Bird JR


1709 Sapper J.R. Bird, Royal Engineers died 30 January 1917 and he is buried in West Auckland cemetery, County Durham.[1]  He was 33 years old, husband to Edith and they had 3 children. He is commemorated on the St. Helen’s Colliery Memorial Cottages and West Auckland War Memorial.

Family Details

John Bird was born c.1884 at Hedley-on-the Hill, Hedleyhope near Satley, County Durham and was son of Ralph and Elizabeth.  There were at least 6 children:

  • Dinah born c.1873 at Wolsingham
  • Rachael born c.1876 at Wolsingham
  • Alice Jane born c.1879 at Wolsingham
  • Florence born c.1880 at Satley
  • Charlotte born c.1882 at Satley
  • John Richardson born c.1884 at Satley [2]

In 1891, John’s father Ralph Bird was a coal miner and the family lived at 2 Hedley Hill Cottages.  By 1901, Ralph was retired and his family lived at South View, St. Helen’s Auckland.  Of the siblings, John and Alice lived there.   John worked as an apprentice cabinet maker. [3] He married Edith Thrower in 1906[4] and they had 3 children:

  • Dorothy born c.1905
  • Ena born c.1907
  • Mary born c.1910

The family lived at 3 Peverell Street, South Church, Bishop Auckland and John worked as a “house joiner.” [5]  Since he is recorded on the St. Helen’s Colliery Memorial Cottages, he must have been employed by the colliery owners Pease and Partners at the outbreak of war or a later date.

Service Details

1709 Sapper J.R. Bird served with the Northumbrian Division, Royal Engineers. [6]  To date, no further military information has been traced.  It is assumed that his skills as a joiner were required by the Royal Engineers.


1709 Sapper J.R. Bird died at home whether of natural causes, injury or wounds suffered in action overseas remains unknown.  He is buried in West Auckland Cemetery.


[1] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[2] 1891 census

[3] 1901 census

[4] England & Wales BMD Index 1837-1915 Vol.10a p.485

[5] 1911 census

[6] Commonwealth War Graves Commission


BIRD J.R. Headstone


2 thoughts on “Bird JR

  1. Pingback: ST.HELEN’S | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

  2. Pingback: WEST AUCKLAND | The Fallen Servicemen of Southwest County Durham

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