Wednesday, 23 April 2014

World War One Soldier's Story - George Alfred Morley from Cudworth

On Monday I met a man in a cemetery ... it's OK, it wasn't an assignation, I was searching for war memorial gravestones with the OH and this chap asked what we were doing.  After a bit of an explanation he got very interested and offered to let me have or copy a First World War memorial card that he had found in his grandfather's effects.  He knew the man was from Cudworth and was probably on the Cudworth War Memorial.  Of course, being me, I was very excited at this, but I tried to hide my urge to do a little dance (I was in a cemetery after all) and exchanged name and contact details with the man; let's call him SG.

SG turned up at the Cudworth Local History and Heritage Group (CLHHG) meeting today after phoning me to double check time and place.  He had brought the little memorial card and very reverently I copied it with my FlipPal scanner.  

Black bordered off white card, text reproduced in caption.
In Ever Loving Memory of
Private George Alfred Morley, 13th York and Lancs Regt.,
The beloved Son of Charles Henry and the late Ellen Lettice Morley, 

and also Step-mother, Mary Ann Morley, 
Who Died of Wounds in Francy, August 1st 1916, Aged 21 years.

(with grateful thanks to SG for letting me copy this card)

Black bordered off white card, image of a white rose and words "In Loving Memory"
Front of the card - folded edge to left (the back was plain)

Black bordered off white card, two sentimental, Christian verses.
Inside of card - left hand face - with two verses

The card was about the size of a large post-it note, 4"x 3" (look I'm old I work in imperial! - that's 10cm x 7.5cm for you modern people!) and it had obviously been kept folded so the dedication was visible.  When I opened it out to see the front the hinged part felt very delicate.  

Now I'm back home I'm going to see what else I can find out about George Alfred Morley.

For starters he's in the CLHHG book, Lest Cudworth Forgets, and he is listed on the Cudworth War Memorial as SG suspected.  His entry in the book includes a little photograph which looks as it it probably comes from the Barnsley Chronicle and notes, "George Alfred Morley, single, was the son of Mr C H Morley of 181 Pontefract Road, Cudworth.  Prior to enlisting at Barnsley he worked as a miner at Grimethorpe Colliery.  Private Morley died of wounds on Tuesday the 1st August 1916 and was buried in St. Pol Communal Cemetery Extension, grave No. B 21."

The above is confirmed by his entry on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website (CWGC), which also tells us that St Pol-sur-Ternoise is in France and was the site of the No.12 Stationery Hospital from 1 June 1916 to 1 June 1919.  There are over 200 war casualties commemorated on the site.
1911 census snip for 189 Pontefract Road, Cudworth (from Ancestry)
The 1911 census on Ancestry shows us the family living at 189 Pontefract Road, Cudworth.  Father Charles and his second wife (as we know from the memorial card) Mary Ann may not have been living in Cudworth for long as only their two youngest children were born there.  All the rest of the family were born in Nottinghamshire.  George Alfred is 16 years old and working as a Colliery Pony Driver below ground.  His father and two older brothers also work down the pit.  The house has five rooms and in all ten people are living there, including a boarder John Thackery and a visitor Catherine Ruth Harrison aged 13.  This last is interesting as SG told us his grandfather, who had lived at 16 Charles Street in Cudworth at the beginning of the 20th century was called Tom Harrison and this is the man in whose effects the memorial card was found.  Could there be a closer connection between the men than just comrades in the war?

In 1901 the Morley family are in Carrington, a suburb of Nottingham.  Ellen Morley is still alive at this point and George Alfred aged 6 years is their youngest child.  A search of FreeBMD tells us that Ellen Lettice Morley (thank goodness for the middle names being mentioned on the memorial card) died in Q4 (Oct, Nov, Dec) 1904 in Nottingham aged 37 years.  Charles Henry Morley marries Mary Ann Harrison (ah, ha!) in Q4 1905, also in Nottingham.  

The 1911 census should tell us how long a couple have been married and how many children they have had in total, how many are still alive and how many have died.  Unfortunately Charles and Mary Ann have not filled in these boxes correctly ... if you look back to the 1911 snip above you will see that the box immediately after the word married in Mary Ann's row has a red question mark in it - this looks as if it was added later as a query to the blank box.  They claim there are four children to this marriage and all are still living - yet only two children in the listing can have been born since 1905, Catherine and Arnold.  So where are the others?

A search of the burial and baptism records for Cudworth St John's Church shows a very sad story indeed.  

