Monthly Archives: January 2019

Fred Stringer, or is he?

Who is Fred Stringer, you may ask? Why is he deserving of a page in my ramblings?

Fred has been mentioned before. Where? In my previous blog about Arthur Moorhouse. Remember near the end I said I would tell about ‘Betty and Fred’. It seems their time has come!

Starting from where my interest in Fred began while looking for a Service or Pension record for Arthur Moorhouse, his brother,  I came across an entry for ‘Arthur Moorhouse, Wakefield, brother’. Could this be the Arthur I was looking for, well yes it was, but in the wrong context – I wanted a soldier, not a brother. But saying that, and after a little diversion from Arthur I found something just as interesting – his brothers Pension Record – a bonus and interesting.

Warrengate area via Wakefield MDC

The record set opened and told me Fred’s relatives – his mother was Betty Moorhouse of 23 Warrengate, Wakefield. His elder brother was William of Briggs Yard, Northgate, Wakefield and two younger brothers, Arthur (we know of) and Ezekiel, both of Warrengate. This family were all mentioned in Arthur’s section and confirmed in census records.

Fred’s Pension Records – Fred Stringer of Ossett near the town of Leeds, according to his Attestation – don’t start me on that one! Was nearly 21 when he signed before a local magistrate in Leeds in November 1911 and on the same day he was determined to be fit for the Army.

Have you noticed the name difference? Fred is a Stringer, while his mother is Moorhouse. Fred seems to have changed his name as on his and his siblings’ baptism records he is the son of a single woman, Betty Moorhouse. Anyway, back to Fred’s Pension Records.

Fred 5ft 6½ in I height weighed 154lbs. He had a 37½ chest which included a 7-inch expansion – seems quite large compared to other records I’ve seen but could be an error or bad writing on behalf of the medical staff. His complexion was fresh, he had blue eyes and fair hair and gave his religion of C of E. Fred had a scar on his scalp, a mole on his right forearm and one on his left shoulder. His pulse was recorded as 80, you don’t see that mentioned a lot in records. So, Fred Private 7721 was in the Hussars.

It looks like Fred’s service got off to a bumpy start, as after being in the army only three weeks, he is in the Guard Detention Room from the 23rd of November to the 20th of December (given 28 days and loss of pay until he made good the sum of £1 12s 11d in respect of his kit). All former service was forfeited. Service not allowed to reckon. His service began again on the 15th of December 2011.

Fred was posted to the 18th Hussars on the 15th of March, 1912 BUT the day before, the 14th, he is ‘Declared a Deserter’. Towards the end of April, he was given 35 days for being ‘Absence without Leave, making the Detention Barracks his home once more. .

Working through his service records in order and not always in date order, he gave his next of kin as his sister Jane Reed of 20 Vicarage Street, Wakefield.  Jane Reed answers another question posed in Arthur Moorhouse’ entry – who was the Reed who completed the 1911 census for Betty and her family – seems that one is now answered, could it be her son in law?

While looking through this recordset I have been wondering why Fred joined the services in the first place. He was posted again in May 1912 and by the 6th of the following month was absent again. He was in custody by the 15th of June. In July he was tried by DCM and sentenced to ’84 days and to be discharged with **ming for (i) Deserting his Majesty’s Service (ii) When a prisoner in confinement attempting to escape. The sentence has bee confirmed by GOC 2nd Cav Bde. who raises the sentence to read ‘To **dey detention for 84 days’ All forms forfeited on conviction desertion’. And so it goes on – Detention; Absent; Stop Pay; Disrespect for uniform.

And so it was on the 25th of May 1914 he was Discharged for Misconduct under paragraph 392 (xi) Kings Regulations. Fred’s Application for Discharge confirm his age and height but also include the reasons for discharge with his character being marked as BAD. A footnote told ‘I do not know whether this man misconducted himself with a view to discharge but I have no reason to suppose so’. Signed by C H Corbett, Major at Tidworth.

The plot thickens as on the 10th of November 1910 Fred Moorhouse Attested in Wakefield, joining the Royal Artillery as 62880. And so on to his description – 5ft 6½ inches in height. Weight 152 lbs. . He had a 39-inch chest with a 4 in expansion. With a fresh complexion, grey eyes, light brown hair he told his religion was C of E. He had a pulse rate of 70 and still had a scar on the back of his head. Again he was found to be fit to join the Royal Regiment of Artillery in Halifax.

