Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Barnsley's First Health Visitor - Frances Mary Malkin, later Jeffs

This last weekend the OH and I travelled down to London to attend a Great British Beer Festival meeting in Fuller's Brewery, Chiswick.  As it is such a long journey we usually stay overnight in London, but due to the clash of dates with the London Marathon the nearest affordable accommodation we could find was in Borehamwood.  The cost of the room for two nights, parking and train fares to and from London were less than the cheapest room we could find in the centre of London!  Unfortunately it did make for a very long day on Saturday, made worse by both of us falling asleep on the Piccadilly Line from Hammersmith and ending up somewhere called Turnpike Lane instead of getting off at St Pancras!  Oops!

As a result I am very, very tired - I managed the household stuff yesterday and last night the OH took me to the cinema in Barnsley (Monday is £5 night) to see the new Avengers film, but again that made for a long day, so today I gave up and stayed in bed. 

Anyway, to continue from the story I wrote last week about William Malkin, the Barnsley man who left his wife behind when he emigrated to Australia.  

Frances Mary Malkin had contacted the Australian military authorities in August 1916 claiming to be William's next of kin, but she did not show her 'marriage lines' as proof.  It is so easy for us today, a quick search on FreeBMD shows that William Malkin married Frances Mary Bailey in the June Quarter of 1902.  Even more handily the new Yorkshire Marriages on Find My Past include marriages for Worsborough (presumably St Mary's Worsborough) from 1742 to 1912 and I was able to find an image of the actual marriage entry for William and Frances' marriage.
Marriage 26 June 1902 Worsborough Parish Church (from Find My Past)

What was surprising when I found this was the age and class difference between William and Frances.  He is the 18 year old Labourer son of a Miner and she is the 30 year old daughter of a Draper - which suggests a solid upper working class, if not middle class background to me.   Now knowing that I needed to look in the Worsborough parish records, which are not on Ancestry, I searched various spreadsheets that I have collected over the years and found a entry for the baptism of William and Frances's only child - Clifton Trevor Malkin - at St Thomas' Church in Worsbro' Dale in December 1903.  This child, listed simply as Trevor Malkin, aged 7, is living with William Malkin snr, his grandfather, in Ward Green in the 1911 census.  So William jnr and Frances may have parted company, but her in-laws were helping Frances by providing care for her son. Clifton Trevor Malkin appears in the Australian service records, confusingly referred to as William's stepson, when Frances is granted a pension after William's death.

I looked back in the census, helped by now knowing Frances' age and father's name.  She appears in the 1911 census, boarding with a family called Wraith on Pontefract Road, Barnsley, her occupation is given as Health Visitor for Barnsley Council and she says she was born in Toxteth Park, Liverpool.  With her birthplace too, I sure I have found the right family in the earlier census returns.
1891 Census for the Bailey family, Hoole in Chester (from Ancestry)

I can find neither William nor Frances in 1901, but in 1891 she appears with her family, living in Hoole in Chester.  Father Benjamin Bailey is a Draper and was born in Barnsley, Yorkshire (well, there's a good link) in around 1842, his wife Mary is from Bath.  They have two children born in Liverpool, including Frances Mary and the others are born in Chester.  Ten years previously the family was already in Chester, but ten years before that, in 1871, Benjamin Bailey, a married man was lodging in Toxteth Park, Liverpool and states that he was born in Mapplewell.  His wife is not with him, and I can't positively identify her elsewhere, but FreeBMD shows Benjamin Bailey marrying Mary Williams in Liverpool in the September Quarter of 1870.  Frances' baptism in St Peter's Liverpool (also found on Ancestry) gives her date of birth 25 May 1871 so maybe her mother was staying with friends in her late pregnancy while Benjamin was working and has not been enumerated correctly.  
Marriage 14 November 1916 at St Mary's, Barnsley (from Ancestry)

The next thing that was easy to find for Frances was her remarriage in November 1916 to Joseph Henry Jeffs at St Mary's Church in Barnsley in the West Yorkshire records on Ancestry.  Joseph Jeffs was a Police Constable and was also twelve years the junior of Frances Mary - who does not give any occupation on the marriage entry.  She now says her father is deceased and that he was a Silk Mercer and Linen Draper.  We still don't know how she got from Hoole in Chester to Barnsley, but neither of her marriages appear to have members of her family standing as witnesses. 

