Site Updates - Surnames: Horn, Larkworthy, Chapman, Odam, Heysett

Category: What's New at Hibbitt.org.uk

Hibbitt Family Tree section

Relevant place names: Black Torrington, Shebbear and Sheepwash in North Devon.

Photo Gallery > Graves & Memororials > Sheepwash, Devon - St Lawrence's Churchyard section

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Site Updates - Surnames: Poulston, Wilkes, Cotterell, Lewis, Pitt, Horn, Rigsby, Larkworthy

Category: What's New at Hibbitt.org.uk

Hibbitt Family Tree section

Relevant place names: Standish in Gloucestershire, Kidderminster in Worcestershire and Black Torrington and Shebbear in Devon.

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Spotlight on Uncle Tom & Auntie Nellie

Category: Sharing Memories

I've created a new blog category called 'Sharing Memories', to which this post belongs.

I remember Uncle Tom (Thomas Smale) very well - he lived to be 95 years old and died in 1991. He came to my house when our son was a baby and we had a photograph taken of 5 generations but I seem to have mislaid the picture for the moment. The generations included, our son, me, my mum, my gran [Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver)] and Uncle Tom, who was my gran's uncle. I can remember visiting him once at his home in Sunshine Terrace in Tavistock, however, there were numerous times when I met him at my grandparents' house. I can't remember if I ever met Auntie Nellie (Nellie, nee Ball) - I might have done.

I've managed to find a colour picture of Tom & Nellie in one of my gran's photo albums. It looks as though it was taken on the same day as an old newspaper cutting that I have announcing their golden wedding anniversary.

Tom & Nellie Smale
Tom & Nellie Smale

The cutting mentions that the couple met at the Lydford Pony Show. Does anyone have any further information about this event? Their wedding day in 1924 at Gulworthy Parish Church, was apparently a wash-out with torrential rain!

Some time after Auntie Nellie died, Uncle Tom gave me a little ivorine Book of Common Prayer which had belonged to her. I vaguely recall he left a vase to my gran in his will and I believe my brother has a Crown Derby tea set that was once Tom and Nellie's.

Uncle Tom was a signalman on the railways and he still used to ride his bicycle when he was well into his 90's.

My gran told me that Uncle Tom and Auntie Nellie had wanted to adopt her after her own grandmother, who was looking after her, died. Gran was 9 years old and an orphan. At that stage, Uncle Tom and Auntie Nellie had only been married a very short time so how true this story is, I'm not sure. The couple never had any children of their own so it might have been something they may have expressed retrospectively. In the event, my gran went to live with another aunt and uncle because reportedly, they were in greater need of the extra cash that was available for orphans from the First World War. This is not to suggest that they weren't good 'parents' to her because they were.

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Military Monday: "Three other Ranks were killed"

Category: Sharing Memories

There's a story which has been passed down through our family about how, on 8th September 1916, my great-grandfather, Henry James Weaver, died. During WWI, he was reportedly killed alongside two others by a bomb or hand grenade accidentally detonating in a soldier's hand while resting at the base in France after serving in the trenches.

My gran told me this a number of years ago. I've often wondered about the accurancy of the information because the details must have been second-hand; gran was orphaned before the age of 5.

Henry James Weaver's Memorial Plaque (Death Penny)</
Henry James Weaver's Memorial Plaque (Death Penny)

The family has two pieces of evidence to support the story, or at least the fact of it having been an accident. Firstly, a photograph issued by the War Office showing the original wooden cross and Henry's grave. The inscription on the cross mentions Henry was 'accidentally killed'. The second piece of evidence is a death notice in an old newspaper cutting which my gran kept for most of her life. Dated 1921, the notice is about gran's mother but it includes the following....

"...Pathos is added to this very sad case by the fact that Mrs. Weaver's husband, who was a private in the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry during the war, was killed by a bomb at the base in France just after leaving the trenches for a brief respite..."

Of course, I wasn't sure if this was published on the basis of what the family had told the newspaper so I still needed further evidence.

A few days ago, I posted a message in the Great War Forum and another member very kindly responded. He had a copy of the war diary for the 2/1 Battalion Oxfordshire and Buckingham Light Infantry - Henry's battalion. The story bears out...

LE GRAND PACAUT

3-7
09/16

Nil.

8/09/16

At noon a Bombing accident occurred, owing to the premature explosion of a Bomb. The Battn. Q.M. - LIEUT. D WALLER and the Bombing Officer 2/Lieut. A.J. SMEE 3rd WILTS, attached 2/1 BUCKS Bn. were both wounded. Three other Ranks were killed and 4 other Ranks were wounded.

9. - 10.
/09/16

Nil.


Five words, 'Three other Ranks were killed', makes for stark reading when you consider this phrase embodies the tragic news of the death of my great-grandfather.

What heartbreak for my great-grandmother, Florence. Married less than a year, she was heavily pregnant at the time. It's believed the news arrived around the time she gave birth to my gran, ten days after Henry's death, but that she wasn't told until my gran was ten days old. Apparently Florence was becoming increasingly anxious to know why she hadn't heard from Henry. It doesn't bear thinking about! No wonder Henry's headstone reads...

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
MY DEAR HUSBAND
FROM HIS SORROWING
WIFE AND CHILD

When Florence died of meningitis, my gran was left without parents. To add insult to injury, gran passed the necessary exams to qualify for the grammar school but, because she had no father, another girl was given her place. Times were certainly tough. Such missed opportunities!

Despite various set-backs, gran was the type of woman who rolled up her sleeves and got on with it. She was full of vitality and always offered hospitality. There was certainly no side to her. Perhaps her difficult start in life was what grounded her.

I've posted before about how gran always wanted to see her father's grave, something she finally did at the age of 83.

Incidentally, the Quartermaster who was wounded was a Daniel Waller, born in Great Chishill, Cambridgeshire. He survived the war and lived until 1950, aged 82.

The two other men who were killed with Henry were Lance-Sergeant AW Mead and Private JS Litchfield. The three of them are buried beside each other in Merville Communal Cemetery Extension in Merville, France.

Henry's name appears on the War Memorial in his home town of Curry Rivel, Somerset, and also in Tavistock, Devon, Florence's home town.

[Why Military Monday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

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Memorial to the first Diamond Queen

Category: Grandpa's Old Slides

The Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace
The Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace
(Click the image above to see a larger version.)

This famous monument, situated at the top of the Mall outside Buckingham Palace, will be prominent over the Queen's Diamond Jubilee weekend so I thought I'd post a picture probably taken by my gran, Ivy Alice Hibbitt (nee Dando), some time during the 1950's. A postcard from her sent from London to my grandpa has recently surfaced. It's postmarked 29 Aug 1955 and it's possible this photo was taken on the same trip.

In many respects, the scene hasn't changed all that much since the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II's reign until now. The statue on top of the Victoria Memorial looks much shinier these days compared to back then and the white marble is cleaner too. Was the hazy sky a consequence of the 'smog' that London was accustomed to having at that time or was it simply a misty day? I rather like the old-fashioned cars and the policeman standing there in his helmet.

I wish Her Majesty a happy Diamond Jubilee and many more years to come.

(From my grandpa's collection of old slides - see this post for more information.)

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Treasure Chest Thursday: The mystery of the Prayer Book

Category: Ancestors Corner

I have in my possession a Book of Common Prayer with Hymns Ancient & Modern previously belonging to a Florence Smale, or possibly Small.

Book of Common Prayer with Hymns A. & M.
Book of Common Prayer with Hymns A. & M.

Inside the front cover it states:

Florence Smale [or Small?, it's difficult to read]
Prize for Religious Knowledge
W.G.F.
Easter 1904

Who was W.F.G.? A vicar or Sunday School teacher perhaps?

Inside the Book of Common Prayer with Hymns A. & M.
Inside the Book of Common Prayer with Hymns A. & M.

Inscription inside the front cover
Inscription inside the front cover.

There is a note inside the back cover as follows:

Florence E C Small [could be Smale]
Oak Hill
East Budleigh
Devon
Somewhere in Blighty.

Note inside the back cover bearing Florence E C Small/Smale's address
Note inside the back cover bearing Florence E C Small/Smale's address.

Although Florence Emily C Small became Florence E C Smale when she married Charles Henry Smale, this book has been passed down to me, a descendant of her sister-in-law, a different Florence Smale (later Weaver), so it may not have belonged to Florence E C Small/Smale at all, even though the reference on the back cover definitely relates to her.

[Why Treasure Chest Thursday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

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Site Updates - Surnames: Smale, Small, Ball

Category: What's New at Hibbitt.org.uk

Hibbitt Family Tree section

Relevant place names: Tavistock, Kelly, Aylesbeare and East Budleigh in Devon and Hastings, Sussex.

Photo Gallery > Potpourri > General Memorabilia section

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Site Updates - Family Tree Reports

Category: What's New at Hibbitt.org.uk

Resources > Family Tree Reports section

  • Added family tree reports for Harvey's family. Scroll down towards the bottom of the page. This is a work in progress and further additions will be made as and when time allows. The main Family Tree web pages remain the most up-to-date information for our family trees.

Site Updates - Surnames: Harvey, Keigwin, Trezise

Category: What's New at Hibbitt.org.uk

Barnes Family Tree section

Relevant place names: Newlyn & Paul near Penzance and Mullion in Cornwall.

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Site Updates - Hellier/Hellyer, Gale

Category: What's New at Hibbitt.org.uk

Hibbitt Family Tree section

Last week I met a couple of cousins who were visiting from Melbourne, Australia. During our time together, we went to the Plymouth & West Devon Record Office. Although I've been researching family history for 5 years now, I'm ashamed to say that I'd never been before so this gave me an impetus to go along and see what's available. My cousins are related to me on my Dando side, however, their Devon interest was on a different branch and so was mine. Whilst I was there, I gained free access to FindMyPast and...

  • I discovered a baptism for my 3 x great-grandfather, William Hellier, in Tavistock in 1815.
  • Besides this, I came across a marriage for William's parents, Samuel Hellier & Elizabeth Gale. I had wondered where the Gale name came in because William's son's middle name was Gale. Now I see my great-great-grandfather, John Gale Hellier/Hellyer, was named after his grandmother.
I still need to ascertain the maiden name of William's wife, Sarah.

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