Thursday, October 1, 2015


The school sessions are fully booked up, I am working with children in every year of primary school looking at the memorial project and remembrance,  making some lovely clay and fabric poppies and writing poems and letters about remembrance.

All this work will be displayed in St James' Church on Remembrance Sunday 8th November for the Remembrance service at 4pm. Everyone welcome.

On the research front, the search for a d.o.b. for James Irvine is proving elusive.

I've found that Frank P Lloyd on the memorial was the brother of F.W. Lloyd, a cleric at St James' Church who signed forms for many of the other bereaved families.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Private Herbert Ledger 035836

There was only one herbert Ledger on the CWGC database. 

Herbert Ledger was born in Liverpool on 14th August 1889. His parents were John and Mary Ledger of 27 St James Place, John was a window-blind maker.

Herbert was baptised in St Andrew's Church on 5th December 1889.

The 1891 census shows that the Ledger family (still at 27 St James Place) consisted of John, Mary and their 9 children; of whom Herbert was the youngest.
John was a window-blind maker and an employer, their address was also listed as a window-blind factory; they probably lived over their shop/workshop.

Gore's directory of Liverpool and Birkenhead 1900 trade directory shows that John Ledger, window blind manufacturer had 2 premises, 27 St James Place and 35 Renshaw St. There were two other Ledgers listed as window-blind manufacturers.

The 1901 census shows the family at the same address, John still a window-blind maker and employer. Herbert was 11 years old but several of his siblings were employed and their occupations indicate they had a reasonable education.

By 1911 Herbert's father had died and his mother was head of the household in Annesley Rd, Seacombe with 8 of her children still at home. Herbert was employed as an engineer's apprentice.


Herbert Ledger was in the Royal Army Ordnance Corps, his regimental number was 035836
 He was killed at 'home' (in the UK) on 27 October 1918.

UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 

Herbert Ledger
Birth Place:
Liverpool, Lancs
Death Date:
27 Oct 1918
Death Location:
Enlistment Location:
Birkenhead, Ches.
Royal Army Ordnance Corps
Type of Casualty:
Theatre of War:

Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Despite the long gap between posts, there has been plenty of work being done on the research and the memorial project. Money from the Heritage Lottery Fund has paid for the war diaries for many of the men (they are not all available) and the entries for the dates of death will be added.

The money from the HLF has also paid for a new website for the project and the entries for all the men are being updated and added to it. The website has its own domain which will eventually also hold a site for related aspects of the research such as the Holy Trinity WW1 memorial which was also taken from St James's Church.

I have been given a response to my application for a grant from the War Memorials Trust, although they seem very positive about the recreation of the memorial I have been advised to delay the application until the church building restoration has secured funding.

I will be taking part in the St James' Church Heritage Open Day in September - more details to come!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Owen Owen - second thoughts

I have previously given a tentative identification for Owen Owen but, on revisiting the name, I'm not happy with it so I've taken another look.

The CWGC give 14 results for Owen Owen, three of them have Liverpool mentioned in the 'other information' the other 11 state their parents' residences as places in Wales.

I previously assumed the man without a middle name would be mine but there is no information to tie him to Toxteth so without proof I have to rethink the assumption.

I have also identified another Owen Owen (no middle name) who was from Bootle, he is recorded incorrectly on all his military records and the CWGC as Owen Owens. I have no link to Toxteth for him though.

Owen Hugh Owen is one of the men on the CWGC.  Owen's parents married in 1892, he had a baby sister who died in 1896, his mother died in 1898 and his 3 year old sister died in 1899. In the 1901 census Owen and his elder sister were visitors at the house of their maternal uncle in Birkenhead.
His father (also Owen Hugh Owen) remarried in 1903 to Mary Jane Jones, a widow. The 1911 census shows them living at 71 Boswell St (Lodge Lane) with children from their previous marriages: Jennet Gertrude Jones 22 and Owen Hugh Owen 12. The form states that they had been married for 7 years and had one child from the marriage.
Owen H Owen's service record shows that he enlisted in 1917 and died in 1918 exactly one month before his 20th birthday. the cause of death was pneumonia following influenza. He was buried in Birkenhead Flaybrick Cemetery in a family grave (I will be visiting soon)
A family notice for him in the Liverpool Echo reads "Remembered by Ethel and all at 46 Crosfield-road... confusingly there were several Owen families living in Crosfield-road in the 1911 census with several Owen Owens.

