Is This Soldier One of Your Ancestors?

Roy Ward, a former Totley resident, has donated several photographs of WW1 soldiers to Totley History Group. All were friends of his parents, Jack and Norah Ward, but Roy hasn't been able to identify them all.

 

We would love to be able to put names, and possibly biographies, to them all and wonder whether any readers might recognize an ancestor among them. These are the first two photographs which are appearing simultaneously in issues of Totley Independent.

 

Jack Ward, left, with unknown soldier ( photo 1) Jack Ward, left, with unknown soldier ( photo 1)
Unknown Soldier (photo 2)

 

If you have any information about these soldiers, please email us at:

We are grateful to Stephen Acaster who has written to us with the following information.

 

Hello, 


You may recall us speaking when you were in the early stages of arranging the local First World War commemorative display. I'm a locally based military historian with wide ranging interests within the subject.


Consequently, I was pleased to see some military photographs reproduced in the current edition of The Independent. I say immediately, that I have no social link with the individuals in the photos but nonetheless, always up for a challenge, I've spent quite some time analysing the two photos and the following may be of interest to yourself or the donor.

 

Dealing with the bottom picture firstly,it undoubtedly depicts a young soldier if the Notts and Derbys (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment which would have been the main infantry unit recruiting in this area in WW1 as Totley was then part of The County of Derbyshire as I'm sure you're aware. The young mans dress of khaki serge cap, tunic and greatcoat is entirely typical of the service uniform of that era.

 

The top studio shot is, may I say rather more interesting and something of a 'puzzler'! The young soldier in that photograph wears the dress of a mounted duty man of British or Allied Forces 1914-18. The leather bullet cross belt (bandolier) is the most striking feature and leads the initiated viewer to his leg-wear which immediately 'states' that the man rode horses as part of his military job.

 

Firstly the method of winding the cloth puttees (leg bindings) was peculiar to mounted soldiers, being wound from knee to foot rather than the infantry  and other dismounted personnel who applied their leg bindings in the reverse way - foot to knee. I believe that the mounted men achieved a neater- more streamlined, almost 'riding boot' profile which facilitated better control of a horse. Secondly the soldier in the photo wears spurs - clearly an indicator of being a horseman.

 

After further research Stephen was able to confirm that the soldier is wearing Canadian uniform:

 

The cap badge had the shape of several similar, possible, badges but that of the Royal Engineers stuck in my mind, I guess as I'm well familiar with it having personally worn it for some years in my own youth!

 

It was the collar badges ('dogs') which challenged me as British RE badges have always been 'flaming bombs' and those in the photo clearly are not - taking a more 'cruciform' if not 'fleur de lys' type shape which simply didn't fit the 'RE theory'. It did, however, occur to me that the badges might just be Canadian maple leaves although the apparently 'heavy reflection' troubled me, as Canadian badges were often dark brown/bronze finish and essentially, non- reflective - unlike the brass 'gems' necessarily, if not proudly, burnished by the British Soldier!

 

The arm badge, which may just be discerned on the soldiers left upper sleeve, is also unusual as is what appears to be a solid metal shoulder tile (probably the word 'CANADA') visible at the lower edge of the left shoulder strap. Neither of these features were common on uniforms of that era - either arm badges of that design, per se, or and you may well have noticed that metal 'Shoulder Titles' commonly worn on shoulder straps were perforated (technically, 'pierced') lettering and not commonly in a solid block.

 

Anyway, enough of the technical bluster; what I'm now pretty sure that we have here is a soldier of the Canadian Engineers (the letters on the arm badge are probably 'CE'); the collar badges are almost certainly, 'maple leaves' which somehow, the light has caught upon during photography and the spurs etc simply confirm that as the engineers of both, indeed all Countries were largely horse transport - dependent,  his personal dress is entirely consistent with the theory.

 

Even the potentially, big, sticking point of why a 'Totley Man' is in the uniform of a Colonial unit isn't the problem it seems, as his presence and appearance could (firstly), easily be the product of migration, one way or the other - Canadian Troops were present in UK in large numbers as were those of the other Dependencies. 

 

Moreover and I freely confess that this WAS news to myself and for me, the really interesting bit, although I still find it somewhat surprising, ; I'm told that  the Canadian Government was permitted to recruit British men into its Armed Forces as opposed to our own Services - for which better pay / conditions awaited those so attracted! I must research that more myself!

