Military Monday – Harold Richardson

Sunday 3rd July 2016 is the 100th anniversary of the death of my Great-Great Uncle Harold Richardson.

Born in Nottingham in 1881, Harold was the eldest son of Robert Richardson & his wife Sarah (nee Percival). He had joined the army prior to the war, in 1911 he was serving with the Northumberland Fusiliers and based at the Hillsborough Barracks in Sheffield. At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was an acting sergeant with the Fusiliers, number 8434.

Hillsborough Barracks

Most of the following information was kindly supplied by Mel Siddons following a Trent to Trenches event in Nottingham.

The 12th (Service) Battalion The Northumberland Fusiliers was formed at Newcastle in September 1914 as part Kitchener’s Third New Army and joined 62th Brigade, 21st Division. The Division concentrated in the Tring area, training at Halton Park before winter necessitated a move into local billets in Tring, Aylesbury, Leighton Buzzard, High Wycombe and Maidenhead. The artillery was at High Wycombe and Berkhamsted, RE at Chesham, and ASC at Dunstable.

In May 1915 the infantry moved to huts at Halton Park, whilst the artillery moved to Aston Clinton with one brigade staying at Berkhamsted and the RE to Wendover. On the 9th of August they moved to Witley Camp. They proceeded to France during the first week of September and marched across France their first experience of action being in the British assault at Loos on 26th September 1915, suffering heavy casualties, around 3,800, just a few days after arriving in France.

In 1916 they were in action in the Battles of The Somme, including The Battle of Morval in which the Division captured Geudecourt. On the 1st July 1916 the 12th Battalion were fighting in Shelter Wood.

 

At dawn on the 2nd of July our troops advanced to the storm of Fricourt Wood, the Contalmaison Road, Shelter Wood, and as much of the bootshaped plateau as they could take. As they advanced, the massed machine guns in all the trenches and strongholds opened upon them. They got across the field of this fire into Fricourt Wood to an indescribable day which will never be known about nor imagined. They climbed over fallen trees and were caught in branches, and were shot when caught. It took them all day to clear that jungle; but they did clear it, and by dark they were almost out at the northern end, where Railway Alley lay in front of them on the roll of the hill. Further to the north, on the top of the leg of the boot, our men stormed the Shelter Wood and fought in that 200 yards of copse for four bloody and awful hours, with bomb and bayonet, body to body, till the wood was heaped with corpses, but in our hands.*

It is most likely that Harold died in the fighting in Shelter Wood, either in action or later, of his wounds. His body has never been recovered and he is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.


* ‘The Battle of the Somme’ by John Masefield

Motivation Monday – Top Ten for 2016

My genealogy ‘to-dos’ are numerous & I never seem to make much progess, probably because I’m too easily distracted by those pesky shaking leaves* on Ancestry!

So I’ve decided to list the top ten things I could really do with getting to the bottom of and hope that a list will keep me focussed!

 

  1. Finish searching the French online records for my Oldham family in Calais. The Census and Birth/Marriage/Death records are all freely available online. I’ve found the family in 1866, but also need to look further back to see if the previous generation spent time there and also if any of them went to Australia.
  2. Transcribe sections of Joseph Woolley’s diary and finish reading/copying the remainder at the Nottingham Archives. Continuing with the Oldham family, but this time in Clifton, Nottinghamshire. Joseph Woolley was a framework knitter from Clifton, as well as his own business his diary documents he commented on his neighbours and local events. I need to transcribe the pages I’ve already photographed and finish reading the remaining sections in the Archives.
  3. Finish checking the Methodist records at the Nottinghamshire Archives. I’m mostly looking for Oldhams in these records, but other family names have cropped up too.
  4. Make use of the Nottinghamshire Family History Society’s research room. To find more Oldham information, specifically Thomas Oldknow Oldham’s birth/baptism around 1834. Also check their online databases.
  5. Finish reading Percy Richardson’s war diary and finish the blog posts.
  6. Tidy and reorganise documents, certificate and books. Before ordering any more!
  7. Check out parish records on Find My Past. Look for my May family in Frant, Sussex from 1600 working backwards.
  8. Visit some local churchyards to look for gravestones. Sawley, Moira, Donisthorpe, Church Wilne, Draycott, Basford, Ashby-de-la-Zouch & others aren’t too far away to visit and record any memorial inscriptions.
  9. Look for tithe maps and census information for Pilsley. To find out who lived in and/or owned my late father-in-law’s farmhouse.
  10. Start scanning photos. I received a Doxie Flip as a Christmas present so I’m intending to scan and share many of my photos.

So – lots to do!

*if you have your family tree uploaded to Ancestry, they kindly add a little ‘shaking leaf’ to any family member they may have records available for, which is usually enough to distract me from doing what I’d orginally logged on to do in the first place!

Percival Richardson – A Follow-Up

After finding my 2x Great-Uncle Percival Richardson’s marriage to Edith Waby in 1922, the next step was to find a death certificate for him.

I used FreeBMD again, restricting the results to between 1930 and 1975, which fortunately gave only one possible match, in 1965.

When the certificate arrived, it showed that Percival and Edith were living at 72 Belton Road, Hyson Green, Nottingham and that Percival was a retired joiner.

Percival had died in the City Hospital, Nottingham of a number of complaints:
1a Pulmonary oedema
b Congest. left ventricular failure
c Coronary thrombosis
d Uraemia from prostate hypertrophy

I’m not in any rush to Google them to find out the gory details!

I’ve already searched FreeBMD for any possible children without any success, so it’s probable that they didn’t have any.

