Student Showcase: Telling Your Family Story

This is the first in a series of blog post from students of Janet Few‘s Are You Sitting Comfortably?: writing and telling your family history (216) course.

Janet says: “I have been tutoring the course for several years. Three years ago the option to submit an assessed piece for feedback was added. Since then, each time the course has run, several students have taken this opportunity and have sent in a section of their family histories. They are given about six weeks after the course finishes to do this. I have been in awe of what they have produced in a comparatively short space of time. It is a pleasure to be able to feature some of their stories on the Pharos blog“.

Our first offering comes from student, Gemma Ward, and tells the story of Ernest Leon Loveday

RAF Air Gunner Herbert Leon Loveday (1915-1941) went missing on the night of 30 November/1 December 1941. Herbert Loveday was married to Peggy Marshall (1917-2009). After Herbert’s death, Peggy remarried and had a second family. Peggy was my husband’s grandmother. Whilst researching Herbert Loveday, I discovered the story of Ernest Leon Loveday (1889-1916), Herbert’s father. This is the story of Ernest Loveday. 

Ernest Loveday

In 1906, trawler captain Henry Lilley encountered rough weather around the Penland Firth, Orkney Islands. He “was thrown against a rail violently.” Henry’s injury – a deep cut to his hand – became infected. Henry was brought back to his hometown in Hull and died of blood poisoning [1].

The Lovedays moved into Henry Lilley’s former home – a narrow, two-bedroom terrace at 13 Beech Grove, Wellsted Street. Here they are in the 1911 census return [2]:


Ernest Loveday – the focus of this report – is highlighted.

The 1911 census gives another statistic – two children died in infancy. The Lovedays’ eldest child died at the age of two from “peritonitis complications” – an abdominal inflammation usually caused by infection [3]. A few months later, the Lovedays’ second child died aged eight months from “teething” [4]. It seems likely that both Loveday deaths were caused by poor sanitation. The Impact of Social Housing on Public Health in Hull reports on “the dreadful living conditions and the increased problems with night soil removal” in late 19th century Hull [5].

Figure 1: England (1948). The Albert and William Wright Docks, Hessle Road and environs.The aerial view was taken in 1948, so shows some bomb damage can be seen. However, the photograph also illustrates the layout of the Hessle Road district.


The Lovedays lived in the Hessle Road district. In the aerial view, Hessle Road is the long road (marked in yellow) in the aerial view (Figure 1). Wellsted Street is marked in red. The Albert Dock and the Humber Estuary is to the right of Hessle Road. Unsurprisingly, Hessle Road is known as the home of fishermen and dockworkers. One of the most famous residents of Hessle Road district is the aviator Amy Johnson, the first woman to fly solo from London to Australia. Amy’s father was a trawler owner and fish merchant, although (according to author and biographer Alec Gill), Amy Johnson was ashamed of her Hessle Road roots [6].

Figure 2: Hessle Road in the early 1900’s.


Hessle Road was also a busy shopping street. The artist’s impression (Figure 2) shows the wide street, tram lines and numerous shop awnings. The 1899 Kelly’s Directory lists over 250 shops or enterprises on Hessle Road, selling predominately foodstuffs (e.g. butchers, tripe dressers, grocers, fishmongers, confectioners), as well as representatives of other 19th century professions – tobacconists, boot makers, pawn brokers, chemists, watch makers and drapers [7]. Wellsted Street was on the opposite side of Hessle Road (from the docks), so there were fewer fishermen on the street. My own brief survey (based on the 1901 and 1911 censuses) of the Wellsted Street residents shows a mix of workers in Hessle Street’s different shops and industries. There is also a large proportion of railwaymen (brass finishers, iron moulders, guards, clerks) [8]. According to the Hull Daily Mail, “The city was awash with platforms and stations helping Hullensians get around, let alone the vast quantity in the East Riding [of Yorkshire].” [9] As well as numerous passenger trains, there was also a network of local goods trains connecting the docks and warehouses to central termini and on to the rest of the country.

