Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Hers, mine and ours- more than a bakers dozen..... the story of Edward James George and Lily Belton

Edward James George (1876-19??) featured as my DNA match this week. He’s my great grandmother’s brother from Yarmouth, Norfolk. He married Lily Belton (1882-1964) in 1919 in Sunderland, Durham.  Can't help thinking the DNA angels are stirring up things in Sunderland. Their granddaughter Sophie is my third cousin.

It's my second unrelated match in that neck of the woods in weeks and my third in this line in as many months. It's a good news story alone that the “Match” with Sophie and I could be found so quickly even though she had only done her tree a week ago.
When reviewing the records of my great great uncle I looked for a possible military record. A pension record gave his children's names and dates of birth (more information than found on the 1911 census). It named his wife- Florence Turner and marriage date. Then a few pages over I wondered why the children had a guardian. A page or two on and duplicate records have been altered -the wife Francis Turner was deleted as wife and another one Lily Belton had taken her place. The details made me look twice. A wartime widow Lily Belton had married Edward.

Edward's children with Frances Turner: Ruth, Maud, Edith, Edward John and Daniel William listed on his military pension record

A new wife  Lily  previously Irwing -widow was his next of kin

I mentioned his record to my new third cousin and she shared an archive with me. It was a link to a one hour video she had recorded of her grandmother Lily George jnr several years ago. How wonderful to hear her detail the “hers, mine and ours” children of Lily and Edward. Besides the family history she also described her house and her whole life time! In all Lily and Edward George were parents to 14 children. I filled in the gaps with Ancestry searches and FreeBMD searches.


Lily and George's daughter Lily recounted their story.


“ My mother had a lot of bad luck”.

Lily had taken on George’s 5 children who are in care in Sunderland. Lily had been married not once but twice before and brought 5 of her own children to the marriage. Four boys with husband George W Armbruster 1877-1911 and one son with second husband George Irwing ( - 1916).

Lily Armbruster as Lily Ambrose with sons George, John Henry, Edwin and Edgar in 1911 census

Twice tragedy has struck her first husband before the beginning of the war. Due to anti German sentiment they changed their surname to Ambrose due to George Armbruster’s German background. Then George died in early 1911 after being crushed to death in a shipyard accident at the age of 34. She’s shown a few weeks later in the 1911 census as the newly widowed mother of 4 boys under the name of Ambrose. One of the boys was only five months old and Lily was supporting them as a charwoman.

Lily explains in the video “ My mother had a lot of bad luck”. So true

Shortly after in the early days of the war Lily married George M Irwing at Sunderland in September 1914. Her fifth son George RM Irwing was born in 1914.  He was known by the family as Robert or Bob. Irwing went off to serve his country. Again Lily was widowed when George fell down a well whilst serving in France. Again she was widowed with an infant as little Bob was only seven months old.
Edward had served in the militia from 1896. The Imperial War Museum website lists him in several regiments of the British Army, York and Lancaster Regiment, Sergeant, #3895, Labour Corps, Sergeant, #381409, Northumberland Fusiliers, Sergeant, #89491.
Although in the 1911 census he is a railway porter he re-enlists for the B.E.F. and served a short period at home and in France. By the time of his final discharge in 1920 he had accrued 20 years and 181 days service. In 1918 his wife Florence died in childbirth and his 5 children ranging in age from 3 to 11 are placed in care of a Mrs Robinson and his sister Mrs Emmeline Rowe.
In late 1919 he returns to see the children in Sunderland and presumably he meets and marries Lily Irwing nee Belton (1882-1964). Despite Lily having 5 children it was decided that George’s 5 children who were in care would be brought to their new home in St Hylton.
Lily and Edward had gone on to have four more children, twins Lily and Arthur then Mary and Gertrude. Lily Jnr born in 1920 described their home in the video. It was a multilevel house in Albion St and her grandmother lived below. The George family lived in the floors above where there was a kitchen/living room and above that one big bedroom and two attic rooms. There were limited mod cons and running water was externally available. Two buckets were used to retrieve water for washing and bathing down a big set of internal stone stairs. By this time some older members of the family had gained jobs and moved away.

Edward George made his big escape on bath night. After the bath water was carried up the stairs to the metal tubs Edward took himself off to the Empire picture theatre with a friend each Friday night. After the pictures he had a half a pint with his friend before returning home on the train to his children newly washed and with clean hair.

It sounds like they had a happy time though as Lily Jnr describes taking their pocket money and spending it on roast potatoes filled with yummy butter and spending the rest on watching the magic screen puppet show at the local Salvation Army.

Lily George nee Belton (supplied by granddaughter Sophie)

Lily Junior’s older siblings have helped to fill in the story of her family. She's not that sure where her father came from and his history but Ancestry has fixed that. Thanks to digitization and transcription of records we know his father was a mariner and he and his siblings come from Yarmouth. That probably explains why her father called himself a “Yarmouth Bloater”. Bloaters are a type of salted and smoked herring which is a specialty of the English town of his Yarmouth. I wonder if his children and Lily was served a traditional tea time treat of Yarmouth bloater paste spreads thick on buttered toast? It seems Lily only remembers the treat of Sunday bacon, toast and dripping!

Edward and Lily lived until ripe old ages with Edward dying  probably in his seventies and Lily Snr in 1964. According to his military records his character was described as "very good, honest, sober, willing, hard working, intelligent and reliable." Certainly characteristics which would have endeared him to this hard working and loving mother.

PS Sophie and I  love to receive photos .... please contact us via the comments below

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Robert Edward George -Trawler skipper turned mine sweeper

I missed this one hundred year anniversary earlier in the year so I’m putting it to right now.

Robert Edward George (1857 – 1917) was a first cousin three times removed and I just discovered this George story while snooping around the branches.

He was a Skipper in the Royal Navy Reserve during World War I.

At 60 you'd expect to be sitting at home with expectations of retirement instead Robert was skippering a war time trawler which in peacetime was owned by the Reunion Steam Fishing Company in Grimsby. Robert was a local from Grimsby so presumably he had an association with FV “Senator”. It had been requisitioned in August 1915 by the British Royal Navy as a minesweeper.

This steam propelled 211 ton trailer was built in 1905 by Cook Weldon and Gemmell Ltd. For the duration of the war she was named HMT “Senator” performing minesweeping and was armed with a 3 pound gun.

HMT "Senator" Casualties  - Ancestry

On 21 May 1917 she was sunk by a mine explosion off Tory Island in the north Coast of Ireland by the German submarine U – 80 which was commanded by Alfred von Glassenapp. Tory Island is a little island off the coast of Donegal, Ireland .Eleven casualties including Robert Edward George resulted – husbands, brothers, sons.

Many including Robert are remembered at the Chatham Naval Memorial.

Robert was the husband of Patience who he married in 1877 and father to 6 children. He was awarded a medal by King Haagen of Norway for saving lives at sea.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Honorary Colonel Herbert Trangmar Allan MC, OBE(M)

Service numbers N60005 and  NX12229


Much is on the internet about Herbert - This blog concentrates on and commemorates 75 years since the War came to New Guinea and his achievements there.

At 45 years of age Herbert Trangmar Allan was willing and ready to sign up at the start of World War II. Born in 1895 in Woolwich Sydney “Blue Allan” as he was known due to his fiery red hair was a gold miner in Wau in the Territory of New Guinea. He had had a distinguished career in World War I receiving a Military cross and many “mentioned in dispatches” awards.

He was awarded his military cross during WWI on 25 September 1917 when he was a Lieutenant Colonel with the 2/17th A I F. His leadership was rewarded after an attack at Passchendaele Ridge. He was the sole surviving officer of two commands.

After returning from WWI he completed his studies in Arts and Law majoring in Military Science with first class honours at Sydney University. After university he worked as a Gold miner in the New Guinea Territory until the break outbreak of World War II where he signed up again for service at the commencement of WWII.

Again in overseas service he showed his bravery and leadership. Herbert was granted an OBE (Military) for distinguished service in the Middle East from the period April to October 1941 in Tobruk.


However with the war moving to our near neighbour his previous experience in Papua New Guinea was useful. Back in Sydney around 1943, he trained soldiers for jungle warfare. The Australian Dictionary of Biography describes his contribution.

“In June he was promoted temporary lieutenant colonel and proceeded to Papua as Australian Army Representative, Staff of Co-ordination, Milne Bay. It was probably a private arrangement that enabled him to accompany the 20th Brigade in the landing at Finschhafen, New Guinea, on 22 September. He quickly made contact with the luluai (headman) of Tareko to arrange for carriers and observers to report on Japanese movements.

As the army advanced along the northern coast, base sub-areas were established and Allan successively took charge of several. Promoted temporary colonel, he commanded the Pacific Islands Regiment from October 1945 to February 1946; he was mentioned four times in dispatches for his service in World War II and transferred to the Reserve of Officers on 7 May with the rank of Honorary Colonel.

'A burly, muscular man who radiated confidence', Allan was 5 ft 11 ins (180.3 cm) tall. He was a courageous and practical leader, with a 'strong personality concealed under a cloak of irresponsibility'; he loved whisky and smoked heavily.”[1]

One of his Mentioned in Dispatches Awards for Service in the New Guinea Territory[3]

After the war he was demobilised to Rabaul on 20 March 1946 were he commanded the headquarters of the Pacific Islands Regiment prior his initial return to Australia.  Later he managed a transport company in Rabaul before returning to Australia.

Herbert married Gertrude May Hodge in 1929. However the couple remained childless. He retired with Gertrude to a banana farm at Mullaway in New South Wales where he died on 23 May 1967.

[1]Australian Dictionary of Biography viewed  19/5/2017   http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/allan-herbert-trangmar-9331

[2] Australian War Memorial webpage viewed 27/5/2017 Public domain photograph 075552 https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/075552/

[3] Australian War Memorial webpage viewed 27/5/2017 https://www.awm.gov.au/images/collection/items/ACCNUM_LARGE/RCDIG1068966/RCDIG1068966--662-.JPG