Tag Archives: RAF

Absent Voters List 1914-18 War – update

A while ago I mentioned the the Absent Voters Lists as being a valuable source when looking for a WW1 soldiers army number, but I thought I would just update this and add to the information I told you about.

Carol Sklinar 2010

So here goes – In the General Election of 1918 all those not at ‘home’, those who were away from their place of residence were classed as Absent Voters.  The reasons you were away could be for example, working, visiting family or serving your country in WW1.  The information for someone serving his King and Country usually included the following :- The man’s name, service and regiment along with rank and service number and his home address.  I say this information is usually included but in Morley his name and HM in a column are the only information you are getting, but it is still worth knowing he served.

It was an Act of Parliament passed on 6th February 1918 that allowed service men to register  and obtain their vote ‘at home’.  The first lists were published on 15th October 1918 and again on 15th April 1919 and the details were provided by the voters.  Men aged 21 and over could supply information about their vote, so for us family historians, a young man under the age of 21 but still serving his country could not vote.

Also, something to be remembered – a soldier’s number was not his for his service.  A soldier changed his service number for many reasons including changing regiment.  You will find many service records or CWGC information with the words ‘formerly’, very kindly giving a previous service number.  If you search for a serviceman by just his number you may find many men who were issued that number.  For example a search of the SWDTGW for 2497 comes back with 100 men issued that number.  It was not until 1920 that a unique number was issued to service men.

Something else to bare in mind is that during WW1 Officers were not given service numbers but by WW2 numbers were issued and again they were unique.

This wonderful source of information for Wakefield, has been transcribed and can be found here, the information has also been put on to a cd and is useful for those not wishing to use the internet and is available here along with many other useful tools for family historians.

When looking for AVL’s you may like to try your local history library, local archives or pose a question on a local messageboard – it may save you time.  Please note:- there is a chance they may not have survived in your area, so be prepared to use other sources to find the service number of your man i.e newspapers.  Years ago a service number was a must for you to take your research further, now with the internet and some very useful websites a service record, if it has survived can be found by inputting varying degrees of information i.e. name and town if that is all you know, but don’t forget to allow for transcription errors and a search could get longer if a name and town, in all the spelling variations, brings up nothing – you may have to resort to just a town, a little long winded but does eventually pick up all the wonderful spelling variations that transcribers try to put in our way.

Many family historians are a dogged bunch and are not easily put off by a name or town spelt in a way that bares no resemblance to what it actually should be.  I think sometimes it is just ‘lets pick a few letters, jumble them up and that will do’.

A selection of Absent Voters Lists online

Wakefield click here - search by constituency

Leeds click here - search by surname

Accrington click here – search by name or constituency

Grimsby & Cleethorpes click here – search by name

Woodchurch click here – complete list

William Harold Ryder

While writing a previous blog I remembered my visit to Bardsey Church a few years ago and while clicking through the pictures I took on that morning I found one, a photo of a memorial plaque.

What do we know about this young man from the plaque on the wall of the church?

He was called William Harold Ryder, the third son of Charles Foster and Anna Ryder.  Now another questions arises, who are they as there is also a memorial to them.

But back to William, he served during WW1 as a Lieutenant in the Royal Flying Corps and fell whilst serving in France on July 6th 1917 aged 20 and rests in Warloy Baillon.

William's memorial plaque C Sklinar 2007

The information on the memorial inside the church gives a good start to finding out more about William.

William, as we know, was the son of Charles Foster Ryder and his wife Anna.  Anna died in 1907 and a memorial in the church informs all that Charles Foster had the church floor relaid to its original level in 1914 in memory of his wife.

Charles F Ryder married Anna Potter on 7th February 1888 at Christ Church, Lancaster Gate.  Charles was aged 32, a batchelor of Chapel Allerton and the son of Charles Ryder a brewer.  While his new wife was aged 25, a spinster with no occupation living at 48 Cleveland Square, the son of William Potter (decd.), a merchant. Witness to this joyful event were Anna(?) L Ross and W Henderson.

Cleveland Sq. (source unknown)

Anna, in the census of 1881 was living with her father, William and mother Agnes (both from Manchester)  at 48 Cleveland Square, where William gave his occupation as that of East India Merchant.  In the household were the parents, Anna and her brother and 7 servants.