In the 1911 census, Ernest Loveday was a railway goods porter i.e. he was responsible for loading goods onto the railway carts [10]. He may have worked at the goods yard or railway line next to the Albert Docks. Perhaps he worked alongside his father William, a goods guard.

Figure 3: Original Hull Paragon entrance hall and ticket office. Note the NER mosaic on the floor.


In 1913, Ernest had a slightly different job. He was working as a North Eastern Railways (NER) platform porter at Hull Paragon, the town’s main railway terminus. Ernest would have handled passenger luggage, assist on ticket barriers and in the booking office [11, 12]. The job of platform porter may have been slightly more prestigious than goods porter. There was also the opportunity for tips. Ernest’s job as platform porter could have led on to other platform jobs – as a station master, guard or ticket collector.  

Kate Jarvis

Ernest would marry his next-door neighbour Kate Jarvis. The Jarvis family lived at 64 Wellsted Street on the corner of Beech Grove. The Jarvis family is shown in the 1911 census below [13]:

(Ernest’s future wife Kate Jarvis is highlighted.)

Both the Jarvis and the Loveday families have several adult children working, so they were probably have felt relatively prosperous. Kate is a dressmaker. It is possible she could be working at (or apprenticed to) one of the dressmaking shops along Hessle Road. However, I can find no other evidence of Kate’s occupation. She may (alongside her sister Helen) have been taking in mending and adjustments on a piecework basis.

The First World War

The First World War started on 4 August 1914. Four days later, the NER (North Eastern Railway) issued a circular calling on volunteers to form a Pals battalion. This battalion – the 17th Northumberland Fusiliers – would become known as the Railway Pals. This battalion was housed and trained in Hull [14].

Ernest did not initially join the battalion formed by his employers at the NER. He married Kate Jarvis married on 8 August 1914, and the newly married couple moved to Sculcoates in the north of Hull [15]. Ernest and Kate’s son Herbert Leon was born on 17 May 1915.

At the end of 1915, Ernest attested for army service under the Derby Scheme or Group System. The scheme was first designed to put pressure on men to enlist – each man received a letter from the Director-General of Recruiting and had several visits from experienced canvassers. In Ernest’s case, this seems to be his employers at the NER. Ernest attested on the last possible date – 11 December 1915. Attestation simply meant a promise to serve when called. Many men – perhaps Ernest included – hoped the war would be over before the call-up [16].

Figure 4: While waiting for the call-up, Ernest would have worn an armlet like this one from the Imperial War Museum collection.

Ernest was called up around 7 April 1916. After basic training, he embarked for France on 28 June 1916. He had joined the 32nd Northumberland Fusiliers, the reserve battalion for the 17th Northumberland Fusiliers (Railway Pals) raised by the NER. He probably expected to join the 17/NF (Railway Pals). By 1916, the demands of war meant men were posted where needed. Ernest was posted to another Pals battalion – the 16th Northumberland Fusiliers (Newcastle Commercials).

The Battle of the Somme started on 1 July 1916. Ernest arrived too late to “go over the top” with his new battalion. In any case, on 1 July Ernest was admitted to Camiers General Hospital with scabies. According to Medical Services: Diseases of the War, the condition was often caused by infected blankets or clothing. The treatment consists of warm baths, application of sulphur ointment and provision of clean clothing and bedding.

Ernest left hospital around 10 July 1916. The heavy losses of the Battle of the Somme led to further army reorganisation, so Ernest was first attached, then formally transferred to the 12th Durham Light Infantry (12/DLI).

Figure 5: The Albert-Baupane road. The 12/DLI would have taken this road to the battlefront.


The battles Ernest was involved in were all part of the wider Battle of the Somme (July-November 1916). Ernest’s first experience of battle was probably on the night of 17 July. The battalion attempted an assault south of the village of Pozieres. A Stokes mortar barrage was designed to eliminate the German defences, followed by an infantry advance. The Stokes mortar barrage fell short leaving the German machine guns free to fire at the advancing soldiers. The survivors were forced to hide in shell holes for up to 50 minutes. This experience must surely have been terrifying for Ernest and the other soldiers involved.

