Wednesday 29 August 2018

Two Members of the Same Family both named Irving Killed in Action a Generation Apart

There are at least 154 war memorial gravestones in Barnsley Cemetery, Barnsley, South Yorkshire. These grave markers commemorate a man who has been lost in a conflict, be it the Boer War, the First World War or the Second World War by an inscription on the stone work upon or around their family's grave plot. The men in question are NOT buried in the Cemetery, most lying in Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries overseas or commemorated on CWGC memorials across the world.

Recently, from March to July 2018, a volunteer has been walking the cemetery checking every plot for these inscriptions. Wayne Bywater has now moved onto the cemetery in Bolton upon Dearne but the Barnsley War Memorials Project and myself are very grateful to him for finding and photographing so many of these memorials which give valuable family information about our servicemen. Wayne's work has added names to the BWMP First World War Roll of Honour (due to be presented to the Mayor of Barnsley in November 2018) and has identified many Second World War men for future researchers.

The gravestone that I was logging this morning is particularly interesting as it commemorates two servicemen in one family, one killed in the First World War and one killed in the Second World War. Coincidently both were called Irving. Irving Lindley was killed in action 20 November 1917 and Irving Parry was killed in action 19 November 1944.  Intrigued by this I decided to find out exactly how the two men were related.
Lindley family gravestone, plot 7 371, Barnsley Cemetery
Photo by Wayne Bywater in July 2018
The gravestone gives us lots of clues. Irving Lindley's parents were Violet C, who died in 1929 and Arthur who died in 1933. Irving Parry was their grandson.  

Arthur Lindley, born 1870 in Wombwell, married Violet Charlotte Bower, born 1875 in Sheffield, in Wombwell Parish Church on 24 December 1895. It seems they had known each other for a while for in the same church on 7 January 1894 their daughter May Lindley Bower was baptised. No father's name is given, but the inclusion of the Lindley name in the child's forenames is a huge pointer towards her parentage!

Following their marriage Arthur and Violet had three more children, Edgar, born in the September quarter of 1896 (so around nine months after their wedding), Irving, born in December quarter 1897 and Ida, born in the January quarter of 1899.  All four of the Lindley children are at home with Arthur and Violet in the 1901 census when the family are living at 28 Gower Street in Wombwell. May is listed as a Lindley and all the children were born in Wombwell. Arthur's occupation is Coal Hewer. Gower Street runs off Park Street, to the left of the 'Last Orders' pub. On Google maps I can see that there are only three older terraced houses remaining on the street, most of the housing now being modern bungalows.

The 1911 census finds the Lindley family in Worsborough Dale, a few miles outside of Barnsley town centre. Their full address was 23 James Street and that house can still be seen on Google maps. Arthur Lindley, now aged 41, is listed as a Ripper in a Coal Mine and Violet's entry gives us the following information; they have been married for 15 years, and have 3 children born alive, all three are living. Under Violet's name the whole of the next entry has been scratched out but enough is visible to suggest it did read May Lindley. Under that are the other three children. Edgar is 14 years old and a Labourer in a Saw Mill, Irving is 13 years old and a Screen Boy at a colliery and Ida is 11 and still at school.

It seems that May had been mistakenly entered on the census by her father as she can be found listed in the 1911 census at Croft House in Linthwaite in West Yorkshire working as a Housemaid to Benjamin Walker, the local Registrar of Births and Deaths.  She is 17 years old. The fact that she is not included in the tally of Violet's children on the census return could have been to cover up the fact that she was born prior to their marriage, or just purely in strict adherence to the direction at the top of the column which asks for 'children born alive to the present marriage', and of course she was born before the wedding.

At some point in the next seven years the family move to 58 Agnes Road, much nearer to the centre of Barnsley. This long street of terraced houses with several local shops runs from Park Grove to Princess Street, just a few hundred yards south of Morrisons on Westway, Barnsley.

