This lovely family photo on a Cabinet Card was taken at a photographers studio in Melbourne, Australia in 1892. The family were originally from London, and generations before them from Wales and Suffolk. Gilbert Pugh Davies was born in Islington, Middlesex on 18 April 1864, he was one of eight children born to Thomas Davies (a Linen Draper) and Anne Martha Parry. Louisa Elmira Blaxall was born in Holborn, Middlesex on 12 August 1863, she was one of five children born to Arthur Simon Blaxall (a Chemist Druggist) and Elizabeth Brown.
Gilbert had four brothers and three sisters:
1)Edward Parry Davies was born in 1859 in Hackney, Middlesex, England (DAVIES, EDWARD PARRY PARRY GRO Reference: 1858 S Quarter in BETHNAL GREEN Volume 01C Page 210 ). He died on 23 Jan 1946 in Denbighshire, Wales. He married Amelia Wood on 30 Aug 1879 in St Anne, South Lambeth, England.
2)Lucy Anne Davies was born in 1861 in St Pancras Middlesex England.
3)Mary Elizabeth Davies was born in 1862 in St Pancras Middlesex England. She died in Apr 1939 in Surrey Mid Eastern, Surrey, England. She married Richard John Tatum Hammell on 06 Jun 1891 in St George, Bloomsbury, England.
4)Thomas Alexander Davies was born in 1863 in St Pancras Middlesex England. He died in Jul 1894 in Fulham, London. He married Florence Esther Mann on 13 Oct 1883 in St. Andrew, Holborn, Middlesex, England.
5)Gilbert Pugh Davies was born on 18 Apr 1864 in Islington, Middlesex, England (Unable to find the Birth Registration details for Gilbert but did find his Baptism.) He married Louisa Elmira Blaxall on 23 Jun 1888 in Herne Hill, London, England. He died on 21 Sep 1952 in Canterbury, Victoria, Australia.
6)William Edgar Davies was born on 15 May 1865 in Islington Middlesex England. He married Ada Eugine Clarke on 18 Dec 1889 in St George, Bloomsbury, England. He died on 04 Jun 1943 in Uxbridge, Middlesex, England.
7)Florence Edith Davies was born in 1867 in Islington Middlesex England. She married John Owen Jenkins on 19 Jun 1889 in St Andrew Holborn, England. She died in Oct 1942 in Neath, Glamorganshire, Wales.
8)Joseph Pugh Davies was born in 1868 in Bloomsbury Middlesex England (DAVIES, JOSEPH PUGH PARRY GRO Reference: 1868 J Quarter in ST GILES Volume 01B Page 497 ). He married Emily Hayes in 1890. He died on 04 Jul 1939 in Middlesex, England.
Louisa had two brothers and two sisters:
1)Louisa Elmira Blaxall was born on 12 Aug 1863 in Holborn, Middlesex, England. She died on 28 Jun 1946 in Canterbury, Victoria, Australia. She married Gilbert Pugh Davies on 23 Jun 1888 in Herne Hill, London, England.
2)Blanch Margretta Bloxall was born in 1864 in Holborn, Middlesex, England
|BLAXALL, BLANCH MARGRETTA||BROWN|
|GRO Reference: 1864 S Quarter in HOLBORN Volume 01B Page 534|
She married George Challen on 30 Aug 1890 in Herne Hill, England. She died in Jun 1918 in Islington, Middlesex, England.
3)William Arthur Blaxall was born in 1866 in St Andrews Middlesex England. He died on 22 Jul 1917 in Essex, England. He married Kate Whitten Reed in Apr 1890 in Lewisham, London.
4)Thomas Robert Blaxall was born on 31 May 1868 in Holborn, Middlesex, England. He died in Apr 1945 in Hastings, Sussex, England. He married Emma Welfare Baldock on 23 Aug 1902 in St Giles, Camberwell, England.