However, Owen Hugh Owen does have a link to Toxteth Park, his father's parents lived there in the 1871 and 1881 census, his father spent some time there and there were other relatives in the area. 

This requires more research.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Pioneer Alfred James Trafford 63668

Pioneer Alfred James Trafford


There was only one Alfred J Trafford on the CWGC database and their records show his parents lived very close to St James’s Church.

Family Information

Alfred J Trafford was born on the 18th January 1883 at 86 Radcliffe Street, Liverpool. His parents were Matilda and James Richardson Trafford, a shipping clerk. The birth certificate shows that his mother had been married before, her name being ‘Matilda Trafford, late Kelly, formerly Blair’.

The 1891 census shows the family lived at 5 Upper Stanhope Street (Matilda, James and 4 children) with another 7 people listed as lodgers.

We know that James was a pupil at St James’s School, Toxteth and was a member of the 10th Liverpool Boy’s Brigade.

The 1901 census shows the Trafford family were still living at 5 Upper Stanhope Street although Matilda was a widow and head of the household. She was working as a charwoman and had 5 of her children living with her. Alfred was 19 on this census and his occupation was boat builder. He served his shipwrights apprenticeship with Mr Philip Winram and Sons, Jordan-street, Liverpool.

The 1911 census doesn't show much change in Alfred's situation, he was 29 and still living at 5 Upper Stanhope St with his mother and siblings. He was still working as a boat builder.

Military information

A newspaper report of his death shows that Alfred J Trafford joined the 86th Company, Royal Engineers on January 15, 1915 and on July 4 went out with the 11th Division M.E.F. (Mediterranean Expeditionary Force) arriving at Gallipoli on ‘the memorable Aug. 6’. 

The medal rolls show that he served with the Royal Engineers as a Pioneer with the regimental number 63668. They show that he disembarked 7/8/15 and died of wounds 1/11/15.

The Medal Index Card adds that he first entered the theatre of war Egypt on 7/8/1915 and was eligible for the British War Medal, the Allied Victory Medal and the 1915 Star.

He was in the 86th Company of the Corps of Royal Engineers, in February 1915 this company had been attached to the 11th (Northern) Division. They embarked from Liverpool on 30th June 1915 and landed at Lala Baba in Sulva Bay on 6-7th August which matches Alfred J Trafford’s date of disembarkation.  

The WW1 website The Long Long Trail has an explanation of what is a Field Company. and information on the 11th Division Gallipoli landings.

Death and commemoration

Information from UK Soldiers Died in the Great War (below) shows that Alfred died on 1st November 1915 at Gallipoli. The newspaper article shows that he died from a gunshot wound in Tigne Military Hospital on Malta.

Alfred James Trafford
Birth Place:
Death Date:
1 Nov 1915
Death Location:
Enlistment Location:
Corps of Royal Engineers
Type of Casualty:
Died of wounds
Theatre of War:
Balkan Theatre
86Th Field Coy., R.E.

Alfred J Trafford was buried in Malta, which was used as a hospital and convalescent base for the wounded from Gallipoli and Salonika. He lies in grave D.I.6 of Pieta Military Cemetery. His mother chose to have the following inscribed on his grave:

Lead, Kindly Light, Amid the Encircling Gloom. From Mother, Liverpool.

The following article was printed in the Liverpool Echo on 10th Feb 1916:

The younger brother mentioned in the article was Corporal Henry William Trafford 12993 who served with the Grenadier Guards in France and survived the war. Alfred James had been a witness in 1911 when he married Ethel Sybil Lambert in St James's Church. 

Captain Thomas James Prichard M.C.

Captain Thomas James Prichard M.C.


There was only one result for T J Prichard in the CWGC database and it gave the 'other information' that he was from Liverpool.  A further confirmation that it is the correct person is the M.C. which is noted on the memorial and the CWGC entry.

Family information

Thomas James Prichard was born in Liverpool on 17th July 1894. He was baptised in St Cleopas' Church, Toxteth, on 8th August and the baptism record shows that his parents were Thomas and Elizabeth Jane Prichard and they lived at 6 Madeline St. Thomas was a Clerk.

