Stanley Wright (1897-1918)

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This page is part of a project by David Verguson to research the lives of those who appear on war memorials and rolls of honour in the Lindley area.

Biography

Stanley Wright's story is unusual among the men of Lindley who died in the Great War in two respects: he is one of only three men who served in the Royal Navy and one of only two who were adopted sons.

Stanley, who is remembered in the memorial in St. Stephen's church, was born in Huddersfield on 31 October 1897 the son of John and Mary Ann Wright. They already had a daughter, Annie, who was born in August 1888, so they had been married since at least then. It seems likely, too, that between the birth of Annie and the birth of Stanley nine years later, they had other children that did not survive.

Annie was baptised in St. Mark's, off Leeds Road, near the town centre, on the 15 November 1888, when the family address was given as 15 Hawk Street, now long gone, but near Union Street.

John is a bit of a mystery: he gives his occupation as weaver in the parish register. He seems likely to have been the "John Wright" aged 12 who was living with his grandfather in Almondbury at the time of the 1871 census. In 1891 Mary Ann and Annie are living with James Barraclough, a plasterer, and his wife Jane Ellen, in Hawk Street. It seems likely that the Wrights were living there at the time of Annie's christening. John is not there, nor is he present ten years later. It may be that he was working away from home; there is a "John Wright" lodging in Leeds and then in Derby.

John must have returned to Huddersfield at some point: Stanley was born in 1897.

Mary Ann Wright died in early 1900 at the age of 41. By the time of the census the following year, twelve-year-old Annie and three-year-old Stanley were still sharing the Barraclough's home, along with a boarder, Sarah Whitely from Linthwaite, a "twister on a worsted mill".

Interestingly, Annie and Stanley are described as the "Adopted Daughter" and "Adopted Son" of the Barracloughs. This implies that John Wright had also died by this time and a John Wright did die in Huddersfield in the spring of 1900 at the age of 48. Despite living in only two rooms — in Towning Row in the Spring Grove area — James and Jane tool over the care of the two Wright children. Stanley attended Spring Grove Board School.

Jane Barraclough died in early October 1910 at the age of 57 and was buried at St. Mark's, Longwood on 10 October. The family address was given as 22 Prospect Place, above Outcote Bank and not far from where they had lived in 1901. This was the address where James was living at the time of the 1911 Census. It had three rooms and he shared it with Stanley and Sarah Jane Whitely who was still lodging with him. Stanley, aged 13, worked as a butcher's boy, which no doubt involved running errands and delivering customer's orders. He may also have been "learning the trade". Annie Wright, who worked as a weaver, was living a few doors away at number 5 Prospect Place, lodging with Abraham Maude, a gardener and his wife Jane and daughter Eleanor who was almost the same age as Annie.

Stanley enlisted in the Royal Navy at the age of only fifteen, in December 1912 and is therefore one of the few Regular servicemen who died from Lindley.

Annie married in January 1915 at St. Stephen's, Lindley and Stanley was not a witness, probably because at 17, he was too young. Both Annie and her fiancé, Harry Neatis, an emery wheel maker, gave addresses in Union Street. It seems likely that Harry was by this time already a soldier in the Territorial Force: he had a very low service number and landed with the Duke of Wellingtons in France on 13 April 1915.

Stanley died on HMS Glory IV on 14 September 1918 while the ship was in Murmansk, north Russia, and is buried at the Archangel Allied Cemetery, then known as the Bereznik Cemetery, on the Dvina River. It seems possible that Stanley died of disease, perhaps influenza — many of the crew did at that time — however the official records states he died as a result of enemy action.

The Glory IV was the former Russian cruiser, Askold, and had been seized by the British in Kola Bay, north Russia, in early 1918 after the Russian Revolution and served as a supply ship between Murmansk and Gaerloch, Scotland.

The Royal Navy and the British army were in Russia in support of anti-Bolshevik forces.

Stanley is remembered in St. Stephen's, the parish church of his sister Annie, who lived at 30 Union Street.[1] He is also remembered on the Brookwood Russia Memorial in Surrey. Although not on the memorial of New North Road Baptist Church, the Barraclough's must have been parishioners as Stanley's death is recorded in church records.

James Barraclough died in 1933 at the age of 85 and is buried at St. Mark's, Longwood, alongside his wife.

Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922

The following extract is from Huddersfield's Roll of Honour: 1914-1922 (2014) by J. Margaret Stansfield:

WRIGHT, STANLEY. Ordinary Seaman. No. J/22771 Royal Navy. HMS Glory IV. Born Huddersfield 31.10.1897. Brother of Annie Neatis, Union Street, Lindley and later of 482 New Hey Road, Salendine Nook, Huddersfield. Educated Spring Grove Board School. Employed as a butcher. Lodged with Mr. Barraclough, Prospect Street, Huddersfield. Single. Enlisted in the Royal Navy, 31.12.1912. Killed in action on 14.9.1918 at Archangel, Russia, aged 20 years. Buried SEMENOVKA (BEREZNIK) CHURCHYARD EXTENSION and commemorated in ARCHANGEL ALLIED CEMETERY, RUSSIA. Grave Location:- Special Memorial, B 139, and on the BROOKWOOD RUSSIA MEMORIAL IN BROOKWOOD CEMETERY, SURREY.
ROH:- St. Stephen's Church, Lindley.

Notes and References

  1. Annie later moved to 482 New Hey Road, Salendine Nook.