Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Identifying Men on Barnsley's War Memorials

The Barnsley War Memorials Project has now been underway for just over a year (from the official constitution of the group in March 2014) and we have collected hundreds of photographs and transcriptions of local war memorials in our work towards our initial aim of creating a First World War Roll of Honour for Barnsley.
The three folders containing our war memorial index in Barnsley Archives
From more than 500 war memorials, including over 300 war memorial gravestones, we now have to create a list of unique names - that is we have to work out who each man IS in order to eliminate duplicates.  You might be surprised to learn that many men are listed on more than one memorial - and I don't just mean the one in their local church and on their parents' gravestone.  It is a particularly common occurrence amongst the officer classes, my best guess being that when a church memorial was being planned and the committee were asking who should be commemorated the names of well known local officers were put forward by the men who had returned and remembered them with fondness and respect. 

Another problem is a small number of men on each memorial whom we have been unable to identify by the usual routes.  Generally a search of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission pages and of Soldiers Died in the Great War (available free on Ancestry in local libraries and on Find My Past as pay-per-view) finds 80% of the men named.  A few more are traced by a search of the local newspapers - the Barnsley Chronicle is indexed by soldiers' names to the beginning of 1917 in Barnsley Archives and the whole newspaper is also available digitally to search month by month. The Barnsley Independent and the South Yorkshire Times also provide photographs and obituaries during the war years - these are available to search on microfilm in Barnsley Archives.

Sometimes, though, we are just unable to work out who a name on a church or roadside memorial refers to.  This is where we need the help of dedicated local researchers.

As well as helping collate the lists of names, photographing and transcribing memorials and recently the 1918 Absent Voters' List many of our volunteers have a particular memorial which they are researching in depth - in fact it is often the way that that they were doing this FIRST and then come on board with the BWMP later, offering us the benefit of their local expertise and research skills.
1918 panel on St Luke's war memorial

I am researching the memorial at St Luke's Worsbro' Common and also the memorial which used to be in St John's Church in the Barebones area of Barnsley, sadly lost when the church was demolished in the 1960s.  

These parishes are adjacent to each other, and many members of the OH's family (my husband's family) lived in the densely packed houses in those areas.  In fact we (the OH and I) lived in that area ourselves until very recently.

One man who has been 'causing me trouble', on the St Luke's memorial is J Brannon.  Helpfully the memorial at Worsbro' Common is sorted into lists by year of death, and J Brannon appears on the panel for 1918.  Although I have found two Brannon/Brannan families and some miscellaneous lodgers in Barnsley with men of the right age to have served in the war there is only one J Brannon/Brannan listed on the CWGC and SDGW with Barnsley connections.  This is a James Brannan who was born in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, enlisted in Barnsley and was reported missing in August/September 1915 in Gallipolli.  

His parents were Michael and Julia Brannon/Brannan (it depends which census you read) who lived on Joseph Street and Raywood Row in St John's parish in the census returns of 1881, 1891 and 1911.  I have found a newspaper report from 1916 where his death in 1915 is confirmed to his mother - still on Raywood Row and from where she is buried in 1925.  There is no family connection with Worsbro' Common.  At least three men with this surname appear on the 1918 Absent Voters' List in the St John's area.  Michael Brannon is his nephew (very likely) and Thomas (probably) and Bartholomew Brannon (definitely) are his brothers  - all these men survive the war.  

If only we had the Absent Voters' List for Worsbro' Common, a man killed in 1918 would appear on it, but unfortunately it does not exist in the same detail as the Barnsley one and is only available at Wakefield Record Office.

All this research has not been a waste of time however - as linking the names and places I have discovered along the way have enabled me to make a connection that might not otherwise have occurred to me.

Snip from Barnsley Chronicle 24 September 1921
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)
In the absence of the actual memorial from St John's I have been working from a list of names published in the Barnsley Chronicle in 1921.  

Last night I noticed that although most of the names are listed alphabetically that of one of my unknown men on that memorial, James Barman, is out of order.  He falls between John Bird and Harry Brown - what if this is a mistake on the part of the Chronicle reporter and the name should be James Brannan?  That fits much better in the alphabetical list.  There is a Frederick Barman on the list too - but I found him long ago - he has a younger brother called James William after their father, who would only have been 19 at the end of the war, but a man of that name whose age fits dies in Barnsley in 1962, so that seems to eliminate him.

My suggestion is that it is James Brannon/Brannan from Raywood Row who was remembered on the St John's memorial but that he is not the same man as the J Brannon listed on the St Luke's memorial, due to the discrepancy of year of death and the lack of connection to that parish in that Brannon/Brannan family.

Which leaves us with the problem of J Brannon killed in 1918, somehow connected to St Luke's, Worsbro' Common.  J could be John or James or Joseph ... the search on Find My Past's SDGW page lets me search on J* Brann*n who was killed in 1918 and I have 17 hits to check out.  So far none appear to be connected to Barnsley, let alone Worsbro' Common!

I have started a new page on the Barnsley War Memorials Project website for listing the men who we are currently unable to positively identify - more will be added as each memorial is merged into our master list.  You can access the page via the link I have given or by clicking on the Unidentified Men tab on the website.

