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Military Monday – Clement May (1895-1916)

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.

Clement May is my 3rd cousin 1x removed. His parents are John May and Mary Ellen Buckley. Our common ancestors are Thomas Buckley and Henrietta Mason, my 3x great grandparents.

Clement was born sometime in Q2 of 1895 and was the fourth of at least ten children to John and Mary Ellen May.

There doesn’t appear to be any surviving military service records for Clement. However I have been able to establish that he was a Private in the West Yorkshire (Prince of Wales Own) Regiment. He was in the 16th Battalion and his regimental service number was 32857.

His entry on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website shows that Clement died of wounds on 13 November 1916.

I have tried to find out which battle he might have been in at the time of his death. The Battle of the Ancre seems to be the most likely.

At the time of his death Clement had £2 12s 3d credit in his military account – authority was given on 3 March 1917 for this to be paid to his father. The in August 1919 a War Gratuity payment of £3 was also paid to the family. The image below is from the Army Register of Soldiers Effects from www.ancestry.co.uk

Clement May - WW1 Effects.png

Clement is buried at the Couin British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais region of France.

The following information is from the CWGC.

Couin Chateau was used as a divisional headquarters from 1915 to 1918.

The British Cemetery was begun in May 1916 by the field ambulances of the 48th (South Midland) Division, and was used by units and field ambulances during the Battle of the Somme in 1916. It was closed at the end of January 1917 because further extension was not possible, and now contains 401 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and three German graves.

The new British Cemetery was opened across the road and was used by field ambulances from January 1917 (with a long interval in 1917-18) to the end of the war. One grave was moved there after the Armistice from a cemetery at Coigneux. It now contains 360 Commonwealth burials of the First World War and two German graves.

Both cemeteries were designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

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Military Monday – David Musgrove Bratherton (1894-1916)

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.

David Musgrove Bratherton is my 2nd cousin 2x removed. His parents are William Robert Bratherton and Rachel Musgrove. Our common ancestors are William Musgrove and Harriot Francis, my 3x great grandparents.

David was born in Lancaster, Lancashire in 1894 – his birth is registered in the September quarter. He was the only son of William and Rachel.

In the 1901 and 1911 census returns the family are living at Park Road, Lancaster. In 1911 David’s occupation is given as “cotton weaver”.

Unfortunately I can’t find any remaining service records for David either on Ancestry or Find My Past.

I do know that David was a Private in the Royal Fusiliers, 8th Battalion. His service number was 1917.

Looking at the information available at http://www.1914-1918.net it seems as though the 8th Battalion were under the command of 36th Brigade, 12th (Eastern) Division. They landed in France in May 1915 and disbanded in France on 6 February 1918.

I know that David was killed in action on 7 July 1916. It is possible that David was killed during The Battle of Albert – one of the many Battles of the Somme in 1916. Below is an extract from http://www.1914-1918.net about the 12th (Eastern) Division battles during WW1.

The Battles of the Somme 1916

The Battle of Albert

By 18 June 1916 the Division was based at Flesselles. It immediately carried out a training exercise to practice a planned attack to capture Martinpuich. This action never materialised. The Division moved up to Baizieux on 30 June and reached Hencourt and Millencourt by 10am on 1 July, in reserve to the British infantry attack that had begun earlier that morning. It moved to relieve 8th Division, which had suffered a severe repulse at Ovillers-la-Boisselle, during the night of 1-2 July.

Ordered to continue the attack on Ovillers, 35th and 37th Brigades went in at 3.15am on 2 July (just before this, Divisional HQ received information that a British attack on their left, by X Corps against Thiepval, was cancelled). Unlike the troops of 8th Division who had to cross a wide no man’s land in the bright morning sun, the 12th Division attack, at night, adopted sensible tactics of advancing across no man’s land while the artillery bombarded the enemy and rushed the last few yards when it lifted. The first wave of the attack met with mixed success: for example the 9th Essex came under heavy shellfire before it had reached even the British front line; it was difficult to keep direction in the deep shell holes; yet the 5th Berkshire and 7th Suffolk crossed, finding the enemy wire was well cut, and took at least two lines of German trenches before becoming bogged in intense bombing fights in the trenches. 6th Queen’s were held up by wire and machine gun fire from Mash Valley. Heavy fire from the Leipzig salient – where X Corps would have been attacking – halted supporting units in no man’s land, and the attack failed to achieve its objective.

