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Military Monday - Percival Richardson. Royal Engineers Part I

I've recently added my 2x Great Uncle Percival Richardson to Lives of the First World War . I've already posted a few posts abo...

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Wednesday, 6 April 2016


These are a few photos from my Great Aunt Joy's photo albums. I think they date from around 1935-8. The comments in the brackets are mine

Doris & Chummy


Chummy - Age 4 months. (How gorgeous is he?!)






Jean Grimes
Grandma Pyne (Isabella nee Brown)
Grandma (Isabella nee Brown) & Peggy


Grandpa Pyne (Harry)
Uncle Granville (Pyne)



Grandma (Isabella nee Brown) & Grandpa (Harry) Pyne & I (Joy)














Grandma(Isabella nee Brown)  & Grandpa (Harry) Pyne & I (Joy)

Auntie Cissie & Uncle Harold (Pyne)


Grandma(Isabella nee Brown)  & Grandpa (Harry) Pyne














Mother & Daddie (Isabella 'Bella' Pyne & Clarence W.B. Bucknall)


Jean Slater



Jean, Joan, Mabel & I (Joy)













Uncle Harold (Pyne) & Major


Audrey

Monday, 29 February 2016


  
Just a quick update of this post, mainly so I can keep track of what I've achieved.

1.    Finish searching the French online records for my Oldham family in Calais. The Census and Birth/Marriage/Death records are all freely available online. I've found the family in 1866, but also need to look further back to see if the previous generation spent time there and also if any of them went to Australia. I've completed searching the years 1841, 1851, 1861, 1866, 1872 and have begun 1836. I've also checked the Oldham family research I've done so far & have decided to go back to the start & recheck everything; they are a very confusing bunch! So until I've done this I won't be starting items 2, 3, or 4 on this list.

2.    Transcribe sections of Joseph Woolley's diary and finish reading/copying the remainder at the Nottingham Archives. Continuing with the Oldham family, but this time in Clifton, Nottinghamshire. Joseph Woolley was a framework knitter from Clifton, as well as his own business his diary documents he commented on his neighbours and local events. I need to transcribe the pages I've already photographed and finish reading the remaining sections in the Archives. Not started yet.

3.    Finish checking the Methodist records at the Nottinghamshire Archives. I'm mostly looking for Oldhams in these records, but other family names have cropped up too. Not started yet.

4.   Make use of the Nottinghamshire Family History Society's research room. To find more Oldham information, specifically Thomas Oldknow Oldham's birth/baptism around 1834. Also check their online databases. Not started yet.

5.    Finish reading Percy Richardson's war diary and finish the blog posts. Not started this yet.

6.    Tidy and reorganise documents, certificate and books. Before ordering any more! I've started clearing unwanted paperwork & filing the rest.

7.    Check out parish records on Find My Past. Look for my May family in Frant, Sussex from 1600 working backwards. Not started yet.

8.   Visit some local churchyards to look for gravestones. Sawley, Moira, Donisthorpe, Church Wilne, Draycott, Basford, Ashby-de-la-Zouch & others aren't too far away to visit and record any memorial inscriptions. I'll leave this until the summer.

9.    Look for tithe maps and census information for Pilsley. To find out who lived in and/or owned my late father-in-law's farmhouse. I now have copies of the deeds going back to 1901 and have researched one of the owners via the census. It appears the owner later passed the property on to his son, so he's the next individual to research.

10. Start scanning photos. I received a Doxie Flip as a Christmas present so I'm intending to scan and share many of my photos. I've scanned quite a few family photos & shared them via Dropbox with family members. I've also started scanning and sharing Auntie Joy's photo albums.


Tuesday, 26 January 2016



I realised recently that although I have been adding new information to my tree, I had completely forgotten to keep the spreadsheet I had spent hours on a couple of years ago updated - arrggh!





The spreadsheet exercise has proved very useful in the past so I'm fairly annoyed with myself at not keeping it up. I'll need to sit down with it at some point soon and go back through it to check everything, but in the meantime it reminded me that I am still missing a handful of BMD certificates for some of my direct ancestors. So I've treated myself to three, the first being the birth certificate for my Great-Grandfather George Wallis. He was born in Appleby in 1879 to James and Sarah (nee Mortimer).