Is This Soldier One of Your Ancestors? Part Two

Two more of Roy Ward's photographs of unknown WW1 soliders appeared in Totley Independent for April/May 2015. Stephen Acaster saw them and wrote to us again. His letter is reproduced below.

I happened to be in The Library yesterday and looked at a back (April/May 2015) issue of Totley Independent. Ive been rather busy this last few months and don't believe that I collected a copy...or if I did...passed it on before opening it!

 

Firstly, thank you for printing my response to an earlier plea for help on what appear to be a series of photos of WW1 personalities about whom, it seems, little is known.

 

In the same issue, there are a couple more photos which again, whilst the individuals are in no way connected to myself, are interesting and the following observations, offered, may assist somebody to piece together, a factual jig-saw.

Unknown soldier (photo 3) Unknown soldier (photo 3)

The soldier in the  full-length study (3) was, undoubtedly, a member of the British Infantry - The Leicestershire Regiment. The large 'Royal' tiger which formed the centre of that Regiments badge is quite plain to see for those of us familiar with such adornments. He carries a 'swagger' stick under his right arm - 'a bit of show' which, prior to WW2, soldiers added to their dress when 'walking out,' (maybe to impress the ladies - although they'd maybe need to try a bit harder than that nowadays!).

 

The sticks, (of cane or similar, pliable material,) usually, also bore the regimental badge embossed on a white metal or sometimes even silver, top - just visible in this photo forward of the young man's fingers of his right hand. They also had metal tips - often brass. It may be of interest to note that in British cavalry regiments, the soldiers carried whips instead. 'Swagger Sticks' should not be confused with officers' canes which were generally thicker, leather covered, devoid of metal fittings and barely pliable - as carried by Dad's Army's Capt. Mainwearing!

 

Although the more modern, 'webbing' (material) equipment had been in existence since 1908, the chap in The Leicesters wears what is referred to as a '1914 Pattern Leather Equipment' belt with what those of us of older generations will recognize as a 'snake' hook fitting. Accoutrements in both materials existing, side by side, for some time until leather eventually phased out. 

Unknown soldier (photo 4) Unknown soldier (photo 4)

The 'half body' image of the other young soldier (4) certainly depicts a member of a British Light Infantry Regiment and having had a magnifying glass to the photo, I'm fairly confident that it is the Durham Light Infantry, the initials 'DLI' I believe, just discernible between the 'stringed horn device typical of most Light Infantry Units.


Curiously he appears to be wearing only one part of a (right) shoulder badge - the title - which Id expect to say 'DURHAM' although these were generally accompanied (surmounted) by another, slightly smaller version of the stringed horn badge but without the aforementioned, initials. he wears a braided string, unit lanyard around his left shoulder. He also appears to be wearing a similar Leather Equipment belt of 1914 Pattern - which is just visible.

 

Of course neither of these Regiments were local to this area but its quite possible that Totley men joined or were posted to their ranks. It should be borne in mind, however, that Regional recruiting areas 100 years ago were probably more important, jealously guarded than they are today so that there is nonetheless, an equally strong possibility that these were respectively, Leicestershire and County Durham men - maybe even with no connection to this area whatsoever.

 

Don't think that can help further at this time but maybe a just a 'starter for ten, for someone local, to add to/ piece together, what they know of relatives.


Kind Regards

Stephen Acaster

Is This Soldier One of Your Ancestors? Part Three

Two more of Roy Ward's photographs of appeared in the Totley Independent for October/November 2015 with a reminder that these were friends or acquaintances of his parents, Jack and Nora Ward, but Roy hasn't been able to identify them.

 

We wonder whether anyone might recognize an ancestor among the faces here or know when and where the photographs were taken.  

Royal Hippodrome's "Victory Pic-nic" July 11th 1920 (photo 5) Royal Hippodrome's "Victory Pic-nic" July 11th 1920 (photo 5)

The first photo is annotated Royal Hippodrome's "Victory Pic-nic" July 11th 1920. There were many theatres around the country with the name of the Royal Hippodrome, of course. Above the door are the words Upper Circle Only. The poster on the wall behind bears the names Lorna & Toots PoundsPeter Cawthorne (or Gawthorne) and Fred Duprez. The rest of the poster is too faded to read.

