Monthly Archives: May 2016

The Battle of Jutland

The Battle of Jutland

A battle took place on the 31st of May 1916 – 100 years ago today it was  The Battle of Jutland.

The battle was the main sea battle during 1914-1918, taking place over two days. The German vessels, including Lutzow and Derffinger, were under the command of Vice-Admirals Reinhard Scheer and

Jutland map via Wikipedia

Jutland map via Wikipedia

Franz Hipper, while commanding the navy were British Admiral Sir John Jellicoe and Vice Admiral Sir David Beatty. The ships included HMS’s Defence, Invincible, Black Prince, and Lion, Beatty’s Flagship.

In total the navy lost 14 vessels, including HMS’s Defence and Black Prince while the Germans lost 11. British casualties amounted to some 6,800 men. After all these years it is still debatable as to who won the battle, but one thing was sure, the German fleet never ventured out of port again although there was still the odd skirmish in the North Sea between vessels. German ships out of Scapa Flow surrendered at the end of the war.

The Black Prince was commissioned in March 1906, being launched two years earlier. She was 505ft in length, 73ft 6in wide and displaced 12,790 tonnes and could reach 23 knots.

HMS Black Prince via Wikipedia

HMS Black Prince via Wikipedia

Separated from the rest of the British fleet, according to German reports, Black Prince approached the German lines at approximately midnight. She turned away from the German battleships, but it was too late. The German battleship Thüringen fixed Black Prince in her searchlights and opened fire. Up to five other German ships, including battleships Nassau, Ostfriesland, and Friedrich der Grosse, joined in the bombardment, with return fire from Black Prince being ineffective. Most of the German ships were between 750 and 1500 yards from Black Prince effectively point blank range for contemporary naval gunnery. Black Prince was hit by at least twelve heavy shells and several smaller ones, sinking within 15 minutes. There were no survivors from its crew, all 857 being killed.

One of those 857 was Joseph Edward Oldroyd, son of Joseph and Elizabeth of 18 Brooks Square, Bridge Street Morley – One source gives the family’s address as Brook Street, Hollow Top, Morley.

Joseph was born on the 5th of October 1885 in Leeds. The Royal Marine Grave Rolls confirms that Joseph was born in Leeds and was killed or died as a result of enemy action. Consulting the census of 1891, not one entry could be certainly our Joseph. The same goes for the 1901, but there is an entry for an Oldroyd family living in the Hunslet area.

The Royal Navy Registers of Seamen’s Services confirms why the 1911 census entry I found for Joseph in the navy, was the one I was looking for, as he signed up on the 15th of February for 12 years, ending up as Stoker 1st Class, 308243 in the Royal Marine Light Infantry.

Joseph was 5ft 7½ in tall with dark brown hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion. He seems to have been through the wars a bit as he had three scars on his head, a scar on his left cheek and a scar on his right loin. His conduct seems to have been generally good throughout his service with the odd glitch where he had spent some time in the cells. On the 22nd of October 1908, he is reported to have broken out of his ship and served 14 days in cells. Even though there was the odd mishap he was still awarded three Clasps for Conduct.

He served on various ships including:- Nelson, Victor II, Hampshire, Patrol, Monotour, sometimes having return postings to previous ships, finally ending up on the Black Prince. During his service he transferred to the Royal Navy. The National Archives hold the Register of Service for Joseph and can which can be downloaded for £3.45

The wreck of the Black Prince is classified as a war grave site and is regulated as such.

Another seaman who served during the Battle of Jutland  was  as a young naval officer named Prince Albert, later King George VI. Prince Albert fought in the battle on 31st May 1916 on the British Battleship HMS Colossus and came under fire.

There is a Wikipedia page for the Black Prince which gives more information on the vessel and its service.

Western Front Association Conference – July 9th 2016

Western Front Association Conference – July 9th 2016

wfa banner

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme, the  Western Front Association is hosting an all-day conference at the Manor Academy, Nether Poppleton, York YO26 6AP.

