Category Archives: General

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.


William Bauchop of Forres

William Bauchop of Forres

The Bauchop family headstone stands proudly on a slab of granite in the Cluny Hill Cemetery – near the top of the hillside cemetery.  This woodland cemetery I find such a beautiful and peaceful place and is probably one of my favourites to spend time just walking around.

The headstone tells ‘In memory of James Bauchop. Died 26 Feb. 1931. His wife Flora Clyne Died 29 Sep. 1932. Their sons Charles. Died in infancy. William Killed in Action. 23 Dec. 1914. And their daughter Jean Cameron Clyne Died 17 May. 1952.’

William was born in Dundee on the 18th of May 1883. Within a few years, the family had moved North to Forres. The move could have been because James worked for the Great North of Scotland Railway Company as a traffic agent. Number 76c High Street became the family home.

William also worked for the same railway company as his father – could his work have been the reason he was in London at the time of his enlistment, September 1914?

He joined the 2nd Btn. Scots Guards and became Private 11319. It was just a few months after enlisting on the 9th of November 1914 that William embarked for France.

When the 2nd Battalion landed they became part of the 20th Guards Brigade of the 7th Division which took part in the First Battle of Ypres. In September and November, very heavy fighting took place not only in Ypres but in the surrounding areas. It was during this time over 50,000 British regular soldiers became casualties or were killed. Even though there were large numbers of casualties the British managed to hold the line and stopped the German attempt to breakthrough.

The regiment saw further contact with the enemy in the very cold December of that year. The regiment, on the 19th of December, won its first Victoria Cross, when Private James Mackenzie successfully rescued a badly wounded soldier from the German lines. He was killed later that day while undertaking a similar rescue. It was only a few short days later that William was killed.

William was laid to rest in Le Trou Aid Post Cemetery, Fleurbaix, France. Fleurbaix is some 700 miles from Forres, a small hamlet between Bethune and Armienteres. To the south is Fromelles while a 30 minutes drive and you are in the Belgium city of Ypres. A world and a lifetime away from the Moray Burgh of Forres.

Although William was killed early in the war he was still eligible for a medal or two – the 1914 Star and the Victory Medal. He or should I say his father went on to receive a War Gratuity of £3 plus £1 13s 10p and three siblings (James, Jane C and Annie) each received 11s 3p.

William was not the only child of James and Flora to ‘do their bit’ during The Great War. His younger brother James, born 2nd February 1892. He enlisted locally in Elgin on the 4th of August 1914. He initially served with the 1/6th Seaforth Highlanders as Private 1757, later rising to the rank of Sergeant before being transferred after 1916 to the Machine Gun Corps where he was an Officer Cadet and entered on the nominal roll of Officers. Now a 2nd Lieutenant he was awarded the Military Cross his citation in the London Gazette of 6 April 1918 reads:-T./2nd Lt. James Belfrage Bauchop, M.G. Corps. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. He led his battery through very heavy shell fire to their position during an attack, and got them into action, with great success. Later, under very severe shell fire, though wounded, he reorganised his teams’ and got his guns into action, remaining at his post until relieved’.

James during his service was severely wounded at Poelcapelle in the left side and shoulder. The Forres News and Advertiser of 20th of October 1917 let the community know of the families news ‘Wounded, Sec., Lieut. J B Bauchop. Information has been received by Mr and Mrs Bauchop, High Street, Forres that their only surviving son, Second Lieut. James B Bauchop, Machine Gun Corps, has been severely wounded. After a period of 15 months at the front with the Seaforth Highlanders, he received a commission in the Machine Gun Corps in October last year. Before enlisting he was in the employment of Messrs R & S Stewart, W.S., Edinburgh.’ After the was James worked as a solicitor. He married Margaret MacKenzie and died in 1959.

The next child is Jean or Jane as she is sometimes found, like William she was born in Dundee (28 June 1886). During the war, she served as a VAD Nurse but is missing from the Red Cross lists. After the was Jean became the manageress of the Forres Gazette office. She died in 1952.

Cluny Hill Cemetery, Forres

Cluny Hill Cemetery, Forres

This year I have had to cancel three holidays to France. I have missed seeing friends over there and missed visiting the CWGC cemeteries.

But in early July I booked a crossing, and I was going. During the next few weeks things changed leaving me questioning should I go? This uncertainty went on, should I go, should I change plans and go to Scotland on a family history trip. Yes, I was going to France. No, I was going to Scotland. What to do? A big decision. I decided after a few sleepless nights that I was going to Scotland. With my crossing to France now cancelled I needed somewhere to stay in Scotland. Do you know how hard it is to find a holiday place this year? Well, I can tell you it was not easy!

With a place to stay all sorted, it was time to sort it was time to get my family stuff sorted! With my family tree uploaded to Ancestry (as a back-up and so I can access via my phone), the laptop was packed, as was the rest of the baggage and I set off for Morayshire via my cousin’s house in Edinburgh.

I had made a list of the places, cemeteries, I needed to visit and over the days ticked them off. I have a system for walking cemeteries. In one beautiful cemetery that was never going to happen due to how it was laid out. The majority of the site is in woodland – not only are there trees to consider but the burials are on a hillside, a steep hillside. Difficult as it is to see every headstone the site is beautiful and I don’t think I missed many. By the way, I’m talking about Cluny Hill Cemetery in Forres, Morayshire. In the wooded areas, you walk on beds of lush moss and kick pine cones as you walk.

One of my relatives was a silversmith in Forres, he was also a respected Magistrate, Baillie, Provost and did much to beautify the Cluny Hills. I suppose I have him to thank for how wonderful the hills surrounding the cemetery are.

The cemetery is the final resting place of my silversmith, his family and a few others that are included on my tree, or if they aren’t there already, they soon will be.

As I said earlier Cluny Hill Cemetery is set on a very steep piece of land, and a visit is not really for the faint-hearted or those unsteady on their feet. While I was there I found several headstones of interest. One of these is to a WW1 soldier whose headstone is on a relatively flat area just inside the top entrance.

“Erected by Wm Forbes in loving memory of his wife Isabella Clark who died at Forres 23rd Jan. 1898 aged 33 years. Also his sons Duncan who died at Mosstodloch 22nr Feb. 1916 aged 24 years and L.-Corp. A C Forbes 1st Gordon Highlanders Killed in Action 29th April 1916 aged 23 years and the above Wm Forbes who died 24th June 1923 aged 70 years.

With this research being Scotland based, the majority of records are only available via Scotlandspeople, a pay per view site, it could be a little costly. I can, however, use worldwide sites to get the information but have no images to confirm details. I am relying upon transcripts in many cases.

You will no doubt know that I’m looking into the life of A C Forbes of the Gordon Highlanders.

Alexander Clark Forbes was born in 1893 in Forres, Elginshire (Morayshire), to William Forbes and Isabella Clark.

Before his enlistment on 22nd of May 1915, Alexander lived in Denny and worked as a policeman.

Alexander enlisted aged 22 in Aberdeen according to Soldiers Who Died in the Great War (SWDTGW). From the family headstone, we know that he served in the Gordon Highlanders but with a little bit of research it is known that he served in the 1st Battalion with service number S/10226.

AC’s service records have survived and from them, we know quite a lot about our soldier. For instance, he was 5′ 10 ½” tall, had a 39″ expanded chest and had a brown birthmark on his left foot. William, his father, lived at Fern Cottage, Mosstodloch – the family must have moved there after the census of 1901 as another family is living there then.

Alexander embarked at Southampton on the 1st of July 1915. His first months in Europe seem to have been quite eventful – he is in Field Ambulance 142 with Pyrexia in November. Shortly after he is at another Field Ambulance with Myalgia before being discharged to his unit. Shortly after being discharged, he is awarded 10 days FP No. 1 in the field. In March he is back in the UK for leave. After returning he is promoted, unpaid, to Lance Corporal (in the field), unpaid. the following month he is Killed in Action.

Alexander rests with over 1000 other casualties of war in Kemmel Chateau Military Cemetery, Belgium. His father was to receive the 1915 Star, a sum of money (just under £10) and a small pension of 5/- a week from November 1916.

Are you related to Alice Senior?

Are you related to Alice Senior?

