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Richard Parker PITCHFORTH


Family Links


2. Rose DOLAN

Richard Parker PITCHFORTH 3

  • Born: 1 Dec 1845, Chapelthorpe, Yorkshire 4
  • Christened: 17 May 1846, St James, Chapelthorpe, Yorkshire 5
  • Marriage (1): Mary THOMPSON on 23 Jul 1873 in St Michael, Alnwick, Northumberland 1
  • Marriage (2): Rose DOLAN on 2 Oct 1894 in St Anne, Leeds, Yorkshire 2
  • Died: 5 Apr 1925, Leeds, Yorkshire 6

bullet  Notes:

The youngest son, Richard was a groom when he joined the Army in Leeds in 1863. He was underage when he signed up with the 19th Hussars, and transferred a year later to the 8th Hussars, where he served for the next 26 years. He rose steadily through the ranks, and in 1873 was appointed Troop Sergeant Major. In 1878 he was posted to India, where he remained for the next 12 years. He was promoted to Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) in 1879, and had 3 months active service in Afghanistan in 1880, where his Regiment was engaged in Escort Duty. After his retirement in England at the age of 44 he returned briefly to India to work as a civilian, but returned to England in 1892 after the deaths of his wife Mary and younger daughter May. He lived in Leeds, where he worked for the Leeds Tramway Co.

Richard first married Mary Thompson (qv) in Alnwick. They had nine children, the three eldest born in England, and the others in India. The seven boys all survived infancy. The eldest son was Alfred (qv). The next was Harold, who joined the 6th Dragoon Guards, became a lance corporal, and served in France through WW1. He was a domestic groom in Brighton when he died at the age of 49. The next son Richard (known as Dick), had the same name as his father, and joined his father's regiment. He served in the 8th Hussars for 25 years, and was RSM for over nine years. He saw active service in the Boer War, WW1 and Iraq. He was wounded at Metz in 1917, and was awarded the DCM in 1919. He retired from the Army in 1921 and lived with his family in Colchester, the home of his older brother Alfred, and worked for the Inland Revenue. The next son Albert died from measles shortly after the family's return from India. The next two sons John and Edgar attended the Duke of York's Military School in Chelsea. John joined the West Yorkshire Regiment, but was discharged on the grounds of ill health when he was still 19, and died just one day later from TB. Edgar was living with his father in Leeds in 1901 when he was a fitter apprentice. He emigrated to South Africa in 1904, and is thought to have died there in a mining accident.

The youngest son Hector went to sea during WW1, serving on supply ships and trawlers. He obtained a commission with the RNR as a marine engineer, but failed his medical, possibly due to deafness. In 1918 he was engineer on a schooner owned by the Sabellum Trading Company which was sunk by a U-boat - the crew was in lifeboats for six days before being rescued by a trawler. In 1919 he made his first recorded visit to Baffin Island, picking up furs from trading posts. He then made two long visits to the Island as the Company's resident trader based in Cape Henry Kater. The first lasted for about a year from September 1920. The next started in September 1923, but ended in tragedy over three years later. His death made the headlines: 'Loneliest Man in the World - Frozen to Death in Arctic'. His diary is kept by the Royal Geographical Society, and includes accounts of the journeys he made across Baffin Island during the arctic winters.

Richard snr remarried in 1894 to Rose Dolan, the daughter of a soldier from Ireland.

Additional sources:
Soldiers' Discharge Papers 1760-1913, TNA ref WO97/3659
Gavin White (1985). Hector Pitchforth 1886-1927. Arctic Profiles p78-79
Pitchforth, R.A. (1973). Pitchforth family history. Unpublished notes.


Richard married Mary THOMPSON, daughter of James THOMPSON and Eleanor RUTTER, on 23 Jul 1873 in St Michael, Alnwick, Northumberland.1 (Mary THOMPSON was born on 25 Apr 1850 in Newton by the Sea, Northumberland 7, christened on 14 Jul 1850 in Holy Trinity, Embleton, Northumberland,8 died on 23 Jan 1891 in Bombay, India 9 and was buried on 24 Jan 1891 in Sewree Cemetery, Bombay, India 10.)


Richard next married Rose DOLAN on 2 Oct 1894 in St Anne, Leeds, Yorkshire.2 (Rose DOLAN was born on 8 Nov 1872 in Shorncliffe, Kent 11 and died on 29 Mar 1941 in Horsforth, Yorkshire 12.)



1 GRO (England and Wales), Certified Copy of Entry of Marriage MXA 974922.

2 GRO (England and Wales), Certified Copy of Entry of Marriage MX312500.

3 GRO (England and Wales), Certified Copy of Entry of Birth BX188512 (son James).

4 GRO (England and Wales), Certified Copy of Entry of Birth BXBZ421099.

5 Church Register, St James Chapelthorpe, Wakefield RO ref Mfc WDP23/1.

6 GRO (England and Wales), Certified Copy of Entry of Death DYA016996.

7 GRO (England and Wales), Certified Copy of Entry of Birth BC949152.

8 Church Register, Embleton, Northumberland County RO ref Mf M695.

9 Non-parochial burial ground, Burial record for Sewree Cemetery, Bombay.

10 British India Office Ecclesiastical Returns, Deaths and Burials, ref N-3-65 p125.

11 GRO (England and Wales), Certified Copy of Entry of Birth BXCG262556.

12 GRO (England and Wales), Certified Copy of Entry of Death DYA017174.

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