Category Archives: General

Another Walk Around Sugar Lane – Camidge & Umpleby

Another Walk Around Sugar Lane – Camidge & Umpleby

I don’t know about you, but I thoroughly enjoy a walk around a cemetery. Well, saying that it has to be a nice day. I have, however, been around Sugar Lane on rather wet and windy days. It is not a pleasant experience, especially when copying information and trying to photograph. The writing I can cope with… just – it’s the raindrops on the camera lens that are a tad annoying.

Who is the focus of this walk? It is hard to decide. After looking at over 1,000 photographs, I homed in on a headstone mentioning two unusual surnames – Camidge and Umpleby. Names that you would not find in the top 50 English surnames. Nevertheless, these are the names, but to whom do they belong?

The people named on the headstone would be an ancestor to home in on, whose lives any family historian would find interesting.

Firstly, Charles Joseph Camidge. Born York in 1901 to Matthew Camidge and his wife Mary Ann Shaw. Matthew Camidge (1758-1844) a musician is included in Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Matthew, like his father John, was a musician and composer. Educated at Cambridge, he returned to York. Both Matthew and John originated the York musical festivals – on a small scale beginning with Handel’s Messiah at the Belfry Church. Just for interest, Matthews will is on Ancestry in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury. It is quite hard to read but does cover a few pages.

Back to Charles Joseph in 1861, he was living at the Vicarage, Wakefield with his wife Charlotte. His job, the Vicar of Wakefield. While the Vicar of Wakefield he consulted with Sir Gilbert Scott when in 1857, a report had been completed concerning the condition of the church. It was found that the tower and spire were decaying at an alarming rate and the work should be carried out first. Scott also suggested that if the church was to be re-seated it should be done in oak. Well, we all know what has happened to the seating! With the work completed at a cost of over £20,000, the church was formally re-opened in 1874. Newspapers of the time reported that the restoration included the re-casing of the tower in 1859, the erection of a magnificent spire in 1860. The removal of the galleries and substituting open stalls for large family pews. Several painted glass windows were also included as was a valuable reredos and new heating and lighting systems. Not bad value for £20,000. Can you imagine how much the work would cost now? And would it take longer than 17 years?

I wonder what CJ thought of the opening ceremony?

‘Charles Joseph Camidge, formerly Vicar of Wakefield and Honourary Canon of Ripon Cathedral but late of Leamington, died on the 10th of February 1878 at Leamington’. His Probate continues to tell that it was proven in Birmingham and that Charlotte, his relict was the sole Executrix.

So that’s CJ’s short story. Let me tell you about another name on the large stone darkened by age and industry – Rev. Matthew Camidge. Who is he? Matthew is CJ’s older brother.

St Andrew’s
Church, Moscow via Wikipedia

Matthew in 1861 was the incumbent at St John’s Church, Wakefield. Before this, he had been the British Chaplain in Russia to St Andrew’s Church (Moscow). The Chapel established in 1828 replaced a previous chapel burnt in 1812. Matthew had as his congregation both English and Scottish subjects with 200 people regularly attending services. At this time approximately 400 British Subjects were living and working in the City. The date of Matthew returning to the UK is sometime after 1851but before 1861. In the 1851 census, Matthew is in Kimbolton, Nottinghamshire, a visitor in the home of Thomas Charlewood, Vicar of the village. He gave his occupation as Chaplain to British Factory Cons******, Russia.

Matthew’s Probate reads ’16 November. The Will with a Codicil of the Reverend Matthew Camidge late of St John’s, Wakefield in the County of York Clerk deceased who died 2 November 1863 at Wakefield aforesaid was proved at Wakefield by the oath of the Reverend Charles Joseph Camidge of Wakefield aforesaid Clerk vicar of Wakefield aforesaid the Brother and sole Executor’. Effects under £1,500.

The next on my list is David Umpleby. Who is he? What connection does he have with the Camidge family to be included?

With a little bit of digging the connection was found. David married Charles Joseph and Matthews sister, Mary Ann or Marianne. The couple married in 1823 at St Michael le Belfry, York. Marianne died in September 1863 aged 71. Researcher beware there are some family trees on Ancestry that have her death year incorrectly recorded.

David Umpleby, only appears in the one census – 1841, as he dies in 1843. When the enumerator walked his round he called on the Umpleby household. Their home was Highfield, Lancaster. Where David like his brother’s in law, was a Clerk in Holy Order, a Vicar. Marianne had two female servants (F.S.) and one male servant (M.S.). also recorded on that night was one 19-year-old Elizabeth Maude and 11-year-old John R Pedder. What their relationship to the Umpleby’s I have not looked any further to find out.

Camidge / Umpleby Headstone © C Sklinar 2020

There are other’s named on the headstone which reads

‘In hope of the resurrection to Eternal Life through our Lord Jesus Christ Here rest the mortal remains of William Henry Camidge, younger son of Charles Joseph Camidge, M.A. and Charlotte his wife, who died 10 Sept. 1839 aged 17 years. Marianne Umpleby, widow of the rev. David Umpleby, M.A. who died September 29th 1863 aged 71 years. Rev Matthew Camidge, M.A. British Chaplain in Russia. who died November 1st 1863, aged 68 years. Rev Canon Camidge, M.A. Vicar of wakefield and Rural Dean who died February 10th 1878 aged 76 years. Charlotte Camidge, widow of the late Canon Camidge, M.A. who died September 7th 1887 aged 77 years.

A headstone can tell you a little or a lot. But there is always more to be found.

If you want to hear music from the Camidge family you could always search Youtube.

Alexander Riach Masson

Alexander Riach Masson

When researching a families history or researching a One-Name Study, there is always one or two people, maybe more, that calls out to you – some even shout…Find Me!

One such name that shouted out the other day sparked my curiosity not because of his name but of where he was when he died.

Who am I talking about? – His name is Alexander Riach Masson.

