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And now to my last grandparent, Jean (or Jeanie) Wilson Sutherland, born in Glasgow on 20 February 1890, the eldest of my grandparents and the longest-living!

Between 1870 and 1914, Glasgow was one of the richest and finest cities in Europe, thanks to the industrial revolution and heavy engineering such as shipbuilding, etc.  However, there was also extreme poverty.

Jean’s parents were George Sutherland and Jessie Simpson Allison.  She had five sisters and one brother, all born in Glasgow.  At the time of Jean’s birth, the family was living at 26 George Street.  Apparently this address was a tenement block which housed several families.  In 1891 the family was still living in George Street (except for one of the children who I can’t find and who may have died).  Jean’s father was a cloth lapper.  According to various websites, a cloth lapper: cleaned cotton fibres before sheets fed into carding machines; moved the yarn from the carding machine to the next process in weaving; worked in textile finishing, folding or doubling the cloth repeatedly upon itself ready for packing – probably all three.

The family had moved on to 94 Parson Street by 1901 (the street where architect George Rennie Mackintosh was born in 1868).  Most of the street has disappeared.  All that’s left of it is mostly occupied by Martyr’s school, built in 1895.  As a matter of interest, in 1904 a man caused the death of his wife at 64 Parson Street by pushing her against a table during an argument.

Ten years later, in 1911, Jean’s family were living at 83 Taylor Street, which also housed more than one family.  A death of a neighbour followed them there as well, as a storeman, who resided in Taylor Street, was found dead at his workplace.  (Just beneath that report is an article on the death rate in Glasgow which was 16.5 per 1000.)

Jean’s father was still a cloth lapper and he, and two of his daughters (including Jean), worked at the calender works (Maggie and Jean were warehouse girls).  A calender worker was someone who operated a machine to press cloth between two large rollers.

WilsonSt

According to Google street view this is 83 Wilson Street now.

89WilsonSt1938

This was 89 Wilson Street in 1938, a provision warehouse

There was a calender works in Frederick Lane, about 3 or 4 blocks north of Wilson Street and just off George Street/George Square, so I’m guessing this is where they worked.

FrederickLanecalenderworks

The family moved yet again to Taylor Street to another block of flats.

TaylorSt1967

Taylor Street in 1967

Jean now worked in a shop in Sauchiehall Street.  I remember the street name being mentioned numerous times so she must have enjoyed working there.

 

Sauchiehall-Street-Lyric-Theatre-Glasgow-1

Mid-20s view of Sauchiehall Street

According to my aunt, Jean had an active social life, with friends being invited to the house for parties, and her sister, Effie, would sing.  (It reminds me of Billy Connolly’s accounts of the singing at home.)  Jeanie and her friends belonged to a “rambler’s club” and would go for long walks and picnics.  Holidays were spent in Rothesay, Oban, Saltcoats and Ardrossan.

War broke out and I’m assuming the family continued living in Taylor Street.  Some interesting background information on Glasgow in the lead-up to the war can be read here.  It was towards the end of the war that Jean met Percy Kercher, an Australian soldier.  My aunt says that they met when he arrived at their home(?) with the friend of one of Jean’s sisters.  They must have continued seeing each other, as after Percy’s return to Australia, he asked her to marry him.  Percy must have first written to Jean’s father.  I am lucky enough to have a copy of George’s reply.

83 1/2 Taylor St  25/2/20 Glasgow

Dear Percy

Just a few lines to thank you for the nice letter Mrs Sutherland and I received this morning.  It was no great surprise to us to hear from you as Jean is always talking about you we feel as  if we know you well and we regret very much we had not the pleasure of meeting you when you were in Glasgow your time being so limited. Well you ask for our dear daughter Jean to come out to you in Australia. We give our consent and our blessing we are also sure you will do your best to make her happy. It has given us great pleasure to hear you have been a good son and we believe a good son always makes a good husband. As for Jean she has been a dear loving daughter and we feel sure she will make a wise loving little wife. So when the happy event comes off we will pray that God’s blessing may rest on your union and that you and Jean may be long spared to each other with health and every happiness. As to your dear mother being a second mother to Jean I feel quite sure about that according to what I have heard about her and I feel sure Jean will be loving daughter to her. Now Jean is busy preparing for her journey and although we will feel the parting very much still we know she is going where loving hearts are waiting to receive her. Remember us to Father Mother and all the family trusting that you and them are keeping well.  With best wishes

Sincerely yours

Geo and Jessie Sutherland

Letter

My aunt tells me that Jean left for Australia on the “Wahine” about April 1920.  Unfortunately, I can find no passenger list or details of the departure or arrival.  (Google searches naturally come up with the much later shipping disaster in Wellington harbour.)  At first she lived with her in-laws in their house in Goulburn.  She and Percy got married on 15 June 1920.

Goulburnevpenpost17jun1920

Goulburn Evening Penny Post, 17 Jun 1920

They then moved to a federation house in George Street in Goulburn. I have another copy of a letter from Jean’s father, addressed to them both, no date.

My dear son and daughter

A few lines from the old chap to say that I was very pleased to hear that Jean had a good time going out to her new home and the fine welcome she received on her arrival. I cannot express the joy it gives Mother and myself to know that you both get on so well together. My hearts desire and prayer is that both be long spared to each others happiness. I hope you wont be disappointed by me not writing often as I write once in a blue moon not the (blue mountains) where you enjoyed yourselves so much. I don’t see the joke do you. I am very lazy, but Jessie is very good she writes every week and gives you all the news. Although I don’t write much, it gives me great pleasure to hear from you. Now let me take this opportunity to thank you for the papers you send. Do you mind when you used to pull me up and dance round the kitchen. I think it was Jazz you called it. I hope you won’t torment Percy Jean as you did me when you took a turn for fun. Whit dae ye think no sae bad for a start and aw tae yer ain sel. During the fair holidays we had no house taken at the coasts so George being on holiday we took some trips together and enjoyed ourselves. A.I. The first day we went on the motor to Newton Mearns it was very good the next day we had the car to Killermont and walked through Bearoden, Garcaddens to Dalmuir and took the car home a good long walk. We had also a fine day when we trained to Mulguy or Milngavie we went as far as Strathblane and back. But the best day of all was when we trained to Balloch. We walked through Glasgows new Park to the Bonnie Banks of Lochlomond it was very nice and we enjoyed a short time there. I had fully a week in September at Largs where Jessie & Maggie were with Mother having a holiday it is fine and bracing and it done us a lot of good. You know James King in the packing hall well he has a brother in Fairley a hairdresser so I walked there and went into the shop for a shave he knew me and very kindly pressed me to stay and have dinner with them which I did and enjoyed it as I had a long time to wait for a train. We all had a motor drive to Wenyss Bay and we had a very jolly time. Now excuse the mistakes I have had to tear up 4 or 5 pages with missing out words. I think I will stop now hoping this finds you all in the best of health as it leaves us.

From yours loving

Father & Mother

xxxx for yer ain Sel

xxxx the rest for free distribution

Da

I love how it mentions Jean dancing, obviously enjoying jazz.

Percy built a house in Ruby Street on land purchased from his father, which they then moved to.  My aunt was born a year after the wedding, followed by my father in 1923, and another son in 1928.

I’m afraid I have very little information on Jean’s earlier life in Australia.  She never did return to Scotland, but a sister did visit when my aunt was young.  Jean was proud of being Scottish, loved the bagpipes, and loved the song “My ain folk”.  She would sing Scottish songs to her children.  My aunt tells me that she grew up speaking with a Scottish accent.  Her mother, Jean, never lost her strong Glaswegian accent.  I remember she was an avid reader of “The people’s friend”, and watched soap operas.  I envied my cousins having much more contact with their grandparents while I, in New Zealand, barely knew them.  I should ask them about their memories of Jean.

Jean and Percy moved to Westmead, a suburb west of Parramatta in Sydney sometime between 1940 and 1949.  Percy died in 1963 but Jean continued living at the house until an advanced age.

Jeanie1961

Jean at 1 Napier Street, Westmead in 1961

It became clear to the family that Jean was starting to forget things and had auditory hallucinations.  I remember on one visit that she had put cooked chicken in a cupboard instead of the fridge and complained about a man next door singing loudly, when there was no sound at all.  It worried my father, who could only visit occasionally for short times from New Zealand.

