Tag Archives: RAF

Lizzie Riach’s little black book

A while ago I wrote about my Aunt Dolly’s autograph book, a book that I had looked through many times as a child, pondering over the small painting and pencil sketches and wondering who had taken the time to write within its pages.

Original white heather

Original white heather

While looking through my ‘stuff’, mainly photographs, I found my mum’s autograph book. Many of Aunt Dolly’s entrants had been nurses at Stanley Royd, family and friends, mum’s was different and at the moment it seems fitting to write about the people in Lizzie Riach’s little black book, as the other day it was 70 years since the war ended  in Europe and most of the writers in the little book are members of the forces.  Wouldn’t it be nice for a relative to find their entry now, years, many years later!  Or what would be even better, would be for someone who wrote their little dittie to see it  – and wouldn’t it be fantastic if they remembered my mum!

Opening the book, Jimmy (James 427), in March 1943, also wants the privilege of being first.  The following page has two twigs of white heather still sticking to the page by their original tape.  Eve Cook, writes simply ‘ To one of the nicest girls I’ve known, Best always’, she goes on to say ‘not so primitive as I sound’.  What did that mean?  Obviously, it meant something to Eve and my mum.

To Ann, wishing you all the happiness you deserve – for they who look only for the best in everyone they meet are too rare’ .  Neville Sibley, Dunearn House, 26 Jan. ’43.  Who was Neville and where is or was Dunearn House?  That was an easy one, a quick google, and there it was!  I know it is the correct one, Dundearn House, Burntisland, as mum served in the A.T.S. at Burntisland during WWII. Now to answer the question ‘Was Dunearn House a billet during the war or did it have some other purpose.

Neville Sibley

Neville Sibley

Dunearn House, source not known but acknowledged

Dunearn House, source not known but acknowledged

No drawing, no little dittie or simple sentiment, just a name – Clark D L, O.F.C., 501 Hy. AA bty, Donibristle Point, 19/4/1943.  And so back to Google maps to find that Donibristle is just inland from Burntisland, but where Donibristle Point is, Google is keeping that a secret! ‘In the parlour there were three. Ann, the parlour lamp and he.  Two’s company without a doubt.  So the parlour light went out’. Nan Cunningham penned that on 17th January 1943.

‘What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult to each other.  In your golden chain of friendship, regard me as a link’. W Blackwood, A.T.S., who is she?  Could she be called Winifred?

Audrey Kettle

Audrey Kettle

The next few words are from Audrey Kettle, H.P.C., Notts (mum was also posted there and it was there that she met her future husband).  What Audrey wrote, although then, was meant in all innocence and probably is featured on many pages, in 100’s of autograph books, the wording in this politically correct culture, would be taken in the wrong context by a few.  But needless to say, Audrey’s words made me smile – all based on the sound of words and a space in the right place!  A google search brought up the Burma Star Association website telling me that HPC was Home Postal Service.

 An earlier entry for J M that gave nothing away as to who J M was now, further in the book, ‘a lonely spot’, they now tell they are at Arlands (?), Fochabers.   Later in the book I may find out a little more.  Back south of the border to Nottingham and Joan (A.T.S.). ‘Happy memories of the “Vic” at Nottingham’.  What memories, what happened at the Vic, that mum and Joan shared in 1944? Was the ‘Vic’ a theatre, was it a pub, one this is for sure it is not a shopping centre.

A pretty pencil sketch of a lady wearing a flowing, frilly dress and bonnet.  In the background

P Gregg

P Gregg

birds flutter and drink from a birth bath.  The artist is P Gregg – who was she, I am presuming a lady drew this.

It is sad that modern technology has done away with the autograph book, as within the pages, filled with words, poems, all written in different styles of writing………making the book very personal to the writer and the owner of the book……many memories held within those pages.

S D Williamson, 2 Forest Crescent, Thornton, Fife writes ‘Health, Happiness and the Best of Luck, where every you may be….. Mac’.  Looking again at the page – the name and address are in a different pen and a different hand.  Conclusion……..they are two people, Mac and S D Williams of Fife.  Now another question…..who is Mac?