In the 1911 census Thomas and Elizabeth Jane Prichard were living at 45 Tennyson St, Liverpool with their 6 children and Elizabeth's mother, Isabella Holden.
Thomas James was their eldest child, in this census he was 16 years old and working as a junior clerk in a shipping company office. His father was a bookkeeper in a fruit broker’s office. We know that Thomas James went on to work at the White Star Line company and was an employee of the company at the time of the Titanic disaster.

Military information

Thomas Prichard has an entry in De Ruvigny's Roll of Honour, transcribed here:

PRICHARD, THOMAS JAMES, M.C. Capt., 1st Battn. (4th Foot) The King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regt) elder s. of Thomas Prichard of Prince’s Park, Liverpool, by his wife Elizabeth J., dau of Thomas Holden; b Liverpool co. Lancaster, 17th July 1894; educ Liverpool Institute, where he was a member of the O.T.C.; entered the service of the White Star Line in 1910 while continuing his military training in the 6th (Territorial) Battn. The King’s Liverpool Regt. Volunteered for active service on the outbreak of war and was attached to the Army Cyclist’s Corps; was gazetted 2nd Lieut. The South Lancashire Regt 18 Sept 1915; promoted Lieut 1 July 1917 and Capt 19 Oct of the same year. Served with the Expeditionary Force in France from May 1916, being transferred to the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regt) 28th March 1916, and was killed in action near Arras 28th March 1918. Buried at Fampoux. His commanding officer wrote: “He was killed while gallantly leading his men in action. Thanks however to the impetus he had given his men, the gap was filled and the line held by his company for the remainder of that day and the next until they were relieved.” and a brother officer: “He was almost worshipped by the men, who admired his wonderful quiet bravery under fire, his untiring energy out of the line in doing all he could to entertain and provide comforts, and his never-changing fairness to everyone and fearlessness in playing the game.” The White Star Line, in an appreciation of the deceased officer also wrote: “His death at the early age of 23 removes one who, in the short period he was destined to serve in the White Star Line, gave promise of attaining the same honourable position in the world of commerce that he achieved in the Army. Essentially thorough in all he did and gifted with an unerring memory, his somewhat serious manner covered a dry sense of humour which, coupled with a generous and amiable disposition, endeared him alike for ability and character to his colleagues.” He was awarded the M.C. (London Gazette 1 June 1917) for special bravery and coolness in an attack by a hostile patrol, and was twice mentioned in dispatches (London Gazettes 4 Jan and 22 May 1917) by F.M. Sir Douglas Haig for gallant and distinguished service in the field; unm.

The medal rolls entry for Captain T. J. Prichard M.C. shows that he was eligible for the Victory Medal and the British War Medal with the oak leaves emblem to show he was mentioned in despatches, he would also have received a certificate for each mention.

The medal index card shows that his father applied for his medals in 1922 and gave his address as 45 Tennyson Road.

Death and Commemoration

Captain Thomas J Prichard was killed in action on 28th March 1918, aged 23. The fact of his death was noted in the war diary (below) but no details.

28/3/1918 In Trenches
Enemy attack N of R Scarpe, Battn occupied MISSOURI, STOKE & LOGIC trenches. Captain Pritchard killed. 2/Lts Murray, Frances, McCartney and McPhereson wounded. ESSEX lost heavily, 2nd Lancs Fus and 1st K.O. only left in Bde. Two Battn HQ in old Bde HQ LEMON TRENCH. Battn lost about 70 casualties in O.R.

29-31st In the line. Battalion heavily shelled on 29th.

There is not much information about him in UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919
Thomas James Prichard
Death Date:
28 Mar 1918
Temp Captain
King's Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment)
1st Battalion
Type of Casualty:
Killed in action

Thomas J Prichard was also commemorated on a plaque at his old school, The Liverpool Institute, this memorial was dismantled in the 1980s and lost then recovered, restored and rededicated on the original site (now part of  Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts) click here to go to the Liverpool Institute Old Boys website which has information and pictures of the rededication.

Captain Thomas J Prichard was buried in a small military cemetery. Fortunately his grave marker survived until his body was exhumed after the war and he was reburied in Piont du Jour Military Cemetery, Athies in grave II.D.21. Other soldiers buried near him were unidentified and are now only ‘Known Unto God’.

His family chose to have the following inscription added to his headstone:

The Lord gave, The Lord hath taken away, Blessed be His name.

