26 March 2017

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: George Ernest Flavell

George Flavell was born in 1892 in Wickliffe, Victoria, in Australia, the fourth child of George Flavell and his wife Sophia (nee Parrish).  He was my third cousin three times removed and grew up to work as a labourer in Moyston, Vic.  And that's really all I know about him as a man.

Of his time as a soldier I can tell you that he enlisted in August 1915 when he was 22 years and 10 months old; that he embarked on HMAT Thermistocles in Melbourne on 28 December 1916 and that he served in the Suez area before being moved to France.

I found letters in the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded & Missing Enquiry Bureau files (1914-18 War) which confirm that he was reported Missing believed Killed on 26 March 1917. It was only after these letters that his death near Bapaume was confirmed.  Six months after the event, his colleagues all wrote that George was blown in half by a shell on this day one hundred years ago.

We will remember them.

19 March 2017

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Norris Ernest Wiltshire

Norris Wiltshire was my second cousin three times removed and was born in Skelton, Yorkshire, in 1895, eldest of the seven children of Ernest and Ann (nee Norris).  In the 1901 census he was six years old and the family were still in Skelton; by 1911 the family had move a few miles north to Saltburn and young Norris, by now 16 years old, was "trapping in mines".

In the September quarter of 1914 he married Jane Marsh in Morpeth and they begat two daughters. He enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers and served with the second battalion in the Balkans area.

The Registers of Soldiers' Effects gives Norris's date of death as "between 10 September 1916 and 19 March 1917" in Bulgaria.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Doiran Memorial in Greece, the memorial to the missing of Salonika.

We will remember them.

15 March 2017

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: William Arthur Staden

My cousin, three times removed, William Arthur Staden, together with his twin brother Frederick Walter, was born in Bury St Edmunds on 15 October 1876, the eighth and nine children of Joseph, a plumber and glazier, and his wife Eliza, nee Drury.  Frederick sadly died less than seven months later.

William grew up in Bury St Edmunds and then moved to London; the 1901 census shows him, aged 24 and a draper's assistant, living in the "Residence for Employees of Peter Robinson Ltd" in Marylebone.  In 1911 he was boarding in Westminster, by now a "draper traveller".  Come the Great War, by now in his mid-to-late thirties, he enlisted, in Westminster, as a private in the 12th Battalion, the Royal Fusiliers.

He died on 15 March 1917, aged 40, and is buried in the Chocques Military Cemetery in the Pas de Calais region of France.

We will remember them.

5 March 2017

Mind the Gap......

I seem to have been more absent than present on here recently so I will recount a story of great achievement.....and a fair bit of luck!

Last weekend, whilst attempting to identify the people in my maternal grandparents' wedding photo (as you do), I sought light entertainment in the newspaper archives.  As I have done a few times before, I entered "Pates and Biggleswade" as search terms and sat back to await the results....and found the name of my illegitimate great-grandmother!!!!!!

Much excitement ensued, along with a transcription of the article.  It seems that greatx3 grandmother took the man to court and there it was in the Bedfordshire Times' Petty Sessions report: "Walter Roberts, labourer, Biggleswade, was charged by Mary Ann Pates, Biggleswade, with being the putative father of her illegitimate child.  He admitted paternity, and was ordered to pay 1s 6d, per week and 12s 6d costs."

That's filled a very large gap in the tree!  Now to sort out the puzzle of the great-grandmother's marriage....... that will take a very long time, not just the twenty-odd years it took to find her father.

More soon.

4 December 2016

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: George Housden Dellar

George Dellar was born in St Ives, in the old county of Huntingdonshire, in 1889, oldest of the four children of George & Ellen (nee Culpin).  My second cousin twice removed, he grew up in the town and was working for Cranfield & Wheeler, solicitors in St Ives.

George initially enlisted in the Hunts Cyclists Battalion but later transferred to the 1st Beds.  in January 1916 he married Grace Harlick in Somersham, which was reported by the local paper "The Hunts Post":-

"Military Wedding: On Monday at the Baptist Chapel, Miss Grace Harlick, youngest daughter of the late Mr James Harlick, of Somersham, was married to George Housden Dellar, late of St Ives and now serving in the Hunts Cyclists Corps. The officiating minister was the Rev. H E Jessop. Mr Harold Williams, of Harrow, acted as best man. The bride was given away by her mother. A large number of friends assembled to witness the ceremony, after which the happy pair left for Hunstanton."

Sadly, George was wounded at Guillemont on 3rd September that year and died of his wounds in hospital in Windsor on 4th December.  The Hunts Post has a number of reports on his death.  On 8th December:-

"Death of Pte George Dellar: Pte George Dellar, of St Ives, passed away at Windsor Hospital on Monday morning, in the presence of his wife and father. Pte Dellar was badly wounded in the chest in the early stages of the Great Push, and when taken to the base hospital in France was in so dangerous a state that his wife and father were wired for. They proceeded at once to France, where they had the gratification of finding the young soldier much better, and left him with every hope of recovery. Last Thursday a fateful wire came, and Mrs Dellar with her father in law proceeded at once to Windsor. The deceased was only 27 years of age. For a considerable period he had held a confidential position in the offices of Messrs Cranfield and Wheeler. He was an enthusiastic member of the VTC and went into khaki with the Hunts Cyclists, being subsequently transferred to the Royal Warwickshire Regt. Last January he married Miss Grace Harlick, daughter of the late Mr Harlick and Mrs Harlick of Somersham. The interment takes place at the St Ives cemetery on Friday afternoon, with full military honours."

