Category Archives: Wakefield Family History Sharing Upates

A Letter sent home

Letter sent from the Front during World War 1 – could this be written to your family member?

While researching for a project, I came across an article in the Wakefield Express issue of the 3rd of March 1915. Instead of continuing, as I should do with the project, I ended up going off on a tangent and finding out who the soldiers were…………Not, I might add, good for the project, but my curiosity would be fulfilled!

NOT CLICKED A GERMAN BULLET.

FIFTY SOLDIERS IN A HOT BATH

The following is an extract from a letter from Ernest Turner, one of the two sons of Mr Joshua Turner, of Woolley Colliery, who are both serving with the R.A.M.C. at the front. Ernest is in the Field Ambulance Section, belonging to the 27th Division of the R.A.M.C. :-

     “We go down for a rest shortly for three weeks, I believe, so you see it is A1 now.  We are not hard worked up here, still a rest won’t do us any harm.  I am pleased to tell you that I am in very good health.  Thank God, I haven’t clicked a German bullet yet.  I now know where poor Jack Melson is buried, but I daren’t go to his grave; it is too dangerous, but it is marked with a cross.  We had a bathing parade before we came here; I mean hot baths.  Just fancy about 50 of us in together and the fun we had.  We are then given a complete change of underclothing.  I felt a different man afterwards.  I have been helping to fetch the wounded in for a while now.  There is plenty of mud out there.

     “Poor Jack Melson said to his sergeant “Is my hour up yet, sergeant?” and the sergeant replied “No, you have 20 minutes more duty yet.” Just then a shrapnel shell came up, and killed them both.  Poor Jack got caught in the side with one of the bullets”

     Melson was in the King’s Royal Rifles and was brother to A Melson, of Woolley Colliery.

Letters printed in the Wakefield Express during World War 1 - is this from someone in your family tree?

Long Row, Woolley, source unknown but acknowledged

Who is mentioned in the above article – Ernest Turner, Jack Melson and his brother A Melson, lets start with Ernest Turner, our very clean soldier.  We know from the article in the Wakefield Express that he is the son of Joshua Turner of Woolley Colliery. But from 1901 the census – there are two Joshua Turners living in Woolley.  One of the Joshua’s is from Barugh, and the other from Hoyle Mill.  One has a family and the other is just listed with this wife, and would seem to be older that I presumed him to be, aged 61, especially with young children…..but not impossible!

The second Joshua is 38 years old, his wife Charlotte E  is also 38 and their children range from 15 down to 1 – this seems more like it!  The census has Charles E Turner, could this be Ernest?  A brother is also mentioned.  I am going to eliminate the youngest brother, Frank, aged 1.  So that leaves Earle aged 7 and George Bennett aged 15.

A Service Record survives for George Bennett Turner – the article said ‘both brothers are serving in the R.A.M.C.’  George is serving in the Coldstream Guards (service no. 16667), was living at the time of enlistment at the Villas, Darton, Barnsley, with his wife Mary (nee Overend, who he married in June of 1911) and daughter Eileen Mary, when he attested in August of 1915.  George survived The Great War, even though he had been gassed in May of 1918, and was demobilized on the 9th of February 1919.

Looks like ‘the other brother’ is Earle, who served as Private, No. 54, in the Royal Army Medical Corps.  Earle, like his brother’s seemed to survive the war and he married Ivy Ellis in the summer of 1920.

Letters printed in the Wakefield Express during World War 1 - is this from someone in your family tree?

Menin Gate Last Post © C Sklinar

The Wakefield Express letter also mentions that Ernest is sending home news of a friend, or someone from the village – Jack Melson, well after looking for Jack and drawing a blank I started looking for John Melson (Jack and John being interchangeable), and there he was.  John Melson.  John served as Rifleman 9530 in the K.R.R.C., into which he enlisted in Huddersfield.  He was Killed in Action on the 25th of January 1915 and is remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, after entering France in December 1914.  He certainly won’t have been lonely this year, always busy at 8pm, the last couple of years have seen many

Letters printed in the Wakefield Express during World War 1 - is this from someone in your family tree?

Menin Gate © C Sklinar

more visitors drop by and look at the enormous panels of names to remember and reflect.

Who had John been in life?  John was the brother of A Melson, but from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission site, we now know that Alfred was his name.  So, in 1911 John was already a serving soldier, aged 20 he was in the New Barracks, Gosport with over 300 others, including 5 women.  The Medal Card for John/Jack tells – his medals earned, his entry into France and his demise.  The Soldiers Register of Effects confirms

Letters printed in the Wakefield Express during World War 1 - is this from someone in your family tree?

