Introductions by team members who have so far written biographies appear below:
I remember when my interest in history was ignited: I was in my first year at Greasby County Junior School on Mill Lane in Greasby and the teacher began to talk about the stone age. Interestingly, Greasby Copse was visible from our classroom window. This is where the oldest known habitation site in the north west of England was discovered in the late 1980’s and early 90’s. It dated to the middle stone age era, about 9,500 years ago. Ever since then, I have been fascinated by prehistory and archaeology, but have ended up specialising in local and family history, even though I enjoy all kinds of history about all parts of the world in all periods.
I have had two full-length works of local history published by Phillimore of Chichester – Hoylake and Meols Past (1992) and A History of Wirral (2002). I wrote them both while exiled firstly in North Wales and later in North Lancashire, where I was working as a history teacher. I am now head of history at the Queen Katherine School in Kendal and continue to research the history of Wirral as well as that of my current local area of North Lancashire and Westmorland.
I never studied the Great War of 1914-1918 either at school or at university. My interest started in 1990 when I began to teach the subject at GCSE level at Cecil Jones High School in Southend on Sea. I went on my first battlefield tour in 1991 and paid annual visits to the National Army Museum in Chelsea. Since then, I suppose I can claim that the First World War has become my specialist subject. I have read more books and primary sources about it than about any other single topic.
You can read the story of how I became interested in the Grange Hill Memorial in the page entitled About. When you consider my interests, it is not surprising that I eventually decided to research the biographies of all the people listed on the Grange Hill Memorial and to get the biographies published in some form or other. In November 2013, I realised that a blog would be the best way of doing this. I began on my own, but soon linked up with Heather Chapman and the West Kirby Museum Research Group, who have been working on the people recorded on West Kirby’s parish memorial in St. Bridget’s Church.
So far, as a result of my research, I have discovered that I am related to the following people who are recorded on the Grange Hill Memorial:
Richard H. Bird: 1st cousin 3 times removed
George Holmes: 1st cousin 3 times removed
Thomas Holmes: great great uncle
William Holmes: 1st Cousin 3 times removed
James Rainford Norman: 3rd cousin twice removed
Thomas Rutter: 1st Cousin 3 times removed
Doubtless, there are many more on the memorial to whom I am related, but have not yet discovered, but the above list illustrates the personal connections I have with north west Wirral and might help you to understand why I feel so committed to researching my ancestral home area during the Great War.
Thankfully, I have managed to befriend the talented and committed researchers whose introductions appear below. Two of them also have family members recorded on the Grange Hill Memorial, giving them a personal connection and a passion for the job of exploring the links between people and in bringing them back to life.
Here are my fellow researchers who have written and are writing biographies of local casualties from the Great War. In each case, she gives brief autobiographical notes, followed by the names of her relations who are commemorated at Grange Hill and a list of the biographies she has so far written:
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.
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.
Gail is related to the following soldiers who appear on the Grange Hill Memorial:
Albert Edwin Barton – first cousin, twice removed
Charles Cowderoy – husband of first cousin, 3 times removed
William Henry Dodd – first cousin 3 times removed
William Hazlehurst – second cousin 3 times removed
Sidney Jackson – second cousin 3 times removed
Albert Edwin Jones – first cousin 3 times removed
John Leonard Jones – first cousin 3 times removed
Samuel Jones – second cousin 3 times removed
Frederick Parr – fourth cousin twice removed
Harold Sherlock – third cousin 3 times removed
Frank Wharton – fourth cousin 4 times removed
Samuel Ernest Wharton – fourth cousin 4 times removed
Gail has written the following biographies:
Charles Cowderoy, William Herbert Dodd, Sidney Jackson, Albert Edwin Jones, John Leonard Jones, Samuel Jones, Harold Sherlock, Frank Wharton, Samuel Ernest Wharton, Christian Peter Tenbosch, Charles Paraviso Lindner, Joshua Davies, Francis Lancelot Farnall and Francis Rubenstein Linekar, The Pownalls, John Albert Smith, Hugh Harold Ruffe Taylor, Harry Sheppard, Robert Francis Loder-Symonds, Arthur Thompson, Ralph Troupe Moodie, Robert Rice Owen
She also provided further information on George Trevor Roper Cook
I am a member of the subgroup of West Kirby Museum Research Group www.westkirbymuseum.co.uk which is at present researching the men from West Kirby who died in WW1. We started documenting those on the Roll of Honour in St Bridget’s Church, but have extended the list as others with West Kirby connections are found. I liaise with Stephen Roberts, ensuring that he has any information that we have found, and he shares his information with us. This is not ‘all my own work’; it relies heavily on the input of the other members of the entire Research Group, especially Val, Sue, Judi and Heather, however I actually write any biography I post.
