Joseph Dawson

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.

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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

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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.

Military Monday – Walter Dawson (1883-1942)

Walter Dawson is my 3rd cousin 2x removed. I recently discovered him and his military record as a result of a contact through my blog with a newly found relative in New Zealand.

Walter was born in 1883 to parents Joseph Dawson and Alice Hartley in Marsden, Lancashire. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson – my 4x great grandparents.

On 9 December 1898 Walter emigrated with his aunt and uncle, Alice Dodgeon (nee Dawson) and Frederick William Dodgeon. They were heading for Sydney, Australia. At some point after arriving in Australia they all moved to New Zealand.

According to the military records Walter enlisted in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 19 June 1917 for the duration of the war. His service reckons from 26 July 1917 and he was finally discharged on 18 June 1819 having spent a total of 1 year and 328 days in service and reaching the rank of lance corporal. Walter’s regimental number was 3/3732.

At the time he enlisted he was living with his aunt and uncle at 34 Coyle Street, Mount Albert, Auckland, New Zealand. His occupation was a clerk.

Walter served with the New Zealand Medical Corps and spent the first part of his service (118 days) in New Zealand. He was then posted overseas on 21 November 1917. He disembarked in Liverpool, England on 8 January 1918.

He was appointed lance corporal on 15 August 1918.

Walter returned to New Zealand after the war and married May Parslow in 1925. As far as I know they had one son – Peter. Following Walter’s death in 1942 I think May and Peter  came to live in the UK.

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RMS Cumberland – Postcard #19

Here is a very battered , torn and creased postcard which has been in my family for almost 70 years.  The card shows RMS Cumberland at Barrow in Furness

There is no publisher or printer information.

The postcard was sent from Barrow on 13 July 1942 to my grandparents, Mr & Mrs J Dawson, 7 Ellis Street, Brinsworth, Rotherham, Yorkshire.

Unfortunately I have no idea who sent the card. You will see that there are only some initials to indicate who wrote to my grandparents – they could have been friends or relatives, I simply don’t know.

The message says

Dear A & J

Everyone landed here OK and quite happy to be together. Sorry to say it looks like rain but hoping for better weather later as  the tide goes out.

All the best.

C. G. TD & MO

The message is intriguing. And I also wonder whether or not the RMS Cumberland is more important to the story than just appearing on the front of the postcard.

Does the use of the word ‘landed’ suggest that perhaps they travelled to Barrow in Furness on the RMS Cumberland?  Does the phrase ‘quite happy to be together’ suggest that before they arrived in Barrow then they were not together. Does ‘everyone’ mean a larger group of people than just C. G. TD and MO?

I did wonder if ‘they’ had been evacuated from Rotherham – but then I thought Barrow, with its shipyard, was probably not a place people were evacuated to. However this link on Wikipedia – Barrow Blitz – suggests that the last bombs of the blitz fell on Barrow in January 1942 and the last air-raid siren was sounded on 25 March 1942.

Also further research suggests that Rotherham did not loom large on German maps and only suffered two serious raids – both in August 1940. Maybe C. G. TD and MO came from somewhere else.

Anyway, I could go on trying to imagine the story behind the message on the postcard, but I need to just accept it as a piece of family history and leave it there.

Military Monday – Clifford Dawson (1900-1953)

Clifford is my 1st cousin 2x removed – he was my granddad’s cousin.  Our common ancestors are my 2x great grandparents John Dawson and Ellen Gawthrop. Clifford was born in Keighley, West Yorkshire, sometime in Q3 1900 to parents Joseph Dawson and Elizabeth Hannah Barrett.

Clifford enlisted in the army on 2 August 1918 and was called up for service on 27 August. His age is given as 18 years 24 days and his occupation is described as ‘iron turner’. He was assigned to the 53rd Durham Light Infantry. His service number was 113260.

Details of Clifford’s war activity are unclear. But I have been able to discover that he was stationed in Cologne, Germany during 1919. I know this because I have information about two misconduct charges in his service records on www.ancestry.co.uk.

