All text and images © Helvellyn Consulting 2021
Alexander (Alex) Pearson was born on the 14th June 1897 in Brougham, near Penrith. His father Edward (Ned) grew up in nearby Newton Reigny and was a farmer by the time was Alex was born. He had married Alex’s mother, Annie Isabella Chester, in Penrith on the 18th may 1891. Annie had been born at Acorn Bank in Temple Sowerby. After they were married they moved to Hutton in the Forest, where their first child Sarah Elizabeth was born in 1895. They had moved to Brougham at the time of Alex’s birth, and by 1900 had moved again, to Sockbridge, where Edwin Pearson was born. By 1901 the family had moved yet again and Edward was farming at Matterdale End. It was here that Annie Chester was born in April 1902, and another daughter, Elsie Mary, was born on the 21st July 1903.
In 1906 Alex’s mother, Annie Isabella, died aged 38. On the 8th July 1907 Edward remarried, to Jane Elizabeth Mounsey, whose father, Richard, had farmed at Beckstones Farm in Patterdale. Edward and the family moved in with Jane Elizabeth and Alex and his siblings would have attended Patterdale School with contemporaries including George Harrison and John Pattinson, who both lived close by.
By the time of the 1911 census they were all still living at Beckstones and Alex’s older sister Sarah was working on the farm helping out at the dairy, whilst Alex and his younger siblings were still at School. In August that year Jane Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, Joseph Henry (Harry). He was baptised at St Patrick’s Church in Patterdale on the 29th August 1911. Tragically his mother died shortly afterwards, and was buried in Patterdale on 5th Sept 1911, aged 39. We can’t be sure what Edward and the family did after this tragedy, but by 1915 they had left Beckstones and moved to Spring Bank in Dockray, where they remained for the duration of the War.
Meanwhile Alex had joined the Army, probably in 1914 at the start of the war judging by his low service number. He enlisted with the Border Regiment, and although we do not have his detailed service records, we know from his Medal Index Card (see below) that he arrived in France on the 13th December 1915. It is possible that at some point whilst on active service at the front Alex was wounded, as later in the war he was transferred into the Labour Corps. This was formed in January 1917 and was manned soldiers who had been medically rated below the "A1" condition needed for front line service, often as a result of wounds received at the front. Currently we have no further information on Alex’s time in the Army.
After the war we know that he returned to Cumbria and in March 1921 he married Mary Ann Norris in Carlisle. They raised a family in Penrith and we believe this is where Alex lived until his death at the age of 52 in 1949. He is remembered on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour with his brother Edwin and his school friends.
In terms of the other members of his family, it appears his father Ned outlived not only both his wives but also Alex. It seems likely that when he left Beckstones he moved to Dockray, and by 1923 was living at Great Strickland, where Harry attended School until he was 12. Ned and Harry then moved to the North Eastand by 1925 were living at 30 Roslyn Street Darlington with Ned's daughter Betty and her husband Jack. Harry went to school here for 2 years, leaving at 14. At this time Ned was a builder's labourer and Harry worked at the ironworks. It was here that Harry met his future wife, Mary Lomax, who lived in Leafield Road, Darlington. Her mother was friendly with Harry's half-
We believe Ned died in 1955 aged 86 in Appleby. We believe Alex’s older sister Sarah Elizabeth died in County Durham at the age of 78. His sister Annie remained around the Penrith area, and died there in 1988 aged 86. Sister Elsie married Henry Norman Atkinson on the 4th June 1927 in Darlington County Durham. She died on the 20th August 1990 in Gateshead aged 87. Alex’s half-
If you can add anything to the story of Alex or his family please contact us.
27010 Border Regiment, 80184, Machine Gun Corps
Born December 28th 1899 in Sockbridge. Died March 23rd 1966 (aged 66) in New Zealand
Son of Edward and Annie Isabella (nee Chester) Pearson, Beckstones Patterdale
Husband of Juliet Huriata Mitchell
Father of Edwin, Diana, and another son.
Edwin Pearson was born around 1899 in Sockbridge, where his father Edwin was a farmer. He moved to Beckstones in Patterdale around 1907 when his father remarried following the death of Edwin’s mother Annie. There is more information about Edwin’s family and early life given in the story of his elder brother Alexander Pearson above.
Given his youth he must have enlisted quite late in the war, probably on his eighteen birthday at the end of 1917 or early 1918. He initially enlisted in the Border Regiment but then transferred to the Machine Gun Corps. From his medal index card (see below) we know that he saw active service abroad, but other than that we have no further details of his time in the Army.
After the war Edwin returned to Cumbria and at some point emigrated to New Zealand, where on the 31st December 1934 he married Juliet Huriata Mitchell (known as Dool). They had three children, Edwin Stewart (known at Stu), born in 1937, another son born in 1940 (whose name unfortunately we do not know), and a daughter, Diana Chester, born in 1947. We know that Edwin worked variously as a quarryman and later as a dairy farmer. He also volunteered for service in World War Two.
Edwin died on March 23rd 1966, aged 66, and is buried at Rototai Cemetery, in Takaka of the Tasman District of New Zealand. His wife Dool died in August 1983 while living in Dunedin. Sadly their daughter Diana had died in 1974 aged just 27.
We are very grateful to Margaret Pearson (wife of John Pearson, the son of Ted’s half-
Edwin is remembered alongside his brother Alex and his school friends on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour as well as at the Rototai Cemetery in New Zealand. If you can provide any further details to Edwin’s story please let us know.