Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Leading Stoker James Wilding SS/110409

The CWGC had only one entry for James D Wilding and the 'other information' showed that this man was from Liverpool so I am assuming that it is the right man.

The CWGC information showed that James Dennis Wilding was from Liverpool, the son of Richard and Mary Wilding and he was in the Royal Navy.

I searched the census returns using these details but couldn't find the Wilding family.

My next move was to get together all the details I could about James D Wilding to help find his family on the census returns. This gave me some conflicting details; the UK Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll 1914-1919 has an entry for James Wilding (below), the service number matches that on the CWGC database but the information for his mother does not match.

UK Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll 1914-1919

Name: James Wilding
Rank: Act Ldg Sto
Birth Date: 17 Apr 1889
Birth Place: Liverpool, Lancashire
Branch of Service: Royal Navy
Cause of Death: Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action
Official Number Port Division: S.S.110409. (Dev)
Death Date: 31 May 1916
Location of Grave: Not recorded
Name and Address of Cemetery: Body Not Recovered For Burial
Relatives Notified and Address: Mother: Austin; 27, Rodgers Road, Gibraltar

Looking through baptism records on I found a record of a Catholic baptism for James Dennis Wilding, in Liverpool, parents' names Richard and Mary Elizabeth (below). This all matches the CWGC entry but the date of birth and the mother's name do not match the UK Naval deaths entry. However, the godfather's name is Austin Welsh (Welsh was the maiden name of James's mother) so this could be the Austin listed as mother on the other record.
source: Liverpool Catholic Baptisms

I also found a Catholic baptism record for an Austin Michael Wilding, brother to James D Wilding.  This is an unusual name and another option for the next-of-kin in Gibraltar so I decided to look for the brothers in the census returns.

In the 1891  census I found James Wilding living with his Uncle Thomas and Aunt Hannah Wilding in Liverpool.  The census shows they lived at 25 Sussex Street, Thomas was a sail maker and had 5 of his own children at home as well as his nephew. 
source: 1891 census

James was still with his uncle and aunt in the 1901 census, they had moved to 19 Upper Hill Street - this is close to St James Church.
source: 1901 census
I couldn't find James in the 1911 census so I purchased a copy of his naval service record from the National Archives and it showed that he enlisted on 19th Sept 1910 and was at sea on the HMS Indefatigable from feb-nov 1911 (the census was on 2nd April 1911)

(I will add an image of his record)

Other information in the service record shows the birth date which was on the Naval Roll of Honour and that before enlisting he was a barman in Liverpool. He enlisted for Short Service of 5 + 7 years.  He was 5 ft 5.5inches tall with brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. He had no distinguishing marks or scars.

His date of death is given as 31st May 1916 and he was killed in action.
Notes on the record show that his war gratuity was paid and his relatives gave the information that his middle name was Dennis.

In an interesting side-story, Austin Michael Wilding was an inmate in the Liverpool Farm School (Reformatory), Newton in Makerfield, Lancashire for the 1901 census. For the 1911 census he was enumerated as a private with the Infantry of the 1st Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment in the enumeration district of 'Arabia, Cyprus and Gibraltar' so it seems very likely that the relative informed of James's death was his brother.

James was killed when the HMS Indefatigable was sunk at the battle of Jutland, the most famous naval battle of the first world war.

"Indefatigable was sunk on 31 May 1916 during the Battle of Jutland, the largest naval battle of the war. Part of Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty's Battlecruiser Fleet, she was hit several times in the first minutes of the "Run to the South", the opening phase of the battlecruiser action. Shells from the German battlecruiser Von der Tann caused an explosion ripping a hole in her hull, and a second explosion hurled large pieces of the ship 200 feet (60 m) in the air. Only three of the crew of 1,017 survived."

File:HMS Indefatigable (1909).jpg
DescriptionBritish battlecruiser HMS INDEFATIGABLE underway in coastal waters just before the Battle of Jutland.
(Photo from Imperial War Museum Files, copyright free)

No comments: