Tag Archives: family

Yorkshire’s Cycling Champion

With the Paris Roubaix cycle race just gone and the Tour de Yorkshire taking place shortly, I started to think about a cyclist whose career spanned five decades, yes, five decades and included too many podium places to name and many, many world records.  Not bad for a lass from Yorkshire who stayed firm in her Yorkshire roots.

Who am I talking about?  If you are from the Morley area, you will certainly know…….Beryl Burton.

Beryl B wed day

Beryl Charnock with her new husband Charlie Burton

Beryl Charnock was born in Leeds on the 12th of May 1937 and married Charlie Burton when she was 17 years old.  She had met Charlie in a tailoring firm in Leeds – first noticing the noise of his cleats on his cycling shoes.

Beryl was a member of Morley Cycling Club, and loyally rode for the club her entire amature career.  She was awarded the M.B.E. in 1964 and the O.B.E. in 1968.

She was in charge of her own training and entered the competitions she wanted to and had very little to do with the sport’s governing bodies.  Beryl was asked in the 1980’s why she continued to ride impressive distances each week and race against women half her age…………she simply replied that she liked cycling!

In 1967 Beryl set a record for 277.25 miles in 12 hours and Beryl still holds this record.

beryl burton

Beryl Burton

Beryl Burton, died doing the thing she loved the best – cycling.  In 1996 at the age of 58 while on a training ride near Harrogate she died.

A plaque was placed on Morley High Street after her death but within a few years had disappeared.  Now  the memorial has been placed in the foyer of Morley Town Hall, after being found lying on the street and kept safe for many years by a member of the public.  A facsimile will also be placed in Beryl Burton Gardens, Morley.

Maxine Peake, known for her part in the tv drama, Silk, in 2014 wrote a play about Beryl after receiving a book about Beryl as a birthday pressie.

beryl b

Beryl Burton, M.B.E., O.B.E. 1937 – 1996

 

Should you trust a transcript – a cautionary tale

wakefieldfhsResearch.

We research for various reasons – to research our family history; to research a soldier, a battle or a war; to research a building or local area.  Our focus may differ but we have one thing in common – we need material to research.    Too many researchers means only one thing – the original documents get damaged, and many of them were in a delicate state before we started to research.

If the originals become too damaged they could end up being lost for the future and that is not what we want.  As you know family history associations, military groups and local history groups have, over the years been tackling this problem by painstakingly transcribing original documents.   There are many of these associations and groups that take time with their transcripts and have various checking procedures in place, but is still always good practice to have a look at the original document, if at all possible.

With today’s technology at our fingertips, looking at the original could just mean logging on to a couple of websites and viewing a scanned version of the original document to confirm or discard your theories.  As we know the original paperwork on these websites have been transcribed for an index – and these indexes have many flaws. By just looking at the scanned versions an obvious name or place can be seen but totally differs from what has been indexed.

None of us are perfect and we all know that sometimes we see what is not there.  Many years ago I photographed a CWGC memorial for a friend – her relative was commemorated there.  When I sent over the picture she noticed the surname was incorrectly spelt.  After communicating with the CWGC, this was rectified.

I think the following lighthearted snipped about a young monk says it all!

What the young monk found!

A young monk was assigned to help other monks copy out the old canons and laws of the church by hand. On his very first day he noticed that all the monks were copying from copies, not from the original. So, the new monk went to the head abbot to question this. He pointed out that if someone had made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up! In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk said ‘We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son’. So he went down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscript were held in a locked vault that had not been opened for hundreds of years. Hours went by and nobody saw the old abbot.

Finally, the young monk got worried and went down to look for him. He found the old monk banging his head against the wall and wailing. ‘We missed the ‘R’! We missed the ‘R’! We missed the ‘R’!’

C E L E B   ‘R ‘  A T E 

Take care while transcribing as it could mean a world of difference !!

Epsom College men with a Wakefield connection

At a family history fair a few years ago I bought a book – Epsom College Register, 1855-1905.  It was bought in a bit of a rush, while having a break from manning a stall for one of the local family history groups I am a member of.  But, and there is always one of those! I glanced at the title, thought it was a good purchase for the price and I could make use of it later, for research and additional information purposes.  Idiotic me, I had glanced at the title and read Eton for Epsom, an easy mistake, while reading the title in a dimly lit section of the hall.  But never mind, I would still make use of the book………….sometime!

Well, it looks like today is that sometime.

While having a quick look through the pages of the 105 year old book, 100’s of names and places jumped out.  Places in England, France, Canada, North and South America, South Africa, India, Burma, Australia and New Zealand to name a few.

A few names and places seemed interesting enough for me to put fingers to keyboard and give you a very small snippet of their lives.

Bertram William Francis Wood, born on 19th of August 1887 to Francis H Wood, a General Practitioner, and his wife Maude M B Wood.  When the census of 1891 came around the family were living at 130 Northgate, Wakefield.  Bertram, aged 3 had an elder sister, Margaret aged 11.

Ten years later, in 1901, William is a student boarder at Epsom College, with other young men, including John Athelston Braxton Hicks, Canute Denntzer, Cedric Heuchman Harnsey Clubbe, Claude Fitzroy Clarke and Samuel Alwyne Gabb.

William left Epsom College in the early years of the 1900’s and by the time of the next census in 1911, by now he was 23 years old and  living with his parents who still lived at 130 Northgate, Wakefield.  His occupation was given as Medical Student, so he was obviously following in his fathers’ footsteps.

William’s entry in the Epsom College Register ‘Wood, Bertram William Francis [F H Wood, Esq., Arundel House, Wakefield] ; b.Aug. 19, 1887, e. Jan., 1. Dec., 1902. W.


 

Another young man with a Wakefield connection is James Stansfield Longbotham.   In the 1881 census, James is with his parents, George Longbotham, aged 35 and his wife Sarah, also 35. George is a General Practitioner of Medicine, living at 1 Grange Road, West, Middlesborough.  Twenty years later George and Sarah were living at Woodlands, Putney, where George, now classes his occupation as that of Surgeon, temperarily retired.  James is the only child still at home and he is a student at the Pitman Met. College.

Longbotham, James Stansfield [George Longbotham, Esq., 1 Grange Road, Middlesborough] ; b. 1878, l 1892. C. Southgate Chambers, Wakefield.

The Southgate Chambers, mentioned above was the address of the Official Receivers’ Office.


 

Bridgefoot, Castleford. Image Twixt Aire and Calder

Bridgefoot, Castleford. Image Twixt Aire and Calder

An entry for a William Kemp born in 1862 – who is this young man?

The 1871 census finds William and his family in Castleford, his dad has been wrongly transcribed as Elmyra Walker Kemp, where it very clearly says Ebeneze Walker Kemp, born in Wakefield and earning his living as a Surgeon, General Practitioner.  It seems by sheer chance I have chosen young men whose families were all in the medical profession.

Some 20 years later the family were still at Bridge Foot, Castleford.  The whole census page looks a little cluttered, as the people who had their details taken that night were originally entered as initials and surname. Someone at a later date, and I say someone, as the writing differs from the original, has entered the first name of all the entrants.  Mr Kemp, is now a Surgeon and J.P., while his son, William, is entered as M.B.C.M. Edinbro’.

Surgeons' Hall, Edinburgh

Surgeons’ Hall, Edinburgh

Ten years on, William is now aged 38 and living a Bridge Foot, Castleford, with his Scottish born wife, Sarah, also aged 38 and their two children, his mother-in-law, Helen Blair, a widow, William Somerset, another man with the same qualifications as William.  There is also a nephew, Gray L Gibson, Isabel  McGreggor (the two latter being born in Scotland) and three servants.

Another ten years later, brings 1911 and the first census that gives information about infant mortality.  Sarah had given birth to three children in her 16 year marriage to William and all had survived to be included in the census.  There are two servants listed, but at the very bottom there is an entry for Helen Blair (William’s mother-in-law) but now she is listed as ‘other relative’. William now vaguely gives his employment as  ‘Medical Profession’.  he signs the census sheet as W Kemp, Castleford – no address, but probably still at Bridge Foot (a look at the schedule, confirms that Bridge Foot is still his address.

Kemp, William [E. W. Kemp, Esq., Castleford, Normanton] ; b. 1862, l. 1881.  XI., Factory Surgeon, Castleford District, M.B.C.M. Edin. 1887. Bridge Foot, Castleford

 

 

I’ve moved, come and follow me!

Stay in touch with me on FacebookThis evening, while on a Wakefield Family History Sharing road trip, my daughter and I developed a new and more up-to-date Facebook page – drop by and say hello!

My blog will link automatically to the new Wakefield Family History Sharing page.

The Wakefield FHS profile on Facebook will remain, so that you can still visit to see the things I have been up to over the years.  But for up-to-date stuff Wakefield Family History Sharing is the place to go!

Also, come and follow me on Twitter by clicking here.

Drighlington ‘pub lads’ of the First World War by Guest Blogger, Philip L Wheeler

‘Drig Lads’ who lived in the pubs of Drighlington who gave their lives in the First World War

Drighlington Pubs.

Over the years many pubs have come and gone in the small Yorkshire village of Drighlington, which is situated between Bradford and Wakefield on one road and Halifax and Leeds on another. It once thrived with several industries such as an iron works, coal mines, sweet making and mineral water making. Other industries such as woollen mills and horse hair production were also prominent before and for some time after the First World War. Farnells was a good example of an industry that changed with changing times. Situated just off the moor it produced wagon wheels in their thousands, but had to change with motorised transport coming along in the first decade of the twentieth century. The factory went on to make tennis racquets and cricket bats before finally going out of business in the 1920’s.

With good employment prospects the village pubs thrived it seems and the fact that there were still about twenty in the village at the time of the First World War showed that they could make a reasonable living and be an integral part of village life.

cockersdale

A map of the Cockersdale area of Drighlington in 1908 showing some of the industries that would have supported one pub, the Valley Inn.

The area around the Valley Inn in in about 1908 supported coal mines, a brass foundry, at least two mills nearby with others a little further afield and a boiler works. All no doubt with thirsty employees who would frequent the ‘Valley’ and the Cockersdale Arms, which later became the ‘Gas House Tavern’.

The two villages of Adwalton and Drighlington which make up what is now regarded as simply Drighlington also had industries scattered about their sides of the village with their own pubs. Sadly most are now gone. The Waggon and Horses, in whose outhouses I used to play with the licensee’s son as a child is now a children’s nursery the Victoria, a thriving pub in my school days with an exciting football team is now an Indian restaurant and the Painters Arms along the road has gone too.