Eventually, Jean was moved to a nursing home in Grafton, near to my aunt’s house.  She was reluctant to go but evidently got used to it after a while.  The staff were fond of her.  I think I lost touch about then (we used to correspond at least annually), as she was not up to it.

Jean died on 23 January 1984, just a month before her 94th birthday.  She had got very thin and at the end refused any liquids.  My aunt wrote to my father with details of the funeral.  It was a very hot day in Grafton.  One of my cousins played “My ain folk” and “Loch Lomond” on the clarinet.  There were red roses tied with the Black Watch tartan.  She was buried at the lawn cemetery.

 

 

Sources: “Victorian Glasgow“; Dundee Evening Post, 5 May 1904; “Strange death in Glasgow”, The Scotsman, 4 May 1904; “Glasgow storeman’s death”, The Scotsman, 16 May 1911; Census occupations; Canmore catalogue; Mitchell library; Joyce Stuart; Glasgow history; Trove newspapers


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I received an email from familysearch just yesterday, claiming that I had an American pioneer in the family.  Well, my first thought was that it was just a lure to get you to search records (ancestry’s marketing technique) and that they should get their facts right first, cos I wasn’t American.  So, despite going “pfft, yeah right” in my head, I clicked on the link and was presented with information about Frances Tibble and family.  Frances was among about 242 people in 30-odd wagons who travelled from Wyoming to Utah in 1868 with the “William S. Seeley” company, obviously a group of Mormons.

Turns out this is Frances Grunsell, the cousin of my paternal great-grandfather’s mother.  She married Thomas Tibble in Hampshire,  had four or five kids and they emigrated to the States in 1865.  Well, who knew?  I have distant Mormon relatives in Salt Lake city.  Funny.

I also worked on Anne Spriggs yesterday.  I found her marriage which said she was Mrs Spriggs, so I vainly looked for an earlier marriage, thinking this wasn’t her maiden name.  However, after some consultation with a Cornwall group on Facebook, I was told that Mrs in earlier times stood for mistress, which meant that she was of a higher class.  Again, who knew?  Considering that I already had her baptism, parents, etc, I was glad that I didn’t have to chuck all that away.  I’ve probably mentioned it before but previous research has taken Anne’s family back to about 1505.  I can’t, however, confirm many of the dates on the tree.  I’m not sure where they got the information from – from records that aren’t online or indexed, evidently.

So my “methodical” research has gone off on tangents lately.  Must focus again.

Now to my paternal grandparents.

Percy Leonard Edward Kercher was the eldest of four boys and two girls, born on 3 June 1895 in George Street,  Goulburn, NSW, to Edward and Lavinia.  His siblings were Stanley, Myree, Lewis, Leila, and A(l)lan.

Goulburn is an inland town, proclaimed Australia’s first inland city in 1863.  It was named after Under-secretary for War and the Colonies, Henry Goulburn and originally surveyed in the 1820s.

Goulburnmap

I don’t know a great deal about Percy, as he died when I was two years old.  The Kercher family lived in several streets at various times: George St, Ruby St, Park St, Citizen St and Bradley St.  The brothers built several houses, perhaps in Park Street.

Goulburnstreetmap

I’m not sure which exact address in George Street that Percy was born.  My father took a photo in the 70s of their “first house” in George Street.  In his (now discoloured) photo below he notes that it’s second from right.

GeorgeSt

Here’s the modern Google street view of the same as far as I can make out.

Georgeststvg

That would make it this house below on the left (also from Google).

GeorgeStGooglesv

Percy was a carpenter by trade and in the Goulburn Evening Penny Post I found this.

GEvPPTradeschool

Newspapers always make mistakes.  It should read Percy L. E. Kercher.

The following year, Percy enlisted with the Australian Imperial Force in the Field Companies Engineers on 19 June.

GEPPRecruiting1917

Goulburn Evening Penny Post

His brother, Stanley, also signed up (in October 1916).  The unit departed from Sydney on 31 October aboard the Euripedes.  His parents were living in Ruby Street at the time.  At the time of enlisting he was working as a carpenter at the New South Wales Railways.  He was a short man, just 5’4 1/2, with blue eyes and brown hair.  I was only recently shown a copy of the photo below by a cousin.

PercyWWI

I find a lot of the writing in his military record hard to read or decipher.  He seems to have been ill from December 1917 to June 1918, in London, Dartford, Colchester and Brightlingsea, with rheumatism, laryngitis, and influenza. Stanley, it seems, was also ill.

PLGPPost1918

Goulburn Evening Penny Post

(Stanley was discharged in March 1919 as medically unfit.)  Percy was on leave in Glasgow in February 1918 and this was when he met Jean Sutherland (his future wife).  He went to France in January 1919 then transferred to the 5th AI battalion from the 2nd Field Company Engineers in March.  In September 1919 he returned to Australia aboard the Persic.

A welcome was given in Goulburn for returned soldiers.

Welcome1 Welcome2

WelcomebandGEPP

Goulburn Evening Penny Post

It was only after he returned, that Percy proposed to Jean Sutherland (still in Glasgow).  According to the National Archives of Australia, Percy (as a returned soldier) applied for a passage for his fiancée.  At present I don’t have details of her passage but my aunt tells me it was in April 1920.

They married in Goulburn on 15 June 1920, and honeymooned in Katoomba.

Goulburnpenpost17jun1920

Goulburn Evening Penny Post

At first they lived with Percy’s parents in Ruby Street before renting in George Street.

In the early 1920s my aunt was born, followed by my father then younger brother.

Percy played in the A.L.H. brass band, as mentioned in the newspaper clipping above, and my brother, I think, still has his cornet.  (There was also a clarinet which got lost on its way to a cousin.)  The band used to play at the band rotunda in Goulburn.

bandrotunda

In the 1930s the family lived in Ruby Street and Percy worked with his father as a carpenter.  His father died in 1936.  In about 1940 Percy got promotion to Petersham works in Sydney and it may be at this time that they moved to 1 Napier Street in Westmead.  Certainly they were there by the 1949 electoral roll.  It looks exactly the same as I remember it (Google street view below).  It was here that we used to visit my grandmother who lived there for many years after my grandfather died.

1 Napier St

And here he is at the doorway with two of his nine grandchildren.

percecig

My cousins remember him as a kind, sweet man.

He died on 22 September 1963, at age 68.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a death certificate but his plaque is at the Northern Suburbs memorial gardens.

Percecloseup

 

Sources: Trove digitised newspapers, Wikipedia, Google, family archives, Joyce Stuart, panoramio.com

 

Just a week ago I signed up for a “free” trial with findmypast.co.uk and in that time, with just two days of research, I have filled in numerous gaps.  Their search engine is vastly superior to ancestry and familysearch.  They only display relevant results which makes a vast difference!  I don’t waste my time clicking on results which do not meet my search criteria.

I had a word file of particular details that I wanted for a range of different ancestors.  Slowly, I have made my way through them and crossed them out as I got a positive result.  I have noted the positive and negative results on my “research log”.

Last week I found the births or baptisms for Thomas Mudd, Elizabeth Potter (also her death), and clarified births, marriages and/or deaths for some of the Rose family.

Today I met with even more success, finding the baptism (and parents) of Mary Chariot and the marriage of those newly found parents, the marriage of John Beale’s parents, the burial of John Cornelius, the burial for Thomas Gruncel, the likely baptism and death of Sarah Kercher (nee Lee), and a baptism for Sarah Barnett.  For years I had been searching for the baptisms of Sarah Exel and Esther Webb, never having found anything remotely possible, but today I found a possible baptism for a Sarah Exall AND I found Esther (aka Hester) Webb!  That was the biggest prize, finding Esther.  Those records were probably sitting there all this time, buried in all the irrelevant results from stupid search engines.  Even when I know exactly what I’m looking for and that it exists, I always drew a blank on both ancestry and familysearch.  Findmypast also has British newspaper records with a good search engine so I have started to find little articles such as John Rose standing for council.

I recently received my DNA results from ancestry.  The ethnicity is not a surprise but ideally I need a subscription to view any matches.  I’m reluctant to give ancestry any money.  I’ve usually found them disappointing (see above comments re search results).  I think I’ll wait until my findmypast sub expires and then think about it.  I’m no hurry.  In the meantime, I have uploaded my results to Gedmatch but don’t really know what to do.  It’s all gibberish to me with its 31.6 cM 4th cousin match.  What is one supposed to do with that information?  Presumably the person you match has a tree with similar surnames?  Who knows?  I need a “DNA for genealogy” for dummies, with them spelling out exactly what to do.  The help I’ve received so far still doesn’t help.  When it comes to numbers, my brain freezes.

