Category Archives: Local History

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 30 June 2022 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

May saw the addition of eight new posts, meaning the site has passed the 150 mark. In fact, this month’s additions brings the total number of posts to 157. Two others were updated.

The additions included four weekly newspaper pages for June 1916. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

I have written a new biography for a War Memorial man – that of Richard Carroll Walsh.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. No new biographies for these men have been added this month. They will follow in due course.

There is also a new occupational post. This describes the job of a lamp cleaner. It is perhaps an overlooked coal mining occupation, but turned out to have a fascinating history, critical to improving mine safety.

Finally for this month there are two new school log books. These are for the Boy’s Department in 1917 and 1918. The latter is particularly relevant to today’s Covid-hit world, covering the first and second waves of the Spanish Flu pandemic. School closures are commonplace in 1918 as Batley succumbed to the virus.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial 
3. Reginald Roberts 
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Dominick (aka George) Brannan
8. Michael Brannan
9. John Brooks
10. Lawrence Carney
11. Martin Carney
12. Thomas Curley
13. Peter Doherty
14. Thomas Donlan
15. Thomas Finneran
16. Michael Flynn
17. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
18. Thomas Gavaghan
19. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
20. James Griffin
21. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
22. Thomas McNamara
23. Patrick Naifsey
24. Austin Nolan
25. Robert Randerson
26. James Rush
27. Moses Stubley
28. William Townsend, also known as McManus
29. Richard Carroll Walsh *NEW*

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
30. Patrick Cassidy
31. James Delaney
32. Thomas Donlan (senior)
33. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
34. Cemetery and Memorial Details
35. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
36. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
37. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
38. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
39. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
40. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
41. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
42. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
43. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
44. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
45. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
46. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
47. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
48. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
49. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
50. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
51. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
52. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
53. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
54. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
55. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
56. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
57. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
58. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
59. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
60. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
61. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
62. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
63. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
64. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
65. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
66. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
67. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
68. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
69. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
70. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
71. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
72. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
73. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
74. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
75. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
76. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
77. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
78. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
79. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
80. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
81. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
82. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
83. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
84. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
85. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
86. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
87. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
88. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
89. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
90. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
91. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
92. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
93. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
94. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
95. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
96. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
97. 1915, 2 October – Batley News
98. 1915, 9 October – Batley News
99. 1915, 16 October – Batley News
100. 1915, 23 October – Batley News
101. 1915, 30 October – Batley News
102. 1915, 6 November – Batley News
103. 1915, 13 November – Batley News
104. 1915, 20 November – Batley News
105. 1915, 27 November – Batley News
106. 1915, 4 December – Batley News
107. 1915, 11 December – Batley News
108. 1915, 18 December – Batley News
109. 1915, 23 December – Batley News
110. 1916, 1 January – Batley News
111. 1916, 8 January – Batley News
112. 1916, 15 January – Batley News
113. 1916, 22 January – Batley News
114. 1916, 29 January – Batley News
115. 1916, 5 February – Batley News
116. 1916, 12 February – Batley News
117. 1916, 19 February – Batley News
118. 1916, 26 February – Batley News
119. 1916, 4 March – Batley News
120. 1916, 11 March – Batley News
121. 1916, 18 March – Batley News
122. 1916, 25 March – Batley News
123. 1916, 1 April – Batley News
124. 1916, 8 April – Batley News
125. 1916, 15 April – Batley News
126. 1916, 22 April – Batley News
127. 1916, 29 April – Batley News
128. 1916, 6 May – Batley News
129. 1916, 13 May – Batley News
130. 1916, 20 May – Batley News
131. 1916, 27 May – Batley News
132. 1916, 3 June – Batley News *NEW*
133. 1916, 10 June – Batley News *NEW*
134. 1916, 17 June – Batley News *NEW*
135. 1916, 24 June – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
136. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
137. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
138. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
139. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
140. Occupations: Confidential Clerk
141. Occupations: Lamp Cleaner *NEW*
142. Occupations: Limelight Operator
143. Occupations: Office Boy/Girl
144. Occupations: Piecer/Piecener
145. Occupations: Rag Grinder
146. Occupations: Willeyer

The Families
147. A Death in the Church

School Log Books
148. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1913
149. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1914
150. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1915
151. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1916
152. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1917 *NEW*
153. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1918 *NEW*

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
154. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

World War Two
155. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
156. Michael Flatley
157. William Smith

Batley’s First Air Raid – The Night of 12/13 December 1940

I’ve written previously about the night of 12 December 1940, the night the Luftwaffe bombed Batley and Dewsbury. I’ve now unearthed more information about that winter evening’s terrifying events in Batley. This includes the specific areas hit, and the damage caused, during what Chief Warden Major James P. Critchley dubbed as Batley’s first air raid. So, if you want to find out if the area in which your ancestors lived, or where you now live, was affected, this may help.

This new account is based on information received from reports on the night, which Chief Warden Critchley subsequently documented. These reports give some idea of the frantic activity across Batley as explosives from German bombers rained down, and as information was transmitted in real time between Air Raid Wardens at their various Posts, the police, military and other official Civil Defence bodies.

Crucially, because of wartime reporting restrictions, these details were not in any of the newspaper accounts at the time. This incudes precise timings which, in these “as it happened” reports, are given using the 24-hour clock.

During the Second World War, Air Raid Wardens received colour-coded air raid warnings. In Batley at 18.26 on 12 December the local wardens, as documented by Critchley, received a “Purple” message. This was a lights warning. It meant, in addition to normal blackout restrictions, even exempted lighting for vital transport and production had to be extinguished as enemy aircraft were expected to pass over the district.

With air raid sirens wailing across the area, at 20.13 a “Red” warning was received, signalling an imminent air raid. Wardens were to dash out in their respective sectors blowing short blasts on their whistles.

The air raid was already well underway when the Wardens received this “Red” warning. According to the reports, at 20.00 hours Incendiary Bombs fell on Bath Street, though the report stated they caused little damage. This information was passed on to the police, as was customary with all the incidents which followed.

At 20.03 Air Raid Warden Wood reported a fire at the bottom of Well Lane.

At 20.05 Air Raid Warden Talbot reported Incendiary Bombs near St Thomas’ Church, though thankfully no damage.

St Thomas’ Church, Batley – Postcard

At 20.25 the Ambulance Depot reported a suspected Unexploded Bomb at the junction of Well Lane and Bradford Road. This information was passed on to the police, who reported back at 20.41 that they could not find any trace of the device.

Also at 20.25 Post A2 reported that walls had been broken down near the Boys’ Grammar School, with stones on the causeway. A policeman was despatched to check it out.

Batley Boys Grammar School – origin unknown

At 20.40 a report from Post 18 came in. A High Explosive bomb at Mount Pleasant resulted in an estimated six casualties, with further information to follow. Within four minutes this incident was passed on to the police to investigate. Note this incident was likely to be the one on Purlwell Hall Road which resulted in a fatality – more of that in my previous post about the events that night.

At 21.00 Post 17 reported a whistling High Explosive in the middle of the fields at Parkers Houses – this was the Carters Fields area. The house end and all windows and doors were in – presumably this meant blown in. Almost instantly this was passed on to the police.

At 20.55 Warden Crowther at Post 6 reported he heard a bomb coming down whistling, ¾ of a minute ago. However, no explosion or detonation followed, so this was presumed to be another Unexploded Bomb. By 21.01 this too was passed to the police to follow up.

At 21.04 Post 28 reported a probable Delayed Action Bomb at Batley Soothill, Soothill Railway Bridge and Soothill Lane. There was a small crater. This was passed to the police within a minute. More reports of this particular incident then flooded in.

At 21.17 Major Whitworth, Royal Army Service Corps, reported a Delayed Action Bomb at Soothill Bridge.

This was followed by Post 28 giving an update at 21.21 on the Soothill situation. There was an Unexploded Bomb at the rail bridge on Soothill Lane. It had dropped in the buttress between the London & North Eastern Railway and the London, Midland and Scottish Railway yards, and caused a crater of about 12” in diameter. Houses were evacuated, traffic was stopped both ways, and investigations were underway for more bombs.

By 21.37 Special Constable Pickles reported five Unexploded Bombs at Soothill Bridge. This took slightly longer to pass formally from the Report Centre to the police, around nine minutes. Perhaps the scale of information now pouring in was becoming overwhelming.

A verbal message followed from Major Matthews. The bomb had now been removed from Soothill Bridge and taken into a field behind Grange Road.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Batley, at 21.00 the Officer in charge at the Report Centre received information that a bomb was heard to drop, but had not exploded, at an unknown locality near Post 2L. This was passed to the police to check out at 21.10. At the same time the police were asked to investigate the swishing noise near Grosvenor Road heard at 21.07 by Warden C. P. Talbot at Post A2.

At 21.18 Section Leader Turner reported an Unexploded Bomb in the Healey area of Batley at Holyoake Avenue, West Park Road. Yet another incident for the beleaguered police.

At 21.25 Post 10 reported five High Explosive bombs, with four houses badly damaged. No location was given. Five minutes later Air Raid Warden Fox gave the location as North Bank Fields, and one bomb was suspected to have exploded. All houses were evacuated until the position was certain.

Also at 21.25 Warden Duckworth at Post 19 reported an Unexploded Bomb, type unknown, in the sewage beds. This went to the police at 21.44 with a request for the exact location so a decision could be made about evacuating the First Aid Post. There’s a joke in there somewhere but I’ll refrain from making it!

The police were also passing their findings back. At 21.20 a Police Officer reported something had gone through the roof of G. H. Hirst Ltd’s Alexandra Mills. By 21.35 Special Constables were sent to attend, and five minutes later reported an Unexploded Bomb in the building.

At 21.30 Lieutenant Spanton reported the discovery of a yard-long time bomb, with a diameter of one foot in a yard at the back of Hanover Street. It was now under a military guard and they were telling people to evacuate. By 21.50 Major Matthews identified it as an Oil Bomb. The Royal Engineers, based in York, were coming over to deal with it. This order was cancelled by 21.58 following a re-evaluation – it was an empty canister from a flare. These parachute flares were dropped in advance of a raid to mark out bombing targets.

Meanwhile, now back in Healey, at 21.35 Air Raid Warden Fox from Post 10 was reporting a High Explosive bomb between Trafalgar Street and Throstle Nest Mill, with a crater measuring 40 ft wide and 20-30 feet deep.

At 21.42 a report came in from the Batley Boys’ Grammar School headmaster. Over an hour earlier, at around 20.30, near the school he heard the scream of a bomb, followed by a dull thud but no explosion. Given the timing it is possible this linked to the 20.25 report from the Air Raid Warden at Post A2. The headmaster provided a further update at 23.49. The bomb had in fact exploded blocking a manhole at the school.

At 21.45 Air Raid Warden Norman of Post 28, reported a suspected Unexploded Bomb in soft soil between Clutton Street and Lady Ann Road, leaving a crater with a diameter of around 15 inches. Military were already in attendance.

At 22.01 a Rescue Party was at Parkers Houses, Carters Fields where an Unexploded Bomb was reported to be in a house. This presumably linked to the incident reported at 21.00 by Post 17. By 22.45 the Rescue Party had fenced it off.

At 22.12 P. C. 1331 Wright called in a suspected Unexploded Bomb at South Bank Road and the top of Pynate Road off Carlinghow Lane. The Police Station were asked to send someone to investigate.

At 22.15 Warden J. Wilson at Post 18 said a Delayed Action Bomb was believed to have dropped in Farmer Walker’s fields at the back of houses in Highcliffe Road.

At 22.27 Warden Clarkson at Post A2 called in an Unexploded Bomb at St. Thomas’ Church yard on Rutland Road, below the east window of the church. It had actually been discovered 20 minutes earlier. At 22.29 Warden Talbot stated this bomb was now found to be an unexploded flare which had been buried and covered with earth and posed no danger of explosion.

Meanwhile, more news came in from the Pynate Road incident. Information received at 22.45 from Warden H. Noble stated that two Unexploded Bombs were believed to have dropped at Pynate Road, Carlinghow Lane. There were no casualties, but as yet no services were there either.

By 23.00 the police got back. The Unexploded Bomb at the top of Chaster Street, South Bank Road and Pynate Road was being attended to by P. C. 1331 Wright and Special Constables.

The final report in the list is one at 23.40 to say the telephone was out of order at the Warden’s Post in Holland Street.

At 04.06 the Air Raid Message code “White” came through – the signal for the sounding of the All Clear sirens.

As can be seen from the above volley of communications, it was a fast-paced and confusing picture with multiple reports from separate sources coming in about various incidents across the Batley Borough. Some appear to be duplicate reports of the same incident.

As the dust settled, a considered general report could be written. This gave a further indication of the extent of the bombing and the subsequent activity by those on the ground dealing with it .

This read as follows (with spelling and punctuation as in the document):

Shortly after 7p.m. Enemy aeroplanes dropped flares over the Borough. There was immediately a considerable amount of Anti-Aircraft fire and attempts made to shoot down the flares. It is believed two flares were shot down.

About 7.45p.m. numerous fires broke out in the neighbourhood of Bradford Rd. Central.

A large number of Incendiary bombs were dropped but the majority were put out by Wardens, Police, A.F.S.1 Soldiers and Civilians.

At 8.15p.m. Bradford Road Central closed from Branch Rd. to Hick Lane on account of fires.

At 9.5 p.m. Soothill Lane closed owning to U.X.B.2 on Soothill Railway Bridge.

Only Incendiary bombs were dropped in the centre of town.

Feeding and Shelter Stations were opened at Zion Sunday School, Cross Bank Sunday School, and Soothill Workings Mens’ Club for persons destitute through H.E.3 or Fire and for persons evacuated owing to enexploded [sic] bombs.

Schools etc. were utilised at Healey and Soothill where the distance from Feeding Stations was great or not accessible on account of unexploded bombs.

At 12.30 a.m. Fires were under control and very little glow.

Weather was good when raid commenced but dense fog descended after 9 p.m. The roads became ice-bound and consequently movement was difficult.

5.30 a.m. Lieut. Hill, of Bomb Disposal Unit arrived with squad and commenced on unexploded bombs. The bomb on Soothill Bridge was given priority and removed at 8 a.m

A summary of damage then followed (spellings and punctuation as per the report).

Casualties.
1 Soldier killed with Shrapnel. 1 Warden injured by Shrapnel. Approximately 4 civilians also injured by Shrapnel.

Fires.
Rag Warehouse J. A. Calverley. Half of top storey and part of second storey destroyed; also considerable stock of rags.

2 Storey Rag Warehouse, Anchor Mills, Bradford Rd. C[entral]. Damage to roof and stock of rags.

2 Storey Rag Warehouse off Bridge Street, (J. E. Etherington Ltd.) Stock of wool destroyed.

3 Storey Rag Warehouse and contiguous Dwelling Well Lane (W. J. Ineson & Son Ltd) Top two storeys used as Rag Warehouse, Bottom storey and Dwelling house used as H.Q. First Aid Parties and canteen. Damage. Burnt out.

Single storey Hygienic Laundry, Bradford Rd. C[entral]. Damage. Roof, machinary [sic] and customers articles.

24 other small fires were reported and dealt with by A.F.S., Wardens, Police, Soldiers etc. These were all between Cross Park Street and Mount Pleasant; Branch Road and Hick Lane.

H.E. Damage.
Boys’ Grammar School. Damage to wall and lawns.

Mount Pleasant – Victoria Avenue, Three houses wholly demolished. St. Andrews Church badly damaged. Gospel Hall and Purlwell Wesleyan Chapel slightly damaged.

North Bank Road. Four back to back cottages damaged beyond repair.

Near Trafalgar St., Crater 40ft x 30ft in field. numerous houses damaged by shrapnel, stones etc.

In the whole Borough 578 houses were damaged during the Raid.

450 temporary homeless people were accommodated in the Rest Centres at Zion Chapel etc.

Unexploded Bombs.
Soothill Bridge.
Alexandra Mills.
Clutton Street.
Station Road.
Railway Goods Yard.
Hunts Warehouse.
Station Road Warehouse.
Stubley’s Mill.
Field off Broom Street.
Soothill Pit Hill
(These were removed by Military safely.)

Alton Lodge. (Not confirmed)
Well Lane.
Carter’s Field. (Exploded)
Top of Southbank Road.
Off Highcliffe Road
Purlwell Lane (same bomb)
Woodersome [sic] Estate.
(Search was made for these but no traces found.)

Sewerage Beds. (Safe, Inspected and left.)

Bankfoot. (Flare removed by Military.)

St Thomas’s Church. (Flare removed by Military.)

A crater was discovered on 1st January 1941 near to Princess Royal School, Carlinghow, caused by H.E. bomb.

Upper Croft Road. Crater indicating that bomb had exploded at great depth; discovered 15th. Dec. 1940. (Later found to be U.X.B. 500 K.G.)

Sufficient components were found to completely re-construct a Parachute flare.

Several Unexploded Incendiary bombs were found.

Some Incendiary Bomb sticks and Flare canisters were also found.

St Andrew’s Church – Photo by Jane Roberts

In the midst of the destruction there were some lighter moments. For example the 80-year-old stone-deaf lady who, when eventually roused by police at 5am to evacuate her home, and after a search for her ear trumpet, refused to allow the Constable to take her to the Rest Centre until she had thoroughly brushed and combed her hair. Perhaps this was the wrong time and place for worrying about appearances!

In another incident, shortly after midnight, a vehicle belonging to the military emerged through the fog towards a policeman. It skated on the icy road as it drew up to him. The driver then asked the Police Officer for directions to the nearest piece of vacant land. The Officer took his time in replying, no doubt wondering what the consequences were for him – perhaps he would have to guard the Army vehicle – and how to get out of them. He soon got a move on when the Army Driver told him “Hell man, hurry up, we have an unexploded bomb on the rear seat.

And it would not be Batley without the grumbles and complaints about the action of the local authority, even in pre-Kirklees Council days. There were two such examples cited in the immediate aftermath.

In the first, a man in the Soothill area roused at about 5am for evacuation purposes due to the unexploded bomb on Soothill Bridge, shouted through his bedroom window at the Police Constable “That bomb dropped last neet, what the Hell are they laikin’ at? It owt to be aht nah.

Also on an ice-bound Soothill Lane, at around 6am an exhausted Warden had the unenviable task of being posted about 100 yards from an unexploded bomb. His job was to stop people coming down the road, and instruct them to make a detour to avoid the bomb on Soothill Bridge. One stockily-built middle aged man came sliding through the fog, his torch waving about as he tried to keep his balance. The Warden explained he would have to take a different route on account of the bomb. The man’s locally accented reply was “All right, but what’s t’Corporation laiking abaht at, there isn’t an ash up Sooithill Loin; it’s like glass an’ there’ll be somebody lamed yet.” When the Warden pointed out perhaps the Corporation had a lot to do during the night, the man’s reply was “Oh hev they.” He then disappeared into to the fog without any comment or question about the bomb.

I’ve tried to indicate in red on the map below as many of the places I can identify from the reports, to give some idea of the spread of incidents and damage across Batley that night.

Map of Batley from the 1930s. The areas in red illustrate the scale of incidents and damage across Batley from the air raid.

To conclude, I suggest my previous post about the events of that night should be read in conjunction with this new post. My previous post focuses more on individuals involved in the events, including details of the soldier killed outright, a St Mary’s parishioner who subsequently died from his injuries, as well as information about some others who were injured but thankfully survived. It also includes theories, confirmed in this latest post, about some of the bomb damage locations. The earlier post also covers events that night in neighbouring Dewsbury. It can be found here.

Footnotes:
1. Auxiliary Fire Service.
2. Unexploded bomb.
3. High Explosives.

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 31 May 2022 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

Headstone of William Smith in Batley Cemetery, Photo by Jane Roberts

May saw the addition of eight new pages. Two other pages were updated.

The additions included four weekly newspaper pages for May 1916. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. There is one new biography here this month, that of Patrick Cassidy

I have written one biography for a parishioner killed during the Second World War – William Smith.

There is also a new occupational post which links to William Smith, about the role of a piecer/piecener.

Finally for this month there is one new school log book. This is for the Boy’s Department in 1916.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial 
3. Reginald Roberts 
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Dominick (aka George) Brannan
8. Michael Brannan
9. John Brooks
10. Lawrence Carney
11. Martin Carney
12. Thomas Curley
13. Peter Doherty
14. Thomas Donlan
15. Thomas Finneran
16. Michael Flynn
17. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
18. Thomas Gavaghan
19. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
20. James Griffin
21. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
22. Thomas McNamara
23. Patrick Naifsey
24. Austin Nolan
25. Robert Randerson
26. James Rush
27. Moses Stubley
28. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
29. Patrick Cassidy *NEW*
30. James Delaney
31. Thomas Donlan (senior)
32. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
33. Cemetery and Memorial Details
34. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
35. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
36. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
37. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
38. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
39. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
40. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
41. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
42. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
43. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
44. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
45. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
46. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
47. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
48. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
49. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
50. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
51. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
52. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
53. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
54. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
55. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
56. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
57. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
58. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
59. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
60. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
61. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
62. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
63. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
64. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
65. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
66. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
67. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
68. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
69. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
70. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
71. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
72. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
73. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
74. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
75. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
76. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
77. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
78. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
79. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
80. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
81. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
82. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
83. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
84. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
85. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
86. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
87. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
88. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
89. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
90. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
91. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
92. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
93. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
94. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
95. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
96. 1915, 2 October – Batley News
97. 1915, 9 October – Batley News
98. 1915, 16 October – Batley News
99. 1915, 23 October – Batley News
100. 1915, 30 October – Batley News
101. 1915, 6 November – Batley News
102. 1915, 13 November – Batley News
103. 1915, 20 November – Batley News
104. 1915, 27 November – Batley News
105. 1915, 4 December – Batley News
106. 1915, 11 December – Batley News
107. 1915, 18 December – Batley News
108. 1915, 23 December – Batley News
109. 1916, 1 January – Batley News
110. 1916, 8 January – Batley News
111. 1916, 15 January – Batley News
112. 1916, 22 January – Batley News
113. 1916, 29 January – Batley News
114. 1916, 5 February – Batley News
115. 1916, 12 February – Batley News
116. 1916, 19 February – Batley News
117. 1916, 26 February – Batley News
118. 1916, 4 March – Batley News
119. 1916, 11 March – Batley News
120. 1916, 18 March – Batley News
121. 1916, 25 March – Batley News
122. 1916, 1 April – Batley News
123. 1916, 8 April – Batley News
124. 1916, 15 April – Batley News
125. 1916, 22 April – Batley News
126. 1916, 29 April – Batley News
127. 1916, 6 May – Batley News *NEW*
128. 1916, 13 May – Batley News *NEW*
129. 1916, 20 May – Batley News *NEW*
130. 1916, 27 May – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
131. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
132. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
133. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
134. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
135. Occupations: Confidential Clerk
136. Occupations: Limelight Operator
137. Occupations: Office Boy/Girl
138. Occupations: Piecer/Piecener *NEW*
139. Occupations: Rag Grinder
140. Occupations: Willeyer

The Families
141. A Death in the Church

School Log Books
142. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1913
143. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1914
144. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1915
145. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1916 *NEW*

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
146. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

World War Two
147. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
148. Michael Flatley
149. William Smith *NEW*

Family and Local History Talks in 2022 and 2023

After a break of a couple of years I’m now back with a new series of family and local history talks.

These are:

  • Local Links to the Lusitania;
  • Tips for Researching your Great War Ancestors;
  • My Batley St Mary’s in World War One One-Place Study;
  • The Home Front: the White Lee Explosion of 1914.

Local Links to the Lusitania focuses on people with Yorkshire connections on board the Cunard liner, torpedoed and sunk off the Irish coast on 7 May 1915. The sinking did not affect only the rich and famous. Many Yorkshire people were involved. This talk explores some of their stories.

There is a possibility this talk can be tailored to your local area.


Based on my groundbreaking book The Greatest Sacrifice: Fallen Heroes of the Northern Union about rugby league players who died in World War One, the talk investigates the stories behind some of the men. It is also packed with tips for researching your own Great War Army ancestors.


My Batley St Mary’s in World War One One-Place Study is based on my ongoing study of the Catholic parish of St Mary of the Angels, particularly during the First World War. It investigates what a one-place study is, why I embarked on one, why I chose this particular focus, as well as my findings.


The Home Front: the White Lee Explosion of 1914 is a talk based around the events of December 1914 when a devastating explosion, caused during the manufacture of picric acid for the war effort, took place at White Lee. It resulted in deaths and injuries, as well as damage across a vast area of Batley, Heckmondwike and the Spen Valley. It is an event often overlooked because of later explosions in Yorkshire at Low Moor and Barnbow. This talk aims to provide more information about this Heavy Woollen District incident, the forerunner to the later explosions. The talk will explore the unlucky history of the site as well as the events on the day and the aftermath. 


For more details about these talks, including booking one, please contact me at: pasttopresentgenealogy@btinternet.com

Lusitania Talk – 10 May 2022

A heads up that I will be giving a talk via Zoom at 7.30 p.m. on 10 May 2022 about the Lusitania sinking of 7 May 1915.

Lusitania Medal Box – Photo by Jane Roberts

Huddersfield and District Family History Society are hosting the talk and more details are in the advert below. Essentially it is free for Society members, and a minimum £2 donation for non-members. Registering is by sending an email with ‘Local Lusitania Links’ in the subject box to webmaster@hdfhs.org.uk

As well as background details, I will be exploring some of the local links from around the family history society area to illustrate why the sinking had such a huge impact on our community.

It should be a fascinating talk packed with information and some amazing tales of loss and survival.

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 30 April 2022 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

St Mary of the Angels, Batley

April saw the addition of eight new pages. Two other pages were updated.

The additions included five weekly newspaper pages for April 1916. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. No new biographies for these men have been added this month. They will follow in due course.

I have written one biography for a War Memorial man: Lawrence Carney.

This month there are two new school log book pages. These are the ones for the Boy’s Department in 1914 and 1915.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial 
3. Reginald Roberts 
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Dominick (aka George) Brannan
8. Michael Brannan
9. John Brooks
10. Lawrence Carney *NEW*
11. Martin Carney
12. Thomas Curley
13. Peter Doherty
14. Thomas Donlan
15. Thomas Finneran
16. Michael Flynn
17. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
18. Thomas Gavaghan
19. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
20. James Griffin
21. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
22. Thomas McNamara
23. Patrick Naifsey
24. Austin Nolan
25. Robert Randerson
26. James Rush
27. Moses Stubley
28. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
29. James Delaney
30. Thomas Donlan (senior)
31. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
32. Cemetery and Memorial Details
33. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
34. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
35. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
36. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
37. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
38. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
39. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
40. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
41. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
42. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
43. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
44. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
45. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
46. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
47. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
48. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
49. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
50. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
51. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
52. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
53. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
54. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
55. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
56. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
57. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
58. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
59. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
60. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
61. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
62. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
63. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
64. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
65. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
66. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
67. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
68. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
69. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
70. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
71. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
72. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
73. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
74. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
75. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
76. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
77. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
78. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
79. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
80. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
81. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
82. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
83. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
84. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
85. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
86. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
87. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
88. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
89. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
90. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
91. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
92. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
93. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
94. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
95. 1915, 2 October – Batley News
96. 1915, 9 October – Batley News
97. 1915, 16 October – Batley News
98. 1915, 23 October – Batley News
99. 1915, 30 October – Batley News
100. 1915, 6 November – Batley News
101. 1915, 13 November – Batley News
102. 1915, 20 November – Batley News
103. 1915, 27 November – Batley News
104. 1915, 4 December – Batley News
105. 1915, 11 December – Batley News
106. 1915, 18 December – Batley News
107. 1915, 23 December – Batley News
108. 1916, 1 January – Batley News
109. 1916, 8 January – Batley News
110. 1916, 15 January – Batley News
111. 1916, 22 January – Batley News
112. 1916, 29 January – Batley News
113. 1916, 5 February – Batley News
114. 1916, 12 February – Batley News
115. 1916, 19 February – Batley News
116. 1916, 26 February – Batley News
117. 1916, 4 March – Batley News
118. 1916, 11 March – Batley News
119. 1916, 18 March – Batley News
120. 1916, 25 March – Batley News
121. 1916, 1 April – Batley News *NEW*
122. 1916, 8 April – Batley News *NEW*
123. 1916, 15 April – Batley News *NEW*
124. 1916, 22 April – Batley News *NEW*
125. 1916, 29 April – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
126. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
127. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
128. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
129. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
130. Occupations: Confidential Clerk
131. Occupations: Limelight Operator
132. Occupations: Office Boy/Girl
133. Occupations: Rag Grinder
134. Occupations: Willeyer

The Families
135. A Death in the Church

School Log Books
136. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1913
137. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1914 *NEW*
138. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1915 *NEW*

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
139. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

World War Two
140. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
141. Michael Flatley

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 31 March 2022 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

A selection of school log books – Photo by Jane Roberts

March saw the addition of seven new pages. Two other pages were updated.

Although March may therefore appear to have been quiet, I have been working away in the background on a new strand to the St Mary’s One-Place Study – the school. More of that later.

The additions included four weekly newspaper pages for March 1916. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. No new biographies for these men have been added this month. They will follow in due course.

I have written one biography for a War Memorial man: Robert Randerson. A Batley rugby league player and St Mary’s school teacher, his first days at the school are also recorded in the brand new section to the study – the school log books.

These log books were kept regularly by the school – the infants, mixed and boys’ departments. They record the everyday routine of their running. Some of the entries may be mundane, register checking for example. But amidst these entries are some real gems – for example unusual incidents, disease outbreaks, school outings, and issues relating to individual school children or teachers. Interwoven through them is the religious context to St Mary of the Angels school, and how local and national events also impacted on it. They provide a snapshot of Catholic school life in a bygone time. Crucially for this study, these particular logs are not available online or in the archives.

This month there are two new pages relating specifically to these log books. The first is a general introduction. The second is the 1913 log book entries for the newly formed Boys’ Department. And it is on these pages Robert Randerson appears.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial
3. Reginald Roberts
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Dominick (aka George) Brannan
8. Michael Brannan
9. John Brooks
10. Martin Carney
11. Thomas Curley
12. Peter Doherty
13. Thomas Donlan
14. Thomas Finneran
15. Michael Flynn
16. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
17. Thomas Gavaghan
18. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
19. James Griffin
20. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
21. Thomas McNamara
22. Patrick Naifsey
23. Austin Nolan
24. Robert Randerson *NEW*
25. James Rush
26. Moses Stubley
27. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
28. James Delaney
29. Thomas Donlan (senior)
30. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
31. Cemetery and Memorial Details
32. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
33. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
34. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
35. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
36. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
37. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
38. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
39. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
40. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
41. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
42. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
43. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
44. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
45. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
46. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
47. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
48. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
49. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
50. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
51. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
52. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
53. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
54. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
55. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
56. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
57. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
58. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
59. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
60. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
61. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
62. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
63. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
64. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
65. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
66. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
67. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
68. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
69. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
70. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
71. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
72. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
73. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
74. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
75. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
76. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
77. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
78. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
79. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
80. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
81. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
82. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
83. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
84. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
85. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
86. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
87. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
88. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
89. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
90. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
91. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
92. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
93. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
94. 1915, 2 October – Batley News
95. 1915, 9 October – Batley News
96. 1915, 16 October – Batley News
97. 1915, 23 October – Batley News
98. 1915, 30 October – Batley News
99. 1915, 6 November – Batley News
100. 1915, 13 November – Batley News
101. 1915, 20 November – Batley News
102. 1915, 27 November – Batley News
103. 1915, 4 December – Batley News
104. 1915, 11 December – Batley News
105. 1915, 18 December – Batley News
106. 1915, 23 December – Batley News
107. 1916, 1 January – Batley News
108. 1916, 8 January – Batley News
109. 1916, 15 January – Batley News
110. 1916, 22 January – Batley News
111. 1916, 29 January – Batley News
112. 1916, 5 February – Batley News
113. 1916, 12 February – Batley News
114. 1916, 19 February – Batley News
115. 1916, 26 February – Batley News
116. 1916, 4 March – Batley News *NEW*
117. 1916, 11 March – Batley News *NEW*
118. 1916, 18 March – Batley News *NEW*
119. 1916, 25 March – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
120. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
121. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
122. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
123. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
124. Occupations: Confidential Clerk
125. Occupations: Limelight Operator
126. Occupations: Office Boy/Girl
127. Occupations: Rag Grinder
128. Occupations: Willeyer

The Families
129. A Death in the Church

School Log Books *NEW*
130. Boys’ School – Log Book, 1913 *NEW*

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
131. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

World War Two
132. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
133. Michael Flatley

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 31 January 2022 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

St Mary of the Angels Church, Batley

In the past month I have added five weekly newspaper pages for January 1916. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. No new biographies for these men have been added this month. They will follow in due course.

I have also written two new biographies for a War Memorial men: those of Peter Doherty and Thomas Gavaghan.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial *UPDATED*
3. Reginald Roberts
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Michael Brannan
8. John Brooks
9. Martin Carney
10. Thomas Curley
11. Peter Doherty *NEW*
12. Thomas Donlan
13. Thomas Finneran
14. Michael Flynn
15. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
16. Thomas Gavaghan *NEW*
17. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
18. James Griffin
19. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
20. Thomas McNamara
21. Patrick Naifsey
22. Austin Nolan
23. James Rush
24. Moses Stubley
25. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
26. James Delaney
27. Thomas Donlan (senior)
28. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
29. Cemetery and Memorial Details
30. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
31. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
32. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
33. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
34. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
35. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
36. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
37. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
38. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
39. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
40. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
41. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
42. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
43. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
44. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
45. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
46. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
47. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
48. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
49. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
50. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
51. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
52. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
53. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
54. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
55. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
56. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
57. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
58. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
59. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
60. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
61. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
62. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
63. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
64. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
65. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
66. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
67. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
68. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
69. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
70. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
71. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
72. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
73. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
74. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
75. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
76. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
77. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
78. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
79. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
80. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
81. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
82. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
83. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
84. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
85. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
86. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
87. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
88. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
89. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
90. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
91. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
92. 1915, 2 October – Batley News
93. 1915, 9 October – Batley News
94. 1915, 16 October – Batley News
95. 1915, 23 October – Batley News
96. 1915, 30 October – Batley News
97. 1915, 6 November – Batley News
98. 1915, 13 November – Batley News
99. 1915, 20 November – Batley News
100. 1915, 27 November – Batley News
101. 1915, 4 December – Batley News
102. 1915, 11 December – Batley News
103. 1915, 18 December – Batley News
104. 1915, 23 December – Batley News
105. 1916, 1 January – Batley News *NEW*
106. 1916, 8 January – Batley News *NEW*
107. 1916, 15 January – Batley News *NEW*
108. 1916, 22 January – Batley News *NEW*
109. 1916, 29 January – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
110. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
111. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
112. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
113. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
114. Occupations: Rag Grinder
115. Limelight Operator

The Families
116. A Death in the Church

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
117. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

World War Two
118. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
119. Michael Flatley

St Mary of the Angels, Batley: One-Place Study Update – 1 to 31 December 2021 Additions

This is the latest update of the pages relating to my Batley St Mary’s one-place study, the details of which I announced here.

St Mary of the Angels Church, Batley

In the past month I have added four weekly newspaper pages for December 1915. I have accordingly updated the surname index to these During This Week newspaper pieces, so you can easily identify newspaper snippets relevant to your family.

More men who served and survived have been identified. I have updated that page accordingly. No new biographies for these men have been added this month. They will follow in due course.

I have written one new biography for a War Memorial man, that of Thomas Finneran.

Finally for this month, I have added a new name to the page relating to biographies of men associated with St Mary’s who died but who are not remembered on the War Memorial.

Below is the full list of pages to date. I have annotated the *NEW* ones, plus the *UPDATED* pages, so you can easily pick these out. Click on the link and it will take you straight to the relevant page.


1. About my St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church War Memorial One-Place Study;

Batley Descriptions – Directories etc.
2. 1914: Borough of Batley – Town Information from the Annual Report of the Medical Officer of Health.

Biographies: Men Associated with St Mary’s Who Died but Who Are Not on the Memorial *UPDATED*
3. Reginald Roberts
4. William Frederick Townsend

Biographies: The War Memorial Men
5. Herbert Booth
6. Edmund Battye
7. Michael Brannan
8. John Brooks
9. Martin Carney
10. Thomas Curley
11. Thomas Donlan
12. Thomas Finneran *NEW*
13. Michael Flynn
14. Thomas Foley D.C.M.
15. Michael Groark (also known as Rourke)
16. James Griffin
17. Michael Horan
William McManus – See William Townsend below
18. Thomas McNamara
19. Patrick Naifsey
20. Austin Nolan
21. James Rush
22. Moses Stubley
23. William Townsend, also known as McManus

Biographies: Those who Served and Survived (this includes a list of those identified to date and who will later have dedicated biographical pages) *UPDATED*
24. James Delaney
25. Thomas Donlan (senior)
26. Michael Rush

Burials, Cemeteries, Headstones and MIs
27. Cemetery and Memorial Details
28. War Memorial Chronology of Deaths

During This Week
29. During This Week Newspaper Index *UPDATED*
30. 1914, 8 August – Batley News
31. 1914, 15 August – Batley News
32. 1914, 22 August – Batley News
33. 1914, 29 August – Batley News
34. 1914, 5 September – Batley News
35. 1914, 12 September – Batley News
36. 1914, 19 September – Batley News
37. 1914, 26 September – Batley News
38. 1914, 3 October – Batley News
39. 1914, 10 October – Batley News
40. 1914, 17 October – Batley News
41. 1914, 24 October – Batley News
42. 1914, 31 October – Batley News
43. 1914, 7 November – Batley News
44. 1914, 14 November – Batley News
45. 1914, 21 November – Batley News
46. 1914, 28 November – Batley News
47. 1914, 5 December – Batley News
48. 1914, 12 December – Batley News
49. 1914, 19 December – Batley News
50. 1914, 24 December – Batley News
51. 1915, 2 January – Batley News
52. 1915, 9 January – Batley News
53. 1915, 16 January – Batley News
54. 1915, 23 January – Batley News
55. 1915, 30 January – Batley News
56. 1915, 6 February – Batley News
57. 1915, 13 February – Batley News
58. 1915, 20 February – Batley News
59. 1915, 27 February – Batley News
60. 1915, 6 March – Batley News
61. 1915, 13 March – Batley News
62. 1915, 20 March – Batley News
63. 1915, 27 March – Batley News
64. 1915, 3 April – Batley News
65. 1915, 10 April – Batley News
66. 1915, 17 April – Batley News
67. 1915, 24 April – Batley News
68. 1915, 1 May – Batley News
69. 1915, 8 May – Batley News
70. 1915, 15 May – Batley News
71. 1915, 22 May – Batley News
72. 1915, 29 May – Batley News
73. 1915, 5 June – Batley News
74. 1915, 12 June – Batley News
75. 1915, 19 June – Batley News
76. 1915, 26 June – Batley News
77. 1915, 3 July – Batley News
78. 1915, 10 July – Batley News
79. 1915, 17 July – Batley News
80. 1915, 24 July – Batley News
81. 1915, 31 July – Batley News
82. 1915, 7 August – Batley News
83. 1915, 14 August – Batley News
84. 1915, 21 August – Batley News
85. 1915, 28 August – Batley News
86. 1915, 4 September – Batley News
87. 1915, 11 September – Batley News
88. 1915, 18 September – Batley News
89. 1915, 25 September – Batley News
90. 1915, 2 October – Batley News
91. 1915, 9 October – Batley News
92. 1915, 16 October – Batley News
93. 1915, 23 October – Batley News
94. 1915, 30 October – Batley News
95. 1915, 6 November – Batley News
96. 1915, 13 November – Batley News
97. 1915, 20 November – Batley News
98. 1915, 27 November – Batley News
99. 1915, 4 December – Batley News *NEW*
100. 1915, 11 December – Batley News *NEW*
101. 1915, 18 December – Batley News *NEW*
102. 1915, 23 December – Batley News *NEW*

Miscellany of Information
103. The Controversial Role Played by St Mary’s Schoolchildren in the 1907 Batley Pageant
104. The Great War: A Brief Overview of What Led Britain into the War
105. Willie and Edward Barber – Poems
106. A St Mary’s School Sensation

Occupations and Employment Information
107. Occupations: Rag Grinder
108. Limelight Operator

The Families
109. A Death in the Church

Population, Health, Mortality and Fertility
110. 1914: The Health of Batley School Children Generally, with a Particular Focus on St Mary’s School Children

World War Two
111. World War Two Chronology of Deaths
112. Michael Flatley

Why Family Historians are Excited About the 1921 Census Release

Forget the New Year countdown and the return of Big Ben’s bongs this year. Instead, like many other family historians, I’m counting the days down to 6 January 2022, the day which marks 1921 census release day. Its family clues and secrets have been hidden for over 100 years. But this is the day when they will finally be revealed.

But why are family and local historians so excited? What is its background? Why is it so important for family and local history? How can you access it?

I’ll try to answer those questions in this post.


Background:
This was the census conducted in the immediate aftermath of the Great War, the Spanish flu pandemic and the introduction of voting rights for some women. It was a time of turmoil, upheaval and change.

The census was eventually taken on 19 June 1921, delayed for two months from its originally planned date of 24 April 1921, because of the state of emergency declared as a result of the coal miners’ strike.

Although care was taken to avoid holidays in the big industrial towns of the north, do be aware of the possibility the delay to the summer months may mean your family could be away from their expected residence.


What Information Will the Census Contain?

This census had the usual familiar mix of questions, but with some crucial omissions and additions from the 1911 Census. Questions included:

  • Name and Surname;
  • Relationship to the Head of Household;
  • Age – in years and (in a difference to previous censuses) completed months, with those under one month noted as such;
  • Sex;
  • Marriage or Orphanhood – For those 15 and over this means single, married, widowed or if the marriage has been dissolved. For children under under 15 this includes details about which parents are living/dead;
  • Birthplace and Nationality;
  • Personal Occupation (including attending school), Employment and Place of Work;
  • Married Men, Widowers and Widows also complete details about the number and ages of all living children and step children under 16 years of age, whether residing in the household or elsewhere.

The enumerator who collected the form was also responsible for recording the number of “living rooms” at the premises. And, for the first time, individuals in a household could also make separate confidential returns.

I’m disappointed that the so-called fertility question is missing from this census, with no information given about the number of completed years of marriage and the total number of children born within it, split between still living and dead. There question around blindness, deafness and dumbness has also gone.

But there are some big compensating questions. For example the changes to the questions around work will add a new family history component. This was introduced to find out about the travelling involved to get to a place of employment. The question around dissolved marriages is an interesting commentary about the recognition of increased availability of divorce. I am interested to see if any of my family is amongst the 16,682 people who declared themselves divorced on the returns. And, in light of the aftermath of the Great War and influenza pandemic, the recording of information for under 15s about whether both parents were alive or if either or both parents had died is a sad snapshot on the fragility of life.

If you want to familiarise yourself with the 1921 Census household form for England in advance of 6 January, you can download a copy here, courtesy of the ONS (Office for National Statistics) website.1


Why the Excitement with this Census Release?
All new major record releases are exciting. But for many the 1921 Census will be particularly special. From the poignant moment of seeing family members in a census for the first or last time, to finding out the impact the War had on family and community structures; to discovering the employment and possibly employers of their ancestors in this period of industrial strife, to where they were – and who they were with – on census night. Then there’s societal changes at the start of the Roaring Twenties, like the increase of divorce, and changes in the work of women from previous censuses. And not forgetting the inevitable disentangling of truth from mistakes and pure fiction in the entries of our ancestors – no, they were not always honest on official documents!

On the more humorous side, will there be any quirky, or protest, entries this time? And what will be the most unusual or unexpected occupation or name?

All this information, even these errors, half-truths and lies, will shed new light on the lives and characters of our ancestors – the type of information we family historians are constantly seeking.

Crucially, it is an excitement not to be repeated for another 30 years, because the next census release will not be until 2051, with the 1951 Census.

For many, this will be the last chance to experience the anticipation and thrill surrounding a census release. The highs of finding that missing piece of the family history puzzle, to simply finding out a little more about the lives of your ancestors. To the lows of will the site crash with the volume of hits?


My Census Plans
I have spent the Christmas period drawing up my family history census wish list.

I’m looking forward to the release on a personal family history level to find if my grandpa had made the move from Ireland to England at this point. If so, where was he living? And was he with family who had already made the move?

I also want to discover what various direct line ancestors and their families were doing. In particular, only three months before this census, my great grandfather died aged only 42. I want to see if there is any evidence of impact on his family. For example, were they still in the same home? Was the family still all together? Did my great grandmother have an occupation listed?

Also, being from a long line of coal mining ancestors, I want to see how many were still involved in the industry, especially given the census backdrop of a coal miners’ strike.

I have a wider interest in this census too, for my St Mary’s Batley One-Place Study. This focuses on the parish particularly in World War One, looking at not only those who served and died, but those who returned home, and the parish as a whole. I’m interested in seeing the impact both the war and the flu pandemic had on the parish population and family structures, with a particular interest in those families who had suffered war casualties. I’m also interested in any further Irish migration to the parish between 1911 and 1921. And I want to build up a bigger picture about employment in the parish. Batley was a significant textile town with the industry employing both men and women. The other major industry for the area was coal. Given this was the period of the coal miners’ strike, I want to see what impact this had on the census employment returns for the parishioners. Also, for returning military, was there a difference between their 1911 and 1921 employment? This, though, because of the scale, may be a longer-term plan based on a visit to one of the free access sites.


How Can I View the 1921 Census?
Now for the all-important administrative details about census access.

1. Who does this Census release cover?
• This release covers 38 million people in England and Wales. Technically the full scope of it is England & Wales, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and the Armed Forces at sea or overseas (including in the nascent Irish Free State).
2. When can you access it?
• The launch date is 00.01 GMT on 6 January 2022.
3. Where can you access it?
• Online it will be available via commercial genealogy dataset provider Findmypast. They won the National Archives digitisation contract and have exclusivity for the 1921 census for up to three years. This will be the only online provider access during this period.
• In-person access of the digital images is available at The National Archives, Kew. The census will also be available via Findmypast at the Manchester Central Library, and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
• If you are still unsure, professional genealogists (including me) are undertaking census lookups. This may prove more efficient, accurate, cost-effective and ultimately less stressful.
4. How much does it cost?
• You will be able to search the indexes on Findmypast for free. But a pay-per-view system will operate to actually view the transcripts and images. It costs £2.50 for every record transcript, and £3.50 for every original record image.
• If you are a 12-month Pro subscriber there is a 10% discount.
• Whether a transcription or image, purchasing the record of one individual will allow you to view the entire household’s census return in that purchased format. Unless that person was in an institution.
5. Can you access the 1921 Census for free?
• Yes. It will be available to view digitally at The National Archives at Kew. It is also available to view free via Findmypast at Manchester Central Library and the National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth.
6. Which countries does the release cover?
• The release applies to England and Wales.
• Indexed images of the 1921 Scottish Census will be released on http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk and in the Scotlands People Centre, Edinburgh, in the latter half of 2022.
• The 1921 Census was not taken in Ireland due to the Irish War of Independence. Censuses in Ireland and Northern Ireland were conducted in 1926.

In addition, Findmypast has some useful information too https://www.findmypast.co.uk/1921-census

Update:
If you’re planning on going to Manchester Central Library to access the 1921 Census, the image below (posted on the Manchester and Lancashire Family History Society Facebook page) gives some important information. It’s essential pre-visit planning reading.


I’ll end this post with some snippets from Yorkshire to get you in the census mood.


The Sheffield Independent and Sheffield Daily Telegraph newspapers for 21 June 1921, reported on the case of three census wanderers. On census night, Sheffield police were tasked with searching highways and by-ways to round up those living outside. The three men, brought before the magistrates on 20 June and charged with lodging out, or wandering abroad without visible means of subsistence, included George H Jerram, of no fixed abode. He was found at 12.30am asleep in one of the Tinsley Park coke ovens with only 5d in his possession. He could not afford any lodgings.

Jerram remarked that “he was lodging out in France from August, 1914, to April, 1920,” and since coming out of the Army had only worked five weeks.”2

The Chairman discharged him, giving him the opportunity to fill out his census form.

I wonder if he will appear?


The Yorkshire Post of 21 June 1921 had a reporter going round an industrial quarter of Leeds with a census enumerator. Someone asked: “We have not put the dog on the paper. Will that be all right?

I wonder if pets will feature though, something I wrote about in an earlier census piece. Please click here if you want to read this, and the other quirky entries which have appeared in previous censuses.


However, a dismal story of unemployment and overcrowding also emerged in this Yorkshire Post piece.

  • For example, an Irish woman and her brother (both single), their brother, sister-in-law, and seven children aged 3 to 19, living in four rooms, Three of the adults were out of work;
  • A coal-hawker and a son assisting him, both out of work, two errand boy sons out of work, and five children attending school, with only one son (aged 20) working;
  • An out-of-work boot riveter, his wife and six children, ranging from 23 years old downwards, living in three rooms.

Occupants were described as being terribly afraid they would be turned out of their squalid dwellings because of overcrowding. Authority could, and did, strike fear.

In Grimsby, forms revealed in one instance five families living in four rooms; in another seven families were in one house, with a further house consisting of eight families.


The Hull Daily Mail of 21 June 1921 reported on a census conundrum regarding a baby born after midnight but before 1am (British Summer Time), the equivalent of 11pm and midnight Greenwich mean time. Was the baby born too late for the census? No definite pronouncement was made, but the assumption was the system in operation at the time, British Summer Time, would govern such questions.

I wonder if anyone does have an example of a child recorded in this census who should technically not be?


And in an example of a potential missing entry, a correspondent’s letter appeared in the Halifax Daily Courier and Guardian of 25 June 1921. Essentially, a son completed the household form for his father (the head), himself, his sister, and his sister’s three children (two grandsons and a grand daughter of the household head). They all slept in the house on census night. However, when the enumerator collected the form, he said the grandchildren should not be recorded and crossed them out. The correspondent was concerned they would not now be counted.

Again, some of us may therefore have difficulty in finding people we know should be there. It may simply be down to a mis-transcription, or not adopting the correct research strategies. But it could also really be down to an omission, or deliberate dissembling to disguise identity. This is an example where a professional researcher may be able to help.


So get ready for 6 January, and the big day in the family history world. I hope you find what you’re looking for.


Footnotes:
1. For Wales and Monmouthshire, there was an extra question for each person (over three years) on whether they spoke English and Welsh, English only or Welsh only; and for Scotland (when that is released) watch out for the extra questions about whether each person (over three years) spoke Gaelic only and also whether they were entitled to benefits under the National Insurance (Health) Acts;
2. Sheffield Independent, 21 June 1921;