The only new information it gave me was his actual birthdate, I had already found his baptism at St. Michael's church, Appleby, in Leicestershire Archives. It did remind me though, that I haven't got any further back with the Wallis line than James, George's father. The census entries I've found for James in 1861 and 1871 reveal him living with his grandparents, George and Mary, who had six or seven children, so he could be the illegitmate offspring of any of those. James doesn't give a father's name on his marriage certificate - something else to add to the "to-do" list!

So, Tuesday's tip; if you're going to make an effort organising your research - keep it updated! Otherwise you could be making yourself a few hours of extra work. :-(






Thursday, 21 January 2016


I'm very thankful for a large parcel that arrived one day last week. 

I've posted before about my Great Aunt Joy who emigrated to Australia - she gave me a Nottingham lace bedspread some years ago, which was designed by her Grandfather William Bucknall.

 
Sadly Auntie Joy passed away in July last year at the grand age of 90. She and her husband, Don, my grandmother's brother, had enjoyed a fantastic life in Australia, making many new friends along the way. 


It was one of these friends that was kind enough to send me today's parcel which contains Joy & Don's photo albums. 


I'm over the moon to receive them, especially as they all seem to be dated and labelled with both names and places.
 
I'm intending to scan the most relevant ones and share them with the rest of the family (whether they like it or not!) via Dropbox.


Monday, 4 January 2016


My genealogy 'to-dos' are numerous & I never seem to make much progess, probably because I'm too easily distracted by those pesky shaking leaves* on Ancestry!

So I've decided to list the top ten things I could really do with getting to the bottom of and hope that a list will keep me focussed!




  1. Finish searching the French online records for my Oldham family in Calais. The Census and Birth/Marriage/Death records are all freely available online. I've found the family in 1866, but also need to look further back to see if the previous generation spent time there and also if any of them went to Australia.
  2. Transcribe sections of Joseph Woolley's diary and finish reading/copying the remainder at the Nottingham Archives. Continuing with the Oldham family, but this time in Clifton, Nottinghamshire. Joseph Woolley was a framework knitter from Clifton, as well as his own business his diary documents he commented on his neighbours and local events. I need to transcribe the pages I've already photographed and finish reading the remaining sections in the Archives.
  3. Finish checking the Methodist records at the Nottinghamshire Archives. I'm mostly looking for Oldhams in these records, but other family names have cropped up too.
  4. Make use of the Nottinghamshire Family History Society's research room. To find more Oldham information, specifically Thomas Oldknow Oldham's birth/baptism around 1834. Also check their online databases.
  5. Finish reading Percy Richardson's war diary and finish the blog posts.
  6. Tidy and reorganise documents, certificate and books. Before ordering any more!
  7. Check out parish records on Find My Past. Look for my May family in Frant, Sussex from 1600 working backwards.
  8. Visit some local churchyards to look for gravestones. Sawley, Moira, Donisthorpe, Church Wilne, Draycott, Basford, Ashby-de-la-Zouch & others aren't too far away to visit and record any memorial inscriptions.
  9. Look for tithe maps and census information for Pilsley. To find out who lived in and/or owned my late father-in-law's farmhouse.
  10. Start scanning photos. I received a Doxie Flip as a Christmas present so I'm intending to scan and share many of my photos.
So - lots to do!



*if you have your family tree uploaded to Ancestry, they kindly add a little 'shaking leaf' to any family member they may have records available for, which is usually enough to distract me from doing what I'd orginally logged on to do in the first place!



Wednesday, 9 December 2015


I've recently been searching for my Oldham family in Calais, France.

My 3xgreatgrandparents Thomas Oldham and Harriet (nee Winfield) and their sons William and Thomas are missing from the 1861 UK census, but reappear on the 1871 census with five more children, all born in Calais between 1861 and 1870.

The Archives of Pas-de-Calais had already sent me copies of the birth registrations, which reveal the dates and times of their births, both parent's ages, the mother's maiden name and the family's current address - so very useful.

The Calais Archives have digitised many of their records and they are freely available online, unlike the UK's records. The French took a census every five years from 1836; the 1866 one falls nicely in the middle of the period I'm looking for.

