Welcome to my blog......

The purpose of this blog is to remember the fallen heroes of the Great War, whose names are recorded on the memorial plaque situated in St Barnabas Church, New Whittington, Chesterfield.

To mark the centenary of World War 1 I aim to research all of the men on the memorial. I hope to ensure that the brave men who gave their lives for their country 100 years ago are remembered and each man's story told.

I would love to hear from anyone who may have information regarding the men; photos, letters or passed down memories. Any descendents are most welcome to contact me and I will provide copies of the research that I have undertaken.

"They shall not grow old, as we that are left to grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them"

For The Fallen,
Laurence Binyon September 1914.

Sunday, 9 August 2015

9th AUGUST 1915


On the 9th August 1915 the village of New Whittington lost three of its young men in one tragic day.

The men all served with the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters. 

Between the three men they left two widows and four children were left fatherless.  Mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters were all left bereft.  The community would be realising the stark consequences of this war on that little village in Derbyshire called New Whittington.

The stories of the men can be read by clicking on each mans name -

Corporal Francis Maskery

Private Norman Croaysdill

Private John James Kirk

 
 
lest we forget x
 
 


FRANCIS MASKERY

FRANCIS MASKERY


Corporal 12590

9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters Regiment

Killed In Action - 9th August 1915


Whilst researching Francis I have been fortunate to have made contact with his Great Grand daughter who has very kindly written an account on Francis and his life and also added some photographs of the family which she is happy to be posted on this blog.....

"Francis Maskery

Francis Maskery was a very tall man with broad shoulders.  He stood 6ft 3in in his stocking feet and had to bend his head to get through the cottage door (his wife, Hilda who was about 5ft tall just stood above his elbow).  Francis had golden, ginger thick hair, a fair complexion and a moustache.

He was the son of William Maskery and Mary (Swift) and had many brothers and sisters.  His childhood was spent in an old farmhouse on the edge of Binkley Wood, near Chesterfield.  He worked as a labourer at the ironworks.

When he was 20 years old he got a young girl pregnant, this was Hilda Buck.  Hilda was only 14 years old but the couple were married.  Hilda Buck and Francis Maskery were married on 4th December 1905 at Chesterfield Register Office.  Hilda lied about her age saying that she was 17 years old.  The couple lived with Hilda's sister and her husband, the Leggets at the back of a shop in Glumangate, Chesterfield.  Their daughter, Voilet was born on 7th July 1906 at these premises.

When Violet was still a baby the couple got a house on London Street, New Whittington, Nr Chesterfield.  Francis became a coal face worker at the pit which was very hard work.  Emily, the couples next child was born on 24th December 1907 and the third child Ivy was born on 6th May 1909.  Hilda was only just 18 years old and had three daughters" 

by The Great Grand Daughter of Francis Maskery

Meet the Maskery family....

Francis was born on 7th December 1883 (1) at Binkley Hendley near West Handley, Derbyshire.  He was the son of William and Mary Maskery. 

William Maskery and Mary  Swift married on 25th December 1876 at Staveley Parish Church. Their first daughter Maud Isabella was born in 1878, followed by Walter in 1880.  In 1881 the Maskery family were living at Springwell in the parish of Staveley.  William head of the house worked as a shoeing smith for the colliery.  Next to be born was another son, named Robert Coulter he was born around 1882 and then came Francis in 1883.  A daughter named Clara Ann was born in 1885 followed by Minnie Elizabeth in 1887 and Mary Alice in 1889.  William jnr was next born on valentines day 1891.

Entry in Handley CofE school log book
www.findmypast.co.uk
Francis started school on 8th April 1889, he went to Handley Church of England School.

By the 1891 census the Maskery household at Binkley was very cramped; William aged 32 and Mary aged 33 had eight children to feed.  The ages ranged from 13 years to 2 months old.  The home they lived in had just four rooms; a two up, two down. 

Changes for the family by 1901....

Ten years on and William and Mary were still living at Binkley.  There were three new members of the family; Lily May aged 6, Ivy Gertrude aged 4 and John Cyril aged 2 years old.  Robert was now working, employed as a coal miner, Minnie, Mary and William were all at school. 

Maud Maskery had left home and married Henry Isaac Vickers in 1897, on the 1901 census the Vickers family were living at 33 Long Row in Unstone.  Maud had four young children; Harry, Wilfred, Hedley and Ethel.

Walter was boarding at West Handley, he was working as a coal miner below ground, still single he was 21 years of age.  Clara had also left the family home and was in service .  She was employed as a general domestic servant by Thomas Windle a general under manager at one of the local mines. 

Where was Francis?....