Masson although I’d come across the name on a couple of occasions with links to the RIACH family. It was his middle name that caught my attention.  Alexander’s middle name, Riach is his mother’s maiden name.  The Scottish Naming Tradition can be such a help when looking for the maiden name of a wife and mother.

I already knew Alexander’s mother’s name from the family headstone inscription.

So, what did Alexander do in life and who were his parents?

Alexander, born in 1889, was the son of James Masson (1845-1931) and Elizabeth Riach (1851-1926). The marriage of James and Elizabeth took place in Kinloss, Moray, in March 1874. Alexander was probably the youngest of their five boys born between 1875 and 1889.

When looking at the 1881 census for Findhorn James gave his occupation as Seaman and Elizabeth gave hers as Seamans Wife. The time for the 1901 census came around, Elizabeth and Alexander were living at 4 Kirkwood Street, Govan, Lanarkshire with her sister. In 1911, Kinloss was home again to the family.

The Masson family from Findhorn seem to have a long connection with the sea. Many being holding either Master’s or Mate’s Certificates. James, Alexander’s father in later years, became a Master Mariner.

Elizabeth Riach was the daughter of James Riach (1804-1877) and Justina Nicholson. The united families – Riach’s and Masson’s were to be found around Bellie and Findhorn area.

The years past but the Great War was still a painful memory. Both James and Elizabeth had died.  Alexander had gone to sea, like his forebears and another war was on the horizon.

Somehow Alexander ended up in Calcutta, as he was on board the SS Calabria bound for Liverpool via Freetown and Belfast.

S.S. Calabria

The Calabria, a Steam Passenger Ship, built by A B Wesser completed in 1922. Originally, launched as the Wesser she was sold in 1935 to an Italian company and renamed Calabria.

In 1940 Italy declared war on France and Great Britain. At this time the Calabria was in dry dock in Calcutta. On the 11th of June, the Calabria was seized by British Authorities with plans to rename her Empire Inventor. In December of the same year, she set sail for Liverpool loaded with 4,000 tons of iron; 3,050 tons of tea and 1,870 tons of oil cake. Her Master was David Lonie who commanded 128 officers and crew plus 230 supernumeraries, who were travelling to crew other vessels – these were mainly Indian but did include four Hong Kong crewmen and one Danish merchant officer. Her Chief Engineer was Alexander Riach Masson.

The Calabria left Freetown, the capital of Sierre Leone, with convoy SLS-56 but fell behind. Although behind the rest of the convoy she continued her journey through perilous waters.

Slyne Head, Galway

On the evening of the 8th December 1940, some 295 miles west of Slyne Head, Galway, she was spotted by the German U-boat U-103 commanded by Viktor Schultze, a career sailor and highly decorated Commander. He was the recipient of the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross with Oak Leaves.

At 20:58, blacked out and under wartime regulations, she was torpedoed followed by a second six minutes later. The moon, between half and full moon, on a clear night, would have given off- enough light for U-130 to see her against the sky.

The Calabria sank with all hands. According to the crew and passenger list, the eldest on board was Santan Martins, aged 79. Some reports say he was the eldest merchant seaman to be killed at sea during the Second World War. The youngest on board the Calabria was 18 years old, Cadet Leslie Charles Norris.

Alexander was 50 years old when he was lost at sea. But like many others who lost their life at sea, he is remembered on the Tower Hil Memorial. Alexander also included in the Merchant Navy Roll of Honour 1914-1945 and the Roll of Honour Merchant and Fishing Fleet 1939-1945 and the Kinloss War Memorial.

Can you guess one thing that SS Calabria and U-boat U130 have in common?  They were both built by A G Wesser.

The family headstone in Kinloss tells that Alexander was not the only Masson son to die during this period in history:-

Masson / Riach headstone, Kinloss Burial Ground © C Sklinar 2020

In loving memory of ELIZABETH RIACH
beloved wife of JAMES MASSON Master Mariner who
died at Findhorn on the 13th November 1926, aged 75 years.
Also, the above JAMES MASSON who died at Findhorn 13th Aug. 1931, aged 86 years.
And their sons THOMAS Marine Engineer died at Cardiff 13th Jan. 1937, aged 57 years.
ALEXR. RIACH Marine Engineer lost at sea through enemy action 8th Dec. 1940, aged 51 years.
JAMES Seaman, A.M.M. died of wounds through enemy action at Darwin, N.A. (Northern Australia) 4th Jan. 1942, aged 61 years.

Alexander, of South View, Findhorn left over £2000 in his will.

James Masson also served

S.S. Zealander during the attack in 1940

Alexander’s brother James travelled to Australia in 1896 as an apprentice on an unassisted immigrant. Somehow during WW2 James ended up on SS Zealander.

On February the 19th 1942 the Japanese Airforce bombed Darwin. Quite a few bombs fell close to the Zealander – one eventually fell through a hatch and exploded, causing a serious fire. Later Japanese planes attacked with cannons and machine guns. The ammunition hold exploded, while the pumps were disabled by another bomb. The order to Abandon Ship was given.

The Zealander sank to the bottom of the harbour with only its masts visible above the water. Two members of the crew died from sounds but the remaining 142 survived.

Was James Masson one of the two seamen who died of wounds?  It sounds like he could have been.

A Scottish Soldier

A Scottish Soldier

And so it begins. I’ve found a soldier’s name. Don’t know where he will lead me, but let the story begin!

In Elgin’s Linkwood Cemetery is the polished granite headstone remembering the Barron family. On that headstone is a black highlighted name – William Alex Barron, my chosen soldier.

The headstone also includes William’s brother, Daniel Barron, Pte., 2629, who died at Rue Du Bacquerot, France on the 30th of June 1915, aged 30. He rests in the Royal Irish Rifles Graveyard, Laventie, France. The family had had the foresight to think about family or military historians – they added service numbers of the soldiers. Such a thoughtful family!

