Author: mike

Military Monday – Jack Hurtley Thompson (1921-1941)

Jack Hurtley Thompson is my 1st cousin 1x removed. His parents are Alfred Clark Thompson and Rhoda Hurtley. Our common ancestors are James Hurtley and Ellen Paley – my great grandparents.

Jack was born in Cononley, West Yorkshire and his birth is registered in the June quarter of 1921.

Jack joined the Merchant Navy and was serving on the British motor tanker Arthur F Corwin as a 5th Engineer when it was sunk on 13 February 1941.


Arthur F Corwin

The Arthur F Corwin was part of Convoy HX106 sailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia to Liverpool, England. Forty one merchant ships departed Halifax on 30 January 1941 – they were escorted by a series of armed military vessels at various times during the journey.

According to reports on the Internet the Arthur F Corwin was a straggler from the convoy. It was attacked and damaged by two torpedoes from U-boat U-103 at 16.25 hours on 13 February 1941. The U-boat then left the burning tanker in a sinking condition southeast of Iceland.

At 19.50 hours the same day, U-96 came across the stricken wreck of Arthur F Corwin, which was still afloat, and sank her with two further torpedoes.

There were no survivors.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for Jack and all his crew mates.

Jack is commemorated on the Cononley War Memorial and also on the Tower Hill Memorial, near Tower Bridge in London.


Cononley War Memorial


Tower Hill Memorial


Sunday’s Obituary – Arthur Frederick Lord (1906-1946)

Arthur Frederick Lord is my 4th cousin 1x removed. His parents are Charles Lord and Sarah Lonsdale. Our common ancestors are Isaac Kighley and Ellen Jackson, my 4x great grandparents.

Arthur was born on 20 January 1906 in Rochester, Kent. In the 1911 census he is living at 190 High Street, Rochester.

As far as I can establish Arthur joined the Merchant Navy as a cadet in June 1921. His identity certificate number was 209328 (see below) and he was serving on the SS Gothic Star (Official No. of ship 108793).

Arthur F Lord - Cadet Certificate.png

I don’t have a comprehensive record of Artur’s service in the Merchant Navy but I do know that he obtained a Certificate of Competency as Second Mate on 11 May 1927.

Arthur F Lord - 2nd Mate Certificate.png

On one of his stays back in the UK Arthur married Hazel Walkem sometime in the March quarter of 1934 in Woolwich, London. Later that year their only child, David, was born on 28 December, also in Woolwich.

When the 1939 Register was taken in September that year Hazel and David are living at Lee Mount, Shoreditch Road, Taunton, Somerset. Arthur doesn’t appear in the register – he was presumably away at sea.

Moving forward seven years to 1946 we find Arthur working as a Chief Officer aboard Screw Steamer Rembrandt – a ship built by Lithgows Ltd in Glasgow, Scotland. The Rembrandt was launched as a cargo ship on 30 August 1940, its first owner was the Bolton Steam Shipping Co. Ltd in London.

201608302116290.2. Capetan-antonis ex Rembrandt 1940-8-30

Screw Steamer Rembrandt

Now this is where my story about Arthur Frederick Lord reaches its conclusion. According to the Deaths at Sea Register Arthur disappeared on 19 November 1946 sometime between 11.30am and 4.00pm. He was presumed to have fallen overboard. The latitude and longitude co-ordinates given in the register – Latitude 36º 26´N : Longitude 18º 19´E – put the ship in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea – somewhere between Greece and Malta and North of Lybia.

Arthur F Lord - Death at Sea (1).png

Arthur F Lord - Death at Sea (2).png

Arthur F Lord - Death at Sea (3).png

Arthur F Lord - Map.png

In his will Arthur left effects totalling £1241 11s 3d to Albert Leslie Binns, chartered accountant. This was his brother-in-law, husband of his sister Florence May.

Arthur F Lord - Probate.png

Workday Wednesday – Barbara Dale Snape (1919-2001)


Barbara Dale Snape is my wife’s 3 cousin 1x removed. I posted recently about her sporting achievements while at university – see here.

Apart from her sporting achievements Barbara also had a successful career in education following graduation from university.

The following article appeared in the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer on 25 May 1955.