Menin Gate © CWGC image

already known information, but also includes how much was owed to him by the Army and the recipients were ‘Mo & Fa joint Regotees Norah and Alfred Giggal’, who in 1915 received £7 8s 9d and later in 1919 shared another £5.

The war memorial in Woolley, does not bear the name of John Melson.

Alfred, there is an Alfred in the R.A.M.C., service no. 41962. Alfred according to his Medal Card, had started service in Egypt in June 1915 and was eligible for the three medals – 1915 Star, British and Victory Medal (Pip, Squeak and Wilfred).

As to who the parents of John and Alfred were, there are a few entries in the census but nothing that gives a perfect clue to the family – if anyone knows, why don’t you drop me a line!

WW1 casualty remembered in Golcar Parish Church

Over the past weeks, I’ve been doing a family tree for a friend and yesterday after threatening to go and visit the area and a local museum, off I went.  It was a nice day albeit a little nippy – my hands were feeling the chill while taking photographs in the churchyard…. but you carry on for the cause!

So, it’s 12:15 and the museum opens at 2pm and my plan was to photograph the family headstones in the churchyard and then cross the road to the museum that was once the home of the family I’m delving into – the Pearson family.  I’m not going to go into the family here as I still have to add some photographs etc., but that churchyard is a family tree in itself as many of the names on the headstones tie in with the Pearson tree.

I digress, as I said the Pearson people are not the aim of this blog, the true star of these lines is a young man named John T Gledhill.

Gledhill headstone. Carol Sklinar 2012

Who was John Taylor Gledhill, well he was born the son of Joe and Clara Gledhill, and lived in 1901 at The Green, Golcar.  Joe was aged 43 in the census and worked as a woollen percher.  Clara nee Taylor was aged 43 and the mother of  3 children aged between 9 and 16 (Jane, James and John).   For those of you wishing to find the family in 1901 they have been transcribed as GLADHILL.

By the time of the 1911 census the family were living at 38 Knowl Bank, Golcar in a 5 roomed house.  The 3 children were still living at home and all working within the woollen industry, weaver, spinners and twisters.  The census tells that Clara had had in total 4 children but only three had survived to the census and the couple had been married 26 years (Sept Qtr 1885 in the Huddersfield Registration District).

John Taylor Gledhill joined the Northumberland Fusiliers in Huddersfield and became Pte., 290/706.  He was later transferred to the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire Regt.,) 16th Battalion and changed his service number to 40858.  Soldiers at this time changed their service number when they changed Battalion or Regiment and Officers during this time had no service number.  During WW2 service men and women kept their number for the duration of service and now officers had service numbers.

The service records for John don’t seem to have survived but from Soldiers who Died in the Great War I have been able to glean that he Died on 24 July 1917 .  The Commonwealth War Graves Commission confirms his service number for the West Yorkshire Rgt. It also confirms his date of death but also tells us where he now rests – Valenciennes (St Roch) Communal Cemetery and the position within the cemetery, IV D 27 – relating to section, row and number within that row.  Each cemetery has a box within or near the entrance where you can find a plan to help pinpointing the grave.

Another source, The Medal Rolls Index told that John was eligible for the Victory and British Medals which would have been given to his next of kin.

John is recorded on the War Memorial inside the church and also on the St John’s School  Memorial, also in the church.

St John's School Memorial. Carol Sklinar 2012

What did John look like ? How tall was he ? Did he have any scars or tattoos ? With the lack of his service record I may never know. Has John ever had a visitor to his resting place in France and how many people have strayed from the path and wondered among the many headstones and learnt of Johns fate – in modern times probably not many. But today John will have his name written once more and many will now know of this young man from Golcar.

Lest we Forget

Men from Wakefield in Lijssenthoek CWGC

Resting in Lijssenthoek CWGC Military Cemetery are over 35 young men from the Wakefield area.  I know there names and in which section they rest but only two I know very well – one being my great uncle Herbert Siddle.  Herbert was 1 of 13 children born to Charles Siddle and his wife Emma Mills – Emma lost 3 of her children within months of their births.

The siddle family lived in the Kirkgate area of Wakefield, with cousins living just up the hill on Warrengate, Stanley Road and in the East Moor area.

Herbert was born in  Wakefield in the year 1892 and by 1911 he was a driller at the local boiler works, living with his parents, 4 siblings, a nephew and a niece, an uncle and a boarder on Hardy Croft, Wakefield – 11 people in a 5 roomed house.  I was brought up in that house and I can’t imagine how it would have been living in a house with a dining kitchen, front room, 2 double bedrooms and an attic.  It would have been so different from when I lived there with my parents.

Herbert enlisted in Wakefield, joining the KOYLI and becoming Pte 242874.  He had been wounded in the Somme and sent home to recuperate before being sent back to France and Belgium.  In April of 1918 he was in a trench and was shot in the neck.  Very quickly he was taken to a Dressing Station at Kemmel before becoming one of the many who are KIA.

Kemmel Wood bunker copyright C Sklinar 2008

Mrs Siddle had 2 other sons serving in WW1, Claude served as 241166in the RFA; Edwin served as 268976 and had been in in the WRVAD Hospital – he had been awarded, along with his other service medals, the Silver War Badge which he would have worn on his lapel to show he had been injured out of service.

Coming forward many decades to the 1980’s my father and I often met and chatted with an old gentleman whom we met while shopping.  After not seeing him for many months I mentioned to dad that we’d not seen him in a while, to which I was informed that he had died.  The conversation went on about the gentleman only for it to be brought up that this man was next to or very near great uncle Herbert when he had been shot !!!  By the 80’s I’d already started the family tree and there are no words to describe how I felt at this moment – should I scream ‘Why did you not tell me?’, utter a few choice words or just throttle my dad.  The reply I got from a bemused father was ‘Well, didn’t think you’d be interested’, like hell!!

I could have throttled my dad but could give my great grandma a very big hug for she kept all the paperwork from the army, including an eye witness report from Sgt Greasby and the Red Cross along with a newspaper from the time with Herbert on the front page. The local paper tried to put a picture of the young men on the front page  when Wakefield lost a son, brother or father.

I have this about my Wakefield soldier but do you have a soldier from Wakefield or know anything about your Wakefield soldier who was KIA or DoW during WW1?  Please let me know.

Please contact me with information.

The War Memorial on the Green at Reeth

In May of 2008 we spent a day in North Yorkshire – I think I’d said something like, ‘do you fancy a day out on Sunday?’.  ‘Where?’ Would have been the answer and my reply would have been that I didn’t mind.  Ben, by now would have known the places I’d been and would certainly have known there would have been a war memorial or 10 involved, with the odd churchyard thrown in for very good measure.  It was a nice day but I seem to remember a little windy in Reeth.

The War Memorial, The Green, Reeth, © C Sklinar 2008

The Green in Reeth is a very large open piece of ground in the centre of the village surrounded by houses and a few shops.  The War Memorial sits proud, high on The Green, protected by small posts and a rail.  Although the structure is large, it is simple in design and bears the names of 28 men from the Grinton, Reeth and Marrick areas.

The memorial seemed very much similar to others I’ve transcribed over the years – young men who were sons, brothers and husbands but each with a simple story to tell, until…….. It came to sort out the WW2 section.  The first name of the memorial is that of Major A K Charlesworth.  I found him on the CWGC and that gave me his full name, I then went onto look at the Army Roll of Honour 1939 – 1945 and confirmed information.

But when I googled him – he had a rank and a medal, so I thought there could be a little bit more about him on the great www. Yes, there was ! A connection to Wakefield. Albany Kennett had lived at Grinton Lodge and this had been purchased with its kennels and outbuildings by Col. Albany Hawke Charlesworth, born in Stanley, Wakefield,  who had been MP for Wakefield in the mid 1890’s, having purchased the hall in the 1880’s and becoming Lord of the Manor having purchased the rights from the Crown, using Grinton Lodge for shooting.

The census of 1891 has Albany Hawke with his family living at Chapelthorpe Hall, Wakefield.  He states he is  a ‘West Riding of York Colliery Proprietor’, born Chapelthorpe, West Riding of York – the transcription of that census is not correct. The family consists of Albany H aged 37, his wife Eleanor aged 24 and daughter Eleanor aged 21 months snf 15 servants including :- Housekeeper; Ladies maid; Housemaid; Laundress; Dairymaid; Grooms; Footmen, to name a few.

The census of 1901 has the family living in Portman Square, London with Albany Hawke living ‘on his own means’ with his family and 14 servants, including :- Governess x 2 ;  Housekeeper; Hospital Nurse; House and Kitchen Maids and Footman to name a few.  The nurse would have been for Albany Hawke as he had been injured in a hunting accident.  He had Grinton Lodge adapted to take his wheelchair.

Ten years late in 1911, we have Albany Hawke with his wife and two daughter living at Brockhurst, W Didsbury and a  mis-transcribed entry for places of birth.  A H is a Colliery Owner / Director and his wife is listed under occupation as Christian Science Practitioner, with two other people in the household giving their occupation as Christian Science Teacher or Practioner, aswell, as the usual amount of servants.

