Newcastle Under Lyme

Sunday’s Obituary – Thomas Wilson Critchlow (1895-1945)

Lucy Ellen Burt is my wife’s 4th cousin 1x removed – so not very close then. Her parents are Robert Duncan Burt and Mary Elizabeth Hollins. Lucy and my wife’s common ancestor is John Aspley – my wife’s 4x great grandfather.

Sometime in the third quarter of 1919 Lucy married Thomas Wilson Critchlow – the marriage is registered at Stone in Staffordshire.

In the 1939 Register Thomas and Lucy are living at 111 Wilson Road, Stoke on Trent, Staffordshire. Thomas is working as a grocery store manager.

On Thursday 20 September 1945 Thomas went to a football match and didn’t return home. He went to Stoke City’s Victoria Ground to watch Stoke City and Manchester United.

The Birmingham Daily Gazette of 21 September 1945 published the following brief account.

Thomas Critchlow - Birmingham Daily Gazette 21 September 1945.png

Two Spectators Die at Football Match

Sitting within a few yards of each other in one of the stands at the match between Stoke City and Manchester United last evening two elderly men collapsed and died within a few minutes of each other. They were Thomas Critchlow of Wilson Road, Hanford, Stoke, and Percy Legge, of Blackfriars Road, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

In his will Thomas left effects totalling £2611 12s 1d to Lucy Ellen Critchlow (widow) and Frederick John Davison (rubber factory foreman).

The final score in the match in case you were wondering was Stoke City 1 v Manchester United 2.

In 1939 at the outbreak of WW2 the Football League was cancelled. In its place were formed War Leagues and cups, based on geographical lines rather than based on previous league placement. However, none of these were considered to be competitive football, and thus their records are not recognised by the Football League and thus not included in official records.

In the 1945/46 season, when Thomas died at the match, Stoke City ended the season in 13th place in Football League North with 42 points. Manchester United finished in 4th place with 49 points. League winners were Sheffield United with 60 points and bottom of the league in 22nd place was……Leeds United with 25 points.

Sadly Thomas Critchlow and Percy Legge were not the only people to die at a Stoke City match in the 1945/46 season.

On 9 March 1946 Stoke City were playing Bolton Wanderers in the Sixth Round of the FA Cup at Burnden Park, Bolton, Lancashire.

The Burnden Park disaster was a human crush which resulted in the deaths of 33 people and injuries to hundreds of Bolton fans. It was the deadliest stadium related disaster in British history until the Ibrox Park disaster in 1971.

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 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.