John Bardgett (15309 L/Cpl.)
John Bardgett was the youngest son of Edward Bardgett and Hannah Bell, born in Carlisle, Cumberland on the 28 December, 1889. He was one of eight children born into a working class family. Although he did not hail from Appleby, the main market town of Westmorland, he had been living there a few years before enlisting in the Lonsdale Battalion.
John’s father, a Railway Relief signalman working on the Settle to Carlisle line, had the fortune of having a job working for one of the larger railway companies, either Midland Railway or London and North Western Railway. This had one drawback, to relocate to wherever the work was available. This meant on occasion having to travel greater distances, although it is highly possibly he remained in the north of England. Due to such occupational circumstances the family moved from town to town living in at least three different counties: Durham, Yorkshire and Westmorland, which they did from the time of their marriage and birth of their first son Thomas in 1872, to the birth of their last child Lizzie in 1890. They were just like any other family of the time, trying to get by the best way they could.
By 1891 John, only two years old was living with the whole family at 74 South Street in Carlisle. Within ten years the family had relocated to Appleby where only John and his older sister Minnie were the only dependant siblings living at ‘Belgravia’ in Bongate. Belgravia was a row of houses by the Appleby–Kendal railway line and lived in specifically by railway workers at the time. Today, modern housing is located on the plot where the original houses used to stand. Nothing of the original houses remain.
His father, Edward Bardgett, died in 1904 when John was only 15 years old and it was up to his mother, Hannah to keep the family together. By this time though, only John and Mary remained at home. Thomas, their eldest son had married in 1900 and moved to Settle, north Yorkshire and started his own family; James and sister Sarah both followed suit and married their respective partners also in 1900; James living in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire and Sarah remaining in Westmorland. Tragically, Mary Elizabeth died one month after she was born and Lizzie had also died, three years after she was born. Little is known about John’s other sisters Minnie and Mary. By 1901 Minnie had not yet married and Mary possibly stayed in Appleby; some of her descendants still living there to this day.
John remained in Appleby as he was growing up. Eventually he found love in the eyes of a local girl, Alice Ellison, and this was to be the start of what was a happy, but short, life together. Alice was two years his junior, born on the 19 September, 1891. Almost one month later on 16 October she was christened in the parish church of Saint Lawrence, Appleby; incidentally the same church in which they were married, 16 July, 1912.
John had been working for the Appleby Corporation (the local council) as a labourer. He and Alice lived for a while at 11 Chapel Street, the road connecting it (and several others, High Weind, Doomgate and Scattergate where many other ancestors have lived) to Holme Street where his son would end up living most of his life. Only four weeks a married man – John was no more than 22 years old – his son William Edward Bardgett was born at ‘High Weind’ on the 13 August, 1912. John was family man with a young son and within two short years would make a life-changing decision to join one of Lord Kitchener’s New Army Battalions. On 17 September 1914, approval of the Army Council was given and an Executive Committee was formed where Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale and the Executive Committee decided to raise the "Lonsdale Battalion" in three detachments: Carlisle, Kendal and Workington. It was at this point that John enlisted in this new local battalion and spent the next year training at Blackhall Racecourse.
Killed in Action
Memorial certificate and scroll
Official notification of burial
This is the original notifications of John’s death received by his wife Alice more than a year after he was killed on the battlefield. Although not clear on the document, the stamps gives a time of 8.45pm on the evening of 27 June, 1917. John’s body was not recovered for many weeks, if not months after he was killed. He would have been reported missing at the time until his was body was found and identified, many thousands, of course, were not so lucky and their bodies were never to this day recovered. On receiving this letter of notification of burial Alice would have been able to rest knowing that he was buried properly and with dignity befitting of every man who was killed during the war.
The following is a transcript of the document:
In Continuation of the notification sent to you regarding the death of the late (No.) 15309 (Rank) Pte, Name J. Bardgett, Regiment 11th BORDER REGT. I beg to inform you that an official report has now been received that the late soldier is buried at Lonsdale Cemetery no. I IV of Authuille Wood, between the wood and the original British front line 1 ¾ miles W. of Pozieres 2 ½ miles N.N.E. of Albert.
Yours faithfully, [signed]”
—Officer in charge of records, Army Form B. 104-121..
References / notes
- The Lonsdale Battalion Border Regiment, September 1914 to June 1915
- The Earl of Lonsdale was appointed Chairman, with Colonel Weston, M.P., as Vice-Chairman, Major Binning, Mr. F. R. Hodgson, and Captain Wakefield were appointed Goveners of Local Committees, at Carlisle, Workington, and Kendal, respectively, and Mr. Gerald Spring-Rice became Hon. Secretary of the Executive Committee.
- Record of the XIth (Service) Battalion (Lonsdale) - In England