In the meantime, I’m happy enough continuing with the more traditional search on findmypast.

Last week I focussed on Chas Rose.  This week I turn to his wife, my maternal grandmother, Gwendoline Powell Asher.

gwendoline

Gwen was one of three girls born to William Darlington, and Kate Asher (née Powell).  She was the eldest, born 25 June 1894 at 1 Alton Terrace, Belle Vue in Shrewsbury, Shropshire.  It’s difficult to pinpoint on Google streetview exactly where that is.  Perhaps it’s now a block of flats.  Gwen’s sisters were Dorothy (born about 18 months later) and Winifred (born about 3 years later in Cheshire).   Gwen’s father was a post office clerk.  I’m told that Gwen was baptised at the church of Holy Trinity in Shrewsbury.

Gwen and her younger sister, Dorothy, started school at the same time (Gwen age five and Dorothy age four) but only went to school in the mornings.  In the afternoons they did painting and drawing.

In the 1901 census they are living at North Hermitage, Delamere, Belle Vue, Shrewsbury.  This might not be the exact house but it gives you an idea. Gwen’s father was now listed as a civil servant, travelling clerk, Surveyors Department, GPO. Ten years later they are living in the same place.

The following information comes from my mother who told it to me when I was about 10 years old, and from my mother’s cousin some years later.  I was told that Gwen never went to school but it seems she did, according to Dorothy’s daughter.  However, their father didn’t think they were getting on well enough, so he pulled them out of school and got private teaching – they had a governess, and were taught music, English literature, art, and arithmetic.  She liked music and art and used to sneak away to paint.  (She was a good artist.  I have a few of her paintings.)  Instead of doing homework she would write short stories or draw.  She didn’t need to work but Gwen was a “bit of a rebel” and went away to the East End to study nursing.  (My mother told me at a later stage that she was a midwife.)  In 1921 a fellow nurse (C. J. Lorden?) at Rotherhithe hospital wrote a poem in Gwen’s autograph book:  “A kiss is a noun, given standing up or sitting down, singular number, present tense, given by a man with common sense”.  Gwen was also a suffragette.  She liked going for long walks and walked very quickly.  This makes sense as my mother also walked quickly (probably to keep up, as I had to with my mother).

According to my mother, Gwen met Chas Rose during the First World War (as I suspected in my previous post and had forgotten).  Gwen was a nurse and Chas worked in the Field Ambulance so it makes sense.

gwennurse

However, according to Dorothy’s daughter they met in Ipswich, where Gwen was working in munitions where Chas was the foreman.  I can find no information on Gwen’s nursing career or even who wore that exact uniform.

Gwen was living at 3 Durham House, Dartmouth Park Hill, Islington in London at the time of her marriage to Chas.  They married on 10 September 1921.  I had noted Harwich in Essex but the marriage certificate just says Tendring district in Essex (which does include Harwich).  Gwen, my mother told me, did not believe in getting married in church when you were not a christian, and indeed they got married in the Register Office, witnessed by Gwen’s sister, Dorothy, and Chas’ brother, Alfred (and nearly missed a boat to get there).  I had grown up believing that they married at Maiden Hall in Belstead Road, but this could be Belstead Road, Maidenhall in Ipswich.  Perhaps they just had a reception here, or just that Gwen stayed there.  It’s all very confusing.

belsteadrd

A house in Belstead Road where I believed Gwen and Chas got married or that Gwen was staying at.

rosewed2

No-one in Gwen’s family met Chas until after the wedding (except for Dorothy).  There was no honeymoon.  The day after the wedding all the family went to Felixstowe for the day.

According to my notes as a child, Gwen and Chas “liked adventure” and decided to emigrate to Australia (where Chas’ brother Edward was living).  (As stated in my previous post, they left from London on 4 January 1922 aboard Demosthenes.)  Also, apparently, they wanted to go somewhere warmer, not liking cold weather.  They bought five acres of land west of Sydney at Pendle Hill (in Greystanes Road), which they had to clear for themselves, Gwen killing snakes in the process.  There was no transport but horse and sulky.  Apparently the horse was very bad-tempered and often bucked.  They established a poultry farm (in a region known for poultry farms).  Gwen served as midwife in the region (although this is not noted in any electoral rolls that I have).  Gwen created a flower garden and sold her wares in Market Place, Sydney, where there are still flower stalls.

