John Dawson

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

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Military Monday – Richard James Taylor (1885-1918)

Richard James Taylor is the husband of my 3rd cousin 2x removed Mary Alice Dawson.

Richard was born on 4 March 1885 in Waddington, Lancashire to parents Henry Taylor and Mary Altham. My cousin Mary Alice was born on 6 February 1888 in Barrowford, Lancashire to parents Joseph Dawson and Alice Hartley. Or common ancestors are my 4x great grandparents John Dawson and Ann Watson.

Richard and Mary married on 30 December 1909 at St. Thomas’, Barrowford. They had two children – Dennis born in 1910 and Kenneth born on 8 November 1917 (they are my 4th cousins 1x removed)

In World War 1 Richard served in the 2nd/5th Battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment. His service number was 241099 and he reached the rank of Sergeant.

During 1918 the 2nd/5th Battalion took part in The Battle of St. Quentin, The Actions at the Somme Crossings and The Battle of Rosieres.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website Richard died of wounds on 12 April 1918 at the age of 33.

Richard is buried at St. Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France. His headstone number is 3394 with the following inscription:-

WE LOVED HIM, OH WE LOVED HIM

BUT THE ANGELS LOVED HIM MORE

ONE OF THE BEST                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Richard was awarded the Military Medal – see the extract from The London Gazette of 23 May 1918 below. The Military Medal (or MM) was a medal awarded for exceptional bravery. It was awarded to the Other Ranks (N.C.O.’s and Men) and was first instituted on 25 March 1916 during The First World War, to recognise bravery in battle.

Richard Taylor - London Gazette 23 May 1918.png

St. Sever Cemetery Extension (taken from CWGC website)

During the First World War, Commonwealth camps and hospitals were stationed on the southern outskirts of Rouen. A base supply depot and the 3rd Echelon of General Headquarters were also established in the city. Almost all of the hospitals at Rouen remained there for practically the whole of the war. They included eight general, five stationary, one British Red Cross and one labour hospital, and No. 2 Convalescent Depot. A number of the dead from these hospitals were buried in other cemeteries, but the great majority were taken to the city cemetery of St. Sever. In September 1916, it was found necessary to begin an extension, where the last burial took place in April 1920. During the Second World War, Rouen was again a hospital centre and the extension was used once more for the burial of Commonwealth servicemen, many of whom died as prisoners of war during the German occupation. The cemetery extension contains 8,348 Commonwealth burials of the First World War (ten of them unidentified) and in Block “S” there are 328 from the Second World War (18 of them unidentified). There are also 8 Foreign National burials here. The extension was designed by Sir Reginald Blomfield.

On 23 April 1925 Mary Alice, Dennis and Kenneth emigrated to New Zealand. They sailed from Southampton heading for Wellington aboard SS Rotorua. I hope that they had a happy life in New Zealand.

A final note about the SS Rotorua – it seems that the ship was sunk on 11 December 1940 while sailing as part of Convoy HX92. She was struck by a torpedo from U-boat number U-96 about 110 miles northwest of St. Kilda, Outer Hebrides.

Those of you who read my blog regularly may recall that U-96 was also responsible for the sinking the Arthur F Corwin on 13 February 1941 – see post here.

So I was interested to find out what finally happened U-96

The boat’s final operational patrol commenced with her departure from St. Nazaire on 26 December 1942. Crossing the Atlantic for the last time, she then came back to the eastern side and after transferring a sick crew-member to U-163 on 3 January 1943, arrived at Königsberg (now Kaliningrad) on 8 February.

She spent most of the rest of the war as a training vessel. She was decommissioned on 15 February 1945 in Wilhelmshaven. When US Eighth Air Force attacked Wilhelmshaven on 30 March 1945, U-96 was sunk in Hipper basin. The remains of the U-boat were broken up after the war

Sunday’s Obituary – Timothy Eglin (1902-1913)

Timothy Eglin is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. His parents are Thomas William Eglin and Margaret Ann Bancroft. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson, my 4x great grandparents.

Timothy was the fifth of ten children and his birth is registered in the first quarter of 1902. In the 1911 census the family are living at Habergham Eaves near Burnley, Lancashire.

On Christmas Eve 1913 the family were rocked by a tragic accident which ended the all too short life of Timothy. Details of the inquest are reported in the Burnley News of 27 December 1913.