On 7 July 36th Brigade, with 74th Brigade attached to the Division for the purpose, attacked again and in spite of heavy casualties from German artillery and machine guns in Mash Valley, succeeded in holding the first and second lines that they captured on the spur on which Ovillers stands. By the time the Division was withdrawn to the area on Contay on 9 July, 189 officers and 4576 men had become casualties.

David is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial in France. The following information is taken from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

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.


The memorial, designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, was built between 1928 and 1932 and unveiled by the Prince of Wales, in the presence of the President of France, on 1 August 1932 (originally scheduled for 16 May but due to the death of French President Doumer the ceremony was postponed until August).


Thiepval Memorial

Black Sheep Sunday – Dent Stowell (1882-1948) – part 3

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

This is the third and final part of the Dent Stowell trilogy.

Dent Stowell, is my 2nd cousin 3x removed. Here are links to Part 1 and Part 2

We left the story last week with Dent having appeared before Magistrates in Burnley and committed for trial at Manchester Assizes on charges of bigamy.

There are a couple of reports in the local papers about the trial. One of them in the Lancashire Evening Post of 3 May 1933 recaps much of the story from my blog post last week. During the trial Dent handed a written statement to the judge.

Announcing his decision the judge (Mr Justice Lawrence) is reported to have commented:-

You appear, very soon after going through the ceremony with her in Carlisle, to have told the woman with whom you are now living, that you were married. Though at the time of that ceremony you did deceive her. You have now lived with her 14 years, and apparently have treated her very well. In binding you over, I have taken into account the circumstances of your past life, as you have set them out in this statement, and the way in which your real wife behaved to you.

So there we have it Dent pleaded guilty to bigamy and was bound over indefinitely.

There are still loose ends to tie up in the story.

I was curious to discover why I hadn’t found a marriage for Dent Stowell and Helen Gordon in 1918. I checked the marriage indexes again and found a marriage listed for Helen Gordon and Samuel Stowell in the March quarter of 1918. So it seems that Dent used a different name, presumably to try and avoid complications. I wonder what name Helen knew him as at the time.

Rose Ann Stowell died in 1939 – her death is recorded in the June quarter in Burnley, Lancashire. Sometime during the same quarter Dent and Helen married legally.

About nine years later Dent passed away and was buried in Burnley Cemetery on 1 April 1948.

According to some online sources it appears that after Dent’s death Helen went back to the USA in 1949, although she did visit the UK at least once in 1955.

There is a record of Helen’s death in Los Angeles, California on 11 February 1984. Also a burial on 20 February 1984 in Burnley Cemetery where she was laid to rest in the same grave plot as Dent.

Black Sheep Sunday – Dent Stowell (1882-1948) – part 2

Black Sheep Sunday is a daily blogging prompt used by many genealogy bloggers to help them post content on their sites.

To participate in Black Sheep Sunday simply create a post with the main focus being an ancestor with a “shaded past.”

This is the second part of a three blog post series about Dent Stowell, my 2nd cousin 3x removed. Here’s a link to part one from last week – Military Monday

So to recap we left the story when Dent had been demobbed following the end of WW1.

I was then able to find Dent in the 1939 Register, completed at the start of WW2. He is living at 1 Grove Street, Burnley, Lancashire with his wife Helen.

Now then this is where my problem starts – in 1907 he was married to Rose Ann Cairns. Now here he is living with Helen. So what has happened over the twenty years since he was demobbed.

I began by searching the available records on http://www.ancestry.co.uk and http://www.findmypast.co.uk.

I got several results. There was an entry in the UK incoming passenger lists and some newspaper articles.

Let’s start with one of the newspaper articles – they are mostly the same. This transcript is from the Burnley Express of 22 April 1933.

Burnley Express 22 Apr 1933WARTIME ROMANCE SHATTERED

ALLEGED BIGAMY SEUQEL TO                      SOLDIERS MARRIAGE

BURNLEY MOTOR DRIVER’S AMAZING COURT REVELATIONS

Remarkable allegations that during his leaves from France during the war, in which he was wounded thrice, his wife “chased him back before his time was up, told him she did not want to see him again, and wished the Germans would kill him next time out”, were made by an ex-Service man who appeared before the magistrates in the Burnley Police Court, last Wednesday, on a charge of alleged bigamy.