Screenshot 2017-10-02 18.35.11.png

Recommended as head mistress

A former head girl of Allerton High School, Leeds, and a graduate of London University, Miss Barbara D Snape, daughter of Mr and Mrs Frank Snape, of Alwoodley, Leeds, has been recommended for the post of head mistress of Pontefract Girls’ High School.

Miss Snape is at present in charge of senior history at Queen Ethelburga’s School, Harrogate, where she is a house mistress.

She was formerly a stroke in the London University women’s boat crew and has also rowed for Cambridge University women against Oxford University women.

Pontefract and District Girls’ High School was established in 1912 and closed in 1987. Some notable former students are:-

Jane Brooke – crime writer
Barbara Castle (Baroness Castle of Blackburn) – politician
Jane Collins – MEP, UKIP politician

Sunday’s Obituary – Joseph Musgrove (1866-1933)

Joseph Musgrove is my great grandfather. He was born on 1 December 1866 in Kendal, Westmorland, to parents Harrison Musgrove and Jane Rooking.

Joseph was the youngest of eight children. He was baptised on 21 April 1867 in Kendal. Less than a year later his father (Harrison) died on 16 April 1868. Then when Joseph was six years old his mother (Jane) died on 12 April 1873.

I guess that Joseph would have been looked after by his older siblings after the death of their parents. And in the 1881 census he is boarding with his eldest sister Agnes and her husband David Hutchinson at Albert Hill in Settle, West Yorkshire.

By the time of the next census on 5 April 1891 Joseph was back in Westmorland working as an agricultural labourer and living on a farm in Duke Street, Holme – about 10 miles south of Kendal.

Just over two years later Joseph married Elizabeth Ann Turner on 12 April 1893 at Settle Register Office.

Not sure what it is about the month of April but all the previous significant events happened in that month!!!

Anyway, Joseph and Elizabeth journeyed south to Clitheroe in Lancashire – stopping off on their way for three or four years at Horton in Ribblesdale, West Yorkshire, where Joseph worked in the limestone quarry. Their first three children were born and baptised here.

At this time the family lived at Foredale Cottages – in the photograph below you can see the cottages on the hillside below the quarry.


In the 1901 and 1911 census returns Joseph is still working as a limestone quarryman – now at the local Clitheroe quarry.

Over a period of about 20 years Joseph and Elizabeth had ten children:-

John Robert Turner Musgrove – born 2 November 1891
Thomas Musgrove – born cMarch 1894
Florrie Musgrove – born 6 January 1897
Mary Elizabeth Musgrove – born 22 August 1899
James Musgrove – born 9 April 1901
Joseph Musgrove – born cSeptember 1903
Leah Musgrove – born 28 July 1905
Isabel Musgrove – born 12 July 1906
Alice Musgrove – born 23 August 1910
Joseph Musgrove – born 23 October 1912

Sadly Joseph developed stomach cancer and he died at home on 30 September 1933. He was buried at Clitheroe Cemetery on 4 October 1933.

The archives for the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times have recently been added to the British Newspaper Archives website. I just discovered the following obituary.

Joseph Musgrove - Clitheroe Advertiser Sep 1933.png

A further death we have to record is that of Mr Joseph Musgrove, of 28 Russell Street. Mr Musgrove, who was sixty-six years of age, died on Sunday after a brief illness. Since the war Mr Musgrove had carried on business as a general dealer and was particularly well known among the farming community, his business bringing him into contact with farmers at the Clitheroe Auction Mart. A native of Kendal he had lived in Clitheroe for forty years, and for more than twenty years resided in Salford. At one period he was employed as a quarryman at Bold Venture Quarries. He leaves a widow, three sons and five daughters. The interment took place at St Mary’s Cemetery on Wednesday, the Rev S E Harper officiating.

Sports Centre Saturday – Barbara Dale Snape (1919-2001)

Sports centre Saturday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites, talk about family members’ love of sports or athletic endeavours.

Barbara Dale Snape is my wife’s 3rd cousin 1x removed. Their common ancestor is Martha Espley, my wife’s 2x great grandmother.

Barbra was born in Leeds, West Yorkshire on 24 December 1919 to parents Frank Snape and Susan Dale.

I recently found the following article from the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer of 2 March 1942.

