The BRIGHTLAND family – Nurse BRIGHTLAND, Isabel Mary (1882-1957)

Brightland 7&9 Loseby Lane
7&9 Loseby Lane. The Brightlands lived above the shop.

John William Brightland (1844-1900) married Martha Markland (1849-1926) in Peterborough in 1880.  They established a “new drapery establishment” at 9 Loseby Lane on 28th February that year, with “special attention to the costume and mantle department.”  The business was a success:  In 1891 John advertised for a showroom assistant “one accustomed to good class trade.”  John and Martha had two daughters, Isabel Mary (1882-1957) and Elizabeth Thirlby (1885-1974).

Between 1881 and 1884 the Brightlands lived at 7 and 9 Loseby Lane, moving in March 1887 to 5 Market Street, where they also lived until 1904.  The family moved to Syndale, Stoneygate Avenue, in 1906.

Brightland 5 Market St
5 Market Street with accommodation above

The Brightlands were significant members of the St Martin’s congregation, which is perhaps why in February 1895 when Canon Sanders’ eldest daughter Millicent married Mr Eunson, Martha Brightland made the bridesmaids’ dresses, which were of “white silk accordian with pleated chiffon bodices.”  In 1899 Martha helped with the Yellow Bazaar and she also sat on the bazaar committee for the Diocesan Home for Waifs and Strays.  By 1909 when Canon Sanders’ testimonial was written, only Martha was left to appear on the list, as John died in 1900.  She was a member of the PCC between 1921 and 1922.

Isabel was born on 3rd January 1882 and baptised at St Matthew’s on 19th February 1882.  She probably attended a private school for girls.  She later attended Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School (which later formed part of the new City of Leicester Polytechnic, now de Montfort University), winning a prize for architectural drawing in In December.  Afterwards she worked as a teacher at a private school and sometimes as a secretary and book keeper.

Isabel served as a VAD in the Leicester/2 detachment, later transferring to Leicester/4.  These detachments managed the Knighton VAD hospital and were on duty for the first convoys of wounded which arrived in Leicester.  She She was first based at Leicester Royal Infirmary whilst she carried out her training.  From 3rd until 31st May 1917 Isabel worked as a nurse at the 3rd London General Hospital.  This hospital was established in August 1914 in the requisitioned Royal Victoria Patriotic School in Wandsworth which had 1800 beds by 1917.  Between June and August 1917 she served as a volunteer at Cottesbrooke Auxiliary Hospital in Northamptonshire, where soldiers were often less seriously wounded and were mainly in need of convalescence.  Gladys Marie Williams, who Isabel would have known, was also there between April 1917 and 1918.  Cottesbrooke Hall had been converted to a hospital in 1914 by the owner Mrs Brassey who took personal charge of fifty beds.  During Isabel’s short time at Cottesbrooke a concert was held, which she almost certainly attended, at which various artistes performed including Private Hamilton, one of the wounded soldiers.  Cigarettes and fruit were provided by the munitions workers of the Hanwell Pendant Co.  After leaving Cottesbrooke Isabel remained a member of the detachment until the end of May 1919 but did no further active work.

Isabel appears to have returned to live with her mother, and to working as a teacher.  By the start of the war Martha had closed the shop premises in Market Street and lived and worked from 39 London Road.  After the war she moved premises to 44 Saxby Street, living at 52 London Road (where she had lived since at least 1924), again above her shop.  She died in 1926  leaving Isabel her furniture and household goods and an income for life.  After her mother’s death Isabel shared a large house – 120 Regent Road – with a group of other single women.  In 1931 she moved to number 50 Regent Road, the home of widow John Leaver West and his daughter Violet.  Isabel and Mary became friends.  After the death of Violet’s father in 1933, Isabel and Violet moved in together at 98 Regent Road.  Isabel retired from paid teaching.  During the second world war she was a part time volunteer with the Women’s Voluntary Service children’s section and also with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).  Violet West worked as secretary to an architect and also a part time WVS first aid volunteer.  Isabel’s sister Elizabeth and her husband Richard Watchorn, a chartered accountant, lived in the other half of the house.

