2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 11,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


John Henry Dickinson and Reginald Dreaper

The following two biographies were written by Victoria Doran. Stephen Roberts made some small additions. The two men were not related, but have been grouped together because they were both associated with West Kirby and their names are close to each other on the Grange Hill War Memorial.


Jack Dickinson
Jack Dickinson

According to newspaper reports John Henry Dickinson was known as Jack to his family and friends, so that is how he will be referred to. Jack was born on 13 July 1894 at Back Sea View, Hoylake the youngest of the five children to survive infancy of John Dickinson (1852-1927) and Mary Ann Leather (1864-1900). On 28 October of that year he was baptised at Holy Trinity, Hoylake. 

John Dickinson Senior was born in Great Crosby, Lancashire and worked all his life in various forms of labouring, latterly as a brick setter. Mary Ann Leather was the daughter of an agricultural labourer and her family lived at various times around Hoylake, Meols and West Kirby. Before her marriage on 16 April 1883 at St Bridget, West Kirby, she had worked as a domestic servant but lived with her parents at Lang Terrace (now called Birkett Road), West Kirby. 

Sometime after Jack was born, the family moved to West Kirby. His mother died in the summer of 1900, when Jack was about seven years old. By 1901 John Dickinson and his 4 youngest children were living in a small terrace house at 41 Birkett Road, West Kirby, together with his elderly in-laws James and Martha Leather. 41 Birkett Road was a narrow two up two down terrace house, which must have been very crowded. 

James Leather died in 1902, and by 1911 John Dickinson, sons William and Jack, and Martha Leather were living as boarders at 2 Kinver Terrace, Milton Road, West Kirby. They were boarding with George Davies, his wife and 4 children aged 6 and under. Including the kitchen the house only had 4 rooms, so it was even more crowded than they experienced in 1901. Jack aged 16 was working as a grocer’s errand boy. Clearly the family was struggling financially. 

According to the Deeside Advertiser of 6 November 1914, both eldest brother Alfred Laurence Dickinson (1888 – 1956) and William Dickinson (1890-1941) were both already in the army. Jack joined up before the end of 1914. His military record has not survived, but we know he served in the Cheshire Regiment. The Deeside Advertiser of 3 December 1915 printed the following article about the three brothers: 

Dickinson Brothers in the "Deeside Advertiser"
Dickinson Brothers in the “Deeside Advertiser”

From this we know that Jack served in the 9th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment. It is believed he served in this battalion for his entire service. If so he will have done the early part of his training at Basingstoke, moving to Salisbury Plain in March 1915. He landed at Boulogne in France on 19 Jul 1915 as part of the 58th Brigade of the 19th (Western) Division.  

Cheshire Regiment Badge
Cheshire Regiment Badge

Unfortunately, neither Arthur Crookenden in his History of the Cheshire Regiment in the Great War nor the excellent Long Long Trail  contain any information about where the 9th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment was situated or what it was doing at the time of Jack’s death on 21st February 1916. Further work will have to be done in battalion war diaries.  He is buried in Merville Communal Cemetery, so he probably died in a medical facility nearby. Merville was in Allied hands from October 1914 until 1918, so was ‘behind the lines’. 

Eldest brother Alfred served in the Royal Field Artillery in France and brother William served in the 8th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment in the Dardanelles, contracting dysentery and being hospitalised in Malta. Both survived the war, but nothing else has been found about their service. 

Note that the Commonwealth War Graves Commission have recorded Jack’s date of death as 21 February, whilst the Book of Remembrance held at West Kirby Library gives it as 22 February.

