Shortly before Christmas a link on Facebook to my local newspaper, caught my attention. Local history group; The Men of Worth Project, is a group of local historians who gather the records and the stories of soldiers living in the Worth Valley in West Yorkshire, who served the country at times of war. They had put out an appeal seeking living descendants of a young soldier, Ivor Tempest Greenwood, who died in the service of his country at the start of the Great War. Private Greenwood never saw active service, but research by the group into Private Greenwood’s cause of death, persuaded the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to add his name to its Perpetual Roll of Honour, the official list of First World War casualties. A contemporaneous newspaper account dated September 1914, reported that Private Greenwood died of typhoid fever and pneumonia within three weeks of joining the army. A prestigious new headstone has been created by the Commonwealth Graves Commission to commemorate his death and will be unveiled during the spring of 2017, and the Men of Worth project want any living descendants to come to the ceremony if at all possible.
The appeal was a challenge to me- could I use my genealogical skills to help them find any descendants?
Starting with the name Ivor Tempest Greenwood, I was able to put together a basic family tree swiftly. Ivor was one of three brothers, all who served during the Great War. Anyone researching UK military records of the Great War wants to trace the Attestation records, completed when a soldier enlisted. However, many of the records do not survive, either as a result of military action during the Second World War, or as a result of enthusiastic “weeding” by nameless civil servants between the wars. Miraculously, the records not only of Ivor’s brothers have survived, but also the records of his father, who had fought in the Boer War, enlisted in the Territorial Army in 1909 and served as a sergeant until the 1920s. Both of his brothers returned from the war and resumed their day to day lives. Information in the records of both brothers gave an address in Bradford where they lived with their mother. This was backed up by the evidence in father’s records, and was, in fact the address where the eldest brother was living in 1939, with his wife at the outbreak of the second world war. The eldest brother died without issue in 1981 but of the youngest brother, there was no trace until I extended my research beyond the shores of the UK.
An interesting feature of the Greenwood family was the use of unusual second names for the boys – Tempest, Harper and Bruncker. As I dug further into the family history, it became clear that these names were the family names of their mother and the paternal and maternal grandmothers. It also became clear that this large and extended family, despite being located in Wales, Derbyshire, Staffordshire must have remained in contact with each other, even when different branches of the family left the shores of the UK to start new lives in Brisbane. It seems very likely that there are great nephews and nieces of Ivor Tempest Greenwood now living in Queensland, and they are the people I would dearly like to make contact with.