From the Barnsley Chronicle 9 February 1918
With thanks to Barnsley Archives
The next record of the family that I have been able to find is the report of the death of the second son, Irving Lindley, born late 1897 in Wombwell, who was 20 years old in 1917. He had been working at Barrow Colliery, which is in Worsborough, until his enlistment in the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. His service records have not survived so it is difficult to tell exactly when he signed up, but his service number is 41914 and his war gratuity (paid to his father after his death and which can be seen on his Army Register of Soldiers' Effects record) was only £3 and 10 shillings, we can estimate that he enlisted in November 1916, this making it likely he was conscripted. The cutting from the Barnsley Chronicle on 26 January 1918 is the source of the family's address and Irving's occupation. There are no details given of how he met his end.

We know he was in the 2nd/5th KOYLI when he was killed and that he was subsequently buried in Hermies Hill British Cemetery in the Pas de Calais area. According to the CWGC site for the cemetery there are buried on this site 70 soldiers from the UK who fell on 20 November 1917, the first day of the Battle of Cambrai, most of whom belonged to the infantry of the 62nd West Riding Division (which included the 2/5 KOYLI). Some of these graves were concentrated (gathered in from) other cemeteries after the Armistice and it not always possible to know the exact location of a particular grave. Irving Lindley is named on a special memorial in the cemetery along with 30 other men who are also believed to be buried there.

Some of Irving's story can be found on Lives of the First World War.

The Lindley family story continues with the marriage of May Lindley (or Bower) in the final quarter of 1918. Her husband was David Parry from Chapel Street, Carlton and he had been discharged from the army in December 1918, 'released to coal mining' according to his service record. This record also tell us that they married on 31 October 1918 in Barnsley Register Office, so whilst he was still a soldier. He had not served abroad probably because he was only mobilised in April 1918 and caught influenza shortly afterwards. May and David have four children, Irving born in the December quarter of 1919, and no doubt named after her brother, David, born in the June quarter of 1921 (the only one of the children whose mother's maiden name is given as Lindley, the others are all Bower), Marjorie C, born in the December quarter of 1923 and finally Hazel J, born in the June quarter of 1929. Irving Parry, their eldest son, is the man named last on the gravestone above, below the uncle after whom he was named.

Ida Lindley marries Horace William Ibbotson on 25 December 1919 at St John's Church in Barnsley. This is in the area once known as 'Barebones' because of the way the boulders of the underlying terrain protrude into the streets (although some people claim that the name was given because of the poverty and hence poor clothing of the inhabitants!) Ida's home address is 58 Agnes Road, so the Lindley's are still based there. She is 20 years old and a Machinist. Ida also chooses to remember her fallen brother in naming her children. Horace Irving Ibbotson was born to David and Ida on 31 December 1920. They also had a daughter, Violet Gwendolyne born 24 September 1927.

Edgar Lindley, the eldest son of Arthur and Violet marries last. He is of the right age cohort to have served in the First World War but I am unable to work out if he did or not. There are two possible Edgar Lindleys listed in the Medal Cards, but if he did not serve abroad, like his brother in law David Parry, then he would not be included in that record set, so he could be neither of the men I have found. Edgar marries on 20 September 1924 in St Mary's Church in Barnsley. His bride is Elizabeth Linsley (confusing?) and he was 28 years old, a miner and still living at 58 Agnes Road with his parents. Edgar and Elizabeth have a total of four children, Raymond b.1925, Irene b.1927, Betty b.1933 and Una b.1938.

We know that Violet Lindley is buried in Barnsley Cemetery on 5 June 1929 having died on 1 June. She has seen the death in war of her younger son, the marriages of her other three children and the births of at least eight grandchildren. We don't know if her son's (Irving Lindley) details were added to her gravestone straight away, or even when the stone was erected. It could have been put up at any time and the style and age of the lettering does look similar suggesting it was mostly all done at once, so maybe after the Second World War.  We do know that she had been living at Birk Avenue, Stairfoot or Kendray and she was only 54 years of age. That's younger than I am now!  She left £180 and her husband Arthur was granted administration of her affairs.