I did notice - as it was so unusual - that she gives her occupation as Health Visitor in 1911.  So on my next visit to Barnsley Archives I searched the Barnsley Chronicle for mentions of Malkin particularly looking for Frances Malkin or F M Malkin or even Frances Jeffs.  The digital version of the Chronicle can be searched by name, but only one month at a time, so it does take ages to look through just a few years.  However I was very lucky as in 1918 I found a piece that gave me dates to work to and lots of other information.
Barnsley Chronicle 4 May 1918 (with thanks to Barnsley Archives)

The article is about the resignation of Mrs Frances M Jeffs of Caxton Street, tallying only the name but also in the address to the information given on William Malkin's Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry.  It seems Frances had worked for Barnsley Council for ten years as a health visitor and supervising midwife and that she had been the first health visitor to be appointed in the borough.  This gave me a suggested date for her taking the post in Barnsley around 1908.  More on that in a moment ... The helpful article also tells us that she trained at Shrewsbury Infirmary and later worked in Staffordshire - maybe that was where she was in 1901?  She held a certificate of the Central Midwives' Board - a bit of Googling showed that midwives only started to be certified in 1902.

It seemed likely that the appointment of a Health Visitor would have been important in Barnsley, so I searched the Council Minutes for 1908 (which are typed up summaries of all the various Council Committees bound into one volume per year).  The Sanitary Committee decided in March 1908 to appoint a Lady Visitor "in consequence of the great infant mortality in the Borough".  Cross checking against the Chronicle again I found a report from the Sanitary Committee which stated that the general death rate in the Borough was 18.46 per thousand compared to an average in England and Wales of 15 per thousand, and that the high death rate in Barnsley, "was principally due to the excessive infantile mortality, which worked out at 155 per thousand". (Barnsley Chronicle 11 April 1908)  One of the councillors had also commented that it was not altogether improper feeding that was to blame, but, "in many cases it was want of any feeding at all", and that he hoped a Lady Visitor would be able to assist in getting help for cases like this from charities which he considered more important than teaching the mothers how to feed the children.  What an assessment of the state of affairs in Barnsley at the time!

Barnsley Chronicle 18 April 1908 (thanks to Barnsley Archives)

This is the advertisement in the following week's edition of the Barnsley Chronicle for the post of Lady Visitor.  Applicants need to have Nursing and Midwife's Certificates and would be paid £65 per year with an extra £5 for uniform. 

The Sanitary Committee minutes for April note that, "Mrs Malkin, of Ward Green" was to be appointed.  This means that Frances Mary Malkin must have obtained her nursing and midwives qualifications before 1908, and her midwife's certificate between 1902 and 1908, as we know there was no certification before that. It seems very unlikely that she continued to work as a nurse after her marriage to William, most women had to resign their positions when they chose to marry in those unenlightened times.  Had she used her nursing skills to work as a midwife after her marriage to supplement the family income? Even if she did not have her certificate to start with it was legal to practice under the supervision of a doctor.  Maybe she took the exams later?  There are midwives' records at TNA but none are available online.  I did find an index entry for Frances Mary Jeffs in the 1920 Midwives Roll on Family, but I would have had to have bought an expensive subscription to see the image.

I can see parallels with my own story in Frances' life.  I did not do well in my exams at school, but later in life, when my first husband was unable to find work on a regular basis, I began to train as a Radiographer in Sheffield.  My then husband did not like being a house husband, so he went back to work whenever he could, his mother looking after our two little children for us.  After the first year of my training he became so aggrieved that he asked me to give it all up and to come home to be a full time wife and mother again.  I refused to waste the time and effort that I'd put in up to that point seeing the chance of a professional career as a good way to better myself and provide for my children so consequently our marriage broke down.  

Did Frances, a trained nurse, regret her possibly hasty marriage to the much younger William, a Coal Miner with few prospects?  Did Frances obtaining a good job as 'Lady Visitor' finally break down their marriage to the extent that William emigrated to Australia to seek his fortune the following year? - if his mother's estimate of when he left is correct (see my previous post).  Frances obviously lived in Ward Green, with or near the older Malkin family in 1908 when she got the job.  But William's last address in Barnsley is given in his 1916 Chronicle obituary as Grove Street - which is near Barnsley football ground and about a mile and a half from Ward Green.  It is, however, just off Pontefract Road, which is where Frances was living in 1911.  If only there were more records of where people lived!  
Part of an article in the Barnsley Chronicle 7 August 1915
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)

I did find a few more mentions of Mrs Malkin in the Chronicle.  In 1915 she is commended by an Inspector of the Local Government Board, who stated that, "Mrs Malkin had not been doing herself justice in that she did not report the total number of visits and revisits actually made."  Her role was described as the supervisor of midwives and investigator of the cases of ophthalmia neonatum.  The same article also mentions that, "she has rendered very special services in this respect since the adoption of the Notification of Births' Act and that such inspection by your lady visitor is very much more efficient than two visits to each midwife that used to be made by the Medical Officer." (Barnsley Chronicle 7 August 1915)

Frances Malkin resigns her post in September 1916, but is obviously re-employed after her marriage to Joseph Jeffs as the item I found first mentions her (second) resignation in early May 1918.  This is probably because she and Joseph are about to have a child themselves, as Joseph Cunningham Jeffs is born on 8 May 1918, according to his father's war time service records.  Joseph snr attests in 1915, but is not mobilised until June 1917 when he is posted to the Royal Garrison Artillery. 

Unhappily Joseph Henry Jeffs returns from the First World War with a good character, but is discharged in November 1918 with 'Mania' caused by his service.  Whatever this entails it affects him very badly as he is granted a pension for 26 weeks due to his 50% disability.  I hope that Frances was working again by then as the 13 shillings and 9d per week he was awarded wouldn't have gone far to support himself and a wife and child.  His name appears on the Barnsley Borough Police Roll of Honour where it is noted that he was Wounded in Action - as I can see no mention of wounds in his service record this is probably a reference to the damage to his mental health.  I hope that he recovered and returned to his job in the police force.  

Frances Mary Jeffs dies in Barnsley in 1946 aged 75 years.  Joseph Henry Jeffs dies in Barnsley in 1953 aged 62. I do not know where they are buried. Clifton Trevor Malkin marries and has two children.  Joseph Cunningham Jeffs marries and has two children.  These children will more than likely still be alive today.  

I imagine Frances to have been a hard working, well respected member of the community.  She managed a job and a family over 100 years ago.  She twice married a much younger man, her second husband was possibly disabled for some time after the war, but with the help of an extended family successfully brought up two children.  What an example to us today! 

I would love to know more about the life and career of Frances Mary Bailey - Malkin - Jeffs, Barnsley's First Health Visitor.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Barnsley's Australian WW1 Connections

Although I spend much of my time, at the moment, studying First World War soldiers sometimes I come across a story so good that I have to do a little extra research and then pass it on to you.  You may find it interesting, it may inspire you to do some research of your own in a similar area, but whatever the outcome I can assure you that find these 'side' stories great fun to write.
Australian Imperial Force badge from Digger History

A few days ago the Australian Imperial Force seed data was added to Lives of the First World War.  I am a member of a Facebook group for 'Community Curators', in other words a bunch of us who spend far too much time on LFWW can now chat and share moans and helpful hints about our favourite(!) website.  LFWW don't seem to officially notify their customers when a new record set is added but between us someone usually notices.  We have been waiting for Australia records for a long time - many young working class men left Britain in the decade before the First World War for a 'better life' in Canada or Australia, but when the war started they signed up to serve their home country.  If they fell, and so many did, their families chose to remember them on memorials in their home towns, I would estimate that each Barnsley memorial has one or two of these Commonwealth men listed. 

I am researching the war memorial at St Luke's, Worsbro' Common in depth and if you follow that link you will see a photo and full transcription of the names, there is also a link to my LFWW Community for the men of the area.  Worsborough Common (the spelling varies and the abbreviated version is often used) is close to where we used to live on the edge of Barnsley town centre and there was the chance that some of the OH's relatives would appear on it or be connected to it as a large branch of his family tree passes through the area in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  William Malkin is the man named on this memorial whom I had flagged up as serving in the Australian forces; his family had lived in Ward Green, Worsborough Bridge for several generations and on the 1901 census he is living with his parents, William and Hannah, and he gives his occupation as Pony Driver Pit.  He was 17 years of age, therefore born in 1884.  His father was also a Coal Miner.

William was killed in Belgium on 28 September 1916.  The additional information on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission entry states that he was the, 'Husband of Frances Mary Jeffs (Formerly Malkin), of 27, Caxton St., Barnsley, England. Native of Worsborough, Yorks, England.'  Yet once I began to investigate the records linked by LFWW things began to become a little bit mysterious.
Logo from the header of the Discovering Anzacs website

LFWW have used data from the National Archives of Australia and in particular a site called Discovering Anzacs.  The full service records for the soldiers are available to view, similar to the ones we see here on Ancestry for British soldiers, but in this case completely free!  A link on William Malkin's Life Story on LFWW took me directly to his records where there were twenty nine pages to read!
A snip from William Malkin's attestation papers (from Discovering Anzacs)

William Malkin enlisted in New South Wales in August 1915 giving his occupation as Miner and his age as either 25 or 35 on two separate copies of his attestation form (I suppose one of these could be a clerical error) neither of which agree with his known age from the census and naming his mother Hannah Malkin of Ward Green, Barnsley as his next of kin.  I found this odd considering the additional information on his CWGC entry, but then I found several letters referring to his wife.  It seemed that she had got in touch with the Australian authorities in August 1916 claiming to be William's next of kin, but that she had not supplied any documentary evidence - her marriage lines are mentioned - to support her claim.  One letter notes that, "she states they have corresponded recently, and quotes his regimental description".  The authorities appear to accept her claim despite a discrepancy in "her description of the man ... [and] a difference of six years [in his age]."  Why did William lie about his age - was he trying to appear younger so that he could sign up, if the age of 25 years and 5 months given on one form is correct?  Why does he not mention that he is married?  He specifically answers the question about marriage in the negative!
Obituary from the Barnsley Chronicle 28 October 1916 (with thanks to Barnsley Archives)
Sadly William was killed in September 1916 and is buried in the Railway Dugouts Burial Ground near Ypres in Belgium.  His obituary in the Barnsley Chronicle mentions that he emigrated to Australia 'about seven years ago' - so in 1909 then - and notes his mother's name and address.  It does give a separate address for William, which may be a clue!

I decided to try to find out more about Frances Mary Malkin (later Jeffs) to see if I could work out if indeed they were married, if so why did he leave her and go to Australia, when did she remarry, did she have any children and what happened to her after the war.  I find the stories of the women left behind in Barnsley (well anywhere I suppose) even more fascinating than the military history of the war itself.  There is very little written about how women coped without their menfolk and what strategies they used to cope during the difficult and stressful war years.

What I found was quite surprising ... but this post is long enough - I'll tell you more in my next!  Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Following up Clues in the New Book about Elsecar's Fallen Parishioners

Last week I was given a copy of a new book, Parishioners of Elsecar who Laid Down Their Lives in the Great War, 1914-1918" by its author, Graham Noble, which takes for its starting point the 32 men named on the First World War Memorial plaque in the Holy Trinity Church, Elsecar..  With the assistance of the Elsecar Family History Group a limited number of copies have been printed, but as one has also been given to Barnsley Archives you will be able to consult it there.
The cover of the new book about Elsecar's Fallen
As it was Easter weekend I actually had the OH to myself for a few days and as I had promised that I would visit the church in Elsecar as a thank you for the book he said he'd drive me down on Bank Holiday Monday and we'd have a look around the churchyard too.  

Every Monday Holy Trinity Church, Elsecar is open between 10.30am and 2.30pm for visitors to look around and to consult the vast array of local history and church records they have stored there.  Tea and coffee is also available!

I had been my reading copy of the book avidly and love the way it is laid out chronologically, intertwining the stories of the men with the greater story of the war.  There are maps of battlefields and lots of pictures.  Nine of the 32 men named on the memorial plaque have their photos in the book, thanks to donations by relatives.  I am sure the church would love to hear from relatives of the the other men too.  It has so far not been possible to identify two of the men - H Read and E Turner.  Can you help?
The index page of the book

At the back of the book there are additional stories about men not named on the plaque who are either buried or remembered in the churchyard, or who have been discovered to have some connection to Elsecar, maybe being born there or having family from there.  There are reproductions of the memorial postcards from two Elsecar Working Men's Clubs and the lists of men who served from each club, these include many who returned from the war.  Finally, a list I had not seen before, from Earl Fitzwilliam's Elsecar Collieries Ambulance Class, which was held in Elsecar Market Hall (now Milton Hall I assume?) from which 43 members had enlisted by November 1915.  A piece in the Barnsley Chronicle reported that a total of 472 men had enlisted from the Elsecar Collieries by this time - bear in mind that these would all be volunteers as conscription did not commence until the following year.