I may try a search of the local newspapers to see if there are any announcements which would help round out the picture of this family.

Previous Posts:
Wedding Wednesday.
Wedding Wednesday Follow-Up.

 

Wedding Wednesday Follow Up – Percival Richardson & Edith Waby

Following my previous post about Percival and Edith, I thought I’d have a quick root around to see what I could find out about her.

From the marriage certificate I knew her father was John William Waby who worked as a gardener.  I started searching the 1901 census to start with and found them in Scothern in Lincolnshire.

 

© Copyright Graham Hogg

Edith was aged 7 and was living with her parents and siblings; all were born in Scothern except her mother who was from Grantham.  John was a garden labourer which matches with the marriage certificate.  There were eight children altogether in the household, the oldest of which was William W Shepherd aged 15.  He was noted as a son but had a different surname, so it’s possible that Elizabeth had been married before and that William was from her first marriage.

By the 1911 census, Edith had left Scothern and was working as a housemaid in the home of George Bromet, a solicitor, in Tadcaster, West Yorkshire.  There was another Waby, Ellen, also working in this household as a parlour maid, she may have been an older sister or other relative.

I wonder how Edith got from Scothern to Nottingham via Tadcaster? Interesting though it is I don’t think I will be following this branch of my tree any further because she isn’t closely related and a quick search of FreeBMD again (using Richardson & Waby as surnames) suggests that they didn’t have children.

But I may change my mind!

Picture Credit:

Scothern village sign (Graham Hogg) / CC BY-SA 2.0

Travel Tuesday – Collins’ Essential World Atlas

One of the family items I now treasure which originally belonged to my grandparents is an old Collins’ Atlas they purchased at some point during the Second World War 1939-1945.

 

My grandparents, Fred Richardson & Irene Jowett married in Nottingham in 1939, and spent their honeymoon on Jersey in the Channel Islands. ( I remember them mentioning seeing Amy Johnson land her plane at the Jersey airport.)  This was possibly the furthest they would have travelled at this time; from what I have seen of their early photos, they were most used to spending their holidays in Skegness, the closest seaside resort to Nottingham.

So when my grandfather joined the Royal Navy in November 1941 he realised he would be travelling great distances from his wife & daughter.  Although Fred was in the Royal Navy, after his training he was seconded to DEMS, or ‘Defensively Equipped Merchant Ships’ and travelled with the convoys of shipping, manning their guns.

Ship’s crews were not allowed to mention their position in any letters home for security reasons and so to get round this Fred bought two copies of the Collins Atlas, taking one with him on his travels & leaving one at home with Irene.  He could then give her a page number & reference in a letter and she could work out roughly where he was or where he may be heading.

 

Once safely home, after the war, Fred marked and numbered all his voyages on the Atlas, so it’s possible, with his service record, to work out how and where he spent his time in the Navy during the war.

So despite its battered appearance and the fact that it is decades out of date, I am very happy to have this in my care.

Black Sheep Sunday – Yorkshire Sheep Rustlers part IV

(For Part I click here)
(For Part II click here)
(For Part III click here)

The last time we met John & William Richardson, they had admitted their guilt to the York Assizes and were on their way to Millbank prison in London to await transportation for ten years.

Following their stay in Millbank they were moved to the prison hulk York moored off the Portsmouth coast. I found a record of them there on Ancestry:

 

 

The register notes they are men of ‘good character’ and also reveals that John was a joiner and William worked as a farmer and was married, which probably accounts for his distress on hearing his sentence. The register also records whether they were literate, but I can’t quite decipher that.

HMS York was launched in 1807 in the middle of the Napoleonic wars and had been involved in the occupation of Madeira and the capture of Martinique.  In 1819 she was moored in Gosport harbour, where she was stripped of her masts and guns and converted to a prison ship.  Prison ships or hulks were introduced as a response to increasing numbers of criminal convictions in this period and as a ‘holding pen’ for those awaiting transportation.

 

On arrival William & John would have been shackled in irons, apparently to discourage any ‘swimmers’.  They may have been put to work in the dockyards during the day, returning to the York every evening.  Conditions on board were dreadful. The York held up to five hundred prisoners in cold, cramped, dark and insanitary conditions.  Diseases such as typhoid and cholera were rife and it is thought that as many as one in three prisoners died.  In 1848 a serious rebellion broke out, resulting in the ringleaders being sent to land based prisons and the York being taken out of use and broken up in 1854.

However, according to the hulk register, the Richardson brothers had already left the York.  On 20th of April 1844, they had sailed for Bermuda on another prison hulk, HMS Thames.

Part V

Picture Credit: http://www.portcities.org.uk/london/server/show/conMediaFile.1206/Prison-ship-York-at-Portsmouth-Harbour.html Creator: Edward William Cooke  Date: 1807  Credit line: National Maritime Museum, London

Treasure Chest Thursday – Alice’s Brooch

Over the years I have inherited a lot of family photos, which have taken some time to sort into some kind of logical order (Or what I see as a logical order!).

I have only two photos of my great-grandmother, Alice Oldknow Oldham.  She was born in Nottingham in December 1886 and died aged only 40 in June 1927.

I was delighted to receive this picture and even more so when I also inherited the brooch Alice is wearing at her throat in the picture.

The centre of the brooch holds two photos and can be turned round to show either picture.  You can see the photo of Alice’s husband, Ernest Richardson above.

The other side of it has a photo of her son, my grandfather, Fred Richardson as a toddler.

It’s lovely to have this brooch as it feels like a connection to the past & to ancestors that I never met.