Jack's Grave, Photograph taken by Bernadette Acquette
Jack’s Grave, Photograph taken by Bernadette Acquette
Merville Communal Cemetery
Jean-Pierre Acquette Points out Jack’s Grave

Birth: 13 Jul 1894 at Back Sea View, Hoylake
Death: 21 Feb 1916 in France; died from wounds
Addresses: 41 Birkett Road, West Kirby (01); 2 Kinver Terrace, Milton Road, West Kirby
Occupation: Grocer’s Errand Boy
Units:  9th Battalion Cheshire Regiment
Number and Rank: 12910, Private
Medals: Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: France: Merville Communal Cemetery VI L 6
Sources: GH, WK, CWGC, MC, DA, BR, PR, Census: 01, 11


Dreaper is a very unusual surname. I have not been able to find it either in The Oxford Dictionary of English Surnames or on the online British Surname Profiler, which did not have any data for the name at all. It seems probable that it is a variation of Draper and therefore is of Anglo-Saxon origin and means “a purveyor of cloth”. Bearers of that name settled in Ulster in the 17th century. As will be seen below, Reginald did have Irish ancestry, so this interpretation would make sense. (Stephen Roberts)

Reginald Charles Dreaper is the only man with a West Kirby connection who served in the New Zealand Armed Forces. He was born in the spring of 1885 in Freshfield, Lancashire, the third child and second son of George Hotham Dreaper (1839-1894) and Louisa Mary Ann Plank (1858-1943). His siblings were Clarissa Hotham Dreaper (1881-1960), George Porter Dreaper (1883-1913) and Gladys Henriette Dreaper (1887-1961). His story really starts with the arrival in Liverpool of his grandfather William Porter Dreaper (1804-1882) from Waterford in Ireland. 

From The “Liverpool Mercury” of 13 April 1882

William Dreaper Porter was a very successful man who usually called himself a music seller, but in reality made and sold pianofortes, harmoniums etc. His workshop was in Bold Street, Liverpool. According to the Hereford Times of 30 May 1846 he had a showroom above some workshops on the corner of Shaw Street and Wood Street, with about 60 pianos on display. In that month one of the premises below caught fire, the building was destroyed and only 5 pianos were rescued. He was believed not to be fully insured. At the time he was in Paris, so presumably his business was international. This major setback did not defeat him, and on 21 May 1861 he was granted a patent for an improvement to pianofortes.

William Porter Dreaper had 3 sons all of whom joined him in the business. The middle son John Shaw Dreaper (1834-1899) left to became a commission agent in Lambeth, London. The eldest William Henry Dreaper (1833-1895) and youngest George Hotham Dreaper, Reginald Charles’ father, took over the business in the 1870s as William Porter Dreaper had become insane and was committed to an asylum. However the sons evidently did not have the abilities of their father. When William Porter Dreaper died in 1882 he left over £14,000. All three sons died between 1894 and 1899 and none of them left more than about £1500, George Hotham Dreaper leaving the least. We know from the following:

The “Liverpool Mercury” 29th July 1882

that all William Porter Dreaper’s money went to his widow with reversion to his sons. His widow Henrietta Catherina Pinch (1812-1893) died before any of her sons and left less than £1000. So William and George seem to have run the business at a loss.

By the time Reginald Charles Dreaper was 7 years old, the family had moved to 31 Westbourne Road, West Kirby and his father and paternal grandparents were dead. Both his paternal uncles died by the time he was 14. Up to this time George Hotham Dreaper always employed at least one servant. His maternal grandparents were John George Ward Plank (1826-1871) and Clarissa Pickford (1832-1900). Both were Londoners and J G W Plank worked as a clerk for HM Customs. Although they had a very large family and always employed a household servant, John George Ward Plank did not leave enough for probate. By 1901 his mother had moved the family to 12 North Road, West Kirby, and Reginald Charles was working as an insurance clerk.

In 1908 he decided that office life was not for him and emigrated to New Zealand. He travelled first class from Liverpool to Wellington on the SS Fifeshire, leaving on 2 May. By 1911 he was a farmer living at Erepeti, Upper Ruakuturi Valley, Wairoa, Hawkes Bay in North Island, New Zealand. Presumably he was farming sheep. It seems to have been many generations since any member of either side of his family worked on the land in any capacity, so it would be interesting to know how he managed to acquire the necessary knowledge.Today there is no settlement at Erepeti, and the upper part of the Ruakuturi Valley is known for trout fishing and scenery. In 1913 his brother George died, having been reasonably successful as a timber merchant as he left over £1600 and was only aged 30.

Cap Badge of the Wellington Mounted Rifles. From here.

