I came across this wonderful collection of old photos and telegrams back this Summer at a Fleamarket, thankfully although there were Military old photos among it, the seller, who I know, had kept all of the photos together, so glad he did!
From the clues on the back I finally managed to find the right family where everyone fitted in, so now have compiled their family tree on Ancestry, link at the end of this Blog.
I started my tree with David Leonard Barnes who was born on 19 April 1942 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire. His father was Leonard Roland Barnes (in these two group photos)who was born on 8 January 1909 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire and his Mother was Iris Emily Elizabeth Gibson who was born in Dec 1914 in Pontypool, Monmouthshire.
This collection tells the story of the family’s history before and during the wars. How our Ancestors managed their lives throughout the two world wars I just cannot imagine. Although everyone in this family cannot be seen among these photos, their family history still tells their story through the Victorians to the Edwardians and beyond.
Continuing my journey of research with Leonard and Iris, they were I’m sure very glad of being able to send and receive these telegrams, a modern sign of the times.
These telegrams are so special to have survived and they must have been cherished to not have been destroyed. “Many Xmas Darling David” to his little boy David, at just eight months old, born on 19 April, his father Leonard would have been so sad and loved to have been with his little boy for his first Christmas I’m sure.
Thankfully after 1945 they would have had many Christmases to share together as Leonard was one of the lucky ones and came home.
Here are a couple more photos of Leonard in his younger days:
Now I’m taking the family back a generation to Mother Iris’s parents, known as Rosie and Jim on the back of this old postcard below. Rosie was born Rose Edith May Nash she was born on 12 May 1894 in Abertillery, Monmouthshire. Jim was born James Hynd Gibson and was born on 10 May 1889, Ruchazie, Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland. I had a real puzzle with finding the parents of James, after two days going through every record I could find, I bought the minimum credit (£7.50) for Scotlands People looking for his Birth Certificate, as I knew his Birthdate, and hooray they came up trumps and I found him on my first search out of the 28 options! here it is below, and as you can see I have his parents on here, Scotlands records are great, so much information! Worth the £1.50 it cost me to get this and the rest of my credits are valid for two years.
Then I found a copy of his parents Marriage certificate on a Public Tree on Ancestry, a lucky day indeed.
Rosie and Jim
In the previous World War 1914 to 1918 they had had to write letters or postcards to keep in touch as these postcards show, ‘by 1917 there were between one and two million letters and postcards being sent by soldiers, the GPO did a sterling job, the Boer War of 1899 had established an expectation among soldiers that they would be able to stay in touch with those at home but the logistics of doing so in WW1 provided a challenge on an unprecedented scale, at its peak in WW1 it was dealing with an extra 12 million letters and a million parcels being sent to soldiers each week!
At the outbreak of war, the unit almost immediately created a sorting office in London’s Regent’s Park – a gigantic wooden hut covering several acres. Called the Home Depot, it employed 2,500 staff, mainly women, to sort the post. Outward mail was sorted by a military unit. Each morning bosses would be informed by Whitehall of the latest movements of ships and battalions so each item of mail could be dispatched to the right place.
What characterised the GPO was pride in their ability to move millions of letters from anywhere to anywhere, safely and quickly, often within two days. Information above from 1914-1918Online Website and the BBCNewsMagazine online 31 Jan 2014 by Alan Johnson.
More often than not in WW1 people were also unable to actually say everything they wanted due to censorship, it must have been so frustrating not to be able to share your experiences and thoughts with loved ones.
These next two photos below come from the Chandler side of the family, Eliza Kate Chandler (known as Kate) was born on 16 December 1878 in Collingbourne Kingston, Wiltshire, she married Charles Henry Barnes (born on 15 July 1875 in Oxfordshire) on 23 December 1899 in Dunsden, Oxfordshire. They were Leonard Roland Barnes parents, so David’s Grandparents.
Going back to Victorian times in this family photo above and our own, how many of them came home from the war in The Crimean War 1854-1856, Boer War 1880-1881, Second Boer War 1899 –1902 etc
Then after the Edwardian era, looked upon as being a rather romantic golden age between the wars, certainly the fashions of the upper classes depicted this, but for the working classes, it was just as tough…….Daisy Hilda Chandler, one of Eliza Kate Chandlers siblings was born on 25 April 1891 in Hungerford, Berkshire, married James Herbert Fisher on 7 January 1912 in Amersham, Buckinghamshire they had twin boys James and Leonard in October 1912 James lived for 6 hours and Leonard a little longer for 16 hours, maybe with today’s health care, they would have lived. There was a happy ending however as 15 years later they had a daughter Betsinda Rushent Fisher was born on 27 January 1927 in Salisbury, Wiltshire, she survived and married Charles R Shorting in July 1949 in Salisbury.
Then came 1914 another War, and the Country was needing our families to pull together and fight again. The sheer numbers of the men, women, and animals lost in WW1 were enormous affecting all of our Ancestors, how ever they coped and lived any sort of normal life during and after I cannot imagine.
There are many super websites to help you to research your family’s Military history, this is just one of the interesting ones: Wartime Memories Project.
Our families still worked, had joyful events like babies being born and weddings in the family but also had to cope with dreadful sorrows of family members and friends killed and injured.
Here are two unnamed old photos below, maybe Leonard?
For me researching our families Ancestors ensures that we know of their struggles and hardships, the happy times too so that we can pass their stories all down to our future generations ensuring they will never ever be forgotten.
This is the Barnes, Chandler, Gibson Family Tree direct link to Ancestry: Family Tree
If anyone can help with more information about any of these photos, please get in touch by commenting below or send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to know more about what Regiments etc that the men in these photos belong or even if this family are your family Ancestors!
At this time of year, we all remember those who in the Military especially those who fought, died or were injured during past and present times of conflict, ensuring their memory lives on.
Till next time then……..