Site Update

Hi there

The site has undergone a bit of change round!  We’ve absorbed the Digital Village, well the Image portion of the site anyway. You can find it on the menu under “Images” – enjoy!


Private Henry Challis: The Outcome

Private Henry Challis HeadstoneIn Skelton Cemetery, in Plot P, Grave C. 18, stands a simple white Limestone cross on a cast rock-like base. This is the final resting place of Private Henry Challis and this photograph is the culmination of a long and at times difficult, search. Henry was granted War Casualty status by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (via the National Army Museum) and this grave will be maintained in perpetuity by them.

Thanks are due to Cody McKay Hutchinson and Sandra Hutchinson for the work in researching this casualty, I can only claim responsibility for the work with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to provide the evidence and the audit trail that lead to the successful application for War Grave Status.



Private Henry Challis: Update

Hi All
After six months plus of work and waiting I can tell you that we have succeeded in our application and presentation of evidence to The Commonwealth War Graves Commission for Private Henry Challis. The Commission confirmed that Henry DID die in service and thus should be numbered among the war dead of The Great War.
We are hoping that this will mean his entitlement to a war grave and look forward to paying our respects to him.

Thanks to Cody and Sandra for all the hard work, especially to Cody for believing!


*** Latest Update ***

The CWGC have notified us that they have located Henry’s grave – in Skelton Cemetery!
Never saw that one coming!


Private Henry Challis, Easington War Memorial

Hi Everybody

This is an appeal for information. Private Henry Challis (Challice) died of the combined effects of Pneumonia and Spanish Influenza on the 2nd of March 1919 after 12 days of suffering. We know that he was married to Selina Parker, had 3 children and lived at Black Gill Cottages. He was a Woodman on the estate.

He is buried in Easington Churchyard as far as we can make out, but what we don’t know is WHERE! He is in an unmarked grave. We are trying to get Henry a War Grave headstone, as he was serving in the 9th Battalion, Alexandra Princess of Wales Own (Yorkshire Regiment) when he died, and we need to know where he is buried.

As a secondary, but equally important, request, does anybody have any information on him at all, newspaper cuttings, etc. (photographs would be an absolute luxury), death notice, obituary – anything that would help our case with the authority.

Help us give this man the recognition he deserves!

Cold Cases and Brick Walls!

Now that we’ve got most of the rush and panic for the Centenary of WWI over and done with I can get back to thinking about the Web Site. One thing that working on the War Casualties did highlight is how difficult it can be, given just a name and a tentative location, to research a person. To this end I’m going to highlight the problems we had by publishing the Cold Case Files; the results of those we failed to find. This should give an interesting insight into the problem by letting you see the steps taken to arrive at … nothing! Those records still remain and we shall seek to solve the problem in slow time.
Everybody hits Brick Walls in their Family History research and this page will let you add yours to our research list! Just add a comment to the Brick Walls page, with all the details that you have to hand and any ideas you might have for a solution and, as we used to say on Skinnie, “we’ll give it a coat of looking at”!

Good Luck

Letters From The Front

George FarndaleGeorge Farndale was killed in action on the 27th of May 1917, during the Battle of Arras, barely one month after arriving in France.

We have been given access to letters he wrote from the Front to his sister Annie, in Loftus, and letters from comrades and family offering sympathy after his death.  Read them on the Loftus Family History Group website.

20 Months As A Prisoner Of War

James William Goldby was recently married when The Great War intervened in his young life.  His wife, pregnant with their first child, Olive, and mother tearfully waved him off at Saltburn Station, not knowing when or if they would see him again (they were still reeling from the death of his older brother, Thomas Arthur, in The Battle Of The Somme in September of 1916).

Late in 1917, James took part in a big push. His group was successful in their attack, too successful in fact because they were cut off from their support troops by an enemy counter-attack and captured.

This transcription of James’ story of his life “behind the wire” gives a fascinating insight into both the mindset of the times and the plight he faced during those final twenty months of The Great War.

We are grateful to Dorothy Locker for permission to publish this private account.  James died in 1952.

Hell On Earth

A glimpse of the shattered landscapes of The Great War to help you understand the world the Tommy lived and died in!

Trawled from the web, this gallery will be an ongoing project beyond this Centenary Year.



Picasa is a piece of software provided by Google to organise and process photographs. It can be used to process your family history photographs, after they’ve been scanned, to make them look more attractive when used in reports and to give an element of restoration. One of its by-products is the ability to recognise faces – this can be used to help identify relationships in hitherto unidentified photographs.
I’m going to use some of its facilities to show you how you can achieve more professional presentation of your image data.


Lest We Forget!

This year sees the Centenary of the first global conflict, The Great War. Loftus Family History Group is currently researching the names on Loftus War Memorial with a view to providing an insight into their lives and deaths.
Helping us with this task are members of Loftus Community Forum.

We’d love to hear from any family members of any of the casualties – stories and photographs would be especially welcome!