The all day event has a full programme of talks which are as follows:-

  • ‘Reflections on 1st July, 1916’ – Prof John Bourne
  • ‘BEF Artillery on the Somme and the lessons learned’ – Geoff Spring
  • ‘British Intelligence on the Western Front in 1916’ – Dr Jim Beach
  • ‘Rawlinson on the Somme’ – Prof Gary Sheffield
  • ‘The Somme of the parts’: The BEF experience on the Somme, 1916-1918′ – Rob Thompson

The first talk starts at 10:00, with doors opening at 09:15. The conference is likely to end about 16:45. The fee of £30 includes tea/coffee on arrival, plus during the morning and afternoon breaks, and buffet lunch.

There is ample, free, on-site parking at this venue. It is easy to find, being just off the York ring road.

To book your place follow this link to the Western Front Association eShop – Book your place

wfa york directions map

Western Front Association – Charles F Payne

Western Front Association – Charles F Payne

Don’t the months go by so quickly?  It doesn’t seem a month since my last visit to the Western Front Association meeting in York.  The speaker at this months meeting (May) was Chris Payne.  I had been looking forward to his talk as it seemed to be more about a person not a battle.

Charles Frederick Payne was the reason I ventured north for the Saturday meeting. Chris was informative and enthusiastic in telling the packed audience of Charles’ time during WW1 and seemed to hold the every one of us in the palm of his hand.

Although I was a little disappointed that there was more battle information than family history information, I didn’t mind as Chris guided every one of us through Charles’ time fighting for King and Country.

Charles was the son of Henry Stableforth Payne and Emily Clarke and was born in 1883 in Westminster, London and had 6 siblings.  He married Ida Muriel Payne – after the meeting I spoke to Chris about Charles’ wife having the same surname – was this how he included them on his tree or was his Ida a Payne before marriage as well as after her marriage – yes they were both Paynes and distantly related. That sorted that one! And was confirmed by FreeBmd who showed them marrying in the early summer of 1909 in the Wandsworth Registration District of London.

1911 has Charles and Ida living at 44 Tranmere Road, Earlsfield, London. Charles was aged 27 and a Pitman qualified shorthand typist.  During his life Charles travelled in Europe where his skills were needed.

1914 came around and Charles enlisted into the West Riding Regiment with the service number 235435.  His service took him through France, seeing fighting near Arras and Rossignol Wood (Nightingale Wood) and all the while he was receiving letters and packages from Ida and his family. I think I will let Chris Paye tell you more about Charles Frederick Payne letters from his wife.

Chris went into details about the places and conditions that Charles and his fellow soldiers endured during their time in France and all the while seemed very concerned that one of his parcels from home had not arrived.

I think the whole room breathed a sigh of relief when we found out from Chris that the war was over and Charles was still alive.  However, Chris continued his talk and a silence fell around the room, you could hear a pin drop and I am not ashamed to say I had a tear in my eye – Charles Frederick Payne died on the 11th of February 1919 aged 35 and rests in Terlincthun British Cemetery, on the outskirts of Boulogne.

Terlincthun had been a site for rest camps since June of 1918 and from 1914 Boulogne and Wimereux had had hospitals and other medical establishments within their boundaries.  By 1920 the CWGC cemetery had over 3,300 burials, including Charles.  The cemetery during WW2 suffered greatly from shelling during the early part of the war and later from German occupation. The inhabitants of the cemetery has grown and there is now over 4,300 Commonwealth burials and more than 200 graves of other nationalities – mainly German.

So it seems that Ida was all set to welcome Charles back home to his children and family to be so distraught and disappointed some three months later when she would have heard the news of his death.

Ida never re-married and died on the 18th of May 1980 in Cornwall.

Sugar Lane Cemetery – Stocks Family

Sugar Lane Cemetery – Stocks Family

What can words inscribed on a headstone tell you?

For starters, you will hopefully find names and dates of death but I have written about a headstone remembering ‘father and mother’, luckily other people were remembered on the headstone to work out who the parents were.  The missing parents names is quite unusual in my experience.  While others omit information there are the families who add extra snippets  of information.  These snippets are a boon for family historians and genealogists, as they can confirm information already known or, give a clue to information yet to be found.

Stocks family headstone © Carol Sklinar 2015

Stocks family headstone © Carol Sklinar 2015

One such headstone in Sugar Lane Cemetery, Wakefield, is to the Stocks family.  The headstone is delicately ornate as it stands proud among a few lower commemorations, even though there is a slight leaning to the right (depending on which way you look at the stone!)

