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Photo of David Nathaniel Irving

David Nathaniel Irving

Place of Residence at HM Factory Gretna 43 Rowanburn Birthplace Forfarshire ScotlandPlace of Death Carlisle Date of Birth: November 26, 1893 Date of Death: November 26, 1985


Full name of worker at H.M. Factory Gretna (and any other names they are known by) :David Nathaniel Irving
Gender: Male
Date and place of birth: 26th November 1893 Forfarshire
Date and Place of Death: 26th November 1985 Carlisle
Nationality: Scottish

Childhood: Eldest of 3, 2 younger sisters
Parents: Nathaniel and Helen ‘Ellen ‘Yeaman nee Watson
Parents occupations: Provisions merchant – Ham and bacon curer
Schools / universities attended and years of attendance: Primary in Perth – no specific school name
Occupation: Engineer/fitter
Place of residence at Gretna: Carlisle – possibly 12 Lawson Street
Marital status: Married in 1925
Children: 2 ?
Travels: None known
Awards/recognitions: None known
Positions held: None known
Trivia / any other information: yes

Books published (Title, year of publication, publisher):
Books written about the individual or mentioning the individual (Title, year of publication, publisher):


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David Nathaniel Irving 1893-1985

David Nathaniel Irving was born on 26th November 1893 in Dundee to Nathaniel a bacon curer and Helen ‘Ellen’ Yeaman nee Watson.  The address is indecipherable on his birth registration but it was in the Parish of Mains.

Nathaniel , the son a of a provisions merchant and Helen , the daughter of a cutler , married on 28th January 1893 in a Presbyterian service ay Newport on Tay. Nathaniel was 33 described as a provision merchant of 1, Bank Street, Dundee and Helen was 27 of Woodend, West Newport.

David’s grandfather had also been a provision merchant. An advertisement on Friday 31 December 1886 in the Dundee Evening Telegraph lists David W Irving – wholsesale and retail, port, ham and bacon curer trading at 43 Yeaman Shore , Dundee.

Yeaman is an unusual name – perhaps there is some historical family Helen Yeaman Watson.

David Nathaniel was clearly named after his grandfather and his father.

He was the first of 3 children to be born between 1893 and  1903. Helen M arrived in 1895 and Wilhelmina Bisset in 1903. Wilhelmina was born in Perth.

The family moved to Perth some time between sister Helen being born in 1895 and 1898 when the school register for the districts lists David as having been admitted to school on 17th October 1898 aged 4. His sister is also listed being in school aged 3. Their address is Burrelton, Blairgowrie.

The 1901 census lists an address of North or Porth Cottage, Perth. Nathaniel a ham curer aged 40, Ellen rather than Helen, 35 is a ham curers wife. David Nathaniel , 7 and Helen M M  5 are scholars . There is also a 26 year old female school teacher boarding at this house.

From 1905 to a t least 1913/14, David’s father is listed in Leslie’s Directory as a ham curer and the address is consistent at Hawarden Terrace.

The 1911 census gives us the first insight into David’s future occupation. At 17 he is an apprentice engineer. His father is now a ham curer for the Cooperative Society. Daughter Helen is a shop assistant and Wilhelmina is at school. The couple have been married for 18 years and have had 3 children.

The Trade Union register for Carlisle area including newly built Gretna township includes a David Irving with a date of birth of November 1893 as a carpenter and joiner joining the Union on 29th January 1917.  If this is the same David Irving then this must be the date when he began working at H M Factory Gretna. It is possible that he had changed occupations. We know from the 1921 census that he had been at Gretna as it is indicated on the census return. We also know that  his family had moved from Perth to Carlisle but it is unclear when. It was definitely after 1911 and before 1921. The address of 12 Lawson Street is given on 1939 register for this retired bacon curer and his wife.

In 1925 David married Mary Alice Morphet of Carlisle. Some biographical details biography of Mary can be found in the biography and accompanying folder of her sister Nora who received the BEM for her work at H M Factory Gretna.

Mary was the eldest daughter of James Morphet, a railway signalman and Sarah nee Irwin. Mary was born at 15 Dalston Rd, Carlisle on 5th March 1893. She spent some of her younger years at Staveley near Kendal where her mother died leaving a widow and 4 children including three under 4.

Mary and family then moved to Yanwath, again into railway property. Her siblings appeared in the school Christmas production of 1911 – reported in the local press at the time ( see Nora’s folder)

In 1916, Mary’s brother James was reported as missing then as being in a  German POW camp. He was underage at the time. He then joined the Royal Ulster Constabulary where he was pensioned off in 1922 aged 22. His war experiences left a lasting toll. ( see Nora’s biography) . The family lived at Millholme Avenue at this time.

It is not possible to say how David met Mary but Mary could also have been working at the factory alongside her sister Nora and possibly their younger sister Esther. Or, they could just have met in Carlisle.

Mary’s sister appeared in national papers in 1918 receiving her BEM in Carlisle.

Five years after David and Mary’s marriage , her brother James committed suicide  in 1930 by gassing himself and his two young children in his bed one evening whilst his wife was “ visiting her sister-in-law”. This was reported nationally. This must have taken a toll on both David and Mary and they must have played a part in supporting her father, James.

The 1939 register lists David and Mary at 26 Millholme Avenue- her father was at 12 Millholme Avenue at the time living with a widow. David is a labourer to a fitter , heavy worker , building firm Morton and M?. He is also an ARP warden. There is an indication that they had 2 children as two lines are blocked out on the register.

David’s parents died in Carlisle in 1941 and 1951.

David died on 26th November 1985.

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