The New Inn, closed for some time has reopened recently with a view to making it a music venue and good luck to the landlord in that venture. Communities need pubs and hopefully the remaining ones, the Railway, The Malt, the Bull, and the New Inn and Spotted Cow and the Valley, will continue to thrive, even though these days it seems to do so they have to offer food as an incentive in order to do so.

Map of Adwalton in 1908, showing at least five different pubs in the Three Road ends, King Street Area. Only the Black Bull survives, with the White Hart Hotel, the White Horse, The Waggon and Horses and the Unicorn now gone.

Map of Adwalton in 1908, showing at least five different pubs in the Three Road ends, King Street Area. Only the Black Bull survives, with the White Hart Hotel, the White Horse, The Waggon and Horses and the Unicorn now gone.

The area around the Crossroads supported at least three pubs, the Victoria and the Spotted Cow, along with the Painters Arms, along with the ‘Steam Plough Inn’ along Station Road. The Tempest Constitutional Club, which opened in 1911, made the Crossroads a good area for having plenty of pubs to choose from on an evening out. Perhaps the location of the Police Station when it was open, just along Bradford Road, was picked for its closeness to several pubs. The Gas House Tavern existed in Whitehall Road and the nicely named Steam Plough Inn was close to Brooks Buildings in Station Road next to the Drighlington Cricket Ground. Of course the Spotted Cow, infamous for its ‘talking corgi’ publicity stunt of the 1960’s is the only survivor. Perhaps the notoriety gained by the visit of the then very famous DJ and TV presenter David Jacobs gave the pub a boost to the present day!!

A map of Drighlington Cross Roads in 1908 showing the Victoria right on the Cross Roads and the Spotted Cow in Whitehall Road, opposite the old school.

A map of Drighlington Cross Roads in 1908 showing the Victoria right on the Cross Roads and the Spotted Cow in Whitehall Road, opposite the old school.

So, like many villages at the time of the First World War, pubs and clubs like Liberal and Conservative clubs formed a vital part of the community. Who knows what discussions and decisions took place in the bars of those pubs as men met to discuss the war and whether they would decide to join the colours! Certainly the landlord of the Malt Shovel had such discussions, because Harry Liley, himself the licensee joined the army on August 31st 1916. He became Private 203158 Harry Liley of the 1st/4th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. Harry died on June 17th 1918. He was in the Military Hospital in Endell Street in central London at the time. It seems strange as well that so many licensed premises seemed to thrive in a village which also boasted several well attended Methodist chapels like the Wesleyans, the Zion Methodists, Moorside Methodists and others.

It was whilst researching the war memorial in Whitehall Road, Drighlington, that I became aware of the fact that several of the pubs in the villages of Adwalton, Drighlington and Cockersdale had actually sent their young men to fight with the army in the battlefields of Northern France and Belgium. Of the 62 names on the memorial, 4 had actually lived in pubs that were thriving at the time the war started. Two more, Helliwell and Longley, are not even named on the memorial, but they made the number of men who left the pubs they lived in, never to return, to be six.

Another young man from the village also left the Steam Plough Inn, in Station Road, where his father was the landlord. Percival Millington Brooke was the son of another Percival Brooke, who had lived next door to the Steam Plough Inn in 1901, but by 1905 he had become the landlord of the very same pub! Percy Brooke survived the war but we know little of his regiment or his service. Finding his name as a soldier on his marriage certificate at Tong Church in 1916 showed that his father was an inn keeper and brought to seven the number of young men who left pubs in Drighlington to fight for King and Country. In his case he was lucky as he was to return home from the war.

The marriage certificate for Percival Brooke in 1916

The marriage certificate for Percival Brooke in 1916

Along with Liley from the Malt Shovel, Harold Hainsworth left the Spotted Cow and Ernest Helliwell was resident at the Victoria with his wife according to the Commonwealth War Grave Commission records, when he died in October 1917. His last resting place being at Etaples in France. Allen Longley was the son of the licensee of the White Hart Hotel a large many roomed hotel and public house that fronted Wakefield Road in front of the feast ground, or t’ gang as my old grandfather Joseph Wheeler used to call it. The pub was always bolstered by the horse fairs that were regularly held around the pub from the time of the granting of a fairs licence in the middle ages. Queen Elizabeth the First is reputed to have visited there on her travels, but it is highly unlikely and an urban legend only.

The pub’s main claim to fame in modern times was when it was scheduled for demolition in the 1960’s and the then owner, though not licensee as it had long since ceased trading held a Mexican shotgun standoff with police sent to evict him for some three days before finally giving up! Bernard Brennan, a native of Ireland had come to the village some years earlier and actually married my great aunt, Frances Blakey, one of four sisters of the Blakey family, my Grandma Elizabeth being one of them and Mary Anne being another, the mother of Marion Grayshon a long standing resident of the village and supporter of Moorside Methodist Church who sadly died before getting to her hundredth birthday.

Brennan, whose antics attracted coverage from the fledgling Calendar evening news show, causing a buzz in the village, is buried just around the back of the church, with my great auntie. An obelisk marks the grave.

In 1916 John George Johnson was living at the Waggon and Horses public house with his uncle, the licensee. His father had been so before that and his grandma, Mercy Johnson had also held the licence. Knowledge of John living at the pub only came to light when looking at the probate register for his death, which lists his address as that very same pub. He was to join the 1/5th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment in 1916. John Johnson was to die of ‘accidental injuries’ in France on February 17th 1917. What the accidental injuries were is not actually known.

The highest honour that France gives to a soldier is the Croix de Guerre and it was this honour that was conveyed upon one Harry Benton, who was the foster son of the Tankards, the so aptly named hosts of the Railway Tavern in Whitehall Road Drighlington. When I first researched the names on the memorial it was the Railway In that I attributed Harry Benton to, but looking again at the list of pubs and the 1911 census it has become clear that the Tankards lived at the ‘Tavern’ and not the Railway Hotel, which is still open and doing good pub food despite the closure of the railway station itself in the 1960’s.

Harry Benton joined the Royal Naval Division in April of 1915 and was killed in action on a battery gun emplacement in Dunkirk in April 1917. His two colleagues on the battery were also killed and all three were afforded a funeral of honour by the French government. All three were buried together in Croxyde Military Cemetery, West Flanders. Their headstones form a group of three on their own, standing out with the badge of the Royal Naval Division on the top section.

Visiting their grave in 2014 was a poignant one for me, as was the visit to other graves of Drig lads, such as John Reynolds, an Adwalton lad like myself. John is buried in the lovely churchyard of Brevern-Uzer in Belgium, a village churchyard which made room for a handful of British casualties only, all buried not in a row but in a circle facing each other, overlooked by a marvellous village church. How funny to think that an Adwalton lad is resting there!! But then most of the men whose names are on the memorial do still reside in graves in the countries of northern Europe, excepting of course Herbert Page, who died in India almost a year after the war had ended in September 1919.

The marriage certificate for Percival Brooke in 1916

The marriage certificate for Percival Brooke in 1916

The last of the seven men to leave the pubs of Drighlington and go to war was Harold Hainsworth. He was the son of the licensee of the Spotted Cow at the time of the war, one Arthur Hainsworth. Harold left the comfortable surroundings of the pub and his wife to join the army on March 19th 1917, joining the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. His time before the colours was short lived and by April the following year he was killed in action, being buried in Gonneheim Cemetery Northern France.

So, those are the seven men who no doubt knew from their lives in the pubs, many of the men who had gone before them to fight for their country. Indeed , any or all of them may have been inspired to go and fight by one or more of the men whose names now sadly adorn the village memorial. However, we must never forget that as well as those whose deaths we remember on memorials, many men also seved and came back to the village to live their lives to the full.

No doubt many of these who were lucky enough to get leave to home spent evenings in the pubs of Drighlington, but one wonders if they ever tried to persuade people to join up, knowing what they did about the horrors of war and being glad to be out of it for a short period of leave. One such survivor was my own grandfather, Joseph Wheeler, originally a Birstall lad, but who came to Drighlington after the war and married one of the four Blakey sisters, daughters of the local wheelwright and undertaker. Joseph survived the horrors of the Somme faced by the Bradford Pals and came home to live in Moorside frequenting the Railway hotel two doors awy from his house on many an occasion.

Certainly it is easy to imagine that villain turned hero, Horace Osborne would have spent many hours in the Valley pub, near where he was brought up in Cockersdale, or the Cockersdale Arms. His story is a fascinating one of courage and medals, after a pre war stint with the Guards which saw him serve time in a London prison! John Willie Horsfall, another name on the memorial,who lived in Brooks buildings at the crossroads would have had his pick of the ‘Vic’, the Spotted or the Steam Plough and the Painters Arms, all within just two minutes walk of his front door.

There may well be villages in other parts of the country where pubs sent several men to fight for their country, who knows. Without detailed research into our war memorials it would be hard to tell. Certainly the pubs as community centres must have played their parts in recruiting men, as no doubt many a decision to join was made in one of the pubs as discussion of the war was made over pints of beer. However, it is the known contribution of these seven pubs in one small village that makes for a unique story and now the story of the bravery of these men can be revealed for posterity, which for the residents of Drighlington, past, present and future will hopefully be an inspiration.

A list of the known pubs of Drighlington and their licencees (1830-1917)

A list of the known pubs of Drighlington and their licencees (1830-1917)

Private John George Johnson (1888-1917).

1st/5th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment.

The headstone for John George Johnson in Le Fermont Cemetery.

The headstone for John George Johnson in Le Fermont Cemetery.

John Johnson was born in Drighlington on February 6th 1888. He was actually baptised at Drighlington Parish Church some three years later in February 1891. In that year the census showed that John’s father, George Johnson was living in Mason’s Yard, Adwalton, with his wife and John George, his 3 year old son. There were also two daughters in the family at the time. Nelley who was a babe in arms and Ellen who was 5 years old. George, who had been born in Leeds, was a cloth miller by trade. By the time of the 1901 census the family had grown to 5 children, though it is believed that Nellie had died by then. John George was working at the time as a ‘Band’ Maker, or rope maker. The Johnson family were living in Adwalton Lane by 1901.

The census of 1911 included much more detail about families than ever before. From this census we can tell that George and his wife Elizabeth actually had ten children. Eight of the children survived by 1911 and seven of them were living with their parents in Thornton’s Buildings. This was a four roomed dwelling and for five working adult people and four children to share it must have been very cramped. John George was shown as a 23 year old cloth miller at this time, like his father George.