Barron family headstone © C Sklinar July 2020

You, the reader, may wonder why I chose William over his brother Daniel? The answer is simple. Daniel served in the Seaforth Highlanders, and his service record may or may not have survived the WW2 bombing by enemy action. William served in an army whose archives were not subject to the same enemy action.

William Alex Barron, who are you?

William was born on the 15th of June 1891, the son of James Barron and his wife, Abigail nee McConnachie.

Sometime between 1901 and 1915, William ventured across the Atlantic to live and work in Canada. On the 30th of June 1915, at Niagra, Ontario, William Attested to serve in Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force. Four days earlier, William had undergone his physical examination and deemed to be fit. Would you have recognised him as he walked back to his parent’s house at 14 College Street, Elgin? You may do it I tell you that he was aged around 25 and was 5′ 8″ tall, with fair hair, blue eyes and brown hair. If he had his shirt sleeves rolled above his elbow, you might have seen that William had three tattoos – one on his left arm and two on his right. He also had two vaccination marks on his left arm from childhood.

William, now Private 451024 in the 8th CEF Battalion, sailed from Halifax (Nova Scotia?) on the 22nd of November 1916 onboard SS Safonica, probably bound for England. Later he embarked for France (from England) on the 20th of February 1916.

In May of 1916, William received a gunshot wound (GSW) to his left hand and shoulder. As a result, William had been taken to the 20th General Hospital, Camiers. He was later sent to No6 Convalescent Depot, Etaples, followed by a time in Boulogne. He must have recovered somewhat as in August 1916 he was sentenced to 14 days Field Punishment No. 1 (FP1) for Drunkenness.

On the 11th of November 1916, William attended the dentist with broken dentures. By now, we are building up a picture of William – his tattoos, vaccination scars along with his war scars to his hand and shoulder. Thanks to his Canadian Service Records we know he had some false teeth!

The 18th of January 1917 was a new start for William, he had recovered from the injuries to his hand and shoulder and subsequently transferred to the 2nd Canadian Tunnelling Company.

In June 1917, the company began working on deep dugouts and mines in the Ypres Salient in preparations for the Battle of Messines. This battle was the beginning of the much larger Third Battle of Ypres (July – November 1917).

On the 30th of June 1917, in the Field, William had been appointed Lance Corporal – with pay.

The 30th of June 1917 was a day his family would remember, not only had William been promoted, but he was also wounded.

William received a gunshot wound – a spinal injury to the cord and noted as being severe. After undergoing immediate medical care at No 3 Canadian Casualty Clearing Station. On the 7th of July, William, dangerously ill, was taken aboard HS (hospital ship) Princess Elizabeth bound for England.  The medical staff of HS Princess Elizabeth consisted of three British Officers.  One Warrant Officer, three nurses and sisters plus 27 RAMC and/or St Johns Ambulance members.  There was the capacity for 30 cots plus walking wounded.  Her capacity was quite small compared to other hospital ships.

William upon arrival in the UK was admitted to Dover Military Hospital. In Williams records, there is an assessment of his wounds and overall condition. His Medical Case Sheet is easier to read:

” General Hospital No #18. 3 July 1917. GSW. spine, lower dorsal region penetrating. Paraplegia & anaesthesia from above umbilicus down. Involuntaries of faeces. Bladder distended. General condition only fair. C W Robinson, Lieut. MORC USA.”

“5 July 1917. Condition somewhat improved. Temperature down. Unable to keep anything on stomach. Bladder overflowing. Bowels involuntary. C W Robinson, Lieut. MORC USA.”

On the 11th of July 1917, William Died of Wounds. One comment on his records says ‘exhaustion’.

William was later taken ‘home’ to Elgin and he rests with his parents and sister, in Linkwood Cemetery.

I’ve told you so far about William’s service and death but there are other wonderful documents within his service records. One is a general card that gives an address for his father – 10 Losse Wind, Elgin. Another card has another, earlier address – 10 Union Street, Elgin. Then there is William’s Will attached to a Form of Will document. Written on the 1st of March 1917. William bequeathed all his estate to his mother, Abigail, of 10 Lossie Wynd, Elgin (the correct spelling, this time!). The witness to William’s will was 503267 Private J W S Normington, 2nd Tunnelling Company of Saville Park, Halifax, England.

William wrote:

“451024. William A Barron, 58th Battn. Military Will. In event of my death I bequeath all my money to my mother Mrs Abigail Barron 10 Lossie Wynd, Elgin, Scotland. The amount which is £5 10s from the 1st day of January till the day of my death. After her death to my sister Mrs J Dunbar(?) 7 West Park Road, Elgin, Scotland. Signed William A Barron, Pte 58th Battn. February 19th 1916.”

William’s father, James died in 1920.  His only sister Jessieann died in 1922.  Followed by his mother, Abigail in 1931.

South African Campaign to World War 1 – Sgt A James

South African Campaign to World War 1 – Sgt A James.

The committee who decided what information should be on the Dallas, Morayshire, war memorial were considerate of the modern-day researcher. These thoughtful people included name, rank and regiment – such foresight to consider future researchers?

The man who caught my attention is Alexander James born on 10th February 1884. Alexander served as

Menin Gate
CWGC image

Sergeant 28590, in the battalion Canadian Infantry. He Alexander died on the 13th of June, 1916, aged 32 and remembered on the Menin Gate Memorial, Ypres. The CWGC website includes Alexander’s regiment and place of remembrance. Also included are his parent’s names and where they lived. There is one other piece of information, making Alexander’s story more interesting.

What could this information be?

It is that Alexander served in the South African Campaign. The Imperial Yeomanry Records 1899-1902 are available from the National Archives. They are also available on Ancestry – Alexander’s Short Service Attestation is there. 

Alexander was 20 years and one month old when he signed to serve. Alexander was born in the parish of Speymouth near Fochabers, Morayshire, at the time of his enlistment he was working as a farm servant. Alexander had left home three years earlier – probably now living on or near the farm where he worked. He signed the papers in Inverness o the 4th of December 1901, before Colonel Shaw. 

