Frank Dakin (1910-1999)

Frank with wife Jessie, Peter, Shirley, and Carolyn in the side car

Frank was born on 4th Jun 1910 in Blackpool at 122 Waterloo Road. He was baptised on 24th July 1910 at Holy Trinity Church, Blackpool, in the presence of sponsors Emma Dakin, Alfred Jolly Dakin, Frederick Ilett.
A strict Victorian upbringing reflected in his character as an adult. Frank attended Thames Road Seminal School where his skills in mathematics set him on course for a career in engineering.

Franks first job was with the Blackpool Corporation where he would undertake an electrical apprenticeship. He talked about maintenance work on the electric trams and was involved in building the first moving tableau of the Blackpool illuminations – two juggling clowns. From 1926 Frank took night classes at the Harris institute at Preston, traveling by bus. In 1927 he passed the senior technical course in electrical engineering achieving a distinction in all three elements of the course – mathematics, mechanics, and electrical science.

In 1928 he passed the national certificate in electrical engineering, again, achieving a distinction in Mathematics. In 1929 he passed the advanced technical course in electrical engineering with a distinction in mathematics.

Frank worked for William Eaves, a large building firm that had their own brick works. Peter recalls visiting the brick works aged 3 or 4. Living at Clifton Crescent.
Frank attended holy trinity church and became a keen scout leader. This is where he met Jessie Dewhirst, the daughter of a south shore grocer, who played an active role in running the Sunday school and the brownie pack at the same church.
Jessie recalled doing some of their courting in the windmill on Blackpool promenade. During the illuminations the corporation used the windmill to house fuse boards and equipment and because an electrician had to be on duty, the young couple took advantage of the selection.

In 1933 frank and Jessie took a cycling holiday in Wales on a tandem they called Tilly. Jessie kept an illustrated record of their adventures which she later had bound.

On 6 June 1934 Frank and Jessie were married at Holy Trinity Church, South Shore, Blackpool. They spent their first night at the park hotel then the following day took a train to Stratford Upon Avon. Tom Melling was Franks best man.

Frank purchased a 1928 Fiat 8 on honeymoon for £6 10s and a driving licence for £1. 19 Clifton Crescent must have been their first house together. Tilly wash old to buy a perambulator pending the arrival of Peter on the 28 May 1935. Their second child Shirley was born a year later on 31 may 1936. The children were born at Clifton crescent.
Franks war service was with the RAF as an electrician/service engineer. He moved to several different bases in the north west taking his family with him, including Silloth, Cumbria, and Stranraer where he worked on Sunderland flying boats used by coastal command. He was briefly posted to an aircraft storage facility at Whinfell, Penrith as commanding officer. Possibly rented out Clifton crescent. Carolyn was born in 1942 at 18 Burlington Road.
Victoria hospital as electrical engineer. Keen walker. Owned an Austin 6. Michael born at 18 Burlington Road.
In 1948 frank took a post as deputy engineer at Lancaster moor hospital and the family moved into no3 daisy bank, a hospital house. Frank still owned two houses in Blackpool which he rented out, 26 Bampton Avenue built by his father and 19 Clifton crescent. He was second in responsibility to Mr Leuty, for all aspects of heating, lighting, and mechanical maintenance of vehicles and hospital equipment.
He and Jessie took an active role in the hospital social life performing in the amateur dramatic group and organising Christmas parties and other social events. In the days before TV these events were the basis of every bodies social life and were very well supported.

In the coronation year of 1953 the hospital social committee organised a great pageant based on Elizabeth 1 and Elizabeth 2. The men built the tableaux including a miniature golden coach pulled by six boys dressed as postal lion riders carrying a very young queen Elizabeth and her prince Philip. Michael was one of the guardsmen escorting the coach.
The ladies made costumes from old fabrics and curtains, after wartime rationing some things were still hard to obtain. Peter played the role of sir Walter Raleigh and Hurley that of a lady in waiting in a tableaux featuring Elizabeth 1. Carolyn was one of the Morris dancers.
The tableaux featured in a coronation parade through Lancaster and at several other events during the summer.
Pall franks children went to school in Lancaster, a penny bus ride away. Peter and Shirley at the grammar school and Carolyn and Michael at Christ church primary, then Carolyn attended Gurnton secondary modern school for girls.

Frank and Jessie attended the village church of Quernmore where his skills were ‘volunteered’ for maintenance and heating. Michael recalls accompanying his father to the church on Saturdays to clean and light the coke boiler for the Sunday service. Even then hot water bottles were often essential.

Once a year a church boon day was organised. The whole place was scrubbed out and the grass of the church yard cut. The day concluded with a supper at the village hall, hot pot, pickles and bottles of beer.

Jessie joined the women’s institute at Quernmore soon becoming a committee member. This was the start of her long connection with the WI and the start of her career teaching and demonstrating handicrafts.

