St. Helen’s Colliery Institute F.C.

St. HELEN’S COLLIERY INSTITUTE F.C. 1909-10

A black and white photograph of the players and helpers of St. Helen’s Colliery Institute F.C. 1909 – 10 exists.  It is typical of many other photographs of football teams.  Young men posing for the camera in some obscure location probably looking forward to the new season.  No doubt, they were proud to represent their colliery institute and played to the best of their ability, hopefully enjoying every minute.  We will never know!  Those photographed are: [1]

  • Jack Welsh
  • Moses Chapman
  • Tommy Hindmarch
  • Billy Craggs
  • Bob Newton
  • Freddie Scott
  • Jack Scott
  • Harry Steele
  • Percy Little
  • Tommy Shotton
  • Percy Oates
  • Tot Bagley
  • George Joblin
  • Ernie Grey
  • Wylam Blenkin
  • Harry Brown

This “article” will provide by way of an introduction a brief account of the village and the colliery and then research the lives of the above named 16 men including a brief family background and where known, service details and further information of their “life and times.”  No attempt will be made to draw conclusions or make value judgements, this is simply an historical exercise to research their lives with no other purpose than to acknowledge, celebrate and commemorate these men.

St. HELEN’S AUCKLAND: THE VILLAGE

St. Helen’s Auckland, St. Helens for short, is a  village some 3 miles to the west of Bishop Auckland, County Durham on the road leading westwards to West Auckland, Barnard  Castle and beyond.   Whilst both West Auckland and St. Helens have ancient origins, their expansion was due to the development of coal mining and railways.  The oldest part of the village is centred on:

  • the church, which is unsurprisingly dedicated to St. Helen and dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries and
  • buildings to the east – St. Helens Hall, originally built c.1610 [2] and the stables to the north (now converted to another dwelling).

The original Bishop Auckland to West Auckland road weaved between the church and the Hall until a new road was laid out in the early 1930’s.  The vicarage, a substantial building was built in close proximity to the church.  The primary school is located next to the vicarage to its west.  Front Street, at sometime called Church View developed opposite the church.  The Square, a conglomeration of 3 terraced rows named Leases Terrace, Whitwell Terrace and Pease Street were homes for miners, prior to 1859.  West Auckland and St. Helen’s Collieries commenced within a few years of each other.  West Auckland Colliery was worked by Block & Vaughan, St. Helens by Pease and Partners thus with a street bearing the name of Pease it is assumed that workmen from St. Helen’s Colliery originally lived in these houses although West Auckland Colliery was closer.  Terraced houses leading westwards towards the West Auckland Colliery and the village of West Auckland were built after 1899 for example additional houses in Front Street, Leslie Street and Stanley Terrace.

To the east nearer St. Helen’s Colliery and a farm named “Shades Barn” terraced houses were built sometime after 1899 – Maude Terrace, Dale Street, Musgrave Street, Louisa Terrace and the Aged Miners Cottages.  In effect, this was a separate community from “old” St. Helens.  The St. Helen’s Colliery Institute was built after 1899.  The Bishop Auckland Co-operative Society occupied premises along the main road along from Maude Terrace.  Whether the Co-op purchased the Institute or built alongside it is unknown.  There were also a number of homes in close vicinity to the colliery – the 1911 census lists St. Helen’s Colliery and Fan Blast as locations for houses but the exact situation of these is unknown to the author.[3] It seems likely that there were houses to the south of the main Bishop Auckland to West Auckland road at the entrance to the colliery unless, of course, this whole new housing development was known as St. Helen’s Colliery.

St. HELEN’S COLLIERY

St. Helen’s Colliery opened in 1831 after borings on Sir George Musgrave’s estate found workable coal seams.  Pease & Partners operated the colliery from the early years until its closure 31 December 1926:

  • March 1830: the Engine Pit was sunk to the Brockwell seam
  • October 1831: the Emma Pit worked the Yard (Harvey) seam
  • March 1835: the Catherine Pit was sunk to the Brockwell seam

The St. Helen’s Colliery tramway was built from the foot of the Brussleton Incline, part of the Stockton and Darlington Railway and was later extended to connect into Woodhouse Colliery, a short distance to the north east.  As the Auckland Coalfield was developed further, the expansion of railways northwards and westwards took place.  The physical barrier at Shildon was overcome by boring a tunnel through the hillside and down to Bishop Auckland.  The tunnel was opened in 1842 and in 1843 the railway was extended from Bishop Auckland to Crook.  In 1847, a line to Frosterley in Weardale was built and in 1857 the Bishop Auckland to Durham line was opened.  A line from Bishop Auckland to Fieldon Bridge (near St. Helen’s Colliery) connected the new line from the north end of Shildon tunnel to West Auckland and the Haggerleases Branch beyond.  The Tunnel Branch was opened in 1856 and rendered Brussleton Incline redundant thus St. Helen’s Colliery was connected to the rail network by locomotives rather than horse drawn power and the stationary engine at Brussleton.[4] The 2nd OS sheet dated 1897 shows extensive railway sidings to the south of St. Helen’s Colliery and an engine shed at Tindale Crescent, some way to the east.  The railway engine shed was opened in 1887.[5]

By 1896, there were 65 coke ovens at St. Helen’s Colliery and the annual output was 120,000 tons of coal.  At this time, 386 men worked there.  By 1914, the colliery employed 696 men.[6]

St. HELEN’S COLLIERY F.C. 1909-10

This section provides some details of the men in the football team photo.  The first name relates to the various census details and the second name, in brackets, relates to the spelling as annotated on the photograph.