If you walked down a street in Inverness or strode down Fochabers High Street, would you have recognised Alexander? Perhaps you would have done if I tell you that he was 5′ 8″ tall. He was quite well built, with an expanded chest of 39½”. Alexander had a fresh complexion, with dark brown hair and blue eyes. On his right forearm, he had the tattoed figure of a female plus a visible scar. 

Alexander was now part of the 1st Battalion Scottish Horse, Imperial Yeomanry, serving as Private (Trooper) 37478. Discharged the following September after serving in South Africa. After initially serving 37 days ‘At Home’. From the 11th of January 1902, 230 days in South Africa followed by a final seven days ‘At Home’ before discharge. His service ended with him awarded the Queens’ Medal and Claps and South African Medal plus claps. His next of kin was his father James James, who lived at Blackhills, Rafford by Forres. I wonder when I research a soldier from Morayshire if their paths cross of my Riach and Hay families, especially when there is a connection to a place – did they know each other? 

Alexander’s conduct while with the Colours had been ‘very good’. He signed his name – he was no longer in the army. His time in the Yeomanry came to an end. After this time in his life, he intended to live at Graus (sic), Burnside, Dipple, Fochabers.

How did Alexander end up serving with a Canadian Regiment?  

Sometime between his discharge from the army in 1902 and when he re-enlisted in 1914, he ventured abroad. I haven’t done in-depth research for his travel details, hence the broad spectrum. But he did end up there!

Alexander’s service records are available to research, unlike many British documents destroyed or damaged in WW2. The first page of his records confirms his two years service with the Scottish Horse. Also of three years with the Cameron Highlanders and eight years with the Royal Horse. It makes you wonder when he had time to work and then venture to Canada.

Alexander’s WW1 records duplicate the more general information or expand those details. One such example is that of Alexander’s tattoo. In his 1901 documents, the description is of a generic lady. Yet, in his WW1 documentation, the information is more detailed – an American or Mexican woman. Alexander had the tattoo in 1901 when he signed up for the South African Campaign. Why would a 17-year-old who, by then had not left his native Scotland, want to have this on his arm? One other descriptive snippet was that he had a mole on his right clavicle.  

On the 10th of August 1914, he attended the recruiting office in Victoria. On the 23rd of September, 1914, he was fit. Alexander was once again with the Colours. On enlistment, he was with the 19th Canadians, service number 28590, later with the 43rd Battalion, C.E.F. (Canadian Expeditionary Force).  

Alexander’s Will, extracted from his Pay Book, left all his property and effects to his mother, Jessie of Blackhills, Rafford.

In March 1916, Alexander received a G.S.W. (gunshot wound) to his left leg while on active service. After his time in hospital in the ‘at home’. He underwent a medical examination at Sandygate. After four weeks of physical training, he was to be fit.

There are so many pages to Alexander’s records, so many details and snippets of information I could continue to write for a long time. So I will highlight a few of the memorable times in his service.  

  • 8 February 1915 Promoted to Corporal while at sea.
  • 15 March 1915 Promoted to Sergent while in France.
  • 3 May 1915. Admitted to Military Hospital Colchester.
  • 15 July 1915. Discharged to furlough, Shorncliffe.
  • 28 July 1915. Reported from sick furlough, Shorncliffe.
  • 6 December 1915. Taken back on Strength, Shorncliffe.
  • 1 March 1916. Convalescent Hospital at Woodcote Park, Epsom. 
  • 24 March 1916. Taken back on Strength,
  • 24 May 1916. Reports to Folkstone from Epsom.
  • 6 Jun 1916. Transferred to 16th Battalion – Overseas.
  • 31 May 1916. Promoted to Sergent – in the Field.
  • 27 June 1916. Killed in Action.
  • 4 July 1916. The correct date of death amended to 13 June 1916
  • Alexander spent a total of 61 days in the hospital.

Alexander’s three medals and Memorial Cross went to his mother, Jessie. While James, his father, received the Plaque and Scroll.

Alexander’s papers, like nearly all other service records, are not in chronological order. Close to the end of the records is a ‘Statement of Case’ – a description of the events on the day Alexander received his G.S.W.

Completed by the Medical Officer.  

Alick James, formerly an Engineer. Disability – Shrapnel to Left Leg.

Date – 22 April 1915. Place – Ypres.

Statement – States he was charging with the 16th Batt. on night of 22nd Apl. When he was wounded in the left leg by shrapnel. Was in hospital until 14 July. The wounds having bee infected. Two pieces were said to have been removed, seven pieces to have been left in leg. State that leg swells badly whenever he does any walking, that he suffers considerable pain.  

Reasons for disability – Shrapnel fragments in leg.

What is his present condition? There are eight wounds on left leg (punctured(?)). The increased movements of knee normal, those of ankle slightly limited. The largest scar is adherent to underlying muscle and construction of soleus muscle causes pain.  

Change to England – Light Duty & operation.

Alexander, according to the Canadian War Graves Register, was attacking or being attacked near Zillebeke, Belgium – some 7 minutes drive from Ypres. Hence, him being remembered on Menin Gate Memorial.

The Morayshire Roll of Honour – JAMES, Alexander. No. 28590, 

Sgt., 16th Canadian Scottish ; born at Trochill, Speymouth, Morayshire, 10th Feb., 1884 ; joined in British Colombia, Canada ; served i n France ; wounded, April 14th 1915, and killed between 12th and 14th June, 1917 (should be 1916), presumed at Ypres ; awarded South African Medal with four clasps. Son of J. and Jessie Ann James, Blackhillock, Burgie, Forres, Morayshire. Occupation, engine driver.

Two Men Named Christmas

Two Men Named Christmas

Christmas is usually a time for celebration and family gatherings. This year has been something out of the ordinary. The year 2020 will no doubt be written in the annals of history.