Harriet (nee Kirkbhthe wife of Edward Stocks of Wakefield died on July 1864 aged 46.  Her husband died on November 25th 1890 aged 73.  What happened  to the couple prior to their demise?  There is a marriage for a Harriet Kirkby and Edward Stocks that took place in the Huddersfield Registration District during the September quarter of 1848.

In 1861 the couple were living in Park Street in the Primrose Hill area of Wakefield with Elizabeth their 10 year old daughter. A few years later we know that Harriet had died.  What became of Edward?

Edward, born in Marsden, Huddersfield was by 1881 was hotelier of the Royal Hotel on Wood Street, Wakefield, living with his second wife, Mary and his daughter Elizabeth and Mary Duckworth who he states is also his daughter!  It appears that Mary was a Duckworth (nee Woolley) prior to her marriage to Edward in 1867 in the Huddersfield area.  Edward we know was proprietor of the Royal Hotel, which was owned by Hy Mark Carter and others, Brewers of

Wakefield, he would be in later years the licensee of the Stafford Arms.  The Stratford Arms, according to the Alehouse Licences, was owned by Trustees for Hatfeild Carter Esq., for whom J T White, Esq., of Westgate, Wakefield was the agent. I suppose you could say that life continued, in a way that life still does today and more than likely will do in years to come.

We know that Edward died in 1890 but information on Ancestry leads me to

Edward Stocks funeral card via Michael Coffey

Edward Stocks funeral card via Michael Coffey

believe that his passing was not quick.  His daughter, Elizabeth died on March 29th 1891 aged 40. That leaves the two Mary’s – Mary Stocks and Mary Duckworth her daughter.

Mary Woolley, the wife of John Duckworth. She was the sister of Sarah Woolley, who married William Henry Gaskell who inturn is connected to the Gaskell family who lived in Wakefield.

Mary Stocks funeral card via Michael Coffey

Mary Stocks funeral card via Michael Coffey

Mary Stocks – it is here where the headstone caught my attention.  The information about Mary would be a bonus for anyone looking for her death and who  ended up frustrated,annoyed and probably said they were not going to do this anymore.  Without the information on the headstone, if you were a distant relative, you would have searched death records and returned zero finds.  Whoever added Mary’s death details of September 14th 1906, also included that she died in Dublin aged 69 and was interred in Wakefield.  If you, the researcher, did not have access to the headstone or knew of Wakefield MDC’s online Burial Records, you may not have known where she died and now rests.

Four people are mentioned on the headstone – Edward, his two wives and his daughter to his first marriage. But what of Mary Duckworth?  Was it Mary Duckworth that had this information placed on the headstone to remember her mother? It could well be as there is a marriage for a Mary Duckworth to a Stephen Feary in 1888 – the couple married in Wakefield Cathedral.

It appears that Mary and Stephen lived in Ireland – could her mother have moved with them or been on a visit when she died?  This entry seems to be all questions doesn’t it?  There goes another question to add to the pot!

Mary Feary, now a widow, of Hollybrook Park, Clontarf, Dublin died on the 4th of February 1920 leaving over £1200 to Robert Henderson Feary and Geoffrey Clarke Ferguson according to Probate which took place in England.

It looks like it could have been Mary who included the valuable information about her mother.

One last question.  Did Mary accompany her mother on her final journey and stay until after the funeral? Does anyone know?

Wakefield City Police – Constable 17

Wakefield City Police – Constable 17

My father was brought up by his grandparents from being about 2 years old – the reason, well not quite sure, as both his parents were living, but have a good idea and he was the only one of his siblings being brought up by the Victorian couple.

It appears from the stories told to me by my father that his grandmother was the hub of the family.  It seems she was a very strong willed woman and after the death of her husband always wore black.

Wakefield City Police helmet via Pinterest - date not known

Wakefield City Police helmet via Pinterest – date not known

What did my father tell me?  I heard of three soldiers who were  KIA during WW1 and their siblings and cousins who lived to be reunited with their families.  I heard a tale of a hangman (but that’s another story), a very vague story about a woman who attempted to murder the Prime Minister, and the story of a policeman who used to enter the house and stand between the dresser and the back door.  By the time I was born my great grandma had died – the hub of the family had gone, so I missed the vast number of relatives who used to pop by and see her.

