Category: Sharing Memories

Paying tribute to Henry Weaver

Category: Sharing Memories

The weather was perfect on that day in October 1999 when my family visited the town of Merville in France. It was the early days of the internet and I used my dial-up connection to organise the trip, feeling quite proud of myself arranging the hotel and train and bus journeys, all without being able to speak French.

My gran, Phyllis Grace Geake, nee Weaver, had never seen her father's grave until that day. Henry James Weaver died on 8th September 1916, killed by accident in WWI when a hand-grenade detonated prematurely whilst the men were training at the base during a rest period. Ten days later, gran was born.

My gran, mum, dad, aunt, my son and I took a train from Plymouth to London, then the Eurostar under the Channel Tunnel to Lille, where we stayed in a hotel. The next day we boarded a train to Armentieres and then a bus from there to Merville. I remember the bus journey to this day as the driving was eratic and we were veering all over the place. Scary!

When we arrived at the village we found a little French cafe where they dished up the best omelette I've ever tasted. Then we made our way to the edge of the town where the cemetery was situated. Gran was 83 and had arthritis but she managed to walk there. Being October, it was quite bitter but we were all wrapped up warm and someone had carried a little seat for gran to sit on when we arrived.

This photograph always seems so poignant to me, seeing my gran sat there with her thoughts after laying the wreath I'd bought from the Royal British Legion before we left England.

Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver) by her father's grave in Merville Communal Cemetery
Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver) by her father's grave
in Merville Communal Cemetery

Henry is buried in the shadow of the Great Cross, alongside the two other men who died in the same accident, Lance-Sergeant AW Mead and Private JS Litchfield. He's also commemorated on the War Memorial in his home village of Curry Rivel, Somerset, and his wife's town of Tavistock, Devon.

The grave of Henry James Weaver (3 Oct 1882 - 8 Sep 1916)
The grave of Henry James Weaver (3 Oct 1882 - 8 Sep 1916)

After we all signed the Visitor's Book, we made our way back to Lille and spent another day there before coming home. I was glad we managed to take gran to Merville and she went again with my brother some time after this. It was something she always wanted to do because I know she missed not growing up with a father. In fact, she was orphaned altogether before the age of 5 but, somewhat ironically, she was the one grandparent I had who spoke about her family, even though she had virtually no memories of them.

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[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

My Grandpa Hibbitt remembered

Category: Sharing Memories

My Grandpa Hibbitt (Charles George Hibbitt) died this day in 1972. I was nine years old and I remember the last time I saw him when I waved goodbye to him in the hospital. Instinctively, I remember thinking this would be the last time I would see him and I was right. He was so weak and frail standing there in his red dressing gown waving to his family. He must have felt so sad.

The photo is of him in happier times with my Gran, my Dad, my elder brother and me outside my grandparents' cottage in East Allington, Devon. Taken on my fifth birthday.

Hibbitt Family - 1968
Hibbitt Family - 1968

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

The Big Freeze of 1947

Category: Sharing Memories

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

After yesterday's post which included the picture of my Grandpa Hibbitt inspecting telephone wires, my dad filled me in with a few more details. This is what he had to say...

I was with Dad that day when we went up to Princetown and I took the picture of him holding the old overhead junction route between Tavistock and Princetown with his old box camera. The wires should have been some 30 feet up, but the sheer weight of the ice broke the poles carrying them and were just stumps when we got there. Needless to say Princetown was cut off from the outside world telephonically.

When we returned home, we blackened out the bathroom and "fixed" and "developed" that picture and some others that we had taken that day. (Fixing and developing were done in two trays of acid separately).

The snow/ice was six, yes, six feet thick, and you could walk on it as if it were a pavement. Temperature would be about minus five, with wind chill when it blew. That point would have been about 1400 feet above sea level, higher than Princetown itself. The fir trees in the background were cut down years ago and now appears as a field and of course, all the junction circuits are, and have been, laid underground in the road for many years.

This wasn't the first time Grandpa had encountered the harsh Dartmoor winter. Click the links below to view newspaper cuttings of when his Post Office van got stuck in a snowdrift near Postbridge in 1935.

Link 1
Link 2

They were hard winters, for sure!

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

My Who Do You Think You Are? Timeline

Category: Sharing Memories

I've created a timeline of my ancestry showing my great-grandparents and grandparents. Come and see. (Click the image below.)

My Who Do You Think You Are? Timeline
My Who Do You Think You Are? Timeline

And click the tree below to view the people mentioned in my timeline.


Click the image for a larger version.

Sentimental Sunday: My Granny Geake would have been 100 today

Category: Sharing Memories

My Granny Geake
My Granny Geake.

What a celebration we would have had if my Granny (Phyllis Grace Geake, nee Weaver) was still with us as she would have been 100 years old today. This is a photo of her celebrating her 80th birthday. Cheers Gran and thanks for the memories!