Today is the 25th of December 2020, Christmas Day and this started me wondering if there were any WW1 casualties with Christmas as their first names? A few years ago I wrote about unusual first name, you know, things like drinks, places, special occasions etc., Christmas. Was there any waiting to be researched?

As it happens in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission online website, there are 61 entries with Christmas in their first names. Of which 45 are from the First World War. Which of these 45 young men should be part of my ramblings?

West Yorkshire Regiment CWGC

A Yorkshire man? – George Thomas Christmas Stimpson. George served in the West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own) H Company, 1st Battalion. No, he wasn’t a Yorkshire man, he was a native of Cromer. George started his time in the army when after enlisting in Norwich. He served as Private 9204 in the 1st Battalion.

George seems to have been in France and Belgium from around November 1914 – this is confirmed by him being eligible for the 1914 Star, long with the British and Victory Medals.

Thiepval Memorial

George, aged 21, died on or since the 19th of August 1916. He has no known grave but remembered on the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing. George, included in the Register of Soldiers’ Effects names his uncles Samuel and John as beneficiaries. His uncles were to divide approximately £28 paid in two instalments, the last in September 1919.

Another young man named Christmas was Christmas Newbery. Christmas was the son of George and Susan Newbery and elder brother to Ethel and Dora. You may have guessed why Christmas got his name? He was born on Boxing Day 1891 in Lambeth, London. On the 23rd of March 1892, the family left their home, 88 Dover Buildings to take Christmas to St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Southwark for his baptism.

In 1911 the family and Helen Turner, a niece, were all living at 126 Totterdown Street, Tooting, London. Christmas was an Assistant Postman working for the G.P.O. (General Post Office).

Seaforth Highlanders CWGC

The Great War began in 1914. it must have been shortly after this Christmas Enlisted as he was eligible for the 1914-1915 Star, the British and Victory Medals. He joined the Seaforth Highlanders and served as Private, 911, and on the 1st of March 1915, he was in France. After being killed in action on the 15th of June, 1915 he is remembered on Le Touet Memorial, France.

His mother, Susan Newbery of 114 Gasscot Road, Tooting, submitted a claim for her son’s pension. There are multiple index cards for this pension claim, each of which has a different address for the family. The small amount of 10/- was granted to Susan for a few years then reduced to 5/-for life.

James Bochel – Nairn to Canada

James Bochel – Nairn to Canada


It was on the 2nd of March, 1916 that James went to his recruiting depot and signed to “hereby engage and agree to serve in the Canadian Over-Seas Expeditionary Force, and to be attached to any arm of the service therein, for the term of one year, or during the war now existing between Great Britain and Germany should the war last longer than one year, and for six months after the termination of that war provided His Majesty should so long require my services, or until legally discharged.” Signed by James and witnessed by A F Ancy (sic).

I’ll come back to the paperwork relating to James’ service.

But who was James before he enlisted?

James, born in April 1886, was one of the four children of Isaac and Margaret of 28 Society Street, Nairn.  Isaac was one of the many local fishermen, who earned their living from the sea.

James left the country of his birth before 1916.  There is an entry in the Canadian Passenger Lists 1865-1935 for the 1st of April 1911, for a Jas. Bochel aged 24, sailing from Glasgow on the SS Saturnia along with over 1250 passengers (1107 adults and 145 children under 14 years of age), bound for St John, New Brunswick. The Master of the Saturnia was David Taylor.  The Saturna had 252 passengers in Second Class and 1000 in Steerage.  The heath of all the passengers was good and none were in quarantine.  On the ships manifest James’ occupation is that of a blacksmith but that obviously changed when he arrived in Vancouver.  Could this have been due to meeting a plumber on the voyage or on the long journey to Vancouver?

Fron Nairn to Vancouver via Google Maps

James met and married a young lady named Margaret on the 8th of March 1916, a few days after he had visited the recruitment office.

Back to the paperwork I mentioned earlier, his Attestation Papers.

The first page of James’ Attestation Papers on the Canadian Archives website, is information that we more than likely know – his name; current address; date and place of birth and occupation. If the soldier is married or next of kin are included. Other information needing only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ are – have you been vaccinated? Have you ever served in the Militia or any Military Force? And quite importantly ‘Do you understand the nature and terms of your engagement’?

The two pages give limited knowledge about his initial entry into the Canadian Army. However, the Ancestry website holds his full-service record – a great boon for anyone with James in their tree.
Sometime after James enlisted Margaret, his wife moved, back to Scotland, where she made 53 Forteath Street, Burghead her home. The next page is a description of James, this page, however, does tell that he weighed 140lb (10 stone) and that his vaccinations given when a child.

When I see a description of a soldier, it is as though I could walk down a street in recognise him. But when there is a typewritten will included in the records, it brings back the harsh reality that some men will never return to their loved ones. James had one such letter included in his paperwork. ‘No. 505100 James Bochel, Canadian Engineers. Military Will. In the event of my death, I give the whole of my property and effects to my wife Margaret Bochel, 53 Forteath Street, Burghead, Morayshire, Scotland. J. Bochel. Sapper Can. Engineers. October 28, 1916,’

James embarked Canada as part of the Canadian Expeditionary Force on the 20th of June 1916, onboard S.S. Missanabie, arriving in England nine days later. (The Missanabie, was torpedoed in September 1918 and sank just off the Irish coast.) James’ record show that he was at Shireclife, and Crowborough before entering France from the reinforcement pool.

Margaret was granted £180 War Gratuity less an amount of £80 Special Pension Bonus which had already been paid (£20 in May, June, July and August). This was sent on cheque number G1897944 on the 30th of July 1920. Prior to this money, Margaret had been getting £20 per month as a Separation Allowance.

James, during operations at Neuville Vitesse (south of Arras), was sitting in a dugout, with three of his comrades, when an enemy 5.9 shell made a direct hit on the dugout. Killing the four soldiers instantly. (source Circumstances of Death Registers First World War, Canadian Archives).

