The Haverton Hill and Port Clarence War Memorial was unveiled in October 1922 by Sir Hugh Bell and his wife Lady Bell. Could this photograph have been taken during the same period, the clothing is certainly from that era…
Photograph and details courtesy of Bruce Coleman.
For Mike and Karen from Colin Hatton, former treasurer Western Front Association
The photo of the War Memorial is taken from my book Haverton Hill Port Clarence to Billingham, available in both Billingham and Stockton library. I got it from Ken Duckers who lived at Sweethills who identified a couple of his relatives (Daniels) in the photo. The photo was taken after the opening ceremony about which I wrote an article for Remember When in which I included further images of that momentous day. You may be interested to know that all memorials were produced by public prescription, ours at Port is the same design as others and is exactly the same as one in Albert Park erected to remember those who fell in the South African War. Most were erected in the 1920’s and care has to be taken when looking for names.
Names were not automatically added, they required permission from the family, some possibly because of the then still raw grief didn’t want their name added. Also some are repeated on other memorials, as is Rev Burgess whose name also appears on the one at Billingham. He was the priest at St Thomas’s church. Crowds packed the area on the day of the opening as they did years ago as I remember as a young boy in the 1940’s and fifties. My grandparents lived in 4 Laburnum Grove and from their front window watched the service in sorrow. Grandad’s brother William Clough, a young newly married was killed in the opening skirmish of that dreadful morning on the Somme on July 1st 1916. He is not on the memorial but last week I was glad to see his name on local TV when the tablets at Albert Park formed part of their report. (My uncle Chris Jelley’s name does appear, but grandads nephew Kenneth Clough’s doesn’t) hence the grief on that day.
I calculated that on average, 2.3 people died in the Haverton Hill and Port Clarence district during that war. Everyone in the country knew someone who died. You have to remember that ICI and Furness weren’t built then so no High Clarence and Haverton Hill was only small. Karen may be interested to know I have also written about the Ashley brothers from Dave Crawford’s data. Dave’s mam was an Ashley. HHill really came from the immigrant’s from Cheshire who came to work in the salt industry, many from Port came from Ireland to work in Bells iron works, again read my book.
It is worth remembering that the Cenotaph in Whitehall was meant to be a temporary structure and was made of wood to Lutyens design.
Remembrance Sunday 2022 had the highest attendance in quite sometime I was told, it was 40 years since the Falklands conflict , and also our dear beloved Queen Elizabeth passed away, it was good to make acquaintances again although it’s just annual passing. My uncle Patrick was killed in ww2 , and is buried in Egypt, his name is listed on the cenotaph.
After viewing WG Brown’s memoirs and personal documents (including photographs) at the Teesside Archives I’m 90 percent positive that the taller gentleman on the left hand side is William Gilleard Brown.
By the time of this photo he was an inspector for the London and North Eastern Railway Company. He was living at 7 Railway Cottages, Port Clarence. He was also a councillor on the Billingham Urban District Council, representing High Clarence.
He was a skilled woodworker. He created a 7 foot eagle lectern commemorating those killed during the Great War for St Johns church, in addition to a shield presented to the church in memory of Arthur Waller, a member of the choir who was killed during the war. He also created a tablet and shield which he presented to the Roman Catholic school at Port Clarence in memory of Dr. Burdess, a Roman Catholic priest from the district who was killed during the war. As if this wasn’t enough he framed and fixed rolls, with the names of the 600 odd men of the district who served their country, to the walls of the districts two churches.
Sadly it appears none of his memorials have survived. Both churches and the catholic school have long since been demolished. I have read a story that during the demolition of St John’s church there was a big fire which gutted the interior.
This memorial lists the initials & surnames of 96 servicemen who died as a result of the Great War and a further 46 men, women & children who died as a result of the Second World War.
The gentleman who is on the left hand side in the photo bears a resemblance to a William Gilleard Brown who was on the committee that organised the erection of the memorial in 1922. He was a traffic foreman for the North Eastern Railway and lived at Port Clarence. Do any ancestors have a photo of him and can confirm the identity?
