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.


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.


According to Google street view this is it.


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.


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


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 Foundation Street, which was less than a ten minute walk from Ransome’s Orwell works (thank you to distant cousin, Adrian, for that info).  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.


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, 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.


(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.


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.)


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,, family archives