Sunday, 2 June 2013

WW1 Soldiers' Stories - the Lovelands from Barnsley

Sometimes no matter how hard I try I just can't get a story out of some of my Barnsley soldiers.  The OH has a particularly distinctive surname in his tree - Loveland - and there are five members of that extended family in Barnsley who were in the right age group to have been in the First World War - but I can only find records for one, medal cards for two more and no mentions in newspapers at all.

The Barnsley Loveland family descends from George Loveland, born 1805 in Rotherhithe, London.  He had arrived in Ardsley by 1827 as in that year he married Sarah Pollard in Darfield church.  At least five children followed, one of whom, Mary Ann, has a extant gravestone in Darfield churchyard quite near the main gate.  George was a Linen Weaver throughout his life and it would be interesting to find out what made him come to Barnsley from London.  Plenty of other Lovelands appear in the WW1 records from London and the South East and it is entirely possible that many of these were distant relatives of the Barnsley family. 

Only James Loveland, born 1829, has a family to carry on the name in Barnsley - George's two surviving daughters appear to live for many years together as spinsters dying in their sixties.  James was a Bill Poster in partnership with George Blackburn from the 1860s onwards.  The families were obviously close as James' daughter Mary Ann Loveland married George's son William, becoming my OH's 3x great grandparents.

The Loveland name continues down the 19th century passed on by James' two sons, plus a couple of illegitimate strands courtesy of two of his daughters. 

James Herbert Loveland was born in 1891, the illegitimate son of Sarah Loveland (born 1871) who was in her turn the illegitimate daughter of my OH's 3x great grandmother Mary Ann Loveland.  He appears to have been adopted as a child, but as he kept his name he may have had some connections with his Loveland relatives.  I know that he was enlisted in the 3rd Reserve Battalion of the Yorks and Lancs Regiment in May 1918 - as a married man he would have escaped conscription for a short while, but he only served a few months in a training camp in Sunderland before he was discharged back to his pre-service job as a coal miner.

Charles Henry Loveland was born in 1878, the illegitimate son of Sarah Elizabeth Loveland, Mary Ann's younger sister.  As she thereafter married Henry Larkin it is possible given Charles' middle name, that Henry Larkin was his real father, certainly he was listed as Henry's son on the census returns in 1881 and 1891 although a 'step' sneaks in in 1901.  He also marries before the war begins and I can find no record at all of him serving.  He would only have been around 38 when conscription for married men started to take effect and the spacing of his children suggest he may have been away from home for some of the war.  He was a glassworks worker which doesn't sound like an occupation that might lead to a service exemption, but of course he may have been turned down for service on health grounds.

Richard Loveland (born 1860), the elder of James' two surviving sons, has two sons old enough to serve in the war.  He has two younger sons, James Dean who dies unmarried in 1927 in Shewsbury and Richard who I'm still trying to trace.
WW1 Medal card for Fred A Loveland - described below
Medal Card for Fred A Loveland (from Ancestry)
Richard's eldest son,
Frederick Arthur Loveland's Medal Card survives and shows that he served in the Yorks and Lancs, the West Yorkshire Regiment and the Devon Regiment.  From Jon Cooksey's book "Barnsley Pals" I know that he was in the 14th Battalion of the Y&L, the 2nd Barnsley Pals with service number 14/526.  He will have been reassigned after the Battle of the Somme to the other regiments when the battalions were re-organised.  Born in 1894 and married in 1914, he had no children.
Medal Card for Joseph Loveland (from Ancestry)

Joseph Loveland (born 1897), Richard's second son, also served in the Barnsley Pals with service number 14/585.  As you can see from the Medal Card above he later served in the same regiments as his brother.  He did not marry until after the war when he has one son to carry on the Loveland name.

My final candidate is George Loveland (born 1893), only son of James' youngest son George William Loveland (born 1863).  The younger George did not marry until late 1916, so wasn't amongst the first volunteers as his occupation is given as Blacksmith's Striker.  Interestingly his wife Doris's father, John William Whittaker's occupation is given as Private in the West Yorks Regiment and his service records are available.  It looks as if he was mobilised as a member of the Territorial Force - but at the age of 49 and with flat feet he was posted to the Royal Defence Corps and did not serve overseas. Doris dies in Beckett Hospital, Barnsley in 1917, suggesting an illness or maybe complications with pregnancy as the cause.  There is no evidence to show that George served in the army at all, but I don't see how he could have avoided being called up as he was no longer married.  Maybe being a metal worker he was able to claim an exemption?  And again we have to consider that he may just not have been fit for service.  After the war he did remarry in 1922.  He had no children that I am aware of.

Here we have five Barnsley men, with a very distinctive surname, two of whom definitely served in the trenches in the First World War.  But as their service and/or pension records have not survived and they do not appear in any newspaper reports and they both survive I currently have no further information about them.  As we know Frederick and Joseph were in the Barnsley Pals we can assume they went over the top on 1st July 1916 with their comrades.  Were they wounded?  Neither was awarded a Silver War Badge so if they were it wasn't enough to invalid them out of the service.  I haven't spotted them mentioned in any letters home from the front either.

A very through reading of the Barnsley Chronicle where the appeals against conscription are reported may reveal something about both George and Charles Henry Loveland.  I haven't found the reports I have read of these hearings to be very sympathetic to the applicants though.  It's only a few more weeks until the Barnsley Archives reopens so I'll add this to my 'to do' list!

As you may have worked out above only one legitimate Loveland male line appears to continue into the later 20th century, however Charles Henry and James Herbert had several sons so there are probably quite a few Lovelands still around in Barnsley.  As ever I welcome comments on my posts and if anyone knows a Loveland please point them in the direction of this blog as it is really quite an uncommon name in Yorkshire.


Unknown said...

This is a really interesting article, thanks. I think the Joseph Loveland you mention is my paternal grandfather. He ended up in Birmingham, married my grandmother (whose own father was killed at the battle of the Somme tow days after she was born) in the 1930s, and had two sons, Peter (my father) and James (Jim, who passed away a few years ago). Jim had two sons of his own and I have two other siblings (an older brother and younger sister). According to my father, Joseph was a sniper and in the regimental band (he played the cornet, I believe). He went over the top at the Somme, as you thought, and, towards the end of the war, was charged with putting the regimental band back together for the coming victory marches through Germany (to do this they had to go through a rather macabre process; a call went out to the ranks for musicians and any who came forward had to audition knowing that success would take them off the front line, and failure would send them back in to danger). Apparently, he didn't talk much about his war experiences until very late in his life - though mostly physically unharmed, I think he was psychologically damaged by his experiences (like many, if not most, who survived, I suppose). He died in the late 1960s when my father was teaching in Kenya.

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Thank you for this Andrew. Do you have any family photos, letters, medals or anything from WW1? There's a site called Lives of the First World War which lets you upload stories and images about your WW1 ancestor (for free) so that he will be remembered for years to come.
This is Joseph's page:
Thanks for getting in touch,

Unknown said...

Thanks, Linda. I'll check with my father, but I don't think so (I believe that my grandmother destroyed everything after my grandfather died). Do you know if the book you mention, "Barnsley Pals", is still in print?

BarnsleyHistorian said...

Yes it is! You can even get it as an e-book for £4.99