Who was the policeman?  Walter Siddle, my third cousin, was born in Wakefield in 1881 to Walter Siddle and his wife Sarah Margaret nee Walker  one of their 11 children. Walter snr. worked as a hawker and salt dealer to earn a living, while home, was on Grantley Street, 90 Stanley Road and Brickmakers Yard.

Years later, I was in contact with Colin Jackson, a retired Wakefield City Policeman, who had written a fantastic book about the Wakefield Constabulary 1818 – 1968, and I came face to face with Constable 17, Walter Siddle.

Walter jnr. joined the Wakefield City Police and completed his probation on 30th September 1907 and was appointed PC17 on 16th October of the same year. The area at the time had two police forces – the City force, where you had to live within the city boundary to be eligible to join and the West Riding Constabulary which catered for those outside the city limits. Prior to him joining the police, Walter was employed as a stoker. Walter was 5′ 10″ tall, with a fresh complexion and brown hair and seems to remind me of Sgt. Dixon from Dixon of Dock Green – some of you may remember from tv series by that name years ago.

1911 is an eventful year for Walter.  The census is taken and he is living with his parents and four siblings in Brickmakers Yard.  This census gives a wonderful insight into family life at the time as it tells that Sarah Margaret had given birth to 13 children but by the second of April 1911, she had lost seven of her children – such a loss for all the family.  But 11 days later, on Thursday the 13th of April,  Walter and his family were just down the road, waiting in St Andrew’s church for Clara Leonard to walk down the aisle and become his wife. Another milestone came in Walter’s life in the autumn, when Sarah Margaret his daughter was born, followed in May of 1913 by Walter Leonard.

Life would have continued for the family but some 15 months after the birth of Walter Leonard war was declared.  Men from all walks of life signed up to go, as ‘it would be all over by Christmas’.  Many occupations were ‘reserved’ i.e. farmers, iron and steel workers, coal miners and doctors (although some miners and doctors did join the services) and the police.  This all changed in December 1915, when all members of the police force under 41 years of age (including Walter) attested and were placed n the reserve list, under Lord Darley’s Scheme (World War 1).  By March 1917, the goal posts were moved and all under 41 years of age were to be examined by the Army Medical Board, again Walter qualified for the examination.

The war ended the following year with Walter not having to go to war but 11 constables did go and fight.  By reading the local newspapers for the time, it seems that the police forces had enough to deal with at home – soldiers deserting, overstaying leave and generally causing chaos was enough to keep any force (about 60 constables, 9 sergeants and 4 high ranking officers (191 nominal roll)) busy. So busy in fact, that with having to contend with the possibility of air-raids (several alarms of Zeppelins raids were reported to which the Police and Fire Brigade were put on standby), in the early part of 1916 the Chief Constable found it necessary to reduce monthly leave to only day with payment being for the extra days worked.  Towards the end of 1917 daylight raids were a possibility and the Watch Committee was asked to purchase bicycles. Factory buzzers and the Town Hall bell were to be used to warn of such raids and Clayton Hospital had made arrangements for the evacuation and handling of its patients and the possible casualties resulting in these raids.  Although these precautions were made, there is no record of any actual raids.

King Street Police on left with lock-up and Fire Station

King Street Police on left with lock-up and Fire Station

In January of 1918 the Force applied to the Watch Committee for an increase in pay, it was not until December and the war was over that the men got their increase in pay and a War Bonus of 12/ ½d per week was eventually paid to regular members of the Force.

Life continued for Walter and Clara and his career seemed to be on the up.  On the first day of 1920 he is appointed Detective Constable.  By July 1923 he is promoted to Uniform Sergeant ‘C’, with responsibilities which include drilling the Fire Brigade and a few days later his responsibilities include the cleanliness of both the Police and Fire Stations.

Walter Siddle via Colin Jackson

Walter Siddle via Colin Jackson

April of 1931 the family move from the police house at 22 Thompsons Yard, to the Police Station at 26 King Street.  In March of 1933, on the retirement of Supt. Tattersfield, Walter is promoted to Superintendent of the Fire Brigade.  During his service Walter would have been serving under Inspector George Kealey Spindler, the father of Nellie Spindler, who was KIA during the war – this is another connection I have with Nellie!