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

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Remembering my hilarious Granny on her birthday

Category: Sharing Memories

Ivy Alice Hibbitt, nee Dando
My Granny Hibbitt: Ivy Alice Hibbitt, nee Dando.

My Granny Hibbitt (Ivy Alice Hibbitt, nee Dando) was born on 1st September 1904 above a sweet and tobacconist shop called the Golden Butterfly in Saffron Walden in Essex.

After moving to Plymouth with her family, she attended Gunnerside School for Girls situated in North Road East in Plymouth. In 1920 she joined the Post Office working as a telephone operator and married my Grandpa in 1931, having previously been engaged to three other men. Way to go, Granny! She later worked in Bond, Pearce, Eliott & Knape Solicitors in Plymouth until she retired in 1961.

Much of Granny and Grandpa's early married life was spent in Tavistock where they rented a bungalow which they named Walden after Granny's birth place. They retired to the village of East Allington in the South Hams and I can remember many happy visits to their house, days spent on Grandpa's little boat on the Kingsbridge/Salcombe estuary and walks down by the local stream where there was an abundance of bluebells.

Granny had a funny turn of phrase. She was well-spoken but would mess around with words too, sometimes pretending to be posh (with huge tongue in cheek) and then using poor grammar on purpose just because she liked the sound of it, I guess. Here's an excerpt of a letter she wrote to my dad in 1950 when dad was presumably away on a course...

"...We are very glad you are coming back and your honourable Father will meet you at North Road Station whence you will proceed to the offices of the most important and highly respected solicitors in the West of England and pick up your most esteemed Mother. Thence to your country home in the wilds of Dartmoor."

She goes on...

"I am of a most desolate miserable disconsolateness about my Peter Lansdale wot only got 8 points. I had set my heart on him winning it, the poor darling. I expect some beastly, dirty, filthy, lousy, swinish, form of human life in the shape of another speedway rider put his elbows out and pushed my Pete..."

She did make me laugh a lot, did Gran.

After Grandpa died in 1972, Granny stayed on in their cottage until her final year in 1992.

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Sympathy Saturday: Remembering Ivy Alice Hibbitt, nee Dando

Category: Sharing Memories

Ivy Alice Hibbitt, nee Dando
My paternal grandmother, Ivy Alice Hibbitt, nee Dando.

Remembering my Granny Hibbitt (Ivy Alice Hibbitt, nee Dando) today on the 24th anniversary of her death.

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

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Remembering Grandpa's Birthday

Category: Sharing Memories

My Grandpa Hibbitt was born on this day, 1st December, in 1898. Gosh, it's hard to equate that I knew someone who was born in the 19th century! His father was a coastguard serving at Soldier's Point near Dundalk, Co. Louth, Ireland (there was no North or South in those days) and so this is where Grandpa came into the world.

Cars were just one of his hobbies and here he is proudly standing beside one of the ones he owned, most likely taken during the 1960's.

Charles George Hibbitt beside one of his beloved cars
Charles George Hibbitt beside one of his beloved cars
(Click the image above to see a larger version.)

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Thankful Thursday: Remembering Grandpa Hibbitt - What was the name of those biscuits?

Category: Sharing Memories

Today is the 43rd anniversary of my Grandpa Hibbitt's passing so I thought I'd post this slide of my grandparents, taken in the 1930's, together with some memories I have of him.

Charlie & Isey Hibbitt
Charlie & Isey Hibbitt.

Grandpa was called Charles but was known as Charlie and my gran was Ivy but became known as Isey (pronounced Icy) when my dad tried to say her name when he was a young child.

Although I was only nine when Grandpa died, it's surprising what comes to mind like when we used to be parked in the car park at Plymstock Broadway in his Hillman Minx, waiting for mum to do the shopping and listening to the police (tut tut) on his radio - he held a listener's licence, but obviously not for listening to police transmissions.

We had lots of happy times on the boat, a cabin cruiser he used to keep on the Kingsbridge Estuary. I used to like combing Grandpa's hair, what little he had of it by the time he was in his 60's! He called his cardigans 'smoking jackets' and I always remember he loved eating Wagon Wheels and a rather large oatmeal biscuit covered in chocolate, the name of which I forget.

Grandpa was buried at Drake Memorial Park on the outskirts of Plymstock and I still visit his grave from time to time. So here's to Grandpa, thanks for the memories.

Grandpa's grave at Drake Memorial Park - photographed 7th October 2015
Grandpa's grave at Drake Memorial Park - photographed 7th October 2015.
Rather poignantly, I caught the sunrays shining on his memorial plaque.


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

Friday's Faces From The Past - Phyllis Weaver of Tavistock

Category: Sharing Memories

Phyllis Weaver
My gran, Phyllis Weaver (who later became Phyllis Geake)

Today I thought I'd post a photograph of my maternal grandmother as a young woman. I think she looks quite glamorous here.

[Why Friday's Faces From The Past? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Daily Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]
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