Tuesday, 29 July 2014

World War One Soldier's Story - Crossland Barraclough

I've been adding photos taken by the Barnsley War Memorials Project Information Officer, Pete, in Barnsley Cemetery, to an index page for War Memorial Gravestones there.  I was intrigued that Crossland Barraclough's next of kin on his Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) entry was his mother, Amelia who lived in Wallsend-on-Tyne (that's how they wrote it!) That and his unusual name ... presumably a family name for a first name, but we will see.
 
Crossland Barraclough's CWGC entry (from the CWGC website)

My own grandmother was born in Wallsend in 1907.  There will be no connection between the two I'm sure, but simply the coincidence of the place attracted my attention.  Easy to distract from 'proper work', that's me, especially in the current heat!  It's 24 degrees in our dining room where I'm sitting typing this.  
Crossland is remembered on his father and sister's gravestone
in Barnsley Cemetery (photo by PS)
This is the photo that the quest began with and the inscription on the gravestone transcribed for you (by Pete) below:

In Loving Memory Of / Oswald / the dearly beloved husband of / Amelia Barraclough / who died Oct. 16th 1920 / aged 54 years / also Crossland, the only / beloved son of the above / who died from wounds / received in action in Palestine / May 2nd 1918, aged 24 years / also Millicent Edna / their daughter / who died in infancy / Peace Perfect Peace.

We can see that his father, Oswald, died in 1920.  So that means that the CWGC entry shown above was compiled after his death as in that he is referred to as 'the late'.  There is also a sister who 'died in infancy'.  Lots of clues.  But why did Amelia end up in Wallsend?
 
Crossland Barraclough's SDGW entry (from Ancestry)

Checking on Ancestry for Crossland's Soldier's Died in the Great War record I see that it appears he lived in Wallsend when he enlisted, but that he actually enlisted in London into the London Scottish Regiment.  This agrees with the CWGC entry.

Crossland's Army Service records do not appear to have survived and the Long, Long Trail website, which is usually very helpful about the movements of various regiments can only tell me that the 2/13th and 2/14th (County of London) Battalions arrived in Salonika in November 1916 and then moved to Egypt arriving in Alexandria on 5 July 1917.  The 2/14th (County of London) Battalion (London Scottish) moved to France on 30 May 1918, which is after Crossland's death.
Jerusalem War Cemetery entrance (from the CWGC)

He is buried in an individual grave in the Jerusalem War Cemetery, which, according to the CWGC, took in graves from battlefields and smaller cemeteries in the neighbourhood.  The new documentation on the CWGC site confirms that he was in the 2/14th London Battalion and that his mother paid for the addtional text "Awaiting a Higher Command" to be added to his stone.  The record for the Cemetery notes that the advance to Jerusalem took place in autumn 1917 and that the Allied forces formally entered the city on 11 December 1917.  

It is hard to say for sure how or when Crossland was injured (he died of wounds according to his SDGW entry), however looking at the other men buried in the same cemetery there are quite a lot from the London Scottish, the London Civil Service Rifles and the London Irish Rifles who were killed at the end of April and the beginning of May 1918 suggesting a battle of some kind.  A search of Wikipedia for the dates and area brought back a report on the attack on Shunet Nimrin and Es Salt in which the 60th London Division took part.  This is a very detailed report and I will let you go and read it yourselves!  It does seem likely that this was the action in which Crossland and his colleagues were killed and injured.  There were 1,116 casualties suffered by the London Division from a total of 1,649 British Empire casualties, including Anzac and Australian soldiers too.

The reason that this story caught my interest is the question why the family moved from Barnsley to Wallsend?  Another Google search on Crossland's unusual name brought back a listing on a War Memorial at St Peter's Church in Wallsend.  So he was also remembered in the area in which his mother was living in the 1920s.  I have sent an email to the group researching this memorial asking if they know anything about the family.

A general search on the Ancestry website gave me the information that Crossland Barraclough was baptised in Tankersley on 17 June 1894, his parents (as we know) being Oswald and Amelia Barraclough.   As this combination of names is very unusual I have confidence that we have found the right family.
1891 census snip for 23 Sheffield Road, Hoyland Nether (from Ancestry)
Oswald Barraclough married Amelia Crossland in the September quarter of 1890 in the Barnsley Registration District, probably in St Edward's, Tankersley or St Peter's Church in Hoyland Nether as that is the area where the young couple are living in 1891, with her widowed mother.  Eliz Crossland is 'Living on her own means' and her sons Walter and Joseph have good jobs,  Walter as an Assistant Schoolteacher and Joseph as a Grocer's Assistant.  Oswald, who gives his occupation as a Coal Mines Deputy was born in Silkstone around 1867.  Amelia, who is a little older than Oswald, had been born in Tankersley in 1865.


Snip from the 1900 baptism register of St Mary's Church, Woodkirk (from Ancestry)
In 1901 Oswald and Amelia are living on Pinfold Hill in Ardsley.  Oswald is still listed as a Colliery Deputy.  They only have the one child, Crossland.  However a search of the baptisms on Ancestry reveals that they had a child, Millicent Edna, who was baptised in 1900 in St Mary's Woodkirk which is on the far side of Wakefield from Barnsley.  On the baptism Oswald's occupation is given as Under Manager Pit.  Searching on the Old Maps website I can find Woodkirk and there are a lot of quarries and brick works nearby, but I can't pin point a likely coal mine that Oswald might be working at.  Maybe it was very short lived and that's why he came back to Barnsley.  Millicent Edna Barraclough dies in the Wakefield Registration District (the same one in which she was born) in the September quarter of 1900, and was buried in the same church at which she was baptised aged just five months.  Interestingly Millicent is remembered on her father's gravestone in Barnsley Cemetery along with her brother even though she is not buried there either.


1911 census snip from 16 Lingard Street, Barnsley (from Ancestry)
By 1911 the family have moved into the central part of Barnsley, Lingard Street is just off Victoria Road, very near to the current Barnsley College.  A further daughter, Constance Muriel, has been born to the family at Stairfoot and thanks to the additional information on the 1911 census we know that Oswald and Amelia had been married 20 years and only had three children, one of whom died young.  This is a very small family for this era, did Amelia have difficulty getting pregnant or did they purposely limit their children?  Oswald is now a Colliery Underviewer.  

Crossland is working, despite being aged only 16 years, he is a Bursar, a job suggesting the handling of money and sounds which responsible and which could lead to better things.  Has he obtained a good post because of his father's position?
A section of the record for Wallsend Colliery (from DMM)
Oswald Barraclough is listed on the Durham Mining Museum website as being the Under Manager of the Wallsend Colliery in 1914.  From 1921 to 1927 my own great, great uncle Edward Nutley was the manager of one of the mines in this group.  My own grandfather William Satchell Hutton worked at a pit in Wallsend until 1931, which was the year he married my grandmother at St Luke's Church there.

We now know that the family were in Wallsend by 1914.  We know that Crossland Barraclough enlisted in London (had he moved there to improve his job prospects?) and we know that when the CWGC approached Amelia for about his gravestone that she was living at 31 Beech Grove, Wallsend.  This was probably in the early 1920s.  Oswald Barraclough died in October 1920, so it was after that, and a search on FreeBMD shows that he dies in Barnsley!  Odd.  I had assumed he had died in the North East ... a search of the Barnsley Cemetery records show that he died at 54 Sackville Street and that he is the only burial in that grave plot.  So Amelia was not buried with Oswald.

Constance Muriel Barraclough may have married a Charles H Davison in Barnsley in 1921 - but as the marriage is not available to check on Ancestry I can't be sure it is the right person.  The only death of an Amelia Barraclough that fits Crossland's mother is in Hendon, London in 1933.  That seems a bit of a stretch, but I suppose her daughter could have moved down there ...

I am happy to have found out why Amelia's address was in Wallsend after the war, but it would have been nice to have finished the story off properly.  Maybe there will be a part 2!  You never know.



Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Penistone Book Launch - The Stories Behind the Names

I'm not saying that blogs are like buses - but you wait for ages and then two come at once!  I've had rather a nice day, beer was involved later as well, so in fact the best evening I've spent with the OH for some time. 

When the Barnsley War Memorials Project began to gather steam earlier this year I made contact with Janet Dyson from Penistone.  She is part of the Penistone History Group and she told me that they were planning to continue the work started by Richard Weller on the names on the Penistone War Memorial.

The front cover of the book described in the text.  It has a picture of a large cross surmounted war memorial framed in mock wood with a trailing poppy at the lower left corner.  One oval picture of a First World War Serviceman has been superimposed at the top right.

Tonight that work came to fruition with the launch of their new book "The Stories Behind the Names". It's a sizable book, A4 and 192 pages plus a heavy glossy card cover.  Spiral bound as you can see, which is an advantage as it allows you to lie the book open and flat very easily.  Price £10 and available from the Penistone History Group who meet on Wednesday afternoons and Thursday mornings at St John's Community Centre in Penistone.

Each of the 58 names on the memorial has been researched plus another seven names of men who might or should have qualified for inclusion.  Each man has two pages, one with a reproduction of his Commonwealth War Graves certificate and facing that (which is why it is so handy the book lies flat) is a page with family, personal and related military information for the man.  There are quotes from the local newspaper, the Penistone Express, from the Penistone Almanack and from Army Service records.

In their Foreword Janet and Rex Dyson comment that, "One of the most surprising and poignant details we came across is that the memorial shows five pairs of brothers, all killed."  

The book also contains a brief history of the war as it affected Penistone in 1914, contemporary pictures of the dedication ceremony for the memorial in 1924, information about Penistone and district men who were given awards for bravery and a section on letters and news from overseas throughout the war.

At the end of the book are two pages of references and acknowledgements.  I was immensely pleased to see that the Barnsley War Memorials Project had been included under websites in resources list.

The launch this evening (Wednesday 16 July 2014) was well attended and a very enjoyable occasion.  Afterwards the OH took me down the road to visit the Penistone Royal British Legion Club where Barnsley CAMRA had photographed three Rolls of Honour for the BWMP a month or so ago.  They and their surrounding display of medals were even more awesome in real life. 

The OH even managed to take some extra photos while we were out, of the Lady Chapel in St John's Church, of the WW1 Roll of Honour in the RBL club and of Hoyle Mill War Memorial on the way home which has had its urn replaced in the last couple of days, much to my surprise.

A lovely evening out.  Thank you. x