Category: On This Day...

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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On This Day...27th - 31st December

Category: On This Day...

27th DECEMBER

1933 - my great-aunt's first husband, Edward Jenkins, was tragically killed in a mining accident in Coedely, South Wales, when the roof of the mine collapsed.

1746 - William Free & Martha Hawes, were married in St Botolph's Church, Hadstock in Essex. William was my 4 x great-grandfather and Martha was his first wife.

28th DECEMBER

1851 - Stephen Dando, the son of my 5 x great-grandparents, died in New York in his eighties. He was described as having "beautiful white locks".

29th DECEMBER

1834 - Thomas Henry Banister & Caroline Worgan were married in St Paul, Bristol, 177 years ago.

30th DECEMBER

1752 - Mary Dando, the daughter of my 6 x great-grandparents, was born in Dursley, Gloucestershire. She later moved to New York and became her nephew's (Stephen Dando above) housekeeper .

1813 - my 4 x great-grandparents, Richard Fryer & Ann Jones, were married by Licence with the consent of parents in the Parish Church of Arlingham, Gloucestershire.

Richard Fryer & Ann Jones' Marriage Allegation dated 23 June 1813
Richard Fryer & Ann Jones' Marriage Allegation
dated 23 June 1813

31st DECEMBER

1839 - Jane Clark was believed to have been the third wife of my 3 x great-grandfather, Joseph Dando's, six wives. She died of pulmonary consumption at the age of 33, 172 years ago. Jane is buried in Saint Peter Churchyard, Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.

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On This Day...21st - 26th December

Category: On This Day...

22nd DECEMBER

1802 - Benjamin Pitcher, the younger & Sarah Rice were my 4 x great-grandparents and they married in St Bartholomew's Church in Coaley, Gloucestershire, this day 209 years ago.

St Bartholomew's Church, Coaley
St Bartholomew's Church, Coaley

1828 - a few years later, Richard King Fryer & Esther Newton celebrated their marriage at Gloucester St Mary de Crypt.

23rd DECEMBER

1859 - my great-great-grandparents, Stephen Free & Mary Ann Ashby, were married at Hadstock in Essex. Stephen was a widower and he was 44 years old at that time. Mary was 16 years old and 8 days.

1903 - Noel Leigh Stuart King was probably so named because he was born in Leigh on Sea, Essex, so close to Christmas.

24th DECEMBER

1793 - John Dando, the son of Stephen Dando and Elizabeth (nee Jones), was born 218 years ago in Dursley, Gloucestershire.

25th DECEMBER

1862 - John Pitcher & Jane Willmott chose Christmas Day to get married in Claines, Worcestershire. John's sister, Mary Ann, had married Charles Newbold Hibbitt in the same church just 18 days beforehand when John had been a witness.

26th DECEMBER

1810 - my 4 x great-grandmother, Elizabeth Raynor, married Thomas Avins in Chilvers Coton, Warwickshire. Thomas was the first of her two husbands.

1676 - 335 years ago, Thomas Pitchard & Alice Powell were married in All Saints Church in Newland, Gloucestershire. The groom was resident at nearby Clearwell and the bride was from Redbrook.

1878 - William A Thompson & Charlotte Dando tied the knot in Manhatten, New York. Charlotte was a widow who had previously been married to John Jones.

1872 - Edith Ellen Martin was born in Bradford, Devon, 139 years ago. She was the illegitimate daughter of my great-great-grandmother, Grace Martin (later Smale). Edith was like a mother to my gran when she and her husband, John Luxton Martin, took in my gran, Phyllis Grace Weaver, when she was 8 or 9 after Grace died. Grace and her husband had been caring for Phyllis since their daughter, Florence (Phyllis' mother), had died a few years earlier.

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On This Day...10th - 20th December

Category: On This Day...

10th DECEMBER

1903 - my great-great-grandfather, George Geake, died at the age of 66 and probate was granted to his daughter, Maria, on 14 January 1904. He left 18 12s. 7d.

1844 - John Fryer & Sarah Watkins were married in St Mary the Virgin's Church, Arlingham, Gloucestershire, 167 years ago.

12th DECEMBER

1915 - it was a war-time wedding when my great-grandparents, Henry James Weaver & Florence Smale, married at St Andrew's Church, Curry Rivel, Somerset. The couple had very little time together as Henry was killed in the war less than a year later.

Henry J Weaver & Florence Smale
Henry J Weaver & Florence Smale.
Possibly a wedding photograph.

13th DECEMBER

1876 - Henry Weaver's sister, Annie Arnold Weaver, was born in Curry Rivel, Somerset.

1897 - 114 years ago, Percy Smale, was born in Tavistock, Devon.

15th DECEMBER

1856 - Percy's mother, my great-great-grandmother, Grace Martin, was born in the village of Bradford in North Devon.

1843 - another great-great-grandmother of mine, Mary Ann Ashby, was born in Hadstock in Essex.

1784 - 10 year old Thomas Dando died and was buried in the Cemetery at Rodborough Tabernacle near Stroud, Gloucestershire.

16th DECEMBER

1895 - my great-uncle, Alfred Joseph Hibbitt, was born in Portsea Island, Hampshire, 116 years ago.

17th DECEMBER

1759 - John Ball died at the age of 59 and was buried in St Briavels Churchyard, Gloucestershire, a few days later.

20th DECEMBER

1790 - my 4 x great-grandparents, Luke Hibbitt & Mary Leerin/Leeson (the surname is ambiguous), were married in St Peter & St Paul's Church, Exton, Rutland, 221 years ago.

1802 - my 4 x great-grandfather, Joseph Dando, was born in Bristol. He was the eldest son of Joseph Dando, the elder, and Ann, nee Murch.

1976 - Arthur Leslie James Fryer died at the age of 66 and was buried in Chepstow Municipal Cemetery.

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