Reginald Charles Dreaper joined up quite early once war was declared as he was part of the second draft of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force which left New Zealand on 14 December 1914. He was a trooper in the Wellington Mounted Rifles.

The Wellington Mounted Rifles at Awapuni Race Course on 8th August 1914
The Wellington Mounted Rifles at Awapuni Race Course on 8th August 1914. From here.


Wellington Mounted Rifles Soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Probably after the death of Reginald Dreaper
Wellington Mounted Rifles Soldiers on the Gallipoli Peninsula, Probably after the death of Reginald Dreaper
Map of the section of the Gallipoli Peninsula Occupied by ANZAC forces including Reginald's Unit.
Map of the section of the Gallipoli Peninsula Occupied by ANZAC forces including Reginald’s Unit. The Wellington Mounted Rifles were part of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. They had been in Egypt since January 1915  and sailed for Turkey on board two troopships on 9th May 1915, leaving their horses behind and under orders to fight as infantrymen. They landed at ANZAC Cove on 12th May and occupied bivouacs at Rest Gully. At the time of Reginald’s death, they were bivouaced at Walker’s Ridge. Their major attack on Chunuk Bair did not begin until 5th August. From here.

He was part of the ANZAC force at Gallipoli where he was severely wounded by shrapnel, dying on 11 July on board a hospital ship at the age of 30. He was buried at sea. He is reported as being ‘a man of very splendid physique and a very genial disposition’.

Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial, Gallipoli
Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial, Gallipoli

He seems to have had no-one in New Zealand to look after his affairs as the attorney of the Public Trustee of New Zealand was granted administration of his probate in England in 1921. He left £312 in England. He is commemorated on panel 72 of the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli, Turkey. 

Dreaper Gravestone, St. Bridget's Church Yar, West Kirby
Dreaper Gravestone, St. Bridget’s Church Yard, West Kirby

And also on the family grave at St Bridget, West Kirby, which is somewhat neglected.

Birth: Apr 1885 at Freshfield, Lancashire
Death: 11 Jul 1915 at sea of wounds received at Gallipoli
Addresses: 2 Mount Pleasant Road, Liscard (91); 12 North Road, West Kirby (01); Erepeti, Upper Ruakuturi Valley, Wairoa , Hawkes Bay, New Zealand (11) (14)
Occupations: Insurance Clerk, Farmer
Unit: Wellington Mounted Rifles, New Zealand
Number and Rank: 11/757; Trooper
Medals: 15 Star, Victory and British War (all assumed)
Commemorated: Turkey : Lone Pine Memorial, panel 72; St Bridget’s Church Yard, West Kirby
Sources: GH, WK, CWGC, DA, Census: 91, 01, NZ Army Rolls, Probate, NZ Electoral Rolls and New Zealand History Website

James Hatton Davies and William Henry Davies

The following biographies were written by Victoria Doran. There is no known relationship between the two soldiers. They appear together because they were both based in West Kirby and appear close together on the Grange Hill War Memorial.


This is an account of one of the less fortunate and somewhat flawed individuals who lost his life early in 1915. Born to fairly lowly beginnings, he seems to have been a far from ideal husband, father and soldier. But he would have had very few options in life, and divorce was not a possibility for the working class at that time.

James Hatton Davies was born at Shore Road, Caldy at the end of 1882, the second child and eldest son of the eight children of Thomas Davies (born about 1857 in Wallasey) and Sarah Hatton (born about 1858 in Caldy). He was a cousin of John Hatton (1887-1917) who was the son of an older brother of his mother.

Shore Cottage which most people think of as being in Thurstaston

He was baptised at St Bridget, West Kirby on Christmas Day 1882. At that time his father was a labourer, but he also later worked as a cowman, a builder’s carter and a waggoner on a farm. The family were not well off as they lived at Shore Road with his mother’s widowed father, and it must have been very crowded. By 1901 most the family was living in Shore Cottage at Caldy, right at the bottom of the cliffs at the beach, but James was no longer at home. He was probably the James Hatton, blacksmith, living as a boarder at 56 Liscard Village, Wallasey. 

