CWGC appeal

Last July I replied to a CWGC appeal for relatives as on their list was William Michael Curtis who I discovered I was distantly related to. I emailed the CWGC and asked to be kept updated with his case. I heard back this week that his new pedestal marker has been installed at Caynham (St. Mary) Churchyard

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Parish Heroes Award

The other day I received an award from my local parish council for my volunteer work during the pandemic and for delivering goodie bags to people on their own at Christmas, Valentines and Easter

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VE Day anniversary

Today on the 77th anniversary of VE Day I shall be thinking of my many, many relatives who fought in ww2, the ones like both my grandfathers who survived and especially thinking of all those who died and were denied a future and a family. I had many relatives who died after VE and VJ Day so will be thinking of them too

Here is a poem I wrote

In 1945 the fighting in Europe, came to an end on the 8th of May
A cause for celebration, peacetime was on its way

Could life really return, to what it was before
Before Britain entered he fighting and endured 6 years of war

Before the Blitz and bombings, when towns and cities were left in disarray
When buildings were left in ruins, a shell of their former days

Before food was rationed, when there was a short supply of meat
When people had to dig for victory and grow things that they could eat

Before children were evacuated, a new life they had to start
Separated by miles, families and couples were torn apart

As people celebrated in the streets, rejoicing with family and friends
The fighting continued in the Far East, the war wasn’t completely at an end

Today we think of all those who fought for freedom, those killed and those who survived
We remember them with pride and honour and thank them for sacrificing their lives


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Wimborne St Giles Church

Today i visited the church in Wimborne St Giles where there is a memorial to one of my relatives who died in ww1. I first visited the church a few years ago when I was lucky enough to be allowed into the vestry to see a picture of my relatives and the ship he served on. Unfortunately this time the vestry was locked

Anthony Victor George Allsopp was a cadet/midshipman on board HMS Aboukir which was torpedoed and sunk on 22nd September 1914. He was killed just 15 days after his 15th birthday.

Here is the picture of Anthony which hangs in the vestry, which I took on my previous visit

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Anzac Day

Today marks Anzac Day and the anniversary of the Gallipoli landings in 1915. I had several relatives who served with the Australian and New Zealand Forces during the two world wars some of whom died during the Gallipoli campaign.

Private Andrew Stanistreet 12th battalion Australian Infantry Australian Imperial Force. Died Gallipoli 2/5/1915 aged 21

Corporal John Geoffrey Persse Wellington regiment NZEF. Died Gallipoli 8/8/1915 aged 31

Private Allen Fletcher Buffett 3rd Australian Infantry Battalion died between 7th and 10th August 1915 and was the first Norfolk Islander to be killed in the war

Second lieutenant Cornwallis Charles Wyndham Maude 9th Australian light horse regiment. Died Gallipoli 13/8/1915 aged 38

Private Ernest Baring 56th infantry Australian Imperial Force died 2/4/1917 aged 28

Private Charles Alexander Baring 52nd Battalion Australian Infantry Australian Imperial Force died 4/9/1918 aged 23

Charles and Ernest were brothers and had two other brothers who served with British forces and were also killed in action

Lance Corporal Arthur Herbert Howse 6th Battalion Australian Infantry died 25/8/1918 aged 29

Pilot officer Charles William Parry Persse 274 squadron Royal Australian Air Force died 11/6/1942 aged 24

Sergeant John Douglas Sandilands Royal Australian Air Force died 16/2/1942 aged 26

Flight Lieutenant James Walter Sandilands Royal Australian Air Force died 13/4/1944 aged 31

Flying Officer Geoffrey Bruce Hope Sandilands Royal Australian Air Force died 16/10/1944 aged 22

John, James and Geoffrey were all brothers

I also had other relatives who took part in the Gallipoli campaign

Captain Thomas Hugh Colville Frankland Royal Dublin Fusiliers died 25/04/1915

Caryl Lermitte Boxall 2nd Battalion Hampshire Regiment died 27/04/1915 he was on board the SS River Clyde and was mortally wounded whilst leading his company ashore