50 Regent Road
50 Regent Road

In 1931 she moved to number 50 Regent Road, the home of widow John Leaver West and his daughter Violet.  Isabel and Mary became friends.  After the death of Violet’s father in 1933, Isabel and Violet moved in together at 98 Regent Road.  Isabel retired from paid teaching.  During the second world war she was a part time volunteer with the Women’s Voluntary Service children’s section and also with the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA).  Violet West worked as secretary to an architect and also a part time WVS first aid volunteer.  Isabel’s sister Elizabeth and her husband Richard Watchorn, a chartered accountant, lived in the other half of the house.

Isabel died on 20th September 1957 at The Lawns Nursing Home, 312 London Road and was buried at Welford Road Cemetery.  She left her estate of £933 15s 11d to sister Elizabeth.

The BURTON family – Driver BURTON, Herbert Stewart (1885-1963) and Troop Sergeant BURTON, Lionel Sidney (1889-1915)

Herbert and Lionel were the only children of Harry Herbert (1851-1929) and Sarah Elliott (1854-1931) of 13 High Street.  Harry was a watch maker and Sarah was a jeweller who had previously worked as a pupil teacher and a governess.  They lived and worked in the High Street until sometime after 1901

Burton 116 Granby St
116 Granby Street (ahem)

 when they moved premises to 116 Granby Street, remaining there for the rest of their lives.  Harry’s sister Fanny lived at 13 High Street too, and gave dance classes for children.  Harry was one of the first shopkeepers in Leicester to use electric lighting in the shop frontage, displaying rings, bracelets and plate to advantage.

Harry and Sarah were members of St Martin’s congregation.  Harry was a sidesman from 1909 until shortly before he died and Sarah contributed regularly to the Church of England Waifs and Strays Society.  She helped with the St Martin’s stall at the Mayor’s Bazaar in 1917.  There was a professional connection too – in April 1918, not long before the death of his son, Harry was paid £1 10s for repairs to the church clock, a half-price discount on his usual charge.

Younger son Lionel Sidney Burton– known as “Leo” – was born in 1889 and attended Wyggeston Boys School between 1902 and 1904.  After school Leo worked as a highly promising ‘hosiery traveller’ – sales representative – for Messrs Farner and Co of Northampton Square from leaving school until war broke out. He was also a regular forward for three seasons in the Leicester Rugby Football Club “The Tigers” – he was the first member of the club to be killed in action.  He was “a keen and fair player and his inherent gentility, both on and off the pitch, won him troops of friends.”  The Illustrated Police News reported that he “had enjoyed the esteem alike of his colleagues and of opponents.”

Leo married Sarah Lilian Burchnall (1886-1970) in Norfolk two days before he left for the front on 1st November 1914.  Sarah, who was an audio typist for a hosiery manufacturer, had lived in Aylestone Road with her parents before the war and must have travelled specially to Norfolk with Leo.  They were married for only a few months when Lionel was killed at the second battle of Ypres.  He had joined the Leicestershire Yeomanry “B” Squadron 1/1st at the beginning of the war and was serving in France by November 1914.  He was killed on 13th May 1915 on the last day of the Battle of Frezenberg Ridge, which included a gas attack by the Germans on 10th May.  During this battle 94 officers and men of the Leicestershire Yeomanry were killed. The Leicester Chronicle reported on 22nd May that

“The Leicesters were bombarded for three hours in the trench and then attacked by the Germans in force.  The enemy got into the trench and in the same party who were killed was Major Martin, Major Herbert, Lieut Brooks, Lieut Peake and Troopers Hickling and Adams.  “Harry” was wounded and Sergt Burton killed.  Sergt-Major Swain adds that it was a sad roll-call on Saturday.”

Sergeant Cookson wrote to Lionel’s father to break the news of his death and tried to give comfort in saying that death was instantaneous, whilst Leo had been doing his duty in the trenches.  Sadly this may not have been true; it was frequent practice to spare relatives the awful truth of life and death at the front.  A survivor said afterwards “We came out a broken regiment.

Lionel is commemorated at Menin Gate and also at St Mary Magdalen, Shearsby, where his parents married in 1883.  Harry Herbert installed electric lighting in memory of his son, also installing this memorial:

Sacred to the memory of Lionel Sidney Burton Troop Sergeant Leicestershire Yeomanry/ died for his country Menin Road Ypres 1915 aged 26/ beloved son of Harry Herbert and Sarah Burton, and loving husband of Lilian.

Sarah, known as “Lilian”, remarried in 1918 to Charles Hulls who had survived the war.  She died in 1970.

Older brother Herbert Stewart Burton was born on 9th March 1885 in Leicester.  He began life as an apprentice watch maker to his father and then assisted in his building and jewellery businesses.  In June 1915 Herbert was granted a loan of £100 from Sir Thomas White’s and Parker and Heyrick’s Charity.

Despite his younger brother’s death, on St Valentine’s day, 1917 he joined the Royal Navy as a motor driver, beginning his service on shore bases at Wormwood Scrubs and the Crystal Palace.  He was then sent to HMS Pembroke II, which was turned over to the RAF in April 1918.  Herbert transferred to the RAF for a brief time between January and March 1918.  He served on land for the duration of the war, demobilising in February 1919.

After the war Herbert returned to work for his father as a jeweller.  He became a Freemason of The Granite Provincial Lodge 2028 by 1927.  He married Marguerite French (1898- 1986) in 1928.  Their son, John, was born in 1929 and baptised at St Martin’s on 15th January 1930.  Geoffrey Stewart (1934-1960) was baptised on 20th August 1934.  Herbert continued working for the family business for the rest of his working life but also had a side line as a farmer and grazier.

Burton 16 Lancaster Road
16 Lancaster Road

Herbert and Marguerite lived at 16 Lancaster Road in 1930-4, and thereafter at Grey Lodge, 717 Welford Road for the rest of their lives.  Herbert died in Leicester on 8th February 1963 and was buried in Shearsby Churchyard on St Valentine’s day, next to his parents’ grave.Herbert Stewart Burton grave

The COX family – Bombadier COX, George William (1885-1968), Corporal COX, Robert George (1888-1915) and Sapper COX, Thomas Frederick (1894-1967)

Robert George Cox (1855-1927) married Annie Essex (1851-1931) in Annie’s home parish of Avening in Gloucestershire on 19th October 1871.  Robert was a musical instrument maker.  They had seven children: Harry (c1873-) and Elizabeth “Bessie” (c1874-) were born in Malvern and Louisa Kate “Louie” (1879-1950, George William (1885-1968), Robert George (1888-1915), Netta Emily “Nettie” (1891-1967) and Thomas Frederick (1894-1967) were born in Leicester.

In 1878 Robert George and Annie moved to Leicester and jointly established a new musical dealer’s in the Royal Arcade on the High Street – Catlin Cox & Moore.  The business specialised in pianofortes, American organs and “good and cheap” harmoniums, stocking over 100 kinds of instrument.  In 1881 they lived nearby at number 20 Friars Causeway.  However by 1884 Robert George left the partnership and set up his own music dealers business on his own at 63 Belgrave Gate, leaving Catlin & Moore as competitor.

Cox 63 Belgrave Gate
The business premises of Robert Cox, musical dealer 63 Belgrave Gate

The premises had recently become available due to the previous business owner, Obey Henry Selby, going into liquidation.  The family lived above the shop until 1906, when they moved to a separate house at 13 King Street.

Almost everyone in the family played a role in the business: Robert George was the proprietor and also tuned pianos; Harry and George repaired and tuned instruments and Louisa was a sales assistant.

The Cox family continued to live at 13 King Street.  After Robert George died in 1927 the business was renamed R G Cox & Son and was continued by Thomas Frederick.  During the second world war Louie and Nettie moved next door to number 11 and by the time Thomas Frederick died in 1967, he lived alone.  On his death, R G Cox & Son closed.