The accused, Dent Stowell (50), described as a motor driver, and living at 15 Tunnel Street, Burnley, was stated to have been three times wounded while serving in France during the war with the famous Scottish regiment, the Black Watch. In a statement at the close of the evidence against him, Stowell said the Burnley woman to whom he was originally married “chased him back” every time he came home on leave from France, telling him she “did not want to see him again,” and wishing the Germans “would kill him next time out.”

Committed for Trial

Stowell, who was committed to Manchester Assizes for trial, was alleged to have married Helen Gordon, at Carlisle Parish Church, on January 27th, 1918, while his wife, a Burnley woman, whom he had married at St Matthew’s Church, Burnley, on January 5th, 1907, was still alive. It was stated that there were three surviving children of the Burnley marriage, and that Stowell had four children by the other woman.

Mr E S Smith, of the Town Clerk’s Department, appearing for the prosecution, said the alleged bigamy was a “war story.” The Burnley marriage was witnessed by William Gilbert and his wife, Anastasia Gilbert, then residing at Fielden Street, Burnley. After the marriage the couple went to live at the home of the husband’s sister, Mrs Brotherton, St. Matthew Street. Afterwards they lived at various Burnley addresses, and ultimately at 2 Zion Street, where Mrs Stowell resided. Prisoner at the outbreak of war was a reservist in the Black Watch Regiment, and he was sent to Perth, Scotland, to join up there. He was drafted to France, and in October, 1914, came home wounded for the first time. He lived with his wife at Burnley while at home then, and also on coming home on leave on several occasions. He was again wounded more than once, and on the last occasion was transferred, after recovery, to the Mechanical Transport Section, and stationed in London. After the Armistice he returned to his wife in Burnley, and later was again with his regiment. Then, owing to his being missing from his depot, his wife’s Army allowance was stopped for a time. He returned to his regiment , and his wife again received her payments.

Sailed for Canada

About Easter, 1919 (Mr Smith continued), Mrs Stowell had a letter from him, stating that he was expecting his discharge from the Army. But he did not return home, and she found that he had sailed for Canada. It was discovered that prior to his coming home for the last time to his wife in Burnley he had gone through a form of marriage at Carlisle, the ceremony taking place at the Parish Church there on January 27th, 1918. He was then fully aware that his lawful wife was alive.

Mrs Rose Ann Stowell, of 2 Zion Street, Burnley, stated that she was living there with her son. She spoke to having married accused at St Matthews Church, Burnley, on the date alleged, and she identified a certificate produced as being that of the marriage. Her maiden name was Cairns. They first lived with her husband’s sister at 76 St. Matthew Street. There were three children of the marriage alive, the youngest being now 21. They lived together happily until the commencement of the war, when he was sent to Perth to join his regiment, the Black Watch. He afterwards went to France and was wounded three times, on each occasion coming to their home in Burnley, and being transferred after his last wound to London. He came home on Armistice night and stayed two or three days. About Christmas that year her allowance was stopped by the Army authorities owing to accused’s absence for a time from his regiment. During that period, however, she received letters from him through his depot, though he was not there.

Husband’s Allegations

About Easter, 1919 (witness went on), she received a letter from prisoner stating that he was expecting to be discharged. He did not, however come home.

Have you seen him since? – Not till now.
Did you know where he had gone? – He had gone to Canada.
How did you know that? – He wrote to me for about 12 months.

Witness denied a suggestion by prisoner that the last time he was home from the Army she was running about public houses.

Prisoner: Didn’t you tell me to get back to my regiment and say that you didn’t want to see me any more alive? – and didn’t I say, “You never will see me again”? – as you never have done.

Witness: That is not the case.

Witness agreed that prisoner sent money to her and the children for the first 12 months after he went to Canada.

Prisoner: Didn’t I ask you if you would send the children to me, I would book their passages? – Yes

You would not let them come? – Why should I? They were my children.

Witness denied that she went drinking with the money prisoner sent her. She also denied a suggestion by the prisoner that she was living with a man.

Mrs Ann Anastasia Gilbert, widow, 224 Lowerhouse Lane, stated that she was present along with her husband, now dead, as a witness at prisoner’s marriage in St Matthew’s Church in 1907. On March 3rd this year she accompanied a detective officer to the Superintendent Registrar’s Office, Nicholas Street, and identified the original entry of the marriage, a copy of which was now produced.

