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Samuel Whisker (1893-1929)

Stanley coal miner served as a corporal in the Durham Light Infantry

Samuel Whisker was born in Stanley on 22 January 1893. His father was John Whisker (1868-1908), a colliery horse-keeper who was born in Whitehaven, Cumberland. His mother was Isabella Whisker nee Carr (b 1871), a coal miner’s daughter from West Pelton. His parents married in Chester-le-Street in 1887 and had six known children giving Samuel four brothers and one sister, who died in infancy. In 1901 the Whisker family lived at 22 Middle Street, Stanley. By 1911 they had moved to 9 Shafto Terrace, Shield Row where Samuel was working as a rope-lad in a local coal mine.

Samuel attested in the Durham Light Infantry (DLI) on 27 August 1914. He initially served as a private in B company 10th Battalion with the service number 13394. He was later promoted to the rank of corporal. He entered the theatre of war in France on 21 May 1915. At some time he suffered a gunshot wound to the orbital region of his head. Samuel’s pension ledger card records him as being discharged on 15 June 1918. Other evidence suggests that he was actually transferred to Class P Reserve. This entitled him to the benefits of being discharged, but was technically still engaged by the army, stating that the Class P men’s ‘services are deemed to be temporarily of more value to the country in civil life rather than in the army.’

Samuel was awarded a Silver War Badge, a badge awarded to servicemen who were honourably discharged due to illness or injury. His records for this award give a final discharge date of 23 April 1919. Following the war, Samuel returned to Stanley and married Mary Whisker nee Scanlon in 1919. The couple had one child, a daughter named Joan who was born in 1920.

Samuel’s war injury left him with a piece of shrapnel lodged in his head which led to his death on 23 September 1929 at the age of 37. The piece of shrapnel brought on a sudden illness and Samuel died 12 hours later. Both his death and funeral were reported in articles in the Stanley News which are attached below.

His details were added to the headstone of his brother Roland who was buried in St Andrew’s Churchyard, Stanley. The inscription on this headstone reads “In loving memory of Roland Valentine Whisker the beloved son of Isabella and the late John Whisker who departed this life June 30th 1921 aged 24 years. Also, Samuel son of the above who departed this life September 23rd 1929 aged 36 years as a result of injuries received in the Great War”.

Samuel Whisker was also awarded the 1914-15 Star, the Victory Medal and the British War Medal for his service in World War One.

Civil Parish: Tanfield

Birth date: 22-Jan-1893

Death date: 23-Sep-1929

Armed force/civilian: Army

Residence: 22 Middle Street, Stanley (1901 census)
9 Shafto Terrace, Shield Row (1911 census)
14 Gordon Terrace, Shield Row (Pension Ledger Card)

Education: East Stanley Council School

Organisation membership: The British Legion
Shamrock Lodge, Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB)

Employment: Coal miner – Rope-lad (1911 census)

Family: Parents: John Whisker (1868-1908), Isabella Whisker nee Carr (b 1871)
Siblings: John Robert Whisker (b 1889), Selina Whisker (1890-1893), Roland Valentine Whisker (b 1897), Norman Whisker (b 1899), John Carr Whisker (b 1904)
Spouse: Mary Whisker nee Scanlon
Children: Joan whisker

Military service:

Durham Light Infantry
B Company 10th Battalion

Medal(s): 1914-15 Star
British War Medal
Victory Medal
Silver War Badge

Memorial(s): St Andrew’s Churchyard, Stanley

Gender: Male

Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham