John Bernard Hemsworth (1897-1917)
John Bernard Hemsworth was born in 1898, the fourth child of William Hemsworth, a domestic gardener, and his wife Lucy (née Scriven) who were married in Huddersfield in early 1888. It seems likely that Lucy died giving birth or as a result of giving birth to John, in the early summer of 1898. Both parents are named at the baptism at St. John's, Roundhay, Leeds, on 5 June.
With a baby and three other children to raise — Mabel was aged 7, Gertrude 5 and Harold only two years old — William soon re-married. In Huddersfield at the end of 1899 he married Emily Kitchingman, of West Street, Lindley, twelve years his junior. Within two years they had a daughter of their own, Olive and two years later a son, Harry.
In 1901 the family were living in three rooms at 18 Marsh Terrace, just off the New Hey Road between Thornhill Avenue and Cleveland Road. A son, Harry, was born in 1903
By 1911 they'd had two more: Agnes born in 1903 and Ralph born 1910. The family of two adults, four working-age children (one aged 20), four children aged between five and thirteen, and a baby were all living, by then, in five rooms and a cellar at 6 Mint Street, Marsh. John, and probably the other too, attended Holy Trinity Church School.
William still worked as a gardener, no doubt on many of the gardens of the large houses along Thornhill Road or down in Edgerton. Describing himself as a "domestic gardener" suggests he did not work for the Parks Department.
With the three oldest children working, the family were probably not badly off.
After leaving school, John worked as a wheelwright, possibly serving an apprenticeship, learning to make cartwheels. He joined the army on New Years Eve 1916, probably after being conscripted. But his military career was tragically short-lived: he died of pneumonia — easily fatal in the days before antibiotics — at Chatham, Kent, less than a month later 21 January 1917, aged 19.
Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922
The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:
- HEMSWORTH, JOHN BERNARD. Sapper. No 223179. Royal Engineers. Born New Hey Road, Marsh. Son of William Hemsworth, 6 Mount Street, Marsh. Educated Holy Trinity Church of England School. Employed as a wheelwright. Single. Enlisted 31.12.1916. Died at Chatham of pneumonia on 21.1.1917, aged 19 years. Buried St. STEPHEN'S CHURCHYARD, LINDLEY. Grave location:- 7, T.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Sapper JOHN BERNARD HEMSWORTH
- regiment: Royal Engineers
- died: Sunday, January 21, 1917
- age: 19 years
- record ID: 2752171