News, events and discoveries of the Walkley Ways, Walkley Wars history project.
Growing up in Walkley.
Archie was born on 19th March 1891 at 35 Camm Street, Walkley, one of nine children born to Charles Shelley and his wife Mary Ann (nee Marshall) who was born in Leicester. He was the 7th child and had 4 sisters and 4 brothers.
He was at least the third generation of Shelley’s to be born and live in Walkley.
Archie attended Bole Hill Infants & Junior school and was then admitted to the senior school on 30th October 1898, he left school on 18th March 1904 to obtain his labour certificate.
On leaving school he became a file cutter as were some of his brothers, his father, his uncles and grandfather so there was a long tradition of this employment in the family.
In 1871 Archie’s father Charles was still living at home with his parents Charles and Elizabeth Shelley and siblings on Bell Hagg Road. Elizabeth Shelley was born in the parish of Bradfield, Sheffield.
Archie’s father Charles married Mary Ann in 1872 and by the 1881 census they had 4 children, George Herbert born 1873, Frank born 1875, Emma born 1877 and Amelia born 1879, the family were living at 2 House 2 Court Sycamore Street, Walkley.
Sycamore Street’s name no longer exists and was changed around 1892 to Compton Street.
By 1891 the family were living at 35 Camm Street, Walkley and the additions to the family were Mary Ann born 1881, Charles Thomas born 1886 and Archie born 1891.
On the 1901 census the family were living at 311 Walkley Road and there were a further two children, Frederick born 1893 and their youngest child May was born on 31st July 1895. She was baptised by the Rev. Thomas Smith at St. Mary’s parish church on 21st August 1895 but unfortunately she died aged 10 months and was buried in St.Mary’s church cemetery on 3rd June 1896. Again the service was conducted by the Rev. Thomas Smith.
By 1911 the family were back on Camm Street – Number 68 and living with the family was Dalton Shelley born 16th March 1905 at this address and he was grandson to Charles & Mary Ann and nephew of Archie.
I suspect he was the son of Amelia Shelley who worked as a live-in domestic maid on The Nook, which is off Barber Road, Walkley and the reason for surmising this is that Dalton was a witness of her marriage to William James Hague (another Walkley chap) in 1920 again at St. Mary’s church.
Unfortunately another of Archie’s sisters, Mary Ann, had died in 1898 aged 17years. She was buried in St. Mary’s cemetery on 12 May 1898 and the service was conducted by Rev. Hugh N. Smith.
Living with the family in 1891 as a boarder was Fred Stubbs, a single man aged 39 years who worked as an engineer’s fitter.
As can be seen Archie lived in a number of houses but all were within ¼ mile of each other if not less.
No. 68 Camm Street remained the home of a number of the Shelley family until 1961. From 1907 – 1910 it was the home of Charles and Mary Ann (Archie’s parents) and on Charles’ death Mary Ann remained there until 1919 when the house was occupied by Amelia Shelley who lived there until 1920. In 1921 Frederick and his wife Harriett lived there and following Frederick’s death Harriett remained until 1961.
We know very little of Archie and his family as we have been unable to trace any of his relatives or their descendants despite appeals in the local, national and international media.
We do know that he was a member of the Walkley Reform Club based in Fir Street, Walkley which was a temperance society opened in the early 1900’s. (see memorials)
His attestation papers state he was employed as a blacksmith although when he left school he followed his father and brothers in the trade of file cutter, it also gives his age as 43yrs so both of these “facts” could be wrong.
Prior to volunteering in the military he was employed at the Neepsend Gas works and was a member of their cricket club.
Archie volunteered for service on 4th September 1914 alongside at least two other Gas Board workers Arthur Steele (another Walkley soldier) and Harry Percival Smith. There may well have been a larger group of work colleagues enlisting on that day but that is research for another time.
He was examined and considered fit for service by Joseph Nunan of 73 Upwell Street, Sheffield who was the medical officer.
The medical officer stated that he had examined Archie and found that he did not present any of the causes of rejection specified in the Regulations for the Army Medical Service.
He could see the required distance with either eye; his heart and lungs were healthy; he had free use of his joints and limbs, and he declared that he was not subject to fits of any description.
He was 5’9.1/2” tall, weighed 143 lbs (10stone 3 lbs) had a chest measurement of 34” which on expansion was 36.1/2”. He had no distinctive marks or scars.
