Family history

Military Monday – Harry Musgrove (1889-1974)

Harry Musgrove is my great uncle – my maternal grandfathers brother. He was born 17 November 1889 to parents Thomas Musgrove and Ellen Stowell.

I have been lucky enough to find Harry’s WW1 service record on www.ancestry.co.uk.

Harry enlisted in Clitheroe, Lancashire on 11 November 1915 – six days before his 26th birthday.  At the time he was living at 11 Brownlow Street, Clitheroe and working as a ‘weaver’.

He served as a private in the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and his service number was 103760.

It looks like Harry was initially assigned to the ‘home hospital’ reserve in Blackpool, Lancashire.  Then in May 1917 he ‘volunteered’ for overseas service – see below.

next information about his service shows that he was in Corsica from 9 June 1917 to 31 December 1918.  Harry returned home at the beginning of 1919 and according to his service papers was ‘demobbed’ on 23 February 1919 and transferred to the Class Z Reserve.

There is a note in the papers addressed to the Officer in Charge at the Queen Mary’s Military Hospital, Whalley, Lancashire.  This note was sent with Harry’s ‘medical history’ sheet on 16 January 1919.  On one of the documents is stamped ‘sick and wounded’ but I can’t find any information about Harry’s condition at the time.

The Queen Mary’s Military Hospital was formerly the Whalley Asylum. It was used as a military hospital  until June 1920. There is also a military cemetery attached to the hospital.

Queen Mary’s Military Hospital

Harry married Edith Hitchen on 20 January 1940.  He died on 25 November 1974 – eight days after his 85th birthday.

Military Monday – Arthur Lockington (1892-1915)

Arthur Lockington is my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed.  Their common ancestors are John Lockington and Susannah Snowden, my wife’s 2x great grandparents.  He was born about 1892 in Middlesbrough, Yorkshire to parents Joseph Lockington and Ellen Elizabeth Johnson.

I have been fortunate to find Arthur’s WW1 service records on www.ancestry.co.uk.

Arthur enlisted at Middlesbrough on 4 September 1914.  His records show his age as 22 years 157 days.  He served as a rifleman in the 12th Battalion Rifle Brigade and his service number is S1746.

While he was still on service in England Arthur married Margaret Wilkinson on 6 March 1915 in Middlesbrough.

Arthur left for France with the British Expeditionary Force on 21 July 1915 and landed at Boulogne the following day.

The next important piece of information is that Arthur is reported missing presumed killed in action on 25 September 1915 while fighting at Pietre in a 6.00am attack to the north of Neuville.  This was a supporting or diversionary action during The Battle of Loos.

On 5 July 1916 The War Office awarded Margaret Lockington a pension of 15 shillings a week for her and her daughter Florence who was born on 11 April 1916.  Sometime in the December quarter of 1918 Margaret married Sydney Flett in Middlesbrough.

Finally on 17 February 1921 Margaret took possession Arthur’s war medals.

Arthur is remembered on the Middlesbrough War Memorial and is commemorated on the Ploegsteert Memorial in Belgium.  This memorial includes the names of more than 11,000 servicemen of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in this sector during the First World War and have no known grave.

The memorial was designed by Harold Chalton Bradshaw, with sculpture by Gilbert Ledward and was unveiled by the Duke of Brabant on 7 June 1931.

RMS Cumberland – Postcard #19

Here is a very battered , torn and creased postcard which has been in my family for almost 70 years.  The card shows RMS Cumberland at Barrow in Furness

There is no publisher or printer information.

The postcard was sent from Barrow on 13 July 1942 to my grandparents, Mr & Mrs J Dawson, 7 Ellis Street, Brinsworth, Rotherham, Yorkshire.

Unfortunately I have no idea who sent the card. You will see that there are only some initials to indicate who wrote to my grandparents – they could have been friends or relatives, I simply don’t know.

The message says

Dear A & J

Everyone landed here OK and quite happy to be together. Sorry to say it looks like rain but hoping for better weather later as  the tide goes out.

All the best.

C. G. TD & MO

The message is intriguing. And I also wonder whether or not the RMS Cumberland is more important to the story than just appearing on the front of the postcard.

Does the use of the word ‘landed’ suggest that perhaps they travelled to Barrow in Furness on the RMS Cumberland?  Does the phrase ‘quite happy to be together’ suggest that before they arrived in Barrow then they were not together. Does ‘everyone’ mean a larger group of people than just C. G. TD and MO?

I did wonder if ‘they’ had been evacuated from Rotherham – but then I thought Barrow, with its shipyard, was probably not a place people were evacuated to. However this link on Wikipedia – Barrow Blitz – suggests that the last bombs of the blitz fell on Barrow in January 1942 and the last air-raid siren was sounded on 25 March 1942.

Also further research suggests that Rotherham did not loom large on German maps and only suffered two serious raids – both in August 1940. Maybe C. G. TD and MO came from somewhere else.

Anyway, I could go on trying to imagine the story behind the message on the postcard, but I need to just accept it as a piece of family history and leave it there.

Military Monday – William Dawson (1880-1939)

William Dawson is my great grandfather’s cousin. Our common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson.  He was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire on 9 October 1880 to parents Matthew Dawson and Ann Brigg.

William married Lucilla Whitaker on 29 February 1912. They had two children

• Matthew – born 19 September 1912

• Mary – born 9 March 1914

On 28 May 1918 William enlisted in Halifax at the age of 37 years 213 days. He was assigned to the 6th West Riding Regiment. At the time of his enlistment he was working as a ‘warp dresser’. His service number was 52089.

According to his service papers on www.ancestry.co.uk William left for France on 12 October 1918. He returned to England less than six weeks later on 20 November 1918 having received ‘gun shot wounds’ to both his thighs.

William was finally discharged on 6 May 1919 under King’s Regulation 392 (xvi) being no longer physically fit for war service.

The extract below indicates the degree of William’s disablement – and I think it says 38%. There are also some details of his pension and it looks like he was awarded £0.8s.3d per week from 7 May 1919 to be reviewed after 52 weeks. Also an allowance of £0.3s.6d per week for his two children from 26 May 1919.

William died about twenty years later – his death is registered in Q3 of 1939.

Military Monday – Watson Emmott Dawson (1887-1944)

Watson Emmott Dawson is my 1st cousin 3x removed.  Our common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson.

Watson was born in Cowling, West Yorkshire, on 24 June 1887 to parents Thomas Dawson and Jane Emmott.

On the 3 April 1917 Watson went to Halifax and enlisted in the 4th West Riding Regiment.  His service number was 205100.

Just fifteen weeks later, on 18 July 1917, Watson was discharged from service with a £50 gratuity. He was described as being ‘physically unfit’.

Watson was admitted to the Wharncliffe War Hospital in Sheffield on 30 May 1917 for assessment. Unfortunately the written transcript is not very clear. But I can make out some of the words and phrases.

His behaviour is described as ‘childish’ and it is also reported that Watson believed that he was ‘the King of Greece’.

The Medical Board report cites the reason for his discharge as ‘imbecility’. It goes on to say that the condition originated at birth and was ‘not the result of or aggravated by ordinary military service.’

I feel sad for Watson. Whatever the circumstances here he was most probably ill and went through a difficult experience.

Watson lived until the age of 57. His death is registered in Q4 of 1944.

Military Monday – Harry Dawson (1895-1954)

Harry Dawson is my great uncle – he was my grandfather’s brother.  He was born on 25 March 1895 in Keighley, West Yorkshire, to parents James Dawson and Emma Buckley.

I recently found Harry’s naval records on The National Archives website – before then I had no idea at all that he had served in the navy during WW1.

This is my first attempt at interpreting naval records so I am not very confident at deciphering the information.

It looks like Harry signed up on 24 June 1914 for  five years service.  Until 22 October 1914 he served on / at Victory II.  From the research I have done I understand Victory II was the Crystal Palace / Sydenham training base.

His next posting was to the Lion class battlecruiser HMS Princess Royal on 23 October 1914.  Harry served on this ship until 31 May 1919.  This means that he would have fought in some of the major sea battles of the time – Battle of Dogger Bank and Battle of Jutland.

HMS Princess Royal (courtesy of Wikipedia)

From 1 June 1919 to 24 June 1919 he served on the Edgar cruiser HMS Crescent.  He was then back to Victory II until he was ‘demobbed’ on 26 July 1919.

When ‘demobbed’ Harry was transferred to the Royal Fleet Reserve.

His service record shows that he then served between 12 April 1921 to 7 June 1921 at Victory II.

Harry Dawson - Navy Record

Cowling – Postcard #16

This is a postcard from my own collection – one I have recently bought.  The view is of Keighley Road, Cowling, with the old Co-op building on the left hand side.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you might remember that the village of Cowling is an important part of my ancestral roots.  The village falls under North Yorkshire County Council.  But the Royal Mail post code is BD22 which means it is a North Yorkshire village with a West Yorkshire post code.

I prefer to think of it as being in West Yorkshire.

Anyway, I digress.

The postcard is part of The Wrench Series with the number 6679 and was printed in Saxony.

I understand the company was established as E Wrench in 1900 at 20 Haymarket, London, and soon moved to Arthur Street, London.  It then became E Wrench Ltd in 1902.   The company held a large percentage of the postcard market in the early 1900’s.  In 1904 the name changed to Wrench Postcards but they soon ran into difficulties and closed sometime between 1904 and 1906.  The main problems appear to have been caused through exclusively selling its own cards.

The card has been postally used as you can see below.

It was posted in Cross Hills on 11 December 1903 and sent to Miss M H Smith at 19 Mosley Street, Nelson, Lancashire.  The postcard was sent by someone described as her ‘better haaf’ with ten kisses.

I was interested to find out what became of Miss M H Smith so I checked the 1911 census and found her still living at 19 Mosley Street, Nelson.  Her full name is Martha Hannah Smith and she is 25 years old, which means she was born about 1886.  Her place of birth is given as Colne, Lancashire.  The census shows her as being single and living with her parents Holmes and Betty Smith.  Also at home are two siblings, a sister Sarah Jane aged 32 and a brother Albert Edward aged 18.

