Category: Sharing Memories

Thankful Thursday: Those Elevenses Moments

Category: Sharing Memories

Coffee BreakWhen I was a girl, I would sometimes go to Tavistock in the school holidays to stay with my grandparents, William Hellyer Geake & Phyllis Grace Geake (nee Weaver). Grandpa would often be at work so I'd be at home with gran.

One of the highlights of the day was Elevenses. Mid-morning, gran would stop whatever she was doing and sit down with me with a cup of coffee and I'd have a cocoa or some other hot drink. A biscuit or two and a game of cards would often crop up too.

It wasn't for the refreshments that Elevenses was so special (nice as they were) but this was my time with my gran and that was what made it so special.

[Why Thankful Thursday? 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 Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Military Monday: Great-grandfather's wartime story is published

Category: Sharing Memories

Exciting news! I was recently invited to write a few articles about my family history research for the Discover Your History magazine, a brand new publication due to be launched on 5th September. Published each month, the magazine will focus on family and social history and all aspects of heritage.

My first article is appearing in the first issue and tells the story of my great-grandfather, Henry James Weaver, who was accidentally killed during the First World War.

Sentimental Sunday: Messing about on the Water

Category: Sharing Memories

My Grandpa Hibbitt (Charles George Hibbitt) used to have a boat, a small cabin cruiser, and we spent many hours as a family on the Kingsbridge/Salcombe Estuary. He kept the boat at Frogmore Creek, a short drive from his and Gran's home in the South Hams village of East Allington.

Frogmore in 2010
Frogmore in 2010

They say the sense of smell is the most nostalgic of the senses. Every spring when the new season arrives there's a certain smell in the air and it always reminds me of our days out in the boat. Mind you, the smell of two-stroke does the same thing.

Grandpa on his boat
Grandpa on his boat

Grandpa had two rowing boats but one leaked so we never used it. The other one would accompany us on our day trip, being towed by the cruiser. The rowing boats were named after my elder brother and I (my younger brother probably wasn't born when the names were first used). It sounds stupid now but I remember being miffed that the leaky boat was the one named after me......Read more »

Sentimental Sunday: Postman Spoils Special Homecoming

Category: Sharing Memories

I remember my gran (Phyllis Grace Geake, nee Weaver) once telling me what happened the day my grandpa (William Hellyer Geake) arrived home from the second world war, having been away for four years.

It was fairly early in the morning when grandpa got home and his arrival coincided with that of the postman (or it might have been the milkman but I think it was the former). The postman knew grandpa and proceeded to ask him all about his time away in the war and stood at the doorstep chatting for 5 or 10 minutes. How insensitive! All the while, gran was waiting to greet the husband she hadn't seen for such a long time. In addition to this, he'd never even met his 4 year old daughter, who was more than a little coy at the sight of this strange man in their house! Gran said the postman ruined their reunion.

My Grandpa's WWII Service Record
My Grandpa's WWII Service Record

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

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

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.

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

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]

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

Advent Calendar: Santa Keyring

Category: Sharing Memories

When our son was small we used to do the dutiful thing and take him to visit Father Christmas in one of the big stores in town. On one such occasion, they produced a photograph in a keyring which we have kept to this day (see photo below).

Santa Keyring
Our son with Santa, aged about 3 or 4 (our son that is, Santa's a bit older!)

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

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

Advent Calendar: Outdoor Decorations

Category: Sharing Memories

Today's Advent Calendar post is about outdoor Christmas decorations. Over the last 20 years or so, these seem to have taken off in a big way but when I was growing up I wasn't conscious of outdoor decorations except for the ones you saw in the city centre.

A few years ago we lived in a cul-de-sac where the custom was to decorate the front of your home and get together for the big swtich-on. Of the 30 or so houses, only one or two didn't take part. I have to confess, our offering was a simple string of lights over the garage to give the illusion that we weren't completely bah, humbug! Having moved again since, thankfully there's no pressure to keep the tradition up! Perhaps we really are bah, humbug, after all. lol

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

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

Advent Calendar: Christmas Tree Ornaments

Category: Sharing Memories

Although I took 'A' Level art, I'm not much into crafts but I do remember making paper lanterns in primary school. I just decided to have a quick go to see if I could still make one and this is my feeble attempt for old times' sake.

Paper Lantern
Paper Lantern

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

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

Advent Calendar: The Christmas Tree

Category: Sharing Memories

For many years my grandparents had an artificial Christmas tree which I don't remember in great detail. However, there was always one thing that fascinated me about it and that was the sheet of cotton wool which was placed around the base in an attempt to mimic snow. I think my gran used to decorate the tree and there was a foot-or-so high statue of Father Christmas which used to adorn their front room too.

It's always been my job to decorate the tree in our house but I have to admit that after more than 20 years, I finally got fed up and so we bought a miniature tree, complete with decorations, which I just have to whip out of the box and plonk on the hearth. Simples!

This is our original Christmas Tree
This is our orginal Christmas Tree

[Why Advent Calendar? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories at Geneabloggers]

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