Ike-Trump…just a thought…


Seeing the cringe worthy images of Donald Trump in Portsmouth, gathered there with 15 heads of state to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, it got me thinking of the comparison between the orange buffoon and Dwight D Eisenhower, overall commander on D-Day and later, the 34th President of the United States.

Eisenhower and Trump remarkably have one major thing in common – before The Donald, Eisenhower was the only man to be elected President with no prior political experience. And, yes, that’s where the similarities end.

To go through a few basic points of comparison…

Military career – Eisenhower was a career soldier, Supreme Allied Commander in the West during WW2, overseeing Operation Overlord, the liberation of Western Europe and the invasion of Germany. Trump dodged the draft for Vietnam with an alleged fabricated medical complaint.

NATO – Eisenhower was the first Supreme Commander of NATO and sought election in 1953 primarily to counter the anti-NATO stance of Senator Robert Taft. Trump has made no secret of his disdain for NATO, which he once declared was “obsolete” and in his tenure as president has done nothing but try to undermine its position.

China and Korea – Eisenhower campaigned on pledging to bring the Korean War to an end which he did in his first year in office with an armistice with China that is still in force today. Trump has gone out of his way to antagonise China and drive forward a damaging trade war while continually flip-flopping in his attitude to North Korea, alternately calling Kim Jong-un childish names like Little Rocket Man or claiming he’s a “great guy”.

Racial Discrimination – Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division into Little Rock, Arkansas to enforce federal laws abolishing segregation in schools when local racist government officials attempted to undermine them. Subsequently, Martin Luther King Jr. wrote to Eisenhower to thank him for his actions, writing “The overwhelming majority of southerners, Negro and white, stand firmly behind your resolute action to restore law and order in Little Rock”.

Trump couldn’t even bring himself to condemn racists rioting in Charlottesville, claiming there were “good people on both sides”. He attempted to implement a ban on Muslims travelling to the US, he claimed Mexicans were rapists and that a Hispanic US judge couldn’t be objective because of his Mexican heritage, he claimed that thousands of Arabs in New Jersey celebrated the attack on 9/11 etc etc…

Personal Life – Eisenhower was happily married to Mamie Doud for 53 years from 1916 until his death in 1969. Trump boasts of grabbing women by the genitals, has paid off porn stars to keep quiet about extra-marital affairs and has said that if a woman won’t sign a pre-nup then “she’s not the wife for you”… what a charmer.

The list could go on but, frankly, what’s the point?

We have come a long way in 75 years in many aspects of life, but in terms of our leaders…? I’ll leave you to make up your own mind.

Richard Bytheway – Just Another Pointless Death in a Pointless Sideshow

Richard Bytheway, born in 1892, was a younger brother of my great grandmother, hence my great-great-uncle. He was the second youngest of 8 children, all born and brought up in a tiny, 3-roomed miner’s cottage tied to Seymour Colliery just outside Staveley in Derbyshire.

The 1911 census has him still living in the Seymour cottage but shortly after that he must have moved away because when he enlisted in the army in late August or early September 1914, no doubt responding to Kitchener’s famous appeal for volunteers, his residence was listed as Rotherham in Yorkshire.

He was duly enlisted as 14663 Private Bytheway of the York and Lancaster Regiment (known more colloquially as the Yorks and Lancs).

After basic training Richard’s battalion embarked not for France or Belgium but were assigned to what has commonly been labelled an infamous “sideshow” – they were bound for Gallipoli.

At the end of July 1915 the battalion arrived at Mudros on the island of Limnos, the common staging point for troops before crossing the final stretch of Aegean to Gallipoli itself.

It would seem that it was there that Richard Bytheway, with others, was transferred to the 5th Battalion Connaught Rangers who were under-strength. The war diary of the Connaughts records reinforcements joining on 4th August when they too were at Mudros and I am guessing Richard may well have been part of that contingent. Anyway, he definitely became 3157 Private Bytheway of the Connaught Rangers.


Connaught Rangers moving up into position

Two days later, on 6th August, the battalion embarked on HMS Clacton at 3am and sailed from Limnos to ANZAC Cove where they disembarked at 4pm that afternoon, taking positions in the aptly named Shrapnel Gully before moving up to the front line the following week.