I was left wondering what happened between Martha and her ‘better haaf’.  I decided to do a bit more research.

I found a marriage for Martha H Smith in Q1 of 1916 in the Burnley registration district.  She married Francis C Smith.  So a good start, the marriage is in the right area at least.

I also found a death record for Martha H Smith in Q3 1966 in the Worth Valley registration district.  She was 80 years old when she died – which means she was born in 1886.  Could this be the same person I wondered.

Worth Valley district covers the town of Keighley which is not a million miles from Cowling, Colne and Nelson.  It was common for people to move across the Lancashire / Yorkshire border – between Cowling and Colne – to live and to work.

So while I can’t be 100% sure I really feel that this is the Miss M H Smith who received the postcard in 1903.

Military Monday – Clifford Dawson (1900-1953)

Clifford is my 1st cousin 2x removed – he was my granddad’s cousin.  Our common ancestors are my 2x great grandparents John Dawson and Ellen Gawthrop. Clifford was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, sometime in Q3 1900 to parents Joseph Dawson and Elizabeth Hannah Barrett.

Clifford enlisted in the army on 2 August 1918 and was called up for service on 27 August. His age is given as 18 years 24 days and his occupation is described as ‘iron turner’. He was assigned to the 53rd Durham Light Infantry. His service number was 113260.

Details of Clifford’s war activity are unclear. But I have been able to discover that he was stationed in Cologne, Germany during 1919. I know this because I have information about two misconduct charges in his service records on www.ancestry.co.uk.

On 16 May 1919 he was charged with ‘neglect of duty including a dirty locker’. I can’t make out the punishment for this offence.

Three months later on 24 August 1919 he was charged with being ‘late on dinner parade’. Clifford’s punishment for this was ‘3 days C B’ – confined to barracks.

Clifford was demobilized on 24 March 1920 and transferred to the Class Z Reserve.

Class Z Reserve was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918. There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities. Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve “for the duration”, were at first posted to Class Z. They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon. The Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920.

Sunday Snap – Nurse or Maid?

This is another photograph from my own collection. Continuing a theme that I seem to have been following recently it is another group image.

When I first looked at the photograph I was convinced they were nurses, possibly in the grounds of the hospital where they worked. The more I have studied the image I am less certain.

I now wonder if they could be domestic servants – house maids, kitchen maids and cooks.

Why do I think that, well:-

• the woman in the middle of the back row appears to be wearing a chef’s hat

• the woman on the right side of the middle row seems to be holding what looks like cleaning materials

I have a couple of other photographs of this same group and although you can’t make it out very well the woman front right is holding a tennis racket. I suppose it is possible that hospital’s had tennis courts but I think it is unlikely.

I’ve seen my mum today and she can’t shed any light on the photograph at all. We have plenty of domestic servants in our family tree so I am assuming that perhaps one of the people is an ancestor.

But as with many of the photographs in my collection it will probably forever remain a mystery. As piece of social history maybe my descendants might find it as interesting as I do.

Military Monday – Arthur Dawson (1879-1944)

Arthur Dawson is my 1st cousin 2x removed – our common ancestors are my 2x great grandparents John Dawson and Ellen Gawthrop.

Arthur is the brother of Prince Dawson and John Dawson – his parents are John Dawson and Elizabeth Bradley. He was born 18 July 1879 and lived at Steeton with Eastburn about three miles from Keighley, West Yorkshire.

Before I found his WW1 service records I knew that Arthur married Lily Cockshott sometime in Q2 1906 and their marriage is recorded in the Keighley registration district. They had one child – a son, Eric born in 1909.

Arthur enlisted on 30 August 1916 in Keighley and was assigned to 7th West Yorkshire Regiment. His service number is 238029. He was 37 years old. At the time of his conscription he was living at 19 School Street, Steeton with Eastburn. His trade is given as ‘mason’.

The enlistment documents also show that Arthur had previous service in the Royal Engineers.

His service papers provided confirmation of the date of marriage to Lily – 10 April 1906. They also give Eric’s date of birth as 21 October 1909 – so more information for my tree. However his service record through up a bit of surprise. There is another son shown – Alan with a date of birth of 3 March 1911.

I have the 1911 census record for Arthur, Lily and Eric – but no Alan.

I have been able to find a birth for Alan Dawson at the right time and in the right location but no trace of him in the 1911 census. So, I searched for a death and found a record for Alan Dawson who died in Leeds in 1977 with a date of birth given as 3 April 1911.

Could this be the answer to my conundrum?  Maybe 3 March 1911 was incorrect. The 1911 census was undertaken on the night of 2 April 1911. So Alan could have been born the following day and that is why he is not recorded. I’m happy with this solution and have now added Alan to my family tree.

Anyway, back to Arthur and his war service.

It seems that Arthur was at home until 3 January 1917. The following day he embarked for France, returning home again after 105 days on 18 April 1917. There is reference to him serving in the Royal Defence Corps (RDC) – the role of this regiment was to provide security and guard duties inside the United Kingdom.

Arthur was finally discharged on 23 March 1919.