Private Wilkinson Day killed in action on the Somme

Private Wilkinson Day 15449 “A” Coy. 9th Bn. York and Lancaster Regiment
Submitted by his great-granddaughter

Wilkinson Day was born on 6th February 1892 and baptised on 28th February 1892 at a Methodist church in Mexborough, South Yorkshire. His address at that time was Roman Terrace. It appears he lived with his family on Wragby Row, Wath Road, Mexborough from birth for most of his life. (Due to boundary changes, some records show that he was born in Swinton, others show him living in Adwick upon Dearne and others record Mexborough.)

His father, Walter Day was born in Bradford. His mother, Rose Hannah (nee Bell) was born in Saltburn by the Sea. Daughter of an Iron Stone Miner, she appears to have been working in a Worsted Mill from an early age. They married in Bradford.

Wilkinson had 9 brothers and 3 sisters. His older sister Edith and older brother Ernest were born in Queensbury/Halifax. The family then moved to Swinton where Walter became a Coal Hewer at one of the local collieries. Wilkinson and all of his younger siblings appear to have been born in the Roman Terrace/Wragby Row, Wath Road area where the family settled. His younger siblings were: – Fred, Susan, George Arthur, Walter, Albert, Violet Ellen, Edmund, Joseph, William Edward and Herbert.

The 1911 census shows Wilkinson was living at Wragby Row and was a Pony Driver below ground.

Wilkinson married Elizabeth Hough on 27th August 1914 at Bolton upon Dearne. The marriage register records Bolton upon Dearne addresses for both bride and groom.

His only child, a son named Edward (Ted) was born in Bolton upon Dearne in May 1915.

Wilkinson served in World War 1 and was Killed in Action on 3rd October 1916 on the Somme.

His medal record shows: Theatre of War first served in – France. Date of Entry therein – 27th August 1915. Victory Medal, British Medal and 15 Star Medal.

Wilkinson is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial (Pier and Face 14A and 14B) Somme, France. Also, the WW1 Memorial cross in Adwick upon Dearne and the WW1 Memorial in the cemetery at Bolton upon Dearne.

His photograph, copied from a newspaper, can be seen in an entry for December 1916 on website
His details have also been researched and recorded by The Barnsley War Memorial Project.

His name appears in the book “From Pit Town to Battlefields: 1914-16 Mexborough & the Great War” by Bill Lawrence. Page 310 “This particular letter also mentions that Percy Sale was buried by a local comrade from Bolton-upon-Dearne. Private W Day, who himself died two hours after his acting Sergeant Major.” He is also listed on page 361. Perhaps Wilkinson and Sgt Percy Oswald Sale 15440 knew each other and perhaps enlisted together as they have similar service numbers? Interestingly, Percy Sale is recorded as having been killed on 1st October 1916.

His widow remarried twice and had 2 further sons in her second marriage.

Wilkinson’s son Edward, a collier, remained in the coal mining communities of the Dearne Valley where he and his wife raised their daughter and 3 sons.

Brave KOYLI soldier Philip Bedford

This is a story about a brave soldier who fought for King and Country in the Great War of 1914-1918 and his tragic death 36 years after the war had ended.

Philip was one of nine children born to Philip and Rose Bedford of New Street Darfield near Barnsley.

The Bedford family were no strangers to Army life; Philip’s late father was a Sergeant Instructor in the 42nd Black Watch, his brother Henry was in the Royal Horse Guards Artillery and his brother Samuel (Sammy) was in the York and Lancaster’s Regiment 14th Battalion (2nd Barnsley Pals)*

Henry Bedford

Title: Henry Bedford
Description: Phil's brother. Mexborough and Swinton Times. by-nc

All three Brothers previously worked at the Houghton Main Colliery where they left to join the army and fight for King and Country.

Philip at the age of 23, answered Kitcheners call and enlisted in the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (K.O.Y.L.I.) 7th Battalion, one of the many coal workers of Yorkshire who were lured by the offer of regular pay, three meals a day and the adventure of a life time with their best mates.

The 7th Battalion K.O.Y.L.I. which was formed at Pontefract on the 12th September 1914  became attached to the 61st Brigade and went into training in Aldershot, then onto Witley and finally to Salisbury Plain were the Division was inspected by King George V. and found to be ready for war.

The Battalion left Salisbury Plain on the 22nd July 1915 and went by train to Southampton were they boarded the Mona’s Queen, a passenger ship which had been commissioned by the government as a troop carrier for the duration of the war. They crossed the English Channel to Le Have arriving the following day and stayed at a rest camp at Sanvic.

On the 24th July they bordered a train bound for Arques a journey of 182 miles where they went into billets. On the 28th July they route marched to La Creule near Hazebrouck were they rested over night. The following day they marched to their destination at Steewerck near Nieppe close to the Belgium boarder, where they received training in trench warfare. This training which would be of the utmost value for their morale, and knowledge of trench routine which ultimately could save their lives.

After their training the 7th/K.O.Y.L.I. took over trenches of its own as a fully fledged fighting unit, and were destined to spend the remainder of the war on the Western Front, where they would see action on many famous theatres of war.

Ypres, Passchendaele, and the Somme

The  trenches they occupied were typically 3 meters deep by 2 meters wide, mostly filled with mud and water. Sanitary conditions were poor, and the Soldiers were unable to bathe for weeks at a time and found it difficult to rest and sleep, they also lived in constant fear of being buried alive by shell fire. The trenches were infested with rats, and many Soldiers suffered from cholera, gangrene, trench foot, and trench fever, if that wasn’t enough, there was always the constant threat of gas attacks, and when it was finally time to go over the top, they all knew that they were forbidden from turning back, and had no choice but to advance.  Even their injured mates had to be left where they fell.

In August 1916, Phil was sent home suffering with trench fever and returned to duty in early September 1916, where the 61st Infantry  Brigade found themselves in action in  the Guillemont and Ginchy areas of the Somme. The onset of fierce fighting and gas attacks resulted in  many casualties, and this is probably where Phil is thought to have sustained shrapnel wounds to his shoulder and back which would cause him pain and suffering for the rest of his life. After treatment he returned to his unit and in October was awarded a Wound stripe to signify that he was a wounded soldier.

Samuel Bedford

Title: Samuel Bedford
Description: Phil's brother. Mexbourgh and Swinton Times August 1916. by-nc

Ironically, two months earlier and just 10 miles away at a Village called Serre, his younger brother Sammy was killed on the first day of  the Battle of the Somme on the 1st July 1916. Sammy was just one of tens of thousands of under aged soldiers who joined the Pals Battalions’ for comradeship and adventure, but paid the ultimate price for King and Country.

Phil was finally given a honourable discharge on the 29th December 1917, and received the following medals; the Victory Medal, the British Medal and the Silver War Badge, which was awarded to service personnel who had been honourably discharged due to wounds or sickness from military service in World War 1. The lapel badge was made from sterling silver and worn on the right breast of their civilian clothes.

His Battalion went on to fight many heroic battles on the Western Front before it was finally disbanded on the  20th February 1918.

Phil returned home and went to live with his Mother Rose Bedford.  He was one of many men who came back from the War suffering from serious injuries and the effects of mustard gas and shell shock, better known now as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Tormented by his experiences and not being able to return to his former work, family recollections indicate that Phil never fully recovered  from the traumas he endured.  He suffered from depression and financial difficulties which only added to his already devastated life.

Our family have fond memories of Phil, my sister Ann in particular, can recall visiting their house each week and do her grandmother’s hair, whilst listening to her uncle Phil play the organ in the parlour.

He looked after his mum for many years through her old age until she passed away at the age of 90 in April 1954.  Shortly afterwards in May 1954, Phil aged 63 took his own life while the balance of his mind was disturbed.  We can only presume that with the loss of his mum, he lost his will to live and wanted to put an end to his pain and suffering.

Whether people agree that this was the right or wrong way for someone to end their life I cannot say. All I know is that I am proud of my Uncle’s for doing their ‘bit’ for King and Country and I am sure if they were around today, they would be the first to volunteer again to keep our Country great and safe for all of us to enjoy.

I have dedicated this story to his Regiments Museums Archives who have provided me with the Battalions War Diary’s which has helped me put his story together, for which I am deeply indebted.

By Richard Ward – Philip’s Nephew


The Newson family and their amazing collection of objects

Mr Newson’s father, George Newson enlisted in Royal Engineers in 1915. His mother, Elizabeth Pragnell, was in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps and served in France. Both were originally from County Durham.

George Newson
George’s father was lay preacher in the Baptist Church. Usually baptism took place at 21, but George was baptised at 20 before he went off to fight in the war. He did his initial training at Buxton, then Chatham, before serving in Salonika. After the Armistice he was in Constantinople from December 1918 until August 1919, before being demobbed on 9th September 1919 at Ripon. While waiting for his travel permit to return home, he played pontoon and scribbled in back of a book: ‘Rhymes of a Rifleman’.

Lifelong friendships were made during the war. George maintained a correspondence with his army friend Freddie Eurien from Chester, they used to correspond every year and then, following their deaths, their wives took it over and stayed in touch.

Rhymes of a Rifleman

Title: Rhymes of a Rifleman
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

Book of views of Constantinople, dated Dec 14th 1918-August 17th 1919

Title: Book of views of Constantinople, dated Dec 14th 1918-August 17th 1919
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

British War and Victory medals (ribbons switched)

Title: British War and Victory medals (ribbons switched)
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

ID Tags

Title: ID Tags
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

Gallipoli star: probably acquired from Turkish trenches in Salonika

Title: Gallipoli star: probably acquired from Turkish trenches in Salonika
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

Elizabeth Pragnell
Elizabeth and a girlfriend went to Ferry Hill for a lark, with the aim of enlisting in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC). Elizabeth passed fit but her friend didn’t pass the medical. They had wanted to join up together but, as her friend was rejected, Elizabeth tried to get herself out of it. Her father wouldn’t buy her out so she had to go. Her regimental number was 10988.

Elizabeth embarked Folkestone for France. She was stationed in Boulogne, Le Havre, Argentine, possibly a suburb of Paris, and visited Etaples and other famous Northern French sites.

Elizabeth had three brothers who served in the Durham Light Infantry. One of brothers killed, Tommy was killed on 31st July 1917 at Passchendaele. Her other brothers, Andrew and Jimmy, sustained serious injuries.

Elizabeth's British War and Victory Medals in original envelopes

Title: Elizabeth's British War and Victory Medals in original envelopes
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

Lord Robert’s bible was given to Servicemen in about 1915, and acquired by Elizabeth from its previous owner. YMCA is printed on the front

Title: Lord Robert’s bible was given to Servicemen in about 1915, and acquired by Elizabeth from its previous owner. YMCA is printed on the front
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

Souvenir paper knife inscribed with Elizabeth’s initials, with handle made from a bullet

Title: Souvenir paper knife inscribed with Elizabeth’s initials, with handle made from a bullet
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

18 pounder shell made into a coal scuttle. RF (Republic Française) inscribed in middle

Title: 18 pounder shell made into a coal scuttle. RF (Republic Française) inscribed in middle
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

Another view of the coal scuttle

Title: Another view of the coal scuttle
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc





Apron of French lace that Daniel sent to Nellie before he died. It is now in a modern frame with a picture of Mr and Mrs Newson visiting his grave.

Title: Apron of French lace that Daniel sent to Nellie before he died. It is now in a modern frame with a picture of Mr and Mrs Newson visiting his grave.
Description: Submitted by Mr Newson by-nc

Nellie Gledhill
Mrs Newson’s mother Nellie Gledhill worked in a munitions factory in Leeds. She was a very good singer and had boyfriend, Daniel Hutchinson, who was a hairdresser. Both from Heckmondwike, they became engaged and were going to be married. Daniel didn’t volunteer for the forces, but it is believed that he was conscripted very early in 1918 into The West Riding Regiment (Leeds Pals). Daniel survived an offensive in March 1918 then transferred to the Hull Pals, East Yorkshire Regiment 11th Battalion. Daniel was killed six weeks before their wedding day. He is buried at Aval Wood near Armentieres.

Nellie was a talented singer and used to sing Danny Boy in memory of Daniel. She gave a concert to soldiers in Whitby (possibly where Daniel was stationed).

Daniel is commemorated on Cleckheaton war memorial, and Beverley Minster memorial to the East Yorkshire Regiment.

Charles (Charlie) Walker. Sapper in the Royal Engineers

Charlie's Royal Engineers badge

Title: Charlie's Royal Engineers badge
Description: Submitted by Sue Adam by-nc

Sue Adam has fond memories of her grandfather Charlie and treasures photos, a cap badge, a silver lapel badge and a tribute medal for Mexborough Railwaymen that belonged to him.

He never spoke about the War but she does know that he enlisted in 1915 and was returned twice after being wounded, hospitalised in Norfolk then sent back on active service. Demobilisation forms state that he’d been blown up by a high explosive but despite this they only said he “claimed” to be suffering from shell shock and they said he had only 5% disability.  Despite all this he went straight back to work on the railways and he moved to Doncaster. His attitude was whatever had happened in the War, life goes on.

He was born in Swinton, South Yorkshire, in 1895 and he had four brothers, Frank, Jim, Tom and Sam. He started an apprenticeship on the railway at age 14 and worked in the industry all his life till retirement.

He married Gladys in 1919 – he always used to call her Sis. They were courting right the way through the First World War while Sis was working at Kilnhurst Station Office. The family thinks they met through the church as they were both staunch churchgoers as most people were in those days, the church being the centre of the local community.

Charles and his wife, post-war

Title: Charles and his wife, post-war
Description: Submitted by Sue Adam by-nc

While he was away fighting he sent some lovely embroidered postcards to Sis with really touching messages on them.

When they moved to Doncaster after the war they went to several different churches before they found one that they felt was as good as the one in Swinton! They chose St. Georges over St James for instance, which was the “official” railway church.

Sue spent lots of time with him when she was growing up, she remembers him going off to work on his bike from his house in Littlemoor Lane in Balby, which was a railway house.

Charlie's tribute medal from the Mexborough Railwaymen

Title: Charlie's tribute medal from the Mexborough Railwaymen
Description: Submitted by Sue Adam by-nc

He was very well respected and progressed in his chosen career, culminating in his appointment as Mechanical Foreman at the Carr Loco Works. He actually designed the unusual loco turntable at the Carr Works, which was triangular rather than the regular round type.

His other claim to fame was working on the Mallard getting it ready for its record breaking run. He waited anxiously for the call from a colleague to find how it had gone and cheered with excitement when he got the call, “She’s done it!”

Silver lapel badge

Title: Silver lapel badge
Description: Submitted by Sue Adam by-nc

He died in 1974 and Sue remembers it as only yesterday. The World Cup was on and Sue and husband John remember watching Scotland playing a match on the day he died. He’d had one stroke but then a later one was fatal.

Sue remembers him as a lovely man who loved his garden and a good yarn but never about the War. He loved his smokes, Woodbines to start, and often got told off by Sis for the long ash as it burned down and threatened to fall –  “Watch your ash Charlie!”

South Kirkby miner Joe Elliot sets a ‘splendid example’

Joe Elliott was born in Ackworth, South Yorkshire in 1890 but grew up in South Kirkby where his father John Joseph was a miner at the pit. Joe followed his father down the mine, which was the biggest employer in the area – over 3000 men worked there during its heyday.

He married in 1909 and he and wife Florence had two children, James and Emily, when he enlisted in the Army in August 1914. He joined the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry, 1/5 Battalion and was posted to France with the British Expeditionary Force on the 13th April 1915. This must have been a wrench for all the family, as baby Ernest had been born only a month earlier.

Joe was promoted to Sergeant and in the summer of 1917 he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. His citation in the London Gazette on the 17th September 1917 reads “For conspicuous gallantry and devotion during a raid upon enemy trenches. He led his party into the trench against great opposition, successfully dealing with the enemy and setting a splendid example to all by his determination and fine leadership.”

Joe Elliot in 1917

Title: Joe Elliot in 1917
Description: Submitted by Janet Walker by-nc

He only sustained one recorded injury during the war – a fractured shin bone sustained while playing in an organised football match between “A” and “C” Companies in November 1917! However on discharge from the Army in 1919 he was awarded the Silver War badge and Certificate, which was usually given to men who had been discharged early from service due to injury. Joe’s army records, like many others, were badly burned during the Second World War so we don’t know why he was awarded the Badge. In the 1939 Register Joe’s occupation is given as “Colliery Hewer, incapacitated”, but it’s not clear at what point he had stopped working.

Florence died at the age of 24 in 1917, and the three children were looked after by a neighbours while Joe was away at war.

Joe then married Rosa Ellen Mason late in 1918 in Kettering, Northamptonshire. He met Rose in Kettering when he broke his leg; he was in hospital and she was a nurse.  They married in 1918 and had six children: William in 1919, Alice in 1921, Joyce in 1924, Rosamund in 1927, Lillian in 1931 and Joey in 1934. They moved to Park Estate in South Kirkby in 1939.

Joe's Distinguished Conduct Medal

Title: Joe's Distinguished Conduct Medal
Description: Submitted by Janet Walker by-nc

Joe’s son Ernest, the baby born during the war, followed his father down the mine and was living nearby at 51 King Street in 1939. It is interesting to think they might have been very close, as Joe used Ernest’s date of birth as his own by mistake when he filled in the entry on the 1939 register.

Joe and Rosa moved back to Kettering with their three youngest children, where they found work in the shoe industry. Joe died there in 1964 aged 74 and Rosa in 1980 aged 83.

Charles and Frances Barnsdale, and the grateful airmen

Malcolm Barnsdale owns a very special tribute to the kindness of his grandparents in the form of a metal dish inscribed with the names of five grateful airmen and decorated with the insignia of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC).

Charles and Frances Barnsdale were asked to put up some airmen whom the RFC were trying to find billets for. Charles’ son and daughter were also living at home, Frederick being Malcolm’s father.

Malcom thinks they lived in Park Road at the time but he is still doing research to confirm this, as the house seems to have been very small to accommodate all these people. Whether this was the correct address or not it is definite that they lived in Doncaster somewhere convenient enough for the men to get to their posting at the RFC airfield at the Racecourse.

Charles was too old to join up so this could have been their way of “doing their bit”. He did have a role as a dispatch rider however so that may have been how he got involved in the billeting.

The airmen were so pleased with the way they’d been looked after that as a token of their appreciation they presented Charles and Frances with a metal dish made especially for them when they left. It is dated 1917 and has the names of the five airmen on it.

The names on the dish are:
Sergeant Major Smith
Sergeant Philpott
Sergeant Farrow
Corporal Wesley and
Airman 1st Class Abley.

Malcolm would love to know more about these men, particularly what happened to them after they left Doncaster, if anyone has any information about them.

Winifred Walton – pioneer woman of the Royal Flying Corps

Paul Spence found out that his grandma had been in the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War when his Dad went into a nursing home and he was tasked with clearing his room. His dad always had his own den, which he had first in a shed then in Paul’s old bedroom when he moved out. He kept all his treasured possessions in there including photos and other things belonging to his own mum and dad.

Paul found a photo of his grandma Winifred wearing the uniform of the Royal Flying Corps (RFC) and also a dinner menu from the 21st birthday of the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Women’s Royal Air Force (WRAF) held in 1939 at which she had been a guest.

The RFC was started in 1912 and was merged with the Royal Naval Air Service to form the RAF in 1918.

Winifred must have been one of very few women involved with the early days of flight to have held a position in the Corps during the war. She would probably have been either a driver or engineer but there is no evidence to say she wasn’t a pilot – maybe delivering planes from the factory as Amy Johnson did in the Second World War.

Group photograph including Winifred

Title: Group photograph including Winifred
Description: Submitted by Paul Spence by-nc

R.A.F. Reunion dinner menu

Title: R.A.F. Reunion dinner menu
Description: Submitted by Paul Spence by-nc

We know from a press cutting among Paul’s dad’s possessions that in the late 1930s she was interviewed by the BBC but he would love to know what programme it was or in what connection she was interviewed. The only clue is that the cutting mentions “Flying High”.

She received the Defence Medal in the Second World War for her great work with the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service, during which, in an unusual role reversal for the time, Grandad looked after the children and the family business.

Paul is now researching her life to find out more about this remarkable lady, as she never talked about her life in the RFC and neither did Dad.


A ‘Munitionette’ in the Family

Submitted by Kath Brooks.

In 1917, ‘Munitionettes’ was the term generally used by the Press to describe the women’s teams who played football in friendly matches, usually for charitable causes.

My family has always known my grandmother’s younger sister as ‘Nellie the lady footballer’, and her photographs and medal have been kept for nearly a hundred years.

Margaret Ellen Kirk, known as Nellie, was born in Northallerton in 1895. The family moved to Hartlepool some time before 1901 and lived in Stephen Street for many years.

In 1911 Nellie was working as a salt packer; she may have worked in the sawmills during World War 1, hence her connection to Browns.

After reading Patrick Brennan’s book ‘The Munitionettes: a history of women’s football in the North East of England during the Great War’, it became apparent that Nellie was a talented player who was chosen to take part in the first ladies’ international match played in Belfast on 26 December 1917. Two more internationals were played in 1918.

Nellie's team photo

Title: Nellie's team photo
Description: Submitted by Kath Brooks by-nc

Patrick comments:

‘Opinions may differ on whether these games qualify as the first-ever women’s football internationals. The football association accords this honour to a game played between Dick, Kerr and Co. Ladies of Preston, and a touring French team which took place in Deepdale in April 1920. Nevertheless, the games played by the northeast Munitionettes have a greater claim to be regarded as true internationals, as in each case both teams were representative of their regions.’

Nellie was 23 years of age when she played for Brown’s (Sawmills)/ Christopher Brown’s Athletic Club. She had a very good year in 1917 when she was a prolific goal scorer and served on the ‘All Women Sports’ Committee and Football Team’, formed in West Hartlepool in 1917.

On 15 December 1917 she was invited to play as a ‘Probable’, along with Mary Dorrian (also from West Hartlepool), in a trial match against the ‘Possibles’, at Wallsend. This is a description from Patrick’s book:

‘The Probables continued to have the better of play, with Dorrian, Jackson and Kirk getting in a number of shots without being able to find the net. At half time the Possibles led by 1-0. In the second half the Possibles had a good run of play, but were driven back. Scott had to come out of her goal to clear from Kirk, but shortly afterwards Kirk centred to Bryant who equalised and the score remained 1-1 till the final whistle.’

Nellie was chosen to play for England. The team left Newcastle Central at 00:40 on Monday 24 December to travel to Belfast. A busy social programme had been organised including theatre and cinema visits, watching two football matches, a hospital visit and a dance.

Nellie Kirk's medal

Title: Nellie Kirk's medal
Description: Submitted by Kath Brooks by-nc

Finally, on Boxing Day, they lined up at 11:00 at Grosvenor Park to play their match against Ireland. 20,000 spectators attended and, as very few Tynesiders would have been able to make the trip under wartime conditions, support would have been very one-sided in favour of the Irish team. The Lord Mayor of Belfast kicked off formally and the action started.

Mary Dorrian scored after the first ten minutes, then Ireland equalised, followed by another goal from England before half time. England was awarded a penalty early in the second half, taking their goal score up to 3.