MartinPlace

Gwen had two children (including my mother), born in 1924 and 1926.  In 1930, Gwen’s “much loved” father died but she could not attend the funeral.

Gwen fell ill with leukemia and travelled to England for treatment at Christie hospital in Manchester in 1948.  She left with her daughter on 5 August 1948 aboard the “Maloja”.  The ship sailed from Sydney, travelling via Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Colombo, Bombay, Aden, Suez Canal, Marseilles, and London, ultimately arriving in Epsom, 20 September 1948.

Maloja1948

The “Maloja” leaving Sydney

Gwen lived in a hillside cottage at Llanfairfechan in North Wales, taking the train to Christie hospital when needed.

My father travelled across to join my mother (presumably they were engaged) and they married in 1949 in London, then lived near Gwen for a time.

Pantyffynon

Gwen loved gardening and was often working in an allotment growing vegetables, even when she shouldn’t have been, due to her health.  She also painted and read books, listened to the radio, and went to evening classes to learn Welsh.

Sadly, Gwen caught pneumonia, and died at Osborne House, Llanfairfechan (where my parents were living) on 1 November 1953.  She was just 59 years old.

[My father wrote of their lives in England about this time, but it is hidden in a box somewhere and I can’t locate it.  When I do, I’ll edit this post at a later date.]

Sources: family archives, Google, Gwen’s 1952 diary; Pamela Gwynne

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This really could be a challenge as I said I’d start this on Friday and it’s now the following Thursday.  Last Friday I spent trying to get answers to questions from previous research and was somewhat successful with still many questions left unanswered (isn’t that always the way?).

So, I figured I’d start with my maternal grandfather HC Rose, called Chas.  I never really knew him as he lived in Australia while my parents lived in New Zealand.  He died when I was 13.  From what I do remember, I found him a little scary and forbidding.  I’m sure he wasn’t.  I knew his sister better as she lived with him and lived to a good age, and from what I know of her, the family had a sharp wit and called a spade a spade.  Anyway, to business.

hcm

Chas was born in Walton-on-the-Naze in Essex in 1894 on 27 October.  He was one of six brothers and they had two sisters – a large family.  His brothers were Harold, Edward, Reginald, Alfred and Donald (they all had nicknames) and sisters Madge and Ruth.  Walton-on-the Naze is a small town on the coast of Essex with a current population of about 6,000. It’s a town that dates back to Saxon times, the Naze part of it referring to the promontory north of the town.

wotnw WotN

In 1901 the family were living at 43 High Street.

WotNmap

According to Google street view this is it.

43highst

BUT, an older picture through Google search, revealed a different property. Google is not to be trusted.  It was only by zooming in on the street numbers (where found) that I identified the right property below, right next door to the above.

43HighSt

The street is full of businesses.  This would make sense as Chas’ father was a grocer.  The above is now opposite a Tesco.

HighstWotN

Ten years later, 1911, Chas, age 16, was living at a boarding house run by 41-year-old widow, Anna Mary Amoss.  The only other boarder was 60-year-old widower, Arthur Bass.  As far as I can make out, the boarding house was at 24 Roundalton(?) Street, Capture presumably in Ipswich. The census form doesn’t actually say!  If anyone can enlighten me, please do!  Chas was an engineer of agricultural implements.

In February 1912, at age 17, Chas enlisted with the 1st East Anglian Field Ambulance, Royal Army Medical Corps.  His occupation at the time was listed as an engineer with the firm of Ransome, Sims and Jefferies.  The company was an old one (started by Robert Ransome in 1753), producing British agricultural machinery (but during the First World War they manufactured aeroplanes: the Royal Aircraft Factory F.E.2 fighters).  The company lasted until the early 1980s.

