Tag Archives: records

Event – Life on the Home Front

Life on the Home Front Weekend

18-19 July 2015   10am – 4pm

Cusworth Hall Museum and Park

Doncaster, DN5 7TU

An event organised by Doncaster MDC, under the ‘Doncaster 1914-1918 At Home, At War‘ umbrella and funded by the Lottery Heritage Fund.

The organising group are are pleased to announce this, the biggest event in the area of this summer, and with FREE entry, and FREE activities it looks like it could be a wonderful day out for all members of the family.

Life on the Home Front Weekend

Life on the Home Front Weekend

The front lawn at Cusworth Hall will be taken over with a huge range of activities, including:

– Visit First World War nurses and meet their patient
– Get hands-on with First World War objects and try on uniforms
– Sample and learn more about First World War cooking
– Experience a soldier’s training camp
– Find out about wartime Doncaster, rationing and thrifty fashion
– Family-friendly crafts and activities

The timings for the events at Cusworth are still being finalised so keep checking in on their website facebook page and their Twitter link – have a good time!

This event is one of a series entitled ‘The Great War on Tour’, which visits a variety of places including St Oswald’s Church, Kirk Sandall on the 20th of June ; Edlington Library on the 22 of June and ‘Doncaster at War 1914-1915’ again at Edlington Library on 29th of May through to 25th of June.

Doncaster 1914-18 on Facebook  and on Twitter 

Doncaster1914-18 on the web

A Poacher’s Tale is not always happy one!

A Poacher’s Tale is not always happy one!

A few years ago, well it seems like that but is probably longer, I was given a box of photographs to scan and do something with. Some of the carte de visite’s had that were handed to me in a shoebox had names or a clue to who they were.  While others, the only clue was the name of the photographer and the place where they had their studio.

The box held a wonderful time capsule of images, with many having a Morley, West Yorkshire connection, but others linked by the photographer to places as far away as America and Canada, but that is another tale.

James Clough

James Clough

One of the pictures was handed over on its own………why?  Well, I soon found out.  I was asked it I could find out a little more about the person who would be  forever the age when the image was taken.  The reverse of the carte gave a name – James Clough, and I was also given a clue that he was a gamekeeper, that would also be suggested by the fact in the photograph he was holding a rabbit and a gun – just a few clues! It was also mentioned that James had been killed, but no idea when – now that would surely give me something to get my teeth into!

So, off to find a gamekeeper – James, found in the 1881 census as a gamekeeper. I now had 1819/20 as as approximate time of birth (61 years old), with Morley being given as his place of birth and confirmation of his occupation.  He is living with his wife Mary, from West Ardsley, aged 56 and sons George A and Scott, aged 10 and 8, both being born in Soothill.

Going back in time to find James as a young man, back to 1851.  James was living at Northgate, Dewsbury, working as a blacksmith with  Martha, aged 27 from Dewsbury, as his wife – looks like things could get complicated.  Martha was Martha Pickles who he married in Dewsbury All Saints in July 1839 after banns were read on the 7th, 14th and 21st of July.

24 jul 1858

Lancaster Gazette 24 July 1858

Forward in time with a search through newspapers came up with a bit of a surprise!  The Lancaster Gazette of 24th of July 1858.  The small headline in the newspaper column read ‘Daring Outrage by Poachers’.  James along with three others appeared before Wakefield Magistrates in July 1858 for night poaching in West Ardsley near Wakefield accompanied by violence. Three gamekeepers were keeping watch on the land owned by Joseph Ellis, esq.  The poachers were seen and followed by the gamekeepers and their dog. If you read the article you will see what the reporters said in the paper.  But it must have made a stir to be reported in Lancaster.

Leeds Mercury June 14 1859

Leeds Mercury June 14 1859

1859, only a year after being accused of poaching, James is now in the papers, and we see the first reference of him being a gamekeeper.

A few years late, 1861, James is living as a lodger in the home of Joseph Whittaker – The Joseph Whittaker who he was caught poaching with, in 1858. James is listed as married but his wife is not mentioned.

1871 came around and James is living in Soothill, with Sarah, his wife and son George Albert, aged 4 months.  By now James is 51 and Sarah, is 38 – who is Sarah his wife?  What happened to Martha?  There is a death of Martha Clough in the March Qtr of 1852 and a marriage of a James Clough to Sarah Westmorland on 23rd of July 1866 in Dewsbury Parish Church.  James was a widower aged 47 and the son of William Clough, while Sarah was a spinster aged 34, the daughter of Charles Westmorland.

1881 – James is still living in the Soothill area but now quite close to the Babes in the Wood, he is 61 years old. He now tells that he is a gamekeeer and living with his wife – Mary.  Who is Mary, you may ask?  Well, here we go again.  It appears that Sarah died in 1874 as there is a burial entry for her in Hanging Heaton churchyard on 13th of November 1874.

The year of 1884 brings another turn-up for the books – James Clough aged 64 married Leah Delbridge, a 53 year old widow, daughter of Thomas Griffiths,  on 7th January 1884 again in Dewsbury Parish Church, I hope by now he received a discount!

Hanging Heaton church copyright C Sklinar

Hanging Heaton church copyright C Sklinar

I hope life was going well for the couple who had seen the loss of their spouses, in James’ case he had seen the death of more than one wife.  But, life has a habit of throwing things at you.  It was in October of 1885 that James Clough, gamekeeper was killed by poachers.

James was laid to rest on the 19th of October 1885 in Hanging Heaton Churchyard.

Voluntary Aid Detachment volunteers

Over 90,000 people volunteered for the British Red Cross at home and overseas during the Great War, providing vital aid to naval and military forces and caring for the sick and wounded. County branches of the Red Cross had their own Voluntary Aid Detachments (VADs) made up of both men and women. The VAD’s work included such jobs as nursing, transport, rest stations, working parties and auxiliary hospitals. They ran libraries, did air raid duty, and a service that is still being used today – Missing and wounded service.

As women volunteered for jobs normally undertaken by men prior to the war it enabled over 11,000 men to be released for military service of some sort.

Agatha Christie record. London Evening Standard

Agatha Christie record. London Evening Standard

Did you know that Agatha Christie, volunteered for the Red Cross before publishing her first novel in 1920 and worked in a Torquay hospital. Her work, dispensing drugs, gave her an insight into poisons – this information she used in her books. Vera Brittain, famous for her ‘Testament of Youth’, joined the VAD in 1915 and by 1917 was working in France. Enid Bagnold, of National Velvet fame, served in London. Did you also know that E M Forster, novelist, critic and essayist, was a pacifist and instead of fighting he worked with the Red Cross. Lady Diana Manners, mentioned in an earlier article, – reputedly the most beautiful woman in England at the time and it was expected that she should marry the Prince of Wales. Her mother was not enamored at her joining the VAD. Diana stated in her memoirs, The Rainbow Comes and Goes. “She explained in words suitable to my innocent ears that wounded soldiers, so long starved of women, inflamed with wine and battle, ravish and leave half-dead the young nurses who wish only to tend them,” The Duchess relented “… knew, as I did, that my emancipation was at hand,” Diana says, and goes on to admit, “I seemed to have done nothing practical in all my twenty years.” The VAD plunged her and other young ladies into four years that would change their lives forever. I’ll dot in a few more volunteers further down the page.

Deaths – even though the VADs were non-combatant, they suffered many deaths. During the war,it is estimated that 128 nursing members and over 100 other VAD members not all directly working for the Red Cross died or  were killed. The Roll of Honour contains records of the deaths of 498 Joint War Committee members. This figure includes 8 VADs who died as a result of the sinking of the SS Osmanieh on 31 December 1917. The vessel was contracted by the British navy and was struck by a mine laid by the German submarine UC34 and sank, killing 199 people. They are remembered at the Alexandria (Hadra) War memorial cemetery. The most common cause of death of the VADs was pneumonia caused by Spanish flu.

An obituary in the Red Cross Journal, 1918 stated:

Miss Elger died on February 10th from pneumonia following influenza… For two and a half years she was a devoted and conscientious worker at Clayton Court Hospital, where her loss is felt most keenly by all who knew her. Clayton Court, it will be remembered, was most generously placed at the disposal of the Red Cross by Mr and Mrs Elger early in the war. After doing so much to help their country, it seems hard that they should have to bear this further personal sacrifice”.

The Red Cross has recently transcribed personnel records and at the moment surnames starting with the letters A and B are currently available to search. Volunteers are still working to update the site with more names. One such volunteer was Achsah Bradley of Westbourne, St Andrews Avenue, Morley. Her record card shows that she had originally lived at Denshaw, Morley. Achsah served from March 1917 to January of 1919. Her work as a Special Service Probationer, a pantry worker, was at Roundhay Auxiliary Military Hospital, Leeds, where she worked part time. In total she worked 3,920 hours, which roughly equates to nearly 40 hours per week for her 2 years’ service.

Thornes House, Wakefield home of the Milne-Gaskell's

Thornes House, Wakefield home of the Milne-Gaskell’s

Another volunteer was Lady Constance Milnes Gaskell, of Thornes House, Wakefield.

One of the gentlemen who volunteered was Retired Major Ernest James Gibson Berkley of 70 Camberwell Road, London, S.E.5.  Major Gibson served from June 1918 until June of the following year, working as a Divisional Inspector, with duties at the P.M.O. Hospital, and Southward V.A.D. Hospital.  He had been awarded the M.B.E. and O.B.E.  Major Berkley, in 1911 was aged 49.  He gave his occupation as ‘SURGEON MAJOR R A M C T CAPTAIN HUNSBURY’. Information about him can be found in The Gazette here and here.  Probate for Major Berkley tells that he died on 30th of April 1928 and Probate (to Barclays Bank) revealed that he left £20813 5s 7d. His wife will can be found here.

Source – The Red Cross archives

Four years of our war website

Batley Lads – Roll of Honour of Batley Grammar School – Book Review

We recently published an article by Guest Blogger, Philip L Wheeler, who wrote about Drighlington ‘pub lads ‘ who gave their lives during WWI.  Well I am pleased to say that Philip, with three others has written a book about the lads from Batley Grammar School, who died in the Great War 1914 – 1918, with the support of the National Lottery, Heritage Lottery Fund.

Batley Lads cover

Batley Lads cover

The paperback book, A4 in size contains over 300 pages. Before you visit the pages of the young men, you are invited to become familiar with life in Edwardian Batley and Batley Grammar School at the time leading up to 1914 enlistment and the period when the ‘old boys’ started to enlist.

You are then introduced to the 61 fallen boys and one headmaster from the school who paid the ultimate sacrifice, by a full colour page bearing their rank and name, lifespan and regiment, with at least one image per entry. Each of these pages has a selection from a poem or prose for example:-

“Earth has waited for them, All the time of their growth Fretting for their decay: Now she has them at last! In the strength of their strength suspended—-stopped and held.” Isaac Rosenberg 1917.

The book is easy to read, and is overflowing with information about the men and their families; what was happening during their war and where they now rest.   One of the men mentioned and highlighted on the back cover is Private Horace Waller, V.C., born in 1896, he served in the KOYLI 10th Batt.  Horace died on the 10th of April 1917 aged 20 from wounds received while throwing bombs at the enemy.  It was a result of these actions and actions earlier in the day that he was awarded The Victoria Cross.  Another young man was Corporal Gilbert Pattison, who served in the Royal Flying Corps.

The Epilogue, goes on to tell how the school and other schools continued after the war and bringing the school to the future, hoping that the current pupils will visit the cemeteries of their fallen.

Finally, there are the resources and index.

If you have a connection to Batley Grammar School, or the Batley area, this is a wonderful book to ‘pop in and out’ of.  All in all, this book has been researched in depth by Philip, an ex-pupil of Batley Grammar School and his co-writers – this is a book to be proud and well worth the £10 price tag!

If you would like a copy of this very informative book please email :  info@projectbugle.org.uk

It’s May – an eventful month

Well, only a few days into the merry month of May and so much has happened.