The following week's edition contains a full report of George's funeral and it is clear that it was well attended, and the locals also came out to line the streets.  

We will remember them.

4 November 2016

Unexpected Item in the Blogging Area.....

Anyone familiar with my website may have seen that I photograph War Memorials and display them on one of the pages.  My latest “acquisition” is the memorial at Howgate, a small village about 1½ miles from Penicuik in Midlothian.  And, as I haven’t  blogged for a while I thought I’d combine my photographic habit with my regular blogging about the centenary of the Great War.
Thus, I chose the first name on the Howgate memorial:  William James Falside was the third child, and eldest son, of the Rev. John Tully Falside and his wife Elizabeth (nee Semple).  Born in Eskdalemuir, in Dumfriesshire, in 1883 I found him in the 1891 census at the Davington Manse in the village, and again in 1901 in Govan, this time studying at Glasgow University.
Thereafter I followed his life through various newspapers.  The Dundee Courier (20 September 1911), reports: “Dalkeith United Free Presbytery last evening unanimously agree to moderate in a call to the Rev. Wm J Falside to become minister of Howgate U.F. Church, Midlothian, to fill the vacancy caused by the departure of the Rev. John G Taylor to Glasgow some months ago.  Mr Falside’s ordination was fixed for 20th October.  He is a native of Langholm, Dumfriesshire, and was for two years assistant at St Paul’s Church, Dundee, and for the last three months assisted in Moncrieff Church, Alloa.  The Howgate call was signed by 129 members and 13 adherents.”
A few weeks later, on 4 November 1911, the Alloa Advertiser tells us: “As mentioned in these columns last week, the Rev. W J Falside, son of the late Rev. J T Falside, Eskdalemuir, and Mrs Falside, Livingstone Place, Lockerbie, was on Friday, October 20th, inducted to the pastoral charge of Howgate United Free Church (in the Presbytery of Dalkeith), the vacancy having occurred through the translation of the Rev. J G Taylor to Lyon Street U.F. Church, Glasgow.  After hearing a number of candidates, Howgate congregation address to Mr Falside a unanimous and singularly harmonious call, which was duly sustained by the Presbytery.”
The next significant entry, in respect of this blog, was in the pages of the Scotsman on 8 December 1915: To Dalkeith U F Presbytery the Rev. William J Falside, M.A., Howgate, made application for leave to enlist, and this the Presbytery granted.  The Rev. Robert T Jack agreed to undertake the duties at Howgate during his absence.”
Sadly that absence was to be permanent.  I found five reports of his death; the Scotsman, on 14 October 1918, represents them all: “MIDLOTHIAN MINISTER DIES ON SERVICE.  News reached Penicuik yesterday of the death of the Rev. W J Falside in Italy on 6th inst.  He was a son of the late Rev. John T Falside, Eskdalemuir, and passed through Glasgow University with distinction.  He acted as assistant at Dundee and Alloa, and in October 1911 was ordained minister of the U.F. Church, Howgate, Penicuik.  In January 1916 he enlisted as a private in the RAMC, and saw service in East and West Africa.  In the beginning of this year he received his commission as a chaplain, and as such served for eight months in Ireland.  He preached in Howgate Church three weeks ago before proceeding abroad to take up duty, and on the way he became ill with pneumonia.  Two brothers were killed on service with the King’s Own Scottish Borderers.”
William was 35 years old when he died in the Faenza Military Hospital, in the Ravenna area of Italy.  He is buried in the Faenza Communal Cemetery.  

 We will remember them.

Sources:  The British Newspaper Archives online (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk); Photograph from "www.findagrave.com"

26 September 2016

GREAT WAR CENTENARY: Richard Howe Watson

Richard Watson was born in Girton, Cambridgeshire, in 1886, fourth of the twelve children of Philip and Alice (nee Howe); he was my fourth cousin twice removed.  In 1901 the family had moved to the nearby village of Histon and then back to Girton by 1911.  As with many people in those villages he became one of the workers at the Chivers Jam factory.

The following article from The Cambridge Independent Press on 13 October 1916 gives a small amount of information: ROLL OF HONOUR: GIRTON - News has reached Girton that Pte. Richard (Dick) Watson, of the Suffolks, has been killed in action.  The information was received in a letter written to his parents by one of his chums, Pte. Impey, of Dry Drayton.  He appears to have been shot by a sniper.  Pte. Watson was called up under the Derby Scheme, and had only been in France a short time.  He was formerly employed at Messrs Chivers’ Works at Histon.  He has four other brothers serving with the colours, one of whom joined the Royal Flying Corps during the past week.

(Note: The Derby Scheme was proposed by Lord Derby as an attempt to increase recruitment and avoid the need for conscription by allowing men to attest voluntarily for service at a later date.  Men who signed up under the scheme would be paid one day’s wages, placed in the Class B Army reserve, and then released back into civilian life until required by the military.)

He was serving with the 8th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment, when he died on 26 September 1916 in the Somme region.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial.

We will remember them.