While wrestling with what else to include in this issue of Cameo, Morley & District Family History Group magazine, I came across a few photographs taken in Gomersal St Mary’s cemetery while on the hunt for a family headstone. In the slightly overgrown grounds, I came across the headstone of T. H. Ellis, a CWGC memorial.
The first website I must visit to find out who T. H. Ellis is is the CWGC site to input some of the information I already know. T. H. Ellis – the search gave six results. It was the first of these results that was of interest and confirmed by his burial place. And so it was that Private 68624 Thomas Henry Ellis of the KOYLI Reserve Garrison Battalion who died on the 5th of December 1918 aged 19; Thomas was the son of Mrs Sarah Thrippleton, formerly Ellis, – well, that last bit of information certainly gives one clue, but I’ll come back to that later.
Thomas Henry was born in Liversedge in the 1st Quarter of 1899. By the time of the census in 1901, Thomas Henry was two years old and living with his 13-year-old sister, Lily, his father, Micklethwaite, aged 45; his mother, Sarah, and Henry, Micklethwaite’s father, aged 73 – Some family trees on Ancestry have Henry dying in 1869, if that is the case, how is he listed in the 1901 census? In 1903 Micklethwaite died. With two children, Sarah had two choices – to marry again or muddle through. She chose the first choice, and in the December Quarter of 1903, Sarah married William Thrippleton, a woollen weaver, in the Dewsbury Registration District.
The 1911 census shows that William and Sarah had been married for eight years and had no children, but Lily and Thomas Henry were each ten years older and still living with their mother. There was one addition, though, Ivy Ellis, a three-year-old classed as granddaughter-in-law. William called Sarah’s children by the term in-law, not stepdaughter or son. The family live on Moor Lane, Gomersal, in a two-roomed house. That sounds like it was a little on the ‘cosy’ side!
Back to Thomas Henry. As we know from his headstone, he enlisted in Bradford into the KOYLI. The Service Record relating to Thomas Henry does not appear to have survived. I don’t think Thomas Henry served abroad, as he has no Medal Card either, so I’ll work with what is available.
The Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects 1901-1929 includes Thomas Henry and his mother, who was beneficiary to the £3 11s 8d owed to him by the army. The next record set, which includes some interesting information, is the Fold3 collection – a sister site to Ancestry but with an added fee to view. If you are a member of the Western Front Association, they can be viewed from their website for free, as the WFA have the care of the original cards. The faded pink card shows that Mrs Sarah Thrippleton was the Dependant but was superseded by William Thrippleton, who now says that he is the stepfather. Home for William is Burnleys Cottages, Hill Top, Gomersal nr Leeds. But most importantly included is the reason why Thomas Henry rests in a Gomersal cemetery. He died ‘at home’, meaning in the UK of pneumonia.
Sarah, whose maiden name was Brewell, died in February 1926 at Hill Top, Gomersal. William, born in 1869, was included in the 1939 Register along with Lily and Ivy – could this prove that Ivy was Lily’s child? Another question, but one I’m not going to attempt to answer.
William died in June 1945, aged 76 and was buried on the 29th of the same month in plot 644 in the extended graveyard.