Sunday’s Obituary – Thomas Cracknell (1896-1942)

Thomas Cracknell is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. His parents are Henry Cracknell and Ann Vickerman. Our common ancestors are Anthony Mason and Mary Brayshaw, my 4x great grandparents.

Thomas was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire on 6 October 1896. He was the youngest of six children born between 1887 and 1896. By the time of the 1911 census four of his siblings had died – only Thomas and his brother William Henry were still alive.

I have no more information about Thomas until he married Norah Milner in Wakefield, West Yorkshire sometime in the December quarter of 1924.

Thomas and Norah had one son – Alan Milner, his birth is registered in Wakefield in the September quarter of 1930. At the time the 1939 Register was taken on 29 September the family were living at Romany, Town Street, Middleton, Leeds, West Yorkshire.

Less than three years later Thomas died on 12 February 1942. Notice of his death was announced in the Yorkshire Evening Post on 14 February.

Thomas Cracknell - YEP 14 Feb 1942.png

CRACKNELL – February 12, at “Romany”, Town Street, Middleton, THOMAS CRACKNELL, Past Provincial Grand Master, Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, Leeds district. Interment Woodhouse Hill Cemetery, Monday, February 16, at 2.30pm. Members are requested to attend.

In his will Thomas left effects valued at £1092 3s 1d to his wife Norah.

The title of Past Provincial Grand Master sounds quite important so I thought I would include a link to information about the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows.

 

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Thriller Thursday – Graham Dawson – Lucky to be Alive

I have previously posted about my dad being struck by lightning here. This was a brief article in the local newspaper in Clitheroe, Lancashire from 2000 looking back at events that happened fifty years earlier.

As the archives for the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times have recently been added to the British Newspaper Archive website I can now share with you the original newspaper report from 1950.

The following article appeared in the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times on 25 August 1950.

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CLITHEROE MAN WENT BLIND WHEN LIGHTNING STRUCK

A small zig-zag burn above his left eye and a splitting headache are the legacy of a flash of lightning which make 20 year old Mr Graham Dawson who lives at 102, Whalley Road, one of the luckiest people in Clitheroe this week.

Standing on the front doorstep watching Wednesday’s severe thunderstorm, Graham saw a brilliant flash and then went blind.

He stumbled back into the lobby of the house and tried to shout for help but could not speak. Thinking he had gone an errand Mrs Johnson, daughter of Mr and Mrs Musgrove, occupiers of the house, went to the front door and found Graham in a state of collapse.

She shouted to her mother and together they supported him, but his sight did not return so they led him to a chair in the living room.

Mrs Musgrove then ran to inform her husband who works at the Sun Street Mill and he immediately telephoned for the Doctor.

He was attended by Doctor J H Fairweather and within half an hour his sight had completely returned though there was a slight swelling on his forehead and red mark.

Mrs Musgrove said Graham, who was a farm worker, was already convalescing following an operation for appendicitis.

At the time he went to the front door Graham was wearing wellington boots and it was undoubtedly that fact that saved him from more serious injury.

Seen by an “Advertiser and Times” reporter yesterday afternoon, Graham said he went straight to bed after the doctor had been and apart from a bad headache and shock he did not feel any the worse for his remarkable experience.

Funnily enough I thought I’d read the first line of this newspaper report before – but I just couldn’t recall where. Then it came to me in a “flash”. Perhaps the following extract will help you:-

As a souvenir of a traumatic event he would never remember, the boy’s forehead bore the zig-zag of a scar, the only wound that the murderer could inflict on the infant.

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So there is the proof – my dad and his zig-zag burn became the inspiration for a certain boy wizard by the name of Harry Potter.

 

Sunday’s Obituary – Ernest Wallbank (1886-1944)

Ernest Wallbank is the husband of my 2nd cousin 2x removed, Sarah Ruston. Sarah’s parents are William Ruston and Ann Gawthrop. Our common ancestors are Martin Gawthrop and Ann Kighley, my 3x great grandparents.

