A Personal Introduction to the Following Biographies by their Author, Gail Brumfitt
I have been interested in genealogy for approximately 25 years and in that time have discovered quite a lot of relatives who are spread throughout the world. However, those who have always interested me the most are those from Wirral, none more so than from Hoylake, where I was born, and West Kirby.
Whilst I am not closely related to any of these men, they do appear on my tree and those chosen are mainly related through my maternal line via the Hoylake fishing families. Peter (c. 1746-1851) and Elizabeth Jones (neé Hughes (c. 1742-1845) are the ancestors of most of the men I have written biographies for. Peter and Elizabeth are my great great great great great grandparents.
Their great great grandsons of are:
- William Herbert Dodd – my first cousin three times removed
- Sidney Jackson – my second cousin three times removed
- Samuel Jones – my second cousin three times removed
- Harold Sherlock – my third cousin three times removed
Their great great great grandson is John Leonard Jones – my third cousin twice removed.
Charles Cowderoy married Peter and Elizabeth’s great great granddaughter, Margaret Lilian Armitage, who is my first cousin three times removed, and Albert Edwin Jones married Sarah Ann Dodd, also their great great granddaughter and my first cousin three times removed. Sarah Ann Dodd was also William Herbert Dodd’s sister.
The other two biographies that I have written are through my paternal line. Frank Wharton and Samuel Ernest Wharton, who were cousins, and are my fourth cousins four times removed. They are great great great grandsons of my 7 times great grandparents, John (1719-1794) and Ellen Wharton (neé Kemp 1721-1788). Frank and Samuel’s common grandparents were Joseph (1830-1895) and Kitty Wharton (neé Meadows 1831-1872).
I have thoroughly enjoyed writing these biographies and am extremely grateful that Stephen gave me the opportunity, particularly as it gave me the chance to look at these men in a way in which I never have before, how their lives were affected, what they had to endure and how their families were affected. I am sure that our lives would not be the same as they are today without the brave deeds of men such as these. It is unfortunate that so many records have been lost, and that we can never truly know how things were. I only hope that I have done these men justice.
Cowderoy is an unusual name. Variants include Cowdray, Cowdrey and Cowdroy. It comes from Old French coudraie, meaning “hazel copse” and must, therefore have come to England with the Normans. In 1881 the largest concentrations of bearers of the name could be found in Wolverhampton, Swindon and South West London. By 1998 their main concentration was in Liverpool.
Charles’ paternal grandfather was Henry Cowderoy (1820-1866) who originated in Reading, Berkshire, but moved to Bromborough Pool during the 1850’s to work for Prices Candle Factory in the new model village.
Charles was the only son to survive to adulthood of Charles (1859-1914) and Sarah Ann Cowderoy (neé Mansell 1860-1915); one or possibly two other sons died as infants. He had three sisters Emma, Hilda and Millicent. Charles (senior) and his young family were living at 5 New Ferry Lane, New Ferry in 1891 and he was employed as a fireman on a ferry steamer. He was noted as having been born in Bromborough Pool. Sarah “Annie” was born in the Potteries, Staffordshire. Their daughter Emma was the only living child at this time; she was five years old. To supplement the family income there were two lodgers living with them, amarried couple James and Jessie Whitehouse.
By 1901 the family had expanded and had moved to 8 Napier Road, New Ferry. Charles senior was now employed as a general labourer and his and Sarah’s daughter, Emma, was working as a domestic servant. Hilda was nine and young Charles was six years old. Again the family had two boarders, Charles Mumford, born in Chester and Richard Haddock, born in Ireland.
Another move had taken place, as in 1911 the family were living at 21 Blucher Street, Rock Ferry. Both Charles senior and junior were employed as general labourers for a soap manufacturer, Hilda was a soap wrapper. This was most likely Lever Bros. Millicent was still in school.
