Henry James WRIGHT of Hertford

Died in Belgium, June 1915




Dennis Ginn sent the following query in March 2015:

Can you help me please with some questions I have about my family. Olive Victoria Alice Ginn: born 1891, father Walter Ginn, Mother Alice Barns, Olive marriage, to Henry James Wright 23 May 1914 lived at 21 Railway Street Hartford. Olive remarried to Alfred Ilott 30 Sep 1915. Olive before marriage was living as a domestic servant, staff reg BG/wear39 Urban District Workhouse and yes my father was born there.

1, Is there an online reg I can look for this workhouse for 1914

There is an excellent web site containing information on Workhouses - including Hertford. The records it refers to are available for consultation at HALS. However these records are not available online.

2, I am unable to find out any more about Henry Wright? As he died or did he go to war.

Hertford Borough Sessions, Tuberculosis, Cattle, Wright, Palmer, Harrison, Reed, Hoddesdon, Kings Meads, Disease of Animals ActHenry James Wright was born in Hertford in 1893 and was the son of Ernest and Ellen Wright. In 1901 he was living with his parents and siblings in Aden's Court, 46 Railway Street, Hertford, - his father being a cattle dealer. Henry presumably helped with the cattle as the Herts Mercury of 27th September 1913 reported on a court case (see cutting) where Henry had purchased a cow. As you say he married in May 1914.  It is clear that he became a soldier early in the war as he became Private 6556, 1st Battalion, Bedfordshire Regiment. His address is recorded as Great Munden, Hertfordshire, but this may just mean that Olive went to live near, or with, her parents when Henry joined up.

He died of wounds in Flanders on 8th June 1915 aged 21 and was buried in the Dickebusch New Military Cemetery (plot E18). The records (after his death - possibly relating to widow's pension) describes him as "husband of O. V. A. Ilott (formerly Wright) of Offley Holes, near Hitchin, Herts."

Around the time of his death the Battalion were heavily engaged in the Second Battle of Ypres where they fought at Hill 60 during the initial capture and subsequent defence that saw them lose so heavily that they were effectively rebuilt twice during the fighting. The following is an excerpt of the 1st Battalion War Diary for June 1915 which describes the fighting at the time:

1-2 Mar 1915 - Bailleul. Battn remained in billets at Bailleul. Draft of 25 men joined Battn. 27th ult. [This would be extra men to replace the dead and wounded]

3 Mar 1915 - Ouderdom. Battn. proceeded with remainder of 15th Bde by march route to OUDERDOM to form part of new composite 28th Division in relief of 28th Div. S.E. of Ypres. Battn camped in newly constructed huts.

4 Mar 1915 Battn marched at night to take over position in support from R.Scots Fusiliers.

6 Mar 1915 - canal bank south of Ieper [Ypres]. Battn took over sector of trenches North of Canal, relieving 9th Brigade 1/Cheshire Regt. took over section S. of Canal. K.O.Y.L.I. on our left. Casualties in going up to trenches 3 wounded.

7 Mar 1915 Head Quarters shelled, 1 man killed. Sniping very considerable, total casualties 3 killed 1 wounded.

8 Mar 1915 A certain amount of shelling & sniping during day. Battn. relieved by Dorset Regt. at night & returned to support. Casualties Capt Andrews wounded: 2 killed & 9 others wounded.

9 Mar 1915 Battn in support.

10 Mar 1915 Battn relieved Dorset Regt in trenches at about 6.30 pm.

Hertford War Memorial

His name appears on the Hertford War Memorial. At the time of writing the Herts Mercury for 1915 is not yet on the British Newspaper Archive but may well be being digitised at present. It may well contain a report of his death and provide more information. If you can't wait HALS will have a copy on microfilm.

3, Would you have the date when Olive's mother and father immigrated to Canada.     

Are you sure both of Olive's parents went to Canada? A 40 year old Alice Ginn died in the Ware, Hertfordshire area in 1910 and a 40 year old unaccompanied Walter Ginn left Liverpool for St Johns, Newfoundland on 12 May 1913.  You would need to purchase Alice Ginn's death certificate to confirm whether it is the right Alice, and you might have to check Canadian records to confirm the identity of Walter.

In addition to the sites already mentioned information was obtained from Ancestry, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, FindMyPast, and FreeBMD, from which further information can be obtained. There are other war diaries in the National Archives which may relate to his death - but have not looked to see what is available.

August 2016

More on the DINN Family

When I answered the above I suggested that Dennis should follow up Alice's death certificate, but thanks to information provided by Mike Taylor, who is researching the Ginn family in Hertfordshire (see his blog the blog www.Ginn-hertfordshire.blogspot.co.uk) the story is revealed in all its horror. Perhaps the first news to be published was in the Leeds Mercury of 25th March 1910.

In fact there is a detailed account of the inquest and the following trial on the excellent Herts Past Policing web site - which contains information on many Hertfordshire murder and manslaughter cases - and I will not attempt to repeat the story here.

One thing that stands out is the extent to which, at the time, wife beating seems to have been widely accepted, and as a result his sentence was commuted to unlawful wounding and he was only given 12 months hard labour.

If you can add to the information given above tell me.

March 2015   Page created
August 2016   Page updated