Today my researching led me down a strange track. I was looking for a couple of William Heads who lived in Hale. At around the same time there were, in fact, three chaps called William Head living in Hale. Two of them were around the same age while the other was the father of one of them.
It took some intensive work but eventually I managed to work out the first one based on his next of kin in the army personal effects list. Then, of course, the information came tumbling out and I was able to piece together his entire life. The second William Head, however, proved impossible.
Interestingly, the ‘third’ William Head, the father, was a ‘refuse collector’ which I guess is a sort of scrap merchant who, along with his wife, Annie and their kids, may have lived in a caravan. (The census taker had written ‘scavenger’ in pencil beside his occupation which probably sums him up.)
That was in 1901, by 1911 he’d moved to Aldershot and become a ‘barrack sweeper’ and by 1915 he was in the army, joining up at the age of 46.
He was subsequently shipped out to France along with all the teenagers in order to fight for King and country. A little over six months later he was declared unfit for military service and shipped back home. It’s debatable whether he actually saw active service or not. He didn’t die until the 1930’s.
The Gostrey Meadow memorial was erected in the 1920’s so I’m assuming it’s not referring to him. It more than likely refers to his son but I wasn’t able to find out anything about him after 1901 when he was 11 years old. Of course, he could have died or run off with the circus…anything is possible.
Maybe we’ll never know. Sadly.
Possibly the biggest achievement of the day was completing Panel Three of the Farnham Memorial. I’m not sure what my next memorial will be but I’m ready for it.