Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Second World War obituary

Former Railwayman and Wigan Magistrate Daniel Ritson
Daniel passed away in July 1943 after several years of ill-health
Due to long-term ill health, Daniel had been unable to take much part in the WW2 war effort. During and shortly after WW1 Daniel had represented the railway employees in negotiations with the Coalition Government
For additional information click on 'Comments' below


Blogger ritsonvaljos said...

I have a copy of an obituary about my Great Uncle, Daniel Ritson J.P., who passed away roughly mid-way through WW2 in July 1943. During and after the First World War Daniel had represented the railwaymen in negotiations with the Coalition Government led by David Lloyd George. Unfortunately, because of ill-health Daniel was unable to play a similar role in the Second World War. However, the following information may be of some general interest and is based partly on the obituary in a wartime newspaper and partly from family records.

Daniel Ritson J.P. passed away in Billinge Hospital, Wigan on 25 July 1943, after some years of ill-health. He was 65 years of age. Daniel was survived by his wife Hannah Ritson (née Bewick) and two sons (Arthur and Alfred).

Daniel was one of the 10 children - and the eldest son - of James Ritson and Margaret Ann Ritson (née Atkinson). In January 1878 Daniel was baptised into the Church of England at St Nicholas’ Church, Whitehaven. Although apprenticed as a printer, Daniel Ritson had spent most of his working life on the railways, until forced to give up work for health reasons in 1936. For many years Daniel had been Inspector of Signals in the Wigan and Warrington area of Lancashire.

While working on the railways, Daniel Ritson had also been a prominent trade unionist and he was an executive member of the National Union of Railwaymen (N.U.R.) during and after WW1. As an executive member of the N.U.R. it appears that Daniel visited Downing Street on number of occasions to negotiate with members of the David Lloyd George Coalition Government, which lasted from 1916 to 1922. Daniel was appointed as a Wigan magistrate in 1923 and served in this capacity until 1936, when again ill-health forced him to stand down.

According to the copy of the obituary from 1943 about Daniel Ritson J.P., he had been a close colleague of the Rt Hon Stephen Walsh, M.P., who came from the Wigan area (Ince). After the First World War Mr Walsh had served as served as Secretary of State for War in the short-lived Ramsay MacDonald Government of 1924 (January to November).

Daniel was also a keen bowler and a supporter of football and both codes of rugby (Rugby League and Rugby Union). During WW2 his elder son Arthur also worked on the railways, while the younger son, Alfred, served in the R.A.F. After a funeral at St Mary’s, Ince on 30 July 1943, Daniel was interred in Wigan Cemetery. Daniel’s dear wife Hannah passed away 15 years later in 1958 and interred in the same grave. Once more, they were reunited.

While many articles found in local newspapers during WW2 contain much information about the war, sometimes one comes across what could be classed as more 'normal' articles - such as obituaries about prominent people who died of natural causes rather than as a result of the war. These rather more 'normal' articles can be found in newspapers during any period - be it peacetime or wartime. Reading wartime newspaper articles can be interesting and give a feeling of events - be they large or small - just after they happened.

Tuesday, 16 February, 2010  

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