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Hugh Ward was born in Darwen, Lancashire in January 1882. His father, also called Hugh, was a paper maker by trade and had been born in Liverpool in 1853. His first wife, Ellen Kay, had died in July 1875, we believe whilst giving birth to her second son Alfred. Another son Thomas had been born in 1874. Hugh remarried to Mary Jane, who gave birth to a son Cornelius in January 1880 by which time the family were living in Barnsley. Hugh junior was born two years later by which time the family were once again in Darwen. Another son, William, as born in 1888 and by 1891 the family were living at 5 Cotton Hall Street in Darwen. Hugh senior was working as a paper stainer, and the two oldest boys, Thomas and Alfred, were working as cotton weavers. Eleven year old Cornelius was working alongside his father as a paper stainer.
After leaving School we believe Hugh joined the Army, and served with the 3rd East Lancashire Regiment in the Second Boer War between 1899 and 1902. He was awarded the Orange Free State and Cape Colony clasps to this medal. These indicate that he served in the Cape Colony at some point between 11 October 1899 and 31 May 1902 and in the Orange Free State between 28 February 1900 and 31 May 1902. Unfortunately we do not have any further details of his service then.
On his return we believe he initially moved to Thornton to work as a cotton weaver but on the 4th June 1902 re re-
Hugh signed up for a short service spell, meaning 3 years as a regular soldier and 9 years in the reserve. He served his time and was transferred with the rank of Gunner to the reserve on the 3rd of June 1905. Nine years later, on the 3rd June 1914, he was discharged from the reserves, just 2 months before the outbreak of war.
In the meantime, in 1909, he had married Annie Youdale, whom we believe to be the youngest sister of Joseph Youdale. We believe they initially lived in Blackburn, where a son, John, was born in 1910. However soon afterwards they moved to Glenridding, initially staying with Annie’s brother Joseph at Gillside Farm Cottage. It is here that their daughter Lilian was born in 1911. Hugh had got a job alongside Joseph at Greenside Mine, working as a “Lead Ore Roaster”. After the arrival of Lilian they moved into their own small house in The Township Patterdale. They were still living there in November 1913 when sadly their third child, Annie, died at the age of just 7 months. She was buried in St Patrick’s Churchyard Patterdale.
Unsurprisingly given his previous military experience Hugh enlisted in the Army almost as soon as war was declared on the 8th September 1914. He joined the Army Service Corps, and by January 1915, when Mrs Marshall of Patterdale Hall posted her Roll of Honour in the Church Porch, Hugh had been promoted to the rank of Corporal. As Mrs Marshall had conducted house to house enquiries to compile her list we must assume Annie and the two children were still living in Patterdale at the time, although her name does not appear on the 1915 Electoral Roll.
Unfortunately we have no details on Hugh’s time in the Army other than the fact he was sent to France on the 20th May 1915. From then we know nothing until his eventual discharge on the 20th September 1918. By this time he had been promoted to the rank of Sergeant. He was discharged under Kings Regulations Paragraph 392 (XVI) -
Unfortunately this is as far as we’ve been able to trace Hugh’s story so far, other than the fact we believe he may have died in Durham in December 1944 at the age of 62. We currently have no further information on either his wife Annie or their two surviving children, John and Lilian. The fact that Hugh does not appear on the Glenridding Village Hall Roll of Honour was almost certainly due to the fact that, like Joseph, his wife had moved out of the village during the war and with no relatives in the Dale there was no-
In terms of the rest of his family, we believe his father died in 1922. We have found no further information on his eldest half-
Hugh’s younger brother William married Mary Wood Johnson in 1907 and by 1911 was working in the Cotton Mills in Yorkshire and living in Earby with his wife and their young son Samuel. William also enlisted in the Army in January 1915, by which time he was living back in Darwen. He initially joined the Royal Engineers before finally ending up in the 18th Battalion of the Cheshire Regiment (via the Welsh Regiment). Her served until 24th August 1916 when he was medically discharged suffering from tuberculosis. One other clue to Hugh’s family came from looking at William’s service record which stated that he was a Roman Catholic. We believe that sadly William may have died in March 1919, at the age of 32, possibly as a result of his wartime service.
If you can add anything to the story of Hugh or his family please contact us.
Hugh’s Medal Index Cards his entry in the Silver War badge Log Book, and below a extract from his Service Record showing his involvement in the Boer War and his Father and Brothers.
Sergeant Hugh Ward
T2/12014 Royal Army Service Corps
Born Jan 1882 Darwen Lancashire. Died Dec 1944 Durham Aged 62
Son of Hugh and Mary Jane Ward of Darwen
Husband of Annie Youdale, and lived at Gillside Farm Cottage, Glenridding and The Township Patterdale before WW1
Father of John, Lilian and Annie Ward
Brother in Law of Joseph Youdale