Not a great deal is known about Charles’ military career, but he entered the Balkan Theatre (i.e. Gallipoli or the Dardanelles) on 8th July 1915. Four other of Henry Cowderoy’s grandsons who were cousins to Charles, also served during WWI. Henry’s son, also Henry, had three sons who served: John Henry (1885-1971) served in France in the Liverpool Scottish; William (1894-1953) served in the Royal Army Service Corps; and Harold Edgar (1896-1948) also served in the RASC. Another of Henry’s sons, Arthur, had a son, John William (1888-1969), who served in the Royal Naval Reserve on HMS Diana. This was one of the ships that convoyed Canadian troops across the Atlantic.
In 1916 in a civil ceremony at Birkenhead, Charles married Margaret Lilian Armitage (1894-1965). Margaret was born in Hoylake, the daughter of David (1848-1921) and his second wife, Mary Ann Armitage (neé Lancaster 1858-1922, born Arbory, IOM). The Armitages were a well established Hoylake fishing family. Charles was killed in action on 31 July 1917 and almost seven months after his death, Margaret gave birth to their only child, Charles Percy Cowderoy (1918-1985). He lived for many years in Paton Close, Caldy, and sadly, he never had the chance to meet his father.
Birth: 23rd May 1894 in New Ferry
Death: 31st July 1917, killed in action aged 23
Address: 8 Napier Road, New Ferry (01), 21 Blucher Street, Rock Ferry (11)
Occupation: General Labourer
Unit: Cheshire Regiment and 16th Bn. Royal Welsh Fusiliers
Number and Rank: Private 56443 formerly 17799
Medals: Victory, British and 1915 Star
Commemorated and Buried: GH, Bromborough Pool, Belgium: Ypres, Menin Gate Panel 22
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, Bpt., BN, MC, FT, Census: 01,11
William Herbert Dodd
William was the second youngest child and one of two sons and nine daughters of William (1848-1922) and Sarah Dodd (neé Armitage 1850-1926). William Dodd Senior was born in Moreton, where his ancestors can be traced to at least the early eighteenth century. Sarah’s family were an established Hoylake fishing family. William Junior’s siblings were Harriet (1873); Ada (1875); Sarah Ann (1876); Charlotte (1879); Jessie (1880); Jane (1882); Samuel Armitage (1884); Effie (1886); Hannah Elizabeth (1888) and Frances Margaret (1892). William’s birth was registered in the third quarter of 1890 and he was baptised at Holy Trinity Church, Hoylake on 27th January 1891.
In 1891 the family were living in Market Street, Hoose, as it was then known. William (Snr) was a market gardener and at that stage he and his wife Sarah had eight children, five of school age. William Herbert was just seven months old. Ten years later the family were still living in Market Street and the address was now shown as 79 Market Street, Hoylake. William was still a gardener, as was his eldest son Samuel and by this stage some of the older children had left home. William Herbert was shown as being nine years old, although he was in fact 11. The youngest member of the family was Frances who was eight.
Although William did not marry his wife until shortly before he died, they were living together as man and wife for a number of years before this. The 1911 Census shows that William and Sarah Elizabeth Dodd were living in Birkenhead at 59 Cathcart Street. Both were 21 years of age. They had no children but the record states they had been married for 1½ years. William was employed as a Dock Board labourer and Sarah was born in Wales. They lived in a tiny 2 room house, and Sarah was obviously heavily pregnant, because ten days later on 12th April 1911 at the same address she gave birth to their first child, William Eric Dodd. At some point between 1911 and 1915, William and family returned to Hoylake, his second child, Gladys May Dodd being born at 9 Rudd Street, Hoylake on 6th June 1915.
William was still living at 9 Rudd Street when he enlisted at Chester on 24th June 1916. He was 25 years 330 days old. This would give him a birth date of 29th July 1890. His occupation at this time was a window cleaner. He stated he was married, was 5 feet 5¼ inches and had a chest measurement of 38 inches and he had a scar on his right leg. He states he was married in the Hoylake Parish Church on 25th June 1901, and that his first son William Eric Dodd was born at 59 Cathcart Street, Birkenhead on 12th April 1902. Clearly William was too young to have married in 1901 and the latter two details were later amended in William’s service records. William was posted to the 3rd Bn. Cheshire Regiment. This was a training unit based in Chester providing drafts for other battalions. The Regimental depot remained at Chester while battalion moved to the war station at Birkenhead to play a part in the Mersey Defences. It is not clear whether William moved to Birkenhead with the battalion.
Just under four months after his enlistment, William’s third and final child Marian Armitage Dodd was born at 9 Rudd Street Hoylake on 14th October 1916. Sarah must have found it extremely difficult with three young children to look after with William away at war and with possibly very little income.
Arriving in France in January 1917, William was, for a brief period, transferred to the 10th Bn. He was posted to and proceeded to join the 15th Bn. on 23rd January 1917 and on 28th January 1917 he joined the unit in the field.
On 23rd April 1917 Marion died of Gastro Enteritis at the Union Infirmary, Spital. Her death certificate states that she was five months old and was the daughter of William Herbert Dodd, a Private No 45029 of the 15th Cheshire, and a window cleaner of Hoylake U.D. Her death was registered on 27th April by Charles H Spelman, Master of the Union Workhouse, Poulton-cum-Spital. William was granted leave from 27th September to 7th October 1917. It was during this time that he finally married Sarah Elizabeth Morris, the mother of his children. They were married in the Register Office at Liverpool on 1st October 1917. One month later back in France, William was killed in action.
Of all William’s siblings, the one who possibly grieved the most was his sister Sarah Ann, whose husband, Albert Edwin Jones, a sapper in the Royal Engineers also died just over three weeks later.
The Birkenhead News of 24th November 1917 reported that much regret had been felt by the death in action of Pte William Dodd, a jobbing gardener of Hoylake.
Birth: 29th July 1890 in Hoylake* (based on age at enlistment)
Death: 1st November 1917, killed in action age 26 (27)
Address: Market Street, Hoose (91), 79 Market Street, Hoylake (01), 59 Cathcart Street, Birkenhead (11), 9 Rudd Street, Hoylake (15-16)
Occupation: Dock Board labourer, jobbing gardener, window cleaner
Unit: 15th Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Number and Rank: Private 45029
Medals: Victory, British, Military Medal
Commemorated and Buried: GH, Holy Trinity, Hoylake, Tyne Cot, Belgium, Panel 61 to 63
Sources: CWGC, SDGW, Bpt., MC, SR, BN, Holy Trinity MI’s, Census: 91, 01,11
Albert Edwin Jones
Very little is known about Albert. He was born in 1881 in Birkenhead and baptised on 7th August 1881 at St Mary, Birkenhead, the only son of Edwin (1854-?) and Mary Ann Jones (neé Martin (1852-?). He had two sisters Elizabeth, born about 1873 in Liverpool and Edith Mary born 1879 in Birkenhead. Albert’s paternal grandfather, John Jones, was born in Mold, Flintshire, and his maternal grandfather, John Martin, was a stonemason who hailed from Keswick, Cumberland but who spent some time in Savannah, Georgia where Albert’s mother was born.
Just a short while before Albert was born, the 1881 Census shows the family living at 14 Ivy Street, Birkenhead. His father, Edwin was aged 27 and a cab proprietor, born in Birkenhead. His mother, Mary Ann, was 28 years old and was a British Subject, born in Savannah. Albert’s two older sisters Elizabeth and Edith were aged eight and one respectively.
It is not clear when Albert’s father died but it was possibly in 1889 in Birkenhead. The 1891 Census shows that Mary Ann was by then a widow. The family were living at 331 Old Chester Road, Tranmere next to the Rock Villa Hotel. Mary Ann had obviously taken over the cab business as she was shown as a cab owner. Edith and the 10 year old Albert were both still in school. John Jones who was aged 72 and was Albert’s paternal grandfather was living with them, and also an employee who was a boarder, Leonard Fawcett, a 20 year old cab driver, born in Barrow in Furness.
Albert was living Still living at 331 Old Chester Road in 1901 with his mother and her granddaughter Elizabeth V Gittins. His mother was still a car proprietor but now Albert was employed as an upholsterer. Albert’s sister Elizabeth had at some stage married Richard Gittins, and Elizabeth Valentine Gittins was their daughter who was baptised at St Mary, Birkenhead on 4th September 1892.
On 3rd August 1903, at Holy Trinity Church, Hoylake, Albert married Sarah Ann Dodd, who was born in 1876 in Hoylake, daughter of William Dodd (1848-1922) and Sarah Armitage (1850-1926). William’s family originated in Moreton and Sarah was from a well known fishing family from Hoylake. Sarah had a daughter Rose Dodd born in 1902 before her marriage to Albert. In 1911 the family were living at 1a Saxon Street, Birkenhead. Albert was still an upholsterer. Sarah Ann’s daughter Rose, age nine, was now known by Albert’s surname Jones, and there were two other children, Edwin William Jones age six, born in Birkenhead and Daniel Reginald Jones aged three born in Hoylake.
Sadly, Albert’s service records do not exist but he enlisted in Liverpool in approximately 1915 in the King’s (Liverpool Regiment) and later transferred to the 14th Light Railway Operations Company, Royal Engineers. This was formed in Longmoor and embarked for France on 22nd May 1917.
The Deeside Advertiser of 30 November 1917 reports that a telegram had been received by Mrs Jones of 4 Evans Road, Hoylake. Her husband had been receiving treatment in hospital for shell shock for seven weeks, but had died suddenly of an unexpected heart attack. Sarah’s brother, William Herbert Dodd, had been killed in action just three weeks earlier.
Birth: 1881 in Birkenhead
Death: 25th November 1917, age 36
Addresses: 331 Old Chester Road, Tranmere (91), (01) 1a Saxon Street, Birkenhead (11)
Unit: 14th Light Railway Operations Company Royal Engineers formerly King’s (Liverpool Regiment)
Number and Rank: Sapper 276627 formerly 380761
Medals: Victory, British
Commemorated and Buried: GH, H, Wimereux Communal Cemetery VI. H. 23A.
Sources: BR, CWGC, SDGW, Bpt., MC, DA, Holy Trinity MI’s, Census: 91, 01,11
John Leonard Jones
Jack Jones was born on 1st January 1895 in Hoylake and baptised on 17th February the same year at Holy Trinity Church. He was the second of nine children born to William (1864-1944) and Hannah Jones (née Housley 1870-1919), who were both from well established Hoylake fishing families. John’s siblings were William Lawrence Housley (1893-1968), Hannah Rosalyn (1897-1978), Margaret Beatrice (1899-1983), Samuel Eric (1901-1979), Norman (1902-1984), Alec (1904-1986), Lilian (1906-?), and Alfred (1909-?).
In 1901 the family were living at 17 Hazel Road, Hoylake. William, a fisherman, and his wife Hannah were with their then five children, William (7), John (6), Hannah (4), Margaret (2), and Samuel who was just 2 months. Hannah’s brother John Housley, a fisherman aged 24, was living with them.
In 1911 the family had moved to 38 Groveland Avenue, Hoylake, where the record states William was now aged 45 and Hannah aged 40. They had been married for 20 years and had produced nine children, all of whom were still living. The seven youngest were all at home with their parents and all at school except for Lilian who was aged four and Alfred aged two. John, along with his elder brother, William, were not at home but were among the crew of fishing trawler “Wave” which was in port in Holyhead, Anglesey.
John enlisted in the Royal Naval Reserve in October 1914 shortly after the outbreak of war. He saw part of the Battle of the Falkland Islands in December 1914 and several other minor engagements. He was granted leave during August 1915 where, the Deeside Advertiser reported that it was a pleasure to his numerous friends that Jack was in his native town again. It went on to say that he was enjoying life on one of his Majesty’s mine-sweepers in the North Sea, and that he had a strict regard for that august person, the Censor, though he had “seen a few things” he will not divulge the nature of them.
In 1916 he was second hand under the direction of skipper George Horne on the 274 ton H.M. trawler “Lena Melling”. She was built in Selby in 1915 and requisitioned by the Navy from the builders. Based in Sheerness, Kent in the minesweeping squadron, on 23 April 1916, the Lena Melling struck a mine off Ramsgate which had been laid by German submarine UC-7. John was one of 11 crew lost. Sadly, his body was not recovered for burial.
Jack is commemorated on the headstone of the Jones family grave at Holy Trinity, Hoylake. His epitaph reads:
In loving memory of John Leonard son of William & Hannah Jones who was lost on the mine-sweeper “Lena Melling” 23rd April 1916 aged 21 years In the midst of life we are in death.