The family kept two pets at this time, a white sealium dog called Judy, and a large Persian cat called Moppit. The latter was in the habit of bringing home large amounts of dead fauna to decorate the back door mat.
In the 40’s and 50’s holidays were unsophisticated affairs and Frank, forever the scout leader, took his family camping. He had a large brown canvas ex-military tent for himself and Jessie which also doubled as the quartermasters store. The children slept in an assortment of small white 2 man tents. The Lake District was a favourite destination and only a short drive from Lancaster.

One summer Frank exchanged houses with his cousin Bill Dakin at Bispham, allowing them to have a break in the country, and his own family a trip to the seaside.

Another memorable holiday was a caravan trip to Stratford upon Avon where he had honeymooned in 1934. Frank had bought a blue 1936 standard 12 used by the Lancaster Fire Service during the war. He equipped it with a ball hitch and hired a twelve foot caravan which he towed down to the Avon valley. Carolyn and Michael travelled with them but Peter, who had started his national service and at the time was at the officer training school at Eaton Hall in Cheshire, joined them for a few days. Shirley travelled down from a week on a motor cycle with Uncle Bill Pye, a close family friend.

As the older children became more independent Michael recalls a holiday in Cornwall and Devon when Frank hired a wooden chalet in what nowadays would be called a holiday village. On a trip into Plymouth the family were amazed at the amount of destruction caused by German bombers just 10 years previously. The famous ship HMS Amethyst was being broken up in the docks.

Franks eldest two learnt to drive in the Standard 12 (DXV263) and were allowed to use it for social events and dating. However, things didn’t always run smoothly, Frank went out to it one morning to find the front mudguard lying on the back seat.

Formerly blue the car underwent a major face-lift being painted by hand light battleship grey with Royal Blue mudguards. Frank constructed his own exhaust system and Michael recalls him fitting a second red tail light (somebody in Whitehall thought it might be a good idea for cars to have two red lights on the back.

The latest additions to the family were a large black Labrador called Tonga (commemorating the Queen of Tongas visit to London for the Coronation) and a Siamese cat called Tchula (from the King and I).


In 1958 Frank was appointed chief engineer at Calderstones Hospital near Whalley, and moved into the hospitals North Lodge, a large three bedroom house. As the two eldest children had now left home Carolyn and Michael were able to have a room each.

TV was now ubiquitous with two channels available so peoples social lives had drastically changed. Frank and Jessie joined the Whalley players but concerts and parties were less frequent. Jessie joined the Mytton and District WI and so became a county official.

Frank attended Whalley Parish Church and joined the choir. Michael was confirmed and Shirley was married there.
After a few months at Whalley primary school Michael attended Accrington Secondary Technical School and Carolyn worked as a telephonist at Clitheroe post office (the days when telephones were part of the General Post Office).

In 1960 Frank took Jessie and Michael on the family’s first foreign holiday – a coach trip to Lucerne, Switzerland, flying from Southend to Ostend in an ancient Douglas DC7. The return leg of the trip included a two day stop in Paris, the fact that the Algerians where conducting a terror campaign against the French government hadn’t unduly concerned anybody until the family’s progress was interrupted by an armed Police Raid. Frank grabbed his incumbents and made

A second foreign trip in 1960 took Frank and Jessie on a WI organised cruise in the Mediterranean. Because of a mix-up in transportation there were several complaints resulting in a generous refund.

Frank decided to update his Standard 12 and bought a Commer Cob Estate a vehicle far more suited to transporting Jessie and her handicrafts to village halls from Cheshire to Cumbria. Both Jessie and Michael started driving in the Commer in 1962 the Commer was changed for a white mini estate 5700TF in which Michael passed his test and Jessie never did. She often went out on her own for practice and frequently used the back road to Whalley to do her shopping, until the local police got wind of it. She abandoned her aspirations of independence the night she corned too fast and rolled a tyre off its rim.

1964 was a special year when Frank became a grandfather to Andrew, the first of his six grandsons. Trips to Weatherby became frequent outings for Frank and Jessie especially in 1966 when Stephen their second grandson was born.

Frank joined the choir of St Marys Parish Church almost opposite his home. Michael was married there and eventually the ashes of both Frank and Jessie were buried there together.

On the 20.08.1965 Frank bought Sagar House, a listed property at 10 Church Street, Clitheroe from William Franas and Helen Rigs. Carolyn lived there long enough to decorate her bedroom then headed south to London. Michael lived there until his marriage to Diana Dawson in 1971.

In 1967 Frank sold 19 Clifton Crescent for £2700 then sold 26 Bampton Avenue in 1975 for £8600.

The conversion of an annex at Sagar House into a studio enabled Jessie to invite ladies groups to Clitheroe reducing the need to travel. Because of its central location Sagar House became a popular venue for charity and WI coffee mornings. Frank was very tolerant of the house full of women but Michael recalls returning home one Saturday morning from a week’s work and having his way barred by an unfamiliar face demanding two shillings entry.

In 1968 came the first of several trips to the USA to visit Peter and his family who had relocated to Eckhart, Indiana. On one occasion Frank and Jessie drove across the country to California in Peters Morgan +4.

When frank retired in 1974 he turned his hand to domestic matters. Whilst Jessie worked on her craft business he developed his cooking and jam making skills. His Lasagne became quite a speciality. He joined Probus and the local ramblers group taking his turn to organise walks. Pendle hill was always one of his favourites.

In the 1970’s Jessie developed angina which had a profound effect on her extraordinary vitality. In July 1977 she died suddenly and peacefully in her arm chair at Sagar House. Sadly Jessie only knew five of her Grandsons, the last one Richard was born just seven months after her death.

Frank maintained the large circle of friends accumulated though his connections with the church and the WI, and the ones who liked lasagne were invited to his dinner parties. He joked that by inviting two or three couples for a meal he would receive the same number of invitations for Sunday lunch.

He spent Christmas with either Shirley, Carolyn or Michael, and made another visit to Peter in the USA. He soon established a friendship with Janet Mason, a fellow rambler, who became a dear companion.

Frank drove his mini estate until the floor fell out but no longer having the interest or facilities to do other than light maintenance of his vehicles, he passed it down to a poorer but more enthusiastic generation. There followed a series of euro-boxes which for the purposes of our records were a Morris 1100, a Renault 14, and two models of the fiat Uno. Frank drove until his death but by his mid-80’s, and two cataract operations later, driving was very much a team effort with the passengers contributing as much to their progress as the driver.

1982 was the start of two years of serious travelling for Frank. Through the international contacts of his eldest son Peter, frank flew to Iran where he was employed as a consultant engineer to reactivate the main power generators of the Red Cross clinic at the southern tip of Iran across the river from Basra, Iraq. He was paid $5000 per month plus all travel, accommodation and daily expenses. The clinic had been blown up by the Israeli air force by mistake when they tried to destroy suspected atomic energy facilities thought to be producing atomic weapons.

The Iranians were so impressed with Frank’s work that they asked him to stay for two more months to work on another project for the aluminium corporation of Iran where huge amounts of electrical current is required to smelt the ore.

One anecdote to reach the ears of Peter was how they were amazed that Frank could touch major connections without being electrocuted. We’re quite sure however he knew what he was standing on at the time.

Frank spent his weekends visiting parts of Iran, Shiraz and other places.

He did not choose to fly home direct but met up with a friend from the Clitheroe conservative club in Kuwait and the two returned to the UK via Dubai, India, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Salt Lake, The Hoover Dam, The Grand Canyon and Louisville. On arrival in Kentucky he had to cash a cheque, he’d spent $15,000 and said “we went first class”.

In 1983 franks planned a walking holiday in the Himalayas. Christine Needham, the daughter of a distant relative, was living in Nepal where she taught English to the Gurka troops. Uncle Frank used her as a contact and base for his Nepalese trek. After his return he gave slide shows of his trek and recorded an audio tape. In it he describes the day to day progress of the trek and how he coped with the conditions.

He recalls in a high mountain village offering sweets to some Nepalese children who casually discarded the paper wrappers. They were checked by Frank and told to pick them up. He always thought people should have standards – even in the 3rd world.

In 1987 Frank annexed a piece of land to his garden which he had been using as his own and which had been bought by the district council from the previous owners.

In 1993 Frank was invited to Mallorca to holiday with Michael and his family in PTO Pollensa. He took to the Mediterranean lifestyle with enthusiasm enjoying the sangria and eating squid for the first time. He cut a comical figure promenading in his shorts which rather clashed with the socks and tweed jacket.
He fell on a walk along the Boquer Valley and again walking over the ridge to Calla San Vicente, he almost drowned in Pollensa Bay, but on leaving the island with a black eye, sutured nose, and bruised shoulder, thanks everyone for a wonderful holiday.

In October 1999 Frank had a stroke and was found on his bedroom floor by Mrs Moon his cleaner. He was taken to the hospital at Clitheroe and when visited by Michael and Diana appeared perky and full of humour. Sadly he had a second stroke and became unconscious. He was transferred to the infirmary at Blackburn where Carolyn, having travelled from London, sat with him for several days. He died on 10 Oct 1999 without regaining consciousness. Frank’s estate was split into 5 equal portions. One going to each of his children and one being split a further 6 ways for each of his grandchildren.


Hilda Dakin (1906-1991)

Hilda was born on the 5th May 1906 in Blackpool to James and Ellen Dakin. On the premature death of her parents she and her younger brother Frank were taken in by their spinster Aunt Sarah Jane at 62 Dean Street, South Shore.