Patrick describes the game:

‘The play was still very much in England’s favour, but the Irish team stuck to their task, and contained them until near the end, when Nellie Kirk added a further goal to make the final result England 4, Ireland 1.  Bella Carrott, the English captain, was judged to be the best player on the field by the Daily Chronicle.’

The team returned home safely, despite an anxious journey due to the sighting of what was thought to be a German submarine.

Nellie played in the final international game played by North East Munitionettes in a return match against Ireland in September 1918. Once again she scored a goal and England won with 5 goals to Ireland’s 2.

Nellie went on to play in the 1918-1919 season. Her gold medal shows that she was a finalist in the Cup Final played on 22 March 1919 at St James’ Park before 9,000 spectators. Browns lost to Palmers (Jarrow and Hebburn): only one goal was scored.

1917 All Women Sports' Committee

Title: 1917 All Women Sports' Committee
Description: Submitted by Kath Brooks by-nc

Nellie was still playing in 1921 and was a goal scorer in a match played at South Shields in front of a large crowd. She played for Tyneside Ladies who defeated Chorley Ladies 6-0.

Sadly, Nellie died of tuberculosis on 3 September 1922, at the young age of 29. Her death certificate describes her as ‘spinster, no occupation’. I am pleased to put the record straight by uncovering the history of Great Aunt Nellie, revealing her occupation as an international footballer.

I feel proud that Nellie was part of the phenomenon of the Munition Girls’ football teams. Towards the end of the Great War, women formed the majority of the workforce and their new-found confidence and liberation is demonstrated in the story of the Munitionettes who, in two short years, took women’s football from ‘comic kickabouts’ to ‘serious and skilled play at international level’.

Kath Brooks 2014

Source: The Munitionettes, Patrick Brennan, Donmouth Publishing 2007

Machine Gunner George Alfred Richardson and Family

Submitted by Elizabeth McDonagh.

George Alfred Richardson was born on 19 June 1899 in Carlton, near Snaith, Yorkshire. He served as a private in the 7th Battalion of the Sherwood Foresters Regiment, after being conscripted on his 18th birthday. In December 1917 he was called up for service in England, possibly to undertake training. In April 1918, he was transferred to the Guards Machine Gun Regiment, with his good friend Lawrence Waters (known as ‘Uncle Lawrence’ by the family). They both served in Amiens, France.

George Alfred Richardson’s Medical History
Recorded by the Army 3 December 1917 at Pontefract
Age: 18 years, 6 months
Occupation: Agricultural Engineer
Height: 5ft 7.5″
Weight: 131 lb
Hair: Dark
Complexion: Fair
Eyes: Grey
Chest: 37″
Chest expansion: 4″
Physical development: Good
Left arm vaccination mark. Vaccinated in infancy
Hammer 2nd toes each
Brown birth mark back of left thigh
Defects or ailments: Heart bump
Recorded as “Fit for Grade 1”

George survived the war and was transferred to the Army Reserves at the end of 1919. His conduct sheet was clear of any offences. Lawrence’s sheet, however, included a two-week ‘detention’ for allowing a prisoner to escape. George and Lawrence remained best friends after the war, despite having quite different personalities and professions.

George’s sister, Ivy Richardson, married a soldier named George Simpson, who passed down postcards from Alexandria in Egypt. They are somewhat offensive in nature, and include hand-written notes explaining the sentiment on the back of each card.

A huge thank you to Elizabeth McDonagh for attending our family history workshop in May 2017, and sharing her photographs and research with the project.

R C Allen’s medals and objects

This collection of First World War medals, ID tag and silver war badge was kindly submitted by Damian Allen. The objects belonged to his ancestor R. C. Allen during the war.

R C Allen's Medals

Title: R C Allen's Medals
Description: Submitted by Damian Allen by-nc

R C Allen's ID tag

Title: R C Allen's ID tag
Description: Submitted by Damian Allen by-nc

Allen's ID tag and silver war badge

Title: Allen's ID tag and silver war badge
Description: Submitted by Damian Allen by-nc

Photographs of R C Allen

Title: Photographs of R C Allen
Description: Submitted by Damian Allen by-nc