1910st         fe2

At the time of enlisting, Chas was living at 10 Wolsey Street in Ipswich (which is now a large apartment block).  Army records are notoriously difficult to read, but it appears that in 1916, Chas was released to work back at Ransomes, Sims and Jefferies (perhaps working on those planes!).  What I can read is that he was home from August 1914 to March 1915 and from November 1915 to February 1917 when he was discharged after 5 years (including 2 years, 205 days of embodied service).  From March to November 1915 he was with the British Expeditionary Force in the Mediterranean.  Does this mean Gallipoli?  I dread to think.

Chas was discharged on 26 February 1917.  He was 22 years old, 5’8, dark hair, blue eyes and his trade would be turner and fitter.  His intended residence was 77 York Road, Felixstowe Road, Ipswich.  There are still houses there, but Google is not helpful in placing the number right in the middle of the road.  Chas’ character was described as honest, sober, trustworthy and industrious, phrases which adorn many an army record.  He had spent 1 year, 107 days in munitions and 235 days service abroad in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.  What horror he must’ve seen.

As a matter of interest, his brother, Edward, was serving with the Australian Imperial Force and enlisted in March 1915 as a sapper with the 4th Field Company Engineers, 18th battalion, A company.  They left Sydney on board the Ceramic on 25 June.  He must have also been at Gallipoli.

I found this that Chas had drawn in my grandmother’s autograph book in 1919.  He must have known Gwen at least 2 years before marrying her.  As far as I know she was a nurse so perhaps they met during the war.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Who knows what it all means, but it obviously refers to his time in the army.

Chas married Gwendoline Powell Asher on 10 September 1921 at Harwich, Essex.  At the time he was living at Valley Lodge, Holland Road, Clacton-on-Sea.  I can find no mention of Valley Lodge.  Perhaps it became Valley Farm holiday park.  Chas’ occupation was mechanical engineer and his father was now listed as a commercial clerk.  Gwendoline (Gwen) was living at Islington and her father was a postmaster.

I have no idea when Edward (Ted) had moved to Australia, but he survived the war and Chas and Gwen decided to join him.  I had noted that they arrived in Sydney aboard the Demosthenes in February 1922, but I did not note the source, and couldn’t confirm it.  When you want to search passenger lists, you can’t seem to find any (or websites are down!). So frustrating.  However, finally, thanks to findmypast.co.uk, I found departure lists (arrivals seemed impossible to search. Even Trove gleaned no passenger list that confirmed their arrival).  I’m  not sure how long it normally took for the journey from England to Australia at the time, but they definitely left on 4 January 1922 from London aboard the Demosthenes.

Demosthenes

(As an added bonus thanks to findmypast’s free search, I found Edward leaving for Australia in 1911.  I wonder what prompted the move?  I’ll never know.)  Interestingly, Chas’ parents and sisters joined them in December 1922.

I know very little about Chas and Gwen’s life in New South Wales.  By 1924, when my mother was born, they were living at Greystanes Road in Pendle Hill, at that time an area of poultry farms.  I know they did have some chooks, horses and dogs.

PendleHill26

In the 1936 electoral roll, Chas was listed as a “plastic artist”, still living at Greystanes Road. Gwen, it seemed, was never in paid employment in Australia.  I’m sure she had enough on her plate with the property and another child, a son, born in 1926.

In 1949’s electoral roll, Chas and Gwen’s address is c/o Elliott, North Rocks Road, North Rocks, north of Parramatta and Chas’ occupation “turner”.  Perhaps it was temporary accommodation until they moved to 33 Kenilworth Street in Croydon?  Gwen died in 1953.  Chas and his sister, Ruth, lived at Kenilworth Street, next door to sister Madge and her husband Jack.  I’m not sure when they moved there but Ruth lived there until her death in 2002.  Chas died at the address on 27 February 1974, age 79, a toolmaker.  He was cremated on 1 March 1974 at Rookwood Crematorium.  (Just five years later his daughter died in the same house.)

kenilworth

Chas, on the right, with his sisters and brother-in-law (and Lacey)

There are a lot of gaps and many missed stories of which I know nothing.  As a child you don’t ask questions (or didn’t back then, especially if the adult seemed rather forbidding).  I was also at a disadvantage living in a different country and only visiting once every few years for a few days.

So here ends week one.  The next three weeks will probably be spent on my other grandparents.

Sources: Google, Wikipedia, findmypast.co.uk, family archives

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