My Family

Posts about my family

Military Monday – Flather Heap (1897-1962)

Flather Heap is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. His parents are John Starkie Heap and Martha Elizabeth Forrest. Our common ancestors are Anthony Mason and Mary Brayshaw, my 4x great grandparents.

Flather was born on 1 May 1897 in Keighley, West Yorkshire. He was the youngest of four children.

When the First World War came Flather enlisted for service on 13 November 1915 – he was immediately assigned to the army reserve with a service number of 141238.

He waited a further six moths before being mobilised on 11 May 1916 as a Gunner with the Royal Field Artillery. He was posted to No.1 Depot in Newcastle upon Tyne for training and as part of a home based defence unit.

Eventually on 3 January 1917 Flather was posted to France as part of the Expeditionary Force.

On 31 July 1917 Flather was appointed as Acting Bombadier (equivalent to the rank of Corporal) with the 177th Brigade. The promotion was made substantive on 11 November 1917.

On the 8 August 1917 he was wounded in action but I have no other information as to the extent of his injuries. I can also see from his record that he was hospitalised in May 1918 after being “gassed”.

Flather survived the war and was finally demobilised on 8 February 1919.

He returned home to Keighley where he married Clara Bancroft on 28 May 1922.

In the 1939 Register Flather and Clara are living at 2 Morning Street, Keighley. He is working as a “weaving overlooker”.

Clara passed away in 1958 and Flather lived for a further four years before passing toward the end of 1962.

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Wedding Wednesday – Leonard Miller and Elizabeth J Musgrove

Elizabeth Musgrove is my 1st cousin 1x removed. Her parents are James Musgrove and Edith Jane Hibble. Our common ancestors are Joseph Musgrove and Elizabeth Ann Turner, my great grandparents.

Elizabeth was born in Clitheroe, Lancashire in 1920 – her birth is registered in the June quarter.

Elizabeth married Leonard Miller on 27 December 1941 at Clitheroe Congregational church. The wedding was reported in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times on 2 January 1942.

Leonard Miller & Elizabeth Musgrove Wedding.png

MILLER – MUSGROVE

The wedding took place at the Congregational Church, on Saturday, of Mr Len Miller, eldest son of Mr and Mrs Miller, of Stalybridge, and Miss Betty Musgrove, eldest daughter of Mr and Mrs Musgrove, of 51 Woone Lane, Clitheroe. The bridegroom is a member of the Halifax Police Force, whilst the bride is a nurse at the Halifax General Hospital. The ceremony was performed by the Rev J A Sinclair.

Given away by her uncle, Mr Fred Hibble, the bride was attired in an ice-blue two-piece suit, trimmed with fur, with brown hat and accessories, and a spray of pink carnations. As matron of honour, Mrs M Lord, the bride’s sister, wore a blue two-piece suit, trimmed with fur, and had brown accessories and a spray of pink carnations. Mr Stanley Miller was best man and Mr Jack Black was groomsman. A reception was held at the Starkie Arms.

Mr and Mrs Miller will reside at Halifax.

I assume that Elizabeth (Betty) was given away by her uncle because her father was away on military service in WW2.

Military Monday – John Robert Arthur Steel (1886-1916)

John Robert Arthur Steel is the husband of my 3rd cousin 2x removed, Elsie Dodgson.

Elsie was born in 1888 to parents Charles Henry Dodgson and Charlotte Mary Stark. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson, my 4x great grandparents.

Elsie married John Robert Arthur Steel sometime in the September quarter of 1914 in Leeds, West Yorkshire. They had one child – Constance, born on 1 February 1916.

John Robert Arthur Steel had been born towards the end of 1886 in Hunslet, Leeds.

When war broke out he enlisted for service with the Prince of Wales’s Own (West Yorkshire) Regiment and was assigned to the 15th Battalion with a service number of 15/1181.

John was killed in action on 1 July 1916 – only five months after the birth of his daughter. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France – the largest Commonwealth Memorial to the missing in the world.

The following information is taken from the Commonwealth war Graves Commission (CWGC) website.