JOHN NICHOLAS WELCH (Jack Welsh)

Family Details

Jack was born 29 August 1893 [7]  at St. Helens, the son of John and Mary Welch.[8]   John senior was born at Tow Law and was a coal miner.  His mother was born at Bowes.  There were at least 7 children:

  • Ernest born c.1884
  • Mary born c.1887
  • William born c.1892
  • John born c.1893
  • Kathleen born c.1897
  • Robert born c.1902
  • Mabel born c.1905

All children were born at St. Helens.[9]  In 1901, the family lived in the Square but by 1911 they had moved to Maude Terrace. At this time John junior worked as a coal miner, a driver, working underground leading pit ponies hauling coal tubs from the coal face to the shaft bottom.

Service Record

John Welch served in the Army during the Great War.  He enlisted 8 January 1915 serving 4 years 73 days.[10]  He had been in the Territorial Army [11] serving as a private (no.1796) in the 2nd Northumbria Field Ambulance as a stretcher bearer. [12] His Attestation Form indicates that he was then aged 21 yrs. 8 months, stood 5ft 10” and weighed 12st 7lbs.[13] He was employed as a coal miner working at St. Helen’s Colliery.  His religion was Church of England.[14]

A re-oganisation of the Army medical services seems to have taken place and he was given a new regimental service number – 388338.  He was a private in the 2nd Northumbrian Field Ambulance Royal Army Medical Corps, T.F.  He arrived in France 28 May 1915 [15] and was attached to the 50th Northumbrian Division and 446 Field Company, Royal Engineers from the 29 June 1915 to 8 October 1918.[16]  During his service of over 4 years he appears to have enjoyed only 36 days leave.  He was admitted to hospital in Wimereux, Etaples then Rouen between 6 August and 11 October 1916 before rejoining the 2/2 Northumbrian Field Ambulance “in the field” 12 October 1916.  This unit was attached to 446 Field Company, Royal Engineers.  He was admitted to the Northern General Hospital, Newcastle 22 October 1918 for 14 days suffering from a hernia.[17]  On the 14 December 1918 he was transferred to the Army Reserve[18] then discharged as surplus to requirements 21 March 1919.[19]

Private John Welch was awarded the 1914-14 Star, the British War and Victory medals.[20]

The 50th Division arrived in France and Flanders in April 1915 and saw action immediately in the Second Battle of Ypres then in 1916 the Battle of the Somme (Flers-Courcelette, Morval, Transloy Ridges); 1917 the Arras Offensive and the Second Battle of Passchendaele and in 1918 the German Spring Offensive on the Somme and the Lys and the Battle of the Aisne.  The Division took part in the 3 major battles against the German offensives in 1918 and suffered heavy casualties.  It was not until October that it was strengthened sufficiently to enter the field when the Division took part in the Battles for the Hindenburg Line and the Final Advance into Picardy.  Demobilisation began December 1918 and the service of the Division came to an end on 19 March 1919.[21]

There can be no doubt whatsoever that Jack Welch, serving as a stretcher bearer throughout much of the war was involved in many of the serious hostilities and must have witnessed horrific scenes.

Post War

In September 1927 John married Ann Ayre.  He died in March 1972.[22]  No further research has been undertaken.

MOSES CHAPMAN 

Family Details

Moses was born 21 August 1892 [23] at Binchester, a colliery village to the east of Bishop Auckland, County Durham.  He was the son of William and Isabella Chapman[24].  His father was born in the Parish of Brancepeth, County Durham and his mother at Hamsterley, County Durham.  William was previously married to Ann who gave birth to 5 children:

  • Alice born c.1860 at Cockfield[25]
  • William born c.1862 at Cockfield
  • Mary E born c.1866 at West Auckland
  • Florence born c.1868 at West Auckland
  • Arthur born c.1870 at West Auckland[26]

Ann (born at Cockfield c.1841/2) died aged 29 in Q1 1872.[27]  Four years later, in November 1876, William married Isabella Dunnell.[28]  They had 10 children:

  • Frederick born c.1875 at West Auckland
  • Edwin born c.1877 at West Auckland
  • Margaret Ann born c.1879 at West Auckland
  • Herbert born c. 1881 at West Auckland [29]
  • Albert Edward born c.1886 at Crook
  • Ernest born c.1888 at Binchester
  • Ambrose born c.1890 at Binchester
  • Hannah Isabel born c.1891 at Binchester [30]
  • Moses born 21 August 1892 at Binchester [31]
  • Edith born c.1896 at Binchester. [32]

In 1901, the family lived at 56 Granville Terrace, Binchester.  William worked as a colliery joiner and by 1901 was a widower for the second time. [33]  Then 1 November 1907 William was tragically killed as a result of an accident at Binchester Colliery. [34]

In 1911, Moses lived with his older brother Frederick and his family at Maude Terrace, St. Helens.  By this time 18 year old Moses was a coal miner, a putter. Frederick was a check-weighman, the workmen’s weighman which was an important job in the pit, achieved by a ballot of his fellow workmen. [35]  Fred was married to Elizabeth (nee Blenkin) who had also lived at Binchester at the turn of the century.  Elizabeth’s younger brother was Wylam Blenkin who appears in the St. Helen’s Institute photograph.  Frederick and Elizabeth took responsibility of looking after Moses when his mother Isabella died in 1896.[36]  Moses Chapman and Wylam Blenkin were close friends.

Service Record

Moses Chapman served in the Great War.  He was private in the Durham Light Infantry originally given the regimental number 7191 then 42855.  He was awarded the British War and Victory medals which indicates that he did not enter France until after 31 December 1915.  His service records have not been traced and we do not know with which battalion he served.  It is known however that he was Batman to John Edward Brown-Humes who subsequently became Coroner for Darlington Ward. [37]

Post War

On the 4th October 1919, Moses married Mary Elizabeth Blenkin[38] the widow of Wylam Blenkin, killed in action 19 October 1917.  Mary (nee Dunn) had already suffered heartache as a result of the war when she lost her brother 3166 Private Thomas W. Dunn 1/6 DLI who was killed in action 17 September 1916 on the Somme during the Battle of Flers/Courcelette.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial. [39]

Moses was Wylam Blenkin’s best man.  Mary and Wylam had 2 children, Bobby and Freda.  Moses and Mary had 2 children themselves, Elizabeth (1920-2005) and Frederick (1922-2009).

THOMAS HINDMARCH

There are 2 individuals living in the St. Helen’s area who bear the name, Thomas/Tom Hindmarch.  They are:

Tom Selby Hindmarch. [43]

Tom was born 3 May 1890 [44] the son of Thomas Frederick Hindmarch and Ann (nee Selby).  Fred as he was known in 1881 was born at Brafferton, County Durham and his wife Ann was born at West Auckland, Co. Durham.  There were at least 5 children:

  • Ethel born 1887 at West Auckland
  • Tom s. born c.1890 at St. Helen’s Auckland
  • Harold born 1893
  • John William born c.1895
  • Frederick born 1900 [45]

In 1901, the family lived at the Square.  In 1911 it is recorded that they lived at Whitwell Terrace [46] which was one of the terraces that made up the Square.  All the sons of working age and their father were employed as coal miners.  A Tom Hindmarch (born 3 May 1890) died in 1974 aged 84 years.  His death was registered June 1974 at Auckland. [47]  This person could be the footballer.

Thomas John Hindmarch

Thomas was born c.1895, the son of John Leighton and Mary Isabella Hindmarch.  John was born c.1870 at Bishop Auckland and Mary born c.1870 at West Auckland. There were at least 8 children:

  • Ada Annie born c.1891
  • Mary Isabella born c.1893
  • Thomas John born c.1895
  • Sarah Hannah born c.1896
  • James William born c.1898
  • Robert Leighton born c.1901
  • George Edward born c.1903
  • Elizabeth Winifred born c.1905

John senior was a mechanical engineer and Thomas was an “apprentice engineer” both working in the coal mining industry.  In 1901, the family lived at Tindale Crescent but by 1911, their address is disclosed as “St. Helens Colliery”.  Other details show that John married Mary Isabella Bulman in 1892 [48] and he died 5 November 1938, his wife died 19 November 1939.  At that time, they lived at 5 Clarence Gardens, Bishop Auckland and their estate was awarded to their son George Edward Hindmarch, an employee of the Co-operative Stores. [49]

Service Records:

Fitter Thomas John Hindmarch

51928 Fitter T.J. Hindmarch “B” Battery 50th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery died 25 July 1916 aged 22 years. [50]  He is believed to have enlisted in Durham. [51]  His service records are unavailable.  There is no T. Hindmarch commemorated on the St. Helens Institute War Memorial cottages tablets or the West Auckland Memorial Hall Roll of Honour.  However, there is a T. Hindmarch commemorated on the Roll of Honour held at St. Anne’s Church, Bishop Auckland and inscribed on the War Memorial in St. Andrew’s churchyard, South Church, Bishop Auckland.

The family of the above Thomas John Hindmarch are known to have moved to Clarence Gardens, Bishop Auckland.

Further research is required to clarify whether he is the individual shown on the photograph. [52]

WILLIAM CRAGGS (Billy Craggs)

Family Details

The 1911 census confirms that an Andrew, Mary, Alfred and Arnold Craggs lived at Louisa Terrace, St. Helens but there was no William or Billy resident at that time. [53]  The nearest name and location is Joseph William Craggs, 15 Queen Street, Witton Park, the son of Ralph and Elizabeth.  Ralph was a mason and builder and 19 year old John William was a mason. [54]  It is possible that he was known as Billy.  Further research is required to identify this person.

 Service Records

There are at least 14 servicemen with the name William Craggs and at least 2 Joseph William Craggs who served in the Great War.[55]   Without more details of Billy Craggs and further research it is impossible to find a link based on the information to hand.

Post War

Not researched

ROBERT NEWTON (Bob Newton)

Family Details:

Robert Newton was born c.1890 at Adelaide, County Durham (near Shildon).  He was the son of Luke Wanless and Isabella Newton and by 1911 the family lived at St. Helens Colliery.  At this time, Luke and Robert were colliery blacksmiths.  There were at least 5 children: [56]

  • Robert born c.1890 at Adelaide (Shildon)
  • Elizabeth Ellen born c.1892 at St. Andrews (South Church, Bishop Auckland)
  • James born c.1896 ditto
  • Hannah born c.1901 at St. Helens
  • Isabella born c.1910 ditto

Service Records

There are several servicemen bearing the name of Robert Newton who served in the Great War.  Without more details of Bob Newton and further research, it is impossible to find a link based on the information to hand.