At the church the OH was greeted by a gentleman who recognised him from the CAMRA beer festivals that are held in Elsecar, and we were offered refreshments.  I enquired about the information they hold and was shown a large cupboard full of well labelled folders.  The Memorial Inscriptions are in yellow folders and cover both churchyards, old and new, and the cemetery adjacent to the church.  

I was able to scan through two of the books, the ones for the new churchyard and identify seven potential memorial gravestones, only one of which I had been aware of previously.  On my visit at about the same time last year I photographed just three memorials, one in each area of the burial grounds.  How on earth had I missed this treasure trove?
A photo of the New Churchyard at Elsecar from my previous visit in April 2014
After a look around the church - the stained glass windows are also a memorial to the Fallen of WW1 - and signing the visitors' book, we ventured across the road to the new Churchyard.  The OH had captured the plan of the plots from the back of one of the folders on his phone camera as my sketched diagrams seemed unlikely to help too much in our search!  Well, I wasn't expecting to be looking for so many gravestones.  

Unfortunately the reasons for me not finding some of the other men soon became apparent.  Reginald Naylor (killed in action 6 November 1917) is remembered on a kerbstone and it will take another visit with a spade or trowel to remove sufficient grass to be able to photograph his memorial.  Clifford Portman's family gravestone (he died of wounds on 28 September 1917) and Wilfred Hirst's family gravestone (died in hospital in France on 2 April 1918) have both fallen on their faces across the grave plots.  Poor Percy Turner's family gravestone (killed in action on 15 April 1918) if still intact, now lies beneath a hedge at the back of the churchyard.  But my only excuse for not finding Ernest Whittlestone's memorial is that the ground at the very bottom of the churchyard was very boggy last year, so I did not venture that far, because, now I know what I'm looking for I can actually see it on the left of the photo above that I took last year over the churchyard wall!  

The OH's picture of Fitz Leach's gravestone,
with the church in the background
We also found two WW2 war memorial gravestones, only one of which I had been aware of previously, and photographed a stone in the older part of the churchyard which appears in the book, Fritz Harry Leach (killed in action 23 April 1917) which I really should have seen on my last visit.  

Ah, well, the OH's pictures with his 'proper' camera are always so much better than mine anyway, so it was well worth the trip.  And it was a lovely sunny day as you can see in this photo on the left, which includes some rather scary 'weeping angels' (if you follow Dr Who you'll know what I mean!) at the bottom end of the old churchyard.

I have added the names and information to an index page for Elsecar's War Memorial Gravestones and hopefully either myself or ML will be able to add individual pages with more information in the fullness of time.

Thank you for reading.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

The 'Office Copy' of the 1918 Absent Voters' List for Barnsley

Last week I started to add the handwritten notes in the 'Office Copy' of the 1918 Absent Voters' List for Barnsley to the transcription of the 6127 names which has been completed by 10 volunteers working under the Barnsley War Memorials Project banner.

I had intended to start this the week before, unfortunately, as frequently happens to me I am afraid, I was too ill to leave my bed, let alone travel to Barnsley Archives for a morning's research.  I did try to send my apologies via email and Facebook but I don't think any of the ladies gathered at the Archives checked those facilities during the morning, so I am sorry if I let anyone down.

A snip from my Excel spreadsheet recording the notes
The past two weeks have been eventful and so each of my sessions on this new sub-project have been shortened from my usual 10am to 1pm.  However I have managed to transcribe 9 pages of the handwritten notes so far, each page containing 45 to 50 names.  There are 132 pages in the whole book so at this rate it is going to take me about 30 weeks to complete the task. I am sure that it will take longer, as other more urgent problems and queries are bound to crop up over the next few months.  Unfortunately as the handwritten notes are on a facing page to the typed information which we have already transcribed - and the typed pages also contain amendments written in red ink which I am also noting - it seems unlikely that we would be able to photograph the full two page spread in sufficient detail to enable other home-based volunteers to assist in this. However if anyone wants to have a go in the Archives (just not on a Thursday morning please!) please do, I would be happy to work out some system whereby we can do this co-operatively.