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BOY’S FATAL FALL – The story of how Timothy Eglin, an eleven-year-old boy met an untimely end at Cliviger, was told at an inquest conducted by the Acting Coroner, Mr D N Haslewood, on Friday morning, at Habergham Farm, Habergham Eaves, Cliviger. Thomas William Eglin, the father, gave evidence of identification, and Mary Eglin, deceased’s four-year-old sister, said her brother had been swinging in the washhouse on Wednesday afternoon, on a rope, which was fastened at one end to the ceiling, and at the other end to the wringing machine. Whilst he was swinging, the machine fell over on her brother’s head. Alice Eglin, an older sister, told of hearing a noise coming from the direction of the washhouse, at 3 o’clock on Wednesday afternoon, and on going there she found the deceased with the top part of the machine resting on his head on the floor. With the assistance of Albert Halstead, she lifted her brother up, and Halstead carried him home. Dr. Hodgson, of Burnley, was sent for, and on arrival he found the boy dead, with the back of his head crushed in, and a cut on his forehead. A verdict of “Accidental death” was returned.

Thomas and Margaret had already experienced the loss of another child when their first born, Robert Watson, died in infancy, less than three months old in 1895.

 

Black Sheep Sunday – Sarah Dawson (nee Hopkinson) – Part 2

Four months have passed since the troubles reported in the Burnley Express on 18  August 1886. But it seems as though things came to a head again before the end of August. See part one here.

Part two of the feud between the Quinn’s and the Dawson’s in Barrowford, Lancashire, was reported in the Burnley Express of 18 December 1886

Burnley Express - 18 December 1886.png

COLNE COUNTY COURT

Monday – Before his honour Judge Gates QC

A QUARREL BETWEEN NEIGHBOURS. Charlotte Quinn, weaver, of the Park, Barrowford, sued John Dawson, Barrowford, for £12, damages for an assault committed upon her by defendant’s wife Sarah Dawson. Mr Robinson, Keighley, appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr J Sutcliffe represented the defendants. Mr Robinson stated that upon the 31 August John Dawson was in the house of the mother of the plaintiff. Mrs Dawson appeared to object to him staying there, and she went to fetch him out. He went out and some disturbance took place in the street between Mrs Dawson and one of the plaintiff’s sisters. Plaintiff heard a noise and she went out of the house to ascertain the cause, but she took no part in the bother. She had been standing on the door steps a minute when Mrs Dawson rushed into the house and brought out a large four-legged wooden stool, which she threw and hit her a violent blow upon the side of her face. She was rendered insensible by the injuries, in consequence of which she had been very ill for over a fortnight. The damages were for loss of work, doctors’ bills etc. Mr Sutcliffe stated that the row arose in consequence of the Quinns harbouring Mrs Dawson’s husband. He admitted that Mrs Dawson had thrown the stool, but it did not strike the plaintiff who stumbled and fell over a parapet. His honour said the only question to decide was whether the stool thrown by the defendant struck the plaintiff or not, and upon that he did not think there could be any doubt. He would therefore give a verdict for £5 5s.

So ended an “Annus Horribilis” for John and Sarah – which started badly with John’s accident at work back in February.

As far as I know there were no other incidents involving the Dawson family and the Quinn family – at least none that I can find in  the newspaper archives!!

Black Sheep Sunday – Sarah Dawson (nee Hopkinson) – Part 1

John Dawson is my 1st cousin 4x removed. His parents are John Dawson and Elizabeth Benson. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson, my 4x great grandparents.

John married Sarah Hopkinson sometime in the Summer of 1857 – the marriage was registered in Q3 at Skipton, Yorkshire.

posted last week about John being injured working as an “engine tenter” in February 1886 and whet your appetite for more posts.

Some six months later in the Summer of 1886 it seems as though there was a bit of marital and neighbour disharmony as reported in the Burnley Express of 11 August 1886.

Burnley Express - 11 August 1886.png

Sarah Quinn, of Barrowford, was summoned for assaulting Sarah Dawson, wife of John Dawson, of Barrowford. There was a cross summons charging Dawson with assaulting Quinn. Mr Robinson appeared for Quinn, and Mr M Stuttard represented Dawson. Mrs Dawson stated that on the 31st ult. she saw her husband coming up the street in drink. He went to Quinn’s house, and she followed, and asked him to go home, but he refused. Mrs Quinn, sen., and her daughters followed her home, and defendant hit her on the eye, and pushed the door in her face. By Mr Robinson: She did not strike her husband. She did not call Sarah Quinn a foul name, nor slap her face. She threw a stool in self defence at the family, but it did not strike either of them. Elizabeth Smith spoke to seeing the Quinn family surrounding Mrs Dawson’s house, and saw Sarah Quinn strike Mrs Dawson on the face. She did not see the stool strike any of the girls. Both cases were dismissed.

