Monthly Archives: January 2022

Antigua and Bardua War Memorial pt 1

Antigua and Bardua War Memorial

St John’s Cathedral, Antigua © K Sklinar 2021

I think in some respects my children know me too well! A set of images of a war memorial were attached to a message. Followed shortly after by images of the war memorial, images of a cathedral and a tomb appeared. The memorial remembers those who fought in World War One on the islands of Antigua and Barbuda. Though the dark stone memorial has six sides, only three are used. One is in the memorial brass plaque, and one brass panel on each side shows the names. A further small plaque commemorates six islanders from the 1939-1945 conflict.

Before I tell you about the young men whose names are on this memorial, let me give you some background information.

The memorial was erected in 1919 and honours 24 young men. During this period, 1914-1918, over 16,000 men and women volunteered to serve. A new regiment, the British West Indian Regiment (BWI Regiment), was formed in October 1915. A large number of men from the islands, joined this regiment, while others joined existing regiments.

Antigua and Barbuda War Memorial © K Sklinar 2021

Antigua and Barbuda War Memorial © K Sklinar 2021

Returning to the men who are listed alphabetically on the memorial.

Dennis John Freeland Bradbury is first on my list. He was born in Antigua in 1898, the son of Patric Joseph O’Leary Bradbury and his wife Ellen Mary Freeland. Ellen and Patrick are both originally from England, but Patrick’s job required them to move abroad. Oxford-educated Patrick served as Second Master at Antigua Government School. Later Inspector of Schools in Jamaica, followed by Director of Education.

Dennis and his younger brother Basil, in 1911, were living with their aunt and uncle, Georg Henry and Mary Ann Doggett, at Abbey House, Cambridge. Were they here to be educated?

The Southport Visitor opened up a window on the young Dennis on the 30th of November 1916. Denis’s uncle, Dr J. A. Bradbury, former union medical officer for Wigan, wrote that he attended the Moravian School, Leeds (Fulneck School) and later Cambridge University.

In the midst of the Great War, Dennis joined the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, later the North Lancaster Regiment.

Dennis was wounded in 1916 and taken to a base dressing station where he died, aged 19, on the 15th of November 1916. He rests in Mailly Wood CWGC Cemetery, Picardie. The UK Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects shows a considerable amount of money to be paid to his family.

The base of his headstone are the words “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die!.
On the memorial, James Harvey Bryson is listed as the second name. James Bryson was the only child of Robert and Isobel Bryson of Antigua. He was born on the 12th of May 1899. De Ruvigny’s Roll of Honour 1914-1919 includes an interesting biography for James.

Initially educated at Kenley School, time at Aldenham School followed At Aldenham, James took part in both football and athletics and was a senior cadet in the O.T.C. On leaving time at school he joined the army. He was Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the R.F.A., in June 1918 and served with the Expeditionary Force in France and Flanders in August of that year. A few months later he was Killed in Action near Cambrai on the 20th of October 1918 aged 19. James rests in Cambrai East Military Cemetery. Information in a booklet held at the cemetery tells that James served with “Y” 24th Trench Morter Battery and that his parents at this time lived at Dunmara, Bourne End, Buckinghamshire.

Like the previous officer, James’ family would receive a considerable amount of money owed for services. James’ name is included in the Aldenham School War Memorial, as well as the list of Ireland’s World War I Casualties 1914-1922, and as we know the Antigua memorial.

In April 1919, Probate for James of 113 Landsdowne Place, Hove, Sussex, was granted to Robert Bryson, Esq., with effects totalling £270.

As well as having his own grave, James is included on that of his grandfather, James M Bryson in, New Calton Cemetery, Edinburgh. The burial place of James M Bryson who died 6th January 1894 aged 69 years. Mary Dunn his wife died 30th August 1902 aged 67 years. James died 3rd Jany 1870 aged 9 months. Jessie Gillespie died 2nd Sept 1875 aged 15 years. Maggie Bannatyne died 27th May 1880 aged 21 years and in proud and loving memory of James Harvey Bryson 2nd Lt. RFA who fell in action in France on 20th Octr 1918 aged 19 years interred at East Cambrai son of Robert Bryson Antigua and grandson of the above James M Bryson. David Dunn Bryson died 26th Jany 1933(?) aged 77 years, Mary Dunn Bryson widow of Peter Bonthron died 30th April 1938 aged 75 years”.

The Scotsman Saturday 20 October 1923 remembers James – “In proud and loving memory of James Harvey Bryson, Lieut., R.F.A., killed in action on the 20th October 1918, aged 19, only and dearly beloved son of Robert Bryson, Antigua, B.W.I., and “Dunmara”, Bourne End, Bucks., and grandson fo the late James M Bryson, Inverleith Row, Edinburgh. “Eternal honour give to those who died in that full splendour of heroic price that we might live”. There is also a mention of James on his parents’ gravestone in Hove Cemetery, Old Shoreham Road, Hove.