A long time ago, October 2012 according to the create date on the appropriate spreadsheet, I started looking at Prisoners of War from Barnsley in the First World War and in June 2013 I did a quick survey of the Absent Voters' List recording the men listed as 'Pris of War' etc in the handwritten notes.  I found 141 names, with the usual details of rank, regiment and service number.  I now realise that a few of these are actually guards at Prisoner of War camps - not prisoners themselves! My only excuse for this is that notes are quite brief, usually abbrieviated so it takes a little while (and some cross checking) to work out what they actually mean in a number of cases. In the course of that survey I discovered that the handwritten notes do NOT cover the whole book, there are 14 blank pages in three distinct chunks.  So that reduces the total amount of pages I have to transcribe to 118 and saves me a couple of weeks' work - but such a shame that the document is not complete for those 45(ish) x 14 men, around 630 names.

Some people have asked me how the Absent Voters' List can help us identify the men who fell in the war as of course it lists living men.  The list was compiled in the period winter 1917/1918 when names were collected from families in Barnsley who had men (and 4 women) who would have been eligible to vote in the forthcoming December 1918 election.  As the war still had nearly a year to run a number of the men recorded were subsequently discharged through injury, wounds or sickness (there is one in the snip above) or were killed in action or are simply recorded as dead - which may mean they died out of service, or possibly in service, just not killed in action - more checking needed again.  The discharge of a man might indicate wounds or war related sickness which later caused their death AND if they died before 31 August 1921 they would have been eligible for a Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) entry ... so each of these names might indicate a casualty too. 
Joseph Ambler's gravestone, Barnsley Cemetery

Last week on 4 pages I found:
Dead                   2
Killed in Action    2
Missing               2
Discharged         4
Prisoner of War   4

This week on 5 pages I found:
Dead                  5
Killed in Action    4
Missing               3
Discharged        9
Prisoner of War  3

I have had time to look more closely at some of the men I identified last week.

One of the men noted as 'Dead" was Joseph Ambler, 188428, Royal Garrison Artillery.  He is buried in Barnsley Cemetery with a CWGC gravestone and listed on Soldiers Died in the Great War (SDGW) on Ancestry as 'Died of Wounds'.  He is remembered on the Oak Plaque at St Peter's Church on Doncaster Road, Barnsley.

Snip from John H Carr's RAF record (Find My Past)
The second man indicated as 'Dead' in my first week of research was John Henry Carr, an Airman in the Royal Air Force.  He appears to have died after his transfer to the reserve in 1919 - there is a note on his RAF records on Find My Past which appears to read deceased (or possibly discharged dead?) on 30 July 1920 (see above).  However I can find no evidence showing him buried in Barnsley or even a death index entry on FreeBMD for a John Henry or a John H Carr in 1919 or 1920 - there are several John Carr entries, but none the right age or in Barnsley.  So he's a mystery!

One of men noted as 'Killed' was John Henry Carr's son Richard, 142754, Machine Gun Corps.  His SDGW entry states that he was killed in action on 29 April 1918, and the CWGC notes that he is remembered on the Tyne Cot memorial.  He does not appear to be remembered on any Barnsley war memorial that has been recorded so far.  The family was from Hunslet, near Leeds, so there is the possibility he is remembered in that area. He was baptised at St Jude's, Hunslet in 1900 (available on Ancestry), unfortunately a Google search shows that this church closed in the 1950s and has been demolished.

The final 'Killed' entry on my first week of transcription was Samuel Musgrave, 40472, Leicestershire Regiment.  He was killed in action on 15 August 1918 and is remembered on the war memorial plaque in St Peter's too.

I also checked the 'Missing' and 'Discharged' men for CWGC entries.  There was only one, Frederick Bassett, 44565, Lincolnshire Regiment, killed in action on 17 April 1918.  He is not remembered on any Barnsley memorial but his CWGC entry notes that his name on the Tyne Cot memorial.  It also tells us that his father, another Frederick Bassett, lived at 22 Grasmere Road, Barnsley, which agrees with the entry on the Absent Voters' List.

So my grand total for just one week's work is two men from Barnsley not remembered on a memorial, two who had already been recorded because they are on a memorial and one more who might be eligible for an entry if we can work out where, when and how he died.

I know the this seems like a lot of work for very little return - but how else would we have discovered that Richard Carr was from Barnsley? He does not appear to be mentioned in the Barnsley Chronicle and his CWGC entry has no additional information to help identify him.  We do need to use every resource we can find to track down these fallen men ... and corroboration of facts we already have is not a waste of time - it does prove that our first identification of the men was correct.

Anyway, it keeps me off the streets!  And I enjoy it to be honest - the transcription exercise in Barnsley Archives is quite soothing and methodical and then I get a week to hunt down the men I have identified using all the genealogical know-how I've built up over the past 20 odd years, and I can do that at home, from my bed even if I'm poorly. *happy smile*

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

In Search of Albert Pagett, a Visit to St Helen's Church, Hemsworth

On a Wednesday I usually attend the Cudworth History and Heritage Group meeting at Cudworth Library (aka Cudworth Centre of Excellence) but this morning the bright, if cold and windy, day inspired me to try my first solo adventure of the year.  

Since solving the mystery of the OH's great-grandmother Edith Alice in 2009 and discovering the family links to Hemsworth we have visited the village (small town?) on several occasions.  A new Wetherspoon's pub opened there two years ago, to which the OH regularly delivers his Barnsley CAMRA magazines and there is a handy Tesco store when the one at Stairfoot runs out of cat litter (the only thing we regularly buy at Tesco to be honest).  I have a file of photos from January 2010 which includes photos of the outside of St Helen's Church, the memorial at Kinsley to  both World Wars and the new looking memorial in Hemsworth to the Second World War.  But it has taken until just recently to ascertain that there is, in St Helen's Church, a memorial to the First World War.
St Helen's, Hemsworth (photo taken January 2010)

One of the problems has been gaining access to the church, which opens only for services and a coffee morning on a Wednesday.  I have been reluctant to miss the Cudworth LLHG meeting to make the 45 minute each way trek on the bus (via Shafton, ASOS, Grimethorpe, Brierley and all points east) to Hemsworth as it would, and indeed did, take all morning.
Memorial to the Men of Hemsworth in St Helen's Church (photographed 1 April 2015)

However, it was worth it!  As you can see above (click the photo for a larger view) there is a large memorial in the Lady Chapel of the church.  It consists of a separate header reading, "1914 To the Glory of God and in Undying Memory of the Men of This Parish who gave their Lives for King and Country 1918", and then underneath four separate wooden panels each listing 40+ names.  I make it a total of 173 names - but that was a quick count on my screen, I haven't tried transcribing the names yet.  
Lady Chapel of St Helen's, Hemsworth (from the church website)

This is where the panels are in the church, look in the middle distance on the right hand wall - the photo above is from the church's own website - but I'm sure they won't mind, they were very friendly this morning when I explained that I was looking for my husband's Pagett soldier cousin.  One gentleman even remembered an elderly lady called Pagett in the 1960s and we wondered if she might have been a relative.
Albert Pagett 1889 - 1915 remembered

This is a close up of the third panel where Albert Pagett is listed.  He is actually the OH's 3x great uncle, being brother to his great, great grandmother Minnie, mother of the Edith Alice mentioned at the start of this post.

Albert Pagett must have joined up shortly after the start of the First World War as he arrived, according to his medal card, in the Balkans - part of the Gallipoli campaign - with the Connaught Rangers on 21 July 1915.  His brothers Will and Enoch also served in the war, but they returned home to Hemsworth.  
Snip from the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website

Albert died of wounds on 13 September 1915 and is buried in Portianos Military Cemetery on the island of Lemnos, Greece where there were several military hospitals.  Presumably Albert was evacuated from Gallipoli to a hospital where he subsequently died.  He was 26 years old.

So, there we are, another WW1 ancestor commemorated.  It is a special year of remembrance for the Gallipoli campaign, as it was 100 years ago on 23 February 1915 that the first landing was made there.  Thousands of men lost their lives in that campaign - and Albert Pagett from Hemsworth was one of them.

Edit 4 Apr 2015: I have since created a page for this memorial on the Barnsley War Memorials Project website; there are 172 names (told you it was a rough count!) which I have transcribed.