On June 8th 1934 the Watch Committee were informed of the death of Superintendent Siddle. His widow, Clara, was  granted a gratuity of £758 6s 8d and informed that she must vacate the property by the end of October, but in the meantime pay 23s 6d per week rent.

Clara lived to see both her children married – Sarah Margaret married Willie Rushworth Brownhill in the Cathedral in 1934.  While Walter Leonard married Joan Donnelly in 1949.

Walter and Clara now rest within the boundaries of Wakefield City Cemetery, Sugar Lane.

FREE family history charts and forms

FREE family history charts and forms

fan chart extractIf you don’t use a family tree programme to keep your family history organised, where do you keep all the information you have found online, in the archives or gathered from relatives or family friends? Please tell me it is not on scraps of paper that just hold the smallest amount of details.  But, where did you collect this information from?  Will you remember in weeks or months to come which census these scribbled notes refer to.  Or, which newspaper the snippet about great uncle Ted was taken from!

You don’t have to go to the expense of a family tree programme when you begin to research your family history, but you do need to keep things orderly and make a note of where you found information and what information you need to find next – saves searching for the same thing over and over.

census summary chart excerptHere are a few websites that offer FREE downloads of forms that will help keep your research in some form of order, where you are from the UK, Canada or USA.

  • Wakefield Family History Sharing – printable charts and logs including check lists, research journals, census summaries, family group sheets with continuation sheet, inquiry forms, family tree/ siblings tree, deed index and cemetery transcription sheet
  • Cyndi’s List – has a wonderful collection of forms and is well worth a look
  • Vertex42 – has a selection of templates including a good selection of family tree layouts.  You do have to put up with a few advertising banners , but hey, they are FREE
  • Mid-Continent Public Library – has made available a good selection of charts, forms and worksheets.  The site also has a form for each of the American census – fantastic if you have a family member who went to the USA prior to 1940
  • Pinterest – Don’t forget to have a look here, it is wonderful what people upload to this site
  • Family Tree Magazine – mainly USA based forms, but still some that could be of use to UK researchers

Don’t forget to use a pencil when including your newly found information on the forms and charts – you may need to amend the details later!

Wakefield Express WW1 – Pioneer Briggs

Wakefield Express WW1 – Pioneer Briggs

Who was Pioneer Briggs and what has he done or achieved to make have an entry in the local newspaper?

Pioneer Briggs, was according to the parish registers of St Michael, East Ardsley, the son of Christopher and Mary Ann Briggs.  The registers also tell that he was baptised Haydn Harry on the 2nd of May 1897.  The family at the time were living on Cave Lane, East Ardsley.

A few years later when the census enumerator came to call Christopher told him he was aged 40, from West Ardsley and working as a Railway Engine Driver. He was the husband of Mary Ann aged 39, who came from Bowden in Cheshire.  The couple were parents to five children aged between 17 and four, the four year old being Haydn.

Ten years later, Mary Ann was a widow, who had given birth to seven children, with six living to be counted in the census.  Home was now Old Hall Farm, East Ardsley.  Her occupation now being given as farmer.  Her two eldest daughters were elementary school teachers. while the boys worked on the farm.  The farmhouse boasted ten rooms – not including the kitchen, bathroom scullery or landing.  Haydn Harry was now 14 years old, a teenager, but in a few years time he would have to become a man!

Military Medal

Military Medal

East Ardsley Soldier’s Gallantry – Pioneer H H Briggs, Royal Engineers, youngest son of the late Mr Christopher Briggs and of Mrs Briggs, The Hall, East Ardsley, has been awarded the Military Medal for conspicuous gallantry during the months of July and August.  Prior to enlisting he was employed as a fitter at the Great Northern Railway sheds, Ardsley.  He was twenty years of age, and  attended as a boy the local Council School.  His elder brother Fred, is serving in the Royal Flying Corps.

