Tuesday, 16 June 2020

James and Albert Crawford First World War Soldiers from Concrete, Brampton

The section of the Brampton RoH showing James Crawford's name

I have been investigating the Brampton Roll of Honour which hangs in Brampton's Parish Hall since February this year. For briefness I will refer to it as the Brampton RoH or just the RoH.

There are 100 names listed on the RoH, 22 of these men (and they are all men) were killed in the First World War, the others survived to return home to their families.  I have found census data allowing me to establish who these men were and where they lived for 91 of these names and military information for 73, an increase of one since my last post. 

I have also begun to collect a list of men from the area covered by this memorial, ie the Concrete Cottages and Wath Junction, who served in the war but who were not listed on the RoH.  There were three additional names on the Cortonwood Wesleyan Methodist Roll of Honour (found online) which are not on the Brampton RoH, 29 more men were marked as Absent Voters in the 1918 Electoral Roll for Brampton or Wombwell South (the wards which include Concrete and the Junction and which available on Ancestry.co.uk) and three more have been found (so far) in the local newspaper, the Mexborough and Swinton Times (MST).

The Mexborough and Swinton Times was added to the British Newspaper Archive this month, June 2020 (also available on sister site Find My Past). It covers the southern part of Barnsley including Wombwell, Great Houghton, Thurnscoe (all within the modern Barnsley boundaries) plus Brampton, Wath, Swinton, Mexborough and Conisbrough. In the last two days, purely with a search on the word 'Concrete' I have added three more names to my research list, including one man from Concrete, George Clark, who was killed.

One odd thing about these additional names is that they include men who are the brothers of men who are listed on the Brampton RoH. We could suggest a couple of reasons for this, maybe they moved away from the area before the list was compiled? Possibly so, but many of the men listed on the RoH, despite living in Concrete earlier in their lives, were already living away from the area in 1911.  Maybe their families did not want them included - which is strange if one brother is listed but not another.

James and Albert's names on the Cortonwood Wesleyan RoH

For this post I am focusing on James (b.1896) and Albert (b.1891) Crawford, brothers who were both killed in the war. James Crawford is named on the Brampton RoH, Albert Crawford is not, but I had found him on the Cortonwood Wesleyan RoH alongside his brother.

They were living at home, 11 Wath Road, Wombwell Junction, with their parents James snr and Emily Crawford in 1911. Also listed on the census return is another brother, William (b.1893) and a sister Rose (b.1901). The return states that Emily has been married for 20 years and has had five children, one of whom had died before 1911. A search of the General Register Office (GRO) indexes tells us that Ann Crawford was born in 1895 and died the same year. These searches can be carried out in five year chunks using a surname and mother's maiden name. They are very useful for discovering the absent children that the 1911 census additional information tells us about. According to the census only Rose was born in Wombwell, the other children having all been born in Worsborough Dale.

James Crawford snr and Emily Pickard had married in Worsborough Dale (the second 'o' was lost from the area name in the early to mid 20th century), about five miles from Wath Junction, on 31 December 1890. James was originally from Thirsk, North Yorkshire and Emily from Otley, West Yorkshire (according to the 1901 and 1911 census returns), although in the 1891 census when James and Emily were living with her parents in Worsborough Dale, all her family (including James Crawford) are listed as being from Worsborough Dale itself.  This is an error as the 1881 census tells us that Emily's father William Pickard was from Otley, her mother Hannah from Darfield, Emily and Samuel, the older of three children, from Otley and Herbert, the youngest child, from Darfield. So the family moved around quite a bit, Otley being about 44 miles from Darfield.  It is always best to cross-check information found on a source as transcriptions or information given to the census enumerators or even to clergy for marriages, baptisms or burials can often be in error.