So James was Killed in Action in The Field on April 1st 1917 and rests in Ecoivres Military Cemetery, Mont-St- Eloi which lies between Bethune and Arras and is the final resting place of over 1720 other casualties, many of whom died on or around the 1st of April.

‘UNTIL THE DAY DAWN AND THE SHADOWS FLEE AWAY’ are the words at the base of James’ CWGC headstone in France.

James Main Bochel is remembered locally on the Burghead War Memorial.

James Bochel, Burghead War Memorial ©

Canadian Roll of Honour

If you are related to James it would be nice to hear from you.

St Paul’s Churchyard, Hanging Heaton

St Paul’s Churchyard, Hanging Heaton

St Paul’s church and burial ground lie at one corner of a housing estate just off the A653. Built as one of the ‘million churches’, to celebrate the Duke of Wellington’s victory at the Battle of Waterloo. Parliament gave a grant of ONE MILLION pounds so that a grateful nation could build churches as a way of saying thank you to God for safe deliverance. Built-in the Gothic style of stone taken from local quarries. Mr Thomas Taylor of Leeds designed the grand building which could seat around 600 worshippers.

The first burial to take place in the reasonably sized churchyard was that of Benjamin Whitaker, whose headstone is still visible today. Also resting in the churchyard are members of the Asquith family, namely Elizabeth Ann, William, May, and Edith. One other member of the family, although not buried with the rest of his family does have a mention on their headstone, Harry.

Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery, Montay via Google Maps

Harry, died on the 12th of October 1918 aged 38. Probably, his date of death may give you a clue as to why he is not resting with the rest of his family. The Commonwealth War Grave Commission Montay-Neuvilly Road Cemetery, Montay, bordered by a main road and countryside is where he rests. The cemetery is some 15 miles from Cambrai which was the site of many conflicts. The cemetery was made by the 23rd Brigade RGA (Royal Garrison Artillery, on the 26th and 27th of October 1918, containing at the time 111 graves – one of which would have been Harry’s. The Armistice, following month, saw many more burials taking places as those with a temporary burial were brought to more central cemeteries.

Back to Harry. He was the son of William and Elizabeth Ann. Born in Dewsbury Harry was 21 years old when the 1901 census was taken. The family lived at Wood End Terrace, Hanging Eaton. William was employed as a Bankers Clerk, the only other source of income was from Harry, an outfitters assistant (clothing). Elizabeth Ann and three daughters aged between 26 and 30 did not have any occupations. The other families living along the terrace were like the Asquith’s, not manual workers, except a farmer.

Elizabeth Ann died in 1905 aged 59 years of age; May, a daughter followed in 1919 aged 43; William died in 1920 aged 74 and Edith, another daughter died in 1951 aged 79.

In the summer of 1907, Harry married Emma Alice Unwin. In 1908 their only child, Arthur was born. 1911 the census for Harry and his family shows that Harry was still working in a clothing shop. Home for the family was 29 Bellbrooke Place, (Harehills) Leeds.

Harry enlisted into the army in Pontefract, more than likely after 1915 as his medal card shows he was only eligible for the Victory and British medals. So he becomes Private 241993 in the 9th HLI (Highland Light Infantry). The 9th Btn. was a territorial division raised in Glasgow in August 1914. By November they were mobilised and had arrived in France. During the following years, the battalion saw conflict on the Western Front. And from 1916 – Albert, Bazentin, High Wood, Polygon Wood, along with action on the Flanders coast and the Hindenburg Line. In 1918 The battles of Hazebrouck, Kemmel, St Quentin Canal, Cambrai and Selle. It was probably around the Selle area of France, only some five miles from Montay that Harry’s life ended.

Back home Emma would have received The Telegram that all families dreaded being delivered by the local postie. Emma would later receive The British and Victory Medals and the sum of £18 5s 3d from the War Office which included £9 War Gratuity. She was also eligible for a small pension that would cease in 1924 when Arthur was 16 years old.

Emma never re-married and in 1939 can be found at 70 Pontefract Road, Hemsworth with her son Arthur and his wife Phyllis. Emma was the local sub-postmistress and had been since the early war years. While Arthur worked as a rant and rate collector Hence, Harry enlisting in Pontefract. On the 24th of November 1957, Emma died. Her probate confirms the address of 70 Pontefract Road with the addition of a house name – ‘Justholme’. The sum of £1461 19s 9d was left to Austin now classed as a local government officer. Austin died in the early 1980s. Austin had been living at number 70 up to his death. His probate effects were not exceeding £25,000, as were quite a few other people on that page.

Humphrey / Rhind Headstone, Lhangbryde

Humphrey / Rhind Headstone, Lhangbryde

Boken headstone remembering the Humphrey / Rhind family © C Sklinar

In Lhanbryde Cemetery there is a broken headstone remembering the Humphrey/Rhind family. The wording on the top section of the headstone was too heavy to move, (health and safety and all that) and see the information.

The name Margaret is missing the top of the ‘t’. The date of death is missing, though you can see she was 70 years old.  The information on the top section was too heavy to see the

Above Margaret, there must have been another name included (probably John Humphrey). The second name is that of Alexander, who was, Killed at Beaumont Hamel on the 13th of November 1916, aged 19. Below, Alexander is Agnes C Rhind, who died in June 1925, followed on by ‘the said’ John Humphrey who died in December 1944 aged 77 and finally, his son James.

The majority of my friends know that I am a sucker for an intriguing headstone or one that bears the name or remembers a soldier or someone who gave service. I seem to want to know who they were – putting meat on bones, as they say!

Alexander had been born in Forres on the 2nd of August 1897. In the 1901 census, 92 North Road, was home for John (a cycle mechanic), Agnes and their five children. Later in his teenage years, he worked as a joiner.