Burials at St John's Cudworth
MORLEY    William Henry Arnold    B    7    W 26    22mths    21/09/1907    189 Pontefract Road
MORLEY    Winifred Mary    B    7    W 26    9mths    24/12/1907    189 Pontefract Road
MORLEY    Catherine    B    12    W 8    2    21/11/1912    189 Pontefract Road
MORLEY    Marjorie Edith    B    12    W 8    2mths    06/09/1917    181 Pontefract Road
MORLEY    George Alfred    B    12    W 8    2    25/01/1923    181 Pontefract Road

The addresses of all the above burials fit the Morley family addresses that we know from the CWGC entry and the 1911 census. William Henry Arnold Morley died in September 1907 aged 22 months, so he was born around November 1905, rather close to the marriage of Charles and Mary Ann.  There is a William Henry A Morley born in Nottingham registration district at the right time. Winifred Mary died in December 1907 aged 9 months, making her born in March 1907.  There is a Winifred Mary Morley born in Barnsley in Q2 (Apr, May, Jun) 1907 who fits.  So these are the other two children born to Charles and Mary Ann who are not on the census return.
A snip from the FreeBMD website showing five births, surname Morley, mmn Harrison, between 1913 and 1920.
FreeBMD results as described

Continuing we see that Catherine Morley dies in November 1912 aged 2 years, this is the older of their two surviving children on the census.  Later a Marjorie Edith dies aged 2 months in 1917 and a George Alfred dies in 1923 aged 2 years (so born 1920 to 1921).  

It is possible, after 1911, to search the birth records on FreeBMD cross referencing Surname with mother's maiden name.  Putting in Morley and Harrison and restricting the search to 1911 to 1930 in the Barnsley area brings back five children born between 1913 and 1920. 

There is Marjorie born Sept Q 1917 and George A born Sept Q 1920.  Plus three other children, Herbert, Francis and Ralph.  Thank goodness, at least some of Charles and Mary Ann's children appear to have survived! 

A quick look in the St John's Cudworth, baptism records confirms the above are all Charles' children.  

I do find it very sad that Charles named his last son after his son who was killed in the war and whose memorial card started off this story, and that little George Alfred only lived a couple of years himself.  A double whammy for the family and after so many other losses.

Going back to the elder George Alfred Morley very luckily his Army Service Records survived the blitz and are available on Ancestry.  He enlisted in October 1915 and appears to have arrived in France in April 1916.  We now know he was 5' 8" tall and weighed 136 lbs, that's less than 10 stone, so he was a bit on the skinny side although the record also states that his physical development was good.   He seems to have joined the 13th Yorks and Lancaster (1st Barnsley Pals) later than many others, his regimental number bears this out, it is 13/1482.  He goes directly to France whereas the rest of the regiment had a period in Egypt first.
A handwritten snip from Army Records, three columns, description, place and date.  Explained in text below.
Snip from George Alfred Morley's Casualty Form (from Ancestry)

We know he died on 1 August of 1916, but the records above show that he was wounded on 1 July 1916, which was the first day of the Battle of the Somme. He was transferred to the 12 Sty Hosp, at St Pol which must be the No.12 Stationary Hospital we noted from his CWGC entry.  I am not sure what the actual nature of his wounds were - but could that note on the 2 July say Shell Wo Head?  A head wound caused by a shell fragment maybe?  If so he was indeed dangerously wounded as it states on 4 July.  Despite some improvement in the first few days he died of his wounds on 1 August in that same hospital.

A letter in his records gives us every clue we need to the reason why his memorial card was kept by SG's grandfather.  
Pre-printed form with hand writing additions - Charles Morley's name and address are given and then there is a note which is quoted in the text.
A snip from the letter from the War Office to the Officer in Charge of Infantry Records at York (from Ancestry)
All of George Alfred Morley's effects and his medals are to be passed to his father, "with the exception of a pocket watch & contents, a wrist watch and letters which should be forwarded to Miss Amelia Harrison, 16 Charles Street, Cudworth, Barnsley". 

Oh, my!  Amelia is SG's grandfather's sister!  She and George Alfred Morley must have been sweethearts.  Oh, dear, I'm starting to bubble up now, excuse me ....

George Alfred's British War Medal and Victory Medal were sent to his father in 1921.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

World War One Soldier's Story - William Huddlestone, his medals and his Police Career

The week before last the OH surprised me with photos of a completely new War Memorial, yes, I know most men bring their wives flowers or chocolate, but photos are cheaper, don't wilt or shed and don't make you fat - so there is something to be said for them.  Plus, given my current obsession with War Memorials it was a very nice present indeed.
A colour photo of the inside of a church - to the right of the pulpit and organ is a five sectioned wooden panelled structure on the wall.
The Wesleyan Methodist Church on Hunningley Lane, Stairfoot, Barnsley.
The Roll of Honour is on the right beyond the pulpit and organ.