I have been interested in my own family history since I was 7 years old, but only found time to pursue it in depth from 2010 when I retired. Like Carol I have around 10,000 people in my family trees. Although I was born in West Kirby and lived in Hoylake until I was 18, my family only moved to West Wirral in 1926, so I am not (as far as I know) related to any of these men.
Victoria has written the following biographies: Walter Hall, Thomas Lunt, David Hartness, Ernest Hill, Arthur Michael O’Neill, George Sydney Thomas, Ernest and Richard Edward Houghton, Williamson Spencer Hind, William Herbert Davies, George Wordsworth Allen, Ernest Victor Ingham, Albert Edward Shepherd, James Hatton Davies, William Henry Davies, John Henry Dickinson, Reginald Dreaper, James Dangerfield, Tom Dodimead , Harry Davies, James Collingwood Evans , Claude Rex Cleaver, George James Harris, George Eyton Houldsworth, Edward Hylton Wynne Hughes, Francis John Hollowell , Albert Morton Monks, Charles Edward Kershaw, Horrocks William Leech, John Kenneth Kniveton, William Charles Mawdsley, John Hatton, Oliver Hatton, James Reginald Lancaster, Ernest James Kelly, Arthur Luston Owen, Percy Reginald Owen , Edwin Prytherch, Hubert Litton Williams, John Parkinson, Arnold Frost Hood Daniel, Percy Lancaster, Leonard George Emerson, Harold Morris Porter, Percy James Poston, John Edward Porter, Ernest Robert Goodwin, Thomas Hill Hammond, Joseph Hallows, Robert Hallows, George Philip Gregg, Eric Bernard Hough, John Russell, Richard Fletcher, Edward Dermot Ledlie Gonner, James Redfern Johnston, Charles Henry Barnard, Joseph Johnstone, Walter Johnstone, William Benjamin Johnstone, Ernest Johnstone, Sidney Johnstone, Thomas Henry Lyon, William Henry Noel Marples, Christopher Ridler Hale, William Owen Lewis, Geoffrey Ellison Wilkinson, John Arnold Lees, John Lewin, Frederick Poyntz Poore, William Arthur Pinnock, Thomas Henry Pritchard, John Henry Quilliam, George Hindley, Leslie Finlay Dun, John Graham, Frederick Edwin Mayhew, James Hunter Morris, John Peattie Morris, Harry Clyde Rowland, Walter Riley, Edward Railton, Arthur Hoyle Scholefield, John Richard Lacey, Claude Eugene Rooke, Henry Clive Rooke, Robert Harold Williams, William Arthur Stallard, Nicholas Albert Roy van Gruisen, Clement Robert Carmichael Wallworth, Richard Waters, Gordon Dunbar Ferguson, Sydney Heal, Harry Walker, William Webster, Ernest Teanby, Alexander Edwards, William Waring, Francis Alan Hollis Hawksley Hill, Frederick Wilkinson, Herbert James Whelan
and rewritten Wilfred Ernest Shone
She has also co-written the Lusitania Casualties with Heather Chapman
My interest in genealogy started in 2006 when my cousin had employed a researcher to investigate my mother’s Williams family, originally from Shropshire. At this stage, we only had the bare bones of a family tree, so I offered to extend the research. I subsequently became hooked and was able to research all branches of my family tree and discovered the only Wirral family were the Lewises from Ness. (Related names are Davies, Lawley and Ellison.) The men of the family were miners and lived briefly in Rainford, where my great grandma, Elizabeth, was born in 1871. On returning to Ness, they became fishermen.
The family is widely documented in Greg Dawson’s ‘Wyrale’, both as miners and fishermen, and Elizabeth’s grandma, Bridget Ellison, is mentioned as a cockle gatherer, as listed in the 1851 census. Bridget had been widowed in 1838 when her first husband James Lewis was killed in a mining accident.
She subsequently married John Ellison. One piece of research in Greg’s book puzzled me for a while:
“In December 1932, during a gale, Henry’s father and uncle Dick (Evans) cut fellow fisherman Bob Price loose from the mast of his wrecked nobby, north of West Hoyle Bank. Unfortunately Bob had died of exposure and the body of his shipmate Bill Lewis was never found.”
Bill Lewis was, in fact, my great grandma’s brother, and I had his death certificate which stated his body had been recovered.
It took a bit of help from Facebook group called Wirral in Old Photographs (WIOP) member Andrew Barr to discover a newspaper cutting which showed this to be the case.
I was born in Greasby, but moved to West Kirby when I was 3, and have since lived in Saughall Massie, then back to West Kirby and am now in Meols. My grandfather, John Freeman, (Elizabeth Lewis’s son) fought in WW1 in France, thankfully surviving or I wouldn’t be here! He died when I was only 5, so I never got the chance to talk to him about his experiences of the war. When Stephen asked if I would be interested in researching some of the men on the war memorial, I was more than happy to help and have really enjoyed finding out about their lives. It is very sad to find such young lives were cut short at a time when it was an uphill struggle to make it to adulthood. My maternal great uncle, William Williams, had 11 children between 1893 and 1911, and only 3 had survived.
We should all be very grateful that we live in a world that has been shaped by the sacrifices these young men made.
I first started researching my family in 2005 and very quickly became hooked, might I even say addicted, and now have over 10,000 individuals in my tree. My father died when I was young and I never knew any of his relatives, so I’ve been thrilled to discover that his father’s family was from Dublin and his mother’s from Fleetwood. I have also traced several cousins in Australia and met up with one who lives in Leeds; the best bit though was discovering that one of dad’s sisters is still alive and well at 90.
Born and bred in West Kirby, I always had lots of family living locally but both my maternal grandparents died before I was old enough to know them. My grandmother was from Liverpool and once she made the move across the water she lost contact with her family, so I looked at her side first. I then moved on to research my grandfather’s side and over the years have discovered that my West Kirby roots go back many generations, the earliest being the marriage of my 8 times great grandparents at St Bridget’s in 1654. I am proud to be a direct descendant of many West Kirby and Hoylake families: Davies, Eccles, Hazlehurst, Jones, Pownall, Roberts, Silcock and Washington.
With so many ties to the area I became more and more interested in local history. I now volunteer at and sit on the committee of West Kirby Museum. I am also a member, when my teaching commitments allow, of the West Kirby Museum Research Group and am currently mapping the 1841 residents of Grange. As a child I used to play on Grange Hill and climb up onto the War Memorial in the days before the railings. I loved reading the names and would often wonder who these men were. Through Stephen’s project I am delighted to say that I’ve now had a chance to find out some answers.
I had done a lot of research into the 5 Pownall boys and Joshua Davies as they were related to me, but I didn’t feel confident enough to write their biographies. Fortunately Gail took over the baton and really did them justice. I then decided to research and write my first; Maud Millicent Wilson, being only one of two women from WW1 commemorated on the Memorial, called out to me. It was fascinating building up a picture of this brave, selfless young woman and spurred me on to write more. Having done extensive genealogical research over the years I feel very confident in my ability to build up a picture of the men’s families, but I have no real knowledge of military matters and was worried I would not do them justice in this area. It has been a very steep learning curve and I am amazed at how much I have discovered about the era.
