6 October 2015

Great War Centenary: Walter Murfitt

Walter Murfitt, my second cousin twice removed, was the son of Joseph and Amelia (nee Benison) and the seventh of their eight children.  Born in Stretham, Cambs, in 1888, he was undoubtedly a contemporary of my great-uncle Ben Langford who was killed in 1914.

Walter remained in Stretham until 26 January 1910 when he enlisted for seven years in the Notts & Derby (Sherwood Foresters) Regiment; I found him in Crownhill Fort, Devon, in the 1911 census with the 2nd Battalion.  Promoted to Lance-Sergeant on 10 December 1913, the battalion presumably went to France in 1914.

Walter was killed on 5 October 1915 and buried in the Potijze Cemetery at Ypres.  His death was marked in the Cambridge Independent Press on 14 October:-

Stretham Man Killed
News has been received at Stretham of the death of Lance-Sergt. Walter Murfitt, 11272, 1st Notts and Derby Regt. (First Sherwoods).  The deceased, who was killed in action in France on October 5th, was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Murfitt, of Stretham, and was included in Sir John French's list of those recommended for gallant and distinguished service in the field.  Previous to going to the front, Lance-Sergt. Murfitt had seen three years' service in India.  He came home from France in the first week of August, when all the family gathered to greet the gallant soldier, who was highly esteemed in Stretham.  Great regret has been expressed at his death.

We will remember them.

25 September 2015

Great War Centenary: Frank Thomas Hobbs

Frank Thomas Hobbs was my second cousin twice removed, the son of Alfred, a farm bailiff, and Fanny (nee Floyd), who was the daughter of Frances Eliza Kington Culpin.

Frank was born in Withyham, Sussex, in 1893, the oldest of seven children.  The family moved to Rotherfield by 1901 and remained there until at least 1911.  In the census of that year Frank was listed as a fishmonger's assistant in Crowborough; by the following year he had became a farm labourer and emigrated to Canada on board the "Ausonia".

Returning in 1914 on the "Calgarian", he enlisted in Eastbourne into the 2nd Battalion, the Royal Sussex Regiment.  He was killed on 25 September 1915 during the battle of Loos and, having no known grave, he is commemorated on the Loos Memorial.  

He was briefly mentioned in the Kent & Sussex Courier on 26 November 1915.  Under the headline of "Jarvis Brook Footballer's Thrilling Story", written by a friend in the same battalion:-

"..... In this engagement my Regiment suffered heavy losses once again.  It was here that Frank Hobbs died doing "his bit".  He was in the Machine Gun Section, and his Section was one of the four who went forward to keep the Germans down while we advanced.  This they helped to do but I think only three of them got back unwounded.........."

We will remember them.

16 August 2015

Great War Centenary: Albert Blaydon

Albert Edward S Blaydon, my 4th cousin three times removed, was born in Mildenhall, Suffolk, in 1897, the youngest of the five children of Sydney, a carpenter, and Mary Lily (nee Vale).  In 1901 the family was living in Fordham and I found them in the 1911 census in Leagrave, Luton.

Where, in 1914, he enlisted in the Bedfordshire regiment and was posted to the 1st/5th battalion as a private, serial number 5073.  The battalion was sent to the Balkans in 1915, where they disembarked at Gallipoli on 10 August.

Albert died on 16 August 1915 and is buried in the Amzak Cemetery, Suvla.

We will remember them.

12 August 2015

A wondering blogger am I.....

So, while I'm waiting for the window man, I thought I'd update on my updating....... my website is still down whilst I and my IT advisor friend get frustrated at not being able to load new software onto the server.  Stay tuned for more info.

In the meantime I'm looking at my Webbs and wondering "...why did I do that?" on a number of occasions.  For instance, why would I note that William Rowlinson, and his widowed mother, lived in Cambridge in 1911 but not put in William's wife?   

Or the puzzle of John Henry Lowton....... born in Dry Drayton in 1862 to John & Fanny Elizabeth....and attached to John and a hypothetical (ie not yet found) wife.  I have now found a wife for John - Frances, which is close enough to Fanny, but they married in 1864.  Now, I'm not that naive but their marriage took place in St Pancras.  And they lived in St Pancras.  And she was born in Suffolk.  There is not one shred of evidence that would suggest a pre-marital trip to John's childhood home.  In the end, loath as I am to do it, I may have to delete young John Henry - if only to stop my brain going round and round in circles.

And finally, why did I spend hours (literally) looking for Flora Loughton without realising that she was actually Florence??

Scary, ain't it.

More soon.

28 July 2015

From Gill to Kempton...?

Still tidying up my friend's Kempton family file and, as ever, I keep getting sidetracked into following another line down....

This time I was confirming information that I'd found on the Yelland family tree on Ancestry, and going down the Kempton/Bayes line in Norfolk.  Most people were being co-operative and allowing themselves to be found relatively easily and I moved down to the Gill family in Norwich.

Thanks to the wonderful FreeReg people I have found lots of Gills and noted them accordingly.  But now I'm a bit confused.  Henry Gill, son of William and Elizabeth (nee Bayes) was born in Norwich in 1842 and learned to be a tailor.

In November 1881 he married Alice Boreham in Thorpe-next-Norwich and they begat four little Gills in Norwich during the next seven years.

And then the family went to Canada in 1891: to Montreal, to be precise.  But.  Henry sailed in the name of George Kempton, and the rest of the family also had their surname changed to Kempton.

They moved on to Winnipeg, in Manitoba, and Henry/George & Alice begat a further three children - all named Kempton.  And the family remained Kempton, with all trace of Gill obliterated.

Now I know that anyone can change their name, but I have to admit that I'm intrigued......

More soon.

5 July 2015

How many Legges......?

Meanwhile, in the tidying-up department, I thought I'd check through my Kempton file for extraneous personnel.  And discovered quite a few Legges who could come under the category of 'Not wanted on Voyage'.....

I am, by nature, a bit of a hoarder and quite happily collect people with the right name and place of birth - to be filed and possibly welcomed into the fold at a later date. What I really ought to do is either a) desist in this habit or b) put a different reference field in for ease of later access. 

I have, of course, done neither of these things with my extra Legges so I'm treating them as unwanted interlopers and deleting them. 

I may be some time.....

More soon. 

21 June 2015

Confusing my Thomases.....

So there I was, just checking through my Kemptons and I found a Thomas identified, in his marriage report in the paper, as 'son of John, of Ely'. Regular readers of this nonsense will realise that I'm about to say 'but I already have a Thomas son of John'.....

Had I got them the wrong way round? 
Well, further clues seemed to support this possibility: when he died his will was probated by Frederick Helmore Kempton,  who really was a son of John. 

So I've just spent a 'few' minutes swapping Thomas, son of George, for Thomas, son of John!  Complicated but, whilst I'm cross that I got them wrong, I'm pleased that they're now in the right place. 


More soon.