The next question is did Haydn and Fred make it through the war?  A look though the CWGC website revealed no entries for either brother, but that could be due to a transcription error – no transcriber is perfect! No record of Haydn’s death in the surviving military records or a record of any medal awards – as there should be……..never mind.  The question is still looming, did he survive?  I am pleased to say that the Electoral Registers for 1921 gave the answer, as both Haydn and Fred are included in the listings, along with their mother, Mary Ann who are all still living at Old Hall.

FREE family history websites to get you started

FREE family history websites to get you started

compilation logoWhen starting your family project you don’t always want to commit a sum of money.  Although you may be curious about your family’s history, you may not want to or have the funds to splash out on a pay-per-view website……………yet!

With FREE in mind, here are a few websites I used while researching, but not listed in any specific order.

  1.  FreeBMD – An ongoing project to transcribe the Civil Registration index of births, marriage and deaths for England and Wales.  Not yet fully transcribed but a very useful site and if you know a few shortcuts the site opens up other avenues of research. FreeBMD is part of the FreeUKGEN initiative helping to make high quality UK primary records freely available online
  2. FreeCen – another of the FreeUKGEN sites. Covering the 1841 – 1891 census for the UK it is a wonderful tool if you don’t have access to a pay-per-view site – you are minus the image but a good transcription could help you go back a few generations.  Some areas have greater coverage but still useful.
  3. FreeReg – Another of the FreeUKGEN initiative sites, this time focusing on Parish Registers.  Another good site but………. error messages appear if you don’t fill in enough of the search boxes.  However, the information given is useful.
  4. FamilySearch – FamilySearch is the online family history face of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The FamilySearch website has been around for many years and is a must for all family historians and genealogists.   The aim of the Church is to preserve family history and historical records and allow them to be freely available. What can you search for? Census, Parish Registers, Passenger Lists and Service Records to name a few.  The records are worldwide and are also available, for FREE, in the Church’s Family History Centers.
  5. CWGC – The Commonwealth War Graves Commission – Covering WW1 and WW2 and lists names of servicemen and women who died through enemy action at home and abroad. You can search by casualty or by cemetery, with most of the cemeteries run by the CWGC having at least one image.   A very good site to visit.
  6. The Marriage Locator – This site helps convert the General Register Office reference numbers for marriage from a Registration District into a church – how good is that!  But with like all volunteer projects it is an ongoing work.  My recommendation is that you keep popping back.
  7. UKBMD – Again a site using information transcribed by volunteers.  One set of information on this site is the transcription of the registers from many local Register Offices.  I personally, found this a hard site to manoeuvre around, but for FREE information, give it a go!
  8. Cyndi’s List – Cyndi’s List has been around for many years and continues to grow.  Cyndi has collected and been sent many links to family  and local history site worldwide. Whether you search by country or category you are certain to find something that will help you in your search.  You may end up going a little bit off your search criteria as you wind your way around the site, but it will be worth it.  Grab a cuppa and enjoy the trip ……..Happy Hunting!
  9. Rootsweb – Although Rootsweb is part of the Ancestry community, this part is FREE and is full of information from family and place name message boards and mailing lists to hints and tips, blank charts.  Rootsweb like Cyndi’s list has been around for quite a while.
  10. FindAGrave – This site is the home to over 145 million grave records and is searchable by name or cemetery. If you are looking for a picture of a headstone, don’t forget this site.
  11. DiscoveringAnzacs –  Looking for military personnel from Australia or New Zealand who served in The Great War, look no further.
  12. Canadian soldiers of the First World War –  Another good website for researching Canadian servicemen from around 1914 – 1918.

While mentioning a few of the websites I have used during the years it seems amiss of me not to include my own –  Wakefield Family History Sharing & Genealogyjunction


Wakefield Express – Absentees October 1917

Wakefield Express – Absentees October 1917

Absentees taken before the Petty Sessions and included in the Wakefield Express issue of 27th November 1917.

Not everyone gets a chance to scan the pages of the Wakefield Express for the war years as they are not available online – sadly, they are only on microfilm.  If you live too far away to access the film, I am sorry to say that you are missing a fantastic resource.  To try and bring Wakefield closer to you here are a few extracts from the aforementioned issue.

Wakefield Petty Sessions.  City Court – Saturday before Ald G Foster.  A Violet Deserter – William Moorhouse, Belle Vue, was charged with being a deserter from the KOYLI.  Sergt., Sheard and P.C. Gardner visited defendant’s house in the early hours of Saturday morning and found him in hiding.  The man became very violent and struck the sergeant in the jaw. Prisoner was remanded to await escort.