The third name on the memorial and the final name for this section is that of Ernest Brooks.

Ernest born around 1892, was the son of William Brooks of Sea View Farm, Antigua. Sea View Farm is a township located in the parish of St George – located approximately halfway between the capital city of St John’s and the island’s largest reservoir, Potworks Dam.

British West Indies insignia on CWGC headstone

Ernest served in the BWI (British West Indies Regt.,)9th Battalion, as Private 11847 from roundabout July 1917. Ernest was injured and taken to No 4 CCS (Casualty Clearing Station) where he died on the 5th of October 1917. Dozinghem Military Cemetery is the final resting place of our young soldiers and over 3,300 others. These soldiers are made up of Commonwealth soldiers from both world wars including those from the Allied withdrawal from Dunkirk and 65 German war graves.

The website Lives of the First World War includes information that Ernest’s medals were not claimed. Monies owing to Ernest, according to the Army Register of Soldiers’ Effects, were sent by Crown Agents to an Antiguan bank account. Another entry for Ernest in the same collections has differing amounts of money being paid to his father, William – this time via the Colonial Society, Antigua.

This link of how to research a BWI soldier may be of interest

Looking for a Caribbean soldier who died in WW1 try this link, Caribbean Roll of Honour,

Little Wooden Cross

Little Wooden Cross

As I’ve said before, family history friends are the best. Not forgetting the family of family history friends! I was recently given a little wooden cross by one of these friends. It is nothing extraordinary to look at. It does, however, become two separate sections – the cross detaches from the tiered base. Was it meant to be portable? Or, has it over time become two pieces?

Hartlepool Wooden Cross © 2022 C Sklinar

This item is supposed to have been made from debris wood as the result of the Hartlepool Bombardment. It was said to be from World War 1. Was there a bombardment during this time? I know from my family history that Scarborough was bombed in the later war, WW2 – close relatives of mine were killed as a result of a direct hit on their house. The house was destroyed. My dad used to tell me that he cycled from Wakefield to the Scarborough house to watch cricket from one of their bedroom windows as it overlooked the cricket ground.

Anyway, back to the little cross and Hartlepool.

Who made the cross and why is this unknown but the story of the bombing and the impact it had on the area is documented.

On the 16th of December 1914, roundabout breakfast time 130 people were either killed or injured in forty horrific minutes when it is reported that over 1000 shells were directed at the town from a German warship. During the same day, Whitby and Scarborough were also the targets of enemy warships. As I’ve said, I knew about Scarborough during the 1939-1945 war but, in 1914, that was all new!

In 2020 found in a box of broken cameras and lenses was a short newsreel showing the aftermath of the bombardment and photographs taken at the time showing the damage and the people of Hartlepool getting on with their lives.

To see the newsreel and read about the events of the day click on the following links

March 2020 BBC News

The Newsreel on the Yorkshire Film Archive

When Germany Bombarded Hartlepool December 2014

Wikipedia’s information on Scarborough, Hartlepool and Whitby

A Walk Around Sugar Lane with the Addition of a Surprise!

A Walk Around Sugar Lane with an Added Surprise!

Why is it when you have a plan, something always gets in the way? In this case, it was two things! The first was out of my control. I’ll not bore you with that, the second was my daughter’s fault! Bless her she sent me a short video of a churchyard and two close-up shots of a tomb. Why did she do that? Being kind and knowing that mum likes that kind of thing, she also sent me a photograph, with details of a war memorial. Last night, I did a little research on the names on the tomb when I should have been writing about Sugar Lane. They were, however, an interesting family who lived in very different times and are worthy of having their story told – later!.

But back to Sugar Lane. From all the photographs I have of this cemetery, I always find it hard to decide which headstone to tell you about. Why did I choose this one? Did I have the slight inkling where it would lead? A subconscious feeling?

Harrison, MacKenzie, Grace headstone © C Sklinar 2014

The headstone – a rounded top, now darkened with age has the words ‘In Affectionate Remembrance’ following its curve.

The first name on the carved stone is that of Lucy Eleanor Stewart the beloved wife of Henry Harrison. Lucy died on the 10th of August in the year 1874. At first glance, you could think that ‘Stewart’ was her maiden name. Well, if you were in Scotland, it could well be, as older Scottish headstones 99% of the time use the wife’s maiden name. As it happens, this could be the case as Lucy was born in Jedburgh, Scotland. And what a time I had finding her, as in the 1871 census she is Hampshire living with her aunt, Henrietta Powell. Lucy is 18 years old now and has no occupation. Her name was difficult to find as at first glance it looks like ‘Lucy EMc’ with Kenzie written half a line above. By now I was aware that her maiden name was MacKenzie. How did I know this? Her marriage entry in the Parish Register’s held the information. On the 19th of February 1873, Lucy, aged 20, of Clarendon Street, Wakefield, the daughter of William Richard MacKenzie, draper, married Henry Harrison, full age, living on Hatfield Street, Wakefield, a Police Clerk and son of Edward Harrison a chemist, in the beautiful St John’s Church, Wakefield.

St John’s Church, Wakefield via Google

Both Henry and Lucy signed the register, as did Thomas Ashmore and someone whose name looks like Kington (?). On close look, it could be McKenzie?

Lucy’s short life ended on the 10th of August 1874, after only 18 months of marriage. Probate Administrations were in Wakefield on the 4th of December 1900 – why such a long time between her death and Probate? Her effects totalled £82 11s 5d. By now Henry was a Police Superintendent.

Question? Could Lucy’s death have been due to giving birth? Leonard Stewart Harrison was baptised on the 21st of August 1874 at Holy Trinity Church, Wakefield, after being born on the 4th of the month. Leonard joined the Navy at an early age and by 1911 had been married for 15 years, had two children (aged 15 and 4 years old) and held the rank of Petty Officer and was living in Devonport. He died in 1928.  He rests in Harehills Cemetery, Leeds.

Henry married again on the 26th of April 1876 in St John’s Church, Wakefield. His second wife was called Elizabeth Grace, she was aged 23 when she walked down the aisle. Both Henry and Elizabeth were living on Hatfield Street at the time – could this have been how they met? Elizabeth’s father was John Grace, who worked as a joiner. As well as the ‘happy couple’ signing the PR, John Hardman, Betty Lawson and Mark Grace also wrote their names.

In 1881, Henry, Elizabeth and Leonard were living on Wakefield Road, Soothill, nr Dewsbury. Henry was now an Inspector and Clerk of Police aged 32 and stated that he was born in Sheffield.

In 1886 Elizabeth gave birth to a little boy, who they called Fred. Sadly, Fred was to die on April 8th 187 aged 23 months.

Ten years later in 1901, Leonard is no longer in the family home. As we know, he is now in the service of the Queen. Henry and Elizabeth are living in Hook, near Goole. Home is on Escourt Terrace – The Police Station, in fact, the Superintendent’s House. There are two new additions to the family, Anne, aged nine and Henry, aged two. The family seem to have been on the move in the past 10 years as Anne was born in Dewsbury and young Henry in Otley.

Another ten years on and the family now live in the Police Court House, Goole. The family has increased with the addition of Lawrence aged eight and Nowill also eight – were they twins?  A look at their birth certificates will tell you as the times of birth would be included.  Unlike a Scottish certificate where all times of birth are included regardless of multiple births.

The year 1910 was a sad year for the Harrison’s – Henry died on the 10th of August and his death was registered in the Selby Registration District. Henry of Barff Holme, Brayton Road, Selby had his Probate granted on the 26th of September when Elizabeth was responsible for £1144 12s 3d.

1911, Elizabeth now aged 58 included information about her marriage and children, don’t you just love Elizabeth! She added that she had been married 34 years, had had 6 children and two had sadly died. On census night included with Elizabeth were Henry, Lawrence and Nowill, along with Edith Hardman, a cousin, aged 40, who was the housekeeper.

A clue to what happens next can be found on the base of the families headstone. ‘Elizabeth Harrison widow of the above (Henry) died January 22nd 1927 aged 74 years interred in Mount Royal Cemetery Montreal Canada’.

On the 19th of June 1914, Elizabeth, Henry, Nowill and Olive E (Who is she?) disembarked at Quebec after being onboard the vessel SS Tunisian. Olive, it appears, was going to Canada to marry!

In 1916 Lawrence was living at 317 Gordon Avenue, Verdun, Quebec. with his mother. He worked as a teacher but on the 4th of March, he Attested into the Canadian Army. He was 25 years old, rather small in height at only 5′ 3″. He had fair hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion and signed his name with a very fine hand. Serving as Sgt, 3082370 in the 1st Quebec Regiment. On the 14th of March, 1918, his enlistment was cancelled. In between time he was back in Yorkshire but appears never to have gone to Europe. His Canadian Service Records hold a great deal of information.

Henry  Jnr also served in the Canadian Forces and at the time of his enlistment was married to Charlotte. Henry, taller than his younger brother was 5′ 10″ tall and again had fair hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He also had a scar on his right forearm from an accident in 1909. Serving as 2753299, he held the rank of C.S.M (Company Sgt Major). And again, so much information about him is included in his Service Records.

Henry, Lawrence and Nowill married and had families.

Nowill and Henry are not mentioned on the family headstone, however, a little about them adds to their families information.

One thing I did find and was it was quite a surprise! When researching Elizabeth Grace is that she is connected to the Grace family I link into – another relative or two added to the tree, albeit at a bit of a distance.

The story of this headstone comes to an end. From a few names and dates on a headstone, another story has been told.