Still only about half way through and Sig med, Rita, A.T.S, on 17th of January 1943, writes ‘ Down the street there walked a peach.  Who was both pretty and fair. A stealthy look, a half closed eye, and the Peach, became a Pair’.

D Watson 'Wot no!'

D Watson ‘Wot no!’

Another page with two entries, this time both from men.  ‘We’ll miss you at camp, Ann. how much, we only know, but your, smile, your wink in our memories lingers, where-ever you go’ A starred Romeo………..D Watson.  At the foot of the page and just managing to say ‘Wishing you all the best of Love……Josh, Wot no Kisses’.

Frank Smith writes ‘Thank God for girls like you Ann.  I shall miss your happy smile, and with you all you wish yourself, where-ever you may go’.

‘Long may you live! Long may you love! and long may you be happy’. S W Lewis wrote on the now faded and blotched page on 19th of January 1943.

Every autograph book has ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, honey is sweet and so are you’, this time written by  E Aitken of 11 Manse Avenue, Whitburn, West Lothian.

The next entry came as quite a surprise, well not the wording but who had written the words.  Firstly, the entry……….’Life is but a great hotel, a hand shake and our au-revoir.  We’ll meet again if all is well.  When we have passed the open door’.  Now who wrote the words.   They were  written by a man who would have had to travel many miles  – John Wilson, Gladstone, Queensland, 5.11.45.  As to whether John was in the services, I have no idea, but it would be nice to know if he made it back to Gladstone.

Blantyne Camp magazine

Blantyne Camp magazine, image Secret Scotland

‘Women darn their husbands socks, with never ceasing care.  But when they get a whole in theirs, they buy another pair’.  So true, and written by Irvin Skelton(?), 501 Bty, R.A., Blantyne Farm Camp, 24 May 1943.  Turning over the faded yellow page Joan Hemingway, A.T.S. wrote ‘Ann now, Ann ever, Riach now but not for ever. This book I see in later years, I wonder what your name will be’.

On the 6th of May 1945, Helen F Caldie, A.T.S., H.P.C., R.E., Wittingham, wrote about friendship being a chain that is never broken.   A greeting from A Hepburn, (42 Land S***d), Kirklands, Fochabers, written in a pen that seems to have had better days!  While Len, thanks Ann, for the letters she brought and her smiling happy face that added to the happiness contained within the envelopes from home.

The 24th of February 1946, two young men named Joe and Ted, wrote ‘Remember the Paiaise, Nottingham that afternoon?  We kept the ‘Poles’ up alright didn’t we!!!‘.  Also on the same page, but tucked into a corner, Mary wished Ann, her old pal, all the best.  Barbara, signing herself (Lady) Barbara, wrote ‘I wish I had someone to love me. Someone to call me his own. Someone to buy me chocolate. As I’m sick of buying my own!’.  Barbara writes from Craigend, Bathgate, West Lothian on 23rd Jan 1943.

Other entries are from J Mathieson, 69 Mid Street, Keith and G Newton Burntisisland, 16 January 1943. Turning the faded pink page, Val Peek, A.T.S., wrote on 18 January 1946, ‘Very best of luck from a ‘little’ Cockney girl’.  Well at least we have a clue as to where Val originated from.  Another entry is written by S Frost, West Melton, on 26 October 1945.

A little saucy poem follows ‘Ann, had a little lamb, she also had a bear.  I’ve often seen her little lamb, but never seen her bare!’ ‘Wishing you all you wish yourself, Rita M Cromrie, 24 February 1946′.  Doesn’t the English language make you chuckle at how two words pronounced the same can mean something totally different, and so many autograph books have similar entries.

Signaller Rita Walker penned her effort on 17th of January 1943, while over the page, Frae Rosie Vernon of the A.T.S., wrote about roses being red. No poem, no greeting came from the next page but details that looked as though they should be on an envelope – Pte D.Abbott, A.T.S., 501 (M) Bty R.A., Woodend Camp, Helensburgh. 

A E Walker

A E Walker

An entry on one of the faded yellow pages is from A.E. Walker, ex-trooper. Written on an angle in very small writing and in Italian (?) and using Google translator for one word, I think that A.E. Walker wrote the following ‘Un notta in Campo Concentraimento di Prigioanieri de Guerra’ – something about a prisoner of war camp, possibly.