Post War Details

Bob Newton died 20 November 1948.  He lived at 14 Louisa Terrace, St. Helen Auckland and by probate left his estate to James Newton, colliery charge-hand and Peter Tombling steamroller driver. [57]

FREDERICK SCOTT (Freddie Scott)

Family Details

Frederick Scott was born 1888 at Middleton in Teesdale to James Scott and Jane (nee Heward).  There were at least 7 children:

  • William born c.1881
  • Mary Hannah born c.1883
  • John James born c.1887
  • Frederick born c.1889
  • Sarah born c.1890
  • Nellie born c.1893
  • Joseph Gilbert born c.1895

The family moved from Middleton in Teesdale to St. Helens about 1890 and lived at the Barracks [58] then later at Emma Pit [59]  then in 1911 at Fan Blast, St. Helens.   James was a colliery blacksmith (who died prior to 1901), John a weighman and Frederick a putter. [60]

Frederick’s older brother John (Jack) appears on the photograph.  By 1916, Frederick lived at 15 Louisa Terrace with his mother. [61]

Service Record

Frederick Scott served 2 years 173 days as a Gunner in the Royal Garrison Artillery (R.G.A.) regimental number 216756.  He was 27 years 4 months old when he attested, 26 February 1916.  He stood 5ft.6” tall, weighing 131 lbs (11stone 10lbs), brown hair, hazel eyes, fresh complexion [62] and his religion was noted as “Spiritualist”.  There are no details of overseas service in his pension records.  He was posted to the Reserve 28 February 1916 and was mobilized 3 June 1918.  It appears that he attended Connaught Hospital and underwent a medical when it was reported that he had a problem with his right foot, “a marked deformity of the tarsus”:

“The ankle and tarsal joints are therefore abnormal.”[63]

Another Medical History form includes the following:

“Special Remarks: Can walk he says 10-12 miles without fatigue.”[64]

He was deemed to be surplus to military requirements 14 December 1918.[65]  The Medal Roll card index has not been traced.

Post War Details

A Frederick Scott aged 78 of 79 Woodhouse Lane, Bishop Auckland died 3 April 1965 at General Hospital, Bishop Auckland and by probate left his estate to Sylvester Scott (Engineer) and Mary Bridges (spinster).[66]  A family tree (the Hewards of Teesdale) shows that Freddie married Lily Maud Stones in 1919 and they had 3 children although the date of death differs. [67]

JOHN JAMES SCOTT (Jack Scott)

Family Details

John James (Jack) Scott was born c.1887 at Middleton in Teesdale to James and Jane Scott.  There were at least 7 children:

  • William born c.1881
  • Mary Hannah born c.1883
  • John James born c.1887
  • Frederick born c.1889
  • Sarah born c.1890
  • Nellie born c.1893
  • Joseph Gilbert born c.1895

The family moved from Middleton in Teesdale to St. Helens about 1890 and lived at the Barracks [68] then later at Emma Pit [69]  then in 1911 at Fan Blast, St. Helens.   James was a colliery blacksmith (who died prior to 1901), Jack a weighman and Frederick a putter. [70]  Jack’s younger brother Frederick (Freddie) appears on the photograph.  The Hewerds of Teesdale family tree indicates that John James Scott died in 1912 aged 25 years at St. Helen’s Auckland. [71]

GEORGE HAROLD STEEL (Harry Steele)

Family Details

George Harold Steel born c.1894 at Arthuret, Cumberland was the son of George and Margaret Steel.  There were at least 7 children:

  • Margaret born c.1886 in Arthuret, Cumberland
  • Isabella born c.1889 ditto
  • John W. born c.1893 ditto
  • George Harold born 1894 ditto
  • Robert born c. 1897 at Merrington, Co. Durham
  • Thomas Edgar born c.1899 ditto
  • Elizabeth Jane born c.1900 ditto[72]

In 1901 the family lived at 42 Windlestone Colliery, Chilton and by 1911 the reduced family lived at 5 Maude Terrace, St. Helens.  George was a widower and only George Harold (Harry), Thomas and Elizabeth lived at home together with Annie Lamb (the housekeeper) and her son Thomas.  Harry was by then, 17 years old and worked as a coal miner (a driver).[73]

Service Records

There are many people with the name Harold Steel who served in the Great War and without further research and more details of Harry Steel, it is impossible to find a link based on the information to hand.

Post War Details

George Harold Steel married Lizzie Hannah Cooper (born 1899 at Cockfield) of Dale Street, St. Helen’s Auckland in 1910. [74]

PERCY LITTLE 

Family Details

Percy Little born 19 September 1899 [75] at St. Helen’s Auckland, County Durham was the son of William and Margaret Little.  There were at least 4 children:

  • Elizabeth born c.1883
  • Ernest born c.1885
  • Phyllis born c.1890
  • Percy born 1899 [76]

In 1901 the family lived at the Square, St. Helens and in 1911, they still lived there but it was indicated that they lived at Whitwell Terrace.  William was employed as a coal miner (a shifter) and as Percy was only 11 years old, it is assumed that he was still at school. [77]  Some time later, the family lived at 10 Maude Terrace, St. Helens. [78]

Service Record

81297 Private Percy Little 15th Battalion, Durham Light Infantry was killed in action 27 May 1918.  He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial, France. [79]  He served a total of 250 days, 194 at home and 56 in France. [80]  Percy had previously been discharged from the Army 30 June 1916. [81]  He had served 91 days “under age”!  Percy Little “officially” enlisted 19 September 1917 on his 18th birthday. [82]  He stood 5’7” tall and weighed 130lbs (9st.4lbs).  At that time the family lived at 3 Oakley Street, West Auckland. [83]  After a period “At Home” training, he entered France 31 March 1918 and was transferred 3 April 1918 to the 15th battalion, Durham Light Infantry and was given the new regimental number 81297.  He was “in the field” 4 April 1918 and recorded as “missing” sometime between 27 and 29 May 1918. [84]

 

Between 27 May and the end of the month, 128 men of the 15/DLI were either killed in action or died of wounds: [89]

  • 27 May: 28 Other Ranks and 1 Officer
  • 28 May: 11 ORs
  • 29 May: 82 ORs and 1 Officer
  • 30 May: 1 OR
  • 31 May 4 Ors

Total: 126 Other Ranks and 2 Officers.

Private Percy Little was recorded as “Missing” from 27 May 1918 and it was not until 25 June 1919 [90] that it was formally accepted that he was dead.  His mother would have initially hoped that he had been taken as a Prisoner of War but after the Armistice when no news was heard then the sad reality of the situation was inevitable.

81297 Private Percy Little was awarded the British War and Victory medals. [91]  He is commemorated on the Soissons Memorial, France.  The Memorial commemorates almost 4,000 officers and men of the United Kingdom who died during the battles of the Aisne and the Marne in 1918 and who have no known grave.[92]

Private Percy Little is also commemorated on the tablet on the Memorial Cottages at Maude Terrace, St. Helen Auckland which were erected by the St. Helen’s Colliery workers and Messrs. Pease & Partners Ltd. As a memorial to those who fell – 37 workmen laid down their lives.  The Memorial Cottages were opened 12 November 1921.

 THOMAS SHOTTON (Tommy Shotton)

Family Details

Thomas Shotton was born c.1891 at Fylands Bridge (Parish of St. Andrews Auckland ), Bishop Auckland, County Durham, the son of Joseph and Margaret Shotton.

There were at least 8 children: [93]

  • John born c.1885 at Shildon
  • Joseph born c.1889 at Shildon
  • Thomas born c.1891 at Fylands Bridge
  • Elizabeth born c.1893 ditto
  • Margaret born c.1897 ditto
  • Isabella born c.1900 ditto
  • George born c.1903 at St. Helens
  • Robson born c.1906 at St. Helens

In 1901 the family lived at Fylands Bridge, a community housed on the banks of the river Gaunless, north of Tindale Crescent on the road to Shildon.  Joseph was a coal miner (hewer).  By 1911, the family had moved to Burnopfield in north Durham.  By this time, 19 year old Thomas was employed as a coal miner (hand putter).  It is therefore assumed that the family moved some time between 1909 and 1911.

Service Records

There are at least 12 servicemen with the name Thomas Shotton who served in the Great War and without further research and more details of Tommy Shotton, it is impossible to find a link based on the information to hand.

Post War Details

Not researched yet

PERCY EDMONDSON OATES (Percy Oates)

Family Details

Percy Oates was born 30 July 1894[94] at St. Helens, County Durham, the son of John and Agnes Oates.  There were at least 7 children all born at St. Helens: [95]

  • Mary born c1881
  • Charles born c.1883
  • Elizabeth born c.1888
  • Thomas born c.1890
  • Florence born c.1892
  • Percy born c.1895
  • Robert born c.1897

In 1901, the family lived at the Post Office, St. Helens.  By 1911, Percy lived at the home of Malcolm Smith, his wife Beatrice and their daughter Mabel.  There were 3 servants including 16 year old Percy described as “general help”. [96]

Service Record

Percy Edmondson Oates served almost 4 years in the Army Service Corps,M2/118837 Private P.E. Oates A.S.C.[97] His attestation form was signed 16 August 1915 and his address was given as 11 Highfield Terrace, Bishop Auckland.  His trade was “motor driver”.   He was unmarried.  He was 21 years old, standing 5ft 11” and weighing 166lbs (11st 12lbs). His religion was Church of England. [98]

He entered France 1 October 1915 and was attached to 589 M.T. Coy 1st Army Auxiliary M.T. Coy.  He was admitted to hospital 18 January 1916 and rejoined his unit 21 January 1916 (further details unknown).  Between 27 January and 13 March 1918 he was transferred temporarily to 1 Army Buses.  He was appointed Lance Corporal 10 April 1918.[99]  By the time of demobilization his address was given as 6 Front Street, St. Helen’s Auckland. [100]

Post War Details

Percy Oates married Helen Young 26 December 1926 at St. Hilda Parish Church, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.  He died 18 May 1975 aged 80 in hospital in Stockton-on-Tees.  He had previously lived at 3 Charlotte Terrace, Chilton, County Durham. [101]

THOMAS BAGLEY (Tot Bagley)

Family Details

Thomas Bagley was born c.1894 at West Auckland, the son of Sylvester and Elizabeth Bagley. Sylvester worked as a miller in a flour mill.  There were at least 7 children:

  • John born c.1878 at Willington a waggoner for the miller
  • Margaret born c.1880
  • William H. born c.1883
  • Robert born c.1886
  • Frederick born c.1889
  • Sylvester born c.1892
  • Thomas born c.1894 at West Auckland.

All the other children were born at Willington, County Durham.  The family lived at the Nursery, West Auckland [102] and it is assumed that Sylvester and John were employed by the company that ran the Mill Bank flour mill located opposite the Nursery.  By 1911, Robert, Thomas and Sylvester lived with their brother John and his wife Elizabeth and their 5 children Frederick aged 9, Emily aged 5, Audrey aged 3, Mary aged 1 and Jane aged 1 month at 5 Station Road, West Auckland.  Thomas, now 17 years old worked as a coal miner (a putter). [103]

Service Record

Thomas attested 4 February 1916 and served a total of 3 years 84 days as a private in the 3rd battalion, Durham Light Infantry (regimental number 95828) and was posted to the Army Reserve in which he served 2 years 118 days.  He was mobilized 3 June 1918 [104] and attached to the 7th battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment, serving 123 days “At Home.”  He was transferred back to the Army Reserve 30 September 1918 and was discharged 28 April 1919 after serving another 207 days. [105]

His medical form (dated June 1916) states that he was 22 years 6 months and stood 5ft 5” tall.  At the time he lived at 10 Louisa Terrace, St. Helens.  Later, 16 April 1918, he undertook another medical examination when 24 years and 7 months, he was 5ft 6¾” weighing 149lbs (10st.9lbs). [106]

It is likely that because of his occupation as a coal miner, Thomas was kept in a Reserved Occupation for almost the duration of the war and was only mobilized in June 1918 when the German Spring Offensive was beginning to wear down Allied forces.  By 30 September 1918, the tide was beginning to turn and possibly his services were not required.