By the time of his death in 1917 John George Johnson was actually living at the Waggon and Horses Public House in Adwalton. At the turn of the 20th century there were more than a dozen public houses in Drighlington. There were also working men’s and political clubs such as the Liberal club. Many of these establishments are long forgotten. The Steam Plough Inn, delightfully named but now gone forever from Station Road. The Unicorn no longer exists in Moorside Road, or the ‘Beesom’, though the latter still exists as a building.

Luckily there are still some pubs remaining in the village of Drighlington. Three of the seven pubs which sent men who lived in them away to war still exist in 2014. However, one other, the Waggon and Horses is now no longer a pub, though the building remains and is now a nursery.

The original Waggon and Horses, with George and Elizabeth and their two daughters, probably Nelley and Ellen. The photograph is probably of about 1900.

The original Waggon and Horses, with George and Elizabeth and their two daughters, probably Nelley and Ellen. The photograph is probably of about 1900.

John Johnson enlisted in the army in Bradford on September 26th 1916. He became Private 263023 Johnson of the 1/5th Battalion of the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. Other than this little else is known of his war service.

The entry for John Johnson in the Book of Remembrance.

The entry for John Johnson in the Book of Remembrance.

John George Johnson was one of seven men to leave public houses in Drighlington six of whom did not return. His family had been landlords of the pub in the 1890’s when Mercy Johnson, John George’s grandma was the incumbent. The pub then passed to Charles Johnson and thence to his brother George. The actual link to John George and the ‘Waggon’ as it was always known, would be little known were it not for the probate registry entry for John George Johnson. It reads:

Johnson, John George, of the Waggon and Horses inn Drighlington, Bradford a private in the West Yorkshire Regiment died February 17th 1917 in France administration (with will) Wakefield 21st June to Elizabeth Johnson, wife of George Johnson. Effects £159.17s.6d”.

The note on the probate register is at odds with the date of John’s death as posted on his headstone, but only by one day. The commonwealth war graves register shows that he actually died of accidental injuries whilst in France. No trace of what the accident was can be found as yet.

John Johnson was buried at Le Fermont Military Cemetery, Riviere in France.

Le Fermont Military Cemetery, Riviere, France.

Le Fermont Military Cemetery, Riviere, France.

Able Seaman Harry Benton (1893-1917)

Royal Naval Division.

The gravestone of Harry Benton in Croxyde Cemetery, West Flanders.

The gravestone of Harry Benton in Croxyde Cemetery, West Flanders.

Harry Benton was another of our soldiers who left pubs in Drighlington during the First World War to fight for King and Country. He, was not a ‘Drig’ lad but actually came to the village after he was fostered to the family who ran the Railway Tavern which was situated just off West Street near Hodgson Lane. This is not to be confused with the Railway Inn which stood and still stands opposite the old railway station in Moorside Road. The Railway Inn must have been quite a busy public house in the many years before Dr. Beeching’s cuts put paid to the railway station across the road in the mid 1960’s.

Harry Benton was actually born in Cleckheaton on June 2nd 1893. In the 1901 census Harry was shown as a 7 year old, living with his family in Gildersome. His father was Willie Benton and his mother Annie. He had a younger sister and a baby brother at the time. Willie was a hairdresser by profession.

In 1901 Harry’s mother Annie died and by 1911 the family found themselves in circumstances where Harry had to be fostered out. In 1911 Harry was to be found on the census of that year living at the Railway Hotel in Drighlington. There he became the foster son of the adequately named Walter Tankard and his wife Charlotte, who were both from Drighlington and Westgate Hill themselves. Harry was 17 years old at the time and was shown to be working as a cloth finisher.

Harry Benton joined the services on April 15th 1915. His entry in the book of remembrance wrongly states that he was ‘Killed in Action off the Belgian Coast on April 26th 1917’. However, the entry is wrong in that Harry’s unit was not a sea going unit at all. Colleagues back in Drighlington writing the memorial book in the 1920’s probably saw Royal Naval Division and assumed that he died on a ship, as they wrote ‘off the coast of Belgium’. It seems that the concept of the Royal Naval Division as a land fighting force had not filtered through to the people at home even by the 1920’s. Harry was certainly on dry land when he was killed at Dunkirk in 1917.

The entry for Harry Benton in the Book of Remembrance.

The entry for Harry Benton in the Book of Remembrance.

Most Drighlington men were to join local regiments such as the Leeds or Bradford Pals or the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, but Harold Benton found himself joining the Royal Naval Division. This was a collection of battalions of largely naval personnel who were surplus to navy requirements and were kitted out as a land fighting force during the First World War. Harry though was to be posted to a naval gun unit and was sent to guard Dunkirk in case of a German rush to the coast.

He was on duty at the ‘Carnac’ battery in Dunkirk on April 26th 1917 when a German 6” naval shell burst near his gun emplacement, killing outright Sub Lieutenant Donovan and Able Seaman Harry Benton, another Able Seaman was injured and died later.

Harry Benton’s funeral was held in Belgium on April 28th 1917 and he was buried in the cemetery at Croxyde, West Flanders, Belgium. It seems that a large contingent of French, Belgian and British officers were present at the funeral and they formed a guard of honour as the cortege passed them. Prince Alexander of Teck was also noted to have attended the funeral.

This was obviously a great honour for the three British ‘sailors’ to be treated in this way. The two seaman were transported in one vehicle and the officer in another and a four mile walk was taken by the mourners to the cemetery on the nearby hillside just over the border in Belgium. The transports pulling the carriages were pulled by four horses with French soldiers riding them. A diary written at the time noted that ‘four of our machines hovered overhead’.

All in all this must have been an extraordinary way for the deaths of three servicemen to be treated, as many of their colleagues were unceremoniously buried in hastily dug graves, only to be retrieved later and placed in properly dug cemeteries.

The French must have taken the sacrifice of the three men of the Royal Naval Division to heart and they awarded them the Croix de Guerre. Able Seaman Harry Benton, late of the Railway Tavern Drighlington, went to his grave with the Croix de Guerre Second Class pinned to his uniform on top of his coffin.

A Croix de Guerre Medal like the one awarded to Drig Lad Harry Benton.

A Croix de Guerre Medal like the one awarded to Drig Lad Harry Benton.

Nothing is known of how the news was to reach his foster parents in Drighlington, though one suspects that it was conveyed to them by the dreaded telegram delivered by the local telegram boy, bearing the news from the War Office and expressing deepest sympathy. By the time of his death the Tankards themselves had moved from the Railway to another pub, the Queen’s Head in Drighlington, the latter no longer exists. Thus yet another pub can be said to have mourned for one of its lost sons.

The war memorial at Drighlington with the name of Harry Benton on it.

The war memorial at Drighlington with the name of Harry Benton on it.

 

                                     

    Gunner Ernest Helliwell (1893-1917).

38th Brigade Ammunition Column, Royal Field Artillery

The grave marker for Ernest Helliwell in Etaples Military Cemetery, France.

The grave marker for Ernest Helliwell in Etaples Military Cemetery, France.

Ernest Helliwell was born in Bradford in about 1893. He was the son of Edward and Sarah Helliwell who had three other children by the time of the 1901 census recording the family’s life in East Bierley. Edward Helliwell was shown to be a railway engine driver in the census forms for that year.

By 1911 the census for that year tells us that the Helliwell family were living in Low Moor, Bradford. Edward was still working as a railway engine driver but Ernest was now in work after leaving school and had become a clerk in an office, working for a yarn merchant.

It is not known when Ernest Helliwell joined the colours, but join he did and he was posted eventually to an ammunition column working to supply the guns of the Royal Field Artillery. He was Gunner 165101. He was to die on October 30th 1917 and he was buried in Etaples Military Cemetery in France.

Little else is known about Ernest and where he lived prior to the war. However, the Commonwealth War Grave Registration documents for Ernest’s grave tell us that he was the husband of S.E. Helliwell, and that they lived, at the time of his registration with the commission, at the Victoria Hotel, which of course stood at Drighlington Crossroads for many years. The building still stands but is now an Asian restaurant.

The Victoria, where Ernest Helliwell was living with his wife prior to joining up.

The Victoria, where Ernest Helliwell was living with his wife prior to joining up.

Research into who ‘S.E’ Helliwell was has failed to find any record of the marriage of the Helliwells and it may well be that the couple were at the Victoria Hotel as guests for a short time and not actually living there. We cannot know the answer to that. It seems that the Helliwells reverted to their Bradford roots after the war at least. The CWGC records show that after choosing the epitaph for her husband’s grave ‘Ever Remembered’, she was recorded as living at 673 Manchester Road, Bradford.

The Probate register for Ernest Helliwell, showing his address as the Victoria Public House.

The Probate register for Ernest Helliwell, showing his address as the Victoria Public House.

War diaries for ammunition columns are hard to trace and even when they exist it is difficult to pin down a particular death to days when mainly logistical information regarding shell numbers are recorded in the diaries.

There is somewhat of a mystery as to why Ernest was shown to be living at the Victoria Public House before he went off to war, but his albeit short stay there helps to complete an intriguing picture of no less than seven pubs which gave up their men to send them off to fight in the First World War.

Etaples Military Cemetery, France, where Ernest Helliwell is buried.

Etaples Military Cemetery, France, where Ernest Helliwell is buried.

Private Allen Longley (1895-1918).

9th Battalion King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.

Allen Longley’s name is carved on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.

Allen Longley’s name is carved on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.

Allen Longley was not a Drig Lad as such. He was born in Rothwell on May 5th 1895. His parents were Richard Allen Longley and Gertrude Maude Longley. In 1891 the census shows the Longley family at Rothwell, where Richard’s occupation was shown as a coal miner. By 1901 his occupation had changed to that of gardener.

Richard Longley obviously worked hard to grow his gardening business and by 1911 his son Allen was shown as ‘assisting in the business’ run by his father. He was 16 years old and his 17 year old sister Emily was also employed in the family business.

At some stage around the start of the First World War the Longleys took over the licence for the White Hart Hotel, the old sprawling building which once occupied a frontage along what was Adwalton Lane but was to become Wakefield Road.

The front of the old White Hart Hotel in the 1960’s.

The front of the old White Hart Hotel in the 1960’s.

It was from this address that Allen Longley left to go to war. Sadly, we know little of when this was as his service records do not exist. However, we do know that Allen Longley joined the 9th Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He was to die on April 23rd 1918, at the age of 22.

The war diary for the 9th KOYLI’s makes interesting reading around that date, and a sad story emerges of how Allen Longley probably became a victim of what is now called ‘friendly fire’. On April 20th 1918 the battalion moved to trenches at Grand Bois, near the Belgian village of Millekruis.