Here, their introduction must have been horrific as they spent the next couple of days retrieving and burying corpses from Aghyl Dere Gully which was full of bodies after an earlier attack. Remember that this was in the middle of summer in Turkey where the heat was stifling and the stench must have been appalling.

A week of back-breaking trench improvement followed this before the Connaughts were assigned to support a major attack by the ANZACs on Hill 60, scheduled for 21st August. The Connaughts’ role was to attack the wells at Kabak Kuyu on the flank.

anzac cove

ANZAC Cove with Hill 60 on the horizon

On the evening of 20th August the battalion moved up to a position behind the 4th Battalion South Wales Borderers. They remained there until the afternoon of the following day when the attack was launched.

I will let the unusually effusive war dairy entries take over the story from there:
connaught diary 1
Transcript: “Kabak Kuyu 3.40pm: The first Company (C) dashed forward with a cheer through the gap and with great dash made for the well and trenches at Kabak Kuyu. They were followed by D Company, who followed close by and in successive lines at 4 paces distance and all cheering with fixed bayonets but no firing was allowed until the line was won. The two leading companie,s as soon as they had rushed the trenches, wheeled to the right and engaged the enemy along the Sunken Road and the Communication Trench. One platoon under 2nd Lt. G R Bennett bombed and blocked the Communication Trench and forced the Turks to leave this trench.
4.20pm: A Company was sent up in support and dashed forward to reinforce the left of the line. The reserve (B Coy) moved up the Sunken Road with two platoons and supported the right of the line and got up communication with the New Zealanders who had captured a trench on Hill 60.”
connaught rangers diary 2
6.55pm: The O.C. 5th Bn the Connaught Rangers now began to consolidate the line won and when the 5th Ghurkhas came up on the left of the line night came on rapidly and as the sun went down the men of the Rangers began to dig and make their position capable of resisting any attack. A Platoon of the Rangers had been sent forward and were actually in the New Zealanders trenches and although losing their officer and many men remained there until relieved the next day (22nd Aug). The charge was most brilliantly and gallantly carried out and although the losses were severe (3 Officers killed, 9 wounded; Other Ranks killed 43, wounded 158, missing 47. Total 260; together with losses up to date, 15 killed and 119 wounded and 7 Officers = 401 casualties exclusive of sick) the Battalion held on gallantly throughout the night of the 21st-22nd August (strangely enough the anniversary of its formation) and the next evening were relieved with the exception of 1 Officer and 50 men and marched back to the bivouac of two nights ago behind the SWB entrenchments. They had done splendid work in digging saps to the New Zealand trenches and to the Well, and the position was secure when they left it.”

“Secure” it may well have been but at the cost of nearly half the battalion’s effective strength and one of those killed was Richard Bytheway.

His body was not recovered and his final resting place remains unknown so his name is just one of the 20,956 names on the Helles Memorial commemorating Commonwealth service personnel with no known grave.
helles memorial
Oddly, because he was serving in an Irish regiment when he was killed, Richard also appears in the memorial record created after the war to commemorate the “Irishmen who fell in the Great European War”:

irish dead memorial

A Fishy Tale…

My partner, Vinnie, has never really known much about her family history so I have been doing some digging and, going back to the mid 1800s, a fishy story begins to emerge.

Vinnie’s great-great-great-great-grandfather was a chap named John Brewer who was born in Hackney in East London and, coincidentally, was baptised in a church in 1812 just round the corner from where she is currently working.

John Brewer married Martha Rumer, a local woman, in August 1835 in East Ham who had a bit of a scary adventure the following year. Together with a certain Martha Martin, Martha Brewer was committed to trial at the Essex Assizes on 17th May 1836 for “Larceny from the person”, legal-speak for pick-pocketing. Luckily for her the judge threw out the case, the outcome logged in the court record as “No Bill” which was a specific order from the judge if he was satisfied that the depositions or committal statements did not justify putting the accused on trial.

With the brush with the law behind them, by the time of the first census in 1841 John and Martha Brewer are recorded as living on Barking High Street with John’s profession listed as fisherman.


Barking Dock in the early 1800s

It may seem difficult to believe now but in the mid 1800s Barking was home to the largest fishing fleet in the world. There had been a tradition of fishing there on a small scale since the 1300s but the dramatic escalation of the trade based out of Barking in the 1800s was down to one entrepreneurial family – the Hewetts – who established The Short Blue Fleet (named after the short blue emblem they flew at their mastheads).

By 1850 they had grown their business to become the largest fishing fleet in the world with over 220 boats.

Before the 1820s, fish caught off the boats were either killed and salted immediately or kept alive, in large, on-board tanks until they reached port.

Samuel Hewett felt this was not a cost-effective system because the boats, which would often sail as far as Iceland, would be forced to make frequent trips back to Barking to unload the catch. This, he believed, was wasting time that could have been spent fishing. So Samuel decided to introduce a system called fleeting.

The fish were now caught, killed, then preserved in ice, before being collected by fast boats, called cutters, and taken back to London. Every time the cutters returned to the fishing grounds they would bring more ice and provisions for the sailors, which meant the fishing vessels could stay at sea continuously for three to six months at a time.

trunkingThe picture shows “trunking” when trunks full of fish were transported from the fishing trawlers to a cutter for delivery back to base.

The new fishing system was extremely successful and helped the Hewett fleet grow substantially.

short blue fleet1

The Short Blue Fleet at sea

But the industry was savagely dangerous. We think of 19th century mining as dangerous, and it was horribly so, but for every miner killed in Britain, seven seamen were lost in the fishing industry.

By the mid 1850s John Brewer had been made master of one of the boats in the Short Blue Fleet, the Tartar, purchased by the fleet in 1852 which was one of the fast cutters that used to race back and forth between Barking and the fishing grounds.

By the mid 1800s almost every family in Barking was involved in the fishing industry in some form or other. But as the town headed into the second half of the century Barking’s fishing fortunes were to change dramatically.

In 1862 Samuel relocated his fleet head-quarters to Gorleston, Suffolk, which was at least 120 miles closer to the fishing grounds. And three years later Barking effectively lost any advantage it once had when a cheap and fast rail link was built from London to Gorleston. Many families followed the Short Blue fleet to Suffolk, while others headed to Grimsby, attracted by a newly opened dock.

John Brewer was one of those who ended up in Grimsby after the Short Blue Fleet sold off the Tartar in 1863. (Another coincidence as Grimsby is where I grew up.)

In the census of 1871 he is still listed as a fisherman, now living at the charmingly named (but probably not very charming to live in) 8 Foot Road.

John Brewer died in 1874 and was buried at St Andrew’s Church on Freeman Street which sadly was lost many years ago. The picture below is from about 1911 and shows the church as it was.

st andrews freeman street

The year before John’s boat, the Tartar, was sold off, his daughter Esther who had been born in 1844 married an Essex man called Edward Cornell, another fisherman.

grimsby docks 19th c

Grimsby Docks in the late 1800s

When her parents moved north to Grimsby, Esther and Edward elected to stay in London and were recorded as living in Bermondsey in the 1871 census. But either later that year or early in 1872 they too moved up to Grimsby like many of the London-based fishermen, a port that was fast becoming the busiest fishing port in the world.


Indeed, the Cornell’s ordered their own boat in 1872, a Dandy-rigged ketch of 60 tons which they named the “Edward and Esther”, the shipping order listing their address as 28 Orwell Street, Grimsby.

SBFT6-Little-Wave-1024x905There are no images of the Edward and Esther but she would have looked almost the same as this Dandy-rigged ketch, photographed in the 1890s. We know that she had a crew of 5 including Edward as skipper; an experienced first mate and three younger men working as deck hands. I’m guessing they would have looked a little like this crew from another Grimsby trawler, taken in the 1890s.


It shows the thoroughness of the exercise of conducting a national census that boat crews were included if they were in port near enough to the census date. In the case of the Edward and Esther for the census of 1881, Edward completed the forms for his boat when docked in Grimsby Fish Dock on the 30th March. For the actual date of the census (3 April) he listed his location listed as the “Dogger Bank, No Sea“… not the most common address for a census.

edward and esther censusSadly Esther died young in 1888.

Edward did not re-marry but sailed on, spending his whole working life as a mariner until he retired and spent the last years of his life living with his daughter Elizabeth and son-in-law, George Bevers.

Edward died in April 1919.

John Mansbridge Swatton – Plod of the Met

My great-grandfather’s older brother was named John Mansbridge Swatton, Mansbridge being the maiden name of his mother, and he was born in Kings Somborne, a small village in rural Hampshire on 16th April 1847.

His father was a bricklayer and the family moved to Gosport in the 1850s when the massive fortress complex there was begun which must have drawn in building labour from all over the region.

Indeed, in the 1861 census John, then aged 13, is described as a public works labourer so I would guess he was working on one of the forts with his father at that time.

However, John must have decided relatively early on that following his father’s example and being a brickie wasn’t for him. In 1866 he had seen his younger brother leave home to join the Royal Navy and the following year John packed his bags and moved to London where, just a week before his 20th birthday he enlisted as a constable in the Metropolitan Police; Warrant No: 48283.

John Mansbridge Swatton

John Mansbridge Swatton

Following training, of the 19 regional divisions within the Met, he was assigned to “V” Division; Wandsworth. As per the instructions given to police officers, he was expected to live in the vicinity of his division and in the 1871 census he was living at 16 Blesborough Place, Pimlico – just over the river from Wandsworth, not far from Vauxhall Bridge and the Tate Gallery.

He was to remain a police constable in Wandsworth for the next 26 years.
During his time on the force, the police and criminal system in general would see many changes.

It was only the year after John joined the Met that Britain witnessed its last public executions.

In April 1868, Frances Kidder was the last woman to be hanged in public, outside Maidstone jail for the murder of her step-daughter. The following month saw the final public hanging in Britain when Fenian Michael Barrett was executed outside Newgate Prison for mass murder, having been found guilty of participating in the Clerkenwell Outrage, an explosion that killed 12 people outside Clerkenwell jail the previous year.
It was in the same year, 1868, that the policy of transportation to Australia was finally abolished which resulted in the incarceration of many more convicted criminals at home. One such place they were housed was Wandsworth Prison, in John’s Division, which was built in 1851 on the “Panopticon” design to enable the “separate system” to be used for 700 prisoners in individual cells, each with toilet facilities. The main part of the prison, having four wings radiating from the centre, was for male prisoners with a smaller separate building for females. From 1870, conditions at Wandsworth deteriorated when the toilets were removed from the cells to make room for extra prisoners and the practice of “slopping out” introduced which was to remain in force until 1996.

Considering what the daily routine would have been like for a “bobby” on the beat in the 1870s and 80s I guess it could be characterised as a mix of tedium and violence. Police constables had prescribed “beats” that they walked every day at a prescribed pace with their behaviour and performance carefully monitored – it must have been a pretty boring routine. But that seems to have been regularly broken up by violence.

We think of London being a relatively violent city – it is indeed difficult to get away from the outrage and the horror presented on the news all the time about rising levels of violent crime in the city. But in reality, Victorian London was a MUCH more violent society. And the assaults on the police are a good indication of the level of that violence.
In 2017, police officers in the Met (a force numbering 31,000 officers) reported just over 2000 assaults on them, most of which resulted in no injury. In 1868, in a force that numbered under 8900 officers there were 1130 assaults leading to injury from what the wonderfully descriptive commissioner’s report described as “criminals of the most desperate and abandoned character”.

met police pc 1870It is not without reason that standard issue for officers patroling some of the rougher beats in London was a sword!

John resigned from the Metropolitan Police on 10 May 1893 whereupon it seems he chose to move back to Gosport. Once there he took over a pub, The Alma on Forton Road, with his son, George, working with him as a barman and living in the pub.

Finally, George took over the pub when John retired but John is still recorded in the census of 1911 as living at The Alma.

John died in Gosport in June 1915.

Sadly The Alma is with us no longer either. It ceased to be a pub in the 1990s and has since been demolished.

Pentonvillain to Aussie Pioneer…?

Well, coming from a line of dirt-poor working class folk it came as no surprise that in researching some of the characters in my ancestry I came across criminality. I have written previously on some of that related to military offenses but it still came as a bit of a surprise when I looked at Henry Barnaby.

He was the brother of my great-great-great-great-grandfather; so my fifth-great uncle.
As with many on my grandmother’s side he came from Harefield in Middlesex; born in May 1822 and baptised in the very same church as myself – St. Mary’s in Harefield, across the road from where my gran lived.

An agricultural labourer, and evidently completely illiterate, he signed his marriage certificate to Jane Thrift in Sep 1844 with a “x” as he could not even write his name. A year later they had a daughter, Margaret. But then things went very wrong. The following year, 1846, saw Henry and his elder sister, another Margaret, on trial at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey. Henry was charged with larceny and his sister with handling stolen goods.

The transcript of the trial still exists in the Old Bailey archives.

A quick note on terminology and abbreviations – the old-fashioned shorthand for currency was LSD: L (easier than writing £) for pounds, S for shillings (20 to the pound) and D for pennies (12 to the shilling)

“HENRY BARNABY was indicted for stealing at Harefield, 1 bag, value 6d (6 pence).; 1 purse, Gd.; 20 pieces of parchment, 20s (20 shillings).; 1 20l.(20 pound), 4 10l., and 7 5l. Banknotes; 1 600l., 4 10l., and 7 5l. promissory notes, and 1 order for 100l.; the property of John Ratcliff, in his dwelling-house; and MARGARET BARNABY , for feloniously receiving one 20l., and 2 5l. promissory notes, well knowing the same to have been stolen.”

The trial would have lasted only about half an hour with half a dozen witnesses for the prosecution being called. The defence had no witnesses and neither of the accused had defence counsel… consequences of being poor.

The key witness for the prosecution was a self-confessed poacher who admitted he had also been accused of the theft but stated under oath that Henry had admitted the crime to him. Henry’s sister admitted that her brother had given her some bank notes but she said he claimed to have found them and didn’t know what they were anyway as he couldn’t read.

Henry was allowed a brief statement in his own defence, quoted here in full from the Old Bailey transcript: “Henry Barnabys Defence. I gave my sister the notes, I did not know what they were.”

Henry was found guilty and his sister not guilty.

At that time, sentencing was immediate and Henry was sentenced to transportation to Australia for 15 years.

I think I should just mention here that it might seem very odd that anyone could not know what, for example, a 5 pound note would look like. However, back in the 1840s there were many local banks, each with their own style of notes and a typical note might look like this:
bank note
For someone so illiterate they could not even write their own name it doesn’t seem unreasonable that he wouldn’t know what this was.

After sentencing Henry was incarcerated in Pentonville Prison where he remained for 18 months.

It wasn’t until 9th March 1848 that Henry, together with 189 other male convicts, set sail on the Anna Maria, a 421 tonne barque under the command of Master Edward Smith.
But theirs was not to be the typical convict transportation.

Between 1844 and 1849, the British government transported 1739 convict “exiles” to the Port Phillip District of New South Wales. Unlike transportation that had occurred in other parts of Australia, the convicts sent to Port Phillip were given a conditional pardon, provided they didn’t return to England within the term of their original sentence. This was essentially a fudge to get around the local rules that convicts were not supposed to be transported to Port Phillip at all. However, cheap labour was in high demand there so the convicts were “re-badged” as “exiles”.

Some Port Phillip residents were outraged at convicts being dumped in their colony and the in-comers were labelled Pentonvillains!

Anyway, Henry’s passage to the other side of the world took three months – a fast passage for those days. First port of call, on 7th June 1848, was Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (now Tasmania) where 27 prisoners, convicted of more serious crimes, were put ashore. Then the ship sailed on to Port Philip Bay where the remaining prisoners, including Henry, were off-loaded at Geelong and given their conditional pardon.

Unfortunately, that’s where the record ends for Henry. There is no record of him returning to England and I wonder if there is a Barnaby family over there that can trace its origin back to this illiterate exile?

Another Family Mystery… in the Empire of the Rising Sun

Firstly, some background: my great-great-grandfather was a certain Thomas Swatton (yes, another Thomas), born in about 1812 in Hampshire – so a direct paternal ancestor.
Now, he married a woman called Louisa Mansbridge from Kings Somborne in Hampshire on 30th August 1840 and they subsequently had nine children. It was common practice back then (and until recently) for children often to be given a middle name that was their mother’s maiden name. For example my dad had the middle name Owen which was his mother’s maiden name; my grandfather had the middle name Chadwick which was his mother’s maiden name… you get my drift.

So it is no surprise that I found that three of Thomas’ and Louisa’s children had the middle name Mansbridge, Louisa’s maiden name, the last of them with that middle name being born in 1849.

Clear enough so far…

So, what was I to think when I stumbled across a chap yesterday called George Swatton Mansbridge born in 1849? Here’s my theory.

I think his parents were brother and sister of Thomas and Louisa – i.e. a sister of Thomas married a brother of Louisa – which would mean their children’s surname would be Mansbridge but it being highly likely some of them might be given the middle name Swatton.

Disappointingly, I have been able to find no record of George Swatton Mansbridge in the census record – there are a few George Mansbridges but missing the middle name on the census it isn’t clear which might be the one in question. Finding him in later censuses will also be impossible because, and here’s the interesting bit, in 1875 he emigrated but not to America, Canada or Australia which were the most common destinations… but to Japan!

He became a constable in the Yokohama Municipal Police. There is another tie in here to Thomas and Louisa because one of their sons, John, became a police constable in London.

In 1880, he changed careers and joined the Mitsubishi Company, employed in the docks at Nagasaki working on ship salvage – at that time shipping was the core business of Mitsubishi. He would work for them for 28 years until he retired.

What I find most remarkable about this is the unusualness of such a lifestyle change – Japan in the 1870s was only just coming out of the rule of the Shogun warlords. It was only in 1872 they were finally defeated and the emperor regained central control of the country ending a period of 250 years of cultural isolation during which the death penalty was prescribed for foreigners entering or Japanese nationals leaving the country!

George Swatton MansbridgeLess than 5 years later we find George coming into the country to settle and marrying a local lady with whom he would have 5 children. I think this picture is great even though the two little girls at the front (who appear to be twins) look singularly unimpressed having their photograph taken!

I frankly have no idea how to go about tracing their descendants but it makes me wonder if those children, as adults about the same age as their father in this picture, might still have been living in Nagasaki at 11.01am on the morning of 9th August 1945 when Major Charles Sweeney’s B-29 Superfortress dropped the Fat Man plutonium bomb on the city. I hope they weren’t.


Alfred Swatton – a minor mystery solved

Alfred Florence Wedding

Alfred and Florence married in 1908

In the lead up to the centenary of the end of World War 1 I wrote a piece about the service my grandfather, Thomas, and his two brothers, Walter and Alfred performed during the war.
At the time, I had no idea why the oldest brother, Alfred, had been made a sergeant as soon as he volunteered. Similarly, I was puzzled why a man in his early thirties with a wife and four children, a fifth on the way, would volunteer for service.
Having done some more digging I think I have answered these questions. I have also discovered a postscript to the story which is just a little weird.
I’ll start off with the crucial information that solved the initial mystery. I found enlistment papers for Alfred for the Boer War, dated February 1901 which essentially answer everything.

boer war enlistmentSo, going through this document, it would appear that as a 21-year old Alf volunteered for service in South Africa, stating on his papers that he already had previous military experience with “1st Hants RE (Vols)”, which translates as the 1st Hampshire Royal Engineer Volunteers.
This unit was formed at Portsmouth in April 1891 with the majority of the rank and file being workers from the Portsmouth dockyard. They renovated an old drill shed for their use and acquired forty tons of gravel to lay down to form a parade ground. While their facilities may have been rough and ready it seems they became a very professional outfit.
In 1896 the 1st Hampshire took first place at a special course of instruction in fortress engineering at Chatham. Of the nine NCOs in the team from Portsmouth, six passed the examination as “very superior” whilst the other three passed “very satisfactory” placing them first in all England for the third time in the five years since they were formed. So it was no trivial matter that Alf had served with them.

hants vols

Following his enlistment in 1901 (note that on the form it was so soon after the death of Queen Victoria, no new form had been printed, and the recruiting sergeant has manually crossed out “Her Majesty” throughout), Alfred joined the Royal Engineers and was assigned to 37th Field Company.
Once serving he would probably have looked something like the soldiers in this picture (these are members of 11th Field Company RE in Durban).

royal engineers boer war
But his prior service in the 1st Hants RE (Vols) and in the Boer War explains why he volunteered again at the start of WW1. With the huge numbers of raw recruits that flooded into the army then, the authorities were desperate for recruits with previous experience who could immediately be made NCOs to help knock the untrained masses into shape.

So he volunteered in answer to the call for experienced former soldiers and was made a sergeantFlorenceand Childen1 because of his former service in South Africa.

And as for the postscript I mentioned…. unfortunately, Alf would not survive the war, dying on active service in the Balkan campaign in October 1916, probably of malaria that killed so many allied troops in that theatre.
The picture here is a family portrait his wife organised, the baby in her arms having been born within 2 days of his father’s death. I guess as a form of commemoration Florence decided to give the baby a middle name, Salonika, where his father died and is buried… and I’m not sure if that is poignant or just odd!