After a period of rest in billets, the battalion returned to Pozières. This time they were in a support role. The battalion was tasked with carrying bombs to the front, and then digging and wiring the trenches, all under continuous shelling. A military historian calls this battle “small-scale, disjointed attacks…launched on little more than the next trench, the next strongpoint, the next machine gun. Men struggled towards ill-defined objectives on a moonscape battlefield under an interminable hail of artillery shells and machine gun fire.” [17]

After Pozières, the 12/DLI were gradually moved out of the line. Ernest would have billeted with the battalion in farms away from the Somme Front.

Hull

In Hull, Kate (and presumably baby Herbert) moved back to the familiarity of Wellsted Street. Kate’s parents had moved out by this point, so she moved to 98 Wellsted Street. Makeshift street shrines were erected to commemorate men serving in each street. A local newspaper describes one shrine as “of Gothic design, richly upholstered and enclosed in an outer case.” [18] Another local shrine is described below:
…quite a showplace, for the residents put out in a line down the centre, tables containing photos adorned with glasses of flowers and coloured cloth, and there was a homely and pathetic touch furnished by memorial cards of relatives who have lost their lives. A cigar box stood on a table in this terrace, and the hundreds of visitors on Saturday evening [23 September 1916] and again yesterday [24 September 1916] were invited to contribute a copper for our sailors’ and soldiers’ tobacco.”

According to the article above, the Wellsted Street shrine was unveiled on 24 September 1916 by the local vicar. The Church Lads Brigade and a local Boy Scout troop attended, “and the band played the general salute when the vicar drew the curtain.” Ernest Loveday was one of 235 serving men listed on the Wellsted Street memorial [19]. (The Wellsted Street shrine – like most other street shrines – did not survive. According to Kingston upon Hull War Memorial 1914-1918, most shrines were not designed to be permanent. Many were destroyed in the post-war slum clearances or Second World War Blitz. [20])

Figure 6: Street shrine (artist’s impression)


Ernest’s Death

On 7 October 1916, 12/DLI took part in the capture of the village of Le Sars. The plan was for 12/DLI to seize a maze of trenches (The Tangle) and a sunken road east of the village of Le Sars. 12/DLI attacked in four waves behind a tank armed with machine guns. The tank cleared the Tangle of German defenders before being disabled or destroyed by a shell. Ernest’s company continued under heavy machine-gun fire. The battle – and the tank! – was graphically reported by the Aberdeen Evening Express (10 October 1916):
“Machine guns swept the field with bullets as the men lay on their faces in the mud…Another muddy thing came on the way to the “Tangle”, more like a primeval river hog than in the early days of its debut, because of the mountains of slush churned up by its flanks. The Tank turned its snout towards the “Tangle”, and struggled over the choppy ground – wave upon wave of craters with high rims – until it reached a bit of the deep cutting which makes a hole in the side of Le Sars. This sunken road or old quarry track was filled with German soldiers, alive and dead…After that, something having happened to its internal organs, it committed hara-kari [suicide] but it seems to have been useful before going up in a blaze of glory.”  [21]

The defenders were shelled by German artillery throughout the night of 7 October. Ernest suffered a gunshot wound to his head, and was excused duty on 8 October (the day after the battle). He was taken via the Casualty Clearing Station to the General Hospital at Rouen. Ernest died at 5.35am on 12/13 October. He is buried at St Sever Cemetery on the outskirts of the hospital. (Different sources give Ernest’s death as 12 or 13 October. Most likely he died in the early morning of 13 October.)

The photograph (Figure 7) is captioned “Sleighs, normally used for the conveyance of wounded are dragged by horses over muddy ground, a result of bad weather, at Le Sars, Pas de Calais on the Somme front, October 1916.” [22] The photograph shows the conditions at Le Sars at the time of Ernest’s death. Perhaps Ernest was transported in a similar sleigh.

Figure 7: Sleighs, normally used for the conveyance of wounded are dragged by horses over muddy ground, a result of bad weather, at Le Sars, Pas de Calais on the Somme front, October 1916

Figure 8: Photograph of Ernest Loveday printed in the Hull Daily Mail

Ernest Loveday’s death and photograph was reported in the Hull Daily Mail: “Official information has been received by Mrs Loveday, 98, Wellsted Street, of the death of her husband, Private E. L. Loveday, late of the Northumberland Fusiliers, but who was transferred to the Durham Light Infantry, who died of wounds received in action, on October 12th. He was 25 years old, the only son of Mrs and the late Wm. [William] Loveday, goods guard, and leaves a widow and baby to mourn their loss.” [23]

Ernest was also remembered in the December 1916 NER staff magazine. [24]

On 18 November – a few weeks after Ernest’s death – his sister Laura Gambetta Halliday (nee Loveday, 1888-1965) gave birth to a baby boy whom she named Ernest Leon in memory of her brother. [25]

By early 1917, Kate was dealing with the administration following her husband’s death. British Widows of the First World War: The Forgotten Legion describes the lengthy process of applying for a pension: “A wife did not automatically receive a pension, but had to make an application and fill in the relevant forms…A form had to be completed with the full details of the marriage and the birth of any eligible children, then taken to a Justice of the Peace or a police officer above the rank of sergeant who was prepared to that the information therein was correct. The form then had to be sent to the War Office along with copies of the marriage certificates and any birth certificates. The declaration to be signed by the relevant authority figure also stated that the widow was ‘in every respect deserving of the grant of Pension.’” [26] In May 1917 Kate was awarded a weekly pension of 18/9.

Figure 9: Record of Ernest’s effects.

In January 1918 Kate Loveday received her husband’s effects. The form (reproduced left) records Ernest’s possessions – letters, photos, a silver wrist watch, a strap Bible, a piece of heather (traditional symbol of good luck), razor and case and two cap badges. Perhaps Kate herself gave Ernest some of these items when he left.

On 14 May 1919, there was a memorial service for railwaymen at churches throughout the country. Kate may have been one of the 800 bereaved relatives to attend the local service in Holy Trinity Parish Church (now Hull Minster).

After the war, Ernest’s final resting place – St Sever cemetery next to Rouen Hospital – came under the jurisdiction of the Imperial (later Commonwealth) War Graves Commission. Kate was asked to confirm Ernest’s details and to supply a personal inscription. The form was sent to the wrong address, returned and retained in Ernest’s military file. It may be for this reason that there is no personal inscription on Ernest’s gravestone. [27] In any case, an inscription – quoted at 3d per letter on the form) would be too expensive for someone surviving on a widow’s pension. (The charge later became a voluntary payment).

After the War

Kate Loveday

After Ernest’s death, his widow Kate moved in with her mother and father. [28] (Kate’s father died in 1924 [29]). Presumably baby Herbert is also living with his mother and grandparents. (My information comes from electoral registers which only show eligible voters).

Kate remarried on 12 November 1932. Her new husband was waterworks jointer and war veteran Walter Stanley Quelch (1897-1965). [30] It was a second marriage for both Walter Quelch and Kate Loveday.

Walter Quelch

Walter Quelch had a very different army career from Ernest Loveday. In February 1915, Walter enlisted in the Royal Berkshire Regiment. He was not yet old enough to go overseas, so he spent his first year at Victoria Barracks in Portsmouth. It is likely that Walter used the opportunity to gain additional training. In February 1916, Walter joined the Machine Gun Corps (MGC). After war service on the Western Front, Walter re-enlisted on 9 May 1919. He would remain with the corps until 16 July 1921. (Walter received several minor injuries throughout his war service. One injury was described on the Casualty Clearing Form as: “Coy [Company] being buried by shell explosion.” It was classified as shell shock.)