When I began looking for information I must admit I made a very basic and newby error!  I started looking for Alexander Rhind, which gave me a number of records.  Within minutes I was back on track looking for Alexander Humphreys.  As you can see from the headstone – wife and son, then John Humphreys.  This is not a mistake you would make on an English headstone, as in England a married woman is known by her married name.  When I initially started looking into my mother’s family some four decades ago, I could not work out why women had a different name, even though ‘wife of’ or ‘husband of’ was included.  Why were all these people not married?  Why were they so many base-born children?  Then one kind person told me a few words and I have never forgotten them ‘a woman keeps her name from cradle to grave’.  I must say it does make looking for a wife’s maiden name a great deal easier.  But I digress.

Alexander enlisted in Elgin on the 11th of May 1916, where he became Private 6198 in the 5th Battalion, Seaforth Highlanders. The 5th was part of the 51st Division and took part in the attack on Beaumont Hamel on the 13th of November 1916. The 51st, was situated to the North of Beaumont Hamel, split into four waves. During the first three days of battle, the 51st lost five

Lhangbryde War Memorial

officers and 75 ORs (other ranks) many more joined their fallen comrades in the days to follow due to their wounds. Alexander was one of those 75. Sadly, he has no known grave and is name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial with over 72,100 others whose final resting place is not known.  He is also remembered on the Lhangbryde War Memorial and in the Moray Roll of Honour.

A very interesting and informative description of what happened that day and the days that followed can be found here and here.  In the first link, there is information about another local lad, George Eric Edwards of Lossiemouth.

Adam Lind Chivas

Adam Lind Chivas

I can’t remember how I came across Adam, but there must have been a snippet of information made me put him in my blogging filing cabinet, my old grey matter!

Adam Lind Chivas was born at Greyfriars Street, Elgin on the 14th of August 1886 – the son of John Chivas and Margaret Murdoch.

Adam’s father had been a merchant running his business from Commerce Street, Elgin. The Aberdeen Free Press of 21st April 1888 includes an advertisement for a ‘Desirable Licensed Merchants’ for sale by a private bargain with stock and fittings in value to about £400.  Why did John wish to sell his livelihood a few years after his sons birth?

Adam worked as a Maltman.

Adam married Isabella Thompson in May 1913.

In 1914 the war, that would come to be known as ‘the war to end all wars’ (but it didn’t) broke out and Adam like a great number of local young men enlisted.  He enlisted in Elgin, as did many others. He joined the Seaforth Highlanders and became Private S/7253.  The 2/6th Seaforth Highlanders had been formed at Elgin in the September of 1914.  Could Adam and others have joined when a recruiting drive took place locally?  The 2/6th moved to Fort George but Adam was in the 9th Btn.  The 2/6th was only a short-lived Battalion, was it that Adam was transferred to the 9th during his time there?  The 9th moved to Aldershot and became a Pioneer Battalion of the 9th Division before moving to Farnham and then France.

During 1916 they took part in The Battle of The Somme, Delville Wood and Le Transloy.  Adam was Killed in Action on the 19th of March 1916 and rests in the London Rifle Brigade Cemetery just outside Ploegsteert (Plug Street).

The Aberdeen Press and Journal include Adam in their Roll of Honour – Chivas – Killed in action in Belgium, on 19th March, Private Adam L Chivas 9th Seaforth Highlanders, aged 29 years, beloved husband of Bella Chivas, 11 Land Street, New Elgin and brother of Mrs Gatt, 95 Huntly Street, Aberdeen – deeply regretted.  The same entry is also in the Aberdeen Evening Press

The Service Record for Adam has not survived but other documents can give a great deal of information.  Adam L Chivas (Chevas) has two Medal Cards – one tells he entered France on the 10th of May 1915, thus marking him eligible for the 1915 Star and that he was K in A.  The other using Chivas as the surname is less informative but gives his entitlement to the British and Victory Medals.

The most informative document is his Pension Card but this document also raises a few questions.

The CWGC have his age at death as 29, so do newspaper obituaries for the time.  The Pension Card has his date of birth as 19th of April 1877 – a possible transcription error.

The aforementioned newspapers have his wife as Bella, Isabella whom he is said to have married in 1913.  After taking a second look at a few websites and confirming the information already known it was now time to bite the bullet and visit ScotlandsPeople which confirmed a thought I had had after the previous information was fund to be correct.    I find in family history you can’t always think in the box, sometimes you have to venture way outside to find that sneaky bit that tries to hide.

The information on the card I refer to is children – Helen born June 1901, Jame Ann born December 1903 and Christina Born 1909 – all listed as Cameron and marked as Step Children.  It was ScotlandsPeople that confirmed that Isabella’s marriage is cross-referenced under Thompson and Cameron.  It looks like Adam Lind Chivas was her second husband. Now that little problem is sorted.  Home for Adam and Bella had been 11 Land Street but she must have moved as North View, West Road, Elgin was the final address.

How much Pension did Bella receive?  She received 23/- per week from 2nd of October 1916.  This must have been paid in arrears as the award date was 29th September 1916.

Adam Lind Chivas is mentioned with many other Moray men and women in the Morayshire Roll of Honour.

Bella, Isabella died on the 14th of December 1962 aged 86


Countries as First Names

Countries as First Names

A while ago I wrote about towns that parents gave their children as first names.  I also wrote about alcoholic drinks used for the same purpose.  It was while looking for the birth of a Riach family member that I came across a name that brought country names to my attention.

World map source unknown

With this new blog already forming in my mind, I set off on a simple search of FMB (FreeBMD) just using Sept 1837 to 1945 as my date range I started to enter country names in the first name search box – here are a few of my results.

England – over 60 results with the registrations all being south of Knaresborough.  A few Bradford and Dewsbury families used England as a first name but the majority were registered in Bridgewater, Axbridge and Warrington.  With a few registered in Glandford B and N. Aylesford.

