Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Horace Claude Saddington (1884 - ?)

I have a confession to make - I am a perfectionist. Quite often, the reason why I haven't posted for a while is because I am still trying to locate that last piece of information which will complete the story of the person that I want to post about. It has occurred to me that this is foolish - I just don't have the time or the resources to do this for every post. Besides, you, the readers of this blog, would probably rather have more posts and perhaps do some detective work yourselves to fill in the gaps. I can always do an update post at some point in the future.

So, this post contains everything that I currently know about Horace Claude Saddington. The name might seem familiar, and that is because he is listed amongst the Saddingtons whose names are mentioned in the post about World War One Army pension records.

Horace Claude Saddington was born in the December quarter of 1884 in Leicester (Volume 7a, Page 203). His parents were probably the Joseph Saddington and Sarah Ann White who married in Leicester in the December quarter of 1881 (Volume 7a, Page 492).

In the 1891 census, the family are living at 23 Frank Street, Leicester, which is in the Parish of St Margaret.

RG12/2528 - Folio 8, Page 9, Schedule Number - 53
Registration District - Leicester, Sub District - East Leicester, Enumeration District - 31

Joseph Saddington Head M 35 Railway Ganger Employed Northants Geddington
Sarah Ann do Wife M 34 - - Rutland Caldecott
Horace C do Son - 6 Scholar - Leicester
Edward Holt Boarder Single 25 Railway Labourer Employed Leics Denford

A ganger was responsible for the actual railway tracks - the points, the sleepers etc - making sure that they were all in good condition.

Ten years later, in the 1901 census, the family are still living at 23 Frank Street, and Horace has joined his father on the railway. Perhaps the house was owned by the railway company.

RG13/2999 - Folio 179, Page 34, Schedule Number 198
Registration District - Leicester, Sub District - North East Leicester, Enumeration District - 40

Joseph Saddington Head M 45 Railway Platelayer "Ganger" Worker Npton Geddington
Sarah A do Wife M 44 - - Rutd Caldecot
Horace do Son S 16 Railway Labourer Worker Leicester

According to his pension records, Horace married Florence Emily Biddles in Leicester on 5 August 1905 (September quarter 1905, Volume 7a 551). A Florence Emily Biddles born in the Aston Registration District in the September quarter of 1886 (Volume 6d, Page 319) appears to be a likely candidate for Horace's wife.

Horace's pension records state that he and Florence had four children; Beatrice Florence May (1904), Joseph Harry (1909), Violet Ada (1912) and George Albert (1914), all of whom were born in Leicester.

By January 1917, the family were living at 4 St Peters Cottages, St Peters Lane, Leicester. Horace was employed as a railway platelayer, just as his father had been before him.

On 15 January 1917, Horace enlisted into the Royal Flying Corps as a Third Class Air Mechanic. He was 31 years and 6 months old, and was classed as having B (ii) Two Fitness. If anyone can tell me what this means in plain English, I would be very grateful, as I cannot find an explanation on the Internet.

However, Horace's career in the RFC did not last very long. On 15 March 1917, just two months later, he was discharged as being "no longer physically fit for War Service".

As this lack of fitness boiled down to the partial loss of his right hand, which had happened in 1907, one wonders why the Enlisting Officer had not taken this into account before signing him up!

To be precise, Horace's medical notes state that the first, second and third fingers on his right hand were missing, and that the fourth finger was contracted. The movement of his thumb was limited due to scarring, but there was no wasting (presumably of the muscle). His wrist movement was fairly good, but less than 20%!

The most likely cause of this damage is an accident at work, which would be understandable with him working on the railway. However, I am told that another possibility would involve some macho dare game for railway workers i.e. who can leave their finger on the line longest before the train comes along! Your guess is as good as mine - I just hope that he was left handed!

If Horace Claude and his family are relations of yours, as usual, I would be delighted to hear from you. Also, if you have any additional information about any of the topics mentioned in this post, please do drop me a line.

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