Arthur Lindley joins his wife in plot 7 371 in October 1933, just four years later. He was 63 years of age and died in Beckett Hospital. His Probate Calendar entry tell us that he had been living at 1 Birk Terrace, Kendray and that adminstration of his estate was granted to son Edgar. Arthur left £299 17s and 6d. He will have seen the birth of another grandchild, Edgar's Betty in early 1933. 

At the beginning of the Second World War a register was taken of everyone in the country (although servicemen and women are not listed on the records accessible online). These listings were used for many years afterwards as the source of numbers for the National Health Service as well as being the basis of the ration card system in the war itself. These records give the actual birth dates of the people listed, but some records are obscured (officially closed) as they belong to people who may still be alive, that is those people under 100 years old and not recorded by the NHS as dying in the intervening years.

In 1939 Edgar Lindley was living at 56 Lambert Road in Barnsley with Elizabeth. He is still a Ripper in a coal mine, although his occupation now reads Contractor as well. Only their children Raymond and Betty's records are visible, but there are two blanked out lines which must obscure Irene and Una's details.

Ida and (Horace) William Ibbotson are living on the Manor Farm Estate somewhere in Hemsworth in 1939. William is a Colliery Ripper or Stone Contractor and appears to have chosen to use his second name for official purposes. Their children Horace I (already working in Colliery Haulage) and Violet G are listed too.

In 1939 David and May Parry are living at 178 Carlton Road, Barnsley. David is a Colliery Deputy and of their children only Marjorie can be seen listed. There is an obscured line above which must hide David and another below which must be Hazel. If Irving had still been at home his record would have been visible as we know he was killed in 1944. I cannot find a separate entry for him which suggests he was already in the forces.

Irving Parry, son of David and May, joins the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve in the Second World War. When he is killed on 19th November 1944 he is a Sergeant Pilot in 70 Squadron. He was 24 years old. His CWGC entry tells us that he was married to Eva Dorothy Parry and that after the war she lived at Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex. He is buried in Belgrade War Cemetery in the old Yugoslavia now Serbia. You can see his gravestone on the Find a Grave website. Interestingly it is a collective grave and Irving is buried with three other airmen from the same squadron, killed on the same day. 

Irving had married Eva Dorothy Hall in the Brentwood district of Essex in the June quarter of 1943, so maybe he met her whilst he was training in the RAF.  They had only been married for a year and a few months when he was killed.

There are a couple of online trees on Ancestry for this family, so someone out there is researching these people. Maybe writing this blog will help them, and at least they will now know where to find one of their family gravestones, complete with the sad story of two men from Barnsley with the same name who lost their lives in the World Wars.

Saturday 18 August 2018

Frustrated by Technology: Trying to get a Pension Forecast

A few days ago I received my annual statement from the Local Government Pension Scheme. As I only worked for Sheffield Hallan University for nine years this does not amount to much! I was curious as to how much government pension I was entitled to as my working life was interrupted by child care and before my first marriage I had several low paid, short-lived jobs, two or three years each, with no pension provision attached.
State Pension Forecast Application page image
I did attempt to get my small LGPS pension released to me last year as I am permanently disabled by the effects of Crohn's Disease and Fibromyalgia. I get Personal Independence Payment and have a Blue Badge and a Disabled Bus Pass. Sadly the doctor who reassessed me on behalf of the pension authority was of the opinion that my symptoms would be alleviated by Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Graded Exercise Therapy and some different drugs from my consultants, and that therefore I would be fit for work again within three years! I should point out that my last day at work was in August 2009, and that Sheffield Hallam University tried to terminate my contract due to ill health in 2010 after I had been off sick for a year! I fought this because I wanted to be recognised for ill health retirement as recommended by the SHU occupational health doctor. Having been unsuccessful in this (the panel doctor back then also said I would be fit for work again within three years) I applied for voluntary redundancy, which I was eventually granted, with a final leaving date of early 2011.