Sub lieutenant Geoffrey William Stopford Sackville HMS died 21/05/1915

Colonel Sir Horace George Proctor Beauchamp died 12/08/1915 who led an attack which wiped out the 5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment at Gallipoli. The 5th Battalion were known as the vanished Battalion as they were seen by other men to go into battle against the Turks and wete never seen again and their bodies were not found until after the war

Second Lieutenant Montagu Barclay Granville Proctor Beauchamp 5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment died 12/08/1915 he was Horace’s nephew

Captain Edward Randall Cubitt 5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment died 12/08/1915 aged 45

Lieutenant Victor Murray Cubitt 5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment died 12/08/1915 aged 27

2nd lieutenant Randall Burroughes 5th Battalion Norfolk Regiment died 12/08/1915 aged 19

Edward and Victor Cubitt were brothers and Randall Burroughes was their cousin

Trooper Herbert Henry Hiley Berkshire Yeomany died 21/08/1915 aged 21 who was a prominent rower before the war

Private Thomas Henry Fooks 5th Battalion Dorset Regiment died 21/08/1915 aged 20

Poet Patrick Shaw Stewart who survived the Gallipoli campaign but was killed I’m action in December 1917

Local to me at Brockenhurst there are 94 war graves to New Zealand soldiers which I visited the other day

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The Queen at 96

Today marks the Queen’s 96th birthday and despite some health issues recently she is a remarkable woman and it is an amazing age to have reached.

In my memorabilia collection I have a picture of the then Princess Elizabeth visiting 15 Squadron at RAF Mildenhall on a royal visit with her parents during ww2.

A more recent photo of the Queen which I received after sending her a copy of the poem I wrote for her platinum jubilee

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Family mystery

A few months ago I contacted Who Do You Think You Are magazine with a question about my great grandfather and in this months issue which I have just received, my query finally appeared. Unfortunately it does not help me much.

My great grandfather Alfred was born around August 1880 in hillingdon, Uxbridge but to date I have been unable to locate a birth entry for him nor find him on census records prior to 1901. He first appears on 1901 census aged 20 and living as a boarder in Slough. In 1909 he married my great grandma Alice Selina Poole giving his age as 26 and father as Fred Bates a gentleman. By 1911 census Alfred and Alice had had their first child and Alfred gave his age as 29. 10 years later they were parents of four children with their last child being born in 1922. On 1921 census Alfred gave his birth date as August 1880. Alfred sadly died in 1935. It is surrounding his father and early years that I am most interested in as for many years There has been a family mystery surrounding him and his father. I have always been told that Alfred’s mother (possibly called mary or mary ann) died when he was a baby andbhe lived with an aunt as his father left the family to go to America to seek his fortune and many decades ago my grandparents (Alfred’s daughter and husband) received a visitor asking them details about their family in relation to someone in america but then nothing ever came of it.

I have done much research into Alfred but have still not located him in 1881 or 1891. Several years ago I contacted the local Church in hillingdon who found an Alfred bates born August 1879 parents Alfred (a gardener) and Eliza – this coukd be a good match as my alfred went on to become a gardener but i cannot locate these people on the census . I have also found a Frederick Edwin Bates from blaxhall, suffolk whose family were quite well off and he was a gentleman and went to America. He was living in middlesex in army barracks around 1881 . It has also been suggested that Alfred was born illegitimate and registered under his mother’s maiden name but without knowing who his mother is it is very difficult. I did investigate one illegitimate line – an Ellen Genner who had a son Alfred but she later married the father and her son eventually took the father’s surname do have now discounted that. I have looked into the two options suggested in the reply to my query but both the male bates and Alfred Edwin died as babies.

If anyone has any suggestions or advice it would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance

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Cover Reveal

Here is the cover reveal for my next book which has been several years in the making. The first draft is now complete and this book is based on about 90 letters written between a ww2 British soldier and his family and friends and it is a fascinating insight into life as a soldier and particularly life on the home front.

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When I’m not writing…

Many of you who follow my blog may not be aware that when I’m not writing poetry, publishing books or researching my family, I am an unpaid carer for my grandma which can be very challenging. My experiences as her carer has inspired the following poem

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