The DURRAD family -Private DURRAD, John Harold (1881-1955) and Lieutenant DURRAD, William Edgar (1883-1970)

John William Durrad (1854-1939) and Elizabeth Hodgkins (1858-1927) married in 1880. They had three children: John Harold (1881-1955), William Edgar (1883-1970) and Mary Eunice (1884-1942).  During most of their childhood John William was the owner of a leather merchant’s business whose premises were at Victoria Buildings, Bowling Green Street.

Durrad Victoria Bldngs Bowling Green St
Victoria Buildings, Bowling Green Street

The family lived at 39 St Peter’s Road (above, left) until around 1900 when they moved to 3 Glenfield Road.  It was also about this time that John William stopped trading at Bowling Green Street.  By 1909 the family had moved around the corner to 350 Fosse Road North (Above, right) and rather than working for himself, John William became a leather traveller for tanners W Walker & Sons.  They attended St Martin’s for worship and during the war Elizabeth contributed to a fundraising tea for the congregation.  The children must have had an interesting childhood:  John’s obituary in the monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical society states that John had discovered several new crevasses in the surface of the moon, that he had an observatory in his small garden at home, and that he and Elizabeth had both been well known in local musical circles, playing the cello and piano respectively.  John William and Elizabeth remained at Fosse Road North until 1927 when Elizabeth died.  John moved to 36 Ashleigh Road and died in 1939.

Leicester Technical SchoolJohn William Durrad’s sons took different career paths.  William Edgar Durrad was born on 4th August 1882 in the parish of St Peter’s, Leicester.  He attended Wyggeston Boys School and then Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School, winning a prize for advanced geography (first class) in 1899.  As an adult he was 5’11” tall with brown hair and a fresh complexion.  He served an apprenticeship with Taylor and Hobson, Leicester (now Taylor Hobson), from 1898 to 1903.  He also spent three years serving as a private soldier with the Leicestershire volunteers.  In 1911 William boarded in a room above a baker’s shop in Lincoln and worked as a mechanical engineer but by 1914 he had settled in Nantwich, Cheshire.

William enlisted as a private in the 16th Service Battalion, 1st City of Manchester Regiment at Manchester on the 2nd September 1914.  He was appointed Lance Corporal in April 1915.  On 8th June 1915 he obtained a commission as second lieutenant in the 2/5th (Earl of Chester’s) Cheshire Regiment – shortly afterwards marrying Marjorie Dixon (1888 -1962) by licence at St Paul’s Church, Leicester, on 24th July.  By the time of the marriage William was stationed at Bedford, while Marjorie lived at 350 Fosse Road.  He was promoted to lieutenant in 1917 and served in France.

Marjorie and William had two children, Rachel Jessie (1918-1995) who was born shortly before the end of the war, and Robert (1921-2012).  After the war William returned to engineering and did not return to live in Leicester; by 1923 when William applied for his medals, he lived in Northwich, Cheshire, where Marjorie had been born.  In 1931 he registered a patent for improvements relating to treating liquids with gasses and he continued working as a chemical engineer during the second world war.  Marjorie and William remained in Northwich or very nearby for the remainder of their lives.  William died on 12 September 1970 and was cremated at Crewe Crematorium three days later.

John Harold Durrad was born in Leicester in 1881 and grew to be just a little shorter than his brother William, at 5.9”.  He was a brass worker in 1911, working his way up to become a depot manager.  In 1913 he lodged at 961 Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, where he worked as a clerk.   He married Janet Pearson Gilchrist (c1891-1958), a Scottish woman, in Manchester on 27th July 1914 just before the outbreak of war.

John joined the Mechanical Transport section of the Army Service Corps (later the Royal Army Service Corps) as a private on 18th Jan 1917 when his daughter Isobel (1916-1958) was just four months old.  He transferred to what later became the RAF three months later where he served until February 1919, training as an aero rigger.  Throughout the war Janet and Isobel lived near Leeds.

After the war John became a buyer for a rubber company and the family settled in East Keswick, Yorkshire, where second daughter Jean Allison (1920-2002) was born.  John died in East Langbank, Renfrewshire, Scotland, on 20th December 1955.

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