The war diary entry for the date of April 20th shows that even from the very beginning, the battalion, or part of it, was in trouble, but not from the enemy! It reads:

At dark, C Company took over Forth House with two platoons from the 2nd South African Battalion. Our own artillery commenced to shell B Coy trench ( left coy) at 2pm and when the SOS was put up at 9pm bursts falling short from our own 18 pounders killed 4 and wounded 4 men”.

It seems that the battalion were unable to get the rogue battery to stop firing at them and the very next day similar entries are made in the war diary.

In spite of remonstrations one of our gins continued to shell B coys. Trench during the early hours of the 21st, inflicting the following casualties.

One Officer Killed. 2nd Lieutenant Cundall

One officer wounded 2nd Lieutenant Woods.

12 Other ranks Killed

11 Other ranks Wounded.

The strongest protest was made against this discreditable performance and it is to be hoped that the officer of the artillery concerned will be tried by Court Martial for this carelessness.

The war diary shows that on April 23rd 1918 the 9th KOYLI’s were relieved in the trenches by the East Yorkshire regiment. The 9th went in to barracks for two days at Jasper Camp, Millekruis. There is no mention of any casualties on the day of April 23rd 1918, and it seems likely that Allen Longley was one of the ‘other ranks’ who died as a result of a carelessly aimed artillery barrage from men on his own side, dying some days later.

Allen’s body was never found, again supporting the idea that he was actually killed by shelling, albeit from his own side! His name is carved on the Tyne Cot Memorial in Belgium.

The cross at the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

The cross at the Tyne Cot Memorial, Belgium.

Private Henry (Harry) Liley (1878-1918)

1/4th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment

The headstone for Harry Liley (snr) buried in Drighlington Churchyard.

The headstone for Harry Liley (snr) buried in Drighlington Churchyard.

There are two H. Liley’s on the Drighlington War Memorial, one notes snr and the other jnr. This may mistakenly indicate that they may have been father and son but they were not. However, it could be that the words senior and junior were added to delineate that one was 39 or 40 years of age when he died and the other was a mere 19 years of age.

There were several ‘Lileys’ in Drighlington at the turn of the 20th century, many living in the Whitehall Road area of Drighlington. In fact another member of the Liley clan who went by the name of ‘Willie’ Liley was born in Drighlington and was killed in the Great War. However, probably by virtue of the fact that he had moved to Morley by the time of his death he does not figure on the war memorial for Drighlington. His name is to be found on the Morley War Memorial.

Although the ‘H’ Liley’s on the memorial were not father and son they may well have been relatives in some way, but research would be needed to establish that. Coincidentally Harry Liley also had a son who was named ‘Willie’ but he was too young to have fought in the Great War. His full name was William Barraclough Liley, but he is entered on the 1911 census by his shortened name.

In 1911 Harry Liley was the landlord of the Malt Shovel public house in Whitehall Road, Drighlington, which is actually the nearest pub to the war memorial which now bears his name. Another pub coincidence is that when Harry married his wife Emily Bradley in1907, Emily’s address was shown as being the ‘Railway Hotel Drighlington’. However, it is unlikely that she was a landlady or related to the landlord, but possibly worked as a barmaid there. Her father was described as a stone mason on the wedding certificate. Harold Middleton Liley was 27 years old at the time and Emily was 25. Harry was a painter at the time, living in Melbourne House Drighlington. However, they were actually married at Birstall Parish Church on March 27th 1906.

Their first and only child, William, came along on December 2nd 1907, at a time when the family were living in Fieldhead Lane Birstall.

Harry was born as ‘Henry’ Middleton Liley in the summer of 1878. His father Middleton was at that time a rag merchant as well as a grocer and the family lived in a house near to the station named Melbourne House. ‘Harry’ had three sisters and two brothers in 1881. His mother had been Grace Barraclough before marrying Harry’s father. She died in 1881 so Henry was left with just his father and siblings from a young age.

In the 1901 census Henry or ‘Harry’ is to be found working away from home in Nottingham as a painter. However, by 1911 he and his wife were shown to be living at the Malt Shovel Inn, in Whitehall Road Drighlington. Harry was shown to be the publican and his wife Emily was assisting in the business. They had one servant living in the pub, the aptly named Thomas Tetley.

The entry for Henry Middleton Liley (Harry) in the Book of Remembrance.

The entry for Henry Middleton Liley (Harry) in the Book of Remembrance.

According to the book of remembrance Harry Liley joined the army on August 31st 1916. He became Private 203158 Harry Liley of the 1st/4th Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment.

Harry died on June 17th 1918. He was in the Military Hospital in Endell Street in central London at the time. He had therefore been brought home from France suffering from wounds received in action. He was taken home to his family in Yorkshire and buried in Drighlington churchyard on June 21st 1918. He left the sum of £393-14s-11d to his widow Emily.

It is impossible to know how Henry Middleton Liley, otherwise known as Harry was wounded unless a member of the family comes forward in the future with family legend of it. The book of remembrance shows that he was wounded in action at the Battle of Kemmel Hill on April 26th 1918.

It is very clear that Harry felt the need to fight for his country and despite having a young child and a wife to support he left to join the colours as many Drighlington men did. One wonders how many regular attenders at his old pub the Malt Shovel actually know that a previous landlord went off to war to fight for them to be able to drink there.

malt shovel people

Corporal Harold Hainsworth (1895-1918).

Second Battalion, Duke of Wellington’s (West Riding) Regiment.

Gonnehem British Cemetery.

Gonnehem British Cemetery.

Harold Hainsworth was another man living in licenced premises in Drighlington who was to lose his life in the Great War. Harold was living at the Spotted Cow Inn, opposite Drighlington Junior School, as it once was.The pub is just about one hundred yards or so from the parish church of St Paul. It is still a lively Drighlington pub today, despite the demise of many others which served the village in that era.

Harold’s father, Arthur Crowther Hainsworth was the landlord of the pub, living there with his wife, Harold’s mother, Mary Hainsworth. By the time that Harold was killed he had married Mary Ellen Tew, who had lived at number 10 Bankhouse, Pudsey. She had taken up residence at the Spotted Cow with her husband’s family. The couple married at Tong Church on July 3rd 1915.

The Hainsworth’s were not actually a Drighlington family originally. Arthur Hainsworth was born in Farnley, nearby, in 1865. He married Mary Schofield, also of Farnley, on May 8th 1886. In 1887 their first son, Albert Vincent, was born but sadly he died at the age of four in 1891. Their second son, Harold, was born in 1895. Both Arthur and Mary lived until the 1940’s, losing both of their sons before their own deaths. However, Harold’s attestation papers for the army show that he had a sister, one Annie Peat. On a form asking the his wife to declare any full blood relative she cites Annie as such. However, Annie Schofield as she was before marrying was not a full blood relative, but was Mary’s daughter from a previous relationship. She is shown as living with Arthur Crowther Hainsworth and Mary in the census of 1901.

Arthur seems to have had differing jobs in his youth before finally becoming a publican. In 1891 he was working as a blast furnace stoker and by 1901 he was working on the roads a labourer, breaking stones.

By the time of the 1911 census he was shown to be a publican, living in Bankhouse Lane, Pudsey. It is likely that he ran a pub there and the Bankhouse Inn, still in use today, may well have been his first public house.

By the time of Harold Hainsworth’s death in 1918 however, the Hainsworth family had moved to Drighlington and Arthur had become the licensee of the Spotted Cow in Drighlington.

The Spotted Cow Inn.

The Spotted Cow Inn.

In 1911 Harold Hainsworth was working as a garden labourer, whilst his father ran the pub in Bankhouse Lane. He was sixteen years old at the time but by 1915 at the age of twenty he was to marry Mary Ellen Tew, who had lived at 10 Bank House Pudsey, no doubt not far from the public house his family owned. By this time Harold had become a fettler in the local mills.

War broke out on August 4th 1914, but it was not until 1915 that Harold Hainsworth enlisted in the army. Surprisingly it was to be another two years before he was called to the colours. Luckily his attestation papers survived the blitz of the Second World War and from these papers we can see his postings and obtain some knowledge of his life in the army. Unfortunately the papers of many soldiers from the First World War were destroyed by Luftwaffe raids on London in the Second World conflict.

On December 8th 1915 Harold Hainsworth travelled to Halifax and signed his enlistment forms to join the Duke of Wellington’s West Riding Regiment. It may be that the enthusiasm shown in the area for joining regiments such as the Leeds Pals and the Bradford Pals inspired him to eventually join the colours himself. It was to be more than a year before Harold was actually mobilised on March 19th 1917. The attrition rate amongst young soldiers in 1916 obviously brought about the need to mobilize those who had already been recruited but not yet called up.

Harold and Mary were to have one child, Iris, who was born on July 14th 1916. Whether the recruiting officer at the time spared Harold from joining his regiment because his wife was pregnant is doubtful, but certainly a possibility which explains the long time between December 1915 and March 1917. Certainly, other men were being called up in their thousands and Harold was not in a reserved occupation, showing on his forms that he was now a ‘Fettler and Grinder’ at a mill making gun cloth.

The service record for Harold Hainsworth.

The service record for Harold Hainsworth.

From his medical notes in his attestation forms we know that Harold Hainsworth was 5’6” tall. Not a very tall man but bearing in mind many of the recruits of the time were much smaller than modern day young men of the same age he was probably of average height for the time. The existence of ‘Bantam’ regiments where recruits had to be less than 5’3” tall to join bears testament to the fact that many men were of small stature, especially in the mining areas of the industrial north. His medical notes show that his teeth were ‘decayed’ and that his joining up was subject to medical treatment, so this may well have been the reason for the delay in him actually being mobilised.

Harold was medically examined for joining up in March of 1917. His weight was shown as 131 pounds. He was then 22 years old. We even know that his chest measurement was 34 ½ inches and that his general physique was ‘good’.

It is not known where Harold received his training in full, although we can tell from his records that by August of 1917 he was at Chirton Camp in South Shields. On August 15th 1917 he was shown as ‘Absent Without Leave’ from the evening of August 15th until 6-30 am the next day. His punishment for this was admonishment and the forfeit of one day’s pay.

Only a few days later Harold embarked from Folkestone for Boulogne on August 23rd 1917. He was posted to the 10th Battalion of the ‘Dukes’ at that time but on August 31st he was posted to the 2nd Battalion, with whom he was to remain for the rest of his service.