My GP has since reviewed my medication and the reports from my three consultants (gastroenterologist, rheumatologist and neurologist) and stated that no changes are needed or desirable at this time to my treatment. A physiotherapist was consulted and stated that graded exercise therapy was not suitable for me because of my damaged ankle (broken multiple times due to my weak, hyper-extending joints) and knee (obloque tear to the lateral meniscus of my right knee making it unstable, weak and prone to locking up). Hydrotherapy might be suitable, but as I have been recently diagnosed with epilepsy I cannot go in a pool until more time has elapsed since my fit. I saw a nice mental health practitioner for six weeks (self referred), and we discussed relaxation, breathing, and mindfulness, which I was happy to take up, even paying to attend classes at our local library, but she was unable to offer me more in depth cognitive behaviour therapy or a councillor. Apparently I don't tick the right boxes on their assessment of my mental health problems. She did suggest a pain clinic, but as that is at Mexborough just getting there (as it would have to be under my own steam on public transport) is impossible, I would be exhausted by the time I'd got halfway. So that has covered or ruled out all of the pension doctor's suggestions.

The pension doctor also said that studying part-time for an MA proves that my cognitive faculties are not impaired.  Doing that proves (he claims) that I must be well enough to go back to work in due course. I'm glad my brain does still work, for a few hours a day at any rate, or I would be completely useless. Find me a job that I can do at home, for no more than two to four hours a day (variable depending on my physical symptoms) and for three to four days a week (not all consecutively) that involves no more physical effort than using a computer or reading .... yeah .... I know, poor isn't it ... would you employ me? And yet that is what the MA consists of. I expect that I will never succed in getting this pension released early (I will be 65 in 2026) as after the MA is complete at the end of 2019 I really want to do a PhD next which will take another five years at least! At home, part time, etc, etc.

Going back to the Pension Forecast.

It seems you can get a forecast if you can log into the Government Gateway. I must have managed that a few years ago as I was able to renew my driving licence, but my log in details from then don't work now, maybe too long has elapsed? I tried to set up a new account but got completely bogged down by the technology. You have to use an app or a mobile phone to scan a QR code (with the same tablet that is displaying the QR code? Ehh? That's impossible), to get a six digit secure code or enter personal/financial information and some important dates (do you know when you set up your Google account or moved into your latest address?) to pass a credit check. I failed, not once, but two days in a row, even with my husband to help me.

We photographed the QR code with his phone so I could scan it with my tablet. We looked up when we bought the house in Cudworth, we checked when I changed my name by deed (good job I file everything as that was many, many years ago), we entered my driving licence data, my debit card data, answered questions about previous addresses, but nothing worked. It seems I can't be identified. He thinks that it might be because our credit card is in his name, I am an additional name on that account, we have a joint bank account, our mortgage is in his name as I wasn't working by the time we bought this house, and I've not bought anything by hire purchase ... ever, let alone in the past six years! Also I have no passport as mine ran out a few years ago and as we can't afford (and don't have time to take) holidays abroad we didn't bother to renew it.

You may recall that I had trouble proving I was myself for my student loan last year? Follow the link to read THAT fascinating tale, which itself refers to the problems I had getting a simple post office account some years before that. This seems to be yet another similar problem.  The student loan issue was solved in the nick of time for the start of the academic year after I bought a new copy of my 1985 marriage certificate (my ex has the original) and submitted my original birth certificate twice (they didn't record the details the first time and lost it for several weeks the second time), and after weekly phone calls to them all summer. Happily I don't have to go through that all again for my second year's funding, it just rolls over automatically.

My worry is that by the time I reach 65 or 67 or whatever the age is by then I won't even have a driving licence as that seems to be the only thing left that they believe. Will I be able to get my pension? Will everything be automated by then?  Oh, dear!

Edit - about 12 hours later:
Experian have verified my driving licence and after a few more questions (multiple choice, what bank accounts do you have, how long have NPower been your electricity supplier, etc) I was able to access my pension forecast. I need two more years NI contributions to get the full State Pension, so as long as the DWP keep giving me credits for being disabled I'll be fully entitled before 2028 which now seems to be my vital date.

Hooray! But it was a long haul ... two days trying, and with my husband's assistance I eventually got through their ridiculously complex system.