The memorial commemorates more than 72,000 men of British and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave, the majority of whom died during the Somme offensive of 1916.

On the high ground overlooking the Somme River in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the First World War took place, stands the Thiepval Memorial. Towering over 45 metres in height, it dominates the landscape for miles around.

On 1 July 1916, supported by a French attack to the south, 13 divisions of Commonwealth forces launched an offensive on a line from north of Gommecourt to Maricourt. Despite a preliminary bombardment lasting seven days, the German defences were barely touched and the attack met unexpectedly fierce resistance.

Losses were catastrophic and with only minimal advances on the southern flank, the initial attack was a failure. In the following weeks, huge resources of manpower and equipment were deployed in an attempt to exploit the modest successes of the first day. However, the German Army resisted tenaciously and repeated attacks and counter attacks meant a major battle for every village, copse and farmhouse gained. At the end of September, Thiepval was finally captured. The village had been an original objective of 1 July.

Attacks north and east continued throughout October and into November in increasingly difficult weather conditions. The Battle of the Somme finally ended on 18 November with the onset of winter.

In the spring of 1917, the German forces fell back to their newly prepared defences, the Hindenburg Line, and there were no further significant engagements in the Somme sector until the Germans mounted their major offensive in March 1918.

Following lengthy negotiations about the site, construction at Thiepval began in 1928 and was finished in 1932. Foundations were dug to a depth of 30 feet, uncovering wartime tunnels and unexploded ordnance.

The Thiepval Memorial, the Memorial to the Missing of the Somme, bears the names of more than 72,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom and South African forces who died in the Somme sector before 20 March 1918 and have no known grave. Over 90% of those commemorated died between July and November 1916.

The memorial also serves as an Anglo-French Battle Memorial in recognition of the joint nature of the 1916 offensive and a small cemetery containing equal numbers of Commonwealth and French graves lies at the foot of the memorial.
Notable commemorations include cricketer Kenneth Hutchings, writer Hector Hugh Munro, also known as Saki and Cedric Dickens, grandson of novelist Charles Dickens. There are also seven holders of the Victoria Cross.

On 1 August 1932, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales unveiled the memorial. Albert Lebrun, President of France and Sir Edwin Lutyens, the memorial’s architect, attended the ceremony which was in English and French.

Each year on 1 July a ceremony is held at the memorial to mark the first day of the Battle of the Somme. On 1 July 2016, to mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme, thousands of people attended a special ceremony including members of the British Royal family, UK Prime Minister David Cameron, and French President François Hollande.

Behind the memorial is the Thiepval Anglo-French Cemetery. The cemetery contains the graves of 300 Commonwealth servicemen and 300 French servicemen. The majority of these men died during the Battle of the Somme, but some also fell in the battles near Loos and Le Quesnel.

Thiepval Memorial

Thiepval Memorial

Wedding Wednesday – Richard Jacomb Pitt and Diana Fay Lovel Mack

Diana Fay Lovel Mack is my 4th cousin 1x removed. Her parents are Lovel Durant Mack and Hilda Muriel Watkinson. Our common ancestors are Anthony Mason and Mary Brayshaw, my 4x great grandparents.

Diana was born in Liverpool, Lancashire in 1925 – her birth is registered in the December quarter.

A report of Diana’s marriage to Richard Jacomb Pitt on 16 March 1946 was published in the Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette on 23 March 1946.

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MARRIED IN LONDON

CHESHIRE BRIDE FOR LT. R J PITT

A large number of friends of Col. and Mrs R B Pitt and their family travelled from Bath last Saturday to attend the wedding in London of Lieut. Richard J Pitt, MBE, RN, to Miss Diana Fay Lovel Mack.

The bridegroom is the eldest son of Col. and Mrs Pitt, who live at Middle Twinhoe Farm, Midford, and his bride is the only daughter of Mr and Mrs Lovel Mack, Massey Lodge, Sandiway, Cheshire.

The bride was on the staff of the Foreign Office during the war. Lieut. Pitt’s MBE was awarded for bravery and skill in damage control in the assault area off the Normandy beaches during the invasion of the Continent. He was serving on a destroyer.

