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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Robert Codling was the son of John and Elizabeth Codling of 13 Revesby Street, Tyne Dock, South Shields. At the outbreak of war he enlisted in the Yorkshire Regiment and was posted to the 8th Battalion. 19873 Private Codling arrived in France in September 1915 and was in and out of the lines in October, November and December. The 8th Battalion relieved the 10th West Riding Regiment in trenches at La Rolanderie on the 18th December. Robert was awarded the DCM for his actions on the 21st. His citation reads, “For conspicuous gallantry near Rue du Bois on 21st December 1915, when under heavy fire and in the face of rifle grenades, he returned to a wounded comrade and brought him in. Later in the day he joined a patrol and searched under heavy fire for his platoon officer who had failed to return”. On 13th October 1916, at the age of 21, he died of wounds. The battalion had been serving in the area of Contalmaison and had suffered a number of casualties. He is buried at Dernancourt Communal Cemetery Extension in the Somme.
William was born in Middlesbrough on the 26th March 1887. He was the son of Joseph and Maria Constantine of Harlesly Hall Northallerton. He was one of five offspring, having 2 sisters and 2 brothers. His father ran a shipping company which he had started in 1885 and would last until it was sold off in 1960. At the outbreak of WW1 the company had 28 vessels, 22 being ocean going and 6 coastal. During the war 13 of the company vessels and 32 crewmen would perish. William was gazetted into the Yorkshire Regiment as a 2nd Lieutenant in March 1906, promoted to Lieutenant 27th May 1907, and to Captain 5th October 1913. He served in France with the 4th Battalion. He suffered gassing at Ypres on the 24th May 1915 and was wounded on the Somme on the 15th September 1916. In 1916 he was awarded the Military Cross for ‘conspicuous gallantry in action’ which was cited in the London Gazette on the 14th November 1916. He had been promoted to Major on the 13th June 1916. On the 2nd May 1918 he was posted to The 2nd Battalion the Yorkshire Regiment, then in August to the 9th Battalion the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. The family were associated with Constantine College in Middlesbrough having donated £40,000 towards the building cost. The college opened in 1930. William died on the 11th November 1970 and was buried at the Church of St. Oswald, East Harlsey where he had been Churchwarden…
At the outbreak of the First World War, George Butterworth was being described as the most promising British composer of his day. George was born in Paddington, London in 1885 but at the age of six moved to Yorkshire when his father became first solicitor and then General Manager of the North Eastern Railway Company. George inherited his mother’s talent for music (she was a professional singer before her marriage). His parents sent him to Aysgarth Preparatory School, near Bedale where he played the organ during school services. His musical ability led to him gaining an Organ Scholarship to Eton College. He initally entered Trinity College, Oxford with the intention of studying law, but this idea was abandoned as he became increasingly interested in setting down the folk music of the British Isles. At the outbreak of the First World War, George enlisted in the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry and was later granted a commission in the Durham Light Infantry. He was on active service for almost a year and awarded the Military Cross in 1917. The citation states that he had commanded the Company when the Captain was wounded ‘with great ability and coolness … and total disregard of personal safety’. Less than a month later, on Saturday 5 August, he was shot through the head by a German sniper in ‘Munster Alley’. Only a day later, William Short of the 8th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment undertook the action which led to his posthumous Victoria Cross in the same…