None of the records are indexed, so they aren't searchable by name, which means finding the correct district and working through it page by page. It's very time consuming, but well worth it - I found Thomas and his family living on the rue du Jardin des Plantes:




Thomas and his eldest son, William, were working as 'tullistes'. This is a term specific to the Calais area and means a mechanical technician highly specialised in the manufacture of tulle and lace. Thomas and Henriette (Harriet) had six children, William (12) and Thomas (10) who were born in Nottingham and John (7), Eliza (5), Enoch (2) and Anne (2 months) who were born in Calais.


From Google Maps


On the same census, just around the corner, I found Gervase Oldham, Thomas' brother, and his family. They were living on the rue du Temple.



Gervase, or Jervis, also worked as a tulliste and was living with his wife Mary (nee Taylor) and three children, James (3) and Jervas and Eliza (both aged 2 months). The family were back in Nottingham by the 1871 census, but without their daughter Eliza. By this time Gervase and Mary had had another daughter, Eliza Jane born in Calais in 1869, so it's more than likely that the first Eliza died at a young age.  More trawling through the French records should reveal if that was the case.

Also living with the family was Emma Taylor, an unmarried woman aged 21 who was working as a lace operator. She is likely to be Mary's younger sister.

So now I've filled in the gap in the 1860s for the Oldham family, I need to go back to the French records to see if I can find the births and death in Gervase and Mary's family.

I'll also be looking through the French census records to see if Thomas' and Gervase's parents, William and Eliza, were living in France without their children around 1851. They are missing from the English census of that year, but their children are in Long Eaton with their grandparents.






Monday, 2 November 2015


Part I
Part II

January 1918 saw Uncle Percy raised to the skilled rate of E.P., or Engineers Pay, which would have meant a little extra in his pay packet.

The next entry in his service record is on the 10th March 1918 when he was given four days confined to camp for being absent from 8.20pm to 8.45pm.

Two days later, on the 12th March at Les Attaques, Calais, Percy failed to attend the 6.15pm defaulter's parade and was absent from the 8.20pm roll call to 9.30pm. For this he was awarded nine days Field Punishment No.1, which involved being shackled in irons and secured to a fixed object, such as a gun wheel.

Field Punishment No.1





Percy would only have been fixed for up to two hours in every twenty four, and not for more than three days in every four. Field Punishment No.1 came to be known as 'crucifixion' and due to its humiliating nature was considered by Tommies as unfair.








In March and April 1918, there are only two entries in Percy's service record, both noting that he joined the Royal Engineers' base depot. But during this period the 21st Division were in action. The Battle of St. Quentin on the 21st -23rd March saw the German army advance forty miles and many Tommies taken prisoner. This was followed immediately on the 24th-25th by the first Battle of Bapaume in which the German army recaputured Baupaume.



On the 10th-11th April 1918 the 21st Division were at the Battle of Messines, where the British army withdrew four miles as the Germans captured Messines. This prompted General Haig's famous 'backs to the wall' message to the troops.

'Every position must be held to the last man: there must be no retirement. With our backs to the wall and believing in the justice of our cause each one of us must fight on to the end.'
The next entry in Uncle Percy's record reveals that he was wounded on the 22nd April 1918 and transfered to No. 13 General Hospital, based in the Casino in Boulogne with a mild gunshot wound to his face and arms on the 24th April.

From the 17th May to the 2nd of October 1918, Percy was in Britain, beginning with a stay at the Springburn Woodside Central Hospital in Glasgow for thirty-five days, suffering from pneumonia.

Following his period of convalesence Percy was expected to return to a Royal Engineers base but he overstayed his sick furlough from the 2nd  to the 11th July and was confined to barracks for ten days, forfeiting ten days pay.

The 2nd of October found Percy back in France.  Following which the 21st Division were involved in the successful Battle of the Selle from the 7th to the 26th October.


Percy found himself in trouble yet again on the 9th of November, when on active service he was absent for fifteen minutes and was caught drinking in the cafe Le Clas Fleuri during prohibited hours. For this he was deprived of two days pay and was also confined to barracks for seven days.

The Armistice on the 11th of November, found the 21st Division around Berlaimont and they moved via Beaufort to to Amiens by the end of December. Following demobilisation the 21st Division had ceased to exist but Percy's time with the Royal Engineers was to continue for a little longer.








Picture Credit: http://www.historytoday.com/clive-emsley/crucifying-tommy-punishment-first-world-war
Picture Credit: http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205331665
Picture Credit: http://nzetc.victoria.ac.nz/tm/scholarly/tei-WH1-Fran-t1-body1-d15.html