In the census of 1901 Charles F, a brewer is living on Leeds Road, Scarcroft with his children – Daniel G aged 8, Agnes L aged 6 and Wm H aged 4, Rosamund aged 2 and Marion E Harrison a visitor – Anna is not with her husband in the census. But a search for Anna born in 1863 in Little Missenden, find an Anna Ryder living as married Head of the The Hall, Little Thurlow, Suffolk.  With Anna is Georgina M Bryant a 25 year old trained hospital nurse and other staff – could Anna have been sickly  and lived in the country for her health ?

By 1911 Charles is a Brewery Director, more than likely Tetley’s Brewery, and living at The Grange, Scarcroft.  On the census for The Grange is Charles F, Agnes Louisa, Rosamand Daphne and 7 servants.  The Grange was a 20 roomed property with 10  persons living within its walls.  William, now aged 14 was a boarder at Uppingham, one of Englands Public Schools.  The school seeing many people pass through its doors who have now become well known including :-  5 Victoria Cross recipients; Richard Thorp, actor ; John Suchet, journalist and broadcaster ; Phil Spencer, property expert ; C R W Nevison, Official War Artist in both World Wars ; Sir Donald Campbell ; Sir Malcolm Campbell and William Henry Pratt aka Boris Karloff to name just a few.

William served in the RFC and his medal card states that he had served in the Yorks Hussars as a Lieutenant but there is no mention of any medals awarded in his name, but his date of death is recorded in the remarks section.

William died on 6 July 1917 and Probate was granted in London on June 8 1918 to Charles Foster Ryder, gentleman.

Imperial War Museum in the North

After trying to arrange a visit for a few weeks and work always getting in the way I finally got there!

Did I enjoy my visit ?  Was I disappointed ? Wait and see !

Firstly, the museum was reasonably easy to find and we only went twice around a roundabout once – I must add I was not driving and the front passenger did give good directions and in plenty of time – I say no more!

The car park was larger than I expected with enough pay machines BUT I was disappointed that people with a Blue Badge even had to ‘cough up’.  One thing I did like, but did not seem to be well advertised was a cabin, a wooden hut that gave change – a good idea.

The building seemed strange, not because it was modern and industrial but seemed lifeless, now was that a play on the subject within, I don’t know.  We entered via a large tower, at the time seemed pointless and a waste of space and money – we were peering through the slatted sides of the tower as we went in and it seemed one big void.  On entering we found it was basically a lift shaft to a viewing tower and a charge of £1.40 was made for the journey to stand over a chasm – not flippin’ likely!  Passed the lift ladies have their handbags searched, yes, for good reasons, but why only women and why only handbags?

Although the museum is free entry you are still funnelled via a ticket machine and a little persuasion is made to purchase a guide.  Ticket entry via a turnstile would be ideal, you would still get a ticket, they would still know how many people are in for fire regulations, you would not be badgered into buying a guide (unless you wanted one) and on exit you go through a similar turnstile – at the moment you are ticketed, counted on the way in, but there is no count on the way out – does not seem right when fire regulations come into it

Mini moan over, we entered the museum which is on the 1st floor.  Well, as we entered the first hall my companion and I decided the outside matched the inside – it was claustrophobic, even though the hall was very high, oppressive and depressing.  I’ve been in many military and war museums over the years and never felt this on entering.  Yes, war is a harsh subject but never have I felt this on entering a museum before, even a modern museum.

A Harrier Jump Jet was the first thing we saw, mounted in mid air – what a wonderful thing to greet you, they always seemed larger in flight.  The halls were very spacious, only the tank, a Trabbant, and other large displays on the floor – still leaving a very large amount of open floor space.  The main exhibits were in cabinets within the walls and for the amount of space there was not that many.

copyright C Sklinar 2011

The cabinets did hold some fascinating artifacts for example: – A souvenir In Loving Memory of the women and children killed in an air raid on London on June 13 1917, War Bonds and one or two cabinets dedicated to people with a definate story.  I’ll blog about those later. I was surprised that how much wall and floor space there was there did not seem a great deal of artifacts on display.  I could have spent time spelling what it was like in the trenches, what wet smelly socks smelt like or what a lot of men together for a long time with no where to wash or limited facilites also smelt like – that was one for the kids as were a lot of the displays.