Thomas Allen, Barnsley, was charged with being an absentee under the Military Service Act, and he was ordered to  be handed over to the military authorities.

The following Monday more absentees were before the courts:-

Percy Tew

Percy Tew

City Court – Monday – Before Major Bolton (presiding), Ald W H Kingswell, Mr Fred Simpson, Ald G A Moorhouse, and Mr C Mellor.  An Absentee in ‘Civvies’ – John Henry Harrison was charged with being an absentee from a Labour Battalion connected with the Lincolnshire Regiment.  Prisoner, who appeared in the dock in ‘civvies’, was arrested in a house in Union Square, Kirkgate, by P.C. Kirby shortly after midnight on Saturday.  The man admitted he was an absentee, and said he had done away with his uniform.  He was remanded to await escort, and the officer was recommended for a reward of 10s.

 West Riding Court – Monday.  Before Mr Percy Tew (presiding), Mr W Briggs, Mr T P Robinson and Cr A Johnson.  Absentees – William Thomason, Normanton, and Alfred Arundel,  Newton Hill, were charged  with being absentees from the Lancashire Fusiliers and the  Norfolk Regiment respectively, and they were remanded to await escort.

Wakefield Express WW1 – Harold Day

Wakefield Express WW1 – Harold Day

The Wakefield Express, along with many other local newspapers, has wonderful snippets of life as it was.  Many of the articles are filled with information and are full of details.

One such article is for Harold Day – who was Harold?  What did he do for a living?  Did he join the services?  Did he come home to his family?  All important questions for family historians and genealogists.

Harold in the 1911 census was living with his wife, Violet Annie Baylis Day at 14 Ellen Terrace, Sandal, Wakefield.  Harold was 29 years old and born in Soothill.  Violet was also 29 years of age and hailed from New Mill, Huddersfield.

Harold had married Violet on the 8th of August 1908 at the Parish Church of Gawthorpe and Chickenley. He stated he was a bachelor, working as a schoolmaster and living in Gawthorpe

Cathedral School via Betty Longbottom, Wikipedia

Cathedral School via Betty Longbottom, Wikipedia

and his father was Joseph Day.  Violet on the other hand, was also of Gawthorpe and the daughter of Walter Topham.  Witnesses on that memorable day were John Richard Dickinson and Walter Topham.

Some of the questions have now been answered, but who was Harold before 1908?  The 1901 census can answer that one.  Wakefield Road, Soothill was the address give to the Day family in 1901.  We know that Joseph was Harold’s father – he was employed as a School Attendance Officer aged 60.  His wife was Clara, who was five years junior to her husband and Harold’s siblings living at home  were Sarah, Ezra and Charles.

Ten years earlier in 189, Joseph Day was a School Warden and his son  Harold was aged 9 and a scholar – ten years later he would be an assistant schoolmaster.

Harold Day's Medal Card via

Harold Day’s Medal Card via

Harold did join the army, becoming Pte., 5473, and later 202477 – according to his Medal Card. What happened next?  The Wakefield Express issue of 1st September 1917 may answer that one!

Cathedral Day School Teacher Killed – Private Harold Day, KOYLI, who was killed in action at August 10th, leaves a widow and a little son, who lived at Ellin’s Terrace, Sandal.  He attested under the Lord Derby Scheme, and was called up at the beginning of June, 1916.  He went into training at Clipstone and proceeded to France  in May.  Previous to joining up he was assistant master at the Cathedral Boys’ School, where he had been since 1906.  His death is a very great loss to the Cathedral Schools, for he was an excellent teacher, and had he lived he would have done well in his profession.  His death is very greatly regretted by the managers, teachers and scholars, who thought very highly of him.

Harold rests in Croisilles British Cemetery, Croisilles some 13 km south-east of Arras along with 1,170 other casualties of war, including 647 unidentified casualties, six Commonwealth airmen of the Second World War and 18 German war graves.

Violet, at home with their young son received £227 from Harold’s estate when Probate was completed in December 1917  and  would still be receiving money from the War Office until September of 1919, which came in 2 installments.