Lionel Richard, Sydney William and George Charles Thacker King

The Following Biographies are the Work of Carol Hunter.

An Introduction to the King family of West Kirby

Lionel, Sydney and George were the sons of Doctor Richard Thacker King and Mary Louisa Felton. George is not listed on the West Kirby War Memorial but does appear on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website. I feel that it is important that he gets an entry in his own right, rather than simply being mentioned in his brothers’ biographies.

Richard Thacker King was born on 15th February 1859 at 1 Fairmount Cottages, Rathgar, Dublin and baptized at St Peter’s Church in Dublin on 19th June. His parents were William King, a merchant (whose father William was an insurance agent) and Eleanor Thacker (whose father Richard was a Gentleman). His parents married in 1856 and he had a sister Eleanor Eves King who was born in 1857. Continue reading


Bryden McKinnell

Bryden McKinnell


Bryden McKinnell

Bryden McKinnell

Bryden McKinnell was reperesentative of a very specific type of local Great War casualty – an Anglo-Scot from a privileged upper middle class family, who had acquired its wealth through business both in Scotland and on Merseyside, and a proud, brave and committed Territorial Soldier who died leading his men on the Western Front. Continue reading

Evelyn Fairfax Meadows Frost

The Following Biography is the Work of Carol Hunter

Evelyn Fairfax Meadows Frost

Evelyn Fairfax Meadows Frost as a Civilian

Evelyn Fairfax Meadows Frost as a Civilian

Evelyn was born in 1878 in Claughton, Birkenhead and came from privileged background (family details follow below). He attended school in Birkenhead and then studied engineering at Liverpool University, before serving his apprenticeship at Cammell Laird’s in Birkenhead. He then moved to John Brown & Company, shipbuilders in Clydebank, before becoming Manager of a Rubber Estate in the Federated Malay States, now Malaysia. In 1907 he obtained a 2nd Lieutenancy in the 5th Highland Light Infantry, was promoted to Lieutenant in 1908 and having passed his Musketry, Maxim Gun and Signalling courses he was promoted to Captain in 1913.   Continue reading

Thomas Lunt and James Rainford Norman

The following two biographies were written by Victoria Doran:


From his military record it is clear that he was actually known as Tom. He was closely connected to 2 other West Kirby men commemorated on Grange Hill War Memorial. His sister Annie married John Hartness, brother of David Hartness. His brother Frank married Jane Rainford, whose eldest sister Mary Ann was the mother of James Rainford Norman. Continue reading

Harry Sheppard

The following biography was written by Gail Brumfitt.

Harry Sheppard

Harry was the second youngest of five children born to George Alfred (1863-1952) and Kate Emily Sheppard (née Potter 1860-1936). His siblings were Kate Emma (1884-1958), George (1887-?), Ellen (1889-?), and Ernest (1893-1976). George was a clothing factory manager born in Wraxall, Somerset. His parents were Thomas (1841-1913) and Emma Elizabeth Sheppard (née Rees 1841-1879). Throughout different census, Thomas was a cab inspector, licensed victualler and publican. Emma was born in Bristol, the daughter of Daniel and Mary Rees. Continue reading

Robert Francis Loder-Symonds

Robert Francis Loder-Symonds

Gail Brumfitt wrote this biography over two years ago. At that time, Gail commented that a connection between Captain Loder-Symonds and the West Kirby area had not been found. Since then, Heather Chapman has kindly made digital copies of “The West Kirby News” available to the research team and the following article was discovered, dated 5th September 1914:


West Kirby News 5th September 1914: Captain Loder Symonds leaves West Kirby

Captain Loder Symonds clearly made a very positive impression on the local populace. It is remarkable that, over eight years after his departure from the district, following a short stay, he was still remembered by people who had proposed putting his name on the war memorial. It says a lot about the man, but also reminds us of the vagaries of the decision making process about who would actually be commemorated in the post war years.

The family of Robert Francis Loder-Symonds certainly saw more than their share of wartime tragedy. Three of his brothers were also killed during the Great War, and his only son was killed during WWII.

Robert was born into a wealthy middle class family, whose father, Captain Frederick Cleave Symonds (1846-1923), of the Royal Artillery, often saw overseas commissions, and after Frederick’s marriage, the family only appears together on the 1891 Census. Robert’s mother, Elizabeth Isabel Emily Parland (1853-1917), was born in Wales. She was the daughter of John Peter (1809-1871) and Annette Parland (née Crawshay 1826-1883). John Peter Parland, Robert’s grandfather, was a British subject born in Russia. He was Captain of the Imperial Russian Guards and agent to the Russian Steam Navigation Company. Annette Crawshay’s father was William Crawshay a wealthy ironmaster who left just under £2,000,000 upon his death in 1867. Continue reading

Josiah Athelstan Ulric Williamson

The Following biography was written by Carol Hunter.

Josiah Athelstan Ulric Williamson

Although a good number of the men listed on the West Kirby War Memorial are distantly related to me I have no personal connection to Josiah; I chose to research and write about him as I was drawn by his unusual name. The Williamson surname is local to West Kirby and the family baptized their children at St Bridget’s at least as far back as the mid 1700s. But what about this young man’s Christian names? Josiah’s paternal line goes Josiah, William, Josiah, Josiah, so that explains his first name – simply a family tradition. As for his middle names, after extensive research of his ancestors I found none with any links and can only assume that they were chosen at random, perhaps because his parents liked the sound of them. In fact Josiah’s siblings all had rather exotic names, as we shall see later. Continue reading