Perhaps a satisfactory end to a domestic dispute you might be forgiven for thinking. However this is not the last you will hear about “the stool”. Part two of the saga continues next week.

Workday Wednesday – John Dawson (Engine Tenter)

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.

John Dawson is my 1st cousin 4x removed. His parents are John Dawson and Elizabeth Benson. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson, my 4x great grandparents.

John married Sarah Hopkinson sometime in the Summer of 1857. The marriage is registered in Q3 at Skipton, Yorkshire.

John’s main occupation as described in the census returns for 1871, 1881 and 1891 is “engine tenter”. I have mentioned John in an earlier post here.  He followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather (my 4x great grandfather – John Dawson) of looking after the machines and engines at Ickornshaw Mill in Cowling, West Yorkshire.

I must admit I hadn’t given much thought to how difficult and dangerous the job of “engine tenter” might be – that is until I came across the following article from the Burnley Express of 6 March 1886.

Burnley Express - 6 March 1886.png

ACCIDENT – On Friday week, John Dawson, engine-tenter, Barrowford, met with an accident. He and three or four other workmen were fixing a new beam-key in the engine-house at Mr Barrowclough’s mill, when suddenly the jenny chain which had been used for raising the beam broke, and the beam fell with a force of over ten tons on Dawson’s left hand, cutting off two fingers, and holding the man fast with the long finger, which had subsequently to be amputated. The accident happened in the chamber of the engine shed, and Dawson, realising his position, kept from falling below. A new chain was procured, and Dawson was released. The hand has been dressed by Dr Pim.

As it turned out 1886 would continue to be a difficult year for John – he appears in the next two instalments of Black Sheep Sunday together with his wife Sarah.

Military Monday – Thomas Baldwin (1888-1917)

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.

Thomas Baldwin is my 1st cousin 2x removed. He was born sometime in the September quarter of 1888 in Eastburn, near Keighley to parents Francis Baldwin and Ellen Dawson. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ellen Gawthrop, my 2x great grandparents.

Thomas is a cousin of my grandfather, Joseph Dawson and also of Prince Dawson who died in WW1 on 21 December 1915.

In the 1901 census at the age of 12 Thomas was working as a spinner at a local worsted mill. Ten years later the 1911 census describes his occupation as a warp dresser.

Unfortunately there are no surviving military records for Thomas on either Ancestry or Find My Past so I can’t find out very much information about his service.

I know that he served in the 2nd Battalion / 4th Division of Duke of Wellingtons (West Riding Regiment) holding the rank of Private and his service number was 267218.

Thomas died of wounds on 4 May 1917 while serving in France & Flanders. It is highly likely that he was wounded during the Battle of Arras.  According to information on the excellent website Craven’s Part in The Great War news of his death wasn’t given to his mother until August 1917.

From the same source it seems that Thomas was a prominent player in the Eastburn Cricket Club’s first eleven.

Thomas is buried in Douai Communal Cemetery in France.

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The following information is from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

Douai was occupied by French troops and the Royal Naval Air Service on the 22nd September, 1914, and captured by the Germans on the 1st October; it remained in enemy hands until the 17th October, 1918. The 42nd Casualty Clearing Station was posted in the town from the 28th October, 1918, to the 25th November, 1919.

Douai Communal Cemetery was used during the occupation years of 1914-18 by the Germans for prisoners of war and British, French, Russian, Rumanian and Italian soldiers, as well as German soldiers were buried in it.

During the 1939-45 War Douai was in British hands until the German break through in May, 1940. The 1st Corps Headquarters were at Cuincy, on the western edge of the town, from October, 1939 onwards and Douai was one of the towns from which the Allied advance into Belgium was launched early in May, 1940, only to be followed by the collapse of the French and Belgian units and the consequent withdrawal of the British element towards Dunkirk.

There are now 222 Commonwealth burials of the 1914-1918 war commemorated in this site, 19 being unidentified. There are a further 46 Commonwealth burials of the 1939-1945 war here. There are also 247 French, 113 Russsian and 13 Romanian burials of the 1914-1918 war here.