Mary Besford was the daughter of David Besford and Mary Besford (née Turnbull). She was born on New Year’s Eve 1888 at Togston Terrace, Broomhill, Northumberland. She was David and Mary Besford’s first child (of 12). Her father was working at Broomhill Colliery in 1888.
By May 1890 the family had moved to 19 Church Street, Amble, where Mary’s siblings Margaret (Maggie), John William (Jack), and George would all be born. By mid-1894 the family had moved to Middleton Street in Amble where Daisy, Isabella and David were all born.
By 1898 Mary (now 10) had moved with her parents and family to Chevington Colliery. Here her brother Robert was born but very sadly also died, along with sisters Maggie and Isabella. Mary’s brother Thomas was also born here and thankfully survived to old age.
The 1901 birth certificate of Mary’s brother Alec shows that the family had moved again, this time to 9 Leslie Row, Radcliffe, Northumberland. Mary’s sisters Janet and Nellie were also born here. By now Mary was almost 13 years old.
On 25th March 1909, Mary (now 20) married Thomas Laidler Thompson, a 22 year old coal miner, at Amble Parish Church. Thomas Thompson was the son of Ronald Thompson (also a coal miner) and Ann Thompson of Wesley Row, Radcliffe.
On 4th March 1910. Mary gave birth to a daughter at Craigg’s Buildings, Radcliffe. She was named Mary Barron Thompson. Mary Barron was the maiden name of the Scottish maternal grandmother of Mary Besford.
On 13th August 1913, Mary gave birth to a son who was named Ronald Thompson, after his paternal grandfather. Mary’s husband Thomas was recorded as being a hewer. The family were now living at Burn Row South, Radcliffe.
When the First World War broke out, Thomas Thompson enlisted in the Northumberland Fusiliers, specifically in the 21st (Service) Battalion, which was the 2nd Battalion of the Tyneside Scottish Brigade. Thomas had attained the rank of Sergeant when he was very sadly killed on 27th August 1917. He is buried at Tincourt New British Cemetery ↗, located about seven kilometres east of Peronne. Thomas’s battalion was in trenches in the Hagricourt Valley and was involved in trying to capture German positions in what was known as Cologne Ridge, about 2,000 yards west of the Hindenburg Line. Thomas died of wounds received in this attack. He is remembered on memorials at the Parish Church of St. Cuthbert, Amble ↗, and at Amble Clock Tower Memorial ↗.
Thomas’s death left Mary with her two children, Mary and Ronald, now aged 7 and 4 respectively.
In early 1919 Mary married again. Her second husband was Peter Turner, with whom I believe she had three children, William, Eva and David.
Mary died in May 1985 at the age of 96.