5)Lizzie Alice Bloxall was born on 13 Dec 1872 in Holborn, Middlesex, England. She died on 31 Oct 1931 in Surrey, England. She married Frederick William Isaac in Apr 1899 in Lewisham, London.
Emigration to Australia:
Gilbert and Louisa had married on 23 June 1888 at St Paul’s Parish Church in Herne Hill, London. Between their marriage and their eldest child, a daughter Netta, being born on 25 October 1890, they had emigrated to Australia as Netta was born in Caulfield, Victoria, Australia. Gilbert had a trade, a Draper, like his father.
I managed to find this entry on the National Library of Australia online website:
By the time of Gilbert being totally in charge of his own business in Sydney Road, Brunswick, Melbourne, Australia the couple had three children, two girls and a boy. They also went on to have another son in 1898.
They decided that home was about 18 miles away in Canterbury, Melbourne at 25 Alexander Avenue. Researching the children of the couple I found only one of them married, Roy Francis. As far as I can see so far Roy and his wife Evelyn had no children.
UPDATE 16 August 2022. Wonderful that a descendant of this couple has contacted me via a comment, see the end of Blog, with this information: “I am the Great Grandaughter of Gilbert and Louisa, their son Roy Francis Davies was my grandfather and I have many childhood memories of the house in Canterbury and my Great Aunts and Uncle. Roy & Evelyn had 3 daughters, all still serving and one being my Mum.”
Netta, Eva and Eric remained at home with their Mum and Dad living at 25 Alexander Avenue, Canterbury all through their lives and after their parents had died too until their own deaths.
1)Netta Blaxall Davies was born on 25 Oct 1890 in Caulfield, Victoria, Australia. She died on 18 Mar 1983 aged 92 at home in Canterbury, Victoria, Australia. Netta was always described in the electoral rolls as ‘Domestic Duties’
2)Eva Constance Davies was born in 1892 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. She also died in 1983 aged 91 in Canterbury, Victoria, Australia, I haven’t found an exact date. Eva is described as a Milliner on several of the electoral rolls, maybe providing hats for her fathers’ shop.
3)Eric Gilbert Davies was born in 1893 in Brunswick, Victoria. Last of the three siblings at Alexander Avenue was Eric who passed away on 20 Jul 1985 in Canterbury, Victoria, Australia, he was 92. All the electoral rolls describe Eric as a Warehouseman.
Eric also served in WW1, see below for more information.
4)Roy Francis Davies was born in 1898 in Brunswick, Victoria. Roy died the following year after his brother Eric aged 88 in 1986 in Victoria, Australia. He had married Evelyn Florence Matthews in 1929 in Victoria, Australia, who passed away aged 85 on 29 Oct 1988 in the View Bank area of Victoria, Australia. This was just a few miles from the rest of the family in Canterbury.
Eric Gilbert Davies in WW1.
I found almost 100 pages on Eric’s war records on Ancestry, here are just a few of the easiest to read and most interesting ones:
I imagine Eric suffered as a result of his wounded leg all his life which is awful. But isn’t it fascinating to have such a full account of his time in the Military.
Sometimes when I am researching different families I come across an unusual occupation or something a bit different and this is what happened when I went onto the 1911 census to see where Louisa’s Mum Elizabeth Bloxall (Brown) 1835-1915 was living and found she was living with her daughter Blanche and husband William Challen in Hildenborough, Kent. William’s occupation fascinated me so I thought I would find out a bit more.
