John Whiting 1870-1937

Parents: Moses Whiting and Emma Cole
Born: 1870 in Haverhill (1)
Baptised: ?
Married: Kate Kiddy, 25, spinster of Haverhill, daughter of Edward Kiddy, labourer, on 25th December 1892 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill. Witnessed by William and Alice Radford.(2,3)
Children: Lily May Whiting b.1893, Beatrice Whiting b.1895, Elsie Winifred Whiting b.1897 died in infancy, Gladys Dorothy Whiting b.1898, Annie Whiting b.1899, Ethel Winifred Evelyn Whiting b.1902 and Ivy Emma Whiting b.1904 died in infancy
Died: 3 April 1937 at 96 Burton End, Haverhill. Buried at Haverhill Cemetery on 7th April 1937.(4,5)

Bio: John just makes it onto the 1871 census where he appears aged 11 months and living with his family in Burton End, Haverhill. On the 1881 census, after his father had been admitted to Broadmoor Asylum (see Moses Whiting), we see him living in Burton End with his mother and siblings. He is a scholar. For the 1891 census, just prior to his marriage, John is working as a silkweaver, and living with mother Emma and brother John at 42 Burton End.

After he married Kate Kiddy in 1892, John at some point became the publican of the Royal Standard, in Burton End. The previous tenant had been George Whiting, and it is likely that John took over directly from him when George retired. They would have been distant relatives. We do know that when John's daughter Gladys was baptised on 30th November 1898 he is listed as being the Publican at 123 Burton End. On the 1901 census, the Royal Standard is listed as being at 120 to 124 Burton End, whereas on the previous census when George Whiting was publican it appears at 78 Burton End. Whether it did actually change location or there was some confusion with addresses I am not sure. Anyhow, in 1901 John was residing at the Pub with his wife Kate and four daughters, Lily, Beatrice, Gladys and Annie. They also have two boarders, Walter and William Mayes, both spinners, and a visitor, Bertha Skilton,13, who was Kate's niece. As well as being a publican, John is also still working as a weaver.

Kate got into trouble in June 1901 for assaulting Alice Shipp in Burton End. It seems like Kate had been on the target for some idle gossip amongst her neighbours, and with her ears burning, she decided to take matters into her own hands - literally!

The Cambridge Daily News of 13 August 1901 reported the incident like so:

"NEIGHBOURS' DIFFERENCES AT BURTON END. Kate Whiting, wife of John Whiting, of Haverhill, was summoned for assaulting Alice Shipp on July 22nd. - Mr C C Vincent appeared for the defendant, and pleaded not guilty. - Prosecutrix, wife of Mark Shipp, living at Burton End, near the beerhouse kept by John Whiting, said she was in her own house, between 10 and 11 in the morning, on the day in question.

Defendant came into her house, and struck her with an old shoe on the body. Two or three minutes afterwards, defendant's husband came into the house, and pulled his wife away from witness. Before this defendant had struck her on the face with her hand. Witness did not strike defendant in self-defence.

By Mr Vincent: Before the blow was struck, defendant did not ask her what she (witness) had been saying about her. She had said nothing derogatory about Mrs Whiting. Witness did not know why defendant hit her.

- Lydia Johnson, mother of the prosecutor, deposed to hearing her daughter speak of the assault. She was not present when it took place.

- Mr Vincent submitted there had been great provocation in the case. They did not deny that a blow had been struck, but it was with the open hand, and not with a shoe. Mrs Shipp had seen fit to cast most unfounded aspersions upon his client, and he submitted the assault was justified.

- Defendant gave the magistrates an account of the conversation she overheard between prosecutor and her sister-in-law, in the former's garden, in which they cast certain aspersions on her. She could stand it no longer, but went out with her husband, and hit her across the face with her hand.

- John Whiting deposed that his wife did not strike prosecutor with her shoe, but with her hand, and he then took her out of the house.

- Annie Shipp, of 118 Burton End, sister-in-law of the prosecutor, also gave evidence.

