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Cockermouth Post Article January 2012

A bit of this and a bit of that this month – a bit like post-Christmas meals, and the struggle to use up the leftovers! First off is a query from Fetcham U3A Local History Group, down in Surrey (www.leatherheadlocalhistory.org.uk) regarding a West Cumbria man whose name appears on their village War Memorial. The group are collecting information on the War Memorial names and are interested in John Moorwood, who was a Gunner with 30 Field Regiment, Royal Artillery, and who died on 30th May 1940 at Dunkirk. John was born in Workington and had several brothers and sisters. In 1940 his parents were living in Salterbeck, and John had married a lady called Antonia in Surrey in 1938. Their daughter Patricia was born there a year later, and she eventually came back to the Cockermouth area, and married Stanley Abbott. The history group are interested in John’s connection with Fetcham in Surrey, how he came to meet his wife, and whether his wife and child came back to this area after his tragic death at Dunkirk. They would also like to add a photograph of John to the website if possible. Please take a look at their website to see what they are hoping to do, and if you are happy to share any information, please contact me.

We’ve also had information regarding a major project, ‘The Impact of Diasporas on the Making of Britain: evidence, memories, inventions’, based at the University of Leicester, under the leadership of Dr Turi King. This is a five-year project which began in January 2011. The title is rather a mouthful but, basically, the project’s aim is to explore British history by studying the Y chromosomes of men with old local surnames from the north of England. Men carrying such surnames are likely to have inherited them from ancestors who lived in the area only a few generations after the Vikings settled in the region. Anyone interested should visit the project’s website: www.leicestersurnamesproject.org.uk to find a full list of eligible surnames and to register – they only need one man per surname, so people should not simply drop in at the local session in Keswick on 22nd January. Additionally, a man’s father’s father must have been born in the north of England. DNA donation is simply via a saliva sample, and volunteers will receive a description of their own Y chromosome type when the work is completed in 2013. Full details are on their website. The Vikings, of course, left a huge legacy in our language, landscape and place-names, so the results of this project will be extremely revealing.

Finally, a personal endorsement for a local author’s book: ‘Meeting Lydia’by Linda Macdonald. This is a fantastic book that I could not put down, so treat yourselves to a good read! – further details on www.troubador.co.uk

Gloria Edwards

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