Probate and soldiers’ effects records show that Thomas J Prichard left his effects to his father.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Private John Henry Fitzsimmons, 2499

Private John Henry Fitzsimmons 2499


 The CWGC database has two John H Fitzsimmons but one was Canadian and UK Soldiers in the Great War showed that the other J H Fitzsimmons was from Liverpool.

Family Information

 John Henry Fitzsimmons was born on 9th August 1878 at 8 Sim Street, Liverpool to Henry (a carter) and Sarah Jane Fitzsimmons. John Henry was baptised on 1st September that year at St Mary Magdalene, Liverpool.

The 1891 census return shows that John Henry's father was working as a dock labourer and the family lived at number 28 Hampton St (this street was mostly court housing but they seem to be the only family listed at number 28) He had 2 sisters and one brother.

On 18th April 1897 John Henry Fitzsimmons married Mary Elizabeth Steele, witnesses were Frances and Emily Steele.

Their daughter, Mary Eilzabeth Fitzsimmons, was born on 8th November 1897 and christened on 19th December 1897 in St James’s Church.

A son, William John, was born on 31st March 1900 and christened on 15th April 1900 at St James’s Church.

Another daughter, Nancy Fitzsimmons, was born on 17th April 1902 and christened in St James’s Church on 30th April 1902. John Henry’s occupation at this time was recorded as dock labourer.

The baptism record 2 years later for their daughter Sarah Jane (born 15th November 1904, christened 27th Nov 1904 at St James’s Church) shows they were living in 10 court 4 house Hampton Street and John Henry was a labourer.

The 1911 census shows that John Henry and Mary were living in Newton St, the number isn't clear.  John was working as a labourer for a white smith ‘Wilson and Sons’.  William, Nancy and Sarah Jane are with them and Mary Elizabeth appears to have left home, they also had sadly had another child who died. 

Military information

 John Henry Fitzsimmons had pre-war military experience. He enlisted on 10th July 1895 as private 3353 4th Battalion the King’s Liverpool Regiment. His attestation papers show that he was aged 18 years and 10 months, he lived at 28 Hampton St and worked as a labourer for Mr J Ashton, Master Porter, Stanley Dock.
He was 5’6” tall and weighed 114lbs, his complexion was fresh, his eyes blue and his hair brown. He had various tattoos including crossed swords, flags and a half moon.  His religion is given as Roman Catholic. (It is interesting to note that, aged 18, he repeatedly spelled his name ‘Fitzsimons’ whereas later in life he spelled it Fitzsimmons)

His service record shows that he completed 76 days drill on enlistment in 1895 and was present for drill in 1896, 1897, 1898 and 1899.
He rejoined and was embodied on 3/5/1900 then disembodied on 1/11/1900 as a private.
His absence from drill in 1900 was ‘satisfactorily accounted for’ (perhaps the birth of his son?)  and he was given leave from voluntary training in 1901.
He was embodied on 6 Jan 1902 and embarked for South Africa 23 Jan 1902.
He was disembodied 10 July 1902 rank private.
He was paid a war gratuity in July 1902.
Discharged on termination of engagement 9 March 1907.
Private Joh Henry Fitzsimmons received the South Africa medal with Cape Colony and Transvaal clasps.

WW1 service papers show that John Henry Fitzsimmons enlisted for the duration of the war on 28th August 1914 aged 35. He was given the regimental number 2499 as a private with the South Lancashire Regiment. 
His medical report shows that he was 37 years of age, 5 feet 6 1/4 inches tall and weighed 136 lbs, his eyes were blue and his hair brown. He had tattoos of ‘crossed swords and other marks’ and his religion was C of E.

The papers shows that at the time of his attestation John Henry, his wife Mary and their children Nancy, Sarah Jane and William John lived at 4 Watson Street.
When Mary completed the next of kin papers after her husband's death, her address was 44 Solway Street, Lodge Lane.

Death and commemoration

John Henry Fitzsimmons was killed in action at Linden Hock on 7th January 1915 after serving 132 days, he survived just 46 days overseas as he was posted to the 2nd Battalion on 23rd November 1914.