Barbara D Snape - 2 March 1942

Inter-University Women’s Boat Race

Cambridge beat Oxford by three lengths in the inter-University women’s boat race at Oxford on Saturday. A Leeds student and former head girl of the Allerton High School, Barbara D Snape, was a member of the winning eight. It was the second time she had shared in the success against Oxford, for she stroked the London University women’s crew which defeated Oxford last year. She graduated at Westfield College (evacuated to Oxford) and is now training for the Diploma of education at Cambridge.

There will be another post about Barbara in a few days.

Military Monday – Richard Henry Espley (1906-2006)

Military Monday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

We all have ancestors who have served in the military. Military Monday is a place to post their images, stories and records of their service in various branches of the military.

Richard Henry Espley is my wife’s 1st cousin 1x removed. In other words he is a nephew of her grandfather.

Richard was born on 27 December 1906 to parents Frank Espley and Florence May Phillips.

In the 1911 census Richard was living with his parents and sister, Margaret, at 25 Duke Street, Pontefract, West Yorkshire.

Up until recently I didn’t have any information about Richard between 1911 and the date of his marriage to Isabella Keddie Cuthbert on 7 November 1934 at St Andrews & St Leonards, Fife, Scotland.

I now know that he joined the RAF at the age of about 18. He met Isabella while stationed at St Andrews and they went on to have three children.

In the 1939 Register the family are living at 73 Oakenhall Avenue, Hucknall, Nottinghamshire.

Richard was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) in recognition of his valour in connection with Coastal Command during WW2.

Below is an article from the St Andrews Citizen of 30 January 1943.

St Andrews Citizen - 30 January 1943.png


AWARDED BEM – Pilot Officer Richard Henry Espley, whose wife is a St Andrean, has received the BEM from the hands of the King at Buckingham Palace in recognition of his valour in connection with the Coastal Command. Pilot Officer Espley is a native of Pontefract and has served 18 years in the RAF. He is 36 years of age and his wife and three children have resided in Hucknall for the past four years. Before her marriage Mrs Espley was Isabella Keddie Cuthbert daughter of Mr Alexander Cuthbert of 2 St Nicholas Street, who was in three wars, the Zulu and the Boer Wars and the Great War. Mr Cuthbert is at present undergoing treatment in DRI for internal trouble. He is 75 years of age. Mrs Espley was married eight years ago, and met her husband when he was stationed in the neighbourhood of St Andrews.

Richard died at the age of 99 in May 2006. Isabella had died 22 years earlier about May 1984.


British Empire Medal


Workday Wednesday – Zimri Skelding (1854-1906)

Workday Wednesday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

Here’s a way to document your ancestors’ occupations (they weren’t all farmers), transcripts of SS-5s, photos and stories of ancestors at work, announcements of retirements, etc.

Zimri Skelding is my wife’s 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Jesse Skelding and Sarah Taylor. Their common ancestors are William Skelding and Catherine Taylor, my wife’s 2x great grandparents.

Zimri was born sometime around 1854 – his birth is registered in the March quarter of that year in Stourbridge, Worcestershire.

I have Zimri on the 1861, 1881 and 1901 census returns. At the moment I can’t find him in either the 1871 or 1891 census.

In 1881 his occupation is given as “nail maker”. However I know from the newspaper article below that he was subsequently employed as a bricklayer.

Although I haven’t been able to find a marriage for Zimri I know that he was certainly living as husband and wife with Jemima Marsh. The census returns show that they had at least three children:-

George Richard – born 1880
Julietta Elizabeth – born 1885
Thomas Herbert – born 1885

I believe that they also had two other children who died young:-

Herbert (1875-1883)
Arthur (1882-1884)

In the 1881 census Zimri is shown as a “boarder” with his son George Richard at the home of Charlotte Marsh – Jemima’s mother. So far I have not been able to locate Jemima in this census.

In 1901 the family are living at Love Lane, Lye, Stourbridge, Worcestershire. There is no occupation shown for Zimri and he is described as being “lame”. Which really brings me to the reason for this blog post.

I recently found the following article in the Birmingham Daily Post of 17 December 1885.