Service record Francis Maskery
www.findmypast
Francis Maskery doesn't appear on the 1901 census.  Further investigation finds that on 25th February 1901 Francis had enlisted with the Royal Marines.  He had signed his papers at Chesterfield, we will never know the reasons why, was it on a whim or his boyhood dream?

Interestingly he gives his date of birth as 20th December 1882, making him nearly one year older than his true age.  His real age was only just 17 years old, however that would have been old enough to join up without his parents consent, so the reason for this is unknown.

Francis progressed well through his training, he passed his examinations including his swimming test at the recruitment depot at Deal in Kent on 10th July 1901.  On 12th September 1901 Francis Private 10718, was transferred to Plymouth, his general character was described as "Good". 

Francis embarked on the Hibernia on 16th August 1902, over the next years Francis appears to change.  His character is now documented as "in diff" (indifferent).  However, at the same time his ability is stated as "V G" (very good).

Service record
www.findmypast.co.uk
Francis returned to the naval base at Plymouth in the summer of 1903 but by 1904 things appear to have gone downhill for him.  On 31st March 1904 Private 10718 F Maskery was discharged "having been convicted by civil power of theft".




More telling in his demise are the final comments "General character Bad".  What had Francis done to earn himself this title, I have unfortunately not found out at this time.

Francis must have decided to return home to his family in Chesterfield.  He met the young lady called Hilda Buck, she was the daughter of Thomas and Mary Anne Buck.  Thomas ran the Rising Sun public house in New Whittington.  Hilda was one of nine children, she was born on 29th July 1891.

Matrimony....

Francis and Hilda were married on 4th December 1905; Francis was a few days under 21 years old, Hilda was 14 years old.  They hid the age difference by getting married at the nearest town's register office in Chesterfield, not the local church.  Hilda was recorded as 17 years of age, a much more accepted age for marriage in 1905.  There were two witnesses at the ceremony; W Mitchell and M Maskery (2).

The newlyweds moved in with Hilda's sister Edith and her husband Jesse Leggett.  They lived in the town centre on Glumangate, which was were Hilda and Francis' first daughter Violet was born on 7th July 1906.

Not long after, the couple made their own home on London Street, New Whittington, close to Hilda's parents pub in the same village.  Two more little girls followed not long after; Emily on 24th December 1907 and Ivy on 6th May 1909. 

1911 the eve of war....

Francis and Hilda were living at 56 London Street, New Whittington.  Francis was aged 27 years old, Hilda was 22 years old on the census return.  The three girls were Violet aged 4 years, Emily 3 and Ivy 1.

The Maskery household was slightly smaller by 1911; William snr was still working as a colliery blacksmith.  He was 52 years old and the census tells that he and Mary had borne 14 children in total; 11 were still living and 3 had died.  There were only three children living with the couple in 1911; William jnr a 20 year old coal miner, Ivy Gertrude aged 14 and John Cyril aged 12 years old.  The family lived at 30 Doe Lea.

Maud and Henry Vickers had moved home to live at West Handley, Henry was now working as a horseman on a farm.  The family had also grown in numbers and Maud has eight children; Harry, Wilfred, Hedley, Ethel, Arthur, Joseph, Ivan and baby Grace.

Walter had married Fanny Hodgkinson on 8th April 1901 at Newbold.  On the 1911 census the family were living at West Handley with three children; Nesbith May, Mary Alice, Walter and Bertha.  Walter was working as a coal miner.

Robert married Alice Maud Allen in 1903.  They now had three children; Clive, Robert jnr and baby Gladys.  Like his siblings the family lived at West Handley and he worked as a coal miner hewer.

Clara married widower George Parkinson Galley in 1908.  He had a 7 year old daughter named Ethel Elizabeth by his first wife Elizabeth (Elizabeth died in 1906).  Clara and George soon had a daughter of their own, little Marjorie Isabel was born in 1909.  By 1911 the family were living at 2 Britannia Buildings, George worked as a joiner.

Minnie married Harold William Goodhand on 9th July 1907 at Swanwick, Derby.  In 1911 Minnie and Harold were living at 76 Church Street, Old Whittington.  They had no children however a daughter Evelyn was born later that year.  Harold worked as a groom and gardener.

Mary Alice married Arthur Beard in 1908.  Arthur worked as a blacksmiths striker at the colliery.  By 1911 the couple had two children; Norman and Dorothy May.  They lived at 126 Doe Lea, near Chesterfield.

William jnr married on 18th May 1912.  His bride was Evelyn Harston and they married at Ault Hucknall, Mansfield. 

Lilly May was aged 18 years old on the 1911 census and was working for Robert Else at domestic duties.  Robert had his own business as a mineral water manufacturer.  They lived at Lea Wood, Matlock.  On 31st May 1911 Lily married insurance agent James William Kirk.  James was a local lad, he lived at 96 Church Street, Old Whittington.

