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Remembered Today:

Private Joseph Blake Private Albert Crooks


K Ronson
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We are trying to trace information regarding of The Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derbys) who was born in Chesterfield, and Private Albert Crooks from Featherstone who was in the 6th Battalion of the KOYLI's. They are buried side by side in Dromesnil which is a small village in Picardie. The Mayor is very keen to know about them as well. Albert died in September and Joseph in December.

K. Ronson

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You probably have their CWGC info (below) - and maybe another pal can do a SDGW lookup for you:

Name: BLAKE, JOSEPH

Initials: J

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: Sherwood Foresters (Notts and Derby Regiment)

Age: 37

Date of Death: 14/12/1916

Service No: 12419

Additional information: Son of Dennis and Bridget Blake, of 50, Soresby St., Chesterfield.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Cemetery: DROMESNIL COMMUNAL CEMETERY

Name: CROOKS

Initials: A

Nationality: United Kingdom

Rank: Private

Regiment/Service: King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Unit Text: 6th Bn.

Age: 31

Date of Death: 03/09/1916

Service No: 24991

Additional information: Son of William Atkin Crooks and Hannah Crooks, of Crossings Green Lane, Featherstone, Yorks.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Cemetery: DROMESNIL COMMUNAL CEMETERY

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First point I note is that they did not die at the same time, albeit that they are the only CWGC casualties in this cemetery.

+++

1901 Census

Cannot easily find Joseph Blake (I wonder if the family may have been from Ireland?)

For Albert Crooks - this looks like his family:

Name Age Where born Administrative county Civil parish Occupation

Albert Crooks 15 Yorks ... Featherstone Yorkshire Clerk Colliery

Ernest Crooks 5 Yorks ... Featherstone Yorkshire Juvenile

Frank Crooks 12 Yorks ... Featherstone Yorkshire Juvenile

George Crooks 2 Yorks ... Featherstone Yorkshire Juvenile

Hannah Crooks 38 Yorks ... Featherstone Yorkshire

Martha A Crooks 22 Yorks ... Featherstone Yorkshire Housemaid

William A Crooks 51 Notts ... Featherstone Yorkshire Clerk Colliery

Ian

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They both have MICs, and it may be worth downloading them from Ancestry.com as they could carry correspondence info on the rear (not viewable on the NA website). I could not readily see them listed for their service records on Ancestry, but again maybe a pal with subscription could double-check?

Ian

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SDGW has him down as John Blake and died of wounds on 14.12.16 whilst serving with 1st Battalion.

His Regimental number suggests enlistment around August 1914.

His MIC shows entitlement to VM and BWM only so I guess he arrived in France in 1916.

hope that helps

cheers

Mike

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Albert Crooks:

SDGW has him down as: "killed in action".

He was born at Featherstone and enlisted at Pontefract.

Joseph Blake - as per Mike's post above, and can add that he was born and resident at Chesterfield, and enlisted at Derby.

Ian

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Pte Blake is an interesting one as he may also be Pte J Ryan!

Pte J Ryan was wounded on Gallipoli with the 9th Bn.

Pte J Ryan 12419 is on the Thiepval Memorial and died on 14 december 1916 as did 12419 Pte J Blake.

Only J Blake is shown on the Medal Rolls for 9th and 1st Bn

John Ryan was born in Chesterfield, enlisted Derby and lived in Chesterfield - died F&F 14/12/1916.

Medal index cards -

J Ryan got the 1915 star only - Joseph Blake got the VM and BWM.

Ryan has theatre of war as Balkans prior to 31/12/1915. He is also mentione din the Derbyshire Mercury 8 Oct 1915 as being wounded in Gallipoli.

In 1901 Pte Joseph Blake was a 19 year old in the army. It is possible that he left the army under circumstances that meant he had to enlist under an assumed name in 1914.

I believe that Ryan and Blake are one and the same man.

They do have separate death certs but as yet I have not purchased these. I have not found a J Ryan birth to fit with this one so far.

It is possible that after being wounded Blake owned up to using 'Ryan' as an alias and reverted to Blake in the 1st Bn.

Did you get a photo of Blake's grave?

Best Wishes

Steve

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Pte Blake is an interesting one as he may also be Pte J Ryan!

Pte J Ryan was wounded on Gallipoli with the 9th Bn.

Pte J Ryan 12419 is on the Thiepval Memorial and died on 14 december 1916 as did 12419 Pte J Blake.

Only J Blake is shown on the Medal Rolls for 9th and 1st Bn

John Ryan was born in Chesterfield, enlisted Derby and lived in Chesterfield - died F&F 14/12/1916.

Medal index cards -

J Ryan got the 1915 star only - Joseph Blake got the VM and BWM.

Ryan has theatre of war as Balkans prior to 31/12/1915. He is also mentione din the Derbyshire Mercury 8 Oct 1915 as being wounded in Gallipoli.

In 1901 Pte Joseph Blake was a 19 year old in the army. It is possible that he left the army under circumstances that meant he had to enlist under an assumed name in 1914.

I believe that Ryan and Blake are one and the same man.

They do have separate death certs but as yet I have not purchased these. I have not found a J Ryan birth to fit with this one so far.

It is possible that after being wounded Blake owned up to using 'Ryan' as an alias and reverted to Blake in the 1st Bn.

Did you get a photo of Blake's grave?

Best Wishes

Steve

Wow. What a mystery! Thanks for the reply. Yes we have a photo of his grave as we visit it regularly. The Mayor of Dromesnil asked us to find out what we could when he learned that we were researching the two of them at the same time that he was. We met up and the Courrier Picard carried two stories and a picture of us all, putting crosses on the two graves in May 2007.

As an aside, we are also trying to find a certain Hugh Murphy of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Rifles who is buried 3 miles away on his own in Laleu. We have got all of the obvious details from the obvious sources but have met a brick wall when trying to go beyond them. I have a copy of the war diary but there is nothing

in it about him (as there isn't of the two men in question) and all sources in Ireland lead no where. Ee know that they are very touchy about Irishmen in the British Army especially post Easter rebellion in Dublin. We feel that there must be more out there about him. We did find that he died of asphyxiation! We have even thought about going to Mountnugent in County Cavan where he was born.

Thanks for your reply and for anything else that you might be able to tell us about any of them.

Bren and Kevin

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I believe that the CWGC are also looking into the case.

Pleased that Blake (Ryan) has been visited as I have not made it yet.

steve

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Hi I know this is not proof and is probably irrelevant but Denis Blake and Bridget Duigan (Joseph's parents) were both born in Ireland. I can't read mums birth place but it begins with L. Also Josephs brother was called John and he died in 1891.

Dad died in Deaths Sep 1886

Blake Dennis 50 Chesterfield 7b394

Mum died Jun 1897

Blake Bridget 52 Chesterfield 7b 386

It is possible that if they are the same man that he has taken a family name? but I don't know who's.

Here's some births and I know you've probably checked them out.

Births Mar 1871

Ryan John Chesterfield 7b 569

Births Mar 1881

RYAN John Chesterfield 7b 744

Births Jun 1881

RYAN John Chesterfield 7b 687

Births Dec 1890

Ryan John Basford 7b 193

Births Dec 1893

Ryan John Chesterfield 7b 702

There's also a very illegible set of records on Ancestry x 2

Name: Joseph Blake Age: 18 Birth Year: abt 1878 Birth Parish: All Saints Birth County: Derby Document Year: 1896 Number of Images: 13 Reg no 5547

It's very interesting and intriguing

Mel

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Not sure about interesting Mel - its driving me mad :rolleyes:

Thanks for the info.

From memory Joseph also used John. What records are on Ancestry?