In November 1930, Walter enlisted for four years’ service with the Territorial Army Royal Tank Corps. He was slightly too old to enlist in the Second World War. In the 1939 Register, he is listed as Waterworks Inspector. [31] He also trained as an anti-gas instructor. [32]

Kate and son Herbert moved in with Walter at 104 St John’s Grove, part of the new Preston Road estate built in the east of Hull after the war.

Kate died of breast cancer on 22 September 1958. [33] She was buried in the local cemetery at Preston Road. The grave is shared with Walter Quelch (died 1965) and Walter’s third wife Clarice Bayston (1905-1987).

Herbert Loveday

Ernest’s son Herbert Leon Loveday trained as a grocer. After a spell at a local grocers, he became a commercial traveller or travelling salesman. He worked for the canned goods firm Libby, McNeil and Libby. In the 1930’s, the firm sold a wide range of tinned products – meat, evaporated milk, fruit, vegetables and fish. Herbert would probably be responsible for selling these products to grocery stores.

On 25 May 1940 Herbert married confectionery manager Marjorie Rose (Peggy) Marshall (1917-2009). [34] Their daughter was born on 27 August 1940.

Figure 10: Herbert Loveday. From a newspaper notice posted by his wife.

The Second World War begin in September 1939. According to his widow, Herbert was a strong swimmer so wanted to join the navy. The navy quotas were full, so he was instead directed to the RAF. Herbert was part of a six-man Vickers Wellington bomber crew. (The crews were self-selecting – made up of friendship groups formed in training.) Herbert was an air gunner. It is likely he was a he was a rear gunner or “tail end Charlie” i.e. he sat in a gun turret at the rear of the plane.

On the night of 30 November/1 December 1941, a bombing mission to Hamburg – Herbert’s fourth mission – failed to return. A search party the next day was unsuccessful, and bad weather prevented any further searches. [35]

On 3 January 1942, one of the crew members washed ashore at Texel (an island off the coast of the Netherlands). The other crew members were never found. [36]

Memorials

Figure 11: Board 13, Hull Paragon Station.

As part of Hull’s First World War centenary celebrations (held in 2014), Hull Prison inmates created twenty wooden plaques inscribed with the names of men who passed through the Hull Paragon Station on their way to war. Ernest is at the top of board 13 (third from top).

It seems particularly poignant that Ernest’s name stands on a board in his former workplace.

Ernest’s son Herbert Loveday is commemorated alongside the rest of his crew on the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede.

References 

Ernest’s war service was compiled from British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database online]: Ernest Loveday at www.ancestry.co.uk. Original at The National Archives.
Battalion operations compiled from Sheen, John (2013) With Bayonets Fixed: The 12th & 13th Battalions of the Durham Light Infantry in the Great War and UK, WWI War Diaries (France, Belgium and Germany), 1914-1920: Durham Light Infantry 12th Battalion 15Aug-1917Oct accessed at www.ancestry.co.uk. Original at The National Archives.)

Walter’s war service was compiled from British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database online]: Walter Stanley Quelch at www.ancestry.co.uk. Original at The National Archives.

[1] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 8 March 1906. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[2] 1911 Census for England and Wales: William Leon Gambetta Loveday. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[3] Certificate of Death: Florence Gambetta Loveday 1885.General Records Office

[4] Certificate of Death: Rosa Gambetta Loveday 1885.General Records Office.

[5] Jessop, Shaun (2015). The Impact of Social Housing on Public Health in Hull.

[6] Gill, Alec (2015, 2nd ed). AMY JOHNSON: Hessle Road Tomboy – Born and Bred, Dread and Fled

[7] Kelly’s Directory of Hull, 1899. Accessed at the University of Leicester Special Collections Online.

[8] 1901 England, Wales and Scotland Census and 1911 Census for England and Wales. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[9] Kemp, Dan (2020), “The Lost and Forgotten Railway Stations of Hull and East Yorkshire” Hull Daily Mail 1 March 2020

[10]  Britain, Trade Union Membership Registers: Ernest Loveday. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk Original at the Modern Records Centre.

[11] National Railway Museum: EL Loveday

[12] Wood, James (2018), “The Jobs that Time Forgot” Mail Online, 27 August 2018.

[13] 1911 Census for England and Wales: James Bullin Jarvis. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[14] Shakespear, J RECORD of the 17th and 32nd BATTALIONS NORTHUMBERLAND FUSILIERS (N.E.R. Pioneers). 1914-1919 Kindle Edition

[15] Certificate of Marriage, Ernest Leon Loveday and Kate Jarvis, 8 August 1914, General Records Office

[16] The Derby Scheme: Voluntary Conscription from Great War London.

[17] Hampton, Meleah (2016). “The Battle of Pozieres Ridge”.

[18] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 10 October 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[19] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 25 September 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[20] Kingston Upon Hull War Memorial 1914-1918

[21] British Newspaper Archive, Aberdeen Express, 10 October 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[22] The Imperial War Museum, The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916. Catalogue number Q1495.

[23] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 20 October 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[24] National Railway Museum: EL Loveday

[25] Certificate of Birth, Ernest Leon Halliday, 18 November 1916,, General Records Office

[26] Hetherington, Amanda (2018). British Widows of the First World War: The Forgotten Legion

[27] Loveday, Ernest from The War Graves Photographic Project

[28] England & Wales, Electoral Registers 1920-1932, accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.Original at The British Library.

[29] England & Wales Deaths 1837-2007: James B Jarvis, accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk

[30] Certificate of Marriage, Walter Stanley Quelch and Kate Loveday, 12 November 1932, General Records Office

[31] 1939 Register:Quelch household. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.

[32] British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 3 September 1938. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk

[33] Certificate of Death: Kate Quelch 22 September 1958.General Records Office

[34] Certificate of Marriage, Herbert Leon Loveday to Marjorie Rose Marshall, 25 May 1940, General Records Office

[35] The National Archives Website: Discovery: AIR 27/1320 No 214 Squadron: Operations Record Book 1941 Jan-Dec

[36] 30/01.12.1941 No. 214 Squadron Wellington Ic Z85953 Sgt. Michael Fitzgerald Air Crew Remembered

Images

Figure 1: England (1948). The Albert and William Wright Docks, Hessle Road and environs, Kingston upon Hull, 1948. This image has been produced from a print.
Figure 2: Hessle Road by Jonathan Ward. Commissioned by author.
Figure 3: Hull Paragon Station Entrance Hall and Booking Office by Bernard Sharp. Accessed at Wikipedia. Creative Commons License.
Figure 4: The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916 by Ernest Brooks, catalogue number Q770. Accessed at the Imperial War Museum [online]. IWM Non-Commercial License.
Figure 5: Brassard, British, Derby Scheme, Army, catalogue number INS 7764. Accessed at the Imperial War Museum [online]. IWM Non-Commercial License.
Figure 6: Street shrine by Jonathan Ward. Commissioned by author.
Figure 7: The Battle of the Somme, July-November 1916 by Ernest Brooks, catalogue number Q1495. Accessed at the Imperial War Museum [online]. IWM Non-Commercial License.
Figure 8: British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 20 October 1916. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.
Figure 9: Extracted from British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database online]: Ernest Loveday at www.ancestry.co.uk. Original at The National Archives.
Figure 10: British Newspaper Archive, Hull Daily Mail, 17 December 1941. Accessed at www.findmypast.co.uk.
Figure 11: Hull Paragon Station Memorial.Own.






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3 Responses to Student Showcase: Telling Your Family Story

  1. Jennifer Pinder says:

    Wow that is impressive and beautifully presented

  2. HelenFinch says:

    Fantastic, well done, great background and images. I especially enjoyed reading about Hessle Road Hull area, where I was a GP for a number of years. (I am a previous student of the course)

  3. Lauren says:

    Hello, I am the great granddaughter of Ernest Leon, I was wondering your connection to to the family and how you find your information.

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