Day: July 7, 2019

Black Sheep Sunday – Herbert John Croft (1898-1961)

Herbert John Croft is the husband of my 2nd cousin 2x removed, Agnes Ann Ainsworth.

Agnes was born on 23 September 1898 in Kendal, Westmorland. Her parents are Ralph Ainsworth and Margaret Ann Louisa Birkett. Our common ancestors are John Carradice and Ann Ridley – my 3x great grandparents.

Herbert was born on 7 June 1898, also in Kendal.

When WW1 broke out Herbert enlisted for service with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment on 28 July 1915. His regimental service number was 19829. His attestation papers show his age as 19 – in fact Herbert would not even be 17 for another two months.

However in just over 12 months Herbert was discharged as being “physically unfit” for service. He attended a medical board on 1 August 1916 and it is reported that around three years earlier he had been in hospital in connection with a heart problem and that since then he had “never had good health or felt perfectly well”. As a result he was finally discharged from military service on 15 August 1916.

About five years later Herbert married Agnes Ann Ainsworth – the marriage is registered in the second quarter of 1921 in Kendal.

Over the next 12 years Herbert seems to have had some “issues”. He appears in the Lancashire Evening Post at least three times (images from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

27 August 1921

Herbert John Croft - Lancashire Evening Post 27 August 1921.png

At Kendal, yesterday, Herbert John Croft, junr., was sentenced to one month’s imprisonment with hard labour for drawing out-of-work benefit whilst he was at work. He secured temporary employment to drive a motor ice-cream van, and whilst following that occupation went to the Kendal Labour Exchange and signed the register to the effect that he was out of work.

11 February 1933

Herbert John Croft - Lancashire Evening Post 11 February 1933

At Kendal, yesterday, Herbert John Croft, jun., motor engineer, a native of Kendal, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody until Monday on a charge of stealing an axe valued at 3s. 9d., the property of Messrs M. J. Croft and Son, Wildman Street, Kendal, the previous day.
The Chief Constable (Mr. P. O’Neill) objecting to bail, said there would probably be a more serious charge preferred against Croft.

I haven’t been able to find any other report relating to this offence.

10 June 1933

Herbert John Croft - Lancashire Evening Post - 10 Jun 1933.png

The story of a drunken man who threw a stone across the principal street in Kendal, striking the wall of a public house and narrowly missing women with babies in their arms, was told at Kendal yesterday, when Herbert John Croft, jun., aged 35 years, a Kendal engineer with no fixed address, was summoned for being drunk and disorderly at Highgate, Kendal, on Wednesday, June 7th. Defendant pleaded “Guilty.”
P.C. Marshall said he saw defendant throw the stone, and found two more in his pockets. When spoken to defendant said, “I know what I am doing.”
Defendant, who said he threw the stone at a man who had struck him, was fined £1.

The thing bothering me about the last two newspaper stories is the fact that Herbert is said to be of no fixed address. I’m left wondering what happened to his wife Agnes and their daughter Mavis Doreen who had been born in 1921.

In the 1939 Register (taken at the outbreak of WW2) Herbert is at 95 Windermere Road, Kendal. He is described as “married” and working as a “motor engineer”. In the same Register Agnes is with her parents at 30 Union Street, Kendal, together with her daughter Mavis.

So were Herbert and Agnes now living apart? Had they been separated since Herbert was described as of “no fixed address” six years earlier? Questions to which I am not going to get any answers now!

In some ways I feel sorry for Herbert. Perhaps being “physically unfit” had a serious impact on him. Or maybe he just made some wrong choices.

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