This picture shows the inside of the Church at Stairfoot - I went with the OH the following day to take more photos as the pictures he had taken although tantilising were not clear enough to make out the names of the men on the memorial.  As I got up really close to the Roll of Honour I saw that each panel had around 50 names, each with rank, regiment and if applicable cause of death and medals awarded.  Click here to go to a page where you can download a full list.
Just six of the names on the Roll of Honour - Huddleston, Hughes x4 (that must be another story) and Hodson.
William Huddleston(e)'s Entry on the Roll of Honour

This entry caught my eye as you don't often read about someone being awarded a Silver Medal from the King of Montenegro.  To be honest I didn't even know where Montenegro was at that point.    William Huddleston, of the 16th King's Royal Rifles, Lieutenant and Quartermaster, Military Cross and that Silver Medal.  I couldn't wait to look him up when I got home!
Montenegro, sandwiched between Bosnia & Herzegovina and Albania
on the coast of the Adriatic Sea (from Google Maps)
So, Montenegro is in the Balkans ... I know all about them from my OU studies ... or at least I thought I did.  Look, there's Sarajevo where the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated in June 1914 and Serbia who were thought responsible.  I wonder what William Huddleston(e) was doing there?  Incidently it seems there should be an e on Huddlestone - but it is missing on the Stairfoot Roll of Honour.

I soon found William Huddlestone in the 1911 census on Ancestry.  Aged 28 he was a boarder with a family in Stairfoot, his occupation was Police Constable and he was born in Rosedale, Yorkshire.  Backtracking I found him in 1891 aged 8 at home in Pickering, North Yorkshire with his widowed mother Sarah, a brother Thomas and a sister Lily.  I could not find him in 1901 and had my suspicions that he may have served in the Army before the First World War - many policemen were ex-Army at that time.

On Find My Past, in the British Army Service records I found the very man - William Huddlestone, born in Rosedale enlisting in the Yorkshire Regiment on 1 December 1899 in Pickering.  He was 18 years old and had been a Farm Labourer.  He was 5' 8.75" tall, weight 141 llbs, chest size 33.5", with a fresh complexion, brown eyes and light brown hair.  He had tattoo marks on his left fore arm. 
Pinkish paper headed Military History Sheet - it lists William's service in various countries, see text below.
Part of William's Military History sheet (from Find My Past)
William's service record shows him in South Africa from June 1900 to March 1902 - that's why I couldn't find him in the census!  Military Campaign Medal Rolls on Ancestry confirm that he was awarded the King's South Africa Medal with clasps for 1901 and 1902 and the Queen's South Africa Medal with clasps for the Cape Colony and the Orange Free State.  He then served in India for a year and half, Somaliland for just under a year - he gets another medal for this - then a quick trip home in 1904 for just three months.  Off to India again for another year and a half and back to South Africa in February 1906 for nearly two years then he is transferred into the Reserve in December 1907. 
Similar medals to the ones William was awarded (back and front)
King's and Queen's South Africa Medals (from NorthEast Medals)
In a newspaper cutting from 1935 found on Find My Past reporting on William's police career I see that he was in the Cape Town Police for a while before returning to England in 1908.  I am not sure how this fits with his stated military service - does it mean he was in the Police whilst he was in the Army?  Anyway, he had lots of experience so on his return he joined the North Riding Police and then transferred to the West Riding Force, to be stationed at Stairfoot.  Which brings us nicely back to the 1911 census we have already seen.

His presence on a Wesleyan Reform Methodist Roll of Honour suggests he followed that persuasion of religion, so it is not surprising that I can't find his marriage in the West Yorkshire Parish records on Ancestry.  However a William Huddlestone marries an Ethel Ambler in the first quarter of 1914 in Barnsley (found on FreeBMD) ... this might be our man.  If so there are four daughters born to the couple, Ethel in 1915, Hilda in 1917, Margaret in 1920 and Dorothy in 1921, all but Margaret (Doncaster) registered in Barnsley.  This information fits with the newspaper cutting again ... "on rejoining the police after the war he was sergeant at Harrogate for 15 months, from there he went to Goldthorpe in the Doncaster division and later to Royston (which is in Barnsley) as Inspector". 