 

Fred Duprez was a well known American character actor and comedian. He was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1884 and had a long struggle before becoming famous turning his hand to any trade including railway ticket collector and van driver. He made several tours of England returning home for engagements there and also to keep an eye on his large poultry farm in New Jersey. Fred would have been aged 35 at the time this photo was taken. There are hundreds of newspaper entries of variety shows and plays from around 1913 onwards in which he appeared including a show at the Sheffield Hippodrome on Cambridge Street in April 1920. In several of these shows he appeared with Lorna and Toots Pounds, Australian singers and mimics. He later went on to produce his own shows and act in many films, mainly British. He died whilst on board ship bound for England in 1938.

 

The second photo is of a group of five men, two of whom are dressed in military uniform.

 

Unknown group (photo 6) Unknown group (photo 6)

Once again, Stephen Acaster, a military historian, has written to us with his observations.

 

The first thing which strikes me, is the air of a festive occasion about the five man group...I'm no social historian but it occurs to me that they're maybe at a wedding - judging by their spruce appearance - button-holes and maybe a bit more than 'Sunday Best' outfits? The two soldiers look almost out of place....before I get to their dress the fact that the majority of the all-male group is in civilian clothes does surprise me a little. On the basis that even young men often looked older then - maybe 'more mature' would be better, I seems to me that all present in the shot were of 'service- age' - say 18-40 yet they're not all in uniform - particularly if, indeed, it was a wedding occasion, as soldiers, if not their consorts/female friends, tended/tend to like the glamour of their uniform on such occasions!

 

If in the absence of uniforms, the other men weren't soldiers - it begs the question 'why?' Had they been wounded veterans - it was the practice to wear silver, lapel badges issued on their release from The Services to 'prove' that they had served - not least to avoid the presentation of the notorious white  feathers (somewhat simplistically suggesting cowardice) by the more unforgiving, if not jingoistic, elements of the community - a disconcerting practice which was real and not just wartime folk-lore! The 'presenters' themselves, however had more often than not, been no where near a battlefield! Maybe they were in  'reserved occupations'? I guess the question will remain unanswered unless your publication of this and other photos has the desired effect of prompting modern day relatives into providing the missing pieces of these historical jig-saws...

 

Be that as it may - finally the aspect I have a little more knowledge of... the uniforms! On this occasion - we don't really need to see the lower halves of the soldiers bodies including examine their leg - wear to determine their units because more than a strong clue is in the distinctive leather ammunition bandoliers (bullet pouches) strapped across each mas chest. Those are the mark of and peculiar to mounted soldiers - either cavalry per se, or Corps men whose units relied heavily on horsed-transport - e.g. the artillery, Army Service Corps or Royal Engineers. Clearly men in those units/jobs couldn't wear the more cumbersome leather or webbing ammunition equipment of the infantryman when riding or even driving wagons. Were we to be able to see their feet, I'm pretty certain that the two men would be wearing spurs - with the appropriately bound puttees! 

 

The style of tunics themselves, largely unaltered during the conflict - don't help with dating the photo as with the bandoliers which remained standard for mounted soldiers well into the '20s and '30s and in some cases even longer. The white shoulder lanyards - too widely used at than time to be real indicators of unit although white did become the preserve of cavalry and artillerymen - a tradition which to some degree, remains to this day. The images of the buttons are simply too diminutive to help and in the absence of head-wear we cannot see any cap badges. Frustratingly, just visible, apparently on the lower jacket sleeve jacket of the man to the viewer's left seems to be some sort of badge although it may also be a flaw in the photograph - and whilst I'd favour the former theory - again that detail in the image, if indeed that is what it is, simply to small and indistinct for certainty. Neither of the uniformed men appears to be wearing badges of rank - the barely visible 'arm badge' possibly providing  contradiction to this statement - so I'm assuming private soldiers rather than NCOs in the absence of better evidence

 

Kind regards

Stephen Acaster

Latest News

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Since 1875 when there was only a Rolling Mill and Chemical Yard alongside the river a mile from Totley, the area has changed beyond anyone's imagination  This book by Pauline Burnett tells the story of how it was named and grew into the community we know today. The Rise of Totley Rise has 94 pages including a useful index and is profusely illustrated throughout with many previously unpublished photographs from private collections. 

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On 22nd July 1909 the children of Dore and Totley Schools celebrated by a pageant the union of England under King Ecgbert which took place at Dore in AD 827. The pageant was devised and written by Mrs Sarah Milner and her daughter Marjorie and performed in a field close to Avenue Farm in front of a large audience. Photographs of the event survive together with a fragment of the script.