Francis' war....

Francis served with the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  His service records have not survived but a newspaper article states that Francis enlisted "soon after war broke out".  The rank that Francis took of Corporal shows that despite of him being a little wild in his youth, Francis had shown the Army that he was responsible enough to lead men.  His previous records in the Royal Marines stated that his ability was "Very Good" and so it appears that Francis now aged 33 years old was living up to that statement.  Francis was known as Corporal F Maskery 12590.
 
The 9th Battalion was a service battalion, it formed in Derby in August 1914 and set sail from Liverpool in July 1915, arriving in Suvla Bay on 7th August 1915. 
 

Derbyshire Times 13th November 1915 p8
The newspaper article stated that Francis left England at the end of June 1915.  Whether he sailed out with the 9th Battalion is unknown as his last letter home was dated 5th August.  Tragically only days later on 9th August 1915 he was reported missing in action.  The battalion were forced to evacuate from Gallipoli in December 1915.

The war diaries for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters during the time period relevant to Francis' service are missing however searching the internet I have managed to locate a post which gives details from the 33rd Brigade War Diaries which includes an account of the 9th August 1915 for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  The article can be found here.

The diary states that the 9th Battalion left at 4am on 9th August to take up their position in line at Damak Jelik Bair by 6am.  They were soon caught up in sniper fire but were not able to return that fire.  By 15.30 that day many of the battalion had been forced back; A and B Coys were both under Captain Squires; "He was at once killed and his left platoon decimated as the Turks had pushed a larger force about 2 Coys into the gap and began to open a heavy enfilade fire on both A and B Coysref from the above link to the post on the WW1 invision forum.
 

Hilda wrote to the War Office and they informed her that Francis was reported as wounded in action on 9th August 1915.  As late as November 1915 Hilda was still frantically trying to locate her husband and ascertain his well being.  Sadly the death certificate for Corporal Francis Maskery regimental number 12590 gives his date of death as 9th August 195; aged 29 years old; "assumed to have died" (3). 
 
 
 
Francis is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey, panel 150 to panel 152.  He has no known grave.   

 
 
Corporal Francis Maskery was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.
 
Life went on....
 
Hilda and the girls probably read the last letter Francis penned over and over.  The words stating that "he thought it would be a long time before they met again" would be sadly reflected upon.
 
Emily, Ivy & Violet Maskery
Credit & thanks to C. Beadle
 
Photo credit & thanks
to C Beadle
Life however had to go on, Hilda had three little girls to look after, Violet 9, Ivy 8 and Emily 7 years old.  Life must have been a struggle for such a young widow; Hilda had just reached her 24th birthday when Francis died. 
 
Hilda did become pregnant again and on 21st November 1918 another daughter named Grace was born.  The birth was registered as Grace Maskery, mothers maiden name Buck.
 
A more settled time eventually arrived for Hilda and she married Isaac Goodwin in 1925, ten years after the death of Francis.  Hilda and Isaac had a son named Eric but sadly he died at only three months old.
 
Hilda and Isaac lived in Hollingwood and she died there on 26th December 1964 aged 73 years old. 
 
 

Derbyshire Times 19th March 1937
page 26



 
William and Mary Maskery, Francis' parents lost two sons in close succession of each other; John in 1914 and Francis in 1915. 
 

 
They remained living at Doe Lea.  The couple celebrated their Diamond Wedding Anniversary in 1937 and the event was mentioned in the local newspaper. 
 
It told how  the couple had lost Francis and Cyril (John) and of William's career as a blacksmith.
 
Mary died in 1944 and William died on 20th December 1945. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Maud and Henry Vickers had four more children; William, Millicent, Cyril and in 1918 the final son named John Francis Vickers (possibly taking his middle name from his Uncle Francis Maskery).  Maud died in 1958.

Walter died in 1960 aged 80 years old.

Robert Coulter died in 1958 aged 76 years old.

Clara and George Galley may have had two more daughters; Edna in 1914 and Dorothy in 1919.  George died in 1943 and Clara died in 1977 aged 92 years old.

Minnie and Harold Goodhand travelled and appear on the incoming passenger lists from Quebec, Canada.  They arrived in the UK on 7th July 1950, their given address was 113 Langer Lane, Chesterfield.  Harold died in 1964, Minnie died in 1972 aged 85 years old.

Mary and her husband Arthur Beard may have had four more children.  Mary died only one year after her father, in 1946 she was aged 57 years old. 