Ernest was born on 19 November 1886 at Earby, Yorkshire. He married Sarah Rushton sometime in the June quarter of 1908 – the marriage is registered in Skipton, Yorkshire.

Ernest and Sarah had two children – William and Annie.

In the 1911 census Ernest’s occupation is “farmer” and the family are living at Lower Clough Farm near Colne, Lancashire. By the time of the 1939 Register the family are at Higher Clough Farm near Colne and Ernest is a “dairy farmer”.

Ernest passed away on 2 January 1944 – his death was reported in the Barnoldswick & Earby Times on 14 January.

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Death of Mr Ernest Wallbank.

The funeral took place at Colne Cemetery on Thursday afternoon of last week of Mr Ernest Wallbank, of Higher Clough Farm, near Black Lane Ends, whose death occurred on the 2nd inst., at the age of 58 years. Much regret has been expressed at his passing and sympathy with his widow and the one son and daughter who survive him. Mr Wallbank was well known and highly esteemed, particularly in farming circles. He had many friends in Colne, where he had an extensive milk round. The Rev R A Jones officiated at a service at the house and also at Colne Cemetery. Floral tributes were received from the following: “In loving memory of a dear husband and father,” from his sorrowing wife and daughter; “In loving memory of a dear father,” Willie and Florence; “To dear grandad,” his two little pets, June and Eileen; Linda and John Thomas; Sister Libby; Jim and Mary; Mary, Winnie and Mary; All at Lingah (Crosshills); All at Piked Hedge and Harold; Mrs Rushton and Edith; Mr and Mrs J Driver and family; Linda, Norman and Doreen; Dick and Rennie; All at Hall Hill Farm; Mr and Mrs Crabtree and Allen; Mr and Mrs F Mellin and Mary; Mr and Mrs T Marsh; Mr and Mrs George Cowling, Keith and Elsie; Mr and Mrs S Proctor; Mr and Mrs R Smith and Mr and Mrs J Emmott; The neighbours and friends. Mr R Wood, Skelton Street, Colne, carried out the arrangements.

In his will Ernest left effects totalling £3401 0s 1d to his wife Sarah and son William.

Military Monday – Robert Titterington (1905-1945)

Robert Titterrington is the husband of Mary Ann Paley, my 1st cousin 2x removed. Mary Ann’s parents are William Thomas Paley and Lilian Holden Coates. Our common ancestors are my 2x great grandparents James Paley and Mary Ann Spink.

Robert was born on 27 August 1905 in Skipton, Yorkshire to parents Robert and Ada Titterington. He was baptised on 24 September 1905 at Holy Trinity Church, Skipton.

Sometime in the December quarter of 1931 Robert and Mary Ann were married. They had one son whose birth is registered in the March quarter of 1934.

When the 1939 Register was taken at the outbreak of WW2 Robert and Mary Ann were living at 37 Ash Grove, Ilkley, West Yorkshire. Robert was working as an Insurance Agent.

Sometime after that Robert joined the Royal Navy – his service number was C/MX824444. He served on board HMS Virago as a Sick Berth Attendant (SBA).

HMS Virago was a V-class destroyer built by Swan Hunter, Tyne and Wear, United Kingdom. The Virago was launched on 4 February 1943 and was in service in the Arctic convoys, the Normandy landings and in the Far East.

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HMS Virago

HMS Viargo patrolled the Malacca Strait and supported Operation Dracula off the coast of Burma in late April 1945. Subsequently she participated in the Battle of the Malacca Strait with Saumarez, Verulam,Venus and Vigilant which culminated in the sinking of the Japanese heavy cruiser Haguro on 16 May 1945. This was a textbook destroyer night action, and was the last naval gun battle of the Second World War.

Sadly it was also in this battle that Robert Titterington died on 16 May 1945.