On the 27th of January 1921, Alice Senior aged 54 boarded SS Winifredianin Liverpool bound for Boston, Massachusetts. Alice is listed on the passenger and crew list as being a weaver. Below Alice’s name is the name of Hilda Broughton Senior aged 21 and also a weaver. Alice is listed as being married while Hilda is a single woman. Both women are listed as being from Churwell.

Mrs Elizabeth Atkinson of 64 Granny Avenue, Churwell, nr Leeds is included on the manifest as being their nearest relative or friend in the country from which they came.

Why did the two Senior women go to America? Who were they before they boarded SS Winifredianin?

Hilda Broughton Senior was baptised in Morley on the 24th of March 1901 at St Peter’s Church. Alice Senior is her mother but there is no father included on the record. Alice and Hilda at the time lived at 10 Clarendon Terrace.

Ten years later in 1911, Alice is aged 49 and included on the census form that she had been married 25 years. During this time she had born three children of which two were still living. Hilda, now aged 11 was attending school. The small family had moved to 74 Elland Road, Churwell. There is no entry for the missing husband or the other child.

I initially presumed, not a thing to do in family history, that Mrs Atkinson mentioned on the manifest would be Alice’s mother. Alas, I could not find a marriage for an Alice Atkinson to a Senior, but that does not say it is not the case, only that I may have not looked enough.

Anyway, as with most family history stories, the plot thickens, as in 1901 Alice Senior is lodging at 10 Clarendon Terrace – we know that address, don’t we? Clarendon Terrace is where John W Broughton, a 32-year-old widow lives. John also works in the woollen trade, as a piecer. Alice is listed as a boarder, her son, Herbert aged 14 (our missing child) also works in the woollen trade. Finally, Hilda, aged 1. Could this newly found information give a clue as to why Hilda has the middle name Broughton, or am I again presuming that John Broughton is her father! I very much doubt that he is Herbert’s father, so there must be a Mr Senior somewhere, or, was Alice using the title as a ruse?

Back another 10 years to 1891 and living at Wilkinson’s Houses, 54 Elland Road is a widow named Mary Ann Clegg. Living with Mary are two women, the first is Emma Atkinson, now a link to the Atkinson family. The other is Alice senior who is there with her son. So it looks like the Atkinson on the manifest could be another sister for Alice. Also for Alice to be living with her mother and declaring she was married, looks like she must have been, but where is this elusive man called Mr Senior?

Now Alice’s maiden name has come to the fore another search for Mr Senior brings a marriage forward for Alice Clegg to Joseph Senior in the Dewsbury area in the September ¼ of 1886.

I hate looking through the USA census forms, there is no much information you have to scroll sideways to read, while the column titles are so small and difficult to read. But look I must. Hilda Broughton Senior married Arthur Lewis and in the 1930 census for Andover, Massachusetts the couple are listed with their son, Kenneth. Alice Senior is also there. All the adults were born in England while 6-year-old Kenneth is the only American. The family lived in a rented property at 10 Fletcher Street with a square footage of 3,200 ft. The majority of people listed on this page have parents born in either France, England or Scotland.

In the 1940 census for Lawrence, Massachusetts, Alice, now aged 77 is a housekeeper for George Smart, a tinsmith, living at 542 South Broadway.

There is a headstone in Ridgewood Cemetery, North Andover for an Alice Senior who had been born in 1862 and died in 1947 – could this be Alice? Also named on the headstone is Herbert Senior born 1886, his wife, Laura, George Hidle. It looks like Alice’s son also went to Massachusetts. Herbert had married Laura Shaw in the Parish Church, Leeds in 1907 where he tells the Assistant Curate, O G Mackie that his father was Joseph a woollen spinner. Both Herbert and Laura had been living at Hoxton Grove, Holbeck. Laura’s father, Fred is marked as deceased – so Joseph must have been alive.

I’ve just skipped over the story of Alice Senior with it taking me longer to put into words than research. The connection to Mrs Atkinson on the manifest has been found. Her new life in Massachusetts has been briefly documented along with that of Hilda. There is, however, one quite important snippet missing. Where is Joseph Senior?

Just for Interest

Just for interest!