The UK Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919 gives the following information

John Henry Fitzsimmons
Birth Place:
Death Date
7 Jan 1915
Death Location
France & Flanders
Prince of Wales's Volunteers (South Lancashire
2nd Battalion
Type of
Killed in action
Theatre of War:
Western European Theatre

John Henry's medal  shows that he qualified for the 1915 star, the British War Medal and the Victory medal and he was Killed in Action on 7th Jan 1915.

He has no known grave, his name is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial.

The Liverpool Daily Post printed the following report of his death on 27th January 1915.
John Fitzsimmons of Hampton-street, Liverpool, who fell in action on Jan 7. He leaves a widow and 4 children. He went through the Boer War with the 4th Kings Liverpool. At the outbreak of this war he rejoined with the 3rd South Lancs and was only at the front 2 months when he was killed.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Messrs Jones & Willis Ltd

Yay! This week I received permission to apply for a grant from the War Memorials Trust with the good news that the new funding for War Memorials means that they have changed the grant structure, previously it was up to 50% with a max of £3000, now it is up to 75% with a max of £30,000

That's some increase! It means that I can apply for up to £7,500 of the £10,000 needed.

Part of the application form is giving information about the history of the memorial and as I was gathering my information for this I found a note in the vestry minutes book which I had overlooked before...

I didn't know who made the memorial but it is written in the minutes that the vestry "approved the design submitted by Messrs Jones & Willis." now this isn't proof that the memorial was made by Jones & Willis but it's unlikely that they would have approved their designs then gone to another company! I am visiting the archives next week to check for further information.

Jones & Willis Ltd were a Birmingham-based company formed about 1850, they supplied church furniture, fabrics, clerical robes, carved wood and stone items, metalwork and stained glass. They had premises in London and Liverpool (Concert St off Bold St) A 1905 catalogue of their items is available here on the Internet Archive (free out-of-copyright images, opens in new window) It doesn't show anything that matches the memorial but it is 15 years too early, if anyone finds a later catalogue please let me know!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dates of Birth

Thanks to the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund I have been able to order birth certificates for most of the men whose dates of birth are still unknown. D.O.Bs to be added for the following (these names will link to their biographies once they have been updated.)

Arthur Patrick Beattie
Edward Burston
Samuel Butler
Robert Dawson Corran
William Henry Irving Elliott
John Henry Fitzsimmons
Lamont Grave
Thomas Middleton Hulme
Herbert Lloyd Hill
Robert Isherwood
William John Jago
Richard Harkness Jaques
William Keam
George James MacKarell
Charles Stenson
Alfred James Trafford

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Additional info - Matthew Jones

The entry for Matthew Jones has been updated today with a photograph, newspaper article giving information about his occupation and family notices from the Liverpool Echo.

Click here to go to the updated post.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Private Joseph Morris identified!

Up until now I have only been able to say that Joseph Morris was the brother of Frank Morris (also on the memorial) that he had pre-war military experience and that he was with Frank on the 1911 census but their mother did not include Joseph on a list of family members on an army form in 1919. This circumstantial evidence led me to say that Frank's brother was a possible ID for the Joseph on the memorial. I had no way of knowing which Joseph Morris he was on the CWGC though.

With the release of the Army Register of Soldier's Effects on Ancestry has come a breakthrough, the entry for Frank Morris's effects shows that some of his money went to his brother, S/13973 Pte Joseph (Morris). Elated at finding this clue I quickly went to the CWGC website and searched for this soldier... he wasn't there. Could it be that Frank's brother had survived and this was an unrelated Morris on the memorial? I just didn't think so, after all the hard work that had gone into identifying Frank I just knew that there had to be something else to find.

Enter the Medal Rolls, also on Ancestry. The Medal Index Cards have been available for some time but the rolls have recently been released and they have the added bonus of giving the previous regiments and regimental numbers for soldiers, and sometimes their enlistment and discharge dates too. So I searched for Joseph Morris S/13973 and got nothing again, until I looked more closely at the results and saw that Pte Joseph Morris S/43185 had a previous regimental number of S/13973, this was the brother of Frank! He served with the Seaforth Highlanders, previously with the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. Why these Scottish Regiments when his previous service was with The King's (Liverpool Regiment?) who can say, the necessities of war perhaps.

Taking this regimental information back to the CWGC website I found his entry, showing that Private Joseph Morris of 2nd Battalion the Seaforth Highlanders died on 11 April 1917, his name is engraved on Bay 8 of the Arras Memorial.