Please visit our website and take a look - your information could help us identify these men!  
Thank you.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

The Rise & Fall of Henry Carter & Sons of No 7 Market Hill

(This article first appeared in the Spring 2015 edition of Barnsley CAMRA's magazine The BAR)

No 7 Market Hill in 1900 (from YOCOCO)
The pub on Market Hill, Barnsley now known as the Old No 7 and which is the brewery tap for Acorn Brewery, was for many years known as Carter’s No 7 after the family which ran it from 1878 to 1936 as a wine and spirit merchants.

Patriarch Henry Carter was born in Northallerton in 1815 and came to Barnsley at some point before his marriage to Mary Robinson in 1849.  His five children, William Henry, Joseph, Mary Jane, Margaret Ann and Matthew were born in Barnsley between 1852 and 1863. 

In 1871 Henry is running the Duke of York Inn on Cheapside as a Licensed Victualler, and by the 1881 census he is at No 7 Market Hill as a Wine Merchant with all three of his sons listed as his Assistants. He had lost his wife in 1877 but he lived until 1883, dying at No 7 Market Hill aged 69.  They are buried together in Barnsley Cemetery with their married daughter Mary Jane Mantell who died in Sheffield in 1912.  According to her entry in the 1911 census she had two children, but both had died young.

Henry Carter senior left £3,500 in his will, worth around £170,000 in today’s money.

Eldest son William Henry Carter was living at No 7 Market Hill in 1901 carrying on the business of Wine & Spirit Merchant.  A single man, he had his sister as housekeeper to look after himself and her children who were staying with him.  Dorothy Hough, his niece, is listed as his housekeeper in 1911, keeping it in the family might have saved a bit of money!

Dorothy marries Arthur Watkinson in 1916 and has one son; however both father and son die in 1918, this would be in the period of the great influenza epidemic at the end of the First World War. I cannot find her death, so maybe she remarried. His nephew Harry Hough does not go into the family business, he is a Railway Clerk and married with two daughters in the 1911 census.

Henry’s second son Joseph, a Wine & Spirit Merchant of 7 Market Hill, Barnsley had died in January 1901, before the census, aged 47 and unmarried as far as I can tell.

The third of Henry’s sons, Matthew, was carrying on the family name however.  He had married in 1895 to Maude Schofield and had four children, Henry, Joseph Robinson, Matthew Schofield and Mary by 1901 when he was living at 109 Dodworth Road, but still apparently employed in the family business.  There were two more children by 1911, both daughters, Maude and Marjorie.

Barnsley Chronicle 10 June 1916
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)
Matthew’s eldest son Henry was not listed on the 1911 census, aged 15 he was probably away at school, as we know he attended St Cuthbert’s College, Worksop. Showing his loyalty to his old school, Henry joined the St Cuthbert’s Squad of the Lincolnshire Regiment on 21 September 1914 shortly after the First World War broke out.  He had intended to be an electrical engineer and at the time of his enlistment had been an apprentice at Messrs Thos. Taylor & Sons, Barnsley.  He had been a good cricketer and had played for Barnsley’s second team.  Henry had also regularly sung in St George’s Church Choir.

Harry, as he was known locally, was sent to France in November 1915 and was due for leave when unfortunately he was killed on 30 May 1916.  The Barnsley Chronicle published this letter from his Company Commander on 10 June 1916, “He died at his post, being hit by shrapnel.  I especially feel his death as I am an old Worksop boy myself.” 

It was reported that Private Griffiths heard him call after a “whizz-bang” burst, and rushed to catch him as he fell.  He was unconscious from the time he was hit and died half an hour afterwards.  He is buried in Becourt Military Cemetery in the Somme, France. The article notes that “the deceased would have been 21 years of age next August”. 
Barnsley Chronicle 11 November 1916
(thanks to Barnsley Archives)

Second son Joseph Robinson (named for his grandmother we can assume) had also joined the army and at the time of his brother’s death was in training at Cannock Chase with the York & Lancaster Regiment.  He was transferred to the West Yorkshire Regiment and must have been sent out to France shortly afterwards as he was reported missing in a Barnsley Chronicle piece on 4 November 1916.  Born in 1897 he can only just have been old enough to serve abroad as the age limit in 1916 was 19 years old. 

His body must have been found later as he is buried in the Connaught Cemetery, Thiepval, in France and his date of death is given as 28 September 1916.

Matthew Carter had now lost his two older sons, he also loses his youngest daughter Marjorie in 1923, aged just 25. 

We know that the Carter family name remained above the No. 7 until 1936 and this fits exactly with the death of Matthew’s his third and last son, Matthew Schofield (named for his mother) Carter in 1936 just 5 years after his father.  Neither Matthew senior nor his son leave a great deal in their wills, so the business still seems to be in the hands of William Henry Carter who must surely have retired as he was 85 years old and living at 49 Sackville Street when he died in 1937. He left £23,620 in his will, or around £870,000 in today’s money.  This does suggest that he sold the business as there were no “Sons” left to pass it on to. 

Henry’s remaining daughter and William Henry’s sister, the widowed Margaret Ann Hough remains at 49 Sackville Street until her death in 1942, but she too leaves very little in her will.  So where did the family fortune go? 

Both Carter sons are remembered on the Barnsley Grammar School Old Boys’ War Memorial now on display in the Cooper Art Gallery. Harry Carter, presumably because he had been a chorister there, was also remembered on the Barnsley, St George's Church, Memorial Plaque which was lost when the church was demolished.