Last year, I visited Ypres and the surrounding area for the Passchendaele 100th anniversary commemorations. There was more to see and do than I could fit into that weekend, so a year later I returned to tick off the missing items: The 6km "Canadian Road to Passchendaele" signposted walk, Essex Farm cemetery and dressing station, … Continue reading Revisiting The Western Front
Harry William Downing: Lost at Sea
Harry William Downing 1876-1915 Painter and Sailor of Southend-on-Sea and Bristol, and my third great uncle Harry was the third child of Henry and Harriet Downing, brother to Emily, Joseph and my great great grandmother Annie. He was born in Steeple, Essex, in 1876. I am pleased to say that Harry was not a bigamist … Continue reading Harry William Downing: Lost at Sea
Jack and Herbert Gillingham: Civilian War Dead
Jack and Herbert were the children of Emily Downing, the oldest daughter of Henry Downing. They were cousins to my great grandfather Frederick. They were both civilians killed during The Blitz.
Samuel Downing: Man Overboard!
For a long time I believed that Samuel Downing, the first son of Southminster patriach Joseph Downing, had died in infancy. It seemed the logical conclusion - there was no sign of him in any of the Southminster records or anywhere else in England for that matter and the parish register from the relevant years that would show his burial had been destroyed. His mother and sister had also disappeared in this period, and his mother was clearly dead, as Joseph had remarried and described himself as a widower.Read more...
Frank Thomas Beale: A Fallen War Hero
Frank Thomas Beale, 1889-1916 Waggoner and Soldier of Beckley, Sussex, and my great uncle. My great grandfather, Frederick, survived the war. Several of my other relatives were not so lucky. Frank Thomas Beale was my great uncle, my father's mother's brother. He was the oldest child, and only son, of Percy and Phoebe Beale, who … Continue reading Frank Thomas Beale: A Fallen War Hero
My great grandfather, Frederick Allen Downing, survived the Battle of Passchendaele. Half a million soldiers, mostly from Great Britain, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and Canada, did not. I joined Guided Battlefield Tours for their Passchendale Centenary Tour and went to pay my respects to his fallen comrades. If Frederick had never returned home, my grandfather … Continue reading Passchendaele100