family address at this time was Waulkmill Cottage, Elgin. The collection of Soldiers Effects tells that George’s father was eligible to receive two sums of money, £13 followed two years later by the sum of £20.

George rests in Vis-en-Artois British Cemetery, Harcourt, France with over 850 other casualties of war.

George’s family had a personal inscription placed upon his CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) headstone, which reads:- For Freedom’s Sake”.

Now, let me tell you about John.

John born on the 11th of April 1899,  had five brothers and six sisters and, like his brother George, was a ploughman.

He enlisted at Inverness on the 11th of June 1917 and served in France. After being wounded on the 25th of April 1918, he was taken to CCs (Casualty Clearing Station) 68, France. John, aged just 19 years old, died the same day and rests in Mendinghem Military Cemetery, Belgium, Plot X C 14. His headstone, one of over 2000, has the familiar CWGC cross on the headstone and the words ‘He died that we might be free’.

John had served with the 8th (Service) Battalion Black Watch (Royal Highlanders), known as Private S/41530.

There is a Pension Card that has information on the two Logie brothers. It tells the brothers names, Regiments, Service Numbers, their causes of death and dates. One snippet of information that is a boon for family historians – that is that William, their father, was next of kin, he died, his information was struck through and replaced by Isabella, their mother.

William and Isabella not only lost two sons in what was to become The Great War, shortly after in October 1920, they also lost their son William.

According to the 1901 census William appeared to be the eldest of nine children ranging in ages from William aged 12 to Charles just one month old.  The previously mentioned George and John were three and one years old.  William had been born at New Spynie but now the family were living at Linkwood Cottage, Lhangbryde.

William was a Police Constable and died ab Cambuslang.

The Sunday Post of Sunday 17th of October 1920 tells:-  “Impressive scenes were witnessed yesterday in connection with the funeral of Police-Constable Wm. Logie whose death occurred at Cambuslang, where he was stationed.  Comrades of the deceased officer in uniform proceeded the hearse as the cortege passed through Cambuslang”.

According to his death certificate, yes I gave in to curiosity and paid my six credits to view how he died.  William died at 10:30 pm on the night of October the 17th 1920 of Pernicious anaemia.  According to Libindex, he left a wife, Mary Clunas