He joined the militia on 4 Jun 1901 and did 46 days drill with the 4th Battalion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment before deciding to become a regular soldier and attesting on 25 July 1901 at Warrington. He claimed to be aged 20 when he was only in fact 18, though the officer agreeing he was suitable gave his correct age. He joined as a Private on a Short Service Contract of three years. He is described as a labourer, nearly 5 ft 9 in tall, with a 36 in chest, sallow complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair. 

He was fairly quickly transferred to the 2nd Battalion. He was not an ideal soldier having numerous disciplinary offences to his name during his three years service, including being improperly dressed for a defaulter’s parade, quitting camp without permission and being drunk on parade. He seems to have spent most of his service in Ireland. When he completed this period of service and was discharged on 25 July 1904 he had grown over two inches and now had a 39 inch chest. He returned to Shore Cottage, Caldy to his parents, and was placed on the Army Reserve.

On 29 October 1904 he married Amelia Webley at St Bridget, West Kirby.


In fact she was born Eliza Amelia Webley in Liverpool in 1878. James’ army records show her as deceased, but she was remarried in April 1918 in Liverpool to John Johnson, correctly stating she was a widow, and then moved to mid Cheshire. In 1901 her younger sister Sylvania was working as a domestic servant for the Leech family at the shop in Caldy, which possibly is how she met James. In September 1909 he did his Army Reserve training at Neston.

On 12 December 1909 he had a son Owen Davies baptised at St Bridget, West Kirby.


Note that at this point, his wife was called Annie. The family lived at 3 Ridley Grove, West Kirby and James was a carter. Owen was born on 16 Oct 1909 in West Kirby. By the time of the 1911 census, the family was still living at 3 Ridley Grove, James was still a carter and there was now a daughter called Annie Owen Davies (born 20 November 1910). He claimed to have been married to Annie for three years and she was apparently born in Birkenhead. There is no record of him marrying Annie, and he would have committed bigamy had he done so. 

A further child, James was born 23 November 1912 in West Kirby, and yet another Thomas, was born 8 January 1915 in Amlwch, Anglesey. James is probably the James H Davies registered in the March Quarter of 1913 in Wirral, from which we can deduce that Annie was probably Annie Owens. On 23 Mar 1915, when the army was trying to establish who James Hatton had actually married, Annie Owens was living in Amlwch, where she had only been for about 12 months, which suggests that she had split up from James some time before, and calls into question whether Thomas was his child. By 21 September 1919 she had married one Oswald Williams.

On 24 Jul 1913, James’ period on the Army Reserve expired. He attested again on 15 November 1913, in order to remain on the Reserve as a member of the King’s Liverpool Regiment. At that date he gave his address as Church Cottage, Boughwood, Near Brecon, Wales and described himself as a general labourer. This confirms that he had now left Annie and his three children.

He was mobilised on 5 September 1914. In order to make Annie and his children eligible for separation allowance whilst he was on active service, he claimed to have married her on 12 October 1908 in West Kirby. There is, not surprisingly, no evidence of such a marriage. By the 12 August 1914 he had been posted to the 1st battalion of the King’s Liverpool Regiment and was in France with the British Expeditionary Force.  

King's Liverpool Regiment Cap Badge in Use 1898-1927
King’s Liverpool Regiment Cap Badge in Use 1898-1927

The following is from Wikipedia and describes the actions in which James will have taken part.

Under command of Lieutenant-Colonel W.S. Bannatyne, the 1st King’s boarded the SS Irrawaddy at Southampton. The battalion landed at Le Havre on 13 August with the 6th Brigade, 2nd Division, one of the original components of the British Expeditionary Force. The BEF first engaged the German Army at Mons, Belgium, after which it went into a retreat that was sustained until 5 September, when the Allies resolved to stand at the Marne, a river east of Paris. Having acted as a rearguard to the 2nd Division, the 1st King’s and its brigade prevented a German force cutting off the 4th (Guards) Brigade, forming the rearguard at Villers-Cotteréts, and 70th Battery, Royal Field Artillery. The brigade extricated the guns, earning it praise from the 2nd Division’s commanding officer, General Monro. The Allies halted the German advance in the First Battle of the Marne; the ensuing retreat, which prompted an Allied counter-offensive, ended at the Aisne. After both battles had been fought, the battalion moved north to Ypres, during the so-called “Race to the Sea”. In an action at Langemarck during the First Battle of Ypres, the battalion captured the small village of Molenaarelstoek, just north-east of Polygon Wood. As the battle progressed, the German command sought a decisive victory against the outnumbered BEF and launched First Ypres’ last major assault on 11 November. Located to the south of Polygon Wood, the 1st King’s was one of only a few units available to defend British lines. A force of “12 and a half” divisions, including a composite of the élite Prussian Guard, attacked at 0900 along a 9 miles (14 km) front extending from Messines to Polygon. Some German units breached the front in places but quickly lost momentum and were gradually pushed back by a desperate defence. The Prussian Guard had advanced in dense formations, each guardsman effectively side-by-side and led by sword-wielding officers. In the defence of Polygon Wood, the 1st King’s held on and virtually destroyed the 3rd Prussian Foot Guards with concentrated rapid-fire and artillery support. By battle’s end, the 1st King’s casualties numbered 33 officers and 814 other ranks from an original strength of 27 officers and 991 other ranks.

We do not know precisely when James was wounded, but the Book of Remembrance states it was at Ypres, so he was probably one of the 814 other ranks of his battalion who died.


However it also states he was a member of the 7th Battalion, King’s Liverpool Regiment, whilst his military record and the CWGC record him as a member of the 1st Battalion. The 7th Battalion did not arrive in France until March 1915. Possibly confusion arose because he died in the 7th Stationary Hospital at Boulogne, never recovering sufficiently in at least two months to be transferred back to England. He died aged 33 of a fractured spine having received a gun shot wound in the back. He is buried in grave III. C. 57. of the Boulogne East Cemetery.


Birth: Oct 1882 in Caldy
Death: 19 Jan 1915 in hospital at Boulogne, France from a gunshot wound in spine
Addresses: Shore Road, Caldy (91); 52 Liscard Village, Wallasey (01); 11 Ridley Road, West Kirby (11); Church Cottage, Boughrood, Radnorshire (13)
Occupations: Soldier, Carter
Units: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Battalions The King’s (Liverpool Regiment)
Numbers and Rank: 5522 (militia), 7687 (regular); Private
Medals: 14 Star, 15 Star, Victory and British War
Commemorated and Buried: France: Boulogne East Cemetery III C 57; Grange Hill, St Bridget, St Andrew – all in West Kirby S
Sources: GH, WK, CWGC, SR, MC, BR, PR, Census: 91, 01, 11


William Henry Davies

William Henry Davis was a first cousin of the five Johnstone brothers who died as a result of World War I, his father being a brother of their mother Johanna. From newspaper reports we know he was called ‘Billy’ by his fellow soldiers, so that is the name that the rest of these notes will use. Billy was born in 1899, the son of William Davies (1866-1954) of a long established local family and Elizabeth Stevenson (1864-1939) from Youlgreave, Derbyshire. Elizabeth came to West Kirby as a parlourmaid to a family in Beacon Road. William and Elizabeth married on 21 January 1892 at St Bridget, West Kirby. Unusually for the Davies family, Billy had only one sibling, older sister Florence Emmeline (1893-1973). However he had a host of cousins in West Kirby. Financially the family probably managed better for only having two children. 

William Davies started as an agricultural labourer by the age of 15, worked as a labourer and settled as a domestic gardener. By 1901 the family was living at 8 Alexandra Road, West Kirby and were still there in 1911. There is no reason to suppose that Billy ever lived anywhere else. Due to his youth he will have been conscripted into the army. At that time he was apprenticed as a plumber to Councillor W Chas.White whose plumbing business was at 2 Alexandra Road, so very close to Billy’s home.

Advertisement from the 1911 "Green Book"
Advertisement from the 1911 “Green Book”

We know he first joined the Lancashire Fusiliers. Indeed he is wearing the cap badge of that regiment in the above picture. As his military record has not survived, we know no more for certain until the time of his death at the age of 19 when he was a Gunner in the 5th Battalion of the Machine Gun Corps. 

