Sunday, 19 October 2014

Fred Proctor 1882-1918

Fred Proctor (photo from EH - see below)
December Q 1882 in Shelf, near Halifax

Son of:
James Procter b.1862 Northowram d.before 1911

1901: Stone Miner, aged 39, 12 Alma Street, Queensbury, Elland
married at St John the Baptist, Halifax on 18 February 1882
Betty b.1862 Shelf, Halifax (maiden name Sharp) d. ?? 

Position in family: The eldest of six children, three died before 1911
1. Fred Proctor b.1882  died as a consquence of
WW1 Service
2. Ida Proctor b.1891

3. Leonard Proctor b.1898
4. Lilian Proctor b.1901

Home address, age and occupation:
1891: Brow Lane, Shelf, near Halifax aged 8, Scholar
1901: 12 Alma Street, Queensbury, Elland, West Yorks aged 18, Apprentice Joiner
1911: 17 Vaal Street, Barnsley aged 28, Joiner
1915: 17 Vaal Street, Barnsley aged 33 years,  a Joiner


Fred married Elsie Gosling on 30 May 1914 in Ardsley (Barnsley 9c 367)

1. Ruth b.9 May 1915
2. Freda b. Dec Q 1918

Military Service:

Enlisted: 11 December 1915 at the age of 33 years 1 month

Posted to Army Reserve until the following June
Mobilised: 9 June 1916
Regiment and Battalion:  West Yorkshire Regiment
Service number and rank:  Private 33878

Transferred to: Notts & Derby Regiment on 22 June 1916
Service number and rank: Private 56267
Transferred to: Labour Corps  25 November 1916
Service number and Rank: Private 185831
Discharged 25 October 1918

Personal information:   5' 6.5" tall, 39" chest, 

Death:    1 December 1918 aged 36
Buried at: Ardsley Cemetery, Barnsley
Grave Reference: S "U" 690

Information from Commonwealth War Graves Commission:
Husband of Elsie Proctor, of Elm Row, Hoyle Mill, Barnsley.

Ardsley, Christ Church, Ardsley United Methodists - WW1 Roll of Honour 
Ardsley, Christ Church, Ardsley United Methodists - WW1 Plaque 
Ardsley, Christ Church, Christ Church Parishioners - WW1 Plaque


Fred's father's surname is spelt Procter (with an e) in 1891 and 1901 census returns and on his marriage to Betty in 1882.  The name seems to have changed to Proctor (with an o) on the family's arrival in Barnsley after James' death.

Fred is buried in Ardsley Cemetery in the same grave plot as his wife Elsie who died in September 1967 aged 78.  His Commonwealth War Grave Commission headstone sits surrounded by the kerb edging of his wife's grave. 

The inscription at the foot of the stone reads, 

Thy Purpose Lord 
We Cannot See 
But All is Well 
That's Done by Thee

This will have been especially requested and paid for by Elsie at a cost of 3 and a half old pence a letter, a total of 15/2 (fifteen shillings and two pence). 

This information was found on the CWGC website.

Letter written on Elsie's behalf (from Ancestry)
According to his Army Service Records (available on Ancestry) Elsie was awarded a pension of 25/5 (twenty five shillings and five old pence per week) increasing to 44/2 from 3 September 1919 for herself and two children.  

A previous application for the payment due to her as a soldier's wife had been supported by the local Ardsley Branch of the Soldiers & Sailors Families Association.

This letter gives us invaluable personal information including the date and place of Fred and Elsie's marriage and the birth date of their daughter Ruth.

Note how payment at Stairfoot Post Office is requested.  This is about a mile from Vaal Street.

Fred's family story has been written by his grandaughter's husband Edward Holling who also gave us the photos in this story.
(slightly edited for space and accuracy)

"Fred was a joiner and worked for Squire Micklethwaite on the Ardsley House and its estate houses.  He met Elsie Gosling who was a maid servant at the house.
They married in 1914 and the Squire rented them of his houses in Vaal Street, Measbro’ Dyke.  Their first daughter Ruth was born in 1915.

In 1915-16 Fred was conscripted into the army as 33878 Pte F. Proctor, West Yorkshire Regiment.  He  caught tuberculosis and was hospitalised from which he caught pneumonia and died on 1st December 1918 three weeks after the armistice signing.

He was buried at Ardsley Cemetery, Hunningley Lane, Stairfoot with a War Graves Commission headstone.

At this time Elsie was pregnant  and gave birth to a second daughter Freda on 15th December 1918.

In 1920 Squire Micklethwaite offered Granna Elsie a house and shop at 1 and 2 Elm Row, Hoyle Mill which she ran as a General Dealer.

In 1935 her eldest daughter took over the shop, as she had trained as a hairdresser the interior was panelled and local scenes were painted on them by her nephew Reg Gosling, local artist and School Attendance Officer.  Ruth Proctor was noted for her Wella perms and Marcel waves.

In 1937 she married Harry Davies, a barber from Racecommon Road who also played rhythm guitar with the Mayfair Dance Band.  My late wife Betty was born in 1938 and named after the film star Bette Davies.  Ruth retired from ill health in 1965, Freda her sister opened a shop in Cudworth as a hairdresser.

There are four or five headstones in Ardsley Cemetery and the local British Legion up to six years ago put poppies on the stones.  The Branch closed and I still every November put a poppy cross on the grave."

The brother of Elsie Proctor, Ben Gosling b.1878 served in WW1 in the Royal Scots Fusiliers and was killed on 19 November 1917.  He is buried in France.

Photo from EH
Granna Elsie's shop in Hoyle Mill (Photo from EH)


Mary Lipscombe said...

A very interesting account, thank you. When we lived at Burton Grange we used to pass through Hoyle Mill to and from town.

There was a lady hairdresser, called Ruth Proctor, she was the first one in Barnsley to give "cold perms" She had the reputation of of being the best hairdresser in the area. If anyone admired my mum's hair, she would say with satisfaction, "well it is a Ruth Proctor, you know". I know that this has nothing to do with soldiers, it was the name which brought back this memory.

BarnsleyHistorian said...

That is a brilliant memory of Ruth Proctor, who is mentioned in the post above. As she was the daughter of Fred your story is absolutely in the right place.

Thank you Mary!

Mary Lipscombe said...

I have been reading Fred Proctor's story again, I love to remember old times, it has just come to mind that my mum was in a "perm club" this meant that women could afford to go to Ruth Proctor. I think mum paid about 6d a week (2 and a half pence in today's money), the members of the club used to draw lots for their turn in the queue. I see that Harry Davies is mentioned, Harry was a Barber and his shop was 60 Racecommon Road Barnsley. My dad used to go there for his hair cutting, by strange coincidence, when Harry retired my hairdresser bought the shop and I have been going there for years. It is more modern now, but I always think of my dad when I go through the shop door. Another twist, Harry Davies had a sister called Phyllis, she married my uncle Frank (Wood) thus becoming my aunt by marriage.