George William Cox was born in Leicester on 5th December 1885 and baptised at St Martin’s on 9th July 1893 with his siblings Nettie and Robert.  After leaving school he worked in the family business as a music dealer.  He was 5’9” tall.

George attested as a private solider number 724741 on 3rd December 1915 aged 29 whilst still living with his parents and working as a piano tuner.  He served at home in the Royal Garrison Artillery from 3rd March until 25th September 1916, qualifying as a signaller and telephonist whilst based at Woolwich depot.  On 26th September he embarked at Folkestone, arriving at Boulogne later that day.  Within a short time George found himself in trouble – he was confined to barracks for 5 days in November for neglect of duty whilst working as a telephonist.  Nevertheless on 17th June 1917 George was promoted to acting bombardier.  On the 23rd November 1917 George returned to Leicester for a short period of leave – the next day, at the age of 31, he married Ethel Mary Coverdale (1889-1978) at St Peter’s Church.  A licence was granted as George had only limited time on leave.  His brother Thomas witnessed the marriage.  George returned to the Front and was again promoted, to bombardier signaller on 16th March 1918.  A month later on 20th April he was awarded the Military Medal, the equivalent of the Military Cross for men who were not commissioned officers.  By September he had achieved a certificate and in December was appointed as assistant instructor in signalling, with additional pay awarded.  This position did not last long however, as he was demobilised in January 1919 whilst on leave to the UK.

During the war Ethel lived with her parents at 51 Evington Road, but by 1919 Ethel lived at 97 Queens Road, Ashford, presumably to be closer to George and make it possible to see him more often.  George and Ethel remained in Ashford for a year or so after demobilisation and their daughter Ethel Margaret (1919-1994) was born in Ashford in November 1919.  George and Ethel returned to Leicester and George returned to work as a piano tuner.

In 1927 George, Ethel and their daughter Ethel moved into a brand new house at 74 Evesham Road.  Ethel gave birth to another daughter, Sheila (1932-), in 1932.  They remained living at Evesham Road until their deaths – George in 1968 and Ethel ten years later.  George was buried at Gilroes cemetery.

Robert George Cox was born in Leicester in 1888 and baptised at St Martin’s on 9th July 1893 when he was five years old, along with his siblings George and Nettie.  He

At the outbreak of war Robert enlisted at Oakham into the 1/1 Leicestershire Yeomary.  After some training he arrived in France on the 2nd November 1914.  He died on 13th May 1915 having risen to the rank of Corporal.  The regimental war diary records that Robert was with his regiment at Belleward Farm, 700 yards west of the road joining Zonnebeke Road and Ypres Menin Road, occupying some poor quality trenches with few sand bags and no dug outs or other protection from shell fire.  There was heavy shell fire in the early hours, followed by a much more violent bombardment, which destroyed the Yeomanry’s machine guns and blew in a trench.  At 7.30am the enemy attacked and occupied some nearby empty trenches, resulting in the death of all but one of the officers present.  5 officers and 47 men of other ranks were killed during the attack and counter-attack, with a further 39 missing.  The dead and wounded from several trenches were never recovered.  Robert was amongst these.

Robert’s family placed a notice in The Leicester Chronicle on 29th May 1915:

COX.- Killed in action, May 13th, 1915, Corporal R G Cox, Leicestershire Yeomanry, aged 27, son of Mr and Mrs R G Cox, 13, King Street, Leicester.

Robert left £5 11s 7d, his army pay, to Miss Annie Louisa Pye (1880-1947).  Annie was born in Birmingham but in 1911 she was manager of a shop and was visiting Jack Whittles and his family and staff at the Cricket Players Hotel, 9 Churchgate.  Perhaps Robert and Annie were sweethearts or even engaged to be married, though she was much older than he.  In fact Annie married Frederick Tattershall of the RAF, in Birmingham on New Years Day 1919, claiming to be ten years younger than she really was.  In August of that year she received a war annuity of £4 in respect of Robert but there were problems when the military authorities attempted to deliver Robert’s medals.  They were unable to deliver the medals, perhaps because Annie had moved or perhaps she refused to accept them.  Unfortunately no records survive to show whether Robert’s family claimed the medals or whether they were recycled after ten years.