There is one incident of note on Harold’s file from this time, this being an injury to his scalp on October 21st 1917. Such were the sensibilities about soldiers injuring themselves intentionally in order to be invalided home (colloquially known as getting a ‘Blighty One’ when wounded), that all injuries had to be investigated and witnesses sought. On October 27th 1917 Harold Hainsowrth was involved in an injury that needed such an investigation. He was an acting Lance Corporal by this time, but unpaid it seems as the status of being paid for the rank was not afforded him until Novembr 7th 1917. On the same day he was appointed Acting Corporal, no doubt to cover for losses in that rank in the regiment.

Harold sustained a injury to his scalp on October 27th 1917 which necessitated him being hospitalised.

Statement of witness as to the circumstances under which L/Cpl No. 31247 H. Hainsworth recived an injury to his head”.

1st Witness. J.C. Marshall 2ndBattalion Duke of Wellington’s Regt. States.

On 27th Oct. 1917 I was in charge of No 3 Platoon, No 1 Coy. The platoon was doing physical training and L/Cpl. H. Hainsworth was present. The order was given for the men to double around a wagon which was standing near and in doubling round this L/Cpl Hainsworth struck his head against an iron pipe which was projecting from the wagon”.

2nd. Lt. J. C. Marshall.

Lieutenant Marshall’s statement was one of three taken to ensure that Harold had not actually inflicted the wound upon himself in order to avoid duties at the front. It was an unfortunate and unlucky incident, and came only one day after Harold was reprimanded because he had a dirty mess tin upon being inspected by his officers on October 26th 1917.

Though the accident happened on October 27th 1917 it seems that Harold did not receive hospital treatment for it until November 6th, when his file shows that he was taken to hospital. It may be that the scalp wound had become infected, as a further entry for November 11th 1917 shows that he was then taken to a casualty clearing station. He was to stay there for some days and finlly rejoined his unit on November 22nd 1917. The infection, if that is what it was, may well have caused the next admission to hospital for Harold in January of 1918. The initials P.U.O. appear in his file, diagnosed by the 10th Field Ambulance Unit on January 26th 1918.

The initials PUO stood for ‘Pyrexia of Unknown Origin’, which was a medical term usually applied to a diagnosis of Trench Fever. He returned to the 2nd Battalion on February 7th 1918, whereupon he was immediately sent to ‘Bomb School’. Corporal Hainsworth remained at the bomb school for about a month, returning to his unit on March 18th 1918.

He was to be with them for just one more month or so, as on April 23rd 1918 he was killed in action. He is buried in Gonneheim Cemetery in Northern France, a village which the Germans were advancing on in April 1918, reaching to within 3 miles of the village. It was an action in what was known as the Battle of Bethune. Harold’s medal record simply states K.A.

When the army records office asked Mary Ellen Hainsworth to fill in a form regarding the nearest relatives to Harold in 1919 the family were still living at the Spotted Cow Inn, but it is not known what happened to them after this time. The form was to sort out who would receive the plaque and scroll given to relatives of fallen soldiers. Mary Ellen, his wife, was already receiving a separation allowance of a paltry 19/6d and this would have been included in the eventual pension calculation she received. It took until 1921 for the family to receive Harold’s Victory medal and the plaque and scroll.

Luckily Harold had filled in the ‘Will Page’ which was included in the paybook of all soldiers at the front at the time. This meant that there were no legal difficulties in Mary Ellen getting what money he did leave. This totalled £96-1s-2d.

On August 28th 1918 the Army Records Office at York wrote to Mary Ellen at the Spotted Cow, asking her to send a receipt in exchange for receiving the effects of her late husband. All that Harold Hainsworth’s wife received from the front were a note book, a photo, and some cards.

The probate record for Harold Hainwsorth.

The probate record for Harold Hainwsorth.

The name of H. Hainsworth, namely Corporal 31247 Harold Hainsworth is featured on the recently refurbished Drighlington War Memorial, in Whitehall Road, Drighlington.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission Certififcate for Harold Hainsworth.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission Certififcate for Harold Hainsworth.

Percival Millington Brook

The Steam Plough Inn.

The marriage certificate of Percy Brook, son of the landlord of the Steam Plough Inn.

The marriage certificate of Percy Brook, son of the landlord of the Steam Plough Inn.

Without the discovery of the marriage certificate for Percy Brook and Hilda Stead little would be known about Percy Millington Brook. However, the fact thathis occupation is listed as a soldierupon the certificatetells us that here was another Drig Lad who went to war from his home in a pub in the village.

Percival Millington Brook was the son of Percival and Mary Ann Brook. In 1901 the two were living in Brooks Buildings, a substantial row of houses which stood until late into the 20th century at the beginning of Station Road, on the left before the cricket ground. At that time the Brooks lived right next door to the Steam Plough Inn, in Station Road. The landlord of the pub at that time was Sam Theaker. By 1905, however, Percival Brook senior had taken over the licence of the pub. The 1911 census shows that Percival Brook was now a ‘Beer House Keeper’. This was a change from his job as a weaving overlooker as he was in 1901. Percival (snr) was a Drighlington born man but his wife Mary Ann was from Cleckheaton. In 1911 the Brooks had six children living with them, sadly, one of their children had died by then. Percival Millington Brook was 16 years old in 1911 and was a warehouse boy.

Unfortunately at this juncture it has been impossible to trace which regiment Percy Millington Brook joined when he went to war. It is clear that he was serving as a soldier by July 1916 and he also survived the war to return no doubt to his native Drighlington. Perhaps family historians of the future will be able to fill in the gaps of our knowledge about the men such as Percy Brook who went away but actually came back from the war.

As it is is, the story of Percival Millington Brook, sparse in detail as it is, completes an interesting tale for the village of Drighlington. A small village sent seven of its men from pubs around the village to fight in the Great War. Only one of them came back!

Brooks Buildings in Station Road Drighlington, pictured in the 1960’s.

Brooks Buildings in Station Road Drighlington, pictured in the 1960’s.

Epilogue.

The story of these seven men and their pubs will be sent to all of the existing pubs in Drighlington, as well as the local library. One would hope that the present landlords and customers will enjoy reading of men who lived and worked in their pubs one hundred years ago. Who knows, their stories may inspire the landlords to drink a glass of beer to the men on the date of their deaths, in a special evening to remember them. That would be nice. Sadly there are only two of the pubs here mentioned still trading, the Spotted and the Malt, otherwise a good pub crawl between the pubs might have been a good idea.

However, there are still enough pubs in the village for people to visit and think that they are standing drinking in a bar that was undoubtedly visited by many of our soldiers whilst waiting to go or at home on leave. Again, a glass or two might be raised to them, whether in the Bull or the Valley or the Malt or the Spotted.

One hopes that the present landlords might get together with their regulars and find a way to honour these men for one night a year, at least for the next four years or so whilst the country commemorates the losses of the First World War. That would be a nice thing.

Perhaps someone will organise a Battlefield Tour to visit some of the graves of our village fallen. It’s a long way to travel even to get to the channel ports, but I can assure you that any visit made will be poignant and and facsinating to do. I hope that some people reading this might feel inspired to go and visit the places mentioned for themselves.

Villages and communities need pubs. They provide a community spirit and a place to go for people to meet. No doubt that sense of needing somewhere was much more acute in the years between 1914 and 1918. So, if you are not reading this in one of the pubs then make a point of visiting one of the Drighlington pubs in the near future and raise a glass to these men, but not only these, to the 62 men on the village memorial and to the few who are not, but still gave their lives, and also to those who served but came home wounded or damaged by the horrors they had seen. Like many of you reading this they will always be Drig lads through and through, like myself!

Guest Blogger………Philip L. Wheeler

Thank you to Brian Furniss for helping with background information and photographs of the pubs from his great archive of Drighlington photographs.

Guy Victor Baring

It must be nearly 30 years since I started my family tree and it is nearly 15 years since I started my websites, and about 10 years since I started transcribing war memorials, but only 4 years since I started blogging.

During those years of transcribing war memorials I have travelled the country and seem to have gathered thousands.  I have not just photographed the more traditional memorial, but have also gathered into my fold of photographs   memorials of a more individual nature, you know those to one man or woman, who is remembered not only on a village or town memorial, or a workplace or scholastic memorial but also by either their family or individually by their community.

Winchester Cathedral interior from Wikipedia

Winchester Cathedral interior from Wikipedia

While on a visit to Basingstoke a few years ago to see my daughter and her boyfriend (now fiance) we ventured into Winchester Cathedral (read blog) and while photographing the memorials on the ancient walls, I came across a familiar name – Guy Victor Baring.  A name that is on my extended family tree.

I am not one of those people that say ‘I’ve done my tree’, I am one of those who like the chase, like to see who is connected to who and what kind of life they lead – how did they fair during their years on this earth.  I like to solve a mystery or you could just say I am nosey!

The link to Guy is via my great aunts husband family – it goes back and then comes forward, ending up with Guy Victor Baring.

Some of you may think that the surname is familiar, I did, and then I found out why.  The Baring family are synonymous with banking and commerce, and have been for over two hundred year. But, back to Guy.

The Grange

The Grange

Guy was born on 26th of February 1873 in Piccadilly, London to Leonora Caroline (nee Digby (1844 – 1930)) the wife of Alexander Baring (1835 – 1889).  Alexander Hugh Baring, 4th Baron Ashburton, was a landowner and Conservative politician.  Guy was one of seven children in the household born between 1866 and 1885 and brought up at The Grange.  Guy was educated at Eton College and the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, being commissioned into the Coldstream Guards in 1893.

in 1899, Guy was sent with his unit to fight in the South African War, and was there during the battle of Belmont, Graspan, Modder River, Magersfontein, including the occupation of magersfonteinBloemfontein. During his time in South Africa he was mentioned in despatches, and received the Queen’s South Africa Medal with three clasps.

A detachment of Coldstream Guards was sent to Australia in 1900 when the Earl of Hopetoun was inaugurated as Governor General of Australia.  The year of 1901 saw him being promoted to Captain and it was during this time that he wa attached to the King’s African Rifles as a special service officer with the CaptureJubaland Expedition against the Ogaden Somalis  for this he was awarded a medal with clasp.

It was after his return, that in the late summer of 1903 that Guy married Olive Alethea Smith, in  London.

His political career started in 1906 when he was elected as Member of Parliament for Winchester in the general election and  was re-elected in the 1910 elections and officially left the regiment in 1913.

