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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Pelsall soldier, Royal Engineers, Military Medal.


Paul Stych
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Hello everyone,

I am trying to find any information on the following soldier;

I have a pocket watch with the inscription;

'Presented to Sapper E. Witcut by the parishioners of Pelsall for having won the Military Medal on July 31st 1917'

There is also an entry in the London Gazette;

Issue 30498 published on 25th January 1918 page1401

'86339 Spr. E. Witcutt, R.E. (Walsall)'

I believe Sapper Witcutt was born in 1878 or 1879

I have had no luck with the Index of Walsall Servicemen by Sue Satterthwaite, or in the book 'The True and Faithful men' by Ken Wayman, and there is no entry in the Walsall and District roll of the Great War.

If anyone could suggest a new lead or has any information, I would be most grateful.

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Hi

1881 Census Ernest Witcutt, 2yrs, born 3rd qtr 1878, Walsall, 6b,687, Parents Thomas and Emma.

Regards Barry

PS 1901 Census, 29 Norton Rd, Pelsall, Ernest not present, father now a widower with sons Jesse and Harold. Was Ernest in S.Africa???

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Hi Barry,

Thanks for the address to look up.

Have found Ernest (age 22) on the 1901 census with Thomas (father), brothers Harold, Jesse and John Alfred and sisters Edith, Emmie and Jessie.

It's seems a bit puzzling not to be able to find any record of his service.

Maybe someone will come up with a match in their Royal Engineer records?

Thanks again,

Paul.

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post-8059-1256492343.jpg

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Thanks Susan, much appreciated.

Had searched Witcut and Witcutt, I must try harder!

IPT, I didn't know he had served in the South Staffs Regiment until Susan's post!

Thank you both!

Paul.

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Hi Paul,

Your welcome. I have had a good look on both numbers, sadly nothing as yet in Pensions on Ancestry.

Roll on the Ws service records....... gawd knows when..

Susan.

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Thanks Sue, I would have PM'd him as you suggested but have to make 10 posts first, getting there slowly though!

Also thanks for your information earlier in the week (Stych family), I found a lot of information and pictures too

at Walsall local history centre, the staff were extremely helpful, would recommend anyone in and around the area

to pay a visit. Thanks again,

Paul.

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I have enclosed a picture of the pocket watch showing the inscription on the reverse.

A colleague at work has given me the watch (I have given it a little TLC) as he found out that

I was trying to research my own relatives and wondered If I could find out the story behind the inscription.

My friend doesn't know how the watch has come to be in the possesion of his family (for at least 20 years),

so, this too is a mystery. Maybe a connection at a later date?

Thanks to all who look and add a piece of the jigsaw,

Paul.

post-50428-1256584223.jpg

ps,I hope the picture is okay as I have had to reduce the file size.

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Hi Paul,

Re your post 1901 census. I can't find Ernest, what are the Ancestry Ref. Numbers at the bottom of the page? Pse.

Regards Barry

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Hello Barry,

My apologies, I seem to have had a bit of a shocker with my hastily scribbled notes.

With reference to your earlier message (Norton Road) which links these two census records:

1901 census, Thomas 58 (father and widower) with sons Jesse 20 and Harold 14 (as your message).

Now the records which I mixed up:

1911 census, Thomas 68 (father and widower) Carter/Public 'Hawler?'

with sons, Ernest 32 Coal Miner (Hewer) [with horse driver crossed out]

and Harold 24 Coal Miner (Holer),

There is also a daughter in law Susan 20 from Cambridge (married for 1 year)

The 1911 also states that Thomas has 6 children still living, so from piecing bits together

from the birth, marriages and deaths index for the area:

Thomas and Emma (the parents)

(sons) John Alfred, Ernest, Jesse, Harold (daughters) Edith and Emmie.

There is also a record In the 1911 census of 1 year old daughter in the area, Jessie. (possibly Jesse or John Alfred's daughter?)

Records of a John Alfred marriage 1907, and a Jesse marriage 1908 in BDandM.

There is an entry in BDandM index: Ernest Witcutt marriage in the Nuneaton district, 4th Quarter, 1910.

Luckily with an uncommon name searches are a little easier and a family is coming together.

With your helpful links, I am sure this is the same family.

Sorry again for the confussion with 1901/1911 census and my various sources of info.

All the best,

Paul.

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I made a visit to the Pelsall History Centre and was very pleased to see that Ernest Witcutt featured on the Pelsall Roll of Honour 1914-1918 they have on display there. Also on the list was a 'H. Witcutt' possibly Ernest's brother?

So safe to presume he was a Pelsall man?

If anyone is in the area or is researching anything 'Pelsall' military or otherwise, then I would recommend that this is a good place to try, everyone was very friendly and helpful;

www.pelsall-history.co.uk

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Hi Paul

Apologies for my late entry to this thread but I've been in the Scottish Highlands until late on Saturday. Sue Satterthwaite kindly brought me up to speed on the topic and Andrew Weller, who runs Pelsall History Centre, has forwarded me the superb photos of Ernest's watch.

First, may I say that it's an amazing find - not only was I unaware that Ernest was awarded the MM but I knew only his name until your revelation!

When I published my book on Pelsall's Great War servicemen in 2004, Ernest's name had not come to light. Just a few weeks after publication, I was offered a view of the Pelsall Roll of Honour (now framed and on loan in Pelsall History Centre) that had been stored in a cupboard in Pelsall Methodist Church since the old chapel was demolished in the 1960's. That 'find' provided nearly 250 names of men who served and survived but who were not mentioned on memorials or in print or in personal recollections. The ROH simply gave me 'E. Witcutt' and 'H. Witcutt'.

A couple of years later another valuable item was brought to the Centre - a booklet dated 6th May 1917 and printed for the Pelsall Wesleyan Church. It celebrated the men from 'Pelsall postal district' who were serving or who had served in the war. This gave the Witcutts' names as Ernest and Harold respectively, and also confirmed that they had lived locally at the date of their enlistments. It did not give their relationship to one another. Until your post on GWF, that was the extent of my research post-publication on the Witcutts.

I've since checked Ernest's MIC which reveals that he served in the South Staffordshire prior to his transfer to the RE. I shall soon examine copies of the 'Walsall Observer' in more detail to see whether there is any reference to the presentation ceremony in Pelsall of the villagers' gift to Ernest. I certainly did not come across one prior to 2004, though it must be said that I was unaware of his existence at the time!

I'm not sure whether Ernest and/or Harold are related to Charles Whitcutt who emigrated to Canada before the Great War but enlisted in the CEF and was subsequently killed south of Ypres on 15th November 1915. His half-brother, Ernest Caswell, emigrated to Canada in 1913; he also enlisted in the CEF and he too was later killed, at Arras, on 10th April 1917. This family still lives in Canada though relatives live in Pelsall and are researching the family.

The family name of Whitcutt has been recorded as Witcutt, Witcut and Witcott, so there is obviously the possibility of the two elements being inter-related. I'll re-open the file!!

Many thanks for sharing your fascinating find!

All the best

Ken

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  • 1 month later...

With thanks to help from Pelsall history centre, a meeting was arranged on Saturday 12th December 2009

with relatives of Sapper E. Witcutt.

The pocket watch was given back to the family (who still live in the village), where I hope it will remain and

be treasured for many years.

Paul.

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With thanks to help from Pelsall history centre, a meeting was arranged on Saturday 12th December 2009

with relatives of Sapper E. Witcutt.

The pocket watch was given back to the family (who still live in the village), where I hope it will remain and

be treasured for many years.

Paul.

That's absolutely marvellous of you Paul - you deserve a medal, mate!

All the very best

Ken

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