Page Editor: Norman Jackson
Page Last Reviewed: 03 Mar 2021
Roll of Honour (Abbott - Blamire)
Driver William ABBOTT (M2/047620)
Army Service Corps (Driver Mech.Transport Section)
Born: 17 Mar 1888, Helton, Westmorland
Died: Abt Aug 1975, Penrith, (Age 87)
William was the eldest son of David Abbott, a Stonemason, and his wife Ann (nee Bell). His parents arrived in Patterdale from Helton around 1889, living in the Township. Sadly, Ann died on the 11th October 1895, leaving David with four young children to look after. Around February 1898, his father married again, to Rachel Rucastle in Kendal. They lived for a while in the Heysham area but by 1906 had moved back to Patterdale, living at Goldrill House, where William was working as a Stonemason alongside his father. On the 12th December 1911, William married Annie Backhouse at St Patrick's Church.
William travelled to London to enlist in the Army Service Corps on the 2nd February 1915 and was immediately billeted at the ASC Transport Training Depot at Grove Park (in what had been the Greenwich Workhouse). Within a month he had joined the British Expeditionary Force in France, where he stayed until the 13th April 1919. His service records show that he was a Motor Lorry Driver but give no details of his attachments or locations until 1919 when he was driving Mobile X-Ray Unit and attached to the Royal Army Medical Corps in Namur, Belgium - who were presumably carrying out medical checks on servicemen before de-mobilisation. William finally de-mobbed on the 10th May 1919. After the war he is known to have let apartments at West Side, Glenridding until at least 1929. His wife Annie died in 1966 and William in 1975, they are buried together in Patterdale Churchyard.
He was awarded the 1915 Star, the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Private Ben ARMSTRONG ( )
Died: (Age 22)
Work in Progress
Private Benjamin Robert BELL (G69801/G31803)
51st Royal Fusiliers and 17th Royal Sussex Regiment
Born: Abt Jan 1899, Hartsop, Westmorland
Died: 8 Sep 1936, Workington, Cumberland (Age 37)
Benjamin Robert, or Ben as he was generally called, was the fourth son of Thomas Bell, a Farmer at Brothersfield in Hartsop, and his wife Jane Elizabeth (nee Brown) and was baptised at St Patrick’s Church in Patterdale on the 5th of March 1899. Ben was one of children, his siblings were; Ellen (1885), Thomas (1887), John (1889-1974), Wilson (1891), Catherine Jane (1896), George Browne (1902) and Richard Watson (1904). The children are all likely to have attended Patterdale School. Ben’s father was a labourer and by 1911 was still living in Brothersfield with Jane Elizabeth and three of the children, Ben, George and Richard. Ben’s father Thomas died in July 1917.
Ben would have been eligible to enlist when he reached the age of 18 around January 1917, however he would not be allowed to serve overseas until he reached the age of 19 (this was reduced to 18 years and 6 months by the Military Service Act of April 1918). So, it is quite probable that he enlisted in January 1917 and was placed in a training unit, the 259th (Graduated) Battalion based at Ipswich, which became the 51st (Graduated) Battalion Royal Fusiliers1, which was part of 215th Brigade in the 72nd (Home Defence) Division. Around January 1918, Ben became old enough to serve overseas and was no doubt fully trained. He was probably transferred to the 17th Battalion, Royal Sussex Regiment in May 1918, when it was formed in France as part of the 176th Brigade of the 59th Division, which engaged in various actions on the Western Front including; The Battle of Albert and the final advance in Artois and Flanders, ending the war in Belgium, N.E. of Tournai.
After the war, around August 1921, Ben married Lily Twentyman in the Penrith Registration District. Ben is said to have been a bus driver and may have worked in Cockermouth and Carlisle before moving to Workington. It seems as though Ben and Lily had three children; Sarah (1920-1933), Roland (1922) and William T (1930). Ben and Lily were living at 1, Winifred Street in Workington when Ben died at the young age of 37 on the 8th of September 1936 .
Note1: Ben's medal roll, records that he was initially in the 1st Battalion of The Royal Fusiliers, whereas the inscription on the Roll of Honour, says '51st R Fusiliers'. As the 1st Battalion were in France at that time, it seems more likely to have been the 51st, a home based training Battalion.
Private John BELL (201232)
2nd/4th Bn., Border Regiment
Born: 2 May 1889, Hartsop, Westmorland
Died: 22 Jan 1974, Glenridding, Westmorland (Age 84)
John Bell, or Jack as he was generally called, was the second son of Thomas Bell, a Farmer at Cowdale Beck, and his wife Jane Elizabeth (nee Brown) and was baptised at St Patrick’s Church in Patterdale on the 30th of June 1889. His elder sister Ellen was born in 1885 and elder brother Thomas in 1887. The family then moved to Brothersfield in Hartsop, when 5 other siblings were born - Wilson (1891), Catherine Jane (1896), Benjamin Robert (1899), George Browne (1902) and Richard Watson (1904). The children are all likely to have attended Patterdale School before making their way in the world. Jack’s father was a labourer and by 1911 was still living in Brothersfield with Jane Elizabeth and the three youngest children Benjamin, George and Richard. The whereabouts of Jack at the time of the 1911 census have not been found.
From the service number he was given, it is likely that he enlisted around January 1915 - the same time as many other men from the dale who joined the Border Regiment, such as Frank Brown and Jack Watson. From the regiment's war diary, we know that the 2nd/4th Border Regiment served in India and Afghanistan from March 1915 to November 1919. From March 1916 the battalion was stationed in and around Peshawar and took part in the Mohmand Blockade from February to May 1917, so Jack would have taken part in the Third Anglo-Afghan War which began on the 6th May 1919 and ended with an armistice on the 8th August 1919.
Jack’s father Thomas died in July 1917 while Jack was away fighting. After demobilisation Jack returned home and worked as a porter at the Ullswater Hotel, working his way up to become head porter there. It was whilst there that he married Florence May Backhouse (son of Thomas Backhouse) on the 21st April 1934. At that time he was living in The Square Glenridding. The story goes that he made enough money from tips at work to retire at 40 and buy several of the Millcroft cottages in Glenridding. His wife Florence May died in January 1959 aged 73. Jack himself continued to live at 2 Millcroft until his death on 22nd January 1974 at the age of 84. Jack and Florence are buried together in St Patrick's Churchyard.
Jack's medal card confirms that he served in India and Afghanistan and was awarded the India General Service Medal (including the North West Frontier Service clasp) and the British War Medal. His great nephew Adam still has his war medals.
Jack’s younger brother George Browne Bell raised his family in Hartsop and his sons still live in the Dale - Benny and his family at Crookabeck Farm, Colin in Hartsop and Richard at Cherry How in Patterdale.
Lance Corporal Thomas BELLAS ( )
Machine Gun Corps.
Died: (Age )
Work in Progress
Gunner John W BIRKETT (244514)
Royal Field Artillery
Born: 17 Aug 1895, High Rake, Glenridding, Westmorland
Died: 20 Mar 1963, Millcroft, Glenridding, Westmorland (Age 67)
John William Birkett was the second son of Joseph Mark Birkett and his wife Mary Ellen (nee Shaw). Joseph was born in Keswick but moved to Glenridding to work at the Greenside mine. He married Mary Ellen Shaw, the daughter of another Greenside Miner, at St Patrick's Church on the 20th April 1892. We believe that Mary Ellen already had a daughter, Ann, who had been born in 1890. They had three more children George (1893), John William and Thomas Edward (1898 but died aged 16 months). In 1901, Joseph and Mary Ellen were still living in Glenridding at High Rake, with their three surviving children (who were no doubt attending Patterdale School). The couple then had three more children Arthur (1903), Harry (1905) and Joseph Mark (1909).John's father, Joseph, died in December 1909 at the age of 49, so when the April 1911 census was taken, we find the widow Mary Ellen still at at High Rake with her children and John, with his older brother George, working as Lead Ore Dressers at the the Greenside mine.
John enlisted with the Royal Field Artillery on the 18th January 1916 and from his obituary, we know that he spent two years in France but without his service record or knowing which Brigade he was attached to, it is impossible to find out exactly where he served. When the war finished, his Brigade returned to Britain, where he was 'demobbed' on the 3rd April 1919 in Edinburgh. The very next day, John signed on for extra service, probably with the Royal Artillery, and was posted to India, rising to the rank of Corporal, before finally returning to civilian life on the 3rd July 1921. John probably returned to working at the Greenside, although his name doesn't appear in the (admittedly incomplete) employee lists until 1926.
On the 5th February 1927, John married Martha Stratton, from Howdon-on-Tyne, although the address she gave was 'The Ullswater Hotel' (was she a guest or did she work there?). John and Martha settled at 3, Millcroft in Glenridding and he continued to work at the Greenside Lead Mine until he retired in 1957. They had no children.
John died on the 20th March 1963, at the age of 67, and Martha on the 9th March 1991, aged 88. They are buried together in St Patrick’s Churchyard in Patterdale.
He was awarded the British War Medal and the Victory Medal.
Private Henry BLAMIRE ( )
Royal Field Artillery
Work in Progress
Gunner John BLAMIRE ( )
Died: (Age )
Work in Progress