Ernest Henry Shortland was the brother of my great grandmother Louisa Jane. Born in Weedon, Northamptonshire in 1876, for most of his life he worked as a wheelwright.
As a young man, Ernest joined the local section of the First Battalion, the Northamptonshire Volunteers and would travel with his colleagues on Penny Farthing bicycles to Daventry weekly, to take part in combined company drill and exercises. On arriving in Daventry, the cycling soldiers were greeted with shouts of ‘here come the mounted infantry’.
At the outbreak of war, Ernest volunteered for service but because of his age was advised to join the County Police and this is how he came to Braefield. As a war time police officer, he had many experiences, including chasing German prisoners of war who had escaped Pattishall Camp. who were located hiding in a a wood and escorted back to Northampton.
Ernest died in Braefield aged 91 and at that time was the villages oldest man.
Albert and Louisa were my great grandparents on my fathers side of the family.
Albert Edward William Clarke served with the Northamptonhire Constabulary from 1 December 1899 until he retired on 6 October 1931. On joining the force he was described as a native of Welton, Northamptonshire and during his service he served at various stations in the county. On retirement he held the rank of Sergeant and was described as having an exemplary character.
The pulpit inside of St Martins Church, Welton was carved by a number of local people, including Albert. It was dedicated on St Michael and All Angels Day 1899. The vicar at the was Rev Edward Liddell. A plaque appears on the wall next to the pulpit that reads ‘To the Glory and for the Love of Their Church’.
The photo above is a postcard sent by Albert on 7 June 1911 to Mrs A E Clarke, Police Station, Pottersbury, Stony, Stratford, Bucks. On the back it reads: ‘Dear Lou Hope you are all well pleased to say I am alright, not quite as busy as on Monday. I do not know yet if it will be Sunday or Monday we shall leave here with love to you all. Ted’
Louisa Jane was the daughter of William Thomas Shortland and Elizabeth Jelley and she had one brother, Ernest Henry. When Elizabeth died, William re-married Alis, who had a daughter called Maud. William and Alis, later had a child together called Bess. The photo below shows the four children (Ernest is pictured at the back, with his hand on Louisa’s shoulder) and William and Alis.
Ernest lived to be 91 and Bess died a spinster, leaving thousands of pounds for charities in Northamptonshire. Before marrying, Louisa was in service, looking after three children in a family called Armitage. Albert and Louisa had six children – Dorothy Margaret, Edward Alexander, Cecily Mary (known as Molly), Kitty Alexandra and my grandmother Delia Eileen.