This from Hildenborough History Society online: Hitchcock Family Business
And this from Hildenborough Parish Council online: CRICKET BALLS – ‘In 1825 ball making in the village of Hildenborough was started in part of a house called Treberfydd, at Watts Cross, by Robert Dark, who produced first-class handmade cricket balls and supplied Lords cricket ground. An item in the local paper of 1871 records that about 40 workmen employed at Mr Dark’s Cricket Ball Factory, met in the Flying Dutchman. “Good old English food” was served by Mr Spratley the host, and Mr Francis (foreman) took the Chair as Mr Dark was unwell. Among the employees were Jack Nightingale, Sam Card, Tickle Thorne, Weasel Owen, Billie Neal, Spindle Wells, George Cooke, Mr Ives and Mr Hadley. Thomas Francis took over the business from Robert Dark. In the 1960s, some discarded balls and materials were found when floorboards were removed. About 1875, Mr Horace Hitchcock decided to leave Mr Dark and set up in business on his own, first in a shed at the bottom of his garden and then in Mount Pleasant, opposite the Green. At one time, there were five brothers and two sons of Horace working with others at the ball shop. In 1887, he sent his first shipment of cricket balls to Adelaide, South Australia. (As a result, a niece born that year was named Adelaide.) When he died in 1915, his son Ned took over the business which was eventually sold to Gray-Nicholls Ltd. Ned died in 1937: he had been a ballmaker for 51 years. An employee, Albert Seal, a brilliant cricket ball stitcher, demonstrated his skills at the Festival of Britain Exhibition in 1952. The factory was closed in 1962 and Mount Pleasant Court was built on the site‘.
Louisa’s sister Blanche Margretta and William Challen had four children, sadly their son William Augustus wasn’t as fortunate as Louisa and Gilberts son Eric, he was killed in 1916. Here’s more very detailed information I found online:
This I found from the website http://www.kentfallen.com: CHALLEN, WILLIAM AUGUSTUS. Lance Corporal, 3902. No.1 Platoon, “A” Company, 12th Battalion, Australian Infantry, A.I.F. Died between 19 August1916 and 22 August 1916. Aged 25. Born Hildenborough, Kent. Enlisted and resided Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. Eldest son of George Challen and Blanch Margretta Challen (née Blaxall) of Fern Bank, Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent. Commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux Memorial, Somme, France, and on the Australian National War Memorial. Panel 65.
‘William was born at Hildenborough, Tonbridge, Kent on Tuesday 11 August 1891. He was christened at the parish church of St. John the Evangelist, Hildenborough, on Monday 7 May 1906. At the time of the 1901 census, the Challen family resided at Fern Bank, Hildenborough. Head of the house was 43 year old Mid Lavant, Sussex native George Challen, who was employed as a Cricket Ball maker. A former pupil of Hildenborough National School, Hildenborough, on leaving school William was employed in the village before going to work in London. My Notes: (In the 1911 census, he was a Servant, a Footman, working in London) He then emigrated to Hobart, Tasmania, Australia in 1914. (Did he stay with his Uncle Gilbert and Aunt Louisa and family I wonder?) Prior to enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force at Claremont, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia on Wednesday 25 August 1915. William had been employed as a Footman on the staff of the Rt Hon. Sir William Ellison-Macartney, K.C.M.G., the Governor-General of Tasmania, from Saturday 4 April 1914, who had presented William with an engraved gold wristwatch. At the time of enlisting in the Australian Imperial Force, Williams’ address for correspondence was the Commercial Bank of Australia, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. On the completion of his basic army training which was carried out at Melbourne, Victoria, William embarked from Melbourne, on Wednesday 24 November 1915, onboard the 9028-ton ship R.M.S. Orontes, in a draft of the 12th Battalion, Australian Infantry, A.I.F. 12th Reinforcements, at which time he was an Acting Corporal. He was taken on the strength of the battalion at Serapeum, Egypt on 17 March 1916 and reverted to Private. On Wednesday 29 March 1916, William sailed from Alexandria, Egypt on the SS Corsican, which arrived at the French port of Marseilles on Wednesday 5 April 1916. He was appointed a Lance Corporal on Wednesday 26 July 1916. Nine months after leaving Australia, William fell at Mouquet Farm ‘Mucky Duck Farm,’ Pozières, during the ‘Battle of the Somme 1916.’ Amongst the soldiers that had sailed on the same voyage from Melbourne with William, was Private (later Serjeant) Stanley Robert McDougall, V.C., M.M., who was a Blacksmith by trade from Hobart, Tasmania who amazingly survived the Great War, and died in Scotsdale, Tasmania on Sunday 7 July 1968, two weeks before his seventy-eighth birthday. Following his death. Williams’s family received several letters of condolence, one of which was from Captain Newland, his Company Commander who wrote to Mrs Blanch Challen the following, “The company in which he was a member attacked successfully, and captured a line of enemy trench, and it was during that time that he was holding the position that he was killed outright by the enemy’s fire. The position that we occupied gave us very little shelter, and before we had time to put it into order we were subjected to considerable shelling. It is only with the assistance that can be rendered by those with the soldierly spirit, as displayed by Corpl. Challen can we hope for the successes we have met with being continued.” One of the soldiers who had been serving with William wrote, “On 22 Aug. they were ordered to charge enemy trenches, and Challen reached them in safety, but whilst holding the same he was shot in the head by a sniper.” During November and December 1916, via the Australian Red Cross Society, several soldiers who had been serving with William and that had witnessed his death wrote statements which whilst basically very similar but varied re cause of death which ranged from being killed by a sniper to a shell. All statements were consistent when stating that he was killed instantly when he was hit in the head, whilst he was standing with a group of men in the trenches at Pozières. The informants also added that following his death, William was buried in a shell hole just outside the trenches. The request for the information had been requested by Miss E. Bailie of Tingewick House Buckingham, Buckinghamshire. On Tuesday 29 November 1921, Williams’ mother was sent an Australian Department of Defence Nearest Female Relatives’ Badge. The badge reads “Issued by the Department of Defence. To women of Australia. For duty done.” The 9028-ton ship R.M.S. Orontes on which William sailed from Melbourne was launched in 1902 and had one funnel, and she is not to be confused two-funnel P & O ship of the same name which was launched in 1929, as the transcriber of these brief commemorations has noted that some record sources, unfortunately, do confuse the two vessels. It should also be noted that the R.M.S. Orontes is not listed as one of the 74 ships, which were taken over by Australia’s Commonwealth Government for use as troopships during the Great War, but she is on a list of a further 39 Royal Mail vessels which were chartered by the Commonwealth on an occasional basis for that purpose. In October 1916 the ship was formally taken over by the British Admiralty and converted for use as a troopship’.
Then I found details and a photo on the Roll of Honour:
We will end on a positive note, while I was researching and compiling the Davies Family Tree, direct link here: Davies Family Lynns Waffles I came across a couple of old photos on Ancestry, one was this brilliant photo of Gilbert and Louisa on their honeymoon in Hastings. The other photo was the one I now own, identical, not a copy but exactly the same photo on the cabinet card, it is the actual cabinet card that I have! I shall send the Ancestry member a message to ask about it and send a link to this Blog too, he only posted it on his tree in January this year. Will let you know if I hear back from them!
Till next time then………
Great research as always Lynn and a fascinating family story – thank you
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Thanks Simon, always so interesting researching unknown families isn’t it! You never know where you’ll end up xx
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. It’s so good that you have an inquisitive mind Lynn. This family you have researched is fascinating I love the research you did about the cricket balls and the photo’s are great. Thanks again for sharing all you work. Stay safe during these trying times.
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Thank you as always Rita. Hope you’re doing well too.
Researching keeps me very busy in these times😊xx
Hi Lynn, I am the Great Grandaughter of Gilbert and Loiusa, their son Roy Francis Davies was my grandfather and I have many childhood memories of the house in Canterbury and my Great Aunts and Uncle. Roy & Evelyn had 3 daughters, all still serving and one being my Mum.
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Good morning Bev. Thank you so much for getting in touch & I’m thrilled to know that Roy & Evelyn had 3 daughters! I have added the anonymous daughters to the family tree that I compiled on Ancestry & I shall update their section in this Blog, huge thanks again. Kind Regards Lynn x