Thomas lost 2 brothers in the Great War:

  • 16381 Private Robert Bagley, 6th battalion, the Yorkshire Regiment killed in action 7 August 1915 at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, Turkey. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial which bears more than 21,000 names of United Kingdom and Indian forces and Australians killed at Helles and those buried at sea in Gallipoli waters.[107]
  • 157781 Sapper William Hull Bagley, 177th Tunnelling Company, Royal Engineers who died 4 July 1917 and is buried at New Irish Farm Cemetery, Ieper, Belgium.[108] By 1911, William was married to Jessie (nee Longstaff) and lived at 6 Maude Terrace, St. Helens with their 7 month son, Sylvester.[109]

Both Robert and William are commemorated on the tablets on the St. Helen’s Colliery Memorial Cottages erected by Pease & Partners Ltd. and the colliery workmen and also on the Roll of Honour in West Auckland Memorial Hall.

Post War

Thomas married Matilda Hankey 11 February 1918 when aged 25 years and they lived in Dale Street, St. Helen’s Auckland.  He died 2 October 1959 aged 66. [110]

GEORGE JOBLING (George Joblin)

Family Details

George Jobling was born c.1892 at West Auckland to Len and Mary Jobling.  Len worked as a coal miner and originated from Faceby, Yorkshire.  There were at least 8 children: [111]

  • Jane born c.1871 at Tottenham, Coundon, County Durham
  • Peter born c.1872 ditto
  • Clara born c.1879 at Wolsingham, County Durham
  • Mary born c.1880 ditto
  • Selian born c.1884 at Bishop Auckland
  • Len born c.1885 ditto
  • Mary born c.1889 born West Auckland
  • George born c.1892 ditto

In 1901 the family lived at the Square [112] and by 1911 they lived in the same vicinity, Whitwell Terrace which was part of the Square.  George then aged 19 worked as a coal miner, “an Engine Minder”. [113]

Service Record

George Jobling served in the Great War.  205112 Private George Jobling served in the 4th battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers and as 302888 in the Tank Corps.[114]  His Attestation Form for those in the Army Reserve is dated 15 August 1917 when aged 25 years 3 months he lived at 8 Musgrave Street, St. Helens.[115]  His medical history sheet indicates that when examined 28 February 1917 he stood 5ft 0½ tall and weighed 112 lbs (9st. 5lbs). [116] The inside sheet indicates that he was deemed to have enlisted 2 February 1916 and was called up for service 18 May 1917, posted to Base Depot 14 August 1917 and to the B.E.F. 15 August 1917.  He is recorded at Home between 18 May and 14 August 1917, France between 15 August 1917 and 25 December 1918.  He was “in the field” 9 September 1917. [117]  He was transferred to the Tank Corps 5 April 1918.  He was transferred to Class Z Army Reserve on demobilization 25 January 1919. [118]  Total service was reckoned to be 2 years 328 days.

The 4/Northumberland Fusiliers formed part of the 149th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division [119] which from September 1917 (when Private George Jobling joined them) saw action during the Third battle of Ypres otherwise known as Passchendaele 31 July to 10 November particularly the Second Battle of Passchendaele and in 1918 during the German Spring Offensive, the Battles at St. Quentin (21-23 March), the Somme Crossings (24-25 March), Rosieres 26-27 March) [120] before he was transferred to the Tank Corps in April 1918.  Details of his company in the Tank Corps are unknown but tanks were involved in many actions particularly from 8 August until the end of the war.  There can be little doubt that Private George Jobling would have seen plenty of fighting during his 14 months “in the field”.

He was awarded the British War and Victory medals. [121]

Post War

A George Jobling married Edith A. Thompson at Auckland in 1923 [122] and a George Jobling died in 1967 aged 74 years in Durham West. [123]

ERNEST GRAY (Ernie Grey)

Family Details

Ernest Gray was born c.1891 at Sunniside near Crook, County Durham to John and Emma Gray.  There were at least 2 children:

  • Dorothy born c.1889 at Sunniside, Crook
  • Ernest born c.1891 ditto

In 1901 the family lived at the Square, St. Helens. [124]  By 1911, John was a widower and he lived with his daughter Dorothy and son-in-law Henry Huddleston and son, Ernest at St. Helens.  Ernest was then 20 years old and worked as a colliery joiner. [125]  An Ernest Gray married Florence Cooper in 1916 at Auckland but further research is required to confirm that this is the same person. [126]

Service Records

There are many people with the name Ernest Gray who served in the Great War and without further research and more details of Ernie Gray, it is impossible to find a link based on the information to hand.