While searching the web for John Younie, a relative who worked in the Indian Civil Service. During his service, he was Superintendent ICS of Chittagong Hill Tracts, later in charge of the Barrackpore Sub Division in the 24 Parangas District. He was later IC Joint Magistrate and Deputy Collector and given orders to act as Cantonment Magistrate in charge of Dum-Dum in addition to his normal duties – looks like he was a busy man. He died while in his courtroom. He is mentioned on various occasions in The Gazette.

There was a newspaper in Google Books which was free, well, I had to view it didn’t I? On the same page as my John Younie in The Pioneer Mail, 22 October 1920, was the following death notice.

BEAUMONT – At St. George’s Hospital, Bombay, on the 1st October 1920, Eleanor Agnes Lydia (L’Estrange), wife of William Beaumont, Esq., of Wrexham, Ipswich, and fourth daughter of the late Major Frederick James L’Estrange, grand-daughter of the late Major-General Edward L’Estrange, brother to the late Doctor Francis L’Estrange, Honorary Physical to the late Queen Victoria.

Image via Wikipedia

James W Hudson of Wrenthorpe

James W Hudson of Wrenthorpe

While assisting with a Western Front Association project I happened upon a few local people, one of which is James W Hudson.  The project was for members to look at each of the Pension Record Cards looking for ‘alias soldiers’ – soldiers who served using more than one name.

Pension Card for James Wm Hudson from the WFA collection

In late 1917 James Hudson would have received the news that his son James William had been Killed in Action.

James and his second wife Zillah had married around 1898. Zillah became stepmother to James William and Gertrude, aged 21 and 16.

In 1911 the original family were living at Bragg Lane End, Wrenthorpe. James, his first wife and James William relocated to Wrenthorpe before 1895 as Gertrude was born there. James William, like his father, was working as a miner,

In 1911 the original family were living at Bragg Lane End, Wrenthorpe. James, his first wife and one of the many local mines.

Although mining was a ‘Scheduled (or reserved) Occupation’ during WW1, James William did enlist. I wonder what his wife, Emily Mellor, who he had married in 1912, would have thought of that? James W enlisted in the KOYLI’s as part of Kitchener’s Army and served as Private 17785, but before enlistment, he had become a father to two children – James born in December 1912 and Joseph born in May 1914.

The 9th Battalion, of which James W was part saw many of the now infamous battles of The Great War. In 1917, they were in action during the German retreat to the Hindenburg Line, the Arras offensive, the Third Battle of Ypres and The Cambrai Operations. But it was on the 6th of November 1917 that James W’s war came to an abrupt end when he was Killed in Action. There is no grave for James W, no little piece of England in some foreign land with a marker to pay your respects to. There is only a name on a wall – one name in over 3500 who are remembered on the Tye Cot Memorial, Belgium.

WW1 Trench map and the modern-day area around the Tyne Cot Memorial and Cemetery

Part of Tyne Cot Memorial and Cemetery

Part of Tyne Cot Memorial and Cemetery

W’s medal card provides a little insight into when he enlisted as he qualified for the 1915 Star as well as the Victory and British Medals.

As well as receiving his medals, Emily would have received about £14 from the Army in two allotments, 1918 and 1919. She was also eligible for a grant and a small pension for herself and her two children. The money (pension) for her two sons stopped when they reached 16 years old. But Emily’s pension discontinued as soon as remarried, which she did on the 2nd of August 1919 to Horace Austerfield, another miner.

lives of Emily and Horace continued after the war and as a couple, they went on to have children.

When the time came around for the 1939 Register to be compiled Emily and her husband were living at 267 Bradford Road, Wakefield, along with some of their children and James, Emily’s son from her first marriage to James William Hudson.

As of September 3rd, I wonder if Emily cast her mind back to 1914. Or did she remember 1915 when James W would have gone to serve his country and pay the ultimate sacrifice?

Emily died in 1957 and Horace joined her the following year.  They both rest within the boundary of St Paul’s churchyard.

Pension Record Cards – what information is included

Pension Record Cards – what information is included

The Pension Record Cards for WW1 are in the care of the Western Front Association and available online in two places. Firstly, available free to Western Front Association members via the associations’ website. And secondly on Fold3 a sub-site of Ancestry – this is a pay per view site and as such has a subscription on its own or additional to Ancestry.

The WFA has over the past few weeks had a small army of volunteers viewing every one of the thousands of Pension Record Cards looking for ‘alias’ soldiers. There is a surprising number of soldiers who served under an alias.

What information is there on these cards? On every card is the soldiers’ name, his serial number and regiment along with various case numbers and re-directions to other military paperwork. Along with the change of regiments and service numbers and rank. There could be quite a few words struck through.

I want to tell you about what you in the majority of cases you may find.

The cards change in style and space for information varies. For this purpose, I’ll take what I call a ‘fully loaded’ card and explain what information can be available.

With a Service Record not being available where would you look for personal information? Until recently, not a lot of places.

Let us go back to the information held on the Pension Cards. The date of death is important as a search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website is then possible which will give a place of burial or commemoration.

A cause of death is always of interest and in these cards, the cause of death has been in some case quite blunt. Some causes of death include: drowned (including the name of vessel), pneumonia, cholera, cancer, as a result of an accident, epilepsy, gunshot wound to neck – self-inflicted and the list goes on.

Section of Pension Record Card

Section of Pension Record Card


A relation is information well worth having and could include a parent, wife (widow) other relation or guardian each with an address. You may be surprised to find that elusive wife or parent with an address in America, Canada or Australia – another avenue for you to follow You could also find that the named relation died or remarried and additional information is included. If there was a re-marriage there may be the included the new husbands’ name, occupation and date of marriage.

Section of Pension Record Card

Children – a full list of children including dates of birth and when their pension allotment expired. You could find that the children have been placed in the care of the Board of Guardians in various townships up and down the country.

One of the interesting bits of information is the pension awarded and how long for. In some cases, it is a matter of shillings for a limited time. While a small number include the pension will be for life. Another interesting item and again the military tell it as it is – if the couple were separated, the information you may not be privy to as it has never been spoken about – until now! The military could be quite brutal in the way relations were treated.

If a soldier was a prisoner of war this information could either be stamped or handwritten across the card.

There are a few cards, and I do mean a few cards where the information continues on the reverse and all adds to what you have already found.

When you disregard the possibility of a detailed account of a soldier in a newspaper account and the lack of a service record, there are not any records sets that include such useful and interesting information as the Pension Record Cards. Where else would you know a cause of death (KIA or DOW is not always precise), if a wife remarried or the couple separated or even a wife’s new address or country? You may also find additional children, step-children or a couple was not married.

So much information can be found and add to what you know about your soldier(s).

St Catherine’s Church Memorial Service contd.,

St Catherine’s Church Memorial Service contd.,

Frank Hodgson

As Frank was the only one of the soldiers included in the Memorial Service article (see previous entry) to have his Service Record survive the ravages of The Blitz during WW2 it seemed appropriate to tell about him in a separately.

As I said in the previous entry, Frank was the only soldier whose Attestation papers had survived. So when looking at these records, what can we find out about him?

Frank of 32 Montague Street, Agbrigg Road, Wakefield, was aged 18 in 1916 when he attested before Sergt. J Williamson at Pontefract on the 9th of September 1916. Frank worked as a cloth dresser, probably in one of the local mills. At 5′ 4″ in height and a 33″ chest, he was still much more a boy than a man. On this recordset, Frank had included his father as his next of kin.

The following pages tell more of Frank’s army life. He was mobilized in December 1916 and posted to a Training Battalion in February the following year. Finally, becoming part of the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) in February 1918. As a result of this, he was now part of the DLI (Durham Light Infantry).

It was just over one month later on the 22nd of March, 1918, that Frank, like many others before, was Killed in Action, ‘in the field’. In short, Frank had only been in France for five weeks but had served for one year and 35 days.

DLI headstone

Frank had served as Private, 75515 in the 15th Battalion of the DLI, “C” Troop.

During the spring offensive of 1918, the DLI had suffered greatly.  The 2nd battalion had from its original strength of  30 officers and 639 other ranks been reduced to two officers and 58 men unwounded with six officers and 286 other ranks wounded.  The 15th battalion, including Frank, had been reduced to one company.

Turning the pages of Franks Service Record, which are not in date order, it is now possible to find that he weighed 105lbs. There were four vaccination marks visible on his body, and his eyesight was good.

Like many other soldiers during this period in military history, Frank had a series of service numbers. At enlistment, his service number was TR/5/65657. Upon entering the Training Reserve Battalion, it changed to 3221, followed finally by 75515.