Whilst it is an enjoyable “hobby” to research these men it is also a very humbling and emotional experience. I am delighted to have the chance to write about their lives, loves, careers and sacrifices and am grateful to Stephen and his blog for the opportunity the team has of sharing our findings. It is so terribly important that these men, and women, are not simply a list of names on a War Memorial; they deserve a lot more and future generations must never forget them.
Carol is related to the following men whose names appear on the Grange Hill War Memorial:
Joshua Davies – 1st cousin 3 times removed
William Herbert Dodd – 3rd cousin 3 times removed
Charles Hazlehurst – 5th cousin twice removed
George Hazlehurst – 4th cousin 3 times removed
George Alfred Hazlehurst – 4th cousin 3 times removed
William Hazlehurst – 2nd cousin 3 times removed
Sidney Jackson – 3rd cousin 3 times removed
John Leonard Jones – 4th cousin twice removed
Samuel Jones – 3rd cousin 3 times removed
George William Ouldred – 8th cousin once removed
Frederick Parr – 3rd cousin twice removed
Harold Samuel Parr – 3rd cousin twice removed
William Parr – 7th cousin once removed
Arthur Thomas Pownall – 3rd cousin twice removed
Harry Pownall – 3rd cousin twice removed
James Pownall – 4th cousin twice removed
John Alfred Pownall – 3rd cousin 3 times removed
John Charles Pownall – 3rd cousin twice removed
Charles Theodore Roberts – 3rd cousin twice removed
Thomas Stanley Rutter – 4th cousin twice removed
Harold Sherlock – 2nd cousin 3 times removed
Gail Brumfitt and I are distantly related, most directly being 6th cousins but we have other links too.
And Written the following biographies on the blog: Evelyn Fairfax Meadows Frost, Josiah Athelstan Ulric Williamson, Maude Millicent Wilson, Lionel Richard, Sydney William and George Charles Thacker King, George William Ouldred, Edwin and Frank Lester, Alfred Ernest and Arthur Skelhorne Lally, Eric Francis and Herbert Whiteley Sellars
Through knowing Victoria Doran I was persuaded to join the Friends of West Kirby Museum and join the Research Group doing the biographies. I lived in the USA for much of my life, but returned to England in 2011, and moved to the Wirral in 2012. It is unlikely that I am related to any of the dead listed on the War Memorial, but having started genealogical research for my family in 2012 and finding it intriguing, I am glad to help with this worthwhile project. My family has strong Cheshire roots and it is always a possibility that I have a distant relative memorialized here.
Linda has written the following biographies:
Lewis Alexander McAfee, Frank Monteath, Basil Stott, Albert & Arthur James Henshaw, George Edward Sherratt , Edward Hext Kendall, Edgar Cecil Jones, Herbert Spencer, Edward Smethurst Crowder, Alfred Kendrick, William Thomas Kendrick, Edwin George Massey, Thomas Philp Massey
FINAL NOTES ABOUT THE WORK
Each biography is published in the form of a post. In some cases one post will contain one biography; in others one post might contain several biographies. It all depends on whether the biographies were written at the same time and whether the subjects were related to each other. As long as the reader goes to the Names page first and navigates via the hyperlinks found thereon, there should not be any problems.
At the start of each post I say who the author was. If no author is mentioned, the post was written by me – Stephen Roberts.
We are looking for volunteers to write up further biographies. There are still a lot left to do. You do not require any special qualifications or experience, just an interest in trying to bring these people back to the public’s attention in as much detail as possible. Most of the primary sources have already been collected; I will share them with you if you wish to take part. Email me at: email@example.com