Hilda, deeply religious, worked as a milliner (presumably with Alfred Jolly) and like her Aunt remained a spinster. On the death of her Aunt in 1933 she inherited the property and converted it into several flats. This income enabled her to take early retirement and devote the rest of her life to the church (Holy Trinity). Brother Franks mother in law, Jane Harriet Dewhirst (Janet) when a widow took the front ground floor flat living there for many years until her death.

Michael Dakin recalls many visits throughout the 1950s to his grandmother Janet. This usually included a visit to Hilda’s bedsit; a dark and austere Victorian room with a large pictures of religious content. In those days Weetabix printed the component parts of a car or lorry on the back of their boxes to be cut out and glued together. Hilda collected the boxes to amuse Michael during his visits.

As children older siblings Peter, Shirley and Carolyn have less fond memories of Hilda because of her extreme piety. On visits to their home she would destroy comics and anything she thought of low intellectual content.

With Peter and Shirley

In the 1980’s, when friend and companion Maggie Black became ill, Hilda sold 62 Dean Street and moved to Airdrie where suitable treatment for her friend was available. She lived at 30 Cairnhill Road.

During the 80’s, and after the death of Maggie, Hilda had 3 or 4 short holidays at Morland with her nephew Michael and his wife Diana. Michael visited her at Cairnhill Road twice, the latest time for her funeral.

When she died most of her assets were bequeathed to the Bible Society, but Michael was given the high back stool made by her father James and the sum of £2000.

She died on the 18th Jan 1991 and is interred at New Monkland Ryden Main Cemetery, Glenmavis.

Hilda and Maggie’s Headstone

John Fisher Dakin (1844-1926)

John was born on the 2nd of June 1844 at Cherry Mount Lodge, Clough Lane, Eccleshall
Bierlow, near Sheffield. He was the first child of Samuel and Sarah Dakin. Samuel
was employed as a Coachman. Fisher came from his mothers maiden name; Sarah Fisher.

The 1851 census finds him living with his parents at Cherry Tree Hill, Eccleshall
Bierlow. At the age of 17 he is living, as a boarder, with an Edward Jolly and
family at 17 Bolton Street, Blackpool. There are four other boarders living with the
Jolly’s at this time and all are either painters or joiners. John’s occupation is
Joiner. It is here that he will have met his future wife, Ann Jolly, then aged 24.

John married Ann Richmond Jolly on the 23rd Jan 1866 in Blackpool. Ann was 3 months
pregnant at the time. The wedding certificate states that he was a carpenter. William
Jolly and James Tuner were witnesses.

Their first son Edward Samuel was born on the 20th June 1866, soon to be followed by
Sarah Jane in 1867. The 1871 census finds all four living at 9 Victoria Terrace,
South Shore, Blackpool. Three more sons arrive whilst living at Victoria terrace.
Alfred Jolly (b.04.10.1871), John William (b.08.01.1873), and James Richard

Some time in the next 6 years they moved to a bigger property, 2 Rawcliffe Street,
right on the sea front. In 1861 Ann’s brother William is also lodging with the
family and they have a servant, Alice Farmer. By 1891 Edward hs moved out and they
have a new servant, Mary Linguard.

2 Rawcliffe Street then

2 Rawcliffe Street now
By 1911, John and Ann had downsized and bought a smaller property at 62 Dean
Street, though Sarah Jane and John William, neither of which married, still live
with them.

John died on the 4th May 1926 at Dean Street, at the age of 81. His death certifcate
gives the cause of arteris sclerosis and myocardial degeneration. John William was
present at the death. A copy of his will is featured on another article.

Frances Dakin (1881-1952)

Frances was born on the 10th July 1881 in Castleton to James and Isabella Dakin. She was the last of 7 children born to her parents, with Isabella being 46 at the time.

In 1891 her father had died and she is recorded as living with her mother and brothers, George and James, in Castleton “Island”. She doesn’t appear to have been recorded in the 1901 census. On the 14th March 1906 Frances gave birth to a son Harold in the Ecclesall Bierlow area. She was unmarried at the time and a father is not known. It is believed that Frances’ brother William and his wife Maud brought Harold up.

In 1911 Frances was working at Goosehill Hall, Castleton, as a Cook for the Minnitt family.  It is believed that some of this family perished on the Lusitania a year later.

In 1915 Frances was the recipient of her mothers Will, two years after Isabella died. The total she inherited was £49 2s and it appears that Frances was the sole beneficiary, perhaps as a result of being the only child of Isabella that was unmarried.

She married George Pickford on 28th April 1920 at the Chinley Chapel. George was a jobbing gardener at died at the age of 72 at their house in Mill Lane, Castleton, on 3rd March 1936. Frances died at the same location at the age of 70 on 5th April 1952.

Frances Dakin (rear) and Hannah Maria Dakin, Lillian, and Mary

John Farmer Dakin (1784-1857)

John Farmer Dakin was the 3rd surviving child born to William and Elizabeth (Betty) Daykin (nee Sellars) and was christened on the 7th March 1784 in Castleton. John married 17 year old Hannah Jackson on the 8th September 1806 in Castleton. His first son John Farmer Dakin was born on the 2nd of September 1808 but did not survive the year. At least two other children also died in infancy and are listed on John’s headstone; Elizabeth and a further John Farmer. What I believe to be his youngest daughter, Eliza, is also listed on his headstone; christened 22.01.1826, died aged 17 on 24.07.1843.

A detailed search of the parish records, however, threw up a number of other children which at the moment I presume to have survived John;

  • Ann Dakin – chr.30.09.1810 Castleton
  • William Dakin – chr.14.02.1814 Castleton
  • Robert Dakin – chr.10.09.1815 Castleton
  • Mary Dakin – chr.10.05.1818 Castleton
  • Hannah Dakin – chr.24.06.1821 Castleton

The original parish records for Castleton also show that John was witness to his brother William’s marriage to Ann Needham in 1816 and witness to his sister’s marriage to George Hall in 1812.

Tragically his wife Hannah died on 20th July 1827 in Castleton, aged 38. Cause of death is currently unknown.

The earliest adult record we have for what John did was the 1851 census where he was a rope maker living on the premises of his employer John Willcock at Chapel En Le Frith. Derbyshire had a rope making industry and it seems that  John Farmer Dakin’s occupation was Rope Spinner. The British Pathe website has a clip of rope making in Castleton and shows an example of the life John Farmer Dakin may have led.

Video Clip – Rope Making in Castleton, Derbyshire

From what we can determine from the death records of his family it’s clear that Johns hard life was haunted by tragedy.  He outlived many of his family, had at least three children that failed to live beyond infancy, and then died in 1857 at the age of 74 in Chapel En Le Frith Workhouse, effectively being destitute.

Chapel En Le Frith Workhouse

John is buried at St Edmunds Church, Castleton, Derbyshire. His headstone is made of a metal compound hence its good condition and appears to have been erected by the Masons. Note its Masonic imagery.

“In Memory of John Farmer Dakin who died 16th December 1857, aged 74 years. Hannah, wife of John Farmer Dakin, who died 20th July 1827, aged 38 years. Also John Farmer, Elizabeth, and John Farmer, their children who died in their infancy. Also, Eliza, their daughter who died 24th July 1843 aged 17 years”.

James Dakin (Deakin) (1827-1883)

James was born in Castleton in Derbyshire in 1827, the youngest of 4 children born to ropemaker William Dakin (1794-1830) and Ann Needham (1800-1834). William and Ann had lost their first two children within a year of their birth; James (1816) and Martha (1818).

James married Sarah Ann Nelson in Yorkshire in 1856 and they had one child, Mary. Sarah Ann died only 3 years later and James remarried. Mary was subsequently brought up by her Grandmother Ann Barber and can be seen as living with Ann and her husband John in the 1861 and 1871 census records.

James had a most unusual cause of death. He was bitten by a dog in a local village and contracted rabies. The cause of death was Hydrophobia which, in relation to rabies, is described as follows;  a set of symptoms of the later stages of an infection, in which the victim has difficulty swallowing, shows panic when presented with liquids to drink, and cannot quench his or her thirst.

Date Event Comments
1827 Born Castleton, Derbyshire to William Dakin and Ann Needham
1830 Death Father William Dakin dies
1841 Census Miner aged 14. Living in Castleton with miner John Barber, his remarried mother Ann Barber, and his two sisters Elizabeth and Mary.
1851 Census Location unknown
1856 Married Sarah Ann Nelson, Sheffield
1856 Birth Daughter Mary born 08.02.1856
1859 Death Sarah Ann dies
1860 Married Marriage to Isabella Ibbotson, Bradfield, Yorkshire
1861 Census Lead Miner, Lodging with Isabella’s family at 2 Bents Cottages, Bradfield, Yorkshire
1871 Census Lead Miner, 5 Bents Cottages, Bradfield, Yorkshire
1881 Census Lead Miner, Island, Castleton, with a lodger Henry Green, Lead Miner
1883 Died Aged 57 from rabies caught when bitten by a dog at Hollow Meadows, a small hamlet between Bamford and Sheffield.

Samuel Dakin (1818-1890)

Samuel was born in Castleton in Derbyshire in 1818, the eldest of 4 children born to farmer William Dakin (1794-1830) and Ann Needham (1800-1834), and brother to James Dakin (1827-1883). Samuel appears to have been the Dakin that made the move over to Lancashire, starting the dynasty of the Haslingden and Blackpool Dakins. He and his father are listed on his marriage certificate as farmers.

The 1841 Census shows that Samuel is no longer living with his mother, who had remarried to become Ann Barber, and siblings. The likeliest candidate for Samuel in the Census seems to be the incorrectly transcribed Samuel Daken, who appears to be working as a Horse Keeper 6 miles from Castleton in Hathersage. Though he would be 22 at the time of the census the 1841 Census is known for rounding down ages to the lowest 5 years. Therefore Samuel’s age would be rounded down to 20. Also, Samuel’s future career was a coachman and starting off as a Horse Keeper would have been the logical place to learn his trade.  This 1841 Samuel appears here.

There is a rumour that Samuel eloped with Sarah Fisher, who at the time may have been the daughter of a wealthy landowner. Indeed, though they were married in Sarah’s home town of Rotherham, the witnesses to the marriage were not family members. Samuel and Sarah were married on the 29th October in 1842 at The Parish Church, now known as All Saints Church or Rotherham Minster. At the date of marriage in 1842 Samuel was still resident in Castleton.

Marriage Certificate

After their wedding Samuel and Sarah moved to Eccleshall, Sheffield where in 1844 their first child, John Fisher Dakin, was born.

The 1851 Census has Samuel living at 6 Cherry Tree Hill, Eccleshall and his profession is a Coachman. Later in that year their second child, Ellen Ann Dakin, was born. Ester and Mary arrived in 1853 and 1856 respectively and soon after they moved house to 28 & 26 Larkhill Street, Blackburn, Lancashire. William and James were born here in 1859 and 1861.

At some point between 1861 and 1871 James died. He appears on the Census in 61 and would have been around 10 in 71 but there is no record of him. Samuel junior was then born in 1865, possibly in Blackpool. It also appears that during this time the family moved house again. The 71 Census has them living at 93 Lane Side in Haslingden, Lancashire. Samuel senior has given up Coaching and is a Toll Collector. They move house again in the next decade so that the 1881 Census listed them at 9 Regent Street, Haslingden. And by the time that Samuel died in 1890 they were living at 24 Regent Street, Haslingden.

William Brandwood Dakin (1898-1982)

William was born on the 2nd June 1898 in Blackpool, England but moved to Canada when his father, Alfred Jolly Dakin, emigrated there to open a dynamite store. After signing up for the Great War he returned to Canada only to then leave for the USA to study Dentistry. He lived in Oakland for many years but then returned to Canada in retirement. We believe he may have had 2 wives but we can only find record of Florence.

L-R rear – Gary Brandwood Dakin, Alfred Jolly Dakin, William Brandwood Dakin, front – Gary’s wife(?) & Emma Dakin

William lied about his age when volunteering for the 1st World War as the date of birth on his attestation papers now confirm. His conscription record states 2 June 1896 but his real birth date was 1898. His military number was 107192. Prior to 1915 he had once been a cadet in the Naval Cadet corp but in the Great War he was assigned to the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles. During WW2 he used to send the UK Dakin family food parcels.

His son Gary worked his working life at Rand McNally map makers as a cartographer and retired to Sun City Arizona. Peter Dakin visited him and he showed him with great pride his wood working shop well equipped including dust extraction system, lathe etc and all in perfect neat layout. His father did not consider Gary as being successful as he had not made a lot of money. Bill did not mess with words, he was blunt and direct.

Peter Dakin visited him on Victoria Island off the coast of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada where he retired (and we assume eventually died). He had made his money in Oakland across the bay from San Francisco, not just from dentistry, but mostly from real estate finally selling his last holdings on which the University of California, Berkeley now stands. He purchased a grand house and estate in Victoria, near the famous Butchart Gardens visited by millions from around the world.

The Director advised me with insistence to be there by 9 a.m. Bill had built the nursing home in the grounds of his estate and his home eventually was used as a recreation centre. When I arrived he was beaming and wearing his military blazer. He ordered drinks which turned out to be coffee, shortbread and a bottle of brandy. We talked for about 2 hours and by then he had started on his second bottle of Brandy. Then the nurse came after his forth pee break to advise him time it was time for his nap. She helped him up and he pinched her backside.

Peter Dakin

Peter thanked the Director and made a point about his Brandy drinking and asked does he always entertain like that; surely he will become alcoholic. The director said he usually only has one bottle of brandy in the mornings and it helps him sleep all afternoon as he is a little wild at night when they play cards after dinner. Peter suggested that drinking that much was surely not good for his health and might kill him. The Director said yes it might, but he owns the place and frankly that man is too stubborn to die.