While based at Hornsea in May 1917, Frank seems to have been absent for one day – for this he was admonished and forfeited one day’s pay. Following his time in East Yorkshire, Frank moved on to Rugeley, before embarking from Folkstone for France.

Late in October 1918, Ann, Frank’s mother was granted 6s 4d Separation Allowance. Ann completed a form which required her to list Frank’s parentage along with full blood and half-blood siblings – Frank had five full blood siblings ranging in ages from 17 to 38.

Blank ‘Death Penny’

As Frank, had been Killed in Action his parents would receive quite a lot of paperwork from the Army. One of these letters would be to acknowledge receipt of a ‘Death Penny’ and Scroll.

Frank, like Robert Elvey, rests at Poziers, but unlike Robert, Frank has no known grave and is, therefore, remembered on the Pozieres Memorial to the Missing.

St Catherine’s would have been the Hodges family church, and I presume that Frank’s name would have been recorded on their stone war memorial. The memorial survived a terrible fire at the church but sadly did not survive being damaged by one of the workmen working on the fire ridden church. The workman, driving a lorry, reversed over the memorial which had been placed flat on the floor for safety. The result was, as you can guess, unsalvageable.

Frank, had been born on the 18th of September 1898 and baptised the following month in St Catherine’s Church.

Frank, in his short life, is found in two census – 1901 and 1911. In both census Frank, his parents, James and Ann, and his siblings are living on Montague Street. Some of his older siblings by 1911, have left home to start their own lives.

Frank’s father, James died in 1925 followed by his mother the following year.

St Catherine’s Church Memorial Service 1918

St Catherine’s Church Memorial Service

While looking through the pages of a 1918 newspaper I came across the following article and I became curious as to who these men were.

The Express, Saturday, June 15 1918


A Memorial Service was held in St Catherine’s Church on Sunday afternoon last, in memory of Robert Elvey, Arthur Harrison, Joseph Harold Walker, Willie Bolton, Frank Hodgson, and George Wilkin, gallant soldiers who made the Great Sacrifice on behalf of their Country. The service was attended by the relatives of most of the soldiers, and a large number of parishioners came to pay their tribute of sympathy and respect. The service, taken by the Vicar (Rev. W Mahon), was simple, impressive and moving, and the draped National Flag seemed t add to the occasion. Three hymns, “My God my Father, while I stray.” “Now the Labourer’s Task is o’er.” “How bright these Glorious Spirits Shine.” were sung; and the organist (Mr J J Capewell) played Chopin’s Funeral March, Liebe’s Requiem, and Malan’s “Oh Lord my God, hear Thou the prayer thy servant prayeth.”

Let me see if I can find out who these Wakefield lads were when they lived and breathed and walked along our local streets.

Pozieres Cemetery and Memorial via Wikipedia

Firstly, Robert Elvey. During the Great War, after enlisting in Wakefield, he served as Sapper 480716 in 157th Field Company, Royal Engineers. Robert had also served under another service number, T4325. He died on the 25th of March 1918 and rests in Pozieres CWGC Cemetery, France. The Probate entry for Robert tells another snippet of his life – it tells that he lived at 59 Regent Street and that he left a widow, Annie who would have inherited the sum of £469 17s 2d. She would also have received his medals – The British and Victory Medals and a ‘Death Penny’ and Scroll.

Robert had married Annie Kendall in 1915. But let’s go back a few years to 1911 when Robert is living with his parents, Arthur Ed. Elvey aged 46 a Teacher of Pianoforte, and his wife Eleanor Theresa. Robert was one of four surviving children out of 7 born to Eleanor. Robert at this time was 21 years old and earned his living as a bricklayer.

Arthur Harrison is next in line.  After determining which Arthur Harrison was mentioned in the newspaper – there was a few!  This was done by browsing the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) website.  I found he enlisted in Wakefield, joining the Yorkshire Hussars (Alexandra, Princes of Wale’s Own), 13th Battalion. He was known as Private, 24657, Harrison, Arthur.  He was Killed in Action on the 24th of November 1917.  Arthur is remembered on Panel 5 of the Cambrai Memorial to the Missing, Louverval, France and is one of over 7100 whose final resting place is known only unto their god.

Arthur enlisted in Wakefield after 1915 and was only eligible for the British and Victory Medals BUT he had been awarded the MM (Military Medal). Arthur’s money owed from the Army was War Gratuitypaid to Mrs Bessie Underwood, his sister. This money included £9 War Gratuity.

Joseph Harold Walker is next in line. According to the CWGC, only one entry fits the bill. Joseph was the son of Walter and Emily of Wakefield. Joseph served in the 1/5th KOYLI King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry as Private, 242886. He enlisted into the KOYLI’s in Wakefield. The 1/5th Battalion was a Territorial Battalion.  

Joseph would have been awarded the British and Victory Medals and his Medal Card also tells that he had served under another service number – 5136. Emily, his mother was registered as his next of kin and was, therefore, granted monies from the Army including £9 War Gratuity.

Joseph died on 3 of February 1918 aged 34. Joseph rests in Anzi -St Aubin British Cemetery in Northern France with 360 other servicemen. After his burial and erection of his memorial stone, his parents had the inscription “Rest in Peace” at the base of his headstone.

Military Medal via Wikipedia

Willie Bolton follows on from Joseph. The CWGC has information on two Willie Bolton’st only one died early in 1918. Willie served in the 9th Btn. of the KOYLI as Private 15271. During his time as a soldier in The Great War, he had been awarded the MM (Military Medal).  The medal being established in 1916 but could be backdated to 1914.

Willie like the other’s remembered in the service enlisted in Wakefield. Willie seemed to have served the longest of the men mentioned so far. He entered France in May of 1915 which made him eligible for the 1915 Star, the British and Victory Medals – plus his MM. Any money owing to Willie was sent to his mother as his next of kin. She was also sent £17 War Gratuity.

Willie has no known grave and is therefore remembered on the Tyne Cot Memorial to the Missing with over 35000 recorded names of other missing brothers in arms.

Frank Hodgson is the penultimate name and the only soldier I can find a service record for. I have decided that he will have a section on his own.

Finally, George Wilkin who sadly at the moment I can’t find anything that positively identifies him.

Clayton’s of Barnsley Road, Wakefield

Clayton’s of Barnsley Road, Wakefield

Who to choose?  Whose life and deeds to tell of?  What a hard decision it has been today.  I thought about the policeman in Wakefield Goal mentioned in my last effort. No. I ended up going through my website to see who was of interest and it was there in the Absent Voters List for 1918 that I found him/them.

As many locals know Barnsley Road, Wakefield is one of the major roads in the area.  The A61, starting in Derby and finishing in Thirst takes you through a great deal of the old industrial areas of Yorkshire.  Now, sections of this road have been absorbed into the M1 and A1.

Why have I told you this?  Well, just to tell the reader that this road, before the addition of motorways was an important part of the infrastructure of the West Riding of Yorkshire.

Just outside the city boundaries and past the bus depot is Broxbourne.  I remember passing this house as a child and I always remember it being painted a creamy colour with blue paintwork.  I also seem to think at some time the house was the home of a doctor – possibly in the 1950s or ’60s.

As they say in a tv programme ‘Who lives in a place like this?’ or should I say ‘Who lived in a place like this?’

Going back to the Absent Voters List for 1918 section H there is William Kitson Clayton a Lieutenant Colonel in the RAMC (Royal Army Medical Corps) and his son William Douglas Clayton a LIeutenant in the 1st Yorks.

William Kitson Clayton was born in Leeds c1860.  By 1881 William was living in Wakefield with Joe (?) Clayton (possibly a brother).  William was aged 21, a medical student living in the home of Wm. Sanderson, a stationer at 77 Kirkgate.  During the next few years, William met Ada Baldwin and early in 1885 the couple married in St Mary Magdelene’s Church, Outwood on February the 11th.  William’s father, Joe stated he was a wine and spirit merchant.  While Ada’s father, William was a farmer.  The witnesses to this union, well there were a few of them, were W C Clayton, E A Clayton, Wm Baldwin, Joseph Clayton, C Baldwin,? Baldwin and C W Baldwin.

The newly married couple then lived on Main Street, Aberford and in the 1911 census they can be found with their children  Gladys B and Madalene, William’s brother John Clayton, a Granter School Scholar, Jessica Edwards a hospital nurse, and two domestic servants.

The family are now back in Wakefield, 83 Northgate, where William is a physician and surgeon.  His family had grown in the last 10 years – Gladys Baldwin was now 13, Madalene 10, and now included Margorie C, 8 and William Douglas aged 6.  The family now had three servants and a visitor, 38-year-old J E Gledhill (?), a medical practitioner born in Mauritius.

The next 10 years in William’s life are tinted with both sadness and joy.  In 1904 Ada died aged 41.  The following year William remarried to Ada Willcox and the newly married couple were in 1911 living in Grove House, Grove Road, wakefield.  No family was living with them only two servants, one of whom was Norwegian.  During the census year, William Douglas Clayton has now aged 16  a pupil at Epsom College.

William Kitson Clayton during The Great War served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  He must have served from 1915 onwards as he was awarded the 1915 Star plus the British and Victory Medals.  He applied for his medals in August 1921.

Territorial Decoration via Wikipedia

Before receiving his military service medals, he had been awarded the Territorial Decoration in the 1919 New Years Honours List.  The Territorial Decoration being a long service decoration for a minimum of 20 years commissioned service with war service counting as double time.

William Douglas Clayton as we know also served during WW1 – he served in the Yorkshire Regiment as a Lieutenant and later Acting Captain.  Like his father, he was awarded the 1915 Star along with the British and Victory Medals.  William Douglas not only did he serve in Europe, but he also served in India and Ireland.  He Attested in Wakefield on 7th August 1914 before John Hepple, Captain.  He was just 18 years of age, an Oxford Undergraduate of Broxbourne, Sandal.  He was 5′ 7½” tall with good eyesight and now was in the RAMC as a Private number 39 with the Mounted Brigade  Field Ambulance.  He was with the Corps until December 1914 and then left to attend Officer Training College, Camberley.  It seems he might have also been at Sandhurst for some time.

The British Army List has William Douglas born on 24th February 1895 being appointed 2nd Lieutenant in the Yorkshire Regiment on 16th of June 1915.  Attaining the rank of Lieutenant in September of that year.

Sometime after the war but before 1929, the family moved to Scarborough – living on the Esplanade.  And it was on the 17th of October 1929, William Douglas married Hilda Faith Thompson.  Hilda was the daughter of Geoffrey Ward Thompson, Doctor of Medicine, General Practitioner. Less than a decade later, William Kitson Clayton of 13 Esplanade Road, Scarborough died on 12th November 1937.  Probate was granted in Wakefield in February the following year to his widow Edith Mary Clayton and William Douglas Clayton retired Major in His Majesties Army and Thomas Edward Catterall solicitor.  The sum of £5124 11s 1d.

The family were on the move again and Edith Mary by now was a resident of Holloway Sanatorium, Virginia Water, Surrey, on the 6th of  June 1959 died.  Probate again was granted in Wakefield to Christopher Malcolm Percy Willcox, company director, William Douglas Clayton now a retired Lieutenant Colonel in the Army and Harry Moxon solicitor. The sum of £2668 4s.

William Douglas Clayton died in St Albans in the summer of 1978.  Hilda Mary died in late spring 1988 aged 82.  Her death was included in The Times death notices.

There is one member of the family Madalene that according to the CWGC (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) was killed while a firewatcher at the Bar Convent, Blossom Street, York.  Madelene was known as Mother Mary Magnes and was one of five sisters who lost their lives during the Baedeker Raids in April 1942.  The Convent during WW2 gave safety to Belgian nuns and refugee children.  The Concert Hall was converted into a hospital for wounded soldiers.

The Baedeker Raids between April and June 1942 were purposely targetted at Britains historical towns including Norwich, Canterbury, Exeter, Bath and York in retaliation for the RAF bombing Lubeck earlier that year.   The attack on the 28/29th of April saw more than 90 civilian casualties and over 200 injured.  It was estimated at the time that over 9000 properties were damaged or destroyed – including many public buildings suffered damage including the medieval Guildhall.  The old Rowntree factory was burnt to the ground.  The incoming King’s Cross to Edinburgh train heavily crowned with military personnel took a direct hit.