More on Annie and Something on George

What an amazing surprise! Today I received a "comment" from "Frances" that gives a lot more information on Annie and George.  

It ties together some of the details we knew. George, when he emigrated to Australia, started a shoe factory in Melbourne, my sister Anita tells me. If he was a shoemaker 1916, that would make some sense. I'll publish Frances' contribution without any further comment. BL

More on Annie and something on George

On the 1911 census, Annie is living back at home with her widowed father Henry, Kate, Harry, and Connie (acknowledged as Henry’s granddaughter). They are living at 145 Nottingham Road, Ilkeston.

Annie (35) has no occupation recorded; Kate (33) is a monthly nurse, and Harry (23) has “twist hand lace factory” as his occupation. Father Henry has “formerly oxide worker at chemical works.”

George Lamin, Annie’s son, is nowhere to be seen. I found him, still with the Lacey family, but they have now moved to Manchester. The address is given as 164 Upper Brook Street, Chorlton on Medlock, Manchester. George is 14, and a joiner’s apprentice.

By 1916, George is working at Chas. Macintosh & Co Limited, India Rubber Manufacturers. In military records (on Ancestry), the following memorandum, dated January 13 1916, is preserved:

“Dear Sir, the bearer, G. Lamin, wishes to join the Army for immediate service and we have released him from munition work for this purpose. Yours faithfully, Chas. Macintosh & Co. Ltd.”

George enlists aged 19 years and 1 month. His address on his papers shows that he was still at the same address as that given in the 1911 census. He is 5ft 8½ inches tall, and his occupation is given as shoemaker. He is passed for service with an A1 medical category. His next of kin is Arthur Lacey, who is his guardian. He is assigned a Sapper 440567 in the 497th (Kent) Field Company RE (Royal Engineers).

Some of the military records are charred round the edges, and difficult to read. But George was awarded one medal: the Victory medal, which he received and signed for in 1922! 

The medal card shows TWO medals. Exactly the same as Harry. It's such a shame that similar documents for Harry aren't available. A lot of records were destroyed by bombing in World War 2. 

Following up on Frances' research, a little more work (All the hard work's been done) I discovered that through 1917, George would have been in the Ypres sector in the Royal Engineers, supporting units like Harry's. When Harry was involved in night time activities, improving the trenches, as in June 1917, he would have been under the supervision of R.E. personnel. 

George's unit was, as was Harry, also involved in the Battle of Passchendaele. George was hospitalised for 5 weeks in September 1917 when the battle was intense, but the records don't help with a reason. Also, on discharge from the army, he leaves the section on hospital experiences blank. More research into this guy with bow legs and a scar on his jaw? (According to his medical.)   

Thank you Frances, for really great piece of research. Any ideas where Ethel was in 1911? BL

Frances said...According to the 1911 Census, Ethel Ward Watson was living in Digby Street, Ilkeston Junction. She was 19, and her occupation is recorded as "Bobbin winder." She was born in Codnor, Derbyshire. She is a boarder in the house of a Mr Robert Scattergood, who is listed as head of the household, and married, but his wife does not appear in the same entry. There are three other boarders listed at the same address: Mary Ann Watson (56), cop winder, presumably Ethel's mother, although she is listed as being single; Annie Ward Watson (19), stripper; and Annie Elizabeth Ward Watson (16), no occupation given. These last two girls are Ethel's sisters. Hope this helps!

March 22, 2010

Ethel, Harry's wife

Ethel was my grandmother. She’s someone in this story that I knew, and can remember.

With sister Anita, I’d spend weekends with her and Harry. They lived a little over a mile (2km) from my family home and, in the carefree days of the 1950s, I was allowed to walk there after school if I was to stay.

I can remember her as slightly stern - not too many smiles - but both Anita and I enjoyed staying there. We could drink lemonade and could listen to “Children’s Favourites” on the radio on Saturday morning. The food was different. Ethel cooked on small coal-fired range in the living room/kitchen. Somehow, the sausages tasted different when cooked in the oven and the mashed potato was whipped to a wonderful creaminess with butter and “top milk”. I’ve never had anything quite like it since.