6 Hobart Place

6 Hobart Place

Back a few years to 1911 when the census was taken, and you would find the family at 6 Hobart Place, S.W. Guy was recorded as a Member of Parliament and on Staff Pay from the army.  He stated he was born at 82 Piccadilly, London.  Olive, 33, told she had been married to Guy for seven years and bore him four children, but one of them had died.  Living at home with their parents was Simon Alexander Vivian aged 5 and Amyas Evelyn Giles aged 1.  Looking after the family in their fourteen room house were seven servants.  His elder brother Hugh Alexander Vivian born in 1904 had died in Winchester in 1908 aged 3.

Guy and Olive went on to have six children.  One of their children, Amyas Evelyn Giles Baring (1910-1986) known as Giles went on to become a 1st class English cricketer between 1930 – 1946.

82 Piccadilly, Bath House - interior

82 Piccadilly, Bath House – interior

As we know Guy was born at 82 Piccadilly, known as Bath House, which stood on the western corner of Bolton Street, facing Piccadilly.  This fine building was ranked with the like of Devonshire House, Burlington House, Northumberland House and Lansdowne House, full to bursting with fine artwork, fine furniture and large numbers of staff.   The building had seen seen a few disasters including  a fire in 1873.  A letter from Charlotte Polidori, quoted in another letter to Dante Gabriel Rossetti told about  the damage: “All the pictures except three

8s Piccadilly, Bath House interior

8s Piccadilly, Bath House interior

(Leonardo, Titian, and Rubens) in the Bath House drawing room are destroyed.”  The three paintings referred to were subsequently identified as Christ and the Baptist as children (likely by Bernardino Luini, now lost), Wolf and fox-hunt (Rubens, now in the Metropolitan Museum, from the collection of Lord Ashburton), and A woman with a dish of roasted apples (Pieter de Hooch, in fact destroyed in the fire). Rossetti’s correspondence regarding the losses described two pictures attributed to Giorgione, two attributed to Titian or Paris Bordone, and a Velazquez. Bath house was demolished in the 1960’s.

Coldstream_Guards_WWI_posterAt the outbreak of WW1, Guy rejoined the military and was posted to Windsor where he was in command of a training company until 1915 when he was posted to France.  During this time he was second in command of the 4th (Pioneer) Battalion.  After the Battle of Loos he commanded the 1st Battalion of the Coldstream Guards.

On the 1st of July 1916 the Battle of the Somme started and by November, when winter approached the battle was abandoned there had been  some 420,000 Commonwealth casualties, 200,000 French and 500,000  German – the reward for this had been a movement of 6 mile into German territory – some might ask, was it worth it?

lesboeuf map source coldstream guards bookLess than three months into the Battle of the Somme, Guy’s Battalion, with two other battalions,  were advancing along the Ginchy to Lesboeufs road to attack a German position. This had been the first time that three Coldstream Guard battalions had attacked together, but advancing ‘as steadily as though they were walking down the Mall’  the action took a heavy toll. There were 17 officers and 690 other ranks walked down the road but only 3 officers (one injured) and 221m other ranks lived to walk back.

The Hon. Guy Victor Baring

The Hon. Guy Victor Baring

Lieutenant Colonel, The Hon. Guy Victor Baring was one of the 14 officers who were killed in action that day and he rests in The Citadel New Military Cemetery, nr Fricourt, with 362 other identified casualties and 16 young men whose name is known only unto their God.  Guy was one of 22 Members of Parliament who were Killed in Action during the Great War.

The entry for Guy in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission holdings tell that Olive was now living at Biddesden House.  Olive died in 1964 in the Petersfield area.

Biddesden House

Biddesden House

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:-

The Baring Archive - is here

Winchester Cathedral – click here 

Military map can be found - here 

Eton Memorials are here 

Lost Heritage - click here

Ancestry, Find My Past, Freebmd, Wikipedia

W Epps, PNR

A few weeks ago a set of medals was posted on a Facebook groups page.  The ribbons looked a little unloved, as though they had seen better days and a little on the sad side.  I contacted the person who had posted the photographs, asking would they mind if I blogged about the medals.  The reply came back…………….Yes, I could.   There has been a week or two gap since the positive message, but here goes!

The back of one of the medals bares the information  –   11658, PNR. W. EPPS. R.E.

As search of Soldiers who Died in the Great War with that service number came up with nothing.  The same with the Medal Cards and a few other sources.  A different route was needed.

wickhamTrying again, with renewed vigor, I looked at the Medal Cards, as I knew there was one as we had pictures of the medals to prove it.  This time I entered EPPS and Royal Engineers, and there he was – EPPS, William, Pnr., 116158 and his list of medals.  What I now knew was that he also served as Pte., 292069, in the Labour Corps., and had entered France on 28th August 1915.  But, what is more important is that we know he is called William.

Why is it that you can find Service Records for every one else, but not the ones who you are related to…………….it is some kind of law but whose, Sods or Murphy’s?  More information about William from his Service Records –  William was living at The Square, Wickham, Hampshire.  Leaving his military records for a while and back to Civil Records.

HMS Vulcan

HMS Vulcan

In 1911, William was 38 years old and had been married to Eliza Jane for five years and they had two children, George Thomas, 2 and Dorothy Alice aged eight months.  William had bee born in Portsmouth and earned his wage as a bricklayers labourer.  Ten years earlier in 1901 there is an entry for William Epps as a Royal Marine, as a crew member on the ‘Vulcan’ in the Grand Harbour Malta.  His place of birth varies slightly, so not completely sure this is our man.

Back to his service records – His Short Service Attestation is a Duplicate and the service number 116158 has been struck through and over written with 292069.  His Regiments also have multiple entries, starting on the line with Royal Engineers, written above is Labour Corps and then atop them all Pioneer Corps.  His address, we know as The Square.  He is a British Subject aged 43 and is married – this we know from the 1911 census.  He has also given previous service – this could have been him in the 1901 as there are the initials RMLI – cold this this be Royal Marine Light Infantry as seen in the census? He is also willing to serve for the duration of the war and he signed these papers at Whitehall London on 19th August 1915.

The next page. brings William more alive, as he is 5′ 8″ tall, with a fully expanded chest of 36″ and a 2″ range of expansion.  His wife Eliza Jane also added information to his records – that they were married on 14 of July 1906 at the Register Office, Portsmouth.  Her maiden name is not all that clear, therefore, a quick look at FreeBMD tells her maiden name was Hatton and she was a spinster at the time of their marriage.  Eliza also gave information on their children:  George Thomas was born on 2nd January 1909 and Dorothy Alice followed on the 9th of July 1910, with both children being born in Fareham.

William embarked for France, as a Private on 28th August 1915 as part of the British Expeditionary Force.  He was transferred to the Labour Corps on 31st of July 1917.

Epps, William, medals 2

Epps, William, medals 2

Epps, William, medals 1

Epps, William, medals 1

Also among his service records is the Discharge Documents.  It is so nice to write about a soldier that does not have a grave in a foreign land, a man who came home to his family, friends and neighbours.  After enlisting on 15th August 1915, William was Demobilised on the 15th of March 1919 in Nottingham.  In among the service records is a small slip of paper, the slip of paper is signed y William as a receipt for his British and Victory Medals.  There is also a receipt for another medal, as he only had three, this must be for the 1915 Star. which he duly signed for on 28th (?) October 1920 and he gives his details as 202069, 5th Labor Batt. R.E.

William, in February 1919, was issued a sheet of paper – his ‘Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity (Soldier not remaining with the Colours’ which he would have had to carry with him.  it gives his regimental details, year of birth and where he would rejoin in case of an emergency, plus his occupation and address, and that was issued at Shorncliffe on 16th February 1919.

Further into the collection of his records is his original Attestation Paper.

There is a death entry for a William Epps aged 51 in the summer of 1925, which fits in with his birth being around 1874.

Sources

Jay Hewitt for allowing me to use the photographs

Ancestry

Wikipedia – HMS Vulcan

Royal Engineers Museum – click here 

Royal Pioneer Corps Museum - click here 

Find my Past

Freebmd

Younie Brothers in Arms

This is a blog I started a couple of weeks ago and saved as a draft, with it being late in the evening.  In the meantime I, after having a chat with a fellow researcher, did the long awaited entry for Alexander Riach who had an accidental death.

It has been a while since I have touched anything connecte to my family history, I’ve been too busy researching for a couple of projects I have on the go.  But tonight I took the bull by the horns and transferred my family tree from my pc to my laptop.

So I have been having a mooch around and seeing who is there, been looking through the pictures I have added to the many people and I came up with a piccy of a headstone, my friends will say ‘well what a surprise, a headstone!’  I had totally forgotten taking this one on a visit to Forres, Morayshire, years ago – I think it could have been one of those ‘I’ll do a little research on that one at a later  moment…………………the moment has come!

Isn’t it wonderful what a headstone can tell you, and especially a Scottish headstone as they nearly always have the wife with her maiden name for all to see – a woman keeps her name from cradle to grave…………wouldn’t that be wonderful if that was done in other countries!

This simple headstone is to William Younie who died at Bank Lane, 1926 aged 77.  His wife, Mary MacDonald died in 1935 aged 80.  But there are another couple of entries to their children.  Two of these entries I will go into further detail in a while, but now I will name Leslie, Alexander and William who die din infancy.

So, to the children I other children, namely, James and Thomas. 1891 sees the family living at 34 St Leonards Road, Forres, where William is a mason.   In 1901 the boys, were living at 3 Bank Street, Forres, with their parents, William Younie and Mary Ann MacDonald, and siblings – Donald, John and Emma.  In 1901 James McAndrew Younie and his brother Thomas P Younie were 12 years old – yes, they were twins!

I had some left over credits on Scotlands People, not a place I like to spend money as I wish they would do an annual subscription, but hey ho!  The William and Mary are living at 3 Bank Lane, Forres, with two of their children – James aged 23 and Emma aged 13.  Also in the household is James Munro aged 25, a boarder, who speaks both Gaelic and English.  William and Mary had bee married 33 years and had had eight children born alive, but only five had survived to be in the census of 1911.   William was still a mason, but this census specifies house building.  James was aged 23 and employed as a grocers assistant. Just for interest James Munro was employed as a law clerk.

During the Great War both James and Thomas fought for their country.  Lets look for James first.  He had been living in Glasgow, so it was there that he enlisted, joining the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, with the service number S/2469 and rising to the rank of Lance younie james mcandrew kiaCorporal in the 6th Battalion.  And so it  was that  on the 16th of July 1917 that James McAndrew Younie died of wounds received in action aged 29.  He rests in Dozinghem Military Cemetery, near Krombeke, north west of Poperinge, in the West Vleteren region of Belgium, along with 3239 other casualties from  the  Commonwealth, the Chinese labour force and  Germany.