He was given the rank of a driver and posted on 27th of November 1911. By the 11th of June 1911, he had deserted at Newbridge.

The next few lines tell ‘Fraudulently enlisted into Corps of Hussars of the Line on 1.11.11 as no. 7721. Pte: Fred Stringer and held to serve therein’. The next page seems to be where we began Fred’s tale, with his mother and siblings. Is there any more to tell? Just a little.

The Attestation for service in the RA gives Fred’s occupation as Rural Labourer, a change from carter. He had been vaccinated in infancy and in later life. In October of 1912 and also in May 1913 Fred had been admitted to hospital in Tidworth with boils, the cause of which were not known.

And so Fred’s service records end. He seems to be a bit of a character but at least consistent in his actions.

One question remains – why did he enlist under the surname of Stringer?

This is where Arthur and Fred’s lives cross as I omitted some information from Arthur entry.

In 1881 Betty Moorhouse was aged 24, employed as a rag sorter and living with her daughters, Anna aged 5 and Elizabeth Ann aged 2. Fred was baptised at St Paul’s. Alverthorpe on the 26th of November 1890 after being born on the 22nd of December 1888. He was registered and baptised as Frederick Stringer Moorhouse in the first quarter of 1889 – where did the Stringer name come from that he used later in life?

The answer is to be found in 1891 – Betty Moorhouse was now living at 5 Blakeys Row, Alverthorpe. She was now aged 34 and had 5 children living with her, including 2-year-old Frederick. But the head of the household was one William Stringer, aged 36, a joiners journeyman, with whom she said she was cohabiting. Does that answer the question, I think it goes a long way to do that, don’t you?

But to continue on to 1901, where Betty is now saying she is the head of the house. She has 4 children with her – some have moved on but Arthur and his younger brother are included, as is, William Stringer who is now a lodger.

I find it fascinating the twists and turns families take and lead us in wrong directions, but not so Betty and her brood. Ten years later in 1911, Betty once again, tries to confuse the later generations when she classes her self as a widow! Did she try to have some form of conformity in her life, a little bit of respectability, or had she and William been together so long it was taken for granted by the community they were married………….who knows. But it does go some way to answer the question of why Fred enlisted as a Stringer and a Moorhouse. But not the more burning question of why he enlisted twice. I think that one lies with Fred himself.

William Stringer died in the summer of 1907 aged 55. Betty Moorhouse died aged 64 in 1920.

Frederick S Moorhouse born in 1888 died in June 1957 aged 69.


Private Arthur Moorhouse, York and Lancaster Regt.,

Wakefield Soldiers Killed

After being in France only a fortnight, Pte. Arthur Moorhouse, of the 10th Batt. York and Lancaster regiment met his death in the battle of Loos. He was 23 years of age, and lived in Warrengate, Wakefield. Pte. S H Whitehead, of the 10th Batt. K.O.Y.L.I., who lived in Pinderfields Road, Wakefied, has died of wounds. He was only 18.

“While ever someone says my name, I did not die”.

Let’s say his name again………….  Arthur Moorhouse.

Firstly, Arthur Moorhouse, for no other reason than he was mentioned first in the Sheffield Independent article dated Saturday 16 October 1916. With only a name and a regiment for me, there is only one place to start – The Commonwealth War Graves Commission website. I’m starting there due to the fact that in the census, although, the newspaper says he was from Wakefield, he may not have been born there and there is an awful lot of Arthur Moorhouses dotted up and down the country, plus he may not have lived at his address in Wakefield for long. For me, the CWGC website will give back more information than I have to input to find him. Luckily there are just 9 Arthur Moorhouse’s in their records. If he had not been there it would have more than likely meant that his first name was cut short to just an initial. Luck was on my side! Well, somewhat on my side.

With one search, there he is. Moorhouse, Arthur, Private, 19770. York & Lancaster Regiment. Died Sunday, September 26, 1915, and that was it. No next of kin attributed to his entry. I do, however, know more than I did a few minutes ago.