Robert’s name appears on panel 5 at Menin Gate at Ypres, where soldiers whose bodies were never recovered were commemorated.

Thomas Frederick Cox was born in Leicester on 25th October 1894.  Unusually he was not baptised until 5th October 1910, when he was almost sixteen years old.  He was baptised at St Martin’s by Norman Lang, later suffragan Bishop of Leicester.  He described himself as an engineer.  In 1911 Thomas worked for the British United Shoe Machinery Company Ltd in Belgrave.

By March 1918 when Thomas enlisted at Leicester Market Place he was aged 24, 5’10”, extremely slim and worked as a piano tuner.  When examined he was found to have a scar on his right cheek and tachycardia, but not sufficiently to prevent his enlistment.  He joined the Royal Engineers, Railway Troops.  Thomas served at Chatham from 14th March to 17th April 1918, when he transferred to Roads & Quarries.  On 18th April 1918 Thomas landed in France but served there for only a short time, until 16th June.  He returned to England and was discharged as no longer medically fit for service on 17th February 1919.  He had been under medical care due to pain in his back and kidneys and had an x-ray on 9th January.  Thomas successfully claimed a pension of 11 shillings a week for one year, due to 40% disablement caused by a goitre (enlargement of the thyroid gland, probably connected to his former fast heart rate), which was aggravated by war service.

After the war Thomas returned to 13 King Street and to the music dealers business at 63 Belgrave Gate where he worked with his father.  On 21st November 1921 Thomas married Edith May Maidment (1896-1966), a machinist for a boot manufacturer, at St Paul’s Church.  The couple lived at 13 King Street with the rest of the Cox family until the end of their lives and it was here that their daughters Joan Peneretta (1922-2006) and Elisabeth (1934-1985) were born.  When Robert George senior died in 1927, Thomas Frederick took the helm at R G Cox & Son and the business continued until his death.

During the second world war Thomas served as an air raid warden, so he must have recovered in health to at least a reasonable extent.

Edith died in 1966 and Thomas Frederick in 1967.

The CUMING family – 2nd Lieutenant CUMING, William Edward (1894-1917), CUMING, Stanley (1893-1970) and CUMING, Margaret Elizabeth (1890-1987)

Walter Cuming (1862-1943) and Eliza Whadcoat (1855-1929) had children Margaret Elizabeth (1890-1987), Annie Whadcoat (1891-1921) and Stanley (1893-1970), who were all born in Brighton, and William Edward (1894-1917) who was born in Maidenhead.  In 1891 Walter worked as a coach wheeler and the family lived in Brighton.  He was a member of the Maidenhead and District Conservative Association and the Royal Antediluvian order of Buffaloes.  By 1899 Walter had set up in business as a coachbuilder at King Street, Maidenhead.  In April 1900 Walter was declared bankrupt.  He had got into financial difficulty and borrowed heavily, and was six months late with the rent of his house.  Scandal was reported in the local newspaper relating to a dishonoured promissory note.

Nevertheless it was not until sometime between 1906 and 1908 that the Cumings moved from Maidenhead to Leicester, taking up residence at 13 Kirby Road where they lived until 1926.  They began attending the church of St Martin’s as worshippers.  Walter worked as an assistant superintendent at an industrial insurers.

William Edward Cuming was born at Maidenhead and initially attended Maidenhead British School, transferring to Alderman Newton’s School on arrival in Leicester.  In November 1909 William passed his Oxford Local Senior Examination (and also won a swimming prize).

William worked as a hosiery warehouseman in 1911 but by the outbreak of war was a teacher at Hazel Street Council School.  In February 1914 he played in