Albany Kennett, seems to be missing from the 1911 census or has been mis-transcribed and needs a little more time to find him.

Also mentioned on the WW1 section is Stanley H Moore.  Stanley Harding Moore had been born in 1898 in Reeth and in 1911 his father was  recorded as being Head Teacher of the Friends School, Reeth.

Tom Was, was the son of John Thomas Ward and Louise Alice.  Tom was 1 of 7 children and in 1911 was a Student Teacher – could he have been working under Mr Moore at the Friends School?  Tom’s father John Thomas Ward was noted as being the Registrar for BMD’s and a Mine Manager.

If you can help with further information or a photograph, please let me know.

To see Reeth War Memorial click here

Odiham War Memorial – WW1 transcription

Just before Easter I spent a weekend with my daughter and her boyfriend.  The weekend started with my driving down to Ealing, meeting my daughter and visiting one of her friends and her new little one.  Then a drive to Basingstoke.

Saturday started with a yummy breakfast and then onto Winchester, lunch in Raymond le Blanc’s, a visit to the Cathedral (memorials to follow very soon ) and finally an interesting visit to see The Round Table.

So Sunday arrived and a visit to Odiham and lunch, but before lunch I was given a short tour of Odiham, including, yes, the war memorial and the church – nice village and nice company. Oh! by the way the church has a beautiful window relating to the local RAF station.  I’m not a great lover of modern stain glass but that was nice.  But, to my surprise it wasn’t even a window, but a very good deception – a light box, but it still looked impressive.

Odiham Memorial, Carol Sklinar 2011

Now to the village memorial to those who have fought and died in two world wars.

Who is mentioned on the memorial to the men and women of the Parish of Odiham ?  Geoffrey Harris Gotelee, the son of Arthur and Esther of The Old House.  Geoffrey in 1911 was a boarder at St Albans School, his parents at this time ran the Post Office.  Richard Elkanah Hownam Healy, the son of Randolph and Alice of Hownam Lodge.  1911 sees Richard living in Kensington Hall Gardens and working as a Reporter for a Daily Paper.  He is later mentioned in the London Gazette when he received his promotion.

Another young man from the area was Arthur Henry Pither, son of Stephan and Sophia.  Arthur worked in Quebec, arriving in 1908, but was back in the area by 1911.  He did however, enlist in the Canadian Army and from that we can get a fleeting glimse of what he looked like.

Guy Lutley Sclater, brother, son and husband. He served as a ~Captain in the Royal Navy and rests in Odiham Churchyard.

Now, W G Wooldridge, he was a little bit of a problem and has not been identified by others who have transcribed Odiham Memorial, but I think family history helps a great deal when transcribing and knowing people make errors and what type of error could occur – well, I found him – so visit the transcription and see who he is and where he rests.  In fact, if I had completed the transcription last week, I would have known where he was and could have visited, as I was only a matter of minutes away from him.

The last young man I am going to mention in this taster is Reginald James Moody, son of Charles and Ellen.  He served in the RFC and died on 4 March 1917 while flying with 2nd Lieut., Eric Edmund Horn.  Edmund had enlisted on his 17th birthday and died on his 19th, so, so young and very brave.  They both rest in the same cemetery.

There are still a few young men whose information needs adding to the transcription and they will be finished shortly, as will the WW2 transcript.

To read the transcription or see if your Odiham relative is there Click Here

Scatcherds History of Morley

A friend of mine is selling his signed copy  Scatcherd’s History of Morley 2nd edition (1874) with monochrome plates.

He is open to any sensible offer and can be contacted  through me

If there is no interest he will put on ebay this weekend.

The original version is good to look through but if you just want to use the book for reference I have Scatcherd’s History of Morley available on a cd at the shop on Wakefield Family History Sharing

Iron Bridge War Memorial

Before I start this entry for Iron Bridge War Memorial I must just mention this in the hope that some people can make arrangements to visit the event listed below :-

Heroic Spitfire Veterans to Attend 75th Anniversary Event on 5th March 2011 at the RAF Museum, Cosford – to read more click here and scroll down to Latest News. At the event will be a number of Spitfire pilots including Margaret Frost, female pilot.  Margaret being one of only 15 women and 100 men to have a Special Merit Award for their service in the ATA flying replacement fighters to RAF bases during WW2.

image K Scarth 2010

Now back to Iron Bridge Memorial, but firstly a little bit about the bridge that the war memorial stands so close to.

Abraham Darby III in the late 1770’s was an ironmaster working at Coalbrookdale and was commissioned to cast and build a bridge to cross the gorge.  The bridge was opened in 1781 and today still remains a magnificent sample of how Britain was at the forefront of pioneering the way forward.  The gorge over which the bridge spans is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with the bridge being Grade I listed and a Scheduled Ancient Monument – now isn’t that something for Abraham and his family to be proud of ?

The War Memorial to the men of Ironbridge stands proudly within feet of the bridge and visitors walking over the bridge will pass the memorial.  The soldier atop the memorial plinth stands with his back to the gorge, at ease, resting his hands on the  his rifle as he seems to be waiting, looking for his friends from Ironbridge to come into view and come home once more.

So, who is our soldier waiting for ?  John Wlliam Adams who died of wounds ; Cecil Davies, KIA ; Frederick ; Drewball ; William Onions, KIA ; John Steventon, KIA to name a few.

To visit the rest of the young men of  Ironbridge who never came back to their gorge click here

Buchlyvie War Memorial

Buchlyvie lies between the Highlands of Scotland and its more gentler Lowlands.  In years gone by the villagers would been wary of the ‘fowk from the Highlands’ who were known to come down and steal cattle from the local pastures.

Stirling, Glasgow and Edinburgh are within easy reach, as are the Trossochs and Aberfoyle.  Many inhabitants may commute to work but there are many who stay in the village and keep the services going i.e. The Buchlyvie Inn and the Rob Roy + the cafe, B & B, garage, shop, butchers and hairdresses to name but a few.

Buchlyvie War Memorial C Sklinar 2010

The War Memorial to remember  Buchlyvie men is situated on the edge of the village and sits proud in a small garden at a ‘T’ junction for all passers by to see.  The consists of a contrived rough cut stone set upon a few tiers with a wreath mounted above the names, surmounted by a cross.

So who is mentioned on the memorial ?  Robert Alexander ; Andrew McLaren (MacLaren) ; Willliam McLellan born in Huntingdon, Yorkshire and enlisted in Stirling ; Ronald J McOnie of Buchlyvie, with brown eyes and hair  and served with the Canadian Forces ; Archibald McVicar, son of Niven and Bessie and Alexander McIntyre who died of wounds and rests in one of France’s National Cemeteries.  I’ve only mentioned a few here but follow the link to read more.

Oh! and if you have any more information about these young men, please let me know and I’ll add it the the page.

To read more about Buchlyvie young men who fought and laid down their lives click here

Luss War Memorial

The village of Luss is known to many of us as it was featured in the 1980’s TV Soap ‘Take the High Road’.

Luss 2010 by K M Sklinar

Luss, in early records was known as Clachan Dubh, the dark village due to its mountain setting.  Many of the village cottages were originally built to house workers in the cotton mill and slate quarries of the 18th and 19th centuries.  The homes have now been fully restored and Luss is  now a designated Conservation Village.

I am pleased to say that Luss is now by-passed by the A82 making the village a very nice place on the banks of Loch Lomond.

The War Memorial on School Road is set upon three tiers of stone with a simple cross bearing a sword, surrounded by a low dry stone wall.

Some of the names set in stone are :- Ludvic Colquhoun ; James Colquhoun ; Archibald McBeth and Robert T Hamilton to name just a few.

To see Luss War Memorial click here

Stow War Memorial

Stow, a village in the border region, a few miles from Galashiels.

The industrial revolution had a great impact on the area, changing the pace of life in Stow for ever.  Until the eighteenth century the area was a farming community, but the coming of the Turnpike road to the west of Gala Water in the 1750’s brought with it change and the village became industrious, mainly in the spinning and weaving sector. Following on in 1862 the railway came and made the area easier to get materials and people in and out.

The village has had a connection to the church since the 7th or 8th century with written records surviving and the Parish of Stow became one of three sactuaries in Scotland where there was safety from persicution.

The village war memorial is sited in the centre of the village and is a pleasing site with a small stone wall partially enclosing the memorial and has names of men from both wars carved upon it.

Who is mentioned on the memorial ? George Aitchison, born in Blackadder rests in Selkirk Shawfield Cemetery ; T E Thorburn Brown was mentioned in the London Gazette in 1914 and rests in Grevillers British Cemetery ; James Brydon served with the Canadians as he lived in Canada – a young man with blue eyes and brown hair ; Alexander and Archibald and Charles Chisholm, brothers who died months apart in 1915 ; James H Doig, also served with the Canadians and had gray eyes and black hair ; The Rev. J T C Ireland who died as a result of  HT ‘Transylvania’ being torpedoed  and many others who were sons, brothers, uncles and husbands.

To visit Stow War Memorial click here