The choral ceremony took place at St George’s, Hanover Square, the Rev F E S Jacomb-Hood, cousin of the bridegroom, officiating, assisted by the vicar.

The bride, who was given in marriage by her father, wore a lovely gown of silver brocade, with a train of white satin trimmed with true lovers’ knots in silver brocade, and white heather. She had fresh white flowers in her hair and carried a bouquet of white spring flowers. Her jewellery consisted of a blue zircon ring, brooch and earrings.

She was attended by two bridesmaids, Miss Susan Clarke (her friend) and Miss Josephine Pitt (only sister of the bridegroom). They wore white velvet dresses, with head wreaths and bouquets of fresh white flowers. Their naval brooches were gifts from the bridegroom.

The best man was Mr Simon Pitt, Welsh Guards (brother of the bridegroom), and among the eight groomsmen were Mr Paul Lovel Mack (brother of the bride), and Mr Robin Pitt (brother of the bridegroom). There was a guard of honour of naval officers outside the church.

The reception was held at Claridge’s, and was attended by 250 guests. Many friends of the bride and her family travelled from Cheshire, and among the Bath party were directors of Stothert and Pitt Ltd, of which Col. Pitt is managing director.

The bride travelled afterwards in a blue frock and fawn tweed coat.

Lieut. and Mrs Pitt are making their home at Petersfield, Hants, where the former is doing a year’s signalling course.

The bride and bridegroom received many beautiful presents. There were gifts, among others, from Mr Lovel Mack’s shipping firm, from the directors of Stothert and Pitt, and from the farm and domestic staffs at Middle Twinhoe.

Sunday’s Obituary – Sophia Paley (1861-1947)

Sophia Paley is my great grand aunt – in other words the sister of my great grandmother Ellen Paley.

Sophia was born on 31 July 1861 and baptised on 25 August 1861 in Rylstone, Yorkshire.

I haven’t been able to find Sophia on the 1871 census – she is certainly not at home with her parents. And I have checked the census returns for her grandparents and she is not there either.

In 1881 she is a domestic housemaid servant for a County Magistrate and cotton manufacturer in Skipton, Yorkshire.

By 1891 Sophia had moved south to Bromley in Kent, still working as a domestic housemaid servant – this time for a barrister. She remained in Bromley at least until the next census in 1901 when she was a parlour maid for a retired dealer in stocks and shares.

At some point over the next ten years Sophia had presumably earned sufficient money to leave domestic service. She had moved to Colne in Lancashire and was living in her own home. Her occupation is given as house keeper – own account. So I’m thinking she is maybe running a bed & breakfast type establishment – she has one person staying with her at the time.

Finally Sophia appears in the 1939 Register at Craven Cottage, Keighley Road, Colne and her occupation is described as occasional nursing.

Sophia passed away on 13 March 1947 at 2 Mayfield Avenue, Halifax, West Yorkshire. In her will she left effects totalling £647 18s 4d to Ernest Pearson, a solicitors managing clerk and Walter Pickles, a cotton manufacturer.

In the Barnoldswick & Earby Times of 11 April 1947 the following advert appears for the sale by auction of all Sophia’s household items.

Sophia Paley - Barnoldswick & Earby Times 11 April 1947.png

CRAVEN COTTAGE                                           OFF KEIGHLEY ROAD, COLNE                 (Heifer Lane Bus Stop)