Met in 1917

Helen Gordon, whom prisoner was alleged to have bigamously married, stated that she was now living with Stowell at 15 Tunnel Street, Burnley. She had four children, of whom he was the father.

In 1917 (winess proceeded) she was working on munitions at Carlisle, and in June of that year she met Stowell. He was then a soldier in the Black Watch, and he told he was a single man of Scottish nationality.

Did he ask yo to keep company with him? – Yes.

They went through the form of marriage at Carlisle Parish Church on January 27th, 1918. (Witness identified a certificate produced.)

Stowell afterwards went to France, and she (witness) joined the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and was sent to London. There she was joined later by Stowell on his being stationed in London.

In April, 1919, on his being discharged from the Army, Stowell (witness continued) sailed for Canada. She did not accompany him then, but went about three months afterwards. They lived in Canada about nine months, and then went to Detroit, United States, remaining there till January 26th, this year. She was with prisoner all that time. They returned to England on the instructions of the American emigration authorities, arriving in England on February 9th. They lived together at 194, Scalegate Road, Carlisle, till they came to Burnley.

“Drinking and Fighting”

Detective Sergeant Pullen said a warrant was issued for Stowell’s arrest on April 13th. He saw him on Tuesday this week at 15 Tunnel Street, where he was residing with his sister. He told him he had a warrant for his arrest, and Stowell replied, “Sure, when will it be tried?” When charged at the police office, he replied, “I have nothing to say.”

When asked, in the usual form, if he had anything to say, Stowell, from the dock, said: “I lived with her eight years after marriage, and was parted twice in that eight years through drinking and fighting. Every time I came on leave I had to go back before my time was up. She chased me back. I thought it impossible to live with her after the war, because she was telling me she did not want to see me again in life, and wishing the Germans would kill me next time out. She told my sister she was happy with the man she was living with now, and she did not want me back, and I don’t intend to go back.”

Prisoner was asked by the chairman of the magistrates (the Mayor) if he had been living happily with the other woman. He replied that he done so for 14 years.

Stowell was, as stated, committed for trial at Manchester Assizes. He applied for, and was allowed, bail, in his surety of £10, and another of the same amount. A friend of accused came forward as surety, and he was released.

Look out for the third and final instalment next week.

Military Monday – Dent Stowell (1882-1948) – part 1

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.

Dent StowellThis is the first of a three part series about Dent Stowell, my 2nd cousin 3x removed. He was born on 14 July 1882 in Burnley, Lancashire to parents Thomas Stowell and Ann Wroe. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff (my 4x great grandparents).

As far as I can tell Dent was the last of nine children to be born to Thomas and Ann Stowell. He was baptised on 20 August 1882 at St John the Baptist church in Burnley.

On 30 March 1900 Dent took himself to the army recruiting office in Burnley and signed up for “short service” of three years in the military. The next day he passed his medical examination and was signed fit for the army. He was appointed to the 2nd Royal Highlanders Regiment with a service number of 7778.

He joined his regiment in Perth, Scotland on 4 April 1900.

I can see from his service records available online that Dent was promoted to the rank of Corporal on 28 February 1902. Then two months later on 24 April 1902 he was posted to South Africa.

He completed his three years “short service” on 30 March 1903 and was transferred to the Army Reserve for nine years.

Back in civilian life Dent married Rose Ann Cairns on 5 January 1907 at St Matthew the Apostle, Habergham Eaves, Lancashire. Dent was 24 years old and Rose Ann was 19.

Over the next five years Dent and Rose Ann had four children:-

Mary Ann Stowell – born 16 December 1907
Dent Stowell – born 1 March 1909
Clifford Stowell – born 25 June 1910 (died December 1913)
Albert Stowell – born 20 May 1912

In the 1911 census the family are living at 2 Zion Street, Burnley. Dent is working as a “plate moulder” and Rose Ann as a “weaver”.

At the outbreak of WW1 Dent rejoined the army and was mobilised at Perth on 5 August 1914. He had several postings to France over the next three years. He was wounded in action in November 1917 and then posted home from 27 November 1917 until he was demobbed on 24 March 1919.

Here is an account of Dent’s experiences in the Burnley News of 3 October 1914.

