William Augustus  Aldwinckle

Name William Augustus  Aldwinckle
Corps Royal Army Medical Corps 11th Company
Rank Private
Service No. 118274
Date/Place of entry 23 May 1917 Central London
Date of death 1967

William Augustus Aldwinckle was born in Islington in 1885, the third child and eldest son of a successful silk merchant Alfred Aldwinckle and his wife Emma. This branch of the family was descended from William Aldwinckle of Middleton.  

William’s sons Henry and Thomas both settled in Islington in the 1840s and were successful businessmen. Whereas many of the Cottingham Aldwinckle clan slipped down the social scale in the later nineteenth century, the Islington branches prospered. 

Henry was a master upholsterer and also became a BMD registrar before his early death in 1854. Sadly his widow Charlotte was committed to a lunatic asylum in Bethnal Green in May 1862 and remained there until her death in 1887. Brooke House, where she was housed, was a private hospital for middle and upper class patients. The treatment was not much different to that of ordinary asylums except that chains were not used as restraints; violent patients were kept in separate rooms. Henry and Charlotte’s descendants included city brokers, silversmiths, an architect, and the Canadian World War Two war artist Eric Aldwinckle. As far as is known, none of them served during World War One.

Henry’s brother Thomas set up as a linen draper and had six children including sons Alfred Othniel, Thomas William and Jabez.

Thomas William Aldwinckle, their eldest son, was born in 1845 and became a well-known architect specialising in public buildings, the most notable being St Pancras Public Baths and Hall, a listed building which survives today. He designed many poor law institutions including Kensington Union Infirmary, Lambeth Workhouse and Tooting Bec Asylum.  Thomas William’s life ended tragically: he died in September 1920 a month after the death of his elder son and six months after the death of his younger son. They were his only children.

Jabez Aldwinckle was born in 1850 and emigrated to the town of Brandon in Manitoba where he died in 1921.

Alfred Othniel – the unusual middle name was taken from the Book of Judges - Aldwinckle was born in 1847 and built up a flourishing silk business. By 1911 he had retired and was a resident of Highbury where he employed three domestic servants. At his death in 1933 he left more than eighty six thousand pounds, which would make him a multi-millionaire today.

Alfred got married at St Mary’s church in Islington in 1875 to a young German woman, Emma Nordsieck, with whom he had five daughters and three sons. Emma was born in Elberfeld in what was then known as Rheinish Prussia. Today Elberfeld is subsumed in the city of Wuppertal along with its neighbouring town of Barmen. In the nineteenth century it had a substantial Jewish population and was the birthplace of Frederick Engels.

Emma appears in the 1871 census as a sixteen year old visitor to an Islington stockbroker’s household. I’ve so far been unable to discover why she was in London or anything about her family background. There were nine people giving their place of origin as Elberfeld in that census, none of them called Nordsieck. They included the following. In 1861 Islington St Mary was home to a married land agent named George Von Carnap. In 1881 Julius Schmit, a city merchant was visiting Islington. However the most likely connection is Charles Henry Feldmann who was an agent for a silk merchant living in St Giles in 1871, and a foreign drapery agent in Chelsea in 1881. Given Alfred’s occupation, it is feasible that he and Emma met through trade connections.

The London Evening Standard of 1895 reported the death in Bonn of Julie, widow of August Nordsieck of Elberfeld, which suggests the family were prominent. During World War One a soldier named Hans Nordsieck of Elberfeld was killed in action which raises the possibility that in Emma Nordsieck Aldwinckle we may have someone who lost relatives on both sides of the fighting. (Incidentally four hundred and twenty eight Jewish men from Elberfeld fought in the German army of whom fifty four died in action. In 1934 one of the Nazi’s first concentration camps was established in the town.)

Alfred and Emma’s eldest son, William Augustus, was also a silk merchant and presumably working in the family business. His younger brother Ernest Henry Aldwinckle had emigrated to Canada in 1906 and an older sister, Marion, got married in Shanghai in 1905 to a surgeon, Benjamin Broomhall.

William Augustus joined the Royal Army Medical Corps in May 1917 aged thirty two and served with the 11th Company. He was demobilised on 25 December 1919 and married four years later. Two daughters were born in 1925 and 1926 but his whereabouts after that have yet to be definitely identified. He was styled Gentleman in his father’s will of 1933. William Augustus died in 1967 in the Hatfield area.

His brothers Ralph Aldwinckle and Ernest Henry Aldwinckle were both killed in action.  

For an account of the historic extended Aldwinckle family see John Bartholomew Aldwinckle. The following list gives the names of all known servicemen who were descended from Aldwinckles living Cottingham and Middleton in the nineteenth century.

(I also have information on a further five servicemen descended from the Aldwinckle family of Drayton in Leicestershire whose ancestors moved there from Cottingham in the eighteenth century. They are Ernest Aldwinckle, George Harry Aldwinckle, William Harold Aldwinckle, Herbert Aldwinckle and William James Aldwinckle. Please contact me <cottinghamsoldiers@gmail.com> if you would like to know more.)

Servicemen descended from Thomas Aldwinckle (1816-1899):
William Augustus Aldwinckle, Ralph Aldwinckle and Ernest Henry Aldwinckle.

Servicemen descended from Henry Aldwinckle (1770-1842):
John Bartholomew Aldwinckle, Charles Henry Aldwinckle, Arthur Edwin Aldwinckle, Frederick Wade Coles, Albert Edward Aldwinckle, Archibald Aldwinckle, Frank Aldwinckle, Harry Aldwinckle, William John Aldwinckle,  Harry Aldwinckle, George Robert Aldwinckle, Thomas Aldwinckle and Walter Aldwinckle.

Servicemen descended from William Aldwinckle (1807-1891):
Bartle Essex Aldwinckle, Charles Reginald Burdett, Alfred Norman Burdett and William Edward Burdett.

Servicemen descended from John Aldwinckle (1817-1884):
John Aldwinckle, Percy Aldwinckle, Henry Aldwinckle and Bernard Aldwinckle.