While we were in the main hall a visual display started and the already dimly lit room went virtually dark apart from the illuminated images on the walls and the slide show.  If you only wanted to listen to the slide shows description, walking around without tripping over someone who was sat down or just standing around was a task.  The darkness also made reading any description in and around the displays a waste of time.  When the lights came back on it was done quite gradually.

The museums history of war started with WW1 and went up to the present, with a special display telling of the fantastic work that war correspondents do in time of conflict.  One of the displays in this section was for want of a better word a chart showing how many journalists from all over the world have had their lives taken by the very thing they wanted to tell the world about.

copyright C Sklinar 2011

Time to check out the café! Yes, it was lunchtime but the queues were reasonable apart from the picnic section and one lady with a hoard of children who could not make up their mind.  Overtaking them and going straight for the kill – coffee and cake, the prices were reasonable and the portions very good.  The pork lunch served with all the trimmings was very good value and looked fantastic.

Yes, I bought a book, again that information is in another blog, but I also bought two other items, but can’t tell you about those as they are ’stocking fillas’ for christmas.

The shop had the usual bits and bats for children and then some very nice memorabilia, gifts and some wonderful jewellery made from buttons in all shapes, sizes and colours – so unusual and very retro.  After this I, we, homed in on the WW1 books but we were both disappointed in the small display.  The sections for wars post WW1 was far better, but not really my or my companions main interest.

Would I go again to the Imperial War Museum in the North, I don’t think so; next time will venture to the original in London.

If you do wish to visit a wonderful place full of interest and packed with information, artifacts and displays that suit children, military personnel, veterans and those with an interest in all things military,  visit the Royal Armouries in Leeds.  On the various floors there are good displays from all over the world – from the UK to India and Japan , from times gone by to modern warfare and policing – go on pay it a visit.

To see information about the Imperial War Museum click here

To see information about the Royal Armouries, Leeds click here

To see information about the Royal Armouries, London click here

The War Memorial on the Green at Reeth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To see Reeth War Memorial click here

Glen Lyon War Memorial

A short while ago a friend sent me his pictures of Glen Lyon War Memorial.  He like many others, know I collect and transcribe them, and he kindly sent me a couple of pics taken on his adventures.

image by J Hall 2011

I can’t say what a beautiful place it is, as I don’t know, but from the picture it certainly looks a pleasant place and with the sun shining and a blue sky, even a cold day would be a pleasant day in Glen Lyon.  The glen is approx. 20 miles in length and stretches from Fortingall to Cashlie and from all accounts well worth a visit.

Who is mentioned on this very special memorial, special, you will see why shortly.  Firstly, and only because his name appears first on the memorial (all names are in rank order)  is Lieutenant Colonel John Robert Beech CMG, DSO who died in Lincolnshire while in command of his troops. Next on the list is Clyde, actually, Robert Clyde Beech, the 20 year old son of John Robert. Next comes Alan Tompson, a relative by marriage of John Robert’s wife, who was the widow of John Bullough or Meggernie Castle. Also on the memorial is Francis Cowie who was before the war was an asistant factor at the castle.  So all in all, the family from ‘the big house’ didn’t fair well from the war.

The last name I am mentioning in this ‘snippet’ is that of John Alexander McCallum of Camusvrachan, KIA in October of 1918 aged 23.  It was his father Alexander, who designed and built the Glen Lyon War Memorial.  What greater gift could a father give to his son, a splendid memorial built at the side of the road that all who pass by will see and hopefully more will now know of the great love and sadness with which it was built.

Where can you read about Alexander and his son and others from the area Click Here

Odiham War Memorial – WW1 transcription

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

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

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

Odiham Memorial, Carol Sklinar 2011

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Iron Bridge War Memorial

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

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

image K Scarth 2010

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

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

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

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

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

Buchlyvie War Memorial

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

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

Buchlyvie War Memorial C Sklinar 2010

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

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

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

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

Luss War Memorial

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

Luss 2010 by K M Sklinar

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

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

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

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

To see Luss War Memorial click here

Stow War Memorial

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

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

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

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

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

To visit Stow War Memorial click here