Monday, 25 June 2012

Richard Frederick Kitchener Saddington (1899 - 1972)

At Easter I received this lapel badge as an addition to the Saddington One Name Study collection.  It is somewhat battered and difficult to read, but it led to some interesting research.  The badge itself has the words "National Safety First Association" on the blue stripe, "Free From Accident" on the red stripe, and in the middle, it says 1933.  The National Safety First Association was the forerunner of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).

On the back, at the bottom, there is a name - R F K Saddington.  Such a combination of initials could not be too difficult to locate and I soon found a birth reference for Richard Frederick K Saddington in the December quarter of 1899 in the Huntingdon registration district.  My next searches, in the 1901 and 1911 censuses, initially proved fruitless until a query on the Guild of One Name Studies Forum pointed me in the direction of a family that I had already done some work on.  The suggestion was made that I should look more closely at the 1 year old Richard Saddington Binge enumerated in the 1901 census and the 11 year old Kitchener Binge enumerated in the 1911 census, on both occasions listed as the son of Richard Binge and Laura (nee Saddington).

In 1901, the family were living at 25 East Street, Newtown, St Mary, Huntingdon, sharing their home with two boarders, Emma Measures from Leicester and James Allen Horner from Alconbury, Huntingdonshire.  Richard Binge was employed as a bricklayer's labourer and Laura stated that she was 47 years old.  

In 1911, the family had moved to 13 Adelaide Terrace, Godmanchester - a small town south of Huntingdon.  James Horner still shared their home but also living with them were two boys, Edward Clayton (age 11) and Albert Clayton (5) who are enumerated as adopted and as having been born in Huntingdon.  Richard Binge is now employed by the Huntingdonshire Gas Company as a lamplighter, Laura states that she is now 58 years old and the three boys are attending the Council School.

Considering Laura's age and knowing something of her past, I was somewhat suspicious of her claim to be RFK's mother so I invested in his birth certificate.  My suspicions were justified.  RFK was born on 7 September 1899 at New Town, Huntingdon - the son of Kate Saddington, domestic servant.  Kate was Laura's third and youngest illegitimate child, born around 1880 in Huntingdon.  I happened to know that Kate had emigrated to Canada in the early 1900s with her elder sister, Elizabeth, and that they had married two brothers, William and Charles Brown, in Ontario.  The Binges were almost certainly covering up for Kate, preserving the family's respectability (if that was at all possible with Laura having had three illegitimate children before her marriage).  A less cynical viewpoint is that Kate might not have wanted to take such a small child on such a long journey with who knew what at the end of it.
But RFK was obviously told at some point what his real name was.  The World War One medal rolls at The National Archives list a Kitchener Saddington, who was initially a private in The Queen's Regiment (regimental number 70248) and latterly a private in the Northamptonshire Regiment (regimental number 70689).  He received the British War Medal and the Victory Medal, indicating that he had served overseas in a theatre of war.  Why he changed regiments and where he fought are questions that remain to be answered.
RFK survived the war and got himself a job as a postman.  Then, on 7 December 1925, he married Ivy Doreen Dighton at the parish church in Godmanchester.  However, the family cover up continued.  Although Ivy's father, James, a general labourer, stood as a witness, RFK gave his father as Arthur Saddington, also a general labourer.  Where he got the name Arthur from, I am not sure as his mother's brother was called Alfred and his great grandfather, Laura's father, was called Charles.  Laura's brothers were Frederick, Charles and Dennis, so no link there.  However Laura did stand as witness to the marriage so he did have some real family there.
The next official record in RFK's life was the birth of a son, Frederick, in the June quarter of 1932.  The family are still living in the Huntingdon area.
In 1933 RFK became involved with the National Safety First Association.  I have been in contact with RoSPA, but it appears that he was not actually a member of the organisation.  RoSPA have suggested that perhaps he took part in a national "Safe Driving" competition which ran from 1926 (having commenced in the London area in 1918).  RoSPA say that

"The awards were a system for awarding drivers (often those professionally employed within large businesses/organisations) for safe driving. The system was rather complicated (and the rules were regularly amended) but entrants would receive medals and bars for consecutive years of non-accident driving. For example for the first four years of safe driving the driver received annually a diploma. The fifth year entitles him to a medal, and subsequent years entitle the driver to medals for 10, 15, 20 and 25 years blameless driving.
In 1933 for example, there were 58,634, unfortunately with the number of entrants each year, records have not been kept going back all these years.

(Source of the figures : RoSPA Annual Report and Accounts 1933  London: RoSPA)" 

Perhaps RFK became involved through his job as a postman - he may have been driving post vans at this point in his life. 

The final record that I have for RFK is the index reference for his death.  Richard Frederick Kitchener Saddington died in the March quarter of 1972 aged 72 years in the Cambridge registration district.

There is still a lot of research to do on this family, so if you are related or can help in any way, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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