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Delving into Kirkpatrick history

John Simpson Kirkpatrick at Shrapnel Gully.
John Simpson Kirkpatrick at Shrapnel Gully.

I am always touched by the trouble readers go to, to help me get to the bottom of things.

Most recently it has been the topic of where Gallipoli hero John Simpson Kirkpatrick was born in Shields.

It’s become habitual to say he was born in Bertram Street, but records, I was sure, actually place his birth in South Eldon Street.

I’ve since heard from Charles Cram in Hebburn, who took the trouble to consult a Ward’s Directory for the period 1895-1896, so just three years or so after Kirkpatrick was born.

And there indeed, at No 10 South Eldon Street, is one R Kirkpatrick – his father, Robert, whose occupation is given as ‘mate.’

This accords with what’s known to have been his employment with the London and Edinburgh Shipping Line and, later, the collier company of Fenwick’s (though he later suffered a crippling accident and spent the last few years of his life as an invalid).