William jnr and Evelyn had at least two sons; Kenneth born 27th August 1912 and Archibald in 1915.  William enlisted with the Grenadier Guards during WW1.  His service record has survived, the address given is 30 Doe Lea.  He enlisted at White City on 12th February 1915 but he was discharged "on medical grounds" on 19th August 1915.  No further details are given in the service records.  He was discharged just 10 days after his elder brother Francis had been killed in Gallipoli. 

William died in 1975 aged 84 years old.  Evelyn died a year later in 1976 aged 85 years old.

Lily and James Kirk may have a daughter named Phyliss born in 1912.  I can find one death for a Lily May Kirk registered at Ilkeston in 1976.  If this is correct then Lily would have been 80 years old, but these details may be incorrect without registration certificates. 

Ivy married Joseph Shorthouse in 1917.  They may have three sons; Gordon, Ivan and Joseph.  Ivy Shorthouse died in 1978 aged 81 years old. 

Derbyshire Times 29th July 1914 p3
John Cyril got a job working for Sheepbridge Coal & Iron Company at the Glapwell colliery.  He was employed as a rope boy.  Tragedy struck on 28th July 1914 when he was found crushed inbetween some tubs. 
 
The report from the "Coal mining accidents and deaths" website states -  
He was walking along an endless rope haulage road which was level at this point, the speed of the rope being 24. miles an hour. He met an empty set of five tubs which got off the way a few yards in front of him and he ran forward to get behind it. The front tub sided over and he was crushed by it against the pack.
 
John Cyril was only 15 years of age.  He was buried on 31st July 1914 at Ault Hucknall.  His death was also noted in the Derbyshire Times on 29th July 1914.

 
*****
 
Special thanks to C Beadle for the written details,
photographs and documents she
provided for use in this remembrance
of Corporal Francis Maskery.
 
*****
 
 
If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Francis Maskery or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.
 
I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.
 
Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.

****
  
The Great Grand daughter of Francis is editor of a magazine called The Maskery Magazine, for anyone interested a copy of the magazine is kept at Chesterfield Local Studies Library.  The magazine includes many interesting articles, one of which tells the story of Francis' brothers WW1 service.  Feel free to email me and I will pass any messages on to her.

She also kindly provided a copy of the birth certificate for Francis Maskery (1), marriage certificate for Hilda Buck & Francis Maskery (2) and death certificate for Corporal Francis Maskery (3). 
 
Ref and further reading  -
 
Census
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times
CWGC  http://www.cwgc.org
School admission books @ Find My Past
Service record @ Find My Past
 
www.ancestry.co.uk
www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
www.findmypast.co.uk
 
http://www.1914-1918.net/notts.htm

Coal mining history resource centre -

http://www.cmhrc.co.uk








JOHN JAMES KIRK

 

JOHN JAMES KIRK

 
 

Private 22505

9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Killed in action - 9th August 1915 

John James Kirk being the first born son was named after his father John James Kirk senior.  Born around 1891 he was baptised on 13th December that same year; son of John and Martha Kirk.
 
John Kirk senior and Martha Dean had married in 1888.  They soon had a little baby girl named Alice Elizabeth, born a year later.  The 1891 census shows the young Kirk family living on the High Street at Whittington (John junior was not recorded so we can assume Martha would have been pregnant on the census night).  John snr was employed as a railway fireman. 
 
John James jnr was the next child born after Alice; followed by George Henry in 1896 and Fred in 1900.  They were living at 23 Cross Wellington Street in New Whittington on the 1901 census.  The family were doing well for themselves, John snr had been promoted to railway engine driver. 
 
Another sister was born in 1903 named Mary Hannah and then in 1905 Edna Kirk made the family complete.  By 1911 the family had moved home again to Devonshire Road, New Whittington.  John snr was still employed as an engine driver for Midland Railway, John jnr was 19 years old and worked at the colliery as a loader, George aged 14 years old worked as a pony driver at the colliery.  Alice was 21 and living with her paternal grandmother Mary Kirk at 53 High Street, she was working as a general servant.
 
Wedding bells....
 
John jnr married Olive Waddoups at Whittington on 25th May 1914.  The couple had a son named Jack.  He was just 10 months old when he lost his father to the Great War.
 
John James's war.....
 
John served with the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters, alongside the other local men; Norman Croaysdill and Francis Maskery.  John's service records have not survived but a newspaper article states that John enlisted in the January of 1915 and left for the Dardanelles on 1st July 1915.
 
The 9th Battalion was a service battalion, it formed in Derby in August 1914 and set sail from Liverpool in early July 1915, arriving in Suvla Bay on 7th August 1915.
 
If John sailed out with the 9th Battalion then tragically he only saw 2 days with the British Expeditionary Force for he was killed on 9th August 1915.  The battalion were forced to evacuate from Gallipoli in December 1915.
 