Virago participated in preparations for Operation Zipper (the invasion of Malaya) in July/August 1945, and its eventual execution as a reoccupation manoeuvre in September 1945 following the surrender of Japan. Based in Hong Kong with the British Pacific Fleet after VJ day, Virago returned to Chatham, Kent in December 1945.

I guess that Robert, along with others killed in action would have been buried at sea. He is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial in Kent, United Kingdom.

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Chatham Naval Memorial (from CWGC website)

Wedding Wednesday – Edith Stephenson and Ernest Northcote Morfitt

Edith Stephenson is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed. Her parents are Charles Stephenson and Emma Ramsey. Their common ancestors are Jospeh Lockington and Jane Slight, my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

Edith married Ernest Northcote Morfitt on 27 Jun 1907 and a report of the ceremony was published in the Hull Daily Mail.

Hull Daily Mail - 27 June 1907.pngPRETTY WEDDING AT STONEFERRY

A very pretty wedding, in which Stoneferry seemed greatly interested, took place this afternoon at St Saviour’s Church, Wilmington. The bridal parties were Miss Edith Stephenson, only daughter of Mr and Mrs C Stephenson, 144, Cleveland Street, and Mr Ernest Northcote Morfitt, of King’s Mill, eldest son of Mr and Mrs J Morfitt.

A bright, fully choral service had been arranged, as the bride has been closely associated with music, and as a compliment Mr Alvan B Young, LLCM, presided at the organ.

The bride was attired in a white silk eolienne dress, which was trimmed with orange blossom and very delicate lace. She also wore a bridal veil of orange blossom, and carried a shower bouquet composed of sweet peas and carnations.

There were four bridesmaids – Miss May E Morfitt, Miss Beatrice Lee – dressed in cream eolienne with crinoline hats, and they carried shower bouquets. Miss Fanny Morfitt and Miss Smailes were dressed in white silk with Napoleon hats. They carried baskets of flowers. The bride was given away by her father, and the bridegroom was accompanied by Mr W E Smailes as best man.

The Rev E V Dunn, the vicar, who conducted the service, was assisted by the Rev H J Boon.

Both the bride and the bridegroom are greatly respected in Stoneferry, and the church was full of well wishers. At several of the houses bunting was out, and flags were flying. The bride is a music teacher, and has many pupils.

The chancel of the church and the altar were adorned with flowers. A reception, at which there were about 300 guests, was afterwards held at the Oddfellows’ Hall. Both the bride and the bridegroom were the recipients of many presents.

Edith and Ernest had one child – George Ernest, born on 12 March 1908.

Sadly the couple only had eleven years of married life before Edith passed away on 15 December 1918.

Ernest remarried about eight years later to Elsie M Tasker – the marriage is registered in the December quarter of 1926.

Military Monday – Richard James Taylor (1885-1918)

Richard James Taylor is the husband of my 3rd cousin 2x removed Mary Alice Dawson.

Richard was born on 4 March 1885 in Waddington, Lancashire to parents Henry Taylor and Mary Altham. My cousin Mary Alice was born on 6 February 1888 in Barrowford, Lancashire to parents Joseph Dawson and Alice Hartley. Or common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson.

Richard and Mary married on 30 December 1909 at St. Thomas’, Barrowford. They had two children – Dennis born in 1910 and Kenneth born on 8 November 1917 (they are my 4th cousins 1x removed)

In World War 1 Richard served in the 2nd/5th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. His service number was 241099 and he reached the rank of Sergeant.

During 1918 the 2nd/5th Battalion took part in The Battle of St. Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings and The Battle of Rosieres.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website Richard died of wounds on 12 April 1918 at the age of 33.

Richard is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. His headstone number is 3394 with the following inscription:-

WE LOVED HIM, OH WE LOVED HIM

BUT THE ANGELS LOVED HIM MORE

ONE OF THE BEST                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Richard was awarded the Military Medal – see the extract from The London Gazette of 23 May 1918 below. The Military Medal (or MM) was a medal awarded for exceptional bravery. It was awarded to the Other Ranks (N.C.O.’s and Men) and was first instituted on 25 March 1916 during The First World War, to recognise bravery in battle.

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St. Sever Cemetery Extension (taken from CWGC website)

During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city. Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for practically the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot. A number of the dead from these hospitals were buried in other cemeteries, but the great majority were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920. During the Second World War, Rouen was again a hospital centre and the extension was used once more for the burial of Commonwealth servicemen, many of whom died as prisoners of war during the German occupation. The cemetery extension contains 8,348 Commonwealth burials of the First World War (ten of them unidentified) and in Block “S” there are 328 from the Second World War (18 of them unidentified). There are also 8 Foreign National burials here. The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

On 23 April 1925 Mary Alice, Dennis and Kenneth emigrated to New Zealand. They sailed from Southampton heading for Wellington aboard SS Rotorua. I hope that they had a happy life in New Zealand.

A final note about the SS Rotorua – it seems that the ship was sunk on 11 December 1940 while sailing as part of Convoy HX92. She was struck by a torpedo from U-boat number U-96 about 110 miles northwest of St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides.

Those of you who read my blog regularly may recall that U-96 was also responsible for the sinking the Arthur F Corwin on 13 February 1941 – see post here.

So I was interested to find out what finally happened U-96

The boat’s final operational patrol commenced with her departure from St. Nazaire on 26 December 1942. Crossing the Atlantic for the last time, she then came back to the eastern side and after transferring a sick crew-member to U-163 on 3 January 1943, arrived at Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) on 8 February.

She spent most of the rest of the war as a training vessel. She was decommissioned on 15 February 1945 in Wilhelmshaven. When US Eighth Air Force attacked Wilhelmshaven on 30 March 1945, U-96 was sunk in Hipper basin. The remains of the U-boat were broken up after the war

Wedding Wednesday – Walter Croad and Margaret Woodward

Walter Croad is my 3rd cousin 1x removed. His parents are Norman Croad and Mary Booth. Our common ancestors are Martin Gawthrop and Ann Kighley, my 3x great grandparents.

Walter married Margaret Woodward on 20 December 1947. Below is a report of the wedding from the Barnoldswick & Earby Times of 24 December 1947.

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CROAD-WOODWARD

The marriage was solemnised at Holy Trinity Church on Saturday of Miss Margaret Woodward, daughter of Mr and Mrs P Woodward, of 107 Burnley Road, Colne, and Mr Walter Croad, eldest son of Mr and Mrs N Croad, of 34 Patten Street, Colne. The minister was the Rev R W L Huggins, and the organist Mr Davies.

The bridegroom is employed at Pillings’ foundry, and the bride is a weaver for Thomas Masons Ltd.

Given away by her brother-in-law, the bride was attired in a white silk gown, with net head-dress and white shoes. She carried a bouquet of pink chrysanthemums.

The bridesmaids were Miss Jenny Woodward (sister of the bride) and Miss Rita Walsh (friend of the bride). They wore blue silk gowns, with head-dresses and shoes to match. They carried bouquets of white chrysanthemums. There were also two small attendants, Miss Betty Harker, (niece of the bride), and Miss Gwendolene Croad, (sister of the bridegroom). They were attired similarly to the bridesmaids.

The bride’s mother chose a brown tweed coat with brown accessories, and the bridegroom’s mother wore a grey coat, with burgundy accessories.

The best man was Mr Harry Rushton, (friend of the bridegroom), and the groomsmen were Mr Norman Croad, (brother of the bridegroom), and Mr Charles Kinder (friend of the bridegroom).

Following a reception at the Co-operative Cafe, where 37 guests were entertained, the bridal pair left for Blackpool, where they will spend their honeymoon, the bride travelling in a blue tweed coat, with navy blue accessories. On their return they will reside at 107 Burnley Road, Colne. Among the many handsome and useful presents received by Mr and Mrs Croad were a fruit dish and cake stand from the bride’s workmates.