In recent years I have researched this memorial and uncovered the identities of most of those named who died during the Great War. Unfortunately a lot of service records of those who served in the Great War were destroyed by bombing in the Second World War. In addition to this the memorial does not list regiments or service numbers. There are three names which have proved difficult to link to any particular servicemen listed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database. One is an E. Andrews but because of missing records and this being a common surname I can’t link it definitely to anyone.
One possible candidate is Private. 3/8808. William Edwin Andrews who was one of the early volunteers, enlisting at West Hartlepool. He served with the Northumberland Fusiliers (1st battalion) and was killed in action at Ypres, Belgium on 26th June 1915. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial. He was born Newport, Monmouthshire, Wales and was the son of William Andrews of 59 Caevelen Street, Llanhilleth, Monmouthshire, Wales.
On the 1911 census for Haverton Hill there is a Edward Andrews who is boarding with James Robson at 4 Oak Street, Haverton Hill. He was a 32 year old crane driver at a steel works and was born at Monmouthshire, Wales. I also believe he was living at Stockton-On-Tees in 1901. The difficulty of matching this individual 100% is that the service records for 3/8808 William Edwin Andrews have not survived.
If we allow for the possibility that he may have Anglicised his surname for the census. Also I know that some of the early volunteers from Haverton Hill and Port Clarence enlisted at West Hartlepool instead of Middlesbrough. It is possible that if he died during the Great War a friend or work colleague may have put his name forward for inclusion on the memorial. Probably the only people who may shed a light on this are his ancestors.
Teesside Archives have just published an extensive article on their website about William Gilleard Brown and his creation of a wooden war memorial for Saint John’s church in Haverton Hill. The article also features a copy of a poster announcing the dedication of the memorial by the Bishop of Durham at St. John’s on 6 June 1919.
William died at the age of 90 in March 1965 and is buried in Saint Johns churchyard, Haverton Hill.
Among the names on this memorial for those killed during the Great war is a G. Whitlow. I have uncovered the identities of the majority of the names for the Great War but this person is proving a mystery.
There is no G Whitlow listed by the Commonwealth war graves Commission as having died during the Great War. After researching individuals on the memorial I have discovered that a number of the surnames are different to the spellings on the memorial. A possible candidate who lived in Haverton Hill and died during the Great War, but does not appear on the memorial, is John Richard Whitley.
Private. 42659. John Richard Whitley served with West Yorkshire Regiment (1/7th battalion). He died of wounds 17 November 1917, age 24. He is listed on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website as the son of Emma Whitley, 71 Cowpen Road, Haverton Hill. I believe I have traced John Richard Whitley and his family through local censuses and Civil Registration Records but the evidence has thrown up a mystery.
John Richard Whitley’s parents, Henry Whitlow (Whitley) & Emma Whitlow (Whitley) first appear on the local census in 1891 when they were living at Ash Street, Haverton Hill. They were both born in Cheshire. I believe they married in the Stockton district in 1887. Emma’s maiden name was Bolland and Henry registered as Henry Whitley. They had a number of children who were registered in the Stockton district, Henry Whitley 1887, Joseph Henry Whitlow 1889, John Benjamin Whitley 1891, Catherine Whitley 1893, John Richard Whitlow 1895 & Joseph William Whitlow 1901. The different surnames is curious but could be explained by Henry or Emma being illiterate. But it is strange how the surname appears to have been swapped backwards and forwards.
By the 1901 census the family are going by the name Whitlow and are living at Oak Street, Haverton Hill. There are no people with the surname Whitley living in the Stockton or Billingham districts on the 1901 census. On the 1911 census they were living at Elm street, Haverton Hill and still going by the name Whitlow. The surname then seems to have altered for a final time, as in his army pension record of 1917 John Richard Whitley gave his next of kin as Emma Whitley, 71 Cowpen Bewley Road, Haverton Hill.
For the next stage of the story I jump forward to the 1930’s. Henry Whitley died in 1937 in the Stockton district. By 1939 surviving relatives included Emma Whitley (born 25 March 1862) living at 9 palm terrace, Billingham; Henry Whitley (born 22 may 1888) living at Greenholme, Wolviston Road, Billingham; John Benjamin Whitley (born 5 July 1891) living at 11 Hawthorne Avenue, Billingham & Joseph W Whitley (born 25 August 1901) living at 15 Oxford Terrace, Billingham. Despite the change of surname these all tie in closely to Henry & Emma Whitlow on the census. There are often errors in records when recording peoples ages.
I’m hoping there may be a descendent out there somewhere who can clear up the mystery. It would be fitting to honour the correct man. Or perhaps there is a descendent of G Whitlow who can put forward the right man.
In the churchyard of St John the Evangelist at Haverton Hill there are five military headstones of servicemen from the First World War. Only one of these, Patrick Hanna, is commemorated on the Haverton Hill & Port Clarence War memorial. Many men died after the end of the war in 1918 from wounds and illness which were a result of the war. Why the remaining four are not included on the memorial is a mystery. The five men are.
Clerk 3rd Class. W Fox. Royal Air Force. Died 27 September 1918. Age 27.
Gunner. E Pemberton. Royal Field Artillery (12th Brigade Ammunition Column). Died 9 August 1919. Age 44. Son of Joseph & Elizabeth Pemberton of 50 Elm Street, Haverton Hill.
Private. John Robert Bromley. Royal Army service Corps. Died 26 November 1919. Age 27. Husband of Amy Bromley of 18 Saltholme Terrace. Port Clarence.
Gunner. J G Griffin.Royal Field Artillery (No.2 Reserve Brigade). Died 26 December 1919.
Sergeant. Patrick Hanna. Yorkshire Regiment ( 3rd Battalion). Died 25 March 1920. Age 28. Son of James & Alice Hanna of Port Clarence.
There is a connection between Port Clarence and a First World War recipient of the Victoria Cross.
Corporal (8191). William Anderson was born at Dallas. Moray, Scotland. Prior to the war he had served with the Yorkshire Regiment in India, Egypt & South Africa. In 1912 he was discharged to the reserve. When war broke out in 1914 he was recalled to the regiment and sent to Middlesbrough to help with recruitment. Whilst here he met Lucy Dudley who lived at Clarence House, Port Clarence. At the time she was a Nurse with the British Red Cross Society. The couple became engaged to be married. Unfortunately in November 1914 William as part of the Yorkshire Regiment (2nd battalion) was sent to France. They would never meet again.
On 12 March 1915 the regiment were in fighting at Neuve-Chapelle. Anderson would be nominated for the Victoria Cross for his part in a bombing raid against the Germans. Sadly he was killed on 13 March 1915. His body was never recovered. His brother, Alexander would be presented with William Anderson`s VC in 1920. Anderson is commemorated on the Le Touret Memorial.
On 13 March 1916 the North Eastern Daily Gazette carried a In Memorian notice to the Dear memory of Corporal W Anderson (Jock) VC. (8191), 2nd Yorkshire Regt. Ever remembered by his loving friends at Port Clarence.
Lance Corporal Richard Dudley is commemorated on this memorial. He was the brother of Lucy Dudley.
Richard died on 22 December 1916 at Mailly Maillet, France. He served with the Royal Engineers (95th Field Company) and was killed by shellfire whilst clearing trenches. He is buried at Mailly Wood Cemetery. Richard & Lucy were two of eight children born to George & Annie Dudley. George & Annie were originally from Davenham in Cheshire. They came to Port Clarence prior to 1883 to work in the local saltworks.
I would imagine these are the mothers, wives, daughters and perhaps fathers of men named on this memorial.
18 wives of those named were left widowed. Between them they had over 30 children who would be left without a father. As recompense the Minister of Pensions would award the widows a pension. This went by soldiers rank. In 1917 the pension awarded to the widow of a Private was 13 shillings 9 pence per week. Added to this was a weekly payment per child.
5 s 0 d for a first child
4 s 2d for a second child
3 s 4 d for a third child
2 s 6d for each child after the third.
These awards were calculated to be the equivalant of two thirds of the income of a labourer (because there was no longer a head of the household his percentage was deducted). The pension could be withdrawn if the women was considered by the authorities to be an unfit mother. The level of payments usually meant the mother had to try and find some type of employment to subsidise the pension. This led to children having to take care of younger siblings. some women would be forced to give up their children.
It is estimated that the Great war created 192,000 widows and that nearly 360,000 children lost their fathers. Added to this a further half a million children who lost one or more siblings.
Shocking as these statistics are few of us today can come close to understanding the grief & hardship this conflict caused. Sadly it was not the war to end all wars.
In 1914, when the Great War started, the population of Haverton Hill & Port Clarence was 4,243. 600 of these would go on to serve in the war. When the war memorial was unveiled in 1922 it contained the names of 88 men of the district who had died during the war. A shield with the names of six more men was set into the base of the memorial at a later date.
This is the first time I have seen this photo. Could you possibly tell me where it came from Bruce?
Hello Martin, sorry for the delay, I am just back from a holiday.
This photo was sent to me in a bundle of about twenty photos by a cousin, I am putting together a family photo album and I have been sent many photos by my large family of brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins.
My grandfather was a great collector of coins, stamps, cigarette cards, beer mats, postcards and photographs, I think this photo is very likely from his collection.
He lived in Port Clarence from around 1924 to about 1932 before moving to Billingham.
My great grandparents moved from Kent to Port Clarence in 1914, it is possible that they may have owned the photo before my grandfather as he only moved north in the early 1920s.
I am sorry I can’t be more definite about its source but I receive many photos from many people, I have over 3000 of my own negatives in colour and black and white from the early 1960s to the late 1990s, as well as over 600 colour slides from the same period, I also have close to 4000 photos of most towns and villages in the north eastern area from Newcastle to Scarborough and many hundreds of family photos, I am only interested in the images and dates and don’t bother to log who sends them to me.
If you want a copy I can be contacted at email@example.com or if to don’t want to email me then contact me through this site and I will upload the photo into Dropbox and you can get it from there.
Thank you for kindly sending me a copy of this photo Bruce. I have been researching into the names from the Great War on the memorial for a number of years. I have uncovered the identities of the majority men but have been unable to make much progress on five of those named. These are-
Are there any ancestors still out there who may be able to enlighten me?
I believe A Waller is Private. 76586. Alfred James Waller. Manchester Regiment (12th battalion). He died 20 October 1918 in France. He is listed in the Weekly Casualty Lists (17 December 1918) as being from Haverton Hill. Before the war he lived with his parents and siblings at Saltholme, near Cowpen Bewley.
HI Martin my grandad is on the memorial J Ashley do you know any details about him as I can’t find much about him
John Ashley was born around 1890 at Winsford, Cheshire. He was one of twelve children born to James & Ann Ashley. The family came to Haverton Hill shortly after john was born to work in the local salt industry. By 1911 they were living at 19 Elm Street, Haverton Hill. In 1912 John married Emily Whitton. They had two children Emily (born 1912) & John (born 1914). In 1916 john joined the army and was posted to the West Yorkshire Regiment (10th battalion).
On 1 July 1916 the 10th West Yorks took part in the first day of the Battle of the Somme. As part of the 50th Infantry Brigade they attacked a place named Fricourt. British artillery had pounded German positions before the battle and believed there would be little opposition from the Germans. Unfortunately the German troops were protected in shelters dug deep into the ground. After the artillery barrage ceased the German soldiers came up out of the shelters and set up their machine guns.The 10th West Yorks advanced on the German front line to a point where they were between two German trenches. This was when the Germans opened fire.
In the converging machine gun fire the 10th West Yorks suffered the highest casualties of any battalion involved in the battle. 27 officers & 750 other ranks became casualties. Of these 159 men were killed. John Ashley was one of those killed. He is buried in Fricourt Military Cemetery, France.
Hi Martin I am also the great granddaughter of John Ashley, I’m John’s daughter Emily’s granddaughter, do you no if there is any photographs of him…
If you go on The North East War Memorials Project website and look at the information for the Port Clarence memorial there is a photo of John Ashley & James Ashley and the story of John Ashley’s war service.
Thank you. Do you know where Elm Street and Ash Street were located in Haverton Hill.
Hi I’m the great granddaughter of John Ashley my grandmother is Emily johns daughter, is there any photographs of him….