So what did he do in the First World War ... the same newspaper cutting, it's from the Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer 30 December 1935 by the way, states that, "during the Great War he served with the King's Royal Rifles", well that tallies with the entry on the Roll of Honour, "and the Tank Corps, rising to the rank of Captain."  His service records, even if they had survived the blitz, would no longer have been filed with the ones on Ancestry as they would have been moved when he became an officer.  This leaves me scratting around looking for little clues to put together to try to find out what he did in the war.
William Huddlestone's Medal Card (from Ancestry)
William's Medal Card, above, shows that he was a Warrant Officer First Class in the King's Royal Rifle Corps and then was commissioned on 20 August 1917.  The Roll of Honour says he won the Military Cross - this is a medal for officers so he must have won that after he was commissioned. On the reverse of the medal card is an address - 9 Burngreave Road, Sheffield.  Back to that invaluable newspaper cutting ... "He was for three years Inspector at Sheffield".  Ah, ha! So at the time they were distributing the British War Medal and Victory Medals, in around 1919 to 1921 judging by other records I have seen, William Huddlestone was already living in Sheffield.  

Not having Service records for such an interesting character is very frustrating so I tried a search on the new London Gazette website - I don't know what is going on a the moment but Find My Past's site is coming in for a lot of criticism for being dreadful since its revamp and I found the new London Gazette search much harder than the old one.  It seems that new technology is NOT the answer to everything!

10 April 1918 "W Huddlestone, from temp Qr-Mr and Hon Lt, a Serv Bn., K.R.Rif. C., to be temp Lt. 8 Jan 1918."  Translated I think this means he was still in the King's Royal Rifle Corps in early 1918 and his honorary rank of Lieutenant was being made into a temporary one.  Qr-Mr must be Quartermaster, as mentioned on the Roll of Honour.

10 Oct 1918 "Temp. Lt. W Huddlestone to be Bn. Equip. Offr., and to be actg. Capt. while so empld.  23 Aug 1918."  Unfortunately the regimental heading is missing, there's a bit torn out of the page, but the officers below are Tank Engineers so maybe William has moved to the Tank Corps now. 

7 February 1919 " Tank Corps (Equipment Branch). The undermentioned temp Lts (actg. Capts.) to be temp. Capts.: - 19 October 1918 W Huddlestone, H.N. Fearnley."  William is definitely in the Tank Corps now - but it doesn't sound like role at the front - more in stores and admin.

I can't find any mention of his Military Cross which the newspaper says he won for capturing a German gun and gun team ... but ...
Citation from the London Gazette 9 March 1917 pp.2448-9

Here's the citation for his Montenego Medal!  Won whilst he was the Company Serjeant Major of the King's Royal Rifle Corps.  Interestingly I was told recently that the 16th KRRC was raised from the Church Lads Brigade.  Maybe his connections with the church at Stairfoot influenced his choice of regiment.
The Montenegrin Silver Medal for Bravery (from LiveAuctioneers)
That's pretty!  I don't actually think it means he was in Montenegro though.  I'm getting the impression that the King of Montenegro was one of our allies and presented medals as recommended ... more research needed.

William Huddlestone was promoted to Superintendent in 1927 and in 1935 was in charge of the Doncaster Division of the West Riding Police Force.  In December 1935 he was appointed Chief of the Criminal Investigation Department of the Force at Wakefield.

He was awarded an MBE in the Coronation Honours List in 1937 while he was the Chief Superintendent of the West Riding Constabulary.  Yorkshire Evening Post 11 May 1937.

His claim to fame on retirement in February 1939 is that Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, mentioned him in a book.  "We were on the same ship out East, and apparently he had occasion to remember a Yorkshireman 'telling off' some natives in very plain language, and he explained how and why in one of his books".  The cutting where this is mentioned is from the Evening Telegraph of 1 February 1939.

This is not the end of William's story though - war broke out again in September 1939 and you wouldn't have expected him to fail to volunteer.  He would have been in his late 50's by now but he was appointed to the Local Defence Volunteers.  This time we get a photo.

Yorkshire Evening Post 21 May 1940 (from Find My Past Newspapers)
Of course we know the Local Defence Volunteers better as Dad's Army!  The write up notes that William Huddlestone had 10 police and military medals ... I think I'd need a bigger blog post to get them all in if I could find mention of them all. 

Well done him!  Not bad for a farm labourer from Pickering!

William dies on 3 March 1963 at Pinderfields Hospital and his widow Ethel survives him.  He leaves a will and his Probate record on Ancestry records his home address and the amount he left.  I wonder who got the medals?