Monthly Archives: September 2015

Piper Daniel Laidlaw, V.C.

Piper Daniel Laidlaw won the Victoria Cross,  in 1915.

Daniel Laidlaw V.C. via Wikipedia

Daniel Laidlaw V.C. via Wikipedia

Daniel, had been born in 1875 in Berwickshire, enlisted in 1896, joining the Durham Light Infantry, serving in the army in India.  He re-enlisted when war broke out and served The King’s Own Scottish Borderers and by the following year, 1915, he was 40 years of age.

The attack on the French village of Loos on the 25th of September 1915 was the first time the British had used poison gas.  The gas was released and due to a change in the weather, instead of heading towards the enemy the gas came towards the allies.

London Gazette, 18 November 1915 ], Loos, France, 25 September 1915, No. 15851 Piper Daniel Laidlaw, 7th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

“For most conspicuous bravery prior to an assault on German trenches near Loos and Hill 70 on 25 September 1915. During the worst of the bombardment, Piper Laidlaw, seeing that his company was badly shaken from the effects of gas, with absolute coolness and disregard of danger, mounted the parapet, marched up and down and played company out of the trench. The effect of his splendid example was immediate and the company dashed out to the assault. Piper Laidlaw continued playing his pipes until he was wounded.”

Victoria Cross

Victoria Cross

Piper Laidlaw, was invested with his Victoria Cross by King George V at Buckingham Palace on the 3rd of February 1916.

Only one other piper was awarded the Victoria Cross during The Great War and that was, Scottish born Canadian soldier James Cleland Richardson

Daniel’s medals have been donated to the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh and are on display on the 5th floor.

To read more about Piper Laidlaw and his experiences visit the BBC Scotland website or take a look at the youtube interview with Piper Laidlaw, V.C.

Further information about Daniel Laidlaw, Victoria Cross –

Victoria Cross – click here

Battlefields1418 – click here

St. Helen’s, Sandal – burial and plot records

St. Helen’s church, Sandal burial records and burial plot records.

St Helen's, Sandal via Wikipedia

St Helen’s, Sandal via

While visiting the website of St. Helen’s church, to see if they were open this weekend (Heritage Weekend), I came across something that will be of use to family historians, both at home and overseas – I can only hope that other churches will do the same.

What has St. Helen’s done?     St. Helen’s church have transcribed their burial records, scanned the burial plans and added them to their website content and is searchable.

The burial plans – The burial plans are available Free to download, available in sections with a master plan showing the sections, paths and boundaries.  The majority of the plans have a surname written within each plot – very handy for confirming the correct plot by using the surrounding names as a guide.

What information do I get?     The burial  information is quite basic – Surname; First name(s); Burial date; Section and Plot.

Although the information available is basic, it can be enough to conform a relative’s burial, or make a visit worthwhile.  But, and there is always one of those, isn’t there?  It does not tell you if there is a headstone!  A visit is sometimes only worth the journey if there is something physical to see.   That little problem could be solved though, as Wakefield & District Family History Society have transcribed the headstones and monuments for St. Helen’s, Sandal.    With a bit of planning, you could find the section for your relative(s) on the St. Helen’s website, next find the transcription booklets on the family history society site –   then only buy index of names or the section book you need.

Who can I find in the records? – J. D. Tute who rests in Section 4E Plot 47.  J. D.

De Tute headstone St Helen's church.   image C Sklinar

De Tute headstone St Helen’s church.
image C Sklinar

Tute is infact Joseph De Tute who was buried and the headstone includes Charles Henry, Albert Gaunt and Elizabeth.

At St Catherine’s church on October the 20th 1879, Joseph and Elizabeth de Tute, took four children to be baptised – John Thomas, Joseph, Charles Henry and Ben.  Joseph was a foreman Poster and either he gave his address as St Catherine’s or the Vicar Edward Rowland, simply entered the parish, as all his entries did.