Birth: 1st January 1895 in Hoylake
Death: 23rd April 1916, killed or died as a direct result of enemy action aged 21
Address: 17 Hazel Road, Hoylake (01), 38 Groveland Avenue, Hoylake (11-16)* His parents Address
Occupation: Cook on Fishing Trawler, 2nd Hand
Unit: Royal Naval Reserve
Number and Rank: 2nd Hand, H.M. Trawler Lena Melling, 1924DA
Medals: British, Victory, Star
Commemorated and Buried: GH, Holy Trinity, Hoylake, Plymouth Naval Memorial, Panel 18
Sources: CWGC, Bpt., PR, DA, Census: 01,11
Samuel was born in 1875 in Hoylake and baptised on 25th April 1875 at Holy Trinity Church. He was the second son of Henry (1851-1913) and Esther Jones (neé Youds 1852-1878). Samuel had an older brother Frank Hugh Jones (1873-?) and a younger sister Emily (1877-?). Henry Jones was from a well known fishing family in Hoylake, his parents were Samuel (1819-1875) and Elizabeth Jones (neé Steens 1821-1907). Esther was born in Irby, where the Youds family had been living for many generations.
In 1881 the family were living in Back Sea View, Hoose. Samuel’s paternal widowed grandmother, Elizabeth Jones (nee Steens), was the head of the family; she was aged 60 and was an annuitant, born in Gayton. Henry, a fisherman, was aged 29 and was a widower as Esther had died three years previously. Henry’s brothers Edmond and John were also fisherman aged 27 and 18 respectively. Frank, Samuel and Emily, aged seven, five and three were all in school. To supplement the family income there was a boarder Joseph Lloyd aged 17 who was a domestic servant. The family were still living in Back Sea View in 1891. Samuel’s uncle Edmond was not at home, nor were his brother, Frank and sister, Emily. Samuel aged 15 was now working as a Golf Caddie. His uncle John was now married but was still living at the family home with his wife Helen Jones (neé Roberts) and their one year old daughter, Ada.
The family were still in Back Sea View in 1901 and Elizabeth was still the matriarch of the family. Henry was still there as was his brother Edmond. Samuel was now aged 25 and was a general labourer. The record states that he was married, but this is not correct. Also living with the family was Samuel’s cousin, Thomas Steens Dean, aged 10 who the record states was a golf club maker, he was a son of Henry’s sister, Ada, and her husband Samuel Dean.
By 1911 Samuel was living with his brother, Frank’s family at 41 Lee Road, Hoylake. Frank’s wife was Alice Grace Jones (neé Evans), she was born in Rhyl about 1876. Their two children were Samuel Henry (11) and Esther Emily (10). Samuel was still single and was still working as a general labourer. Another family were boarding there, James and Agnes Woods and their four children Jessie, Florence, Alice and Eric.
Samuel’s service records do not exist but he enlisted in Hoylake and was posted to the 13th Bn. Cheshire Regiment.
An article in the Deeside Advertiser reports that Samuel was well known to many people in Hoylake and that he had been at the front for just over twelve months. His dug-out had been hit by a German shell at about 4 o’clock. Samuel died with a smile on his face having said goodbye to everybody beforehand. A very nice letter from Second-Lieut, RJ Roberts, was sent to Samuel’s sister, Emily. Private Martin Lawlor of Hoylake was injured at the same time and was in hospital.
