28 June 2010

Above the parapet

I'm still here (obviously) and torn between overdosing on the World Cup & Wimbledon (glorious weather!) and doing some follow up on on the Saddler half of my 9th May entry "Saddlers & Shoes".

I reported then that Rhoda and Stephen Saddler married in 1841 and then, quite frankly, just disappeared.  Well, thanks to Ellen, I have now found them in Canada and am spending a bit more time than usual in the Central Library to get onto Ancestry.com, the worldwide version, which is free in the aforementioned library!

So, I will report back with my finds - my first serious research in Canada, it's very exciting.

Don't go away.

More soon.

19 June 2010

Dentist at war

No attempt to find any anniversary today; instead I'm going to tell you about my great-uncle Millice Albert Freeman, the "dentist at war" of the title.

The second son of Albert (Bert) & Blanche (nee Culpin), Millice was born in Manor Park, London in 1908.  I'm not entirely sure when the family returned to Cambridge but they were still in Manor Park in the 1911 census.  I *do* know that Millice and his older brother Eddie both went to the Cambridge & County School for Boys, in Hills Road and one of the reasons I'm writing about Millice is that I received another photo of him last week.  Taken in 1924/1925, it shows the school rugby team of that year and Millice is proudly sitting second right.  (I will put the photo up on my website later - it probably won't be very clear here.)  According to his son, Millice was a keen rugby player - something else I learned this week.

He qualified as a Dental Surgeon and, by 1933, was practising at Scroope Terrace in Cambridge.  Also in that year, he married Rosamond Allman in Streatham (that's the London one, not the one just down the road) and that merited a short article in the Cambridge Daily News:-
A wedding of considerable interest to Cambridge took place at the Church of the English Martyrs, Mitcham Lane, Streatham, on September 16th, when Mr Millice Albert Freeman L.D.S., younger son of Mr and Mrs AJE Freeman, of "Seatoller", Hills Road, Cambridge, was married to Miss Rosamond May Allman, younger daughter of Mr and Mrs FJ Allman, of 50 Copley Park, Streatham.
The service was conducted by the Rev. Father Mason, who celebrated the Nuptial Mass.

The bride, who was led to the altar by her father, was charmingly attired in a dress of shell pink satin with a wreath of orange blossom and veil to match. She carried a sheaf of Madonna lillies and white heather. The train bearers were Master Robert and Miss Jean Adamson, both being dressed in pale blue satin. Miss Sylvia Allman (sister of the bride) acted as bridesmaid, her dress being of ice blue satin and silk net. She carried a bouquet of pink carnations.
The duties of best man were ably carried out by Mr Leslie Diblin.
After the service a reception was held at St Leonard's Hall, and was attended by about 100 guests and later the happy couple left for their honeymoon, which is being spent in Scotland.
They were the recipients of numerous useful presents.

I love that last sentence . . . . !  

And then we get to the war and Millice joined the Royal Army Dental Corps serving, it turned out, in the Far East.  In 1944 he was awarded the Military Cross (MC) and I will finish today's entry with the citation:-

On the 15th May, while conducting Stretcher Bearers down a track, leading from the Kohima Naga village area to the Zubza vally, mortar fire was opened on the party. Captain Freeman might well have taken cover with others, but he immediately attended to the freshly wounded patients and bearers instead, moving from one to another with complete disregard of personal safety while mortar bombs continued to fall on the track. I witnessed Captain Freeman's behaviour on this occasion and undoubtedly by his action he prevented further casualties. Captain Freeman is strongly recommended for the award of the MC in recognition of his gallant behaviour on 15th May 1944.

More soon. 

7 June 2010

Ernest Mendham

Ordinarily, you may recall, I don't commemmorate deaths; but in this case I will make an exception.

Ernest Tom Mendham was my third cousin four times removed and the eighth of nine children of Thomas & Mary (nee Freeman).  He was born in East Wretham, in Norfolk, in 1886 and, like so many of his generation, he went to war.

And, also like so many of his generation, he didn't come home again.  A librarian's clerk in the 1911 census, he enlisted in the 23rd London Regiment on 26 April 1915 and was promoted within two years.  He died today in 1917 and is commemmorated on the Menin Gate at Ypres.  From this, I would assume that he lost his life at the Battle of Messines which started on this day.  

I've just discovered some Army papers on Ancestry which relate both to his enlistment and also to his death.  The collection of seven pages include a receipt, signed by his widow, for the British War Medal and the British Victory Medal, both sent to her in 1922.  There is also a "Statement of the Names & Addresses of all the Relatives . . . ." which lists Ernest's wife & children, together with his parents & siblings.  Not quite sure why but, from a genealogist's perspective, it's gold-dust as the qualification is " . . . that are now living."

One thing I did notice was that whoever completed the form - and I think it was his wife Lily - made a point of entering all his siblings, even though his brother Bertie died just three weeks (I'll say that again, just three weeks) after him.

More soon.