Burnley News 3 Oct 1914 - 1WOUNDED BURNLEY SOLDIER

IN THE FIRING LINE AT THE AISNE

A thrilling narrative of incidents which have taken place at the Battle of the Aisne has been told to a Burnley News reporter by Private Dent Stowell, of 2 Zion Street, who has returned home to recuperate after having been wounded. Private Stowell is a Reservist in the Black Watch.

“I reported myself at Perth Depot, Nig Camp, Cromarty,” he said, “and from there I went to Southampton, where we embarked for France. After a short time in camp at St Lazaire, we had a four days’ journey on the railway, and then we marched for four days, at about thirty miles a day, up to the firing line, about forty miles from operations at the Aisne, where there is a firing line of 150 miles.

“We thought then that there were no Germans about, but we could see dead horses, pieces of legs, heads, and other gruesome objects. On Sunday night, September 13th, the German bullets and shells began flying over our heads. At five o’clock on the following morning, we marched out on to a hill, and laid in a trench from about 6 o’clock to 3 in the afternoon. The Germans were shelling the position all the time, Burnley News 3 Oct 1914 -2and it was not safe for anyone to lift up his head. My mate did so, and he was shot through the brain.

“At 3 o’clock, someone said ‘Retire,’ and we had almost forty yards to run to the edge of the hill. During the run a German shell burst, sending me down the side of the hill. I remained unconscious until between 2 and 3 o’clock on the following morning, I was wounded by a bullet which went into my left knee, and when I recovered consciousness my shoe was full of blood.”

STRETCHER BEARER SHOT

“While they were carrying me, one of the stretcher bearers was shot; consequently another fellow carried me down to the hospital. When we got there the bullet was extracted.”

After describing his further passage from the scene of conflict by Army Service Corps and motor wagons, and how he was conveyed via temporary bridges of boats and planks, Private Stowell retuned to his experiences in the operations against the enemy. “I eked out existence on one biscuit on the previous Saturday night,” he remarked. “In the fighting a bullet went in my bully-beef tin on my back. Much havoc was caused to my equipment. I could not get a chance to fire back. It was an artillery battle, not an infantry one. Men were mowed down like grass under the terrific fire of the Maxims.

“I was conveyed to Le Mons, where the wound was dressed. Then we went along to Nancy, where I was again attended to. Subsequently I was taken to St Lazaire. I left there last Wednesday, and landed at Southampton on Friday morning. I was treated at the Southern Hospital, Birmingham, which I left yesterday (Wednesday) morning.

“It is indeed a sight for anyone to see which confronts you where fighting operations are going on,” Private Stowell continued. “The Germans had no ‘grub’ for four days. On Monday morning, the 14th, they were reinforced with 40,000 troops, and provisions to last them six months. Every place we got into we found they had looted. We could get nothing.”

Speaking about the French people, Private Stowell remarked enthusiastically that they were very good. “They will give anything to the English troops. We lived on nothing but fruit. The Germans took all the bread obtainable. Tobacco and cigarettes were sent out, but we never got it.

“Oh, yes, we wanted it,” he continued, smilingly. “If you saw one of your men with a cigarette, you would have ‘killed’ him for it.

The massacre is awful. There are thousands of Germans now in the trenches who cannot be buried. Our men cannot go up the hill to bury our dead. Many a hundred bled to death on that hill where I was. The men are healthy enough, but they cannot get any ‘grub.’ Marching to the firing line, we average between 20 and 30 miles a day. At night we try to get into a village. We find the villages have been looted, but there are barns and haylofts we can sleep in. It is not very comfortable to be sleeping 200 in a hayloft that really only accommodates about 10. After about three hours there, we are called to march again.”

Asked as to whether he had met any other Burnley men during his experience at the front he said, “I bade good-bye to my pal, J W Hurst, of Padiham, on Monday. He belonged to the C Company. We went out together. Then his Company went one way and mine another. On Monday night 200 came in out of 1260 at roll call. There were about 30 left out of the 200 on Tuesday. As I said before, they mowed us down like grass, chiefly with Maxim guns.

“I can tell you that I did say my prayers when I got up in the morning with bullets flying round. You think any morning that before long you may be a ‘gone-er’.”

“One of the 16th Lancers was on horseback when a shell burst close to him, and left only his legs in the stirrup, carrying his body away! It is nothing to see a horse getting blown in two.”

“You get used to it,” summed up the soldier laconically. “I shot one German that I know of. I was two years and eight months in South Africa, but that was a picnic to this.”

Look out for the second instalment of the trilogy next Sunday.

Sunday’s Obituary – Edward Dixon (1910-1939)

Edward Dixon is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed. His parents are William Rylatt Dixon and Sarah Ann Britliff. Their common ancestors are John Britliff and Sarah Rack, my wife’s 3x great grandparents. See previous posts about John Britliff here and here.

Edward was born on 18 May 1910 in Kendal, Westmorland.

At some point between 1910 and 1939 Edward, together with his parents and sister, moved from Kendal to Grantham in Lincolnshire. Edward’s father was employed as a “railway carter drayman” so perhaps he moved with his job.

I have no more information about Edward until the following report in the Grantham Journal on 15 December 1939 about his death.

Grantham Journal 15 Dec 1939.png

RAILWAY GUARD AT HELLIFIELD

Young Grantham Man’s Death

After an illness lasting some six months the death occurred last week of Mr Edward Dixon, son of Mr and Mrs W R Dixon, of 29 Swinegate, Grantham, at the comparatively young age of 29 years.

Deceased was employed as a guard on the LMS Railway at Hellifield, Yorks.

The funeral took place on Monday, a service at the parish church, conducted by the Vicar, Canon C H Leake, preceding the interment in the cemetery, where the last rites were conducted by the Rev C L G Hutchings.

The mourners were:- Father and mother; Miss A Dixon, sister; Miss Shepherd, fiancee; Mr and Mrs s Dixon, Sibsey, Miss Maplethorpe, Lincoln, cousins; Mr J Shepherd, Burnley; and Mr L Huff, representing the LMS Railway at Hellifield.

The floral tributes were sent by father, mother and sister; aunt and cousins at Sibsey; uncle and cousin at Lincoln; Elenor; Mr and Mrs Shepherd, Burnley; Mr and Mrs Felstead; Mr and Mrs Rowland; Mr and Mrs Woods; Mr and Mrs Harrison, Signal Road; Mr and Mrs Bibby, Eliza and Ethel, Skipton; Miss Staniland, and Mrs Golding; fellow members of the LMS Railway at Hellifield; Mr and Mrs Morris; Mr and Mrs Woolmer and family; Mr and Mrs R W Savage; Phyllis; M A and A E Wilson and Miss Odom; Mrs C G Hardy; Mr and Mrs Thomas and Mr and Mrs Williams; Mrs Walters; Mr and Mrs W W Winn; Mrs Raines and family; Miss M E Barkes; Mr and Mrs Dixon, Kirkby Stephen.

Sunday’s Obituary – William Randles (1877-1939)

William Randles is my wife’s 2nd cousin 2x removed. His parents are William Randles and Sarah J Espley. Their common ancestors are James Espley and Martha Silvester, my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

William was the sixth of eleven children born to William and Sarah. His birth is registered in Q1 of 1877 in Stone, Staffordshire.

Sometime in Q3 of 1901 William married Annie Cliff in Newcastle Under Lyme, Staffordshire. They had two sons:-

Reginald – born in 1902
Harold – born in 1906

In the 1911 census William’s occupation is given as “steam roller driver”. He worked in that same job until his death in 1939.

I recently discovered a story in the Staffordshire Sentinel of 26 September 1939 reporting on the inquest into William’s death.

Staffordshire Sentinel 26 Sep 1939.png

A.R.P. WORKER’S COLLAPSE

WHEN GOING ON DUTY

TUNSTALL INQUEST

A Tunstall ARP worker’s fatal collapse was the subject of an inquest conducted by the City Coroner (Mr W M Huntbach) at Tunstall, yesterday, on William Randles, aged 62, of 4, Bath Street, Tunstall, a steam-roller driver.

A verdict was returned in accordance with the medical evidence, that death was due to coronary thrombosis.

Evidence was given that Randles had been employed as a steam-roller driver by the Stoke-on-Trent Corporation for more than 40 years. For the past seven years he had been affected by ill-health, and was recently medically advised not to undertake strenuous work. At 6.50pm last Saturday, it was stated, Randles left his home to attend to his duties as an ARP demolition and rescue worker. In the Tunstall Town Yard he was changing into his protective clothing when he suddenly collapsed in the arms of William Harvey, of 8, Darnley Street, Shelton, another ARP worker.

Randles died before the arrival of Dr Kendall, of Tunstall.

Medical evidence was given by Dr Staub, and a verdict was returned as stated.