Samuel is commemorated on the headstone of the Jones/Ellis family grave at Holy Trinity Church, Hoylake. His epitaph reads:
“also Samuel their son killed in France 21st Aug 1916 aged 41 years He answered the call”
Birth: 1875 in Hoylake
Death: 21st August 1916 died of wounds age 41
Address: Back Sea View, Hoose (81-01), 41 Lee Road, Hoylake (11)
Occupation: Golf Caddie, General Labourer
Unit: 13th Bn. Cheshire Regiment
Number and Rank: Private W/983
Medals: Victory, British, 1915 Star
Commemorated and Buried: GH, Holy Trinity, Hoylake, Somme, Lonsdale Cemetery, Authuille. VII B 1 Sources: CWGC, SDGW, Bpt. DA, Census: 81, 91, 01, 11
Harold was born in Hoylake in 1895 at baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 10th November 1895 He was the youngest of six children of Peter (1845-1922) and Annie Sherlock (neé Huson 1852-1925). His siblings were Ernest Albert (1885-1938), Victor Peter Alexander (1887-1960), Adeline Alice (1889-1959, Ethel Annie (1892-1979), and Alfred 1894-?). Harold’s family tree is complicated in that he has two sets of half siblings, both parents having previously been married before they married each other. Peter Sherlock was born into a very well established Hoylake fishing family. His first wife was Ellen Job (1848-1883) who was born in Llanbeblig, Caernarvonshire. Peter and Ellen Sherlock’s children were Elizabeth Jane (1876) and Joseph Job (1879). Annie Huson was born in Liverpool but moved to Hoylake and her first husband was Joseph Jones (1851-1881). Joseph was born in Hoylake but his parents hailed from Eastham and Childer Thornton. Annie and Joseph Jones children were Georgina Jones (1875-1903) and Joseph William Jones (1877-1911).
In 1901 the family were living at 23 Lee Road, Hoylake. Peter was not at home and as he was a fisherman, was presumably out fishing. Annie was aged 49 and with her were Joseph W Jones her son from her first marriage, he was 23 and a plumber, Joseph J Sherlock, who incorrectly appears on the Census as Jones, was aged 21 and was a railway van driver, Ernest Sherlock was 16 and was an apprentice joiner, Victor aged 13 was a baker’s errand boy, Adeline was 12, Ethel 9, Alfred 7 and the youngest was Harold aged 5.
In 1911 the family had moved to 52 Lee Road, Hoylake. Peter was aged 66 and was a road labourer, however, a Hoylake directory for the same year lists Peter as a fisherman, so perhaps when he was not fishing, to earn some extra money, he worked as a road labourer. Annie was now 59, Ernest (26) was in the Royal Navy serving as carpenter’s crew, Victor (23) was a house painter, Ethel (19) was a dressmaker’s apprentice, Alfred (17) was also a house painter, and Harold aged 15 was a golf caddie boy.
Harold enlisted not long after the outbreak of war, at Hoylake on 3rd September 1914 and was posted for Home Service in the 13th Bn Cheshire Regiment, known as the “Wirral Battalion”, serving at Perham Downs and Codford, Wiltshire. He was just 19 years of age, employed as an auxiliary postman, was 5’ 9¾”, chest measurement was 35 inches, had a fresh complexion with brown hair and brown eyes.
Unexpectedly, an application for discharge was signed on 23rd October 1914 stating that he was physically unfit and Harold was discharged 29th October 1914 after serving for just 57 days. On 16th January 1916 he received an Armlet and pamphlet at his home at 99 Market Street, Hoylake. So as Harold could not be mistaken for a conscientious objector, the armlet was sent to show that he was unfit for duty and the pamphlet explained when and where to wear it.
The reasons for Harold originally being discharged as medically unfit is not clear, nor is it clear when or how he was able to re-enlist, but it must have been after January 1916 and this time was at Birkenhead. Perhaps it was due to the shortage of manpower and the subsequent introduction of conscription in March 1916. Sadly, no additional service records exist, but Harold enlisted in the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment and at some later date transferred to the 19th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers. This unit became part of 49th (West Riding) Division in August 1916 as a pioneer battalion. It would seem, therefore that Harold was still not enjoying the best of health. The date of his death, in the spring of 1918 tells us that he he died during the Kaiser’s Spring Offensive, during the Second Battle of Kemmel. We can only guess at the sufferings this unfortunate young fellow must have endured during his military career and clearly, his membership of a pioneer battalion ultimately gave him no protection against the savage German onslaught of that year. His commemoration on the Menin Gate tells us that his body was never identified. He might lie in a grave marked “A Soldier of the Great War Known Unto God” or his remains might simply have been destroyed.