The war diaries for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters during the time period relevant to John's service are missing however searching the internet I have managed to locate a post which gives details from the 33rd Brigade War Diaries which includes an account of the 9th August 1915 for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  The article can be found here.

The diary states that the 9th Battalion left at 4am on 9th August to take up their position in line at Damak Jelik Bair by 6am.  They were soon caught up in sniper fire but were not able to return that fire.  By 15.30 that day many of the battalion had been forced back; A and B Coys were both under Captain Squires; "He was at once killed and his left platoon decimated as the Turks had pushed a larger force about 2 Coys into the gap and began to open a heavy enfilade fire on both A and B Coysref from the above link to the post on the WW1 invision forum.
 
John was reported missing in action on 9th August 1915.  He was 24 years old. 


John is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey, panel 150 to panel 152.  He has no known grave.  

 
John was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.
 
Derbyshire Times - 11th September 1915
page 8
 
 
Life went on....
 
Olive and Jack found themselves without John; a husband and a father.  I wonder if John ever got to meet his little son Jack?

Register of soldiers effects - John J Kirk
www.ancestry.co.uk
Olive was awarded £2 6s 5d pension to compensate for John's death which rose to £3 in 1919.

Derbyshire Times - 5th June 1936 p13
 
Having researched the records available I suspect that the newspaper article which told of the marriage of a Jack Kirk to Miss May Shemwell on 30th May 1936 may well show happy times followed in Jack's life. 
 
The couple married at St Barnabas Church, New Whittington and the bride wore a white satin beaute dress with veil and a coronet of orange blossom.

The article states that Jack was the son of the late J Kirk and Mrs W Henson.  Indicating that Olive may have also found happiness in the form of a Mr Henson.


I have found a possible death registered for an Olive Henson in 1978 and for Jack Kirk two years earlier in 1976.  However, as I have concluded these facts from indexes only I would love to hear from any family members who might be able to confirm or correct my assumptions. 


John snr and Martha lived at 3 London Street at the time of John jnr's death.  They had a few more house moves; living at Handley Road until a few months before John's death in 1937 when they moved to 175 Prospect Road, Old Whittington. 
 
Derbyshire Times - 9th July 1937 page 21


 
John died on 4th July 1937 aged 72 years old.  He had worked for the L.M.S Railway Company until he retired around 1930.  The obituary remembers the son whom "he lost in the Great War". 
 
Probate entry for John James Kirk snr 1937
 
Derbyshire Times - 23rd June 1939
page 21
 
John's probate was claimed by his son George Henry Kirk and another man named Alfred Wass.  John's estate amounted to £1439 5s 4d.
 
 
Martha died a few years after John in June1939 aged 71 years old.  Her obituary included a photograph and told of her work for the Red Cross during the Great War and of how many charities have benefitted from her kind work.
 
 
 
 
Alice may be the daughter who is reported in John snr's obituary as having died a few years ago. 
 
George Henry  also served during WW1.  He joined the Royal Horse Royal Field Artillery on 15th June 1915.  George used the skills he would have gained whilst working as a pony driver at the colliery.  He was posted to the Veterinary Hospital in 1916 and took qualifications as a shoeing smith whilst with them.  His rank was Private 30255. 
 
Probate entry for George Henry Kirk 1945
After the war George may have married Edith Gadsby in 1932.  George died on 8th November 1945 aged 49 years old.  He was living at 262 Handley Road.  His probate was to Frederick Gadsby and Stephen Cresswell.  Frederick may have been brother in law to George.
 
Fred  died in 1949 aged just 48 years old.
 
Mary Hannah Trueman lived to the grand age of 95 years old.  She married Alfred Hunt in 1929 and I believe had at least one daughter.
 
Edna  married Robert S Sadler in 1928.  She died in 1976 aged 67 years old.
 
****
 
If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on John James Kirk or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.
 
I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.
 
Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.

****
 
Ref and further reading  -
 
Census
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times
 
www.ancestry.co.uk
www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
www.findmypast.co.uk
 
http://www.1914-1918.net/notts.htm
 



NORMAN CROAYSDILL

NORMAN CROAYSDILL / SWEETING


Private 12552

9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters

Killed in action - 9th August 1915 

 
 
 
 
The inscription "N G Crossdill" refers to Norman Barlow Croaysdill, his birth was registered as Croaysdill in the early months of 1894.  He was baptised on 1st February 1894 at Staveley; the son of George William and Mary "Croysdill".  The spelling of the name seems to vary throughout his life, even the inscription on the memorial incorrectly spells Norman's surname and also gives the wrong middle initial as "G" instead of "B".