Birmingham Daily Post - 17 December 1885DAMAGES UNDER THE EMPLOYERS’ LIABILITY ACT

At the Stourbridge County Court, yesterday – before Mr J Amphlett (deputy judge) and a jury – a case under the above Act was called on, in which Zimri Skelding, a bricklayer’s labourer, was plaintiff; and Messrs Dorse and Sons, contractors, of Cradley Heath, the defendants. Mr Waldron appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr Colbeck for the defendants. The plaintiff had lost a leg by the accident which formed the subject of the action, and he came into the box on crutches. He said he had been in defendants’ employ over eight years, and on July 23 was working for them at a chapel they were erecting at Smethwick. Witness and two other men, named Edwards and Brown, were pulling up a pole from the ground when the cross pole on which they were standing broke through. Witness fell a distance of fifty feet to the ground, and his leg was smashed. He was taken to the General Hospital, Birmingham, and his leg was taken off in consequence of the accident. His head was also injured by the fall. He used to earn a pound a week, and should be unable to follow his occupation again. Plaintiff said the poles in the scaffolding had been in use three or four years. The pole that broke must have been tender. Cross examined: His wages used to be 4 1/4d per hour. In the three months before the accident he would be making about forty two hours per week. He understood scaffolding a little, and had erected many a scaffolding. This particular scaffold was erected about three of four days before the accident, Brown, Edwards, and himself put it up. Edwards chose the poles for the scaffold. No person could have found this pole that broke was a bad pole by looking at it. He did not know the pole came from Messrs Adam, of Gloucester, two years ago. Mr Dorse was not there on the day of the accident. Mr Waldron asked if Edwards was the foreman, and witness said he was. Mr Colbeck objected that Mr Waldron was putting words into witness’s mouth. Witness, replying to another question, said he was bound to conform to Edwards’s orders. – Joe Edwards said he worked for defendants at the time of the accident, and he was bricklayer managing the job. Plaintiff was under his command when the master was not there. It was witness’s duty to test the scaffolding pole before it was used. He did so by picking it up at one end and shaking it, plaintiff holding the other end. That was the way they generally tried the poles. It was an old pole, with a crack or two in it. It was not sufficient for the job, but they had not another. He told young Mr Dorse they had not enough scaffolding, and he said he wanted the scaffolding away for another job, and they were to take what they wanted from round the building. He was not in the employ of Messrs Dorse now. Witness was on the middle of the pole when it broke, and plaintiff and another man at the end. The pole snapped, because it was not good enough. It was rotten. Cross examined: He was foreman at this job. His wages were 6 1/4d an hour. Bricklayers earned 6 1/4d and 7d up to 8d, but was only just out of his time. Asked if he should not consider it small pay for a foreman to get less than other bricklayers, witness said people must first creep and then walk. Plaintiff was bound to conform to witness’s orders. A man might please himself whether he obeyed him or not. Skelding did what he told him, and did so on this particular day. He could have got poles from another scaffolding, but did not want to disturb it. – Joseph Brown, another man engaged at the work, was also examined. – Mr Colbeck contended that negligence had neither been established against defendants or Edwards. All these men were working together, and they could not discover any defect in the poles they were using. Edwards told Mr Dorse they had not enough scaffolding, and was told to take some from round the building. Edwards was a foreman, and did not come within the meaning of the Act as a person having superintendence at the work. – His Honour thought there was a case to go to the jury, and Mr Colbeck then addressed himself to the evidence, putting it to the Court that the plaintiff had not made out his case. – Mr Dorse, jun. was called, and said that Edwards was not a foreman, but only an ordinary bricklayer, and he received the wages of a medium class man. He received no complaint that this pole was defective or unsafe, and his attention was never drawn to it. Edwards complained of being short of planks, and he told him where to get some. – After His Honour had summed up, the jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff for £75. Costs were certified on the higher scale.

So there we have it – Zimri got £75 compensation for losing his leg and not being able to work again.

It’s difficult to imagine how the family managed after Zimri could no longer work. In the 1901 census both sons are working as general labourers so that brought in some wages at least.

Zimri died in 1906.

In the 1911 census Jemima and the three children, plus a granddaughter, Sarah (this is Julietta’s child) are living at 46 Crab Street, Wollescote, Worcestershire. Under occupation it says that the two sons are unable to work.

Jemima Skelding died at the age of 68 in 1918.