Next recordset. The Medal Cards. This set tells, obviously, which medals Arthur’s next of kin were able to apply for – Pip, Squeak and Wilfred. The theatre of war in which he fought is given as France along with the date of 10 September 1915 when he arrived. His death date is given as ‘KinA 26.9.15’.

On to the next search, this time, Soldiers Died in the Great War (SWDTGW) – there he is. I find this set of records very informative as they can tell quite a lot if there is no surviving Service Record, as in Arthur’s case. Anyway, I’ve still not looked at a census, hopefully, this could lessen the search when I get there. It seems that Arthur was, according to SWDTGW, born in Scarborough and moved to Wakefield sometime after. We know his date of death, so that’s nothing new, but what I didn’t know was that he enlisted in Pontefract. Most of the other information was already know but one little gem of information stood out – Arthur had previously served as 18488 in the Yorkshire Light Infantry – bonus!

On to the next set of records – the Army Registers of Soldiers’ Effects and with the absence of a service record this can give, hopefully, a next of kin. I am not let down, there it is written in dark blue ink ‘Mo Betty’ (mother Betty) followed by confirmation in bright red ink ‘Mo Sole Leg Betty’. Betty was to receive in 1916 the sum of £1 11s 2d, followed by a War Gratuity of £3 10s in 1919.

Loos Memorial via CWGC website

Not a lot for the life of a son. Sadly, the family, like many others, have no place to mourn. No headstone to include a private tribute to a fallen son. Arthur is remembered on the Loos Memorial with over 20,500 casualties with no known grave. The site is also the final resting place for many, many Commonwealth soldiers who are marked with the well known CWGC headstone.

I’d looked at my usual record sets, with only one not visited yet. I was dithering thinking, no he would not be included there, but as I used to tell to my class a few years ago, it was always better to have a look and waste a few minutes and find nothing, than miss something that could be of use later. So with my voice ringing in my ears, I followed my advice. I am so glad I listened to myself and visited the WW1 Pension Records.

I wondered why good old Ancestry had opened up on a page in the middle of a set of records, but they were records of a Moorhouse of 23 Warrengate, Wakefield. Betty was there as the mother. Whose records were they? Time to scroll to the beginning. Well, that was a shock as I found who the record was for and continued reading the pages – he was a bit of a character. These were the records of Fred Moorhouse, the elder brother of Arthur. Fred seems to warrant a blog all to himself. Anyway, Arthur is there, in these records, mentioned as being relatives of Fred.

So much has information has been gathered as a result of a few lines in a newspaper – not even a local paper, at that!

It’s census time – 1901. 33 Georges Square is home to Betty and her family – Esme aged 16; Frederick, aged 12; Arthur, aged 8 and Ezekiel, aged 7. There I one other brother, William but he has left home. Betty, the head of the house, tells the enumerator she is a single woman working as a worsted spinner. Do you remember when I looked at the SWDTGW and Scarborough was given as Arthur’s place of birth, well that now differs – Alverthorpe is now his place of birth. But could that have been confused with New Scarbo’? Who knows?

Ten years later things all change. Betty is now a 53-year-old widow working as a shopkeeper on her own account (from home), born in Ossett. William is a pipe fettler in an iron foundry, born in Wakefield and Ezekiel is a wetter off in a local glassworks, again born in Wakefield. Home is 23 Warrengate, three-roomed house. Betty did not complete the compulsory form herself, A Reed, was tasked with the job. Who was A Reed? Was he a friend, a neighbour or even a relative?

Betty, was she a widow or a single woman? Whichever, she had born 13 children and sadly lost half of them before the 1911 census. Could Arthur baptism entry answer this question? Yes, it does and answers another question I asked earlier. In Alverthorpe parish on the 24th of July 1894, Arthur was baptised along with his younger brother, Ezekiel. Arthur had been born on in February 1891 with his younger brother following on May 10 1894. Betty seems to be the only name recorded on these entries – I’m leaving you to make your own conclusion. But home was New Scarboro’!

I don’t want to go off on a tangent and take away anything Arthur, I do that a lot? But it seems that Betty and Fred also have a story to tell.

The first paragraph of my ramblings give you, the reader, the sense that another person is to be mentioned, Private Whitehead, was that second soldier but alas, he will also have to wait a little longer to have his story told.