Mrs Pat Fazey visited the museum recently. She is originally from Yorkshire but has lived in Newent, North Gloucestershire for the past 17 years. We helped Pat research Private Pickering who was probably a distant cousin several times removed.
John Mason Pickering was born in the third quarter of 1877. By the time of the 1881 census he is 3 years of age and living with his parents John and Ann in the hamlet of Newbridge in Pickering. His father is a quarry labourer and he has 4 sisters, Rachel, Mary, Elizabeth and Grace.
In the 1881 census he is aged 14 and working as a “farm Servant at Brook farm in the Pickering area. The farm is run by the Banks family.
In 1904 (January to March) there is a record of marriage to an Edith Emily Cruce in the Eccleshall Bierlow district of Sheffield.
In the 1911 census John and Edith are residing at West Thorpe, Hoylandswaine near Pennistone. Aged 34 he is still working as a farm labourer. The couple have two daughters, Hilda Pearl aged 6 and Ruby Annabelle aged 1 and before 1914 they have son John.
Before enlisting in 1914 John Mason is working as a quarry labourer. He disembarks, with the 2nd battalion, in France in December 1914.
He is killed in action at Neuve Chapelle on the 12th of March 1915 and is buried in the Cabaret-rouge British cemetery Souchez. He was awarded the Victory and British War medals along with the 1914 Star.
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Cradock was born at Hartforth, Richmond, North Yorkshire. After attending Richmond School, he entered the Royal Navy in 1875 he was promoted to rear-admiral in 1910. With the start of the First World War, in August 1914, Cradock, commanding the 4th Squadron of the Royal Navy and stationed at Stanley, had to deal with Admiral Maximilian von Spee’s East Asia Squadron. Cradock’s fleet was significantly weaker than Spee’s, consisting of mainly elderly vessels manned by largely inexperienced crews. The orders he received from the Admiralty were ambiguous, and Cradock interpreted them as instructing him to seek and engage the enemy forces; clarifying instructions were not issued until 3 November, by which time the battle had already been fought. Cradock found Spee’s force off Chile in the late afternoon of 1 November, and decided to engage, starting the Battle of Coronel. He tried to close the range to engage immediately, so that the enemy would have the setting sun in their eyes, but von Spee kept the range until dusk, when the British cruisers were silhouetted in the afterglow, while his ships were hidden by darkness. Cradock’s flagship HMS Good Hope and the HMS Monmouth were destroyed with the loss of all 1570 lives, including his own. A monument to Admiral Cradock was placed in York Minster. There is a monument and a stained glass window in Cradock’s memory in his parish church at Gilling West.
Vicky Hurwood provided this information about her grandfather, George Ernest Hurwood. He was born on 19 November at Scorton 1880 to Richard and Mary Hurwood. He worked for the Post Office with his father. When the war broke out George would enlist as a Sapper in the Royal Engineers, his Regimental Number being 67828. His medal card gives his ‘Theatre of War’ as France where he had arrived on the 7th October 1915. He was awarded the 1915 Star, which means he enlisted before conscription was introduced, along with the British War medal and Victory medal. George made and engraved match box covers recording Ypres 31/7/17 and Arras 9/4/17 which Vicky still has at home. He survived the war and is commemorated on a list at the Scorton War Memorial Institute. He ended the war as a Sergeant and from his demobilisation on the 30th June 1919 became a Class Z Reserve.
Matthew Bell was born in West Scrafton, Coverdale on 21 October 1895. He served with the Yorkshire Regiment, initially joining before the war with the 4th Territorial Battalion, probably around 1912 according to his regimental number (3899). He later served with the Duke of Wellington’s Regiment (235593) before returning to the Yorkshire Regiment later in the war. He went to France on the last day of September 1915 and survived the war, being awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal for his service. Matthew died aged only 40. Two of his children are still alive and living in Leyburn but they don’t remember him. His youngest child was born posthumously which must have been very hard for his widow.