Post War

Not researched

WYLAM BLENKIN 

Family Details

Wylam Blenkin was born 21 June 1890 at Binchester Blocks, Bishop Auckland, County Durham the son of Robert and Hannah Blenkin.  The 1891 census informs that the family lived at 31 First Block, Binchester Blocks.  His father Robert was born at Haltwhistle, Northumberland and was a colliery overman and his wife Hannah was born at Eldon near Bishop Auckland.[127]  There were at least 6 children:

  • Margaret Ann born c.1873 at Bishop Auckland
  • Elizabeth born c.1875 at Bishop Auckland
  • Mary born c.1877 at Bishop Auckland
  • Thomas born c.1879 at Bishop Auckland
  • Emily born c.1883 at Binchester Blocks
  • Wylam born 1890 at Binchester Blocks

By 1901, 10 year old Wylam lived with his 28 year old sister Margaret who had married William Harrison and their family at 13 Granville Terrace, Binchester Blocks.[128]  By 1911, the Harrison family had moved to 8 Louisa Terrace, St. Helens.  Wylam, now aged 20 lodged with them and he was employed as a coal miner (putter).[129]  In 1912, Wylam married Mary Elizabeth Dunn and they had 2 children, Bobby and Freda.

Service Record

Wylam Blenkin served with the 12th battalion, the Durham Light Infantry.  He was killed in action 19th October 1917 and has no known grave.  He is commemorated on the Tyne Cot Memorial.[130]

 

The Medal Roll shows that Private Wylam Blenkin’s regimental number was formerly 3525 – he could have been a “territorial”.  He was awarded the British and Victory Medals which infers that since he was not awarded the 1914-15 Star, he did not enter France until after 1 January 1916.[131]  Being a coal miner, it could be that his services were not required until later in the war, being employed in a “reserved occupation”.  He was also a married man with 2 children.

The service records of Private Wylam Blenkin have not been found and the exact details of his war service are unknown – the date he enlisted, the date he embarked to France.  To date, the War Diary of the 12/DLI has not been examined thus the exact circumstances surrounding his death remain unknown.  Capt. Wilfred Miles book, “The Durham Forces in the Field 1914 – 1918” provides some detail:

“The 12th spent 3 days at a camp near Westoutre on coming out of the Menin Road action.  The battalion moved up on September 28th to Ridge Wood camp as a reserve to the other brigades of the division still holding the line.  Working and carrying parties of 200 men per day were supplied till October 1st when the 12th departed by bus to Meteren.  Tents at Thieushoek were reached on the 3rd and training was carried on in the rain; but 2 days later the battalion moved to Dickebusch where they lived in the mud with little protection from the weather.  Working parties had to be supplied for burying cable.  The battalion took over the line east of Polygon Wood on the night of October 13th and found themselves just beyond the scene of the fighting in which the 15th had been engaged at the beginning of the month.  The mud and the hostile shelling made the relief difficult and there was no respite during 3 days the battalion held the line.  The German aeroplanes were very active and on one occasion a group of 19, flying low, machine gunned the trenches of the 12th.  On the evening of the 16th the Durhams were relieved and withdrew to rest and reorganise.  Losses during the tour amounted to 90 of whom a third were killed and Capt. C. Powel-Smith and 2nd Lieut. W.R. Chapman were among the wounded.  On the evening of the 19th, the 12th came up again.  Shelling interfered with the relief but on the following day, when a patrol found an enemy machine gun and brought it in, the German gunners paid most attention to the back areas.  German aeroplanes flew low every night, firing Very lights which revealed every movement of our forward tracks.  On the evening of the 21st guides were sent to Hooge Crater and conducted the 15th to the front line.  Relieved before dawn, the 12th with casualties much lighter than those of the previous tour, withdrew to Zillebeke Bund.” [132]

The 12/DLI lost 5 Other Ranks killed in action on the 19th October 1917, the other soldiers being:[133]

  • 52828 Private Leo Conway from Liverpool
  • 34666 L/Cpl. Fred Knight from Huddersfield
  • 25469 Private John McPeak from Felling
  • 23608 Serjeant Thomas Taylor from Silksworth

Privates Conway and McPeak and Serjeant Taylor are commemorated together with Private Blenkin on the Tyne Cot Memorial along with almost 35,000 officers and men whose graves are unknown.[134]  Private Wylam Blenkin was a casualty of the “usual violence of warfare” when on the evening of the 19 October 1917, the 12/DLI encountered German artillery shelling.  He has no known grave therefore it must be concluded that his body was consigned for eternity to the Flanders mud.

Private Wylam Blenkin is also commemorated on the tablet on the Memorial Cottages at Maude Terrace, St. Helen Auckland which were erected by the St. Helens colliery workers and Messrs. Pease & Partners Ltd. As a memorial to those who fell – 37 workmen laid down their lives.  The Memorial Cottages were opened 12 November 1921.

HENRY BROWN (Harry Brown)

Family Details

Henry Brown was born c.1891, at St. Helens, the son of Christopher and Jane Brown.  There were at least 7 children:

  • Robert born c.1882 at London St. Martin
  • Christopher born c.1884 at St. Helens
  • John born c.1886 ditto
  • Joseph born c.1890 at St. Helens
  • Henry born c.1891 ditto
  • George born c.1891 ditto
  • Elizabeth Barbara Jane born c.1898 ditto

In 1901, the family lived at the Square, St. Helens.[135]  By 1911, they lived at St. Helens and 20 year old Harry worked as a colliery labourer. [136]

Service Record

Without further details of Henry Brown, it is not possible to state categorically whether or not he served in the Great War.

Post War

Harry Brown died in December 1972 aged 81. [137]

REFERENCES:

[1] Photograph provided by Frank Sanderson which appeared in “Tindale Crescent & Fylands Bridge” Tom Hutchinson 2013.

[2] “The Old Halls and Manor Houses of Durham” N. Whittaker 1975 p.29

[3] The author, Kevin Richardson lived at Louisa Terrace between 1953 – 1974

[4] “Memories of the LNER South-west Durham” Allan. W. Stobbs 1989 p.44

[5] “Tindale Crescent & Fylands Bridge” Tom Hutchinson 2013 p.16.

