John William Chadwick (1884-1917)
John Chadwick was born in Huddersfield in about 1884. In Huddersfield's Roll of Honour 1914-1922, Margaret Stansfield says he was the only son of Emily Chadwick of 100 Church Street, Paddock, and that he was a joiner. John's date of birth is given as 25 March 1888, but this seems to be a mistake as no one of that name was born in Huddersfield in that year.
It has proved possible to trace the family but difficult to identify John's father with absolute certainty. An Emma Harrison married Israel Chadwick at Huddersfield Parish Church on Christmas Eve 1883. The wedding was witnesses by the bride's father John. At the time of the census in 1891, staying with Emily and her two children (there was no sign of Israel) was Ada Harrison, Emily's "Sister-in Law" implying Emily's maiden name was Harrison.
In 1891 the family — Emily aged 30, John W aged 7, and Ada aged only 5, along Ada Harrison — lives in the centre of Huddersfield on Silver Street. Emily describes herself as married — not widowed — but gives an occupation: tailoress. It is most unusual for a married woman, with two school-age children, to have an occupation at that time. This suggests that, for whatever reason, Israel, was not on the scene. Ada, aged 28, is also a tailoress. Emily is said to be deaf but this is never again referred to in any census, so may be a mistake on the part of the enumerator.
The exact date of death of Israel as proved impossible to ascertain but by 1901 Emily is describing herself as "widowed" and working as "Tailoress Machinist". The family live on Shore Road, just below Ramsden Street in the town centre down towards the canal. The house has two rooms. John is a joiner's apprentice and his sister Ada is, like her mother, a "Tailoress Machinist". Emily's sister-in-law, Ada, no longer lives with them.
By 1910 Emily Chadwick was the tenant of 31 Ramsden Street and it was there that they were living at the time of the census the following year. By this time, John was a joiner in the building trade while Emily and Ada both worked machining trousers. He house, with four rooms, was larger than that on Shore Road, but living with them was Emily's aunt, Matilda Harrison, a widow aged 68. This seems to add weight to the idea that Emily's maiden name was "Harrison". Soon after the census, Ada married Fred Shaw in Huddersfield.
We don't know precisely when John joined the army but given he first served in the Royal Engineers — Service No. 205881 — it seems probable that he waited to be conscripted, that is, after the beginning of 1916. He was later transferred into the 14th Battalion, the Northumberland Fusiliers, a Pioneer Battalion of the New Army. He was serving with this unit when he died on 14 November 1917 at the end of the Second Battle of Passchendaele. The cemetery where he was buried was named after huts used by ambulance teams.
By the time the Huddersfield Roll of Honour was compiled, Emily was living in Paddock. John is also remembered on the war memorial at St. Philip's in Birchencliffe and on the memorial at All Saints, Paddock.
Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922
The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:
- CHADWICK, JOHN WILLIAM. Private. No 57347. 14th Battalion (Pioneers) Northumberland Fusiliers. Formerly No 205881 Royal Engineers. Born Huddersfield 25.3.1888. Only son of Mrs Emily Chadwick, 100 Church Street, Paddock. Employed as a joiner. Killed in action near Ypres, 14.11.1917. Buried THE HUTS CEMETERY, DICKEBUSCH, BELGIUM. Grave location:- Plot 14, Row C, Grave 17.
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- Private CHADWICK
- regiment: Northumberland Fusiliers
- died: Wednesday, November 14, 1917
- record ID: 156072
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission (ID #156072)
- Imperial War Museums: Lives of the First World War (ID #759796)
Notes and References
- The birth of John William Chadwick was recorded at Huddersfield in Q2 1884. The mother's maiden name was "Harrison". This would suggest his date of birth may have been 25 March 1884 (rather than 1888).
- A not uncommon day to marry, when working men could get little time off work