1 July 2016

Great War Centenary: First Day of the Somme


At 7:30am on 1st July 1916, whistles blew along the Allied lines in France.  By the end of the day, four members of my extended family had lost their lives.

ALBERT CONQUEST was my second cousin three times removed and was born on 28 June 1878 in the Cambridgeshire village of Over. Second of the nine children of Charles and Jane (nee Thoday), he was an agricultural labourer by the age of 12, according to the 1891 census. In 1899 he signed on in the Royal Navy as a stoker, being discharged in 1908.  He returned to Over and was a bricklayer's labourer in 1911. When war came he enlisted in the 11th Battalion of the Suffolk Regiment, known as the Cambridgeshire Pals, and died on 1st July. Along with so many others he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

CHARLES HILLS, my third cousin once removed, was born in Doddington, Cambs, in 1893, the sixth of ten children of George and Naomi (nee Wadlow). In 1901 the family was at Pannick Farm, and Charles was at school. They moved to Chatteris where, in 1911, Charles was a farm labourer. He too joined the Cambridgeshire Pals (11th Suffolks) and was a lance corporal at the time of his death. The Thiepval Memorial also bears his name.

FREDERICK GEORGE PATES was another third cousin, this time three times removed.  He was the son of Frederick and Agnes (nee Tull) and was born in Shoreditch in 1881.  The oldest of three sons, he grew up in Shoreditch and was a carman in 1901.  He joined the Dorsetshire Regiment and died on the first day of the battle.  He is buried in Serre Road Cemetery No. 2.

LIONEL ERIC BLAYDON was born in 1890 in Wandsworth, the second of eight children of Avey and Caroline (nee Rhind).  He was my fourth cousin three times removed.  By 1901 the family had moved to Chorlton-cum-Hardy in Lancashire and the 1911 census finds him boarding in Manchester, working as a shipper's clerk.  His war service was with the 19th Manchesters until he too ended up on the Somme.  His name is also on the Thiepval Memorial.

Somewhere in the region of 210, 000 Allied men lost their lives in the horror of 1st July 1916.  

We will remember them.

18 June 2016

Not sure....

I loaded a friend's tree onto Ancestry yesterday and started adding to it. 

And very easy it was too. I was lucky to find information quickly and, one click or two later, there it was - added to the tree!

But not into my memory because I often need to write things down for them to stick in the brain cell.  I wonder how other people manage?

More soon. 

8 June 2016

It's only just.....

......occurred to me that I don't know where my great-grandfather was buried. 

George Staden died in 1920 at the TB hospital, Papworth. I know that from family stories and his death certificate. But I've never worked out where his grave is ....!  That's clearly this evening's task. 

More soon. 

3 June 2016

Children's names

So there I was, revelling in some new information which enables me to welcome some of my stray Culpins into the family file. And I was checking some, as is my wont, and I discovered two Georges born in the same village four years apart. 

So far, so very ordinary.  Then I saw that one, incidentally the 'wrong' one according to my recent information, had a mother called Dorothy. 

And the 'right' one had a daughter called Dorothy. The eldest daughter, no less. 

So now I'm surrounded by pages of notes.....and I think my head is going to explode!

More soon. 

31 May 2016

Great War Centenary: George Barnett Culpin

At the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, Arbuthnot took HMS Defence and her sister ships Warrior and Black Prince to attack the light cruiser SMS Wiesbaden, which lay dead in the water between the opposing fleets.  Brought under concentrated fire from Rear Admiral Paul Behncke's Third Battle Squadron, HMS Defence sank with the loss of all her 893 crew at 1815.

One of the members of the crew of HMS Defence was George Barnett Culpin.  My 2nd cousin three times removed, George was born on 11 November 1898 in West Ham, the oldest son of Henry and Alice (nee Ball).  His entry on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission says it all:-

"In memory of Boy Telegraphist George Barnett Culpin, J/31710, HMS Defence, Royal Navy, who died age 17 on 31 May 1916......"

We will remember them.

21 May 2016

Great War Centenary: Bernard Gifford Sercombe

Born in 1892 in Lewisham, Bernard Sercombe was my 3rd cousin twice removed and youngest of the six children of Horatio and Ellen (nee Ongley).  The family stayed in the area and by 1911 they were living in Lee (Kent/London) and Bernard was listed as "no occupation" - which I take to mean unemployed.

Come the Great War Bernard enlisted in the London Regiment and advanced to Corporal.  He was not married but the Probate index suggests that there was a young lady left behind.  He died on 21st May and is named on the Arras Memorial.

We will remember them.

20 March 2016

Great War Centenary: William Culpin

William (Willie) Culpin was born in Elton, Hunts, in August 1884, the eldest of the thirteen children of William and Lizzie, nee Quince.

The family moved to Titchmarsh, Northamptonshire, before 1890 and William grew up in the village before he went from being a horseman on a farm to a soldier.  In the 1911 census he was 26 years old and serving in the 1st Northants regiment.

I know little else about him.  He died on 20 March 1916 in France, in the Pas-de-Calais region, and was buried in the Maroc British Cemetery, Grenay.

We will remember them.