I suggest you visit St Helen’s church website if you have family from the surrounding area  – it may be of help with your research.    Pictures of St Helen’s churchyard and other churchyards in the Wakefield area can be found here

WW1 Deserters from Wakefield

Extracted from the Wakefield Express issue of September 27th 1917 – Wakefield Court Petty Sessions.

“City Court – Saturday. Before Ald. G. Foster.  A Violent Deserter – William Moorhouse, Belle Vue, was charged with being a deserter from the K.O.Y.L.I.  Sergt. Sheard and P.C. Gardner visited defendant’s house in the early hours of Saturday morning and found him in hiding.  The man became very violent and struck the sergeant in the jaw. – Prisoner was remanded to await escort.

Thomas Allen, Barnsley, was charged with being an absentee under the Military Service Act and was ordered to be handed over to the military authorities.

City Court Monday. Before Major Bolton (presiding), Ad. W. H. Kingswell, Mr. Fred Simpson, Ald. G. A. Moorhouse, and Mr. C. Mellor. – An Absentee in ‘Civvies’,  – John Henry Harrison was charged with being an absentee from a Labour Battalion connected with the Lincolnshire Regiment.  Prisoner, who appeared in the dock in ‘civvies’, was arrested in a house in Union Square, Kirkgate, by P.C. Kirkby, shortly after midnight on Saturday.  The man admitted he was an absentee, and said he had done away with his uniform.  He was remanded to wait escort and the officer was recommended for a reward of 10s.

West Riding Court Monday. Before Mr. Percy Tew (presiding), Mr. W. Briggs, Mr. T. P. Robinson, and Cr. A Johnson.  Absentee – William Thompson, Normanton, and Alfred Arundel Newton Hill, were charged with being absentees from the Lancashire Fusiliers and the  Norfolk Regiment respectively, and they were remanded to await escort.

Wakefield Express WW1 – Thomas Pearson

Wakefield Family’s Sacrifice

Two Sons Killed and Another a Prisoner of War

The Other in Training

Mr. and Mrs. T. Pearson, Jubilee Terrace, Saville Street, Wakefield, have suffered another bereavement in the death in action of their youngest son, Private Thomas Pearson, of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry.  They have received very sympathetic letters from an officer and a private, and it appears that the young soldier – he was nineteen years of age – met his death on Sept., 21st.  He was going with his platoon into the front line trench, when a shell dropped near him and killed him and two of his comrades instantaneously.  The officer in the course of his letter says “I have lost a gallant young member of my platoon.  It was his first time in the trenches.  He was a nice boy, and gave such promise of becoming a fine soldier.”  Deceased joined the colours on February 15th last, and had been in France only six weeks.

Mr. and Mrs. Pearson’s second son, Pte., Alfred Pearson, was killed in action n September 25th, 1916, and their eldest son Private Sam Pearson, York and Lancaster Regiment was taken a prisoner by the Germans on April 9th last.  Their third son, Private Mawson Pearson, K.O.Y.L.I., is at present in training  at Rugeley Camp.

Wakefield Express  3rd November 1917.

Who are these young men?

Thomas, served as Private 36270, in the KOYLI’s.  He died, as we know, on the 21st of September 1917.  He rests in Wulverghem-Lindenhoek Road Military Cemetery, with over 650 other identified casualties of war and over 400 whose headstone says ‘A soldier of the Great War’.

Theipval Memorial to the Missing

Theipval Memorial to the Missing

Alfred served as Private 17294 in the KOYLI’s.  He died, as we know in September, 1916. He is remembered on the Theipval Memorial to the Missing, with over 72,000 others whose final resting place is known only unto their God.

Mawson Pearson served as Private 205520 in the KOYLI’s.  Mawson died in Wakefield aged 70 years in 1966.  Mawson and his brother Sam are both entered in the Absent Voters List for 1918.

Sam Pearson served as Private 32102 in the York and Lancs., Regiment and is not listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission list – so it looks like he survived!