SKELTON - IN - CLEVELAND
IN HISTORY

Page 40.

A FIRST WORLD WAR ROMANCE IN SKELTON.

The following photographs and information have been emailed by Sandra Game of Suffolk.

During the First World War, the great number of casualties required many buildings all over the country to be converted to Auxiliary Home Hospitals.
They were used as places of convalescence rather than for the treatment of serious injuries.
In Skelton the Wharton Hall was set up as one of these by the Squire of Skelton Castle. It was not just for servicemen born locally.


The back of this Postcard gives the following information.

Margaret Wharton is probably second from Left Front row and her step-mother Elizabeth Wharton centre.


Wharton Hall, Skelton used as a Convalescent Hospital during the First World War.
Pte John Henry Shambley is on the front row, second from the Right.

The wounded arrived from all over as empty beds became available.
Thus it was that Sandra Game's Grandfather arrived in Skelton.
He was Private John Henry Shambley from Wigan, Lancs and was serving in the Kings Own Scottish Border Regiment.
He had enlisted on the 28th July 1914 in Wigan at the outbreak of War and was discharged on the 10 October 1918.
His Army papers show that he had 5 wound stripes. These were worn on the lower left arm and awarded to those injured in action and returned to duty. He was wounded in the Spring of 1915 in fighting at Hill 60, near Ypres and again on the Somme in July 1916 while serving with the 6th Battalion, K.O.S.B at Longueval.
By coincidence he came from one mining area to another. His Father was killed one year after his birth in Elmo Colliery, Wigan at the age of 28 in July 1986 and his Grandfather died after fracturing his leg in a mine accident at Abram Colliery, Wigan on the 20th November 1918 at the age of 70+.
The family story goes that Mrs Susan Shepherd [nee Gilbert], a lady in her forties at the time of the War was working as a cook at "a big house" in Skelton

Somehow she befriended Pte Shambley, eventually inviting him to her home, where he met her daughter Emma Jane Shepherd, who would be in her early twenties.
Romance blossomed and after the War Pte Shambley came back and the two were married in Skelton Parish Church on the 4th March 1919. At this time Emma was living at 6 Holmebeck Rd, North Skelton, but had been born in 1894 at 59 Wharton Street. The photograph [below] alongside the wedding one is of Emma's family apparently showing off the family treasures.
The father is Henry James Shepherd, born in Skelton in 1873 and the boy is Charles Napier Shepherd, born 1899. The youngest daughter is Ada, born 1903. She died of throat cancer in 1939 after marrying a William Lightburn in 1930. The parents, Ada and William ended up living in Lingdale. N Yorks.

Pte Shambley [only one identified] is in the centre wearing the glengarry cap. The building behind is 4 South Terrace, Skelton, which was used as a convalescent hospital during the Boer War and up to 1909 at least. During the First World War it was used as an annexe when the Wharton Hall was full.
John Henry Shambley and Emma initially moved to his home town of Wigan, where he must have worked in the coal mines and there two daughters were born.
At some time the family moved to South Moor, Stanley, Co Durham for work in the coal mines and eventually John became a Deputy. His daughters remember teaching him arithmetical fractions as it seems at the time some examination had to be passed.
Another North Skelton personage that Sandra has details of is Henry James Shepherd's brother Arthur Suddick Shepherd.
He seems to have done very well as a local coal dealer for on the Parish Rate Book for 1913 he is shown owning 13 Vaughan St and 2 and 4 Wharton St in North Skelton.
He is shown on the 1901 census living with his parents William and Bessie in Bolckow St and shortly after they died married Anna Graham and lived at 13 Vaughan St, all in North Skelton. By the time of his death on 30th November 1935 he had moved to 51 Upleatham St, Saltburn and left the considerable amount at that time of 2,500.

If anyone can add more to this fascinating family history, please contact the email address on the Introduction page and I will put you in touch with Sandra.

Mr T H Pitchforth, Photographer.
The wedding photograph above and several others on this website were taken by Mr Pitchforth, who had a studio in Saltburn, N Yorks in the early 1900's.
This image and the photo of the Shepherd family above show the fascination of the time with the prize possession of the age, the wind up Gramophone.

[Another photo kindly contributed by Sandra Game.]



Cpl Shambley's discharge papers.


Cpl Shambley seated centre with pals in the KOSB.

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