Westvleteren was outside the front held by Commonwealth forces in Belgium during the First World War, but in July 1917, in readiness for the forthcoming offensive, groups of casualty clearing stations were placed at three positions called by the troops Mendinghem, Dozinghem and Bandaghem.

The 4th, 47th and 61st Casualty Clearing Stations were posted at Dozinghem and the military cemetery was used by them until early in 1918.

A book about the War Memorial Unveiled in the United Free High Church has the following entry for James McAndrew Younie.

younie james moray n nairn fhs

Now to James’s twin, Thomas – while looking for James in the 1911 Scottish census, there was not one entry that I could 100% say was him.  Looking for Thomas has been a lot harder going that his brother, but we got somewhere in the end.  Thomas enlisted at Fort George in 1906. During the Great War, Thomas Petrie Younie served in the Seaforth Highlanders and became, Company Serjeant Major, 9500.  He served in France and on 2 July 1919, nearly 2 years to the day since his brother James died, Thomas died as the result of a gun shot wound to his leg.  As the war had ended Thomas had been sent back home and he rests in Cluny Hill Cemetery, Forres.

Younie Cluny hill cem forresThomas had been awarded the Military Medal and a similar article to his brother tells more about his life and war.

younie thomas moray n nairn fhs

 

So it was that three brothers went to war, Mary’s twins both died and  one came home. But one question still remains – which other brother went to war, was it Donald or John?

Younie Cluny hill cem forres

Sources

Ancestry

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Find My Past

Find a Grave

Soldiers who Died in the Great War

Moray and Nairn FHS click here 

Alexander Riach, 1828 – 1900

The blog about Alexander, seems to have been so long in the making.  It seemed only a few months ago I was asking for information from libraries, archives and companies. The truth is that I started enquiring in January of 2014…………….dosn’t time fly when you are having fun!  I must have been having too much fun…..but then I can’t remember enjoying myself that much last year!

My quest for information about Alexander had started many years ago, and like many other researchers, have put certain people on the ‘back burner’ ready for another day……….well they are not going anywhere, are they?  It was during  a long weekend in Lossiemouth, while visiting my aunt Gladys that my husband and I trawled the kirkyards in the area looking for Riach, Hay, Younie, Petrie and other names connected to mums family.  The weather was sunny, but a little bit cool as I scanned the headstones, three rows at a time, looking for family connections or something of interest on the family markers.  Although, the headstone to Alexander and Helen was interesting due to the family name, it was how and where Alexander died that struck me as interesting and quite surprising.

Who is Alexander?  Well, he is the husband of my 2nd cousin, 3 x removed. But saying that his wife’s grandmother was also a Riach.

Rothes map - Vision of Briain.

Rothes map – Vision of Briain.

Alexander Riach was born in Dallas in 1828, and being baptised in Rothes on 18th October 1828. He seems to have  spent most of his time in Rothes, the son of James Riach and Annie Innes – James was from Rothes, but not sure about Annie.  In the census of 1841 and 1851 he is living on New Street, Rothes and working as a mason.

Alexander Riach, on Friday the 18th of January, walked up the aisle of Rothes kirk as a married man, after marrying Helen McKerron.  Wet and unsettled conditions had set in a few days before their wedding day and did not turn for the better until April – I hope they had a reasonably fine and clear day for their nuptials.

The census came around in 1861 and the couple, now with two young children were living at Kirton Street, West Side, Marnach, Mortlach. Alexander, still working a a mason, was now working on the railway.   Ten years down the line in 1871, the family has grown and Alexander is now father to four children, aged between 13 and 5 month old Margaret.  Home is now Easter Ardchyle Hut, 2, in the Perthshire village of Killin, where Alexander is aged 42 and a mason.

Alexander and his family seems to be quite elusive in the 1881 census but a bit of a tea break, finds the family not together.  Helen is living with 2 of her children in the home of Margaret McKinnon, the widow of a mason, at Station Street, Rothes.  Where is Alexander and the other children?   After searching through the census for Scotland, with knowing  where he died………….you will have to wait a little longer for that  information! I looked in the England census and there is an Alexander Reach, aged within reasonable ‘give or takes’ from the last census and born in Scotland. living in Barden in Skipton, working as a contractor manager for the new reservoir………..could this be him, living on his own and stating he is married?

Ten years later in 1991, there was quicker success – Alexander and Hellen are now living back together at Cressbrook Cottage, Queens  Road West, Old Machar, Aberdeenshire and now employed as a manager at one of the local granite quarries.

You now know a little about Alexander up to 1891 but what happened to him later………..?

I did the usual quick research by Google, looking for anything that could be remotely connected with how he died.  You know the things, confirming his death on the GRO, just incase the headstone was wrong – it would not be the first time.  I looked for any notification of any thing connected with his death that might have been in a local paper and scanned for online research……….nothing, but I did come up with a place that could be worth a visit sometime.

It was some years later while visiting our daughter who lived in Chiswick at the time, we were staying in a very nice pub opposite Kew Green.  We were due to meet her for lunch where she worked but had a while to kill, so we had a little drive around the area and drove past a building that woke the old grey matter and a eureka moment came.  It was after lunch and on our way back to our lodgings that we called in.  The place was closed but a few of the workshops were open.  The one I called in at, was a blacksmiths, a lady blacksmith and her work was fantastic.  After asking if this was Kew Bridge Works, she said yes, but everything was closed for the day….another visit was called for.  The next day I had found myself in a small, cluttered office, talking to one of the curators, who knew nothing of my man and his demise but she took my details and would pass them on to a volunteer researcher who went on a regular basis to the Metropolitan Archives……………I should wait! Waiting is not a thing I am known for where family history is concerned when I have bitten the bullet, but sad to say I am still awaiting their reply, probably six years down the line.

Kew Bridge Works, now London Museum of Water and Steam

Kew Bridge Works, now London Museum of Water and Steam

So it looks like I would have to continue something I started years ago, but on my own terms, with this new vigor, I rang the Registry Office for a death certificate but which office to contact would it be Richmond or Brentford.  I said I would tell you later about how and where he died – it looks like now is a good time to tell you.  Alexander Riach died on 31st of March 1900, as his epitaph tells ‘accidentally killed at Kew Bridge Works’.  I tossed a coin and came up with Richmond as my first port of call, as I was convinced he had died in an accident at what is now the Museum of Water and Steam, Kew.  The very nice person at the Richmond office, assured me that if I had the wrong office, I would, of course, get a refund.  Five long days later I had the certificate in my hands and although saddened by how Alexander met his maker, for a family historian, the way in which someone leaves their mortal coil, can mean there is more information to be found.

In 1900 he was living at 14 Bushwood Road, Kew and although, 71 years of age, was te Contractor’s Manager at Kew Bridge Works – as per his headstone, and still had me thinking about the steam museum building.  I had the impression, that with this information being marked on his headstone, for all the world to see, well those who visited the kirkyard, that te family were upset, annoyed and probably felt that it was someones fault, but whose?

The death certificate, as you know, gave me the date of death, his age was 71 years and we know his occupation but it was the cause of death that came as a shock.  He died of ‘Syncope from shock due to fractured ribs crushed by crane toppling over whilst being moved from barge to landing stage’.  There was a post-mortem and a verdict of Accidental Death was given by the Coroner for Surrey, A Broxton Hicks after an inquest held on the 4th of April 1900.

I felt surely that this would have caused a ripple through the Kew community at the time, so a telephone call to a wonderful man at Richmond Local Studies, who turned out to be the head of the department.  After a quick tale of who, where and when, I was promised he would let me know if anything was in the local papers.  He was very true to his word and in less that 24 hours I had a scanned copy of the entry in the Richmond Herald, which told me

‘An inquest was held in Richmond on Wednesday, touching on the death of Alexander Riach, manager of the Kew Bridge Works, who was killed by the falling of a crane.  Mr Gibb, the contractor for the works, was represented by a solicitor.  Evidence as to identity having been given by Margaret Riach, daughter of the deceased.  William Watson, a labourer, 2 York Villas, Kew, said that for the purpose of assisting in taking down the old bridge they had a steam crane on runners on a barge.  On Saturday, the manager asked witness and three others to remain behind to take the crane from the barge on to the wharf.  It was quite steady in the barge, but (the crane) had not been used in it, only being there for the purpose of moving.  The deceased came to the wharf about 2 o’clock, and they began to move the crane a few minutes later.  The top of the barge was level with the wharf, and they were going to move the crane on to the wharf by means of rails.  They had begun to move it,  ad it was half-way across, going by steam, when some steamers came up river,  and the wash caused the barge to rock.  Deceased was standing on the wharf near the crane, when it suddenly toppled on to him.  As it swung back, they managed to get the deceased out, and assistance having been called, he was conveyed in a cab home.  

Henry Kennison, a labourer in the employ of the firm, corroborated the evidence of the previous witness.  He was on the barge, and the crane as it was tilted, caught the witness by the clothes, but did not injure him.  Thomas Graham Menzie, 17 Bushwood Road, Kew, engineer to Mr Gibb, said he was o the crane on the barge on the Surrey side, and it was then quite steady, standing so for several days.  Deceased had had over fifty years’ experience with cranes.  After the accident happened, witness had the photographs produced taken.  In answer to Mr J T Mackie, factory inspector from the Home Office, the witness said he thought the crane was safe with the jib on.  The crane was not in steam at the time of the accident.  Dr Ernest Payne, who saw the deceased, said about eight of his ribs were fractured, and he was considerably bruised on the side of his body.  He died from syncope, following upon the shock of the accident.  A verdict of ‘Accidental Death’ was returned’.

Kew Bridge

Kew Bridge being demolished

It was this article in the paper that told me where the accident occurred, I had wrongly thought that he worked at the Kew Bridge Waterworks, but no it was infact, Kew Bridge, works.  It was a very nice man at, yes, the Steam Museum, formerly, Kew Bridge Waterworks, that confirmed a few points.  Firstly, that Mr Gibb, the contractor, at the inquest, was in fact the contractor for Kew Bridge, when the new bridge was built between 1899 and 1903.  The dates fit with Alexander being in Kew and Mr Gibb, also fits in.  It looks like Alexander was involved with the building of the new Kew Bridge and the demolishing of the old bridge. Kew Steam Museum, came good in the end!

After years of waiting to find our why ‘accidentally killed at Kew Bridge Works’ is written on Alexander’s headstone, I now know.  But, this information make me want to ask more questions, such as:- How long had he been in London, and were his family with him.  We know Margaret, his daughter identified the body. But, was that as she was the only family member with him and was basically, his housekeeper. Or, had his wife Hellen, been too upset to view her husband, or had she stayed in Scotland?