George and Mary married on 29th November 1890 at Staveley near Chesterfield.  Mary was the daughter of Thomas and Elizabeth Champion, born around 1872 in Temple Normanton.  George was born in 1871 at Belper, the son of John and Ann Croaysdill. 

Norman had an elder sister named Elizabeth born in 1891.  The census taken that year shows 2 month old Elizabeth and her parents living at 25 Devonshire Terrace, Barrowhill.  George was aged 20 years old and worked as a coal miner.  Mary was a young mum aged 19 years old.  A couple of years later in 1894 Norman was born. 
 
Marriage of Mary Croaysdill - Derbyshire Times 10th October 1896

By 1896 the Croaysdill family unit appears to have broken; Mary marries Thomas Gosling Sweeting on 8th October 1896 at The Parish Church, Chesterfield.  Mary and Thomas soon had their own family; Hannah was born on 11th July 1897 at Barrow Hill.  Gertrude Margaret was born in Harley, Rotherham on 22nd November 1899. 
 
By 1901 Mary and her new family (including Elizabeth her daughter from her first marriage) had moved back to the area and were living with Paul Champion (Mary's brother) and his family at 23 High Street, New Whittington.  Norman however is not listed as being with the family on the census night.  He may be with his maternal grandmother Lizzie Champion as there is a boy recorded as "son" named Norman Champion, whom I suspect is Norman Croaysdill.  They are living in Staveley on Devonshire Terrace.
 
1911 the eve of WW1....
 
The 1911 census shows Norman living with his mother Mary, his step father Thomas and half siblings at 125 High Street, New Whittington.  He is aged 17 years old and was working as an iron pipe worker.  He has six half siblings; Hannah 13, Gertrude 11, George 8, Charles 5, Harriett 3 and Daisy 11 months.
 
Norman's sister Elizabeth was living just a few minutes walk away at number 88 High Street where she worked as a servant for a baker named Mr Mark Robinson.
 
Norman's war....

Norman served with the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  His service records have not survived but a newspaper article states that Norman enlisted in the early stages of the war, August 1914.
 
The 9th Battalion was a service battalion, it formed in Derby in August 1914 and set sail from Liverpool in July 1915, arriving in Suvla Bay on 7th August 1915.
 
If Norman sailed out with the 9th Battalion then tragically he only saw 2 days with the British Expeditionary Force for he was killed on 9th August 1915.  The battalion were forced to evacuate from Gallipoli in December 1915.
 
The war diaries for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters during the time period relevant to Norman's service are missing however searching the internet I have managed to locate a post which gives details from the 33rd Brigade War Diaries which includes an account of the 9th August 1915 for the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters.  The article can be found here.

The diary states that the 9th Battalion left at 4am on 9th August to take up their position in line at Damak Jelik Bair by 6am.  They were soon caught up in sniper fire but were not able to return that fire.  By 15.30 that day many of the battalion had been forced back; A and B Coys were both under Captain Squires; "He was at once killed and his left platoon decimated as the Turks had pushed a larger force about 2 Coys into the gap and began to open a heavy enfilade fire on both A and B Coysref from the above link to the post on the WW1 invision forum.
 
Norman was reported missing in action on 9th August 1915.  He was 21 years old. 
 
 
Norman is remembered on the Helles Memorial in Turkey, panel 150 to panel 152.  He has no known grave.  
 
Derbyshire Times, 4th September 1915 page 4



Mary Sweeting was told of the death of her son by letter from another local lad named Tom Clewley.  Tom and Norman were both members of the 9th Battalion Sherwood Foresters and had served together in much of the fighting.

Derbyshire Times -  16th September 1915 page 8
 
 
Derbyshire Courier, 4th September 1915 page 1
 
The deaths of Norman and two other local New Whittington men was also reported on the front page of the Derbyshire Courier.  The other two men were Private William Ewart Jacklin and Private James Craig.
 
 
Norman was awarded the British War Medal, Victory Medal and 15 Star for his service.
 
Life went on....
 
Mary Sweeting remained living in New Whittington until her death in 1927.  Her husband Thomas Sweeting died in 1952.
 
Elizabeth the sister of Norman married Wilfred Morley in 1913.  She had four sons; Wilfred, Frank, Eric and Cyril and possibly two more daughters.  The family home was 71 Devonshire Avenue, New Whittington.  Elizabeth died in 1949, her husband Wilfred died in 1956.

The Sweeting half siblings -

Hannah married Albert Smith in 1919.  The couple had at least two sons; Thomas in 1921 and Arthur in 1925.  Hannah died in 1970 aged 73 years old.

Gertrude married George Folger in 1927.  She and George had four children; Nellie in 1928, Charles in 1930, Mavis in 1931 and Margaret in 1933.  Gertrude died in 1977, her husband George in 1968.

