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John Edward Hadwin was born around March 1885 in Hartsop and baptised at St Patrick’s Church Patterdale on 10th May 1885 alongside his older sister Elizabeth. His father Thomas was at that time living at Caudale Beck in Hartsop, where we believe he was working as a Lead and Silver separator at the mine. He and his wife Jane (nee Slinger) already had a large family and John was the youngest of at least eleven children, the first of whom, Margaret, had been born over 20 years before John, the youngest, in 1864.
John’s father had had a varied career before arriving in Hartsop, having been a railway labourer in 1871 when the family lived in Docker Cottage Grayrigg. By 1881 the family had moved to Shap and Thomas was a farmer, with 38 acres, We believe he moved the family to Hartsop ion around 1884 to work at the mines, and by 1891 the family had moved to Deepdale Bridge. John would have attended Patterdale School as a child, and may even be included in the picture we have below of the children at Patterdale School in 1889.
After leaving school, John worked as an assistant in a Boot and Shoe shop (possibly for Thomas Routledge at Noran Bank Farm). However, by April 1911, at the age of 26, he was working as a Postman and living with his widowed mother at Deepdale Bridge (his father Thomas had died in 1905). Around November 1911, John married Elsie M Bell, quite probably related to the Jack Bell and his family, whom John had grown up with around Brotherswater and Deepdale.
When war was declared on the 4th August 1914, John would have been 29 years old. Sadly his service records cannot be found and are probably amongst those destroyed through German bombing during WWII, so we do not know have exact details of his service. His Medal Card records that he originally joined the Rifle Brigade but later transferred to the Labour Corps. Curiously, on the Roll of Honour, he is shown as serving with the Border Regiment, although this may have been because like many from the Dale, he had joined the Territorials before the war and started in the Border Regiment before transferring. The fact that he was awarded the Victory and British War Medals, means that he did leave these shores and entered a theatre of war. It is possible therefore that John started in the Border Regiment Territorials, transferred to the Rifle Brigade, and was then wounded, which would explain why he then transferred to the Labour Corps, which was usually made up of men who had been injured in the fighting and no longer fit for front-
So far we have no information on what happened to John and Elsie after the war, although we believe they moved to Penrith, where John died in 1936 at the age of 51, and Elsie died in September 1964 at the age of 77.
In terms of the rest of the family John’s mother died during World War One and was buried on the 17th October 1917 in Patterdale. As for John’s ten siblings, his eldest sister Margaret (born 1864), had married Hindson Armstrong (a farm labourer from Shap) in July 1884 in Patterdale. They lived at Deepdale Bridge and then Causeway House, and had 4 children (Joseph 1886, Thomas Hadwin 1888, John William 1891, and James 1892). Margaret died in 1945.
John’s eldest brother Anthony (born 1865) had in fact died in October 1883 in Penrith at the age of just 18, before John was even born. There are some of his siblings for which we have so far uncovered very little information. All we know of his brother Richard (born 1866) was that he died in Northumberland in March 1957 aged 91. Another brother Thomas (born 1869) may have died in Gateshead in September 1921 at the age of 51. We have found no trace of his elder sister Mary Agnes after her baptism in December 1871, and in the 1881 census when she was with the family in Shap. Likewise sister Jane Ann, baptised on the 15th March 1874 in New Hutton, moved with the family to Patterdale but we have not traced her beyond 1891. We believe his brother Robert (born 1876) may have died in Rotherham in 1944 at the age of 68.
John’s elder sister Isabella, born in 1880, stayed in the Dale, marrying Tom Bainbridge, a joiner from Glenridding, in February 1905 at St Patricks Church. They lived together in Glenridding at Pendragon Castle, near Gillside Farm. Isabella died in 1952 at the age of 73, and Tom died on the 20th June 1959.
John’s other sister Elizabeth, with whom he’d been baptised in 1885, married John Chapelhow in Penrith on the 9th August 1904. He believe that John served with the Border Regiment rising to the rank of Sergeant and being wounded in July 1916 at the Battle of the Somme.
John’s other brother Stephen Slinger (born in 1880), also stayed in the Dale and married Betsy Ann Routeldge. Stephen ran a carriers business between Patterdale and Penrith, and he and Betsy had three children, including Thomas Hadwin, who was tragically killed in action in the Second World War, and is also remembered on this site with a moving summary of his life from his son Roger. Stephen and Betsy lived at Wordsworth Cottage until at least 1929 but had moved to 3, Lane Foot, Deepdale by 1934 and were still there when Betsy died on the 25th February 1937, aged 61. Stephen died on the 31st July 1946, aged 68. They are both buried in St Patrick's churchyard.
If you can add anything to the story of John and his family please contact us.
Private John Edward Hadwin
207611/358964, Rifle Brigade/Labour Corps
Born Mar 1885, Caudale Beck, Hartsop
Died Feb 1936, Penrith (Age 51)
Son of Thomas and Jane (nee Slinger) Hadwin, Deepdale Bridge
Husband of Elsie M Bell (died Sept 1964 Penrith aged 77)
Uncle of Thomas Hadwin
A photo of the children at Patterdale School in 1889, kindly given to us by the family of Dawson Bowman, which may include John but almost certainly includes his elder siblings Elizabeth, Isabella and Stephen. We have tried to identify as many of them as possible on our Patterdale School Then and Now page.
John’s nephew Thomas Hadwin, who was killed in action in Greece in World War Two.