The inquest tells that he had worked with cranes for fifty years, was that because his job as a mason involved moving heavy stones and he had gained his experience there.

I may never know the answers to some of the questions, but my family tree certainly has more information about Alexander and his family now than it did.

The third Kew Bridge opened in 1903

The third Kew Bridge opened in 1903

As I have said I know more about Alexander than most people now.  There are many trees on Ancestry that include him, but some have his birth details, some have his death details, and some don’t even have his parents, but although the odd one, and I do mean the odd one, has his death but nothing else.  Could it be that none of these people have seen his headstone?  It is possible that his demise is not common knowledge as many researchers could be from America, Canada or Australia and have not ventured to Morayshire.

I looked for a Will in the English records but nothing, so I took my ‘plastic’ in my hand and I might add it took some prizing out of my purse, but eventually, I paid a fee to Scotlands People, now that breaks my heart – why will they not do an annual subscription?  Wills are free to search, and there he was, confirmed by his wife Helen McKerron, also being in the index.  I now have his will and can see that he had property in Rothes, its proximity given quite clearly on the written pages and how after both his and Helen’s death, which occured in December of 1909, what should happen to their property.

Sources:-

London Museum of Water and Steam – click here

Ancestry

Find My Past

Scotland’s People

 

Frederick Cooke and the Gyme

east ardsley mapFrederick Cooke was born in East Ardsley in 1880/2 as when looking at documents there is a slight variation, but there is an entry on Freebmd for a birth registration for a Frederick Cook in the March Quarter (January, February, March) of 1881 in Wakefield – so that looks like him but with a spelling variation in his name.

He was born to Arthur William Cooke and Martha Hardaker along with two other children between 1879 and 1883.  Arthur William was originally from Cheverell in Wiltshire, while Martha was from Bishop Auckland – I bet that was a fun household with the variation in accents!  The couple married in St Michaels church, East Ardsley on  the 15th of September 1877.  Sadly, Martha died in the spring on 1890 and with young children to look after Arthur William remarried Emma Wright, when on the 3rd of February 1891, he again walked down the aisle of St Michaels church.  The couple went on to have more children.

But, back to Frederick – In the census of 1891 Frederick is living at Allinsons Buildings, East Ardsley, with his father, a furnace keeper;  his step-mother, Emma; his brother George;  sister Margaret and Emma’s nine month old baby boy – written in the census as ‘William Wright, son of wife’.

The Christmas of 1903 must have been a busy and exciting time in the Cooke household as within the next few weeks a family event was to take place.  On the 16th of January 1904 cook fleming marriageFrederick would be found standing with his family and friends in St Michael’s church, East Ardsley, waiting for Ethel Fleming to walk down the aisle and become his wife. Fred’s father, Arthur William, was now a lamplighter, while John Fleming, Ethel’s father was a miner.  The two witnesses to this event were Edmund Lee and Jane Hunt.

Life, does not always deal the cards we would wish, and like many others Frederick, seemed to have been given a few ‘duff’ cards.  He had already seen his mother die, his father re-marry and the 1911 census told of another ‘duff’ card.  The census shows the couple living at 6 Mary Street, The Falls, East Ardsley, a house with 3 rooms.  It tells that he was 30 years old and Ethel was 26; that they had bee married 7 years – we know that from the Parish Register entry, but the paper from 100 years ago also tells that the couple had had one child, and that it had died – died between their marriage and the date of the census.

Before I continue with Fred’s life, curiosity was getting the better of me, and it dosn’t take a lot for me to go off on a tangent looking for another story…………..here I go again!

Who was this child? When was ‘it’ born?  Was it a boy or a girl? How old was he/she when it died?  Questions, lots of them, and they seem easier to come up with than answer.  Let the questions stop and the answering begin.

What do I know, not a lot really apart from his surname would be cook(e) and death occurred between 1904 and 1911, which is too early for a mother’s maiden name to be entered.  A search of Freebmd with the search criteria being  Cooke and West Riding, brings up a lot of entries  – do you know how many there is to search through?  A lot!  I need to lessen the number of entries.  The Ancestry website has very considerately scanned West Yorkshire Parish Registers for certain periods, what can that come up with?  Straight to the West Yorkshire section for deaths and burials using just Cooke and East Ardsley came up wit five possibilities, but by the dates of burials I could eliminate three straight away, leaving two to have a look at.  After viewing the first I could also now eliminate that entry as the address was Morley.  One remaining, a John Arthur Cooke.

John Arthur Cooke was buried on the 23rd of March 1904, his address was given as Whitaker’s Fold, he was five days old and the entry states there was no service.   Without purchasing a birth certificate and death certificate John Arthur seems to be the most likely candidate, along with  both his grandfathers being Arthur and John.

Back to Fred.  Life carried on for him and Ethel until 1914 when events took place that would not only shock the world for years to come but would also impact greatly on East Ardsley. But the passing of time and the generations that followed would mean that events locally, would be forgotten sooner within the community.  The Great War, the war to end all wars, had begun and men were enlisting inn villages, towns and cities all over Great Britain.  Fred enlisted

Fred, platelayer, on the Great Northern Railway and  being an old Territorial, re-enlisted, some sources say August, while other state September and November, but all agree on the year of 1914.  He became Pte., 2425, F. Cooke, in the 1/4th King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI).  The 1/4th’s were training near Malton, but bad weather was continuing they, (about 4000 of them) were moved to Gainsborough and be billeted within the community.  Training continued while some of the men moved to the coast, other stayed and on one particular day, the 19th of February, 1915, they were in the village of Moreton at a place called the Gymes.  The men were training on an enclosed pond to build rafts, readying themselves for crossing the Belgian canals. A Dewsbury man, Captain Harold Hirst, was in charge of the operation.  The rafts were constructed from rope, straw, tarpaulins and a wooden platform.

The Gyme, with the remains of the pontoon

The Gyme, with the remains of the pontoon

20150226_125332

Reverse of the Gyme photo

 

It was at 12:10 on Friday the 19th of February 1915, that as men from ‘D’ Company boarded their raft. As the raft started to leave the bank, their ‘vessel’ crowded with soldiers (some say up to 40) in their heavy kit and boots seemed stable for a while, but Pte., Punyer, who was in charge of a very long pole to push the raft forward, was soon, even with his arm fully in the water, could not reach the bottom of the gyme with his pole.  The raft was beginning to become unstable and tragedy soon struck and the men were very quickly fighting for their lives.  Those who were closer to the bank dragged men out of the water, others gave artifical respiration.  Higher ranking officers were called for, Field Ambulances were on their way and a roll call was sounded but seven were unaccounted for.  Five men were found and later in the afternoon, the final two soldiers were accounted for.

Their bodies were taken to stables behind the Crooked Billet pub in Morton.  An inquest was held the following day in Morton School, presided over by Philip Gamble, a local solicitor with a local builder, Mr Fox, being the foreman of the jury.  The jury viewed the bodies and visited the Gyme.  After the jury had viewed the bodies they were placed in coffins and taken by Army Ambulance to Holy Trinity Church Hall, Gainsborough, from where they would be taken the next day for their journeys home.  Some of the families of the seven men made the journey to Morton for the inquest, where after hearing various statements a verdict of Accidental Death was given but the Officer was criticised for his lack of experience and the lack of adequate safety precautions i.e. life buoys and trained first aid staff.

Within days the regiment had been moved to York and were sent to France on the 13th of April and were soon in the trenches at Bois Grenier.

The seven soldiers were all given full military funerals in their own villages, towns or cities, where family, friends, neighbours and many others paid their respects.

And it was that on 23rd February 1915, from 23 Cardigan Terrace, Frederick made his final journey carried aloft the shoulders of his fellow soldiers and followed by many more, with many carrying floral tributes.  The streets were lined as the courtage walked slowly passed, up the hill on its way to St Michael’s church.   The party would have been met by the Rev. John H D Hill, who years before had married Frederick and Ethel  in happier times, but today was a very sombre occasion as over 2000 from the military and surrounding area paid their respects.  The Rev. Hill in his parish register wrote the required information in the set columns and lines but he also added ‘military funeral drowned on pontoon’.

We now know how the Fred’s life ended and where he rests, but what happened to Ethel, well, early in 1918 she married Peter Humberstone.  She died on 29th of November 1947 and rests within the walls of St Michael’s Parish Church, East Ardsley, along with her first husband and her son.

Batley Cemetery 100 years on

Batley Cemetery 100 years on

100 years on to the day …………. a  group of people gathered at the graveside of Private Batty, one of the 7.  They were there to remember the tragedy by laying a wreath for each one of those men an eighth wreath was laid by people from Gainborough.  The following Sunday over 20 people travelled from Yorkshire to Morton for a service and plaque unveiling.  It was a wonderful service and a visit to the Gyme followed, braving the wind, rain, bitter cold and the mud, where the wreath laid in Batley,  was laid in what remains of a now filled in Gyme.  I can’t say that walk was pleasant but having gone that far it seemed only fitting to go and complete the circle.

Tony Dunlop, PROJECT BUGLE and D Bedford, great niece of Fred Cooke lays a wreath

Tony Dunlop, PROJECT BUGLE and D Bedford, great niece of Fred Cooke lays a wreath

During the following day and weeks, the wreaths to the 7 have now been laid at the foot of each DSCF4764of their

 

 

 

headstones with a small information plaque.

The names on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission headstones in most cases bare the name, regiment, service number and age of the casualty, but what they do not tell is the story, so when you see one of those headstones, stop and think if only you could tell your tale.

We Will Remember Them

Additional information :-  Captain Harold Hirst was the youngest of the officers within the regiment.  He was the son of Mr & Mrs Joseph Hirst of Ravensleigh, Dewsbury and a member of the firm of Messrs. G H Hirst and Co., Ltd., woollen manufacturers of Dewsbury and Batley.  He was an ‘old boy’ of Rugby School and it was on 24th of June 1915 that Harold was killed by a German sniper. He had previously killed two or three German snipers and this had been mentioned in dispatches.  He left a widow and a child which had been born two weeks after he left for the front.

So, it was that during the the war many of the men who were at the Gyme on that fateful day also lost their lives.

There has been an 8 page booklet produced as a joint project by various local and Lincolnshire groups – if anyone wishes a copy the cost is £2 plus postage – email gyme @ wakefieldfhs.org.uk

Sources :-

Ancestry, Find My Past, Freebmd,

Gainsborough’s War Years early 1914 – mid 1915 by P Bradshaw

Tony Dunlop