Date Event Comments
1898 Born Blackpool, Lancashire
1898 Christened Holy Trinity Church, Blackpool
1901 Census 35 & 37 Lenwick Street, Blackpool
1911 Census Scholar, 35 Church Street, Blackpool
1914 Emigration Liverpool to Quebec, destination British Columbia
1915 Attestation WW1 Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force
1919 Emigration Victoria to Seattle, destination Berkley
1925 Married To Florence Wilde
1930 Graduation Degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery, Uni. California – see p11
1930 Census Dentist, Jones Street, San Francisco
1932 Resident Alameda County, California (California Voter Reg)
1934 Resident Alameda County, California (California Voter Reg)
1942 Resident Alameda County, California (California Voter Reg)
1944 Resident Alameda County, California (California Voter Reg)
1982 Died Death registered at Fremont, Alameda County, California, United States but may have been at Victoria Island, British Columbia

John ‘Jack’ Dakin (1890-1917)

John was born in Blackpool on the 13th of February in 1890 at Watson’s Lane. He was the eldest child of Edward Samuel Dakin and Annie Dakin (nee Tilly) and was also known as ‘Jack’ to friends and family. In 1901 he lived at 25 Church Street with his family. By 1911 they had moved to 44 Withnell Road and the census lists his occupation as being a Stone Mason. It is worth noting that this same record shows that Edward Samuel Dakin’s brother in law, William Tilley, is living with the family and his occupation is a Contracting Stone Mason and is described as an Employer. It looks like John became apprentice to, and worked with, William.

He enlisted in the army on the 7th Sept 1914. After joining the King’s Own (Royal Lancaster Regiment) for the Great War as a private he was soon promoted to Sergeant. He was in the 9th Battalion and his number was 13385. This was an infantry regiment and was part of the 22nd Division. In September 1915 he was posted to France. They then landed in Greece on the 7th November 1915. He was killed in action on the 28th April 1917 in Greece in what we believe was one of the Battles of Doiran. His family received a touching letter from a Corporal Cooper after Johns death.

John Dakin

© Linda Rowland 2013

He is buried at Karasouli Military Cemetery, Greece, and his grave reference is F.1388.

© Ann Stone 2011

The cemetery is near the town of Polikastro (formerly Karasouli) which lies some 56 kilometres from Thessalonika, between the River Vardas and the south end of Lake Ardzan, in the Department of Pellis.

The cemetery was begun in September 1916 for the use of casualty clearing stations on the Doiran front. At the Armistice, it contained about 500 burials but was greatly increased when graves were brought in from the following cemeteries: Hadzi Bari Mah Military Cemetery (moved April 1919) – used from 25 August to 17 September 1917 contained 61 burials, 46 of them men of the 10th Hampshires and 2nd Gloucesters, who captured an enemy salient on 1 September. Caussica Military Cemetery (moved November 1920) – begun in February 1917 and at the Armistice contained 62 burials from field ambulances. This cemetery was itself enlarged when graves were brought in from surrounding burial grounds in February 1919. Kalinova Military Cemetery (moved December 1920) – used by field ambulances from October 1917 to September 1918 and at the Armistice contained 52 burials from field ambulances. This cemetery was itself enlarged when graves were brought in from surrounding burial grounds in February 1919. The cemetery now contains 1,421 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 56 being unidentified.

The history of 22nd Division

This Division was established in September 1914 as part of Army Order 388 authorising Kitchener’s Third New Army, K3. The units began to assemble in the area of Eastbourne and Seaford, with the artillery at Lewes, from September 1914. The Division remained in these areas, other than when the infantry moved for two weeks entrenchment training to Maidstone in April 1915, as it was trained and equipped.

The Division crossed to France in early September 1915, all units being concentrated near Flesselles by 9th of the month. But the stay in France was to be very short.

On 27 October 1915, the Division, having been moved by train to Marseilles, began to embark for Salonika. It completed concentration there in November, although the final artillery units were still coming in as late as 13 December 1915. The 22nd Division remained in the theatre for the rest of the war, taking part in the following operations:

8-13 December: the Retreat from Serbia (Advanced Divisional HQ, 6th Brigade, 9th Border and 68th Field Ambulance only)

10-18 August 1916: the Battle of Horseshoe Hill
13-14 September 1916: the Battle of Machukovo

24-25 April and 8-9 May 1917: the Battles of Doiran

The Division lost a number of units in mid 1918; they were transferred to France
18-19 September 1918: the Battle of Doiran

An Armistice with Bulgaria was signed on 30 September 1918.

By 18-20 October, units of the Division had marched back to Stavros. Here they embarked on destroyers with the intention of a landing at Dede Agach to continue the fight against Turkey. After one attempt was called off due to rough weather, the infantry finally landed on 28 October 1918. On reaching Makri, the Division learned that an Armistice with Turkey was imminent. Demobilisation began at Chugunsi and the Division ceased to exist by 31 March 1919.

The 22nd Division had suffered casualties of 7,728 killed, wounded and missing during the war but vastly larger numbers sick with malaria, dysentery and other diseases rife in the Salonika theatre.


His mother applied for his war medals after his death. The medals for the WW1 campaign are listed on the National Archives webpage.

Thanks to Ann Stone for additional information and photos for this article.

James Richard Dakin (1874-1925)

James Richard Dakin was born to John Fisher Dakin and Ann Jolly Dakin in December 1874, the youngest of five children. They lived in Blackpool and he grew up on and around Rawcliffe Street; a street leading directly to the South Shore promenade. James was 4 when the famous Blackpool Illuminations were founded in 1879. After school James became a joiner like his father. The 16 year old James is listed as a joiners apprentice in the 1891 census. After doing his time as an apprentice he went into partnership with one Jim Porter. Jim was 3 years older than James and grew up on an adjoining street to James’, 30 Moore Street. They had a workshop at 41a Dean Street, Blackpool.