His complexion was dark with brown eyes and black hair.
His religion is given as Church of England.
His next of kin was his mother Mary Ann Shelley.
He was assigned to the Grenadier Guards.
Archie at War.
Archie fought with the Grendier Guards. They were in barracks in Warley, London District, and their training took place at the Guards depot in Caterham, Surrey. In September 1914 they came under the command of the 20th Brigade, 7th Division. In October 1914 they landed at Zeebrugge. Then they joined the 4th Battalion in France on 16th March 1915.
Archie was wounded at Festubert during the Second Battle of Ypres on the 16th May, 1915.
It is interesting to note that Archie’s elder brother Frank enlisted on 4th June 1915 perhaps as a response to Archie being wounded. He was living at 79 Freedom Road with his wife and 4 children. He served with the 9th Battalion Yorks & Lancs in France and was discharged in December 1917 with neuritis which he claimed to have been caused by standing in water in the trenches. He was awarded the war badge. In 1920 Frank and his family emigrated to Australia.
Archie was transferred to a Military Hospital in Bolougne and stayed there until he was evacuated home to the Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, London on 13th June 1915 and was nursed on Milward Ward.
On examination he had an entry wound approximately 3” above the left ear and an exit wound at the back of his head.
He had a loss of movement in his right arm, could lift his shoulder a little but not the arm. He could understand what was meant when signs were used. When asked his name he could answer but could not articulate Sheffield as his place of residence.
He knew what he wanted to say but his answers were difficult to decipher but it transpired that his answers were always correct. He could easily carry out commands.
He could use the usual facial expressions and grimace except on the right hand side of his body. He appeared contented, unemotional, was placid and slept well. He had no fits, no headaches and no vomiting.
On 17th June he was operated on by Mr F.S. Kidd who found that the left half of the skull behind the entry wound was cracked with pieces varying in size from mere splinters to pieces nearly as big as the palm of his hand.
Archie died of his wounds next day 18th June 1915.
His Post Mortem found that he had massive infection through his wound.
His family were informed the same day of his death and his body was released to the family for burial.
The Sheffield Daily Telegraph printed the following on 25th June 1915.
Sheffield Soldier’s Funeral
One of the many tragedies of the war had its closing scenes in the funeral at Walkley Cemetery, Sheffield, yesterday afternoon, of Private Archie Shelley of the 1st Grenadier Guards. Private Shelley was wounded in France on May 16th, and after lying unconscious for four weeks in hospital at Boulogne, he was removed, with some slight hope of recovery to the London Hospital at Whitechapel, where he succumbed to a shattered brain on Friday last.
The deceased soldier came of a family of which many members have served in the Forces, his father, who died some years ago, being in the militia, and one of his brothers having recently joined the 3rd Battalion of the York and Lancaster Regiment. He was only 24 years of age, and had joined the Grenadiers on the outbreak of war last August. He was one of five sons of Mrs. M.A.Shelley of Camm Street, Walkley. The family has long been a well-known and respected one in Walkley, and several hundred people assembled at the cemetery to pay their tributes of respect and of sympathy with his widowed mother and her family.
Members of the family present were Mrs Shelley (mother), Mr & Mrs George Shelley, Private and Mrs Frank Shelley, Messrs Charles and Fred Shelley, Mr and Mrs John A. Harrison and Miss Shelley. Mr Jennett represented Councillors Appleyard and Crowther (who wrote regretting their inability to attend), and the Walkley Reform Club, and members of the Neepseend Gas Works Cricket Club and other of the associations with which the deceased was connected were present. A detachment from the Royal Army Medical Corps attended as a guard of honour, and saluted the body as it was carried to its last resting place, while four of their numbers acted as bearers. The service was taken by the Rev.S.T.G. Smith, Vicar of Walkley, who gave an address pointing out the example which had been set by the fallen soldier by doing his duty, which all could follow whether they were called upon to fight or to stay at home.
Besides those from Mr Shelley’s own relatives and friends, floral tributes had been received from the staff of the London Hospital, the Walkley Reform Club, fellow workers at Neepsend Gas works, and the Neepsend Gas Works Cricket Club.
In Memoriam notices were placed in the local newspapers in subsequent years.
Archie was the first member of Walkley Reform Club to die in service during the First World War.
By Julie Clarke