Scotland – If England brought results I wondered if Scotland would show results.  FreeBMD would not show that for births but would a few deaths show up for those people wandering down across the border.  No, no deaths or marriages were shown but when looking at ScotlandsPeople results did show.  The OPR’s (Old Parish Registers) show 45 births, 2 deaths, 6 marriages and 3 baptisms.  The Statutory Registers from 1855 the present show 702 births, 558 deaths, 384 marriages and 26 divorces.  While church records over 55 results.  The census over the years shows again over 55 cases of Scotland used as a first or middle name.

Wales – Wales has also been used as a first name and registered in places such as Wakefield, Pontefract, Dewsbury, Marylebone,  Shoreditch, Durham.  The first registration being in 1838 and the last in 1900.

Ireland – Ireland also has been used as a first name for both male and female.  The first entry is in 1840 when Ireland Sophia Du Chateau is registered in Kensington.  In 1841 Ireland William Hewes Graham is registered in Stow.  The year 1900 sees the registration of Ireland Stanley Brian De Courcy in Doncaster.  The last entries using the 1837 – 1945 criteria on FMD are registered in 1937 in Stepney and Camberwell.  Now to go further afield

Africa – There were 9 children registered with the name Africa between 1848 and 1910 and there seems to be no duplication of registration districts.

Belgium – First used as a first or middle name in 1877.  You then see a gap until 1914 when it is probably expected.  The name is then used widely until the last registered in 1920.

France – Surprisingly enough, and I was very surprised, there was no registration of the name France as the first name in FreeBMD – yet!  But and this is a big BUT I found my search criteria was way too large, 1937 to 1945 is not large for most names but France seems to have broken the limit of shown entries which is 3000.  I re-jigged the search to 1900 -1945 but again I broke the system.  Another re-jigging and now 1914-1948 now there are only 14000 entries still over 11000 too many to view.  When the West Riding of Yorkshire is used as an area the results show a large number of entries is mainly due to FRANCES taking over the search.  Now to play with the options – using ‘Exact match on first names’, going back to my original search Sept 1837 – Dec 1945 and returning to Counties ALL – BINGO!  France is used widely from the beginning of registration but I was shocked to find that during The Great War there seem to be no more or fewer entries than is the norm.

Holland – Holland, however, does have a great number of entries.  These large numbers could be mainly since Holland is also a surname and being given to their children to remember a maiden surname down the family line.

Denmark – This country used as a first or middle name only has 3 registrations in the criteria used for this purpose.  Denmark was first registered in 1878 in Neath, then two years later on the Isle of Wight and then lastly in 1894 in Highworth.  On all three occasions, Denmark has been followed by one or two middle names.

Spain – This country only seems, according to the FMD entries, registered one time – in 1843 in Thanet.  So it seems that Spain Lilleford Miller was the only person to have Spain as a name.

Portugal – Portugal, also seems to be lacking registrations.

Italy – Italy has been registered 3 times from 1890 to 1913 with all the entries being in the London area and to Italian families.

Germany – continuing around Europe, Germany has been registered 5 times between 1842 and 1872 with no duplication of registration district.

Switzerland – no registrations.

Poland – There were 3 registrations for the first name Poland between 1860 and 1921 all being in the south of England.

Russia – There was only one entry, Russian Freemantle was registered in S Stoneham in 1903.

America – America on its own sees four entries between 1870 and 1885 and one example of Americas being registered in Chelsea in 1843.  In 1884 America Rushbrook De la Coze was registered in Midhurst.  The following year America Maria J Casadia was registered in Holborn.

Canada – Another example of a unique name.  Canada Katie E Wardle was registered in Shipston in the December Quarter of 1897.

Brazil – The year 1887 sees the first entry of Brazil being used but Brazillia was used in 1845.  You would think that Brazil would be the masculine name while Brazillia was the female version.  That is not the case as in 1867 Hull Brazillai Stephen Cock was registered.  You could also think that this name was used by sailors who had visited Brazil.  This presumption may not be the case as many of the registrations are for inland districts.

Argentina – While Patagonia has no entries Argentina has 11 registrations between 1849 and 1900 from places as far a wide as Peterborough, Bradford, Devises, Wirral, St Pancras and London.  Out of the 11 registrations, only 4 have a British surname.  The majority of the remainder seem to be Italian in origin.

Australia – Again a single entry first name.  Australia George A Tyler was registered in Spalding in 1870.

Tasmania – Tasmania however, has three entries all of which seem to be female born between 1855 and 1893.

Zealand – This name has been registered 7 times and in all instances except one has been the only name – Zealandia Ross Burt is the only multi-name and the only example of Zealandia.

Java – Java has also been used as a first name with a first registration taking place in Bradford in 1862.

Japan – There are no entries.

China – However, China sees three registrations for both male and female between 1842 and 1904.

Siberia – Now this one did surprise me with three entries from 1838 to 1896.

India – India was first registered in Spilsbury in 1842 but there were entries for Indian(n) before and after.  Indian(n)a does take up the majority of the search results.

Arabia – Finds one entry for Arabia Maria Louisa Woolsey being registered in Erpingham in 1838.

Burma – First registered in Wellingborough in 1859 and given to Burma Selema Flawn.  The main results for Burma as criteria are Burman and Burmah.

Iceland – Sees three entries in a 42 year period.

Norway, Sweden and Finland see no entries.

Uist – Uist an island off Scotland has 6 entries but all are between 1948 and 1983 and all are registered south of Nottingham.

Going out on a limb with one last search:

Greenland – Six registrations taking place between 1877 and 1919

That ends my journey around the world in names.  But doesn’t it make you wonder what was the reasoning behind the parents choice of name(s) for their children? During The Great War, you can understand Belgium being used.  There also was a speight of Belgian town names as babies names during that time.  But countries such as Java and Burma makes you wonder what was the connection,  as I am sure that many working men and women may never have heard of these places, never mind have a connection to them.

Why people chose such names for their children could remain a mystery unless these people are in your family tree.