We have see the birth of another great grandchild to Her Majesty The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, but that will have to wait for another blog.  There has also been celebrations taking place for the end of the war in Europe – V E Day.

We have see the commemorations to those who lost their lives in the sinking of the Lusitania, 100 years ago and we have seen an election which I don’t think anyone predicted the outcome of.  But enough of politics, so back to the Lusitania a more fitting subject for this blog.

RMS Lusitania - Wikipedia

RMS Lusitania – Wikipedia

She, RMS Lusitania was a British ocean liner and holder of the Blue Riband (an unofficial accolade given to passenger liners crossing the Atlantic at a record high speed – of 35 holders of the Blue Riband, 25 were British).  She was launched on 7th of June 1906, becoming part of the Cunard Line.  RMS Lusitania was the biggest passenger ship – for a short time.  Built by John Brown & Co., at Clydebank, she weighed in at 44,060 tons. She had 9 passenger decks, provided approx. 50% more passenger capacity that any other ship at the time.  The ship was equipped with lifts, electric lights, wireless telegraph and her first class accommodation and decks were magnificent in their furnishings.

The Lusitania left New York on the 1st of May 1915 for the port of Liverpool with 1962 people onboard including a crew of 850.

Advert from American papers - Wikipedia

Advert from American papers – Wikipedia

By this time the German Government had declared that all Allied ships would be in danger of being attacked in British waters.  Submarine activity was intensifying around the Atlantic making any vessel in our coastal waters a target for attack.  It is said that the German Embassy in the United States placed an advertisement in newspapers warning passengers of the danger of being a passenger on the Lusitania.

On the 7th of May, RMS Lusitania, was off the coast of Ireland ready to complete her 202nd crossing and was due to dock in Liverpool later that afternoon.  A course running parallel to the south coast of Ireland,  and roughly 11 miles off the Old Head of Kinsale when the liner crossed in front of U-20 at 14:10hrs. The Commanding Officer of U-20, Schwieger, gave the order to fire one torpedo, which struck the Lusitania on the starboard bow – just beneath the wheelhouse.  Shortly after, a second explosion came from within her hull, and the ship began to founder with a prominent list to starboard.

The crew rushed to launch the lifeboats but the position of the vessel and the conditions made their deploy quite difficult and in some cases almost impossible.  As it was only six of the 48 boats were launched.

Eighteen minutes after the torpedo struck, the bow touched the seabed, with the stern still visible above the surface of the water – finally, sliding beneath the waves to her grave.

Of the 1962 passengers and crew on board the Lusitania 1,191 lost their lives, 405 members of the crew lost their lives including John Henry Lowrie Hayes .

 The Lusitania had signalled her distress which brought Irish rescuers to the scene.

By the following morning the news if the sinking, of this unarmed passenger liner,  had spread worldwide.  Most of the passengers were either British of Canadians, there were 128 Americans on the passenger list who lost their lives and this outraged many in their country.

Dr. Bernhard Dernburg, a German spokesman published a statement saying that the Lusitania carried ‘contraband of war’ and also she was ‘classed as an auxiliary cruiser’ Germany had the right to destroy her regardless of any passengers on board.  He also stated that because of the published warning in American papers that Germany were relieved of any responsibility for the deaths of the American citizens.  He stated the ammunition and military goods listed as her cargo, which included an estimated 4,200,000 rounds of rifle cartridges, 1,250 empty shell cases and 18 cases of non-explosive fuses.

Cunard denied that she was carrying munitions but admitted her transportation of small-arms ammunition.

100 years later on the 7th of May 2015, Cunard’s MS Queen Victoria underook a voyage to the site of the sinking to lay a wreath to remember those who lost their lives on that day.

Previous commemorations had taken place, including  a lifeboat crew rowing the 12 miles to the site of the disaster.

Should you trust a transcript – a cautionary tale


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



Morayshire man to get memorial 100 years after his death

 After seeing a link to an online version of the Press and Journal, a Scottish newspaper, I was very interested, as the young man concerned was from the same village as my grandad – Dallas, Morayshire.

Anderson, William V.C.