Lancashire Fusiliers Cap Badge
Lancashire Fusiliers Cap Badge
Cap Badge of the Machinegun Corps
Cap Badge of the Machinegun Corps
“Deeside Advertiser” 13th September 1918

One of the Corporals wrote to his parents and we know that Billy 

fell in the morning of 21st August. … rushed up to the assistance of one of his mates who had fallen, only to meet the same fate himself. They were about the only two in his section that day; a few others were wounded and have since gone to England. It is a big loss to us. Your son was a quiet though cheerful and obliging lad, and much respected by all the section.” 

This probably occurred as part of the Battle of Albert (21-23 August), part of the 2nd 1918 Battle of the Somme. His body was never recovered, so he is remembered on the Vis-en-Artois Memorial in France, and also on the following, somewhat neglected, family grave marker in the church yard at St Bridget. His sister never married, so there has been no close family for a long time now to look after it.

Davies Family Gravestone in St. Bridget's Parish Church Yard, West Kirby
Davies Family Gravestone in St. Bridget’s Parish Church Yard, West Kirby

Birth: June 1899 at West Kirby
Death: 21 Aug 1918 at Bouzencourt, France; killed in action.
Addresses: 8 Alexandra Road, West Kirby (01) (11)
Occupation: Apprentice Plumber
Units: Lancashire Fusiliers; 5th Battalion Machine Gun Corps
Numbers and Rank: not known; 137481
Medals: Victory & British War
Commemorated: France: Vis-en-Artois Memorial Panel 10; St Bridget Church Yard (LR28) Sources: GH, WK, CWGC, MC, BR, PR, DA, Census: 01, 11

Albert Edward Shepherd

This biography was written by Victoria Doran who has done an excellent job of bringing to life an interesting man who is not recorded on the Grange Hill War Memorial or on the Hoylake and West Kirby News’s 1922 list, but whose Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone is visible in St. Bridget’s Church Yard in West Kirby.


Bert's Grave in St. Bridget's Church Yard in West Kirby
Bert’s Grave in St. Bridget’s Church Yard in West Kirby

When Albert Edward Shepherd’s War Grave marker was first found in St Bridget’s Church Yard, it seemed likely that he was someone who had died in a hospital facility in the area and just happened to be buried there. For what was an Australian Munitions Worker doing in West Kirby? He is not recorded on the Grange Hill War Memorial or any other Memorial in the area. Continue reading “Albert Edward Shepherd”

Ernest Victor Ingham

The following biography was written by Victoria Doran with small additions by Stephen Roberts:


Ingham Family Grave, St.Bridget's Church Yard, West Kirby
Ingham Family Grave, St.Bridget’s Church Yard, West Kirby

Ernest Victor Ingham (1887 – 1916) was born in West Kirby early in 1887. Although he claimed to be Church of England when he enlisted, he was not baptised at St Bridget. In fact, at least on his father’s side, he came from a long line of Wesleyans. However his parents and two of his sisters were buried at St Bridget, West Kirby, and Ernest is remembered on the grave marker. However at the time of his mother’s death on 1905, St Bridget was the only graveyard in the West Kirby area, so other denominations were also buried there.

Continue reading “Ernest Victor Ingham”

George Wordsworth Allen

The following biography was written by Victoria Doran.

George’s biography was originally written by Stephen Roberts and posted on 19th November 2013 along with several other biographies, including those of John Aitken and Hew Graham Anderson. It has now been deleted from that post because Victoria has since discovered much more information about George and incorporated it into the following much more comprehensive and interesting story, which gets a lot nearer to bringing George to life.

Allen George W.jpg Continue reading “George Wordsworth Allen”

Edward Nielson Crooks and Hugh Lockwood Cruttwell

The following two soldiers were not related. They are grouped together simply because they close together on the Grange Hill War Memorial. They were officers from middle class families from Hoylake and Frankby respectively.