Joan Bradshaw and Mary Wilkinson, both serving with the A.T.S., wrote on 9th June 1943 – Mary having two entries back to back.   Mac or Mal Pearson B.H.Q., wrote ‘A little bit of powder, a little bit of paint. Makes the ladies faces, really what they ain’t’, on 14 May 1943.  I get the feeling that how the verse is worded that Mal or Mac was a soldier.

D Robinson

D Robinson

M Jamieson, Seaview, Kingston-on-Spey, wrote another little dittie with a play on words, ‘ A tablespoon is rather large, a teaspoon rather small.  But a spoon upon the sofa, is the best spoon of all’. While Pte., Emilia Race, A.T.S, on 6 May 1943 wrote the words to the well known Vera Lynn song, We’ll meet again. A simple one liner  ‘ Two mugs from Milltown, remember the kilts!’ was written by D Robinson, R.A.F., and what could be L Kenneth R.A.A.F. Feb 1945, followed very quickly by ‘Just another mug, Alice Milne, Seafield Bank, New Elgin, 18 February 1945′.

‘Twinkle Twinkle little star, I took a girl out in a car.  What we did we’re not admittin’, but

Joy Wood

Joy Wood

what she’s knittin’ ain’t for Britain!’ Another cheeky little poem from ‘Daisy’ Day, 8th May 1943.  Getting close to the final pages, Joy Wood W.A.A.F., C.R.S., Nottingham, on 11 November 1946, wrote her own poem and apologised for the ‘shocking poetry’.  J Cumberland, C.R.S., January 11th 1946.  A rather bold entry from W.A.A.F., Jean Brown of Lossiemouth was written on 20 June 1943, while on 8th of August, 1944, Joan Demers wrote ‘ Sincerest wishes always Ann! Remember Just 1 of Room 5, 5 Carrisbrook’.  I wonder what that meant?

Entries by Gladys Rowberry and E Freeman, are followed by ‘I’d lie for you my darling, in thrilling tones she cried.  She was brunette. He preferred blonde, and so the damsel dyed’. Yet another play on words by Mitch, who wishes Ann, all the best in Civvy Street.

E Elizabeth Bingham

E Elizabeth Bingham

E Elizabeth Bingham, 12 Sect. E. Coy., H.P.C. (V), Notts., wrote on 5 June 1944 – the day before D-Day – ‘This ring is round and hath no end, so is my love for you, my friend.

The Bridle Pie, by Peggy Innes is the next entry ‘Take a cup of kindliness, a tablespoon of trust.  Add a pinch of confidence. Roll out a loving crust.  Flour with contentment and keep free from strife. Fill with understanding and bake well for life’.  Followed by Doris E Wells on 16th January 1945.



A young man called Artie seems to have reserved his page by writing ‘? leave this for me’.  He then draws a line down the page, thus reserving for later.  He then writes’ Remember the hilltop.  Remember the lake.  Remember me on your wedding day, but remember my piece of cake! Artie’

Finally, two entries, back to back by Pte Wells, A.T.S.,  501 Bty on 6

May 1943.

Who were these people who thought so much of my mum, Elizabeth Ann Riach.  At home in

Pte., Wells

Pte., Wells

Urquhart and to her family she was Lizzie.  In the army, to her husband and friends in Yorkshire she was Ann.  Oh!, how I would have loved to know the smiling, fun loving woman written about so fondly in her little black book.

Old Etonian Killed in Action WW2

KRRC War Memorial Eton College

KRRC War Memorial Eton College

It was Eton College War Memorial, many years ago,  that started me transcribing war memorials and I seem to have gathered a vast collection of photographs along the way – I hate to say that many still need transcribing, but at the moment another project has to take priority.

But in the meantime, I will venture back to Eton College and a young man who I met (virtually) along the way.

When I transcribed the Eton College War Memorial, all those years ago, I was fortunate enough to be contacted by a relative of one of the men whose name is carved in………….. I was going to say stone but I think it is in fact marble.  A few emails went back and forth, with little bits of extra information and a photograph – it is so nice to know who you are writing about and it was my pleasure to be able to visit the grave, photograph the headstone and send over to the family.

It also appears, that when doing a little research for the young man concerned I found out that his grandfather Hugh Scott 8th of Gala)  was born in Bellie nr Elgin and his grandmother (Elizabeth Isabella Gordon) hailed from St Andrews, also in Elgin – small world as my mothers family also come from that area of Morayshire.

Who am I talking about, well it’s Henry John Alexander Scott Makdougall who born on 6th February 1901, the son of Hugh James Elibank Scott-Makdougall of Makerstoun and his wife Agnes Jenkinson.

Henry was educated at Eton College, leaving in November 1918.  He sat exams for Sandhurst College on 11th November 1918.  Henry was commissioned into the King’s Royal Rifle Corps with the serial number 12838, gaining the rank of Captain in the 60th Rifles (KRRC) in 1930.

In 1934 his father, Hugh died and on 2nd April 1935. Henry legally changed his name to Henry John Alexander Scott Makdougall, becoming Henry John Alexander Makdougall Scott, 11th of Gala.  This was recognised by the Lord Lyon King of Arms  and on 2nd April of the same year his arms were matriculated.

Henry served in WWII and I was told by a family member that  it was on a visit back to his family home, Gala House, with his mother, other family members and staff stood outside,  that he got in his car and drove off.  His mother waved him away and said that would be the last time she would see her son.

Scott, John Henry MacdougallCaptain Scott and one Second Lieutenant Scott were involved in fighting the enemy on the streets of Calais during May of 1940.  The story goes that one was on one side of the street and the other was across the road.  Both were killed on the same day and there seemed to be some confusion about who was where and what they were doing.  These details don’t seem to matter.  But what does matter is the men – Henry was 39 years old when he was killed on 26th May 1940 and his comrade was only 20 years old and both lie within the walls of Calais Southern Cemetery and rest a distance, probably, as wide as a street from each other.

So it looks like a mother’s premonitions came true!

Major Scott of Gala

Major Scott of Gala

The Probate Calender for England and Wales reads :- SCOTT Henry John Alexander MakDougall of Gala House, Galashiels died 26 May 1940.  Confirmation of Francis Gillies Sutherland writer to the Signet Philip Beaumont Frere solicitor and John Douglas Hamilton dickson writer to the Signet,  Sealed Llandudno 28 July 1941.


Galashiels War Memorial

Henry, as well as being mentioned on the Eton King’s Royal Rifle Corps memorial, Henry also has his name on the Galashiels memorial to the fallen.

As I mentioned another Scott, it seems only fair and right to see who he is too.  Richard Oswald Scott, was the son of Oswald Arthur Scott, DSO (1918) and his wife Hermione Monica, whom he later divorced.  Here it seems there is another local, well reasonably local, connection – Oswald Arthur married Hermione Monica Ferrand on the 19th of May 1917 in All Saints Church, Bingley.  Hermione’s father was William Ferrand, Esquire, living at St Ives, Bingley.  Oswald Arthur was 23 years old and a Captain in the Hampshire Regiment, living at Rotherfield Park, Alton. Witnesses to the union were W Ferrand, Patricia M Scott, Geoffrey T Scott and William Harris(?) Scott.   Oswald, served as 1st Secretary, Counsellor, Ambassador in Madrid, Baghdad, Lisbon, Finland and in the Foreign Office.  In 1951 he was Knighted (KCMG)

Richard, their son,  was born in the St Georges Hanover Square Registration District of London in the June Quarter of 1920 – one of four children.

Lieut R O Scott

Lieut R O Scott

During WWII he, like Henry, served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps and became known as 95645, 2nd Lieutenant R O Scott.  The men a few connections, both came from landed families and both had links to Eton College.  While looking for snippets of information about Richard, I came across his brother – Thomas Roland Scott 4th April 1923 also served during the war.  Thomas served as Flying Officer, 115515 in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve.  On 22nd of October 1942, he too was killed and he rests in Porthmadog Public Cemetery, Caernarvonshire, with 17 other casualties from both wars.


King’s Royal Rifle Corp Eton Memorial can be found here


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