Fred Smith, Auctioneer and Valuer, instructed by Executors of Miss Sophia Paley, will sell by Auction, at CRAVEN COTTAGE, COLNE, on SATURDAY, APRIL 12th, 1947: One Oak Dining Room Suite in green velvet, one Mahogany Drawing Room Suite in old gold figured velvet, one Inlaid walnut Bedroom Suite, one Maple Bedroom Suite, wardrobe and linen cupboard combined, full-length dressing mirror and commode; one Oak Gateleg Table, one Oak Antique Table, one Card Table, one Occasional Chair, one Mahogany Rocking Chair, one Antique Mahogany Table, one Inlaid Walnut Bedroom Suite, one Stand Table, one Walnut Fire Screen, one 4ft 6in Oak Bedstead, Spring Mattress and Hair Overlay, one Mahogany Plant Stand, one Maple Bedroom Table, one 4×3 Tapestry Carpet, one 4×3 Axminster Carpet, one 3×21/2 Axminster Carpet, one 3×3 tapestry Carpet, 2 Axminster Rugs, 12yds Wilton Stair Carpet, one Chrome-plated Carpet Sweeper, one Kitchen Leaf Table, one Onward Gas Oven, two Stools, one Night Commode, one China Tea Service (40 pieces), half Tuscan China Tea service (21 pieces), 15 Antique Tureens, Vases, Plates and Ornaments (Willow pattern), one part Dinner Service, one part Tea Service and various Cups, plates, Jugs, Pans and other Kitchen Utensils, Bed Linen, Sheets, Towels, Table Cloths and Window Curtains.

Sale at 1 o’clock.

The Auctioneer wishes to call your attention to this sale of very good Household Furniture.

Intending purchasers are requested to produce their Identity Cards.

View today (Friday, 2 to 4pm.

Fred Smith, Auctioneer & Valuer, Church Street Sale Rooms 9opposite Church), Colne.

A life sold by auction!

Wedding Wednesday – Edward Musgrove and Rebecca Cockshutt

Edward Musgrove is my 1st cousin 2x removed. His parents are Joseph Musgrove and Bridget Maria Grainger. Our common ancestors are John Musgrove and Catherine Ainsworth, my 2x great grandparents.

Edward was born on 8 March 1903 in Clitheroe, Lancashire.

On the 2 November 1940 Edward married Rebecca Cockshutt at St. Mary’s Parish Church, Clitheroe. A report of the wedding was published in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times on 8 November 1940.

Edward Musgrove & Rebecca Cockshutt wedding.png

MUSGROVE-COCKSHUTT

The wedding took place on Saturday, at St. Mary’s Parish Church, of Mr. Edward Musgrove, the fifth son of Mr. and Mrs. J. Musgrove, of 66, Wilkin Street, and Miss Rebecca I. Cockshutt, daughter of Mrs. and the late Mr. G. Cockshutt, of 6, Chatburn Road, Clitheroe. The Rev. W. S. Helm, M.A., performed the ceremony.

Given away by her brother, Mr. George Cockshutt, the bride was attired in a pale blue edge-to-edge coat, a floral gown with navy accessories, and had a spray of pink carnations. The bridesmaid, Miss Hilda Gates (niece), wore a similar ensemble in a darker shade. The best man was Mr. Tom Musgrove, and the groomsman Mr. John Smalley.

A reception followed at Briggs’s cafe, the bride and bridegroom afterwards leaving for Blackpool. They are to reside at 6, Chatburn Road, Clitheroe.

Black Sheep Sunday – James Bowes (1888-1973)

James Bowes is my 3rd cousin 2x removed.

James was born on 27 December 1888 in Burnley, Lancashire, to parents James Bowes and Ada Welsh. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.

James married Gerty Roberts sometime in the March quarter of 1915.

In 1939, at the outbreak of World War Two James and Gerty were living at Clifton Street, Nelson, Lancashire.

It is common practice during wartime for a blackout to be introduced. People who failed to keep their homes or premises in darkness were liable to stringent legal penalties.

On 6 June 1941 the Nelson Leader carried a report that James was in breach of the lighting regulations.

James Bowes - Nelson Leader 6 June 1941.png

Black-Out Offence

For a breach of the lighting regulations, James Bowes (52), 18 Clifton Street, Nelson, was fined 10s, by the local magistrates on Saturday. P.W.R. Jolly said he was in Chapel Street at 11.50pm on Saturday, May 17th, when he saw a bright beam of light shining from the back kitchen window of defendant’s home. He found that the window was screened only by light brown curtains, and these were about three inches apart down the centre. Defendant said it was an oversight, he had blacked-out the front of the house, and forgotten to draw the dark blind in the kitchen.