Anderson, William V.C.

William Anderson was born in 1885 in Dallas, but by 1891, the family consisting of Alexander and Bella, the parents, plus children, James, Maggie, William and Alexander, living at 79 North Road. Alexander snr., worked as a labourer to keep a roof over his family’s head.

He went to Glasgow and was employed as a car conductor with the Corporation Tramways for several years before moving  to Newcastle upon Tyne where an elder brother of the family was serving with the Yorkshire Regiment (Alexandra, Princess of Wales’s Own) and enlisted in the same battalion in 1905, serving in it for a period of seven years in Egypt and India. After his service expired William returned to Glasgow and was employed in the Elder Hospital in Govan. He had been there only for a year before deciding to emigrate to South Africa. However, before he could leave war broke out and he was called up as a reservist and went to the front in France with the British Expeditionary Force.

Our soldier, William Anderson, served in the 2nd Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment.  He served as Corporal, 8191.

An extract from “The London Gazette”, dated 21st May, 1915, records the following: “For most conspicuous bravery at Neuve-Chapelle on 12th March, 1915, when he led three men with bombs against a large party of the enemy who had entered our trenches, and by his prompt and determined action saved, what might otherwise have become, a serious situation. Cpl. Anderson first threw his own bombs, then those in possession of his three men (who had been wounded) amongst the Germans, after which he opened rapid rifle fire upon them with great effect, notwithstanding that he was at the time quite alone”.

William’s commanding officer wrote him up for his Victoria Cross – he had died within less than 24 hours, his Soldier’s Effects record states ‘on or since 13.3.15’.  The document also mentions his sister, Mrs Margaret Ingram and his brother Alexander, who would receive monies owed to William.  Various payments had been made to his siblings covering the period 10 May 1916 to 2 December 1919.

Anderson, William V.C., Corporal 8191, has no known grave and is therefore, remembered on the Le Touret Memorial, along with over 13400 other men whose final resting place is known only unto their God.

The Memorial commemorates, as I have said, over 13,400 British soldiers who were killed in this sector of the Western Front from the beginning of October 1914 to the eve of the Battle of Loos in late September the following year – 1915.

Extracted from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission “Almost all of the men commemorated on the Memorial served with regular or territorial regiments from across the United Kingdom and were killed in actions that took place along a section of the front line that stretched from Estaires in the north to Grenay in the south. This part of the Western Front was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the first year of the war, including the battles of La Bassée (10 October – 2 November 1914), Neuve Chapelle (10 – 12 March 1915), Aubers Ridge (9 – 10 May 1915), and Festubert (15 – 25 May 1915). Soldiers serving with Indian and Canadian units who were killed in this sector in 1914 and ’15 whose remains were never identified are commemorated on the Neuve Chapelle and Vimy memorials, while those who fell during the northern pincer attack at the Battle of Aubers Ridge are commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial”.

Commonwealth War Graves certificate

Commonwealth War Graves certificate

To read the continuing story of William and his V.C. visit the Press and Journal’s website 

For information on other men from the Yorkshire Regiment you might find this of interest.

I’ve moved, come and follow me!

Stay in touch with me on Facebook

I’ve moved, come and follow me!

This 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.

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 folder 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.  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. Aubrey G A Baring, another child, fought in WW2, gaining the rank of Squadren Leader.  He was decorated with the DFC. Later in life he became the Chairman of Twickenham Film Studios. One of their other boys, Esmond Charles Baring, educated at Eton, like his brothers, went on to Trinity College.  He also fought in WW2 and gained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Royal Armoured Corps. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the Legion of Honour and invested as an Officer, Order of the British Empire.

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.   At the time leading up to WW2 Olive was living, as seen in the 1939 Register, at Empshott Grange, Petersfield. Also in the house were numerous indoor and outdoor staff.  Olive at the time was part of the WVS (note not the WRVS until 1966)

Olive died in 1964 in the Petersfield area.

Biddesden House

Biddesden House


The Baring Archive – is here

Winchester Cathedral – click here 

Military map can be found – here 

Eton Memorials are here 

Lost Heritage – click here

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