Category: On This Day...

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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On This Day - Remembering the Quetta Earthquake of 1935

Category: On This Day...

Today, 31st May, sees the 82nd anniversary of the earthquake at Quetta, Balochistan, British India, which is now part of Pakistan. Harvey's grandparents and mother, who was a child at the time, were caught up in the disaster which killed between 30,000 and 60,000 people.

Quetta Earthquake 1935 - Buildings were reduced to rubble
Quetta Earthquake 1935 - Buildings were reduced to rubble

Harvey's grandad, Cyril Ellen, was the squadron leader of No 5 (AC) Squadron which was based at Quetta and his grandmother, Gladys Ellen (nee Gardner), was awarded the Kaisar-i-Hind Silver Medal for the part she played in the rescue effort.

The earthquake struck in the early hours and the RAF suffered heavy losses in the airmen's barracks. Conditions were horrendous during the days and weeks which followed.

It appears that Cyril remained in Quetta until he took a flight to Karachi on 20th June. The family sailed from India on 20th July, arriving back in England on 9th August.

We have no precise details of Gladys' contribution in the aftermath of the quake but the Muswell Hill Record & Friern Barnet Journal paid tribute to the bravery she displayed in the rescue work.

The Kaisar-i-Hind Silver medal awarded to Gladys Ellen
The Kaisar-i-Hind Silver medal awarded to Gladys Ellen

Handy links:

A web page detailing Cyril and Gladys' story including photographs and copies of documents. I've also transcribed an excerpt from the RAF Operations Record Book giving an account of the earthquake.

Photographs taken by Cyril after the earthquake.

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Of all the days...

Category: On This Day...

Florence Weaver (nee Smale)
Florence Weaver (nee Smale).

My great-grandmother, Florence Weaver (nee Smale) was born on the 11th January 1888 so today would have been her 129th birthday. Florence was my maternal grandmother's mother.

By some coincidence, my gran also had a daughter born on the 11th January: Happy Birthday Mum!

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On This Day...17th - 31st January

Category: On This Day...

17th JANUARY

1883 - James Johnson Sill & Alice Amies Dando were married 129 years ago. Alice was the grand-daughter of my 3 x great-grandfather, Joseph Dando, the younger.

1884 - exactly a year later, Alice's brother wed. Thomas Stotesbury Dando & Helena D Jones were married in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. They were first cousins.

1854 - Catherine Emma Dando, daughter of Joseph Dando (above) and Harriet Catherine, nee Williams, died. The Bristol Mercury published the following announcement:
"DIED. Jan. 17, aged 5 months and 9 days, Catherine Emma, daughter of Mr. Joseph Dando, jun."

19th JANUARY

1878 - Richard Fryer died, aged about 32, and was buried in Chepstow Municipal Cemetery.

20th JANUARY

1933 - Richard Fryer's wife, Rebecca (nee Fisher), died 55 years and one day after her husband. She too, was buried at Chepstow.

1791 - 221 years ago, Susanna Dando was born in Dursley, Gloucestershire. She was the daughter of Stephen Dando and Elizabeth, nee Jones.

1811 - Louisa Dando, daughter of my 4 x great-grandparents, was born in Bristol.

1829 - and another Dando birth - Adelaide Dando was born in Norwood, Surrey. She was the daughter of Nathaniel Dando, the elder, and his second wife, Caroline, nee Hewitt.

21st JANUARY

1856 - Thomas Stotesbury Dando was born in Newark, New Jersey, USA. He later ran a printing and publishing company in Philadelphia.

22nd JANUARY

1917 - Thomas Dando's mother, Beulah Dando, nee Parker, died in in Cheltenham Township, Montogomery Co., Pennsylvania, USA.

24th JANUARY

1793 - Edward Worgan & Sarah Banister were married at Tirley, Gloucestershire, 219 years ago. Edward was the son of my 6 x great-grandparents, John & Margaret Worgan.

25th JANUARY

1881 - my great-grancher, James Geake, was born at Wapsworthy Farm near Peter Tavy in Devon. Family legend has it that for many years, he celebrated his birthday a couple of days adrift of the actual date and it was only when he obtained a copy of his birth certificate some years later that he realized he was born on the 25th.

1816 - Isaac Summerhill & Phoebe Fryer were married at Saul, Gloucestershire. Phoebe was the daughter of my 5 x great-grandparents, John Fryer & Phoebe, nee Taysum.

26th JANUARY

1907 - Emma Jane Smale, nee Friend, died, aged 42, at the Cottage Hospital in Tavistock, Devon. The cause of death was pneumonia, premature labour and exhaustion.

