The 1918 flu pandemic (the H1N1 strain) that lasted between January 1918 and December 1920 infected 500 million people and killed up to 100 million. Unlike normal influenza, the 1918 strain generally affected healthy, younger people. This was due to their stronger immune systems overreacting. People would often contract pneumonia and die due to suffocation from their own secretions. It is interesting to note that the 1918 flu pandemic caused more deaths than the whole of World War One. It is thought to have originated at Camp Funston in Kansas, America in March 1918. Due to the infected troops living in close proximity to each other and because they travelled around the world, the deadly flu virus soon spread.

Fred Rowbottom

Fred Rowbottom - death certificate

Fred’s death certificate

My great grandfather, Fred Rowbottom, born in 1873 in Parkgate, Rotherham and husband of Frances Emily Brough, died from the 1918 flu virus. Fred caught it and his doctor told him to stay in his house, but he decided that the pub might make him feel better. He went out on a very cold night, contracted pneumonia and subsequently died. Fred is the son of Albert Rowbottom and Charlotte Yates

I know that at least 4 other members of my family tree died from this deadly virus. Below are a couple of newspaper articles regarding two families in my tree that suffered. The first regards the death of my great great granduncle who was called William Henry Remmington and the second is regarding my first cousin, thrice removed (Bernard Vincent Early (son of Priscilla Walker Berry and Jesse Early)) and his family.

Remmington. W. H.

Remmington. W. H.

William H. Remmington




Transport Driver W. Remington (1/5 York and Lancaster Reg.), son of Mr. and Mrs. Remington, of 9, The Crofts, Rotherham, who is reported to have died of pneumonia, following influenza, in France on December 20th last, was one of the original members of the 1/5 Batt. York and Lancaster Regt. (the local Territorials) which left England in April, 1915. He was 23 years of age, and joined the Army on the outbreak of the war. At the time of his illness he was on the point of being demobilised in order to return to work at the Silverwood Colliery.

36 - Moorgate Cemetery, Rotherham (Early) - 28.08.05 (1)

Early grave


EARLY. – Bernard Vincent Early, aged 30, died at 6, Lister Street, on Thursday, Feb. 27, from influenza. Elizabeth Early, aged 31, wife of the above, who died on Friday, Feb 28. Cyril Early, aged 11 months, infant son of the above, died March 5.

The relatives of the above beg to thank the workmen of Messrs. Steel, Peech and Tozer Ltd. for their practical sympathy, the bearers who volunteered to carry the little family to the grave, and all friends for their expressions of grief in this sad event.

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