Harold is commemorated on the Jones/Hughes/Sherlock family grave at Holy Trinity Church. His Epitaph reads:
To the loving memory of Pte Harold Sherlock 19th Lancashire Fusiliers, killed in action 25th April 1918, aged 22 years “In God’s keeping till that happy Easter morn”
Birth: 1895 in Hoylake
Death: 25 April 1918 killed in action age 22
Address: 23 Lee Road, Hoylake (01), 52 Lee Road, Hoylake (11), 99 Market Street, Hoylake (14-16)
Occupation: Caddie Boy (golf), Auxiliary Postman
Unit: 19th Bn Lancashire Fusiliers, Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment and 13th Bn Cheshire Regiment
Number and Rank: Private 48139, formerly 36893 and 579
Medals: Victory, British
Commemorated and Buried: GH, Holy Trinity, Hoylake, Tyne Cot, Belgium Panel 54 to 60 and 163A
Sources: CWGC, SDGW, Bpt., SR, Census: 01, 11
Frank was born in 1897 in Hoylake and baptised at Holy Trinity Church on 18th November 1897. He was the second youngest of seven children born to Thomas (1858-1906) and Mary Wharton (neé Stanley 1858-1941). Frank’s siblings were Elsie (1889-1934), Matilda (1890-1964), William Stanley (1892-?), Barbara Kate (1893-?), George (1895-1990), and Cyril Thomas (1902-1969). Both Wharton and Stanley are very old Wirral surnames.Thomas Wharton was born in Caldy where the Wharton family had been living for many generations. Mary was born in Great Meols. Her father, James Stanley, was born in Moreton and his ancestors have apparently been traced to the mid 16th century.
Six years before Frank’s birth, the 1891 Census shows the family living in Dawson Street, Hoose. Thomas was an agricultural labourer and both he and Mary were aged 32. Their two children at that time were Elsie aged one and Matilda aged three months. At some point after 1891, the family moved and they can be found in the 1901 Census living at 17 Lake Place. Thomas was now employed as a builder’s labourer. Their children were Elsie (11), Matilda (10), William (8), (Barbara) Kate (7), George (5), and Frank (3).
In 1911 the family were still in Lake Place and by now Mary was a widow and working as a charwoman. Her children at home were Matilda who was working as a domestic servant, William working as a milk boy, George also working as a milk boy, Frank aged 13 who was still in school but he was also working as a milk boy, (Barbara) Kate was working as a domestic servant, (Cyril) Thomas, and also Thomas and Mary’s granddaughter, Elsie Wharton, aged one.
Very little is known about Frank’s war records as his service records do not exist. As to when and where he enlisted also remains a mystery. He originally enlisted in the Welsh Regiment but later transferred to the 1/7th Welsh Fusiliers.
Frank may have joined the 1/7th (Merioneth & Montgomery) battalion at any time after its formation, but it originated at Newtown, Montgomery as part of the North Wales Brigade of the Welsh Division. It then moved to Conway, Northampton, Cambridge, and in May 1915 on to Bedford. On 13th May 1915 the formation became part of the 158th Brigade of the 53rd Division, and on 19th July 1915 it embarked for Gallipoli from Devonport, Plymouth, landing at Suvla Bay on 9th August 1915, engaging in action against the Turkish Army.
In December 1915 the Division evacuated from Gallipoli to Egypt due to heavy losses. It was reduced to just 162 officers and 2,428 men, which was about 15% of maximum strength. From there they went on to Alexandria. They saw action at the Battle of Romani in Palestine and in 1917 fought at the first, second and third battle of Gaza where they were involved in the capture of Beersheba, Tel el Khuweilfe, and the capture of Jerusalem. In December they were in action in the defence of Jerusalem. In March 1918 they fought at the battle of Tell ‘Asur and in September at the battle of Nablus before being withdrawn and moving back to Tell ‘Asur. From there they moved to Ramle, and then on to Alexandria on the 27th October.
The Division remained in Egypt for a while after the war, and Frank died there of an illness contracted whilst on active service.
Frank’s elder brother, George, served as a private in the 13th Bn Cheshire Regiment but suffered a gunshot wound to his face in France in 1917. Some teeth and his left eye were removed after which he was discharged as medically unfit. George lived well into his 90’s, dying in 1990. Frank’s cousin, Samuel Ernest Wharton, a Private in the 350th Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps who died on 23rd October 1918 also appears on the Grange Hill War Memorial.
Birth: 1897 in Hoylake
Death: 17th March 1920 due to illness contracted during active service age 23
Address: 17 Lake Place, Hoylake (01-11)
Unit: 1st/7th Bn Royal Welsh Fusiliers and Welsh Regiment
Number and Rank: Private 95220 formerly 291705
Medals: Victory, British
Commemorated and Buried: GH, Holy Trinity, Hoylake, Alexandria, Egypt (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, E. 197. Sources: CWGC, Bpt., MC, Census: 01, 11
Samuel Ernest Wharton
Samuel was the middle child of five children born to Samuel (1863-1940) and Martha Morris Wharton (née Matthews 1858-1933). His siblings were Joseph Richard (1885-1967), Kate Morris (1887-1942), Mary Evelyn (1896-1981), and Ada Louise (1900-1903). Samuel senior was born in Caldy where the Wharton family had been living for many generations. Martha was born in Wavertree.
In 1891, not long before Samuel’s birth, the family were living at Brook Terrace, West Kirby. Samuel senior was working as a horse driver and was aged 28. Martha was 33 and their children were, Joseph (5), and Kate (3). The family had three lodgers to supplement their income, Joseph Bird who was also a horse driver was born in Grange and was aged 18. Enoch Jones, also aged 18 was born in Bebington and was a railway porter. Joseph Slater, who was another horse driver, aged 18 was born in Pensnett, Staffordshire. Interestingly, Joseph Bird became the second husband of Samuel Wharton senior’s sister, Mary Ellen Wharton (1867-1956).
In 1901 the family had moved to 5 Albert Road, West Kirby where Samuel senior was now employed as a foreman in a coal yard. All of his children were at home – Joseph was 15 and was working as a labourer in a coal yard, Kate was 14, Samuel 9, Mary 5 and Ada 1.The Pownall family from Caldy were visiting. 1911 shows that the family had moved to 15 Groveland Avenue, Hoylake, and all were at home except for Ada who had died in 1903, and Samuel who was now working as a milk hand for John Price, farmer, at Home Farm Meols.
Samuel enlisted at Hoylake but sadly his service records do not exist. Initially Samuel was posted to the 2nd Bn South Lancashire Regiment and he served some time in France. He was wounded in about February 1917 and then transferred to the 350th Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps. Little is known about the protection companies but they were mainly engaged in guarding work – POW camps, vulnerable points (docks etc), Ireland, and M.I. and special military areas (government, camps, munitions etc). A total of 27,000 men were employed as such in 1918.
Whilst with the RDC Samuel was stationed at Prees Heath military camp in Shropshire. He had visited his home whilst on leave in mid October 1918, however, seven days after returning to camp, Samuel succumbed to pneumonia. The Deeside Advertiser reported a funeral notice detailing a long list of mourners including many family and friends.
Samuel’s cousin, Frank Wharton, also appears on the Grange Hill War Memorial.
Birth 1891 in West Kirby
Death 23rd October 1918 age 27
Address: 5 Albert Road, West Kirby (01), Home Farm, Meols (11)
Occupation: Milk Hand on a farm (11)
Unit: 350th Protection Company, Royal Defence Corps, formerly South Lancashire Regt.
Number and Rank: Private, 69111, formerly 25988
Medals: Victory, British
Commemorated and Buried: GH, West Kirby Parish Church
Sources: CWGC, SDGW, Bpt., PR, MC, DA, Census: 01,11
Postscript by Stephen Roberts
I am extremely grateful to Gail for writing these biographies. Despite her initial wariness, she has shown herself to be a very meticulous and sympathetic writer, who has managed to transorm the above soldiers from being mere names on pieces of granite to real people with interesting social, genealogical and historical contexts.
You are also invited to write the biographies of people appearing on the Grange Hill Memorial. If you would like to do so, please get in touch. You do not need to be related to the people you choose to write about and you do not need any previous experience. Contact me and I will provide you with the necessary sources.