Members of the Dakin family still possess examples of James’ joinery work, these are:

  1. A circular oak framed barometer with ornate carving.
  2. A rectangular dark oak wall plaque with ornate carving
  3. A two compartment lockable tea caddy ornately carved in dark oak bearing the initials “A.D”, a gift to his mother Ann. Given to Andrew Dakin by the executors of Franks Will in recognition of the time and affection given to his grandfather.
  4. A high back stool in American oak with carved back and seat. One leg is darker (English oak) and was cut from the wreck of HMS Foudroyant one of Lord Nelson’s flagships which was blown onto the beach at South Shore. The chair bears the date 1897.
  5. A high back stool in English oak with carved back and seat bearing the date 1903 made by James for his fiancée Ellen.

On 21st June 1905 James married Jim’s sister Ellen Boardman Porter at Holy Trinity Church, Blackpool. It is likely that they, along with Ellen’s brother Jim, had grown up together as a result of living so closely. The wedding photograph, below, is the most important family photograph for images of the Dakin family at this time, and features three generations of Dakin and Porter family members. A key for identification of the family members is in the Appendices of this document.

James and Ellen moved to a new family home at 122 Waterloo Road, South Shore, Blackpool, where they had two children, Hilda, born 5th May 1906, and Frank, born 4th June 1910. Ellen died on 10th January 1916 at the age of 40, from pneumonia and heart failure.

At some point prior to 1915 James had become a Corporal with a battery of the Lancashire Royal Garrison Artillery volunteers. This was probably due to Field-Marshal Lord Kitchener’s request for Volunteers in 1914. In 1915 he received notice for call up and on 30th November 1915 James signed his military attestation papers and was appointed to the No.3 Reserve Brigade Royal Field Artillery.

Without a mother Frank and Hilda initially went to live with their Grandfather John Fisher Dakin and his family, and then later with Sarah Jane, James older sister and spinster, who lived at 62 Dean Street.

When he was mobilised he was then appointed to “B” Battery 331st Brigade Royal Field Artillery. The 331st (CCCXXXI) Brigade was a Second Line Territorial unit, although the distinction between Territorial and other units had disappeared in practice by this stage of the War. It went overseas in spring 1917 as part of the Army’s 66th Division (2nd East Lancashire) and spent the following months in Belgium near to the Channel coast. In this sector the front line was near the town of Nieuport. The gun positions were a little way behind this at Coxyde-le-Bains, almost on the beach.

James Richard DakinHis battery was a Medium Trench Mortar unit. His Military number was 707139 and he received the Victory Medal 1914-18 and the British War Medal 1914-20. He gained promotion to Corporal, the second rank of non-commissioned officers, in 1917. This role meant he was in charge of a section and Corporals were often referred to as the back-bone of the British army.

James was captured by the Germans sometime in early 1918 and became a Prisoner of War at Dülmen Camp, Westphalia, Germany. He was then moved to Group 21, Parchim Camp nearer Berlin.

During his capture he wrote to his sister Sarah Jane on a number of occasions informing her of where he was and asking for parcels of food and toiletries. It appears that Sarah Jane had to update the Army on James’ whereabouts and not the reverse!

When James returned from the war he married Edith Hughes (1870-1947) on the 29th September 1920 at their Parish Church in South Shore Blackpool. Witnesses for the occasion were John William Dakin, Ernest Hughes, and Jane Hannah Fisher. Edith lived in Balmoral Road, South Shore.

He died on the 20th April 1925, after only 5 years of marriage, from diabetes. The place of death was the County Mental Hospital, Winwick Rd, Warrington, though he was registered as living at 26 Bamton Avenue (built by Richard), Blackpool with Edith.

Date Event Comments
1874 Born Blackpool, Lancashire
1881 Census Scholar, 2 Rawcliffe Street, Blackpool
1891 Census Joiners Apprentice, 2 Rawcliffe Street, Blackpool
1901 Census Location Unknown
1905 Marriage Ellen Porter, Blackpool
1911 Census Joiner, 122 Waterloo Road, Blackpool
1915 Attestation No3 Reserve Brigade, Royal Field Artillery
1916 (3/10) Posted France
1917 (17/9) Promotion Private to Corporal
1918 (21/3) Missing Reported missing
1918 (3/6) Notice Sister informs Army Richard is at Dülmen POW Camp
1918 (7/7) Notice Sister informs Army Richard moved to Parchim POW Camp
1918 Repatriated Arrives at Leith by SS Primula
1919 Demobilisation Leaves the Army
1920 Marriage Edith Hughes, Blackpool
1925 Died Warrington County Mental Hospital