Soldier’s fate revealed

IN UNIFORM Ernest Crawshaw when he joined the army.
IN UNIFORM Ernest Crawshaw when he joined the army.

Local history enthusiasts have answered the mystery surrounding the fate of a Dewsbury soldier wounded during World War I.

A postcard sent by Ernest Crawshaw to his mother almost 100 years ago was discovered earlier this year among family belongings.

The card, dated June 1916, said he was travelling back to England where he would be sent on to a hospital.

But his great niece Ann Bould did not know whether he had survived the journey.

Since the postcard was shared in the Reporter, two readers have come forward with information on Ernest’s childhood and life after the war.

They have also helped to put Mrs Bould in touch with Ernest’s great granddaughter, Laura Potts.

Mrs Bould, who lives in Bradford, said: “I always thought I was the only one in the family and we had no other relatives – now we’ve got loads!

“It’s just nice to know that Ernest got married and had a nice life. It’s got my interest up again so I might start doing research into Lionel Crawshaw and Ernest’s other brothers.”

Reader Bernadette Youd, of Mirfield, said the article about the postcard had piqued her interest.

“I help people to build and create their family trees. I also trace missing relatives when I can,” she said.

“With my genealogy experience I think I am able to answer one of Ann’s questions about what happened after World War I.

“Ernest married in 1919 and had two children, George and Madge. Laura is the direct descendant of Madge.”

She said her research suggested the family had settled in Alverthorpe where Ernest worked as a confectioner for A Talbots and Sons.

“The business started off selling sweets from the back of a horse drawn wagon and from what I have read the Talbots later ran their business from a large mill and then in 1964 sold it on to Victory V Gums and Lozenges,” she said.

An extract from a book written by Ken Bartlett said: “Eric Gibson was the sugar boiler at Talbots.

“Ernest Crawshaw was the man who made the gums, but during the war these were not required so he fired the boilers.

“I spent many hours talking to him and watching how he attended to the fires. He also lived on Acute Terrace and I remembered him from when I lived there.”

Reader Robert Whiteside also got in touch to share information uncovered in birth certificates, marriage certificates and census records.

He said: “I have no connection with the family. I was just interested to see if he survived the war.”

The records show Ernest was born in September 1897 to Dawson and Annie Crawshaw, of Woodbine Street, Dewsbury.

By the time he was 21, he was working as a confectioner.

Ernest married Irene Starkey at Christ Church in Staincliffe on July 19, 1919.

His death was registered in Wakefield in 1969.