The Cortonwood Wesleyan RoH helpfully tells us that James was in the K.R.Rif., the King's Royal Rifle Corps, and gives us his Service number 467. This information tallies with his Service Records which have fortunately survived (60% of these records were destroyed in the blitz during the Second World War) and his entries on Soldiers Died in the Great War (SDGW) and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) website. He was killed on 18 June 1916 and his CWGC entry confirms that his father was James Crawford, of 11 Wath Road, Wombwell, Barnsley and that he was buried in the Cambrin Military Cemetery in France. His SDGW entry adds that he was killed in action and that he was born in Wombwell - which is therefore in disagreement with the 1911 census return. The information about his regiment reminded me of another memorial in Wombwell - the Church Lads Brigade memorial in St Mary's Church which was affiliated to the King's Royal Rifle Corps. Sure enough a Crawford, J. is listed there as well. He is also listed on the Wombwell Reform Club Members RoH in the Killed in Action section at the top alongside a Crawford, A. Pte. Y.L.

Two Crawford men named on the Wombwell Reform Club RoH

According to the Cortonwood Wesleyan RoH Albert was in the R.N. Lanc. Regt., Service number 31329. Tracing Albert's records was more complicated. His CWGC entry tells us that he was in the Loyal North Lancashire Regiment Service number 42151 (could someone have confused Loyal with Royal when preparing the Cortonwood RoH?) - this is the correct man as his parents are listed as Mr and Mrs J Crawford of 11 Wath Road, Wombwell. We also discover from this record that Albert was married, to a Mabel F. Crawford, and that her address at the time the CWGC information was collected was 4 Hough Lane, Wombwell. Bear in mind that the addresses for widows do not necessarily reflect the place where a soldier lived before he enlisted. Widows often moved after a man's death, maybe to return to their parents' home, or after re-marriage. Albert's SDGW entry adds that he was formerly in the York and Lancaster Regiment Service number 44591 and that he was born in Worsboro' Dale - which is correct according to the 1911 census return. He was killed on 4 November 1918 and was buried in the Mazinghien Communal Cemetery in France. Interestingly the additional documents on the CWGC page for Albert Crawford include a Graves Registration form which tell us that he was one of eleven Loyal North Lancs men killed on that day buried in that cemetery which suggests that a significant action had taken place (in my opinion). There seems to have been some confusion about his identity at some point as the type written entry reads 42151 Crawfers Pte.A. which is overwritten in ink, 44591 Crawford. Note that this is his Y&L Service number!

Graves Registration for Mazinghien Communal Cemetery CWGC

Now having the information that Albert had initially served in the York and Lancaster Regiment the Wombwell Reform Club entry makes sense.  Both James and Albert are also listed on the main Wombwell memorial outside St Mary's church - but as these names were renewed and updated in the last 10 or 20 years (see a photo from the 1930s on the Yococo website) it cannot be ruled out that they were added during the update.

Albert Crawford and Mabel Florence Hazzard had married on 23 May 1918 at Wombwell Parish Church and that record states his occupation is miner. So when did he join the Army? If it was after their marriage he was not long in the forces before he was killed. Barely enough time for initial training compared to the men who enlisted earlier in the war. After his death two death notices appear in the Mexborough and Swinton Times (MST) on 23 November 1918, one from Mabel and one which names his parents, James and Emily, giving their address at 11 Wath Road. Albert's photograph appears in the newspaper the following week, although it gives his regiment as the York and Lancaster, despite the death notice the week before more accurately reporting him in the Loyal North Lancs.

Albert and Mabel do not appear to have had any children. Mabel remarried in the September quarter of 1923 to Samuel Wardell (according to FreeBMD) and bore him two children, Albert in Q3 1924 and Mabel in Q4 1926. It is touching to see that her first child was named after her previous husband. In the 1939 Register the couple were living at 25 Cemetery Road in Wombwell with Albert and a redacted entry, probably young Mabel. In the comments column at the far right it was noted that Samuel was an Air Raid Warden.

