In William’s Wake

WM above Audlem
Whiskey Mac above Audlem – I would prefer to lose the ‘e’, but it came with the boat. One day …

Here I am on the Shropshire Union Canal at Audlem, Cheshire.  Sometime in the late 1830’s my fourth great grandfather William Evans, a boatman, travelled this way with his family.  Some of the places along the way would be recognisable to him now. Continue reading “In William’s Wake”


Battle of Nantwich

While out shopping on Tuesday I lunched in the Wickstead Arms.  I only went there because the Red Cow does not serve food on Mondays.  So it was lucky that on the wall opposite my table was a map showing the location of the Battle of Nantwich in the English Civil War, near to Acton, a small settlement just west of Nantwich. Continue reading “Battle of Nantwich”

Welsh Row

I spent two nights moored near Nantwich Aqueduct on the Shropshire Union Canal.  Yesterday morning I went shopping and took my camera to get some shots of Welsh Row, the main route into town from the aqueduct.  I know some of you like old things and hope you enjoy at least some of my images. Continue reading “Welsh Row”

Right as nine pence

Here are two old coins (one is just about 100 years old) that my father obtained when he was in charge of the payroll at Ever Ready, Park Lane, Wolverhampton, in the second half of the 1960s.  These coins were still legal tender, and in use, at the time.  They were still legal tender until decimalisation in 1971.

geo iii 6 d geo v 3d obv
George III sixpenny and George V threepenny (1918) bits (obverse).

On the left the outline of George III is just discernible on this well-worn coin and must have been minted before his death in 1820, so it is probably over 200 years old.  The George V ‘thrupenny’ bit is remarkably clear given that it had been in circulation for about 50 years (though it has lived in a small box for the last 50 or so).

geo iii 6 d geo v 3d rev
George III sixpenny and George V threepenny (1918) bits (reverse).

 On the left the detail of the George III coin is completely worn away, but it was still worth six pennies.  I wonder how many Christmas puddings it was used in.

So what would these coins be worth at the time?  In 1820 six pence would be the equivalent of £1.90 today, in terms of buying power, and the three penny coin would be worth 60 pence.  (Calculated using Measuring Worth).



Pygmalion and the motorbus

The other day I went to Chester.  Parked outside the City Hall was an old bus, which runs tours of the city.

From what I can gather 946 WAE was originally built in 1964 as a single-deck Bedford coach for Wessex Coaches in Bristol. In 1982 it was re-designed and re-built as a replica of a London General Omnibus Company B-Type motorbus.  It has belonged to Chester Heritage since May 2005.

I believe this style of bus was in service from about 1910.  The lady’s costume looks as though it could be from that time, and there is something of Eliza Doolittle about her (as portrayed in My Fair Lady – 1964 movie), based on George Bernard Shaw’s play Pygmalion, which was first presented in 1913.  It is the sort of vehicle that grandparents and their parents might have used.

Private 39588 Edward Price

cenotaph w s
The west face of the war memorial at Brownhills, Staffordshire, commemorating the dead of 1914-1918.

This is another blog about the brave men commemorated on the cenotaph at St James, Brownhills, Staffordshire.  Here is what I have been able to find out about Private Edward Price, killed in action on the Somme battlefield, one hundred years ago today in 1918. Continue reading “Private 39588 Edward Price”

Private 9704 William Bromley

Further exploration of those commemorated on the war memorial at St James, Brownhills, West Midlands.

cenotaph s s
South face of the war memorial at St James, Brownhills, West Midlands.

Private 9704. Killed in action, France & Flanders, 29 Jun 1915. Sth Staffs Regt, 2nd Battalion, D Company.

1911 census: Lichfield Road, Brownhills, William Bromley, boarder with William and Sarah Ann Sands, colliery labourer underground. Not far from Railway Tavern. William was born at Stafford in about 1877.

In earlier censuses there are too many records for men named William Bromley born Stafford about the right time to work out which one is pertinent.


From Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle 17 July 1915

Writing from the Front to Mr. William Colley, of Church Street, Brownhills, expressing deepest sympathy with them in the death of their son William, a local soldier. Private E. Tunshall, 2nd South Staffords, mentions that another Brownhills man in the same company (D) to lose his life was William Bromley, more familiarly known as “Squat,” who joined the regiment about the same time as the first battle of Ypres, and was killed in a recent bombardment. “He was a good soldier,” adds the writer, “and distinguished himself by carrying in wounded under fire at Festubert last May.” Going to the Front with the First Expeditionary Force, Private Tunshall states that he has had several lucky escapes. He was with the Staffords in the retreat from Mons, and took part in the battles of the Marne, Aisne, Ypres, Givency, Neuve-Chappelle, and latterly at Festubert and Richeburg.


  • Ypres: 19 Oct – 11 Nov 1914 (According to the letter Pte Bromley joined the Battalion about this time.)
  • Cuinchy: 1 & 6 Feb 1915
  • Festubert: 15 May (The first night offensive of the war.) Position: between Cuinchy and Neuve-Chapelle.

In the letter is “last May”, but it could not have been May 1914, so, presumably, Pte Bromley’s rescue of wounded men must have been May 1915, perhaps at Festubert.

Private 6054 E Tunstall

Tunshall looked like a typo from the start.  I am unable to find an E Tunshall, but there was a Private E Tunstall, born Brownhills, serving with the Sth Staffords, listed as wounded on 4 Sep 1916, and entitled to wear a Wound Stripe.

According to the Walsall Observer and South Staffordshire Chronicle 1 July 1916, MEN WHO HAVE FOUGHT FOR THE MOTHERLAND, Private E Tunstall (Royal Engineers) of Watling Street, Brownhills, sustained a shattered knee and had a leg amputated.

I believe this 1911 census record is right:  At Newtown, Brownhills, Nr. Walsall, Edward Tunstall, son (should be stepson?) 27, single, coal miner loader, born Brownhills [about 1884].

From the War Diary:

CAMBRIN June 29: Battalion holding same line. 2nd Lieut. W DRAYCOTT WOOD was killed by a sniper whilst throwing bombs into a crater. … The enemy shelled our positions from 9 a.m. to 10.45 a.m. with 6″ high explosive projectiles, causing considerable damage to the front line trenches. The casualties sustained by us were slight, the total from 5 p.m. the previous day to 5 p.m. today being 1 Officer killed , 9 other ranks wounded. … At 5.35 p.m. The Germans lined their parapet. Our artillery opened fire. Simultaneously our troops opened with rapid fire accompanied by loud cheering all along the line. The enemy’s fire increased denoting that their front trenches were reinforced by their supports. At 5.45 p.m. the main mine was exploded. It is assumed that the enemy must have suffered heavily. Our casualties were 7 men killed, 1 man wounded. A man of the 1/King’s Regiment attached to the machine-gun section was wounded. …

So, one assumes Private Bromley was among the 7 killed that day, and, going on Pte Tunstall’s letter, probably during the shelling that morning.

I have not yet found where he is commemorated.

Sources include:

  • – England census, war diary.
  • Forces War Records (online) – movements and actions, basic record.
  • Press, as accredited, via Findmypast.
poppies 2 110713
In Flanders fields the poppies blow …