John William Whiting 1897-1967

Parents: Frank Whiting and Priscilla Iron.
Born: 19th September 1897 at 34 Mill Road, Haverhill.(1,2,5)
Baptised: 31st October 1897 at the Independent Church, Haverhill.(2)
Married: Eliza Harrington, 39, spinster, of Bulphan, daughter of Isaac Harrington, labourer, on 3rd September 1932 at St Mary the Virgin Church, Bulphan, witnessed by Stanley Charles Whiting and Edward Harrington. (3,7)
Children: None
Died: 4th Quarter 1967 in the Colchester district, aged 70. (11)

Bio: John was born on 19th December 1897(1), and was the second son of Frank and Priscilla Whiting. He was baptised on 31st October 1897 and his parents are shown to be living at 34 Mill Road, Haverhill at this time.(2)

On the 1901 census John is seen living with his parents and older siblings Cecil Frank , Ethel and Stanley Charles in Chess Lane, Witham. His father Frank is working as a stockman on a cattle farm. John can be seen on the 1911 census at Garlesters Farm on the old Brentwood road in Bulphan, Romford, along with the rest of his family bar sister Ethel, who was working as a domestic servant on a farm in Stapleford Abbotts.

The family moved to 17 Barry Road, Stonebridge Park, Willesden at some point just before the First World War. John found work along with his brother Stanley in the growing car-building trade as a fitter(4). When war started elder brother Cecil Frank joined the Royal Garrison Artillery and his younger brothers would both join the conflict later, serving in the navy.

John joined the Navy at Chatham on 12th February 1917. The Royal Navy Registers of Seaman's Services(5) show when he was working as a fitter, and the records confirm his date of birth in Haverhill. They also give us his vital statistics: he was 5ft 3 inches tall, with dark brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion.

His service records how he was a Stoker second class at HMS Pembroke, which was a shore barracks at Chatham. On 9th July 1917 he was transferred to HMS Duke of Wellington II which was a receiving ship for trainee stokers. He was promoted to Stoker first class on 12th February 1918 and remained with the Wellington. It appears he was discharged on 13th March 1919.

John married Eliza Harrington on the 3rd September 1932 at St Mary the Virgin, Bulphan, Essex (3). He was back living at Stonebridge Park at the time, working as a labourer. Eliza was born on 13th August 1893(8,9) in Childerditch (a parish in the borough of Brentwood), Essex, the daughter of Isaac Harrington, a road-man, and Emily Smee who had married in the Romford district in 1879(10). Eliza can be seen living with her family in Bulphan on the 1901 census, then working as a domestic servant for a family in Westcliff-on-sea on the 1911 census.

On the 1939 Register(8) some seven years after their marriage, we see John and Eliza living back at 17 Barry Road, Willesden, with John's widowed mother Priscilla. John is employed as a permanent way labourer (railway line worker).

It seems that John and Eliza moved to Essex later in their lives. John appears to be the John W Whiting who died aged 70 in the Colchester district in 1967(11), and Eliza is confirmed by her date of birth (which matches the 1939 Register) as dying in the same district in 1973(12)


(1) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1897, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 761
(2) Haverhill Independent Church baptisms,
(3) Marriage Register. 3rd Quarter 1932, Orsett District, Volume 4a Page 1698
(4) from Gerald Whiting's written reminiscences about his father, courtesy of Crispin Whiting.
(5) The National Archives, Royal Navy Registers of Seaman's Services, ADM/188/949/41178
(6) 'Whitings at War', Jan 2002, Gerald Whiting. Courtesy of Crispin Whiting.
(7) Essex Record Office, SEAX, D/P 239 1/5 p.110, Marriage register of St Mary the Virgin, Bulphan, 1837-1954
(8) 1939 Register, Ref: RG101/0964C/019/9 Letter Code: BXAT ,
(9) Birth Register. 3rd Quarter 1893, Billericay District, Volume 4a Page 471
(10) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1879, Romford District, Volume 4a Page 259
(11) Death Register. 4th Quarter 1967, Colchester District, Volume 4a Page 652
(12) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1973, Colchester District, Volume 4a Page 1744