- The Bench dismissed the case, and ordered each party to pay their own costs."(10)

On the 1911 census, John is no longer a publican, he is referred to only as a silk weaver. We see that a Mr Wiseman is now living at the Royal Standard. John and family are living at 96 Burton End. John and Kate have five daughters, and both Kate and her eldest daughter Lily are working at Gurteens. Beatrice is a servant, and the youngest two are at school. Walter Mayes is still lodging with them, and he is a rope worker - most likely at John's elder brother William's Rope, Twine & Sack company.

The records of Gurteen Clothing Manufacturers show that Kate worked for them from October 1880 to 17th October 1923 as a Machinist, with a five year break in between.(9)

When the First World War began in 1914, John was initially too old to be called up to fight. However, when it became evident that this was to be a long and bloody conflict, the need for labour to support the front-line troops became increasingly urgent. It was decided that older men, or men deemed unsuitable to fight in the front line would be used to perform duties providing support to the front line troops.

John, like another Whiting, Lewis Albert, joined the Army Service Corps on a Short Term Attestation.

He signed up on the 4th May 1915 at Aldershot. He was Private no.10099, and was on pay of 3/- a day, of which 1/- was sent home to his wife.

John gave his age as 41, and from his Service Records(8) we see he was 5ft 7 ½ inches, with a chest measurement of 35 inches and a weight of 134 pounds.

Embarking from Southampton on 11th May 1915 with the 11th Labour Company, John disembarked at Le Havre the next day. He was then attached to the 19th Labour Company, section 'E' at Calais, and he remained with this company (with periods of leave) until 1917. He was awarded a 1st Good Conduct badge on 4th May 1917.

Around this time, ASC units were being reformed into the Labour Corps, and John became redesignated to the no.306596 the 728th Labour Corps in August 1917. He was then posted to the 730th Labour Company on 4th February 1918. He stayed with them until he was demobilised on 10th February 1919.

As he was not a driver or fitter, John would have undertaken unskilled general labour duties. It is hard to say whether he would have been near the front line or not, but it is unlikely that he would have had to participate in any fighting although some labour units were deployed as emergency infantry on rare occasions.

After the war John received the Victory Medal, the British War Medal and the 1915 Star.

John died on 3 April 1937(4), and was buried at Haverhill Cemetery.(5) Kate survived him, and died in 1942 and was buried with him.(6,7)

'The late Mr John Whiting, whose death occurred on Saturday, at his residence, 96, Burton End, was 66 years of age, and he leaves a widow and five daughters. For many years deceased was employed as a silk weaver by Messrs. Walters and Sons, and he was also for some time the landlord of the Royal Standard Inn. For a lengthy period he was a member of the Haverhill Shepherd's Brass Band (now merged with the Co-operative Society's Band), the instrument he played being the euphonium.
The funeral took place on Wednesday afternoon, the service, at the house, being conducted by the Rev. W. Rose (Methodist Circuit Minister) and the remains being interred at the cemetery.
The mourners were: Mrs Whiting, wife; Mrs S Stead, Mrs A Beavis, Mrs W Hales, Mrs David Ince and Capt. W Whiting, S.A. [Salvation Army], daughters; Mr William Whiting, brother; Messrs Clifford and Bert Whiting, nephews; Mr W Skelton, nephew; Mrs W Skelton and Mr A Beavis.
' (11)

Picture of the Royal Standard with kind permission of Haverhill Local History Group.
Funeral report from
South West Suffolk Echo, thanks to Judy Stratford


(1) Birth Register. 3rd Quarter 1870, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 410
(2) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1892, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 1215
(3) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p28 of 37
(4) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1937, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 978
(5) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref.5126.
(6) Death Register. 3rd Quarter 1942, Newmarket District, Volume 4a Page 878
(7) Haverhill Cemetery, Ref.5517.
(8) National Archives: WO 363 First World War Service Records. British Army WWI Service Records, 1914-1920 [database on-line]
(9) Employment records of Gurteen & sons.
(10) Cambridge Daily News, 13 August 1901, p.3,
(11) S
outh West Suffolk Echo, 10 Apr 1937.