Edward came from a wealthy middle class family which typified a lot of Merseysiders at this time, in that it had Scottish roots and had earned its money by being involved in Liverpool’s overseas trade. We first come across his family in the 1861 census, which shows his grandparents – Robert Crooks (born in Kilmarnock in about 1823) who was a “Colonial Merchant” and Mary Urquhart (born in about 1822 in Glasgow) – living at Sandown Park in Wavertree, Liverpool. The couple had three children and three servants. By 1871, the 17 year-old James Kirk Crooks was described as the head of the household and was living at 11 St. George’s Terrace on Victoria Road, Liscard, Wirral with his siblings Mary aged 11, Edward Victor aged 5, Arthur aged 9 and two visitors. James was employed as a “Clerk to the South American Merchants”. There were two visitors in the household – Margaret Kirk and Frances ? who were annuitants. It is certainly an unconventional household, as it is not clear why a 17 year-old had been left in charge. Perhaps his widowed mother was temporarily absent from the home. Continue reading “Edward Nielson Crooks and Hugh Lockwood Cruttwell”

Robert Rice Owen

The following biography is the work of Gail Brumfitt, who is working through the “mystery names” which appear on the list published in the “Hoylake and West Kirby Advertiser” of 22nd December 1922. Like several others on the list, Robert had recently emigrated to Australia, which accounts for the ambiguity surrounding his commemoration in the West Kirby and Hoylake area.

Robert Rice Owen 

Page 1 of Robert Rice Owen's Service Records, which reveals his connection to West Kirby - his mother's residence at
Page 1 of Robert Rice Owen’s Service Records, which reveals his connection to West Kirby – his mother’s residence at “Hilburry Road” l.e. Hilbre Road.

Very little is known about Robert since he does not appear on a census after 1891. His Australian service records state that he served for one year with the English Yeomanry and then transferred to the Light Horse (South Africa) for one year, after which he must have emigrated to Australia where virtually nothing is known of his life apart from that he at one time resided at Manly. Continue reading “Robert Rice Owen”

Edwin and Frank Lester

The following two biographies were written by Carol Hunter.

The Lesters from Huyton to Irby

Edwin and Frank Lester were brothers born in Huyton, Lancashire. Their father John was baptized at St. Mary’s in Prescot on 13th March 1868 and grew up in Whiston then Huyton with his parents George Lester (watchmaker then coal yard labourer) and Elizabeth Davies, and at least nine siblings. In 1891 he was still living at home at Richardson’s Lane, Huyton and was described as a stoker, probably at the local pit, where his younger brother Robert was working as a coal miner. John married Ellen Heyes, from Aughton near Ormskirk, in 1892 at Prescot Register Office. Ellen was baptized on 19th June 1870 at St Peter and Paul in Ormskirk, and was the 2nd of 3 children born to Henry (labourer at waterworks) and Lucy Core. Continue reading “Edwin and Frank Lester”

George William Ouldred

The following biography was written by Carol Hunter (who was interested in George due to being distantly related to him) and by Stephen Roberts who added some  military details. George Ouldred/Aldred was a working class young man who had joined Wirral’s territorial battalion before 1914 and served with it almost to the end of the war. His family lived on a Hoylake street which gave lots of its sons and fathers to the war effort, including Stephen Roberts’s great grandfather, George Cookson.

George William Ouldred

The only documents pertaining to George’s adult life are his medal card, medal roll and this newspaper cutting:

Notification of George Ouldred's Death in the "Deeside Advertiser" of 25th October 1918
Notification of George Ouldred’s Death in the “Deeside Advertiser” of 25th October 1918

George was baptized on 11th July 1897 at St Bridget’s in West Kirby and the oldest of seven children born to Thomas Ouldred and Elizabeth Jane Parr who married in the same church on 14th September 1896. Thomas was born into a Neston fishing family in 1868 and was the youngest of five children. In 1871, 81 and 91 their name was spelt as Ollerhead and before that as Olderhead/Holderhead, but had reverted back to Ouldred by the late 1890s when Thomas’s parents were buried. Elizabeth Jane was the eldest of 7 children born into a Little Meols farming family in 1867 and was actually first cousin to her husband Thomas. There were obviously close family ties as Thomas’ niece Ellen Jane married his wife’s brother William Joseph Parr. Continue reading “George William Ouldred”