Category: On This Day...

Appointment at the Palace

Category: On This Day...

Original phonogram sent on 15th July 1919 to Lt C N Ellen
Original phonogram sent on 15th July 1919 to Lt C N Ellen

Exactly one hundred years ago today a special communication was received by a young Lt Cyril Norman Ellen requesting his presence at Buckingham Palace on the 24th July 1919. The phonogram was sent from the Lord Chamberlain's office to Harvey's grandad who was to receive his DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) from King George V. It must have been a very proud moment.

Cyril Ellen wearing his medals in 1925
Cyril Ellen wearing his medals on his wedding day in 1925


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Rembembering my Grandpa Geake

Category: On This Day...

William Hellyer Geake
William Hellyer Geake (known as Bill)

Today marks the 25th anniversary of my Grandpa Geake's death. Here he is in front of his house at Crelake Park in Tavistock Devon.

Bill Geake
Bill Geake (25.4.1917 - 18.6.1994)

And here Grandpa is sitting in the chair next to me at our house - Christmas time 1983.

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Remembering my Granny

Category: On This Day...

Phyllis Grace Geake, nee Weaver
Phyllis Grace Geake, nee Weaver

It's hard to believe we lost my Granny Geake 14 years ago today. I still miss her loads.

Grave
Grave plaque at Drake Memorial Park, Plymstock


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Honouring my Great-Uncle: D-Day Veteran

Category: On This Day...

Edward Carlyle Savory
Edward Carlyle Savory

Honouring my Great-Uncle, Edward Carlyle Savory, who was in the US 29th Division Artillery HQ Bty on D-Day, arriving on Omaha Beach at 14:10 hours on the afternoon of 6th June.

After the war, Uncle Eddie married my Great-Aunt, Eileen Geake, having met her in Tavistock, Devon, where he had been stationed for some time before crossing the Channel.

General Eisenhower inspecting the US troops in front of St Eustachius Church in Tavistock
General Eisenhower inspecting the US troops in front of St Eustachius Church in Tavistock


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Remembering George Harvey who fell at the Battle of Amiens

Category: On This Day...

George Harvey
George Harvey (1884-1918)

On the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Battle of Amiens, we remember Harvey's great-grandfather, George Harvey, who was wounded on 8th August 1918.

He was a Sapper in B Company, 9th Battalion, Canadian Engineers and received a gunshot wound to the shoulder whilst the '3rd Canadian Division successfully attacked the enemy positions between the Andrea Ravine and Hangard, inclusive, at 4.20am. During the course of the operations, Lieut. Byron, and 4 O.R.s [Other Ranks] who were with a party, under command of Lieut. Jones, were wounded.'

George was taken to No. 9 General Hospital at Rouen where he succumbed to his wounds and died on 10th August. He is buried in St Sever Cemetery Extension in Rouen.

Headstone of George Harvey
The Headstone of George Harvey in St Sever Cemetery Extension, Rouen, France

George is commemorated on the War Memorial in his home town of Newlyn in Cornwall and is also memorialized on a stone in the wall of the Centenary Primitive Methodist Church, which is situated at the top of Boase Street where he lived in 1909.

Stone in Memory of George Harvey
The Stone laid in Memory of George Harvey in the Wall of the Centenary Primitive Methodist Church in Newlyn

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Remembering Granny Hibbitt

Category: On This Day...

Ivy Alice Dando (1927)
Ivy Alice Dando (1927)

Remembering my Granny Hibbitt on the anniversary of her death, seen here in 1927, probably on Grandpa's bike.

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On This Day in 1972

Category: On This Day...

Charlie Hibbitt and his sister, Nell
Charlie Hibbitt and his sister, Nell

Remembering my grandpa, Charles George Hibbitt, who passed away on this day 45 years ago. I have many happy memories of my Grandpa Hibbitt including our times spent on his boat which you can read about in my previous post.

Charlie Hibbitt at Princetown during the winter of 1947
Charlie Hibbitt at Princetown during the harsh winter of 1947 working as a telephone inspector.

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Any old excuse!

Category: On This Day...

The original gag
The original gag

(Click the image above to see a larger version.)

Harvey's grandad, Cyril Ellen, was born on this day in 1895. Talking of birthdays, whilst serving in the RAF with 45 Squadron in Egypt in 1921, Cyril who was the Adjutant, issued a memo on behalf of his Commanding Officer. The order was that the officers' birth certificates were all to be altered to show the same date of birth and this might occur up to six times a year.

It turns out it was simply an excuse to have a jolly good old knees-up!

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On This Day in 1992

Category: On This Day...

My Granny Hibbitt with my Dad
My Granny Hibbitt with my Dad

It's hard to believe it's 25 years to the day since I lost my Granny Hibbitt. So long as I live and breathe she won't be forgotten.

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On This Day in 1916 - A Narrow Escape

Category: On This Day...

Early aviation during the First World War was a hairy business. Harvey's grandad, Cyril Ellen, was involved in two recorded incidents whilst serving with the R.N.A.S. (Royal Naval Air Service) onboard HMS Riviera. Riviera saw service with the Dover Patrol where her aircraft flew spotting missions for naval bombardments off the Belgian coast. Both times Cyril was in a Short Admiralty 184 Type Tractor Biplane Seaplane, often called the Short 225, which was a British two-seat reconnaissance, bombing and torpedo carrying folding-wing seaplane. A Short 184 was the first aircraft to sink a ship using a torpedo.

The first incident was perhaps indicative of the difficulties which often occurred when hoisting seaplanes out of the water. Recorded in a book entitled 'Royal Navy Aircraft Serials and Units, 1911-1919' by Ray Sturtivant and Gordon Page as follows...

8384: Damaged while coming alongside after patrol 31.5.16 (F/L GW Price & CPO Mech3 Ellen).

The repair must have been relatively straightforward as the seaplane was flying again on 3rd June.

Possibly a photograph of the damaged seaplane reported in the incident of 31st May 1916
Possibly a photograph of the damaged seaplane reported in the incident of 31st May 1916

The second incident took place on 18th June 1916 and was potentially more serious...

8357: Engine cut, FL in German minefield 8m N of Ostende, put fire out, attacked by 3 enemy seaplanes which were driven off by Lewis gun fire, towed home by ML105 18.6.16 (F/L GW Price & CPO Mech3 Ellen).

ML105, the vessel which gave the crew a tow, was a Motor Launch of the Fairmile A class.

The action was cited by HMS Riviera's Commanding Officer in a letter written to the Vice Admiral, Dover Patrols, dated 29th July 1916 when he stated that Cyril had "assisted to beat off attacks of enemy seaplanes" and the event also received attention in a newspaper at the time...

Cyril Ellen kept this newspaper cutting of the incident on 18th June 1916
Cyril Ellen kept this newspaper cutting of the incident on 18th June 1916

June 18 - A seaplane was forced to descend, owing to the engine catching fire, into the middle of an enemy mine-field. A hostile aeroplane and two seaplanes attacked it with machine guns, but the enemy was driven off by our fire. Our seaplane was uninjured, and drifted on the tide towards Nieuport, where the crew were safely rescued.

Cyril's ordeal lasted for several hours. Riviera's ship's log recorded how the seaplane was airborne at 3.32pm and did not arrive alongside until 10.15pm. Both pilot and observer must have been exhausted.

Were your ancestors in any close scrapes? Please share your stories.

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