Ethel had a tough time after the war. Looking after Connie, I’m sure that Kate helped her out financially.  Later in her life, Anita says that she wouldn’t go shopping for clothes for herself. For Anita’s wedding, my mother went to the Co-op clothes shop and took a selection of outfits. Ethel, reluctantly, chose one from the selection. 

The letters to her from Harry haven’t survived. My mother reported that Ethel hated the war and everything to do with it and almost certainly burned the letters that she received. Thankfully, later on, when she inherited the bundle of letters from  Kate and Jack, she hung on to them.

When I was16, I decided to go to the army’s boarding school, Welbeck College, with a view to taking up a military career. Much, much  later, I discovered that Ethel was devastated at the thought of her grandson joining the army. She had such a hatred of the army after Harry’s experiences. Much to my great regret, she passed away while I was at Welbeck, still on course for that military career, which never actually happened.

The earliest reference to Ethel I can find is on the 1901 census. Ethel Watson was born in 1892, making her 5 years younger than Harry. In 1901 she was living with her widowed mother, 5 sisters and brother (maybe step-brother) in 50 Digby Street at the Eastern edge of Ilkeston – just over the river Erewash into Nottinghamshire. There are still a load of old factories in that part of town. Digby Street is a few hundred yards from the Gordon Street home that was the eventual home of Harry and Ethel. Ethel never moved far, always living within a 400 yard radius. Compare that with Harry, who saw the sights of Flanders, Venice and the Dolomite Mountains

At the time of that census Ethel was 9 years old. Two of her elder sisters aged 16 and 17 worked as hosiery (skin) buttoner worker and a hosiery runneron worker. One of the streets off Digby Street is Trumans Street. Harry worked at Trumans  Lace factory. A neighbour of Ethel’s family was a  Mr Truman who’s occupation was a Lace curtain maker. Perhaps we can guess how they met

 I discovered from the census that she had a sister Nelly. My sister Anita and I have discussed where the “Auntie Nelly” we knew as children fitted into the family. Now it makes some sense.

Harry and Ethel married in  March 1914 in a civil ceremony at Basford, Nottingham Registry Office. Their first child Arthur, was born in June 1914. Sadly Arthur died, a few months old, early in 1915.

The following March, 1916, my father William (Willie) was born. By the end of the year, however, Ethel was on her own as Harry had been called up to join the army.

There are lots of indications in the letters that Annie (sister Sarah Ann) teamed up with Ethel during the time that Harry was away. For some of that time it seems clear that Ethel, Willlie and Connie shared a house with Annie. When Annie married, Ethel and the children  returned to the family home in Mill Street.

After Harry’s death in 1961, Ethel lived by herself until she died in 1966, aged 74.

I wish that I could give a more complete account of Ethel’s life but there is little available and, of course, no one left to ask. ( How many  family history researchers have said that?)

Photographs; from the top. (Click to enlarge)
Ethel, on the right, with elder sister Nelly. The two were good friends and spent much time together.
Ethel at the Gordon Street home with "Nipper". I can only guess the date.
Ethel and "Nipper".
Willie's wedding in 1941. Ethel, with Harry behind her. Next to Harry is his sister Annie (wrongly identified in the book.)
Ethel looking very proud, with Kate at Willie's wedding in 1941, when she would be 49.

Next week, Kate

Unabridged Audiobook is Released

The unabridged audiobook of Letters from the Trenches was released by Whole Story Audio Books on 1st March.  click here.

The site contains a downloadable clip. I've just listened and, to my great relief, really like it. I was so disappointed when the short extract came to an end. I think the whole book will be going on my MP3 player as soon as I get my copy.

Geoff Annis, reading it, is quite believable as an East Midlands boy. It was quite strange listening to him saying my own words as he read from the introduction.

Have a listen to the clip and add a comment here. All welcomed - complimentary or not. Thank you.

Apologies to world -wide readers. I've just been informed that the publisher doesn't have the right to distribute outside the European Union. I'll try to find out more. Bill