Hedley Duckworth is my 2nd cousin 2x removed. His parents were John Thomas Duckworth and Clara Stowell. Our common ancestors are William and Ellen Stowell, my 3x great grandparents.
Hedley was born in Padiham, Lancashire in 1885 – his birth is registered in Q4.
In 1892 his mother Clara died and I’m not sure what happened to Hedley in the years up to the 1901 census. I haven’t yet been able to find his father with any confidence.
However in 1901 Hedley is stopping with his uncle Henry Weller and his aunt Olivia Weller (nee Stowell) – his mother’s sister. Also there is another aunt Ruth Stowell. They are living in Padiham and Hedley is employed as a “moulder”.
By 1911 Hedley has joined the military and in the census of that year he is shown as serving in Malta with the rank of sergeant.
I have found Hedley’s military records on FMP – but sadly they are of very little help.
I know that he signed up for service in the East Lancashire Regiment at the age of 17 on 24 July 1902. The records show that he was discharged five days later on 28 July 1902. I can’t find any other information about this.
I know that he served in the army during WW1 as I have found his medal roll card on http://www.ancestry.co.uk. He served in the Army Service Corps and his military number was M.21068.
Hedley was mentioned in despatches on 13 Jun 1916. This is the lowest form of recognition that was announced. The Mention in Despatches (M.I.D.) for a Soldier is not an award of a medal, but is a commendation of an act of gallantry or service. Here is a Wikipedia article about being mentioned in despatches http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mentioned_in_dispatches
There is also an article in the Burnley Express on 2 January 1915 with a photograph of Hedley and he is described as Coy. Sergeant Major Hedley Duckworth. Here’s a link to the article – http://search.findmypast.co.uk/bna/viewarticle?id=bl%2f0000283%2f19150102%2f059
Our readers have been much interested in the accounts of two concerts at the front, programmes of which have been sent us by Coy. Sergeant Major Hedley Duckworth. They appeared on Wednesday and the previous Wednesday, and were given at the billet at the front by the “Commer Car” artistes, so named because they belong to that section of the A.S.C. which has a good many of these lorries and wagons.
Company Sergt. Duckworth, who has been chairman of these concerts, which have been greatly appreciated by the men in that particular area, in the A.S.C. 2nd Divisional Supply Column, and has worked himself up from a private to his present rank. Actually, he is a Padiham man. He has been twelve years in the army, and is now on his 21st year’s term. Most of the time he has been in Malta, and he was not in the South African War. He was over in Burnley and Padiham recently on five days’ special leave.
In his first letter to us, alluding to the concert programme, he says: “I am sure there are a great number of people in Burnley and district who would be pleased to hear how the officers try to encourage the men. Of course, this has only occurred to my knowledge in this column, but you see it helps to cheer up us poor Tommies.”
Coy. Sergt.-Major Duckworth’s father is Mr. John T Duckworth, of Knowlwood Road, Todmorden, and formerly of Padiham. His portrait has been kindly sent us by his aunt, Mrs Jenkinson, of Nelson, whose husband is serving with the East Lancashire Regiment. Duckworth has also a step-brother in Egypt.