27th JANUARY

1831 - David Davis & Ann Fryer were married in Gloucester, 181 years ago. David was a widower from Chepstow and one of the witnesses at the wedding was Ann's half-sister, Elizabeth Robinson, nee Hall. Ann sadly died the following year.

29th JANUARY

1869 - Charles Joseph Dando died at the age of 26 and was buried in the Spiers family vault in Kensal Green Cemetery, West London. Charles was the grandson of wealthy silk manufacturer, Joseph Spiers (1781-1865).

Inscription for Charles Joseph Dando on the Spiers family vault in Kensal Green Cemetery
Inscription for Charles Joseph Dando
on the Spiers family vault in Kensal Green Cemetery
(Image: copyright © Joseph O'Kelly, Hygra.com.)

31st JANUARY

1905 - George Powell of Coldharbour Farm, Uley, Gloucestershire, died leaving 890 18s. 8d.

1686 - 326 years ago, my 7 x great-grandparents, Arthur Pitcher/Pitchard & Ann Ansley, were married in All Saints Church, Newland, Gloucestershire.

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On This Day...1st - 16th January

Category: On This Day...

1st JANUARY

1757 - 255 years ago, my 7 x great-grandfather, John Fryer, died. He was buried at Arlingham, Gloucestershire, three days later and his tomb still stands in the churchyard today, although it's looking a little worse for wear nowadays.

2nd JANUARY

1731 - John Fryer's mother-in-law and my 8 x great-grandmother, Margaret, the wife of Thomas King, died and was buried at Fretherne, Gloucestershire.

3rd JANUARY

1870 - another winter death - Mary Horn (nee Chapman), died at the age of 86 and was buried in St Mary's Churchyard in Black Torrington, Devon.

1807 - Jehoiada Dando & Lydia Bridgeman were married 177 years ago in St Philip & St Jacob, Bristol.

7th JANUARY

1836 - John Oliver & Sarah Woodall, my 3 x great-grandparents, were married in Doncaster, Yorkshire.

8th JANUARY

1907 - Sarah Fryer (nee Watkins) died, also aged 86, and was buried in her husband's grave in St Mary the Virgin's Churchyard in Arlingham, Gloucestershire.

9th JANUARY

1782 - my 4 x great-grandparents, Samuel Cotterell & Elizabeth Lewis, celebrated their marriage 230 years ago in Kidderminster, Worcestershire.

10th JANUARY

1918 - the 10th January sees the anniversary of the death of my 2 x great-grandfather, William Elbert Dando, who died in West Kensington at the age of 74. Probate was granted to his 'widow' within the month. He left a total of 78 12s, 10d which doesn't seem very much considering the wealthy, middle-class life he'd led. Judging by his track record, I wonder if he'd syphoned the money off somwehere beforehand!

11th JANUARY

1888 - my great-grandmother, Florence Smale, was born on 11th January, 124 years ago, at Heathfield, Tavistock, Devon. She shares her birthday with her grand-daughter, my mum, who isn't quite so ancient!!

12th JANUARY

1867 - Alitea Waldegrave Barnes, was the illegitimate daughter of my 2 x great-grandmother, Sarah Louisa Oliver, and she was born at Bay Street, Brighton, Victoria, Australia. A short time later, Sarah and Alitea found themselves "in London towards the end of 1869 without money or friends". Sarah then hooked up with William Elbert Dando, to whom she'd previously been engaged before she'd skipped off to Australia on the SS Great Britain with the man who subsequently turned out to be Alitea's father, John George Waldegrave Barnes, who himself went on to have several wives and numerous children, living much of the time in Australia.

A First Class Cabin on the SS Great Britain
A First Class Cabin on the SS Great Britain

1879 - Mary Alice Weaver, was born in Curry Rivel, Somerset, 133 years ago.

1769 - 1 month old, Stephen Dando, died and was buried in the Cemetery at Rodborough Tabernacle near Stroud, Gloucestershire. Stephen was the son of my 5 x great-grandparents.

13th JANUARY

1748 - Mills Gwinn & Mary ?, were married in Hawkesbury, Gloucestershire. Mary was my 6 x great-grandmother and was the widow of my 6 x great-grandfather, James Pitcher.

15th JANUARY

1828 - 184 years ago, my 4 x great-grandfather, Richard Fryer, married Ann Bailey Pitcher, who was his second wife. They married in Uley, Gloucestershire, which was the home of the bride.

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