Sunday’s Obituary – Dent Stowell (1882-1948)

Dent Stowell is my 2nd cousin 3x removed. I have written about Dent before, herehere and here.

Dent 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).

If you have read my previous posts you will know that Dent had an interesting life :-

  • he served in the Black Watch Regiment in South Africa in the Boer War and in France during WW1, being wounded more than once.
  • he had an unhappy first marriage but found love for a second time with Helen Gordon – however he was found guilty of bigamously marrying Helen in 1918, before finally marrying her legally in 1939.
  • he had eight children from his two marriages.
  • he lived in Canada and in the United States of America.

Dent passed away on 28 March 1948 and I recently discovered the following inquest report in the Burnley Express of 31 March 1948.

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Man’s sudden death during night

“Death from natural causes” was the verdict recorded by the Burnley Deputy Coroner (Mr C Waddington) at an inquest on Monday on Dent Stowell (65), machine operator, of 89 Marlborough Street, who died on Sunday morning.

Mrs Helen Stowell said that her husband had served in the Boer and 1914-18 wars, and in the latter was wounded and badly gassed. His general health had not been good since 1918, but he had never had a serious illness. For the past four months he had complained of chest pains, but would not seek medical advice.

On Friday, the pains became worse, and on Saturday he said the pain felt like a lump in his chest. That evening she gave him a Seidlitz powder in warm water and, later, Indian Brandy in warm water, and they retired about 11.15pm. At 12.15am her husband got out of bed, and put the light out before returning.

Immediately he had got back into bed she heard strange noises coming from his throat, and, on putting on the light, found him struggling for breath. She helped him to sit up, but he collapsed in her arms. She ran out of the house and asked a passer-by to send for the police, who, on arrival, told her her husband had passed away.

Mr R O Davidson, consulting surgeon, said that he had conducted a post-mortem examination, and in his opinion death was due to cardiac failure, due to myocardial degeneration and coronary sclerosis.

After Dent’s death Helen moved to America to be with family who had emigrated there. She lived for another 36 years before passing away in 1984. Helen’s family brought her to England for burial alongside Dent and their son Percy in Burnley Cemetery, Lancashire.

Dent and Helen had thirty years together and I suspect could tell some tales about their experiences and adventures.

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Military Monday – Robert Scott (1908-1941)

Robert Scott is the husband of my grand aunt, Alice Musgrove. Alice’s parents are Joseph Musgrove and Elizabeth Ann Turner (my great grandparents).

Robert was born in Clitheroe in 1908 to parents Joseph Henry Scott and Isabella Cochrane – his birth is registered in the June quarter. Sometime in the first quarter of 1932 Robert married Alice Musgrove.

In 1938 Robert signed up for service with the Royal Artillery – his service number was 1454063.

When war eventually came Robert was assigned as a Gunner to the 156th (East Lancashire) Battery 52nd Light Anti Aircraft Regiment.

Robert was killed in action on 2 June 1941 in Crete.

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News of his death appeared in The Clitheroe Advertiser and Times in an article on Friday 27 June 1941.

Robert Scott - Clitheroe A&T 27 June 1941

Robert is buried at Suda Bay War Cemetery, Greece. The following information is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

In May 1941, the Commonwealth force in Crete was organised in five widely separated defence areas along the north coast – around the three airfields at Iraklion, Rethymnon and Maleme, and at Suda Bay and the port of Chania. The Germans launched their attack on 20 May with airborne troops. The airfield at Maleme was quickly captured and used for landing German reinforcements. On 23 May, the remainder of the Maleme position had to be given up and its defenders fell back to Chania. On 26 May, the Allied line west of Chania was broken. Suda Bay became indefensible and the troops from these two positions, with the remainder of the Maleme garrison, withdrew across the island to Sfakion, where many of them were evacuated by sea on the nights of the 28 – 31 May. The airborne attacks on the Iraklion and Rethymnon positions on 20 May were repulsed. Iraklion was successfully defended until the night of 29/29 May when the garrison was evacuated by sea. Orders for the Rethymnon garrison to fight its way southward for evacuation did not arrive, and it was overwhelmed on 31 May. Of the total Commonwealth land force of 32,000 men, 18,000 were evacuated, 12,000 were taken prisoner and 2,000 were killed. The site of Suda Bay War Cemetery was chosen after the war and graves were moved there by 21st and 22nd Australian War Graves Units from the four burial grounds that had been established by the German occupying forces at Chania, Iraklion, Rethymnon and Galata, and from isolated sites and civilian cemeteries. There are now 1,500 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World War buried or commemorated in the cemetery. 776 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate a number of casualties believed to be buried among them. The cemetery also contains 19 First World War burials brought in from Suda Bay Consular Cemetery, 1 being unidentified. There are also 7 burials of other nationalities and 37 non-war burials.

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Suda Bay War Cemetery, Greece

Black Sheep Sunday – Lily Clegg (1896-1970)

Lily Clegg (nee Bowes) is my 3rd cousin 2x removed.

Lily was born on 17 June 1896 in Burnley, Lancashire, to parents James Bowes and Ada Welsh. Our common ancestors are John Stowell and Ann Riddeoff, my 4x great grandparents.

Lily married Harry Clegg sometime in the September quarter of 1921.

In 1939, at the outbreak of World War Two Lily and Harry were living at Fife Street, Barrowford, 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.

Lily Clegg - Nelson Leader 8 Nov 1940.pngOn the 8 November 1940 two such cases were reported in the Nelson Leader. One of the offenders was Lily Clegg.

In the first case the offender was fined £1, including costs.

I have transcribed below the case against Lily.

A similar fine was imposed on Lily Clegg (43), of 31 Fife Street, Barrowford. PC Riley stated that at 7.30pm on Saturday, the 19th ult., he was on duty in Fife Street, Barrowford, when he saw a bright light shining from the front upstairs window of defendant’s house. The window was fitted with a double thickness curtain, but it was not drawn, and the window was entirely unscreened. He obtained a ladder, got into the room and extinguished the light. Later he saw defendant, who said she was responsible. She had gone out in the morning and the light had been burning all day. When told she would be reported she said she was sorry. Defendant was unable to appear, but she sent a letter in which she pleaded guilty and said she realised the seriousness of the offence. The window had full black-out curtains, but unfortunately they were not drawn.

 

A trawl through the local papers in any part of the country at this time will produce many similar cases.

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.

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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.

 

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)