Cheers

Steve

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Hi the records on Ancestry are for the Derby Regiment 1901 he has 2 numbers I can see 1 is 5547 and the other is 5347

It's confusing or not the right man

Mel

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I will join and get them. It may show that he deserted!

Steve

Steve, I can them for you if you want to save a few quid

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Hi sorry been away for the weekend.

Have you got the records?

If not I can get them for you but you probably have them by now.

They are really hard to read but see what you can see and please let us know.

Mel

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Yes please !!

Thanks

Steve

We have followed the dialogue with interest. Have you found out anything else about John/Joseph Blake? We are going to Dromesnil next week and will visit the graves of Joseph, Albert and Hugh Murphy.

ps We have a photograph of the grave and even one of us from a French newspaper, with the Mayor, putting crosses on the graves in May 2007.

Bren and Kevin

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We have followed the dialogue with interest. Have you found out anything else about John/Joseph Blake? We are going to Dromesnil next week and will visit the graves of Joseph, Albert and Hugh Murphy.

ps We have a photograph of the grave and even one of us from a French newspaper, with the Mayor, putting crosses on the graves in May 2007.

Bren and Kevin

Hello Mel, Bren and Kevin

Sorry I did not reply earlier. Mike has kindly got hold of Blake's papers for me. It may take me a while to decipher them though.

I have so far -

Joseph Blake was Private on 1901 census.

I have not yet found a Ryan to fit with details I have.

12419 Pte Ryan served with 9th Bn on Gallipoli and was wounded. His MIC gives the 15 star and he seems to have vanished. He should have got all three medals.

12419 Pte Blake MIC has Victory and British medals.

Both men are listed as from Chesterfield and the SDGW details are almost identical - Blake died of wounds and Ryan - died. It seems unlikely that Ryan would be on Thiepval if he 'died' and was not KiA or DoW.

SDGW also has John Blake and not Joseph!

CWGC has Blake's parents and address - Ryan has nothing.

Both men died on the same day whilst serving with the same battalion.

The CWGC are also unsure as to whether these men are one and the same.

I will get the death certs soon as both have references on the GRO. It may shed some light on the matter.

It is either an amazing coincidence or they are the same man.

I have added both men to the Nominal Roll in my 9th bn book explaining the above.

Steve M

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  • 2 weeks later...

The attestation papers for Joseph Blake show him as killed in action on 30/9/1901!

Any ideas on where I would look for his death cert?

I have recieved the death certificates for -

John Ryan and Joseph Blake.

Except for the names, they are identical -

12419 Private 1st Bn, Blake Joseph, 31, born England, died 14.12.1916 France , Died of wounds self inflicted

12419 Private 1st Bn, Ryan John, 31, born England, died 14.12.1916 France, Died of wounds self inflicted.

The references show that Joseph Blake was registered first - 1916 Volume 1, 44, page 220. Ryan 1916, Volume 1 44 page 307

With all the other pieces of information I have, I am 99% sure that they are one and the same man.

Otherwise it is an amazing coincidence.

Any comments anyone

Steve

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The attestation papers for Joseph Blake show him as killed in action on 30/9/1901!

Any ideas on where I would look for his death cert?

Here's J BLAKE in GRO Natal & S. African Forces Deaths (1899 to 1902):

post-16303-1212238714.jpg

The number 740 on the right is the Page reference. I think this will enable you to order a DC from the GRO in the usual way.

30 September 1901 was the Battle of Moedwil in the Boer War.

Here he is listed in the Sherwood Foresters Roll of Honour:

http://www.wfrmuseum.org.uk/boerwar.htm

This is a fascinating case. I hope you get to the bottom of it!

Adrian

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Thanks Adrian

I think that for whatever reason Ryan used his own name with 9th Bn on gallipoli and then went to France with 1st Bn.

This means that Ryan should be on the headstone and not Blake!!!!

It is though slowly driving me mad :rolleyes:

steve

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