John Edward Greenwood Pinder had lived all 46 years of his life in Totley but on census night, Sunday 2 April 1911, he was not at home; he was in Derby Gaol serving a sentence of three months hard labour. From the age of 20, John had been in and out of local courts for a series of minor offences including drunkenness, assault, wilful damage and night poaching. Finally he was sent to gaol for cutting down and stealing 86 small trees which he sold in Sheffield market for Christmas.

We have already transcribed the census returns for Totley, Totley Rise and Dore. Now we have transcribed Census Strays. These are people who were born in Totley but are missing from our earlier transcriptions. They may have been living, working or studying elsewhere or just away from home on the night the census was taken. Two people were in prison. Others were in Union Workhouses, hospitals and asylums. Fully indexed strays from the 1851, 1861, 1881, 1891, 1901 and 1911 censuses are available now. 

We wish to thank Gillian Walker for allowing us to digitize an archive of material about the 1st Totley Scout Group. Most of the material was collected by Arthur Percival Birley in the period 1949-51 and there are many interesting documents pertaining to the building of the scout hut on Totley Hall Lane. In addition four Newsletters survive, two from the 1940s and two from 1971.

We are grateful to Angela Waite and All Saints' Parish Church for giving us access to baptismal and kindergarten birthday rolls dating from 1926 to 1941. We have transcribed the names, addresses, birthdates and baptismal dates and created an alphabetical index of entries for you to search. 

Edmund Sanderson, a Sheffield estate agent, aquired the land on either side of the old drive to Totley Grove in 1874 and divided it into plots for development. He called it the Totley Brook Estate. But before many houses were built, the estate road was severed in two by the building of the Dore & Chinley Railway line. The eastern end of the road became the cul-de-sac we now call Grove Road

John Roberts was born in Sheffield in 1798. He became a partner in one of the leading silversmiths firms in the city before moving to Abbeydale Park in 1851 and extending the house in Victorian gothic style. He paid for the building of St. John's Church and was believed to dispense more in charity than any other person in the neighbourhood including his protege Ebenezer Hall.

The Coke Family owned the Totley Hall Estate from 1791 to 1881. With the aid of a family tree to guide us, Josie Dunsmore takes us through the story of their tenure. 

When the Rev. D'Ewes Coke inherited the Totley Hall Estate in 1791 it had two farms. Josie Dunsmore tells the story of how the two farms were combined under the tenancy of Peter Flint with the aid of field maps drawn by Flint himself and later by the Fairbanks family.

Do you think you recognize this face? More than sixty photographs of the girls and teachers at Hurlfield Grammar School for Girls in the 1940s were given to Totley History Group by Avril Critchley, who was herself a student at the school. The collection includes fifteen form photographs from June 1949. There would have been a number of girls from the Totley area attending the school in those days.

Christine Weaving tells the story of her 2 x great uncle George Edward Hukin, a Totley razor-grinder, and his life-long friendship with the academic, poet, writer, and free-thinker Edward Carpenter.

Eric Renshaw (pictured here on the right with Bob Carr) grew up and lived in Totley from 1932 to 1960. Many of his memories are of a sporting nature.

We are very grateful to Gordon Grayson for giving us this splendid sale document for the Norton Hall Estates, following the death in 1850 of Samuel Shore. The estates included a large part of Totley and the document has maps and illustrations, plus schedules of land and property with the names of tenants. We have also added a transcription of the entries for Totley and Dore. 

Watch this Youtube video of the talk given by Dr. Mark Frost and Sally Goldsmith on Ruskin, Totley and St. George's Farm. The talk was hosted by Totley History Group on 20th May 2015 as part of the Ruskin in Sheffield programme. Also enjoy a video of the outdoor performance Boots, Fresh Air & Ginger Beer written by Sally.

When Jacqueline A. Gibbons became interested in what made her father tick, it began a journey through WW1 archive records and led to her flying from Toronto to visit the house and village where he lived and the countryside that he so much enjoyed. Jacqueline reminds us that in the early 20th century Sheffield was a driving force of industry and that Totley was the place where many of its remarkable people lived and where they formulated their ideas.

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We have now completed our transcription of Totley School's Admission Records for the period from 1877 to 1914. There is also a useful index to the names of the scholars and to their parents or guardians. We are very grateful to Sheffield Archives and Local Studies Library for allowing us to transcribe and publish these records and for permission to reproduce the photograph of a specimen page of the register.

On 8, 9 and 11 November 2014 Totley History Group held an exhibition at Dore & Totley United Reformed Church to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Below are additional links to some of the photographs we were lent and stories we researched especially for the exhibition.

 

Oscar Creswick was a local farmer who served with the Army Service Corps in Salonika and who after the war returned to Totley to become the innkeeper of the Cricket Inn and a member of the village's successful tug of war team.

 

Walter Evans was a market gardener who also ran a small grocery shop on Hillfoot Road when war broke out. He fought with the Machine Gun Corps at the fourth battle of Ypres. After the war, Walter ran a grocers shop at the top of Main Avenue.

 

Fred Cartwright was another Totley soldier who survived the Great War. He fought in France and Belgium and although he wasn't wounded he was gassed and was home on sick leave when his daughter was delivered by Nurse Jessop during a snowstorm in January 1917.

 

Maurice Johnson joined the Yorkshire Dragoons, a territorial unit, on 1 Jan 1914 and so was called up at the very start of the war. He fought throughout the war on the Somme, at Ypres and at Cambrai. After demobilization in 1919 Maurice returned to his old occupation in the steel industry.

 

Bill Glossop lent us a letter written by his father, William Walton Glossop to his wife describing life in the army during training in the north east of England and asking her to keep him in mind with the children.

 

The photo above provides a link to an album of photographs taken of WW1 Hospitals at St. John's, Abbeydale and the Longshaw Estate.

 

Nora Green, of Chapel Lane, was only 14 when war broke out. In 1914 she was ill with diphtheria and was sent to the isolation hospital at Holmley Lane, Dronfield. Nora recovered and wrote a letter of thanks to one of the hospital staff and the reply she received survives. 

 

We have collected together on this page the names of local men who appear on various War Memorials and Rolls of Honour in Totley, Dore, Abbeydale, Norton, Holmesfield and Dronfield.

 

Unfortunately we were unable to identify all the photographs we were lent of Totley Soldiers. Please take a look at this album to see if you recognize any of the missing names.

This walk visits locations that have strong associations with Totley during the First World War. It includes the homes of the ten soldiers from the village who lost their lives, the auxiliary hospitals, war memorials, and even the rifle range on which the soldiers trained. Take a look at the first draft of a new walk by the authors of "Totley War Memorial WW1 1914-1918"

As we have nowhere to exhibit memorabilia and artifacts, we have decided to create a Virtual Museum instead, starting with old bottles that were found under the floor of the Old Infant School. Please contact us by email if you would like to see the real thing or have things that you own and would like to see added to the virtual museum.

We wish to thank the Trustees of Cherrytree for giving us permission to publish transcriptions of the Cherrytree Orphanage Admissions Book entries for the years 1866-1929. There is also an alphabetical index for you to look at.

With more people having access to faster broadband and mobile networks, we have uploaded seven full and unedited oral history recordings and also added more short excerpts for you to listen to.

Our transcriptions of local trade directories have been expanded to cover the 95 years from 1837-1932 and have also been indexed. From the days when there were a handful of farmers, stone masons, saw handle makers & scythe grinders to the wonders of the Totley Bridge Garage Company, Betty's Boudoir and The Heatherfield Shopping Centre.

We continue to add to our Totley Newspaper Archive. Recent entries have included several about John Roberts and the building of St. John's Church. There are several about the history of Brinkburn Grange and its first occupier, John Unwin Wing, an accountant who later lived at Totley Hall before being convicted of forgery and fraud and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment in Pentonville gaol. There are more than 50 articles from the 1880s and 1890s about Joseph Mountain and the Victoria Gardens, and twenty on the construction of the Totley Tunnel and the Dore and Chinley Railway.

Totley Church of England Parish Magazines for the years 1922-1939 and 1948-1967 with notices of births, marriages and deaths and accounts of spiritual, educational, charitable and social matters in the village. 

Around 90 photographs taken by Stuart Greenhoff for his thesis A Geographical Study of Dore and Totley including several of Totley Moor Brickworks. Superb!  

Chronologically ordered snippets of information recorded by Brian Edwards during his many years of research into our local history.

Read the inscriptions on more than 600 gravestones in  the churchyard.

 

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