On 16 May 1919 he was charged with ‘neglect of duty including a dirty locker’. I can’t make out the punishment for this offence.

Three months later on 24 August 1919 he was charged with being ‘late on dinner parade’. Clifford’s punishment for this was ‘3 days C B’ – confined to barracks.

Clifford was demobilized on 24 March 1920 and transferred to the Class Z Reserve.

Class Z Reserve was authorised by an Army Order of 3 December 1918. There were fears that Germany would not accept the terms of any peace treaty, and therefore the British Government decided it would be wise to be able to quickly recall trained men in the eventuality of the resumption of hostilities. Soldiers who were being demobilised, particularly those who had agreed to serve “for the duration”, were at first posted to Class Z. They returned to civilian life but with an obligation to return if called upon. The Z Reserve was abolished on 31 March 1920.

Sunday Snap – Railway Posers?

This is a photograph from my own collection – yet another of the many unidentified subjects.

Across the bottom right corner is the name Bruce Johnston, Keighley.    I can find a couple of references to this firm of photographers on local family history message boards.

The chaps in the photograph are obviously in some sort of uniform.  I think that there are some clues that suggest they are railway workers.

I can read the initials MR on the cap of the man on the right of the photograph.  I suspect that this is the Midland Railway company.  The visible pocket watch chain worn by the man second left indicates to me that he is probably a railway worker.

I don’t recognise anyone in the photograph.  However my grandfather, Joseph Dawson, worked for London, Midland & Scottish Railway company and may well have worked for the predecessor the Midland Railway company.

I am really hopeless at trying to date photographs.  But if there is a connection with my grandfather I guess it would have been taken around the 1920 period and before MR became LMS.

If anyone has any other suggestion I would be happy to hear it.

Horton in Ribblesdale – Postcard #14

This is a postcard from my own collection.  It is a real photograph published by Joanes Publications, Broomhouse, George Nympton, South Molton, Devon.

The postcard is unused and in very good condition.

The image is of steam engine number 45522 ‘Prestatyn’ with a train from Carlisle at Horton in Ribblesdale station and is dated 27 July 1962.

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you might remember that Horton in Ribblesdale is an important location in my ancestry.  This is where my nannie, Florrie Musgrove, was born in 1897 – here’s a recent post about Foredale Cottages where she lived.

Horton in Ribblesdale railway station was built in 1876 during the construction of the 73 mile long stretch of line between Settle and Carlisle by the Midland Railway Company.  The line runs through remote regions of the Yorkshire Dales and the North Pennines, and is considered to be the most scenic railway in England.  The drama of its history and construction mean that it is regarded as one of the culminating symbols of Victorian enterprise and engineering.

All the station buildings along the route were designed by Midland Railway Company architect John Holloway Sanders.  The general design was known as Derby (or Midland) Gothic because the company was based in Derby.

There were three sizes of buildings in all, reflecting the relative importance of the station stops.  Horton in Ribblesdale was a Type C station.

In 1963, Beeching Report into the restructuring of British Rail recommended the withdrawal of all passenger services from the line.  Some smaller stations had closed in the 1950s.  The Beeching recommendations were shelved, but in May 1970 all stations except for Settle and Appleby were closed.

Over the next two decades the Settle – Carlisle line faced the threat of closure by British Rail as passenger number reduced and the cost of repairing viaducts and abandoned station buildings grew.  A very public campaign against the closure was eventually successful and the Government finally refused consent to close the line in 1989.

Meanwhile refurbishment work had already begun at Horton in Ribblesdale station and it was reopened in 1986.

There is one other family connection with this post.  The Midland Railway Company was merged into the London Midland & Scottish Railway, with the LNWR also forming part of the new company.  My granddad, Joseph Dawson, worked for LM&S, first as a fireman then a driver.  He’s the one in the photograph with a x on his arm.

Grandad Joe and his work mates