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John Hawkrigg was born in October 1895 in Park Gates, Rydal. His father, William was the coachman and gardener there. He and his wife Janet already had eight children by the time John was born. The first, Mary Elizabeth, was born in 1882. Another, William, died at birth in 1883. Hugh had been born in 1886 and by the time John arrived was working alongside his father as an under gardener on the estate. The other children (Jessie, born 1888, Helen, 1888/9, Joseph 1891, Emily, 1892, Frank William, 1893, and Elsie 1894) were either at school or still at home at the time. Two years after John was born another sister, Janet, arrived in 1897.
By 1911 the family had moved to Greenbank in Ambleside, where William was still a coachman and gardener. Hugh, Jessie and Emily had left home, Joseph was working as a motor bus driver, Frank was working with his father as a gardener, and John himself was working as a joiners apprentice.
We have found no specific connection between John and Patterdale and Glenridding however it is more than likely that as a joiner he was working either at Greenside or at one of the Glenridding joinery firms such as that run by the Pattinson family. What we do know for certain from his service record is that on the 9th November 1914 John signed on with the Cumberland and Westmorland Yeomanry. The fact he did this in Penrith, and at the same time as others from the Dale such as Edmund and Thomas Thompson, provides an added connection which links him to men from the Dale. From his service record we know that he was based in England until the 23rd September 1916, when he was posted to the 9th Battalion of the Border Regiment.
This Battalion was part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) and was sent to Salonika in Greece. As such he would have served alongside other men from the Dale in this Battalion including George Stout. Allied commanders had decided to deploy French and British troops to support the Greek Army in their fight against the Bulgarians. The conditions were harsh, with the severe cold and blizzard conditions in winter making life particularly hard on the troops. Soon after his arrival in Greece John was transferred from the Border Regiment to the 1st Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment.
It appears that, like others in this field such as James Thompson, John suffered from Malaria whilst in Greece, brought on no doubt by the conditions. He was admitted to hospital twice, in October 1917 and again in October 1918. This might explain the only blemish on his service record, which occurred in June 1918 when he was confined to camp for 5 days as he was “on active service (and was) disobediance of orders in his bivouac during prohibited hours”. After his last bout of malaria John rejoined his unit and was shipped to the Dardanelles on the 8th November 1918. He remained with the York and Lancs until his final demobilisation on the 23rd may 1919.
We don’t know too much about what happened to John after the war except that he married Ada Turner in 1924 in the Kendal district. He died in Westmorland South in 1958, with his wife dying in 1964 (aged 67) in the Blackpool district.
So this is as much as we know about John Hawkrigg, who is possibly the “Jas M Hawkrig” listed on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour.
In terms of the rest of John’s family we know that his elder brother, Frank William Hawkrigg, served with distinction in the Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment). Tragically he was killed on the 21st March 1918 at the age of 25. This was during the notorious spring offensive when the German Army inflicted heavy casualties as they made a final desperate bid to win the war. Frank’s name is inscribed on the Pozieres Memorial near Albert. The Memorial commemorates over 14,000 casualties of the United Kingdom and 300 of the South African Forces who have no known grave and who died on the Somme from 21 March to 7 August 1918.
We are grateful to the granddaughter of John’s brother, Joseph, who contacted us and sent us this picture of him during his war service in the Army Service Corps, almost certainly as a driver given his occupation before the war. He later married Ethel May Hadwin, and at the time his occupation was given as a “chauffeur”. Ethel May’s brother Daniel had also served in the war in the 1st Battalion of the Black Watch and was killed in action on 14th July 1916 aged just 20. We also believe Ethel was related to the family of Thomas Hadwin.
We have also been contacted by a great niece of John who is hoping to provide further information. So far again nothing directly ties John to the Glenridding and Patterdale area although given the transient nature of the workforce in the area, especially at Greenside mine, it is still possible that he is the man on the Roll of Honour.
In the meantime the search continues. If you can add anything to the story of John and his family, especially if you know of a direction connection to Patterdale and Glenridding, please contact us.
The Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour refers to a “Jas M Hawkrig Border Regiment”. We have been unable to specifically identify who this was so we have included the stories of the two men who may well have been referred to -
Private John Hawkrigg
Westmorland and Cumberland Yeomanry
9th Battalion Border Regiment
1st Battalion York & Lancaster Regiment
Born October 1895 Rydal. Died June 1958 (Age 64)
Son of William and Janet Hawkrigg of Rydal and Ambleside
Husband of Ada Turner
244627 Royal Field Artillery
Born 1893 Cockermouth. Died Sept 1956 Barrow in Furness aged 63
Son of Joseph and Ann Hawkrigg of Cockermouth
Husband of Sarah Dawson
James Hawkrigg was born in Cockermouth around 1893. He was the second son of Joseph and Ann Hawkrigg. Joseph was a railway signalman and by the time James was seven his brother Daniel, who was 12 years his senior, was working as a Blacksmith. At some point between 1901 and 1911 James’ mother Ann died and by 1911 he was living with his father in Cockermouth where he was working as a plumber and ironmonger. At the end of 1913 James married Sarah Dawson in Cockermouth.
Again we have nothing that directly links James to the Dale, other than the fact he was the only “James Hawkrigg” we could find on any of the census returns in Cumberland and Westmorland at the time. It is possible that he and Sarah had moved to the Dale by the time the first World War began. Like John Hawkrigg, above, with his profession in ironmongery he could have secured a job at Greenside mine or working for one of the local firms.
All we know of his war service is that he joined the Royal Field Artillery and served as a driver -
We know nothing of his life after the war until his death in 1956 in Barrow in Furness at the age of 63. We know at the time that he was living at 3 Leopard Street, Walney, and his wife Sarah survived him.
So that is all we know. Whether James is the “Jas M Hawkrig” on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour perhaps we shall never know. The fact that his regiment is incorrectly shown would not be that surprising as there are plenty of other errors on the list. Either way James served his country and deserves to be remembered.
If you have any more information on James’ life or any connection he may have had with the Dale please contact us.