[6] “Tindale Crescent & Fylands Bridge” Tom Hutchinson 2013 p.9.

[7] Death Registration 1st Quarter 1972

[8] 1911 census: the name is spelt Welch rather than Welsh as in the 1901 census.  Most military forms have the name spelt with a C rather than an S.  Signatures are given with a C.

[9] 1901 & 1911 census

[10] Army Form E.501

[11] Army Form E644

[12] Army Form B 179B

[13] Army Form B178

[14]  Army Form B103

[15] Medal Roll states 5 June 1915

[16] Army Form B103

[17] Army Form B179A

[18] Army Form B.179A

[19] Army Form B.103

[20] Army Form E.501 inside sheets

[21] http://www.1914-1918.net/50div.htm

[22]  www.ancestry.com  Hodgson family tree

[23]  www.ancestry.com  McClean family tree

[24] 1891 census

[25] 1861 census

[26] 1871 census

[27] Deaths Registered Q1 1872 p.57

[28] Ancestry family tree

[29] 1881 census

[30] 1891 census

[31] Frank Sanderson

[32] 1901 census – Moses aged 8 and Hannah aged 7?

[33] 1901 census

[34] Ancestry family tree

[35] 1911 census

[36] Frank Sanderson

[37] Frank Sanderson

[38] England & Wales Marriage Index 1916-2005 and

[39] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[40] information not included

[41] information not included

[42] information not included

[43] England& Wales Birth Index 1837-1915 p250 Tom Selby Hindmarch Q21890

[44] England & Wales Death Index 1916-2007 p.1543

[45] 1901 census

[46] 1911 census

[47] See 41

[48] England & Wales Marriage Index

[49]  England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills & Administrations) 1858-1966

[50] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[51] Soldiers Died in the Great War 1914-1919

[52] From conversation with Tony Hindmarch (Evenwood) the grandson of Harold Hindmarch, it is concluded that Tom S. Hindmarch was alive after WW1 since he remembers his father talking about Uncle Tom.  Thomas John Hindmarch is more likely to be the identified soldier.

[53] 1911 census

[54] 1911 census

[55] http://www.ancestry.com

[56] 1911 census Adelaide Colliery was located between Shildon and Eldon, County Durham

[57] England & Wales National Probate (Index of Wills & Administrations) 1858-1966

[58] 1891 census

[59] 1901 census

[60] 1911 census

[61] Army Form B.

[62] Army Form D.400A

[63] Army Form W.3172 dated 21 June 1918

[64] Army Form B.178

[65] Army Form B.103

[66] England & Wales National Probate (Index of Wills & Administrations) 1858-1966

[67] Ancestry.com family tree – the Hewerds of Teesdale

[68] 1891 census

[69] 1901 census

[70] 1911 census

[71] Ancestry.com family tree – the Hewerds of Teesdale

[72] 1901 census

[73] 1911 census

[74] England & Wales Marriage Index Auckland Apr,1920 10a,560

[75] Army Form B.103

[76] 1901 census

[77] 1911 census

[78] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[79] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[80] Army Form B.2513 Inside Sheet

[81] Army Form B.2513

[82] Army Form B.2513

[83] Army Form B.178

[84] Army Form B.103 casualty form-Active Service

[85] information not included

[86] information not included

[87] information not included

[88] Capt. W. Miles book, “The Durham Forces in the Field 1914-18”: p298-303

[89] “Soldiers Died in the Great War” and “Officers Died in the Great War”

[90] Army Form B.2513 Inside Sheet

[91] Medal Roll index card

[92] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[93] 1901 and 1911 census

[94] England & Wales Death Index

[95] 1901 census

[96] 1911 census

[97] Medal Roll index card

[98] Attestation Form middle pages

[99] Army Form B.103

[100] Protection Certificate and Certificate of Identity (Soldier not remaining with the colours)

[101] Ancestry family tree website

[102] 1901 census

[103] 1911 census

[104] Army Form B.103

[105] Military History Sheet

[106] Inside sheets

[107] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[108] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[109] 1911 census

[110] England & Wales Death Index 1916-2007 and England & Wales National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations 1858-1966)

[111] 1881, 1891, 1901 & 1911 census

[112] 1901 census

[113] 1911 census

[114] Medal Roll Index Card

[115] Army Form B.2513

[116] Army Form B.178

[117] Army Form B.103 Casualty Form – Active Service

[118] Inside Sheets

[119] http://www.1914-1918.net/northfus.htm

[120] www.1914-1918.net/50div.htm and http://www.1914-1918.net/bat22.htm

[121] Medal Roll Index Card

[122] England & Wales Marriage Index 1916-2005

[123] England & Wales Death Index 1916-2007

[124] 1901 census

[125] 1911 census.

[126] England & Wales Marriage Index 1915-2005

[127] 1891 census

[128] 1901 census

[129] 1911 census

[130] Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[131] Medal Roll

[132] Capt. Wilfred Miles, “The Durham Forces in the Field 1914 – 1918” November 1920 p.194-195

[133] Soldiers Died in the Great War

[134] Commonwealth war Graves Commission

[135] 1901 census

[136] 1911 census

[137] Ancestry family tree England & Wales Death Index 1916-2007

PHOTOGRAPHS:

St. Helen's Colliery

St. Helen’s Colliery

St. Helens Institute FC 1909-10

St. Helens Institute FC 1909-10

BLENKIN W.

BLENKIN W.

PERCY LITTLE Press Photo

PERCY LITTLE
Press Photo