George Thomas Henry married Lily Fowkes in 1924.  They had two sons; George Ralph born in 1925.  The second named after his heroic uncle, Norman B born in 1927.  It must have been a devastating blow when aged only 1 year old in 1929 little Norman died.  George died in 1986 in Chesterfield.

Charles Henry married Gladys Hewitt in 1930.  They had a son Ronald in 1933 and a daughter Edna in 1935.  Charles died in 1979.

Daisy Agnes married William Wragg in 1931.  She died in 1961.

Harriett & Charlotte have been harder to trace, I have no definite facts at this time.
 
What became of Norman's father?....
 
George William Croaysdill appears to have deserted Mary and their two children and joined the army.  He enlisted with the Royal Artillery on 20th January 1893.  Norman would only be months old at this time.  Was the marriage ever annulled or were Mary and George ever divorced or did the marriage never actually take place?  I am afraid I cannot say at this time, but George joined up as "single" and gave his brother John Croaysdill as his next of kin. 
 
George spent a massive 21 years and 32 days serving with the colours.  He took examinations in shoemaking and was the regimental shoemaker for a time.  He was also a 1st Class Gunner.  He served in far way places such as; India and the sea port of Aden in Yemen.  His character was described as "exemplary".  George was eventually discharged on 18th February 1914. 
 
George did not settle for long in civilian life as the onset of World War beckoned.... on 22nd October 1914 George signed up again to serve and fight for his country.  George, 43 years old was now a Private in the Royal Garrison Artillery.  Once again he completed far beyond his required term, serving in France with the British Expeditionary Force from 13th December 1914 until 17th February 1919. 
 
Kelly's Directory 1925
There must have been some rest time for George during WW1 as on 29th September 1917 he married widow Annie Douce.  After his demobilisation in 1919 George set up home at Fritchley in Ambergate, Derby.  He is recorded in the Kelly's Directory of 1925 as being a boot and shoe maker. 
 
Derby Courier 16th April 1942

Annie died in 1938 and on 15th April 1942 George married Alice Parker at St Augustines Church, Ambergate.   Sadly only a year later on 3rd October 1943 George passed away suddenly at his home Orchard Cottage, Fritchley.  He was 72 years old and buried at Belper Cemetery.
 
Did George ever see his children Elizabeth and Norman again after he left in 1893?  Did he know that Norman was also serving in WW1?  Did he know that he survived the Great War but his young son wasn't so lucky? 
 
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If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Norman Croaysdill or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon or drop me an email.

I hope that I have not given details of living persons, if so please advise and I will remove immediately.
 

Please note all information has been taken from online indexes and sources.  Due to the sheer numbers of people to be researched I am unable to purchase vital event certificates to confirm my research.
 
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Ref and further reading -

Census
Parish registers
Medal rolls
Soldiers who died in the Great war
Register of soldiers effects
Newspaper articles - Derbyshire Times

www.ancestry.co.uk
www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk
www.findmypast.co.uk

http://www.1914-1918.net/notts.htm


http://www.derbytelegraph.co.uk/thousands-Derbyshire-men-joined-Foresters-war/story-20797185-detail/story.html

 

Saturday, 8 August 2015

ERNEST COOPER

ERNEST COOPER

Chunuk Bair (New Zealand Memorial) CWGC
 

Private 10/1448

3rd Wellington Regiment

Missing presumed dead 8th August 1915

 

 

Ernest Cooper had left New Whittington prior to the outbreak of World War 1, however his name was thankfully added to the St Barnabas Church Memorial to ensure that years on he is remembered by the community.  The Cooper family were to move far away from the little village of New Whittington, to both New Zealand and Canada.

 

Ernest was the second child of John Palfreyman Cooper and Fanny Cooper.  He was born on 25th April 1890 in New Whittington, near Chesterfield, Derbyshire. 

His father John Palfreyman Cooper was a well respected member of the Whittington community.  John worked for the Midland Railway as a locomotive engine driver.  The couple had one daughter when Ernest was born; named Jessie she was born around 1888.  Another son followed Ernest, born on 6th May 1894 named Harold.


According to the 1911 census John and Fanny Cooper only had the three children.  They were living at 99 Handley Road, New Whittington.  Jessie was 23 years old and worked as an elementary school teacher, Harold was 16 years old and worked as an apprentice cabinet maker.

Ernest was no longer living in the family home in 1911, he had travelled to New Zealand before the outbreak of WW1 in 1914.  Where or what Ernest was doing in between the 1901 census and December 1914 is not known at this time.

Ernest's adventure....

Service record Private E Cooper 10/1448
via


Ernest was living at Boundry Road, Wanganui on 15th December 1914 when he enlisted to serve with the New Zealand 3rd Wellington Regiment.  He had been working for the Wanganui Borough Council as a labourer prior to this date.

Ernest's war....

Ernest was now known as Private Cooper 10/1448, serving with "B" Coy of the 3rd Wellington Regiment.  Ernest had a very short time to learn the basic skills a soldier would need. He was attached to the No17 Transport group from 14th February 1915 until he embarked for Egypt on 27th March 1915.

Vitals for Ernest Cooper, Service Record
The service record tells that Ernest was tall chap at 6ft 2inches in height.  He had grey eyes, a fair complexion and light brown hair.  He was also a member of the Wanganui Defence Rifle Club on.

Ernest was admitted to the hospital ship whilst serving in Egypt from 7th May 1915 until 23rd May 1915.  He would then return to his comrades in the theatre of war.

The Wellington Regiment were part of a major offensive in Turkey which unfolded on 6th August 1915.  The Wellington Regiment were part of the attack named the Battle of Sari Bair.  The attack was carried out to capture Chunuk Bair.  The New Zealand Force commenced their advance in the early hours of 8th August to find that their target area was deserted, the Ottoman's had moved out during the night. 

Unfortunately peace did not reign long and the Turkish were soon back in place and began to attack the allies to regain Chunuk Bair.  The intense battle carried on for another 24 hours.  The New Zealand Force sustained heavy casualties.

Ernest was reported as missing in action and presumed dead on 8th August 1915.  Ernest was 26 years old.



Ernest is remembered at the Chunuk Bair Memorial, Panel 19.  He has no known grave.  The Chunuk Bair Memorial (New Zealand)commemorates those involved in the Battle of Sari Bair and other local operations.  It contains the names of over 850 men.  Interestingly the Chunuk Bair Cemetery where the memorial is located also contains 632 burials of Commonwealth soldiers killed between the dates of 6th and 8th August 1915.  The Turkish forces had buried these soldiers but only ten of the men are identified.  So it may be that Ernest is one of the 622 unnamed burials at the site also.

He was awarded the following medals for his service; 1914-1915 Star, British War Medal and the Victory Medal.

Life went on....

Jessie Cooper, the sister of Ernest left England shortly after the 1911 census.  She arrived in Canada in 1911 and married Robert Merle Halliday on 17th December 1913 at Sandwick, British Columbia.

The couple had at least one child; a son was born in 1920 named Thomas. 

In 1921 the family were still living in Sandwick.  Jessie was aged 35 years old.  Her husband Robert was 45 years old and is a farmer.  Thomas was aged just 11 months.

A few years later in 1924 the 23rd August edition of the Derbyshire Times back in England contained an article telling of the terrible accident in which Jessie and Robert had been involved.  The couple were travelling by car along with her brother in law, friend from New Whittington Mrs Cartwright and two children.  The car hit a freight train at a level crossing.  Jessie, Mrs Cartwright and the children were all badly burnt.  Robert suffered from 3 broken ribs.

Jessie died on 26th April 1936 at Sandwick, British Columbia, Canada. 

Harold Cooper also travelled to British Columbia a year later in 1912.  He joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force on 3rd August 1916.  Known as Private 1037626.

Harold Cooper WW1 service records
www.ancestry.co.uk

Harold had worked as a logger prior to WW1.  He was also a tall chap at 6ft 3 1/2 inches he would have been well suited to the job. 

After WW1 Harold can be found on the Canadian 1921 census.  He to is living at Sandwick, British Columbia and he is employed in the farming industry. 

There are two other members of the Cooper household in 1921; Harold's parents John and Fanny Cooper.

John & Fanny Cooper emigrated to Canada in 1919.  John had retired from the Midland Railway Company.  Their only remaining living children had also both emigrated over the previous years.  New Whittington probably held nothing for the Coopers to remain there any longer.

As far as I can see John and Fanny remained in Canada until their deaths.  Death certificates would need to be purchased to confirm their deaths; there is a death for Fanny Cooper on 14th June 1937 and John on 16th September 1940.

If you may be connected to this family or have any further information on Ernest Cooper or his family please do either leave comments via the pen icon below or drop me an email.

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Ref and further reading -

Census - British & Canadian www.ancestry.co.uk
Parish Registers

Military -
*New Zealand Service Records - http://archives.govt.nz/world-war-one  New Zealand WW1 service records can be viewed free of charge at the web address.
*Canadian Service Records - www.ancestry.co.uk

The Wellington Regiment http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Well.html

Battle of Sari Bair http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/saribair.htm
New Zealand Battle of Sari Bair http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-CowMaor-t1-body-d4-d2.html