Albert Crawford's Pension Card from the WFA website

So why was Albert not included on the Brampton RoH?  It could be that his wife Mabel did not know about the RoH or did not want him included. It could be that at the time of the compilation of the memorial there was some uncertainty about Albert's death.  However Albert's Pension Card (on the Western Front Association website and also available via Fold3 on Ancestry) states that his death was notified on 27 November 1918 which is not a long delay. This tallies with the date of the death notices published in the MST on 23 November.  On the Pension card Mabel's address has been changed from 4 Hough Lane, Wombwell (the address we saw above on the CWGC entry and the address from which she married in May 1918) to Laurel Dene, Lepton, Huddersfield so maybe she was living away from home for a while (there is no mention of her second marriage on the card). But why would his parents James snr and Emily omit him? It seems unlikely that a list of 100 men was compiled as soon as the Armistice was announced - and that the news of Albert's death came too late for him to be added. Could it be because he enlisted so late? Was the RoH compiled before his enlistment?

James and Albert are listed side by side on the Cortonwood Wesleyan Methodist RoH and the Wombwell Reform Club RoH but not on the Brampton RoH. And what happened to their brother William (b.1893), he was the right age to have served in the war and but I have found no military records for him yet. More questions that require further research if I am ever to understand this document.

William Crawford married Winifred Carr in Q3 1918 and I have found them in the 1939 register. They had two children, Albert b.1920 (another named after the Albert who died in the war?) and Joan b.1923. I have also found them in the 1939 register living in Hemingfield near Wombwell. William dies just two years later from the same address 16 Garden Grove, aged just 48. He predeceases his parents James snr, who dies in 1945 and Emily, who dies in 1948. They are buried in adjacent plots in Wombwell Cemetery. Sadly whilst searching in the Cemetery records I discovered that Rose Crawford who had married Lionel Hawksworth in Q1 1919 died in January 1922 and was buried from 11 Wath Road, her parents' home. This means that James snr and Emily outlived all their children.  The only consolation that I can find is that Rose gave birth to a daughter, Bessie, in 1920, who in 1939 is married and living with her widowed father and his mother in Wombwell. 

I have not yet confirmed which organisation compiled the Brampton RoH or when it was drawn up. It was apparently discovered in a poor state in the papers of a Brampton Parish Clerk as he handed over to a new incumbent very recently.  The discovery of the document was reported in October 2018 in the local parish council magazine where it was also noted that the former Parish Clerk had retired on 31 March 2018 after 32 years service!  So the RoH had been hidden away for many years.

Thank you for reading.


1939 Register, Find My Past, https://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-Records/1939-register, accessed 16 June 2020.
British Army Service Records, Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/1219/, accessed 17 February 2020.
Census returns, Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/categories/ukicen/, accessed various in February - June 2020.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission, https://www.cwgc.org/, accessed 16 June 2020.
Cortonwood Wesleyan Methodist Roll of Honour, My Methodist History, https://www.mymethodisthistory.org.uk/topics-2/war_memorials/a_further_204_late_returns/cortonwood, accessed 9 March 2020.
General Register Office, Online Ordering Service, https://www.gro.gov.uk/gro/content/certificates/login.asp, accessed 16 June 2020.
Mexborough and Swinton Times, British Newspaper Archive, https://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk/titles/mexborough-&-swinton-times, accessed 15 June 2020.
Parish News, Issue 21, October 2018, Brampton Bierlow Parish Council, https://www.bramptonbierlow-pc.gov.uk/sites/default/files/pdf_docs/brampton_bierlow_oct_18_3_0.pdf, accessed 16 June 2020.
Parish Records for Worsborough Dale, Yorkshire Marriages, Find My Past, https://search.findmypast.co.uk/search-world-Records/yorkshire-marriages, accessed 16 June 2020.
Pension Records, Western Front Association, https://www.westernfrontassociation.com/ancestry-pension-records/, accessed 16 June 2020.
UK, Soldiers Died in the Great War, Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/1543/, accessed 16 June 2020.
West Yorkshire, England, Electoral Registers, 1840-1962, Ancestry, https://www.ancestry.co.uk/search/collections/3057/ accessed 22-28 May 2020.
Yococo Image Database, Barnsley Council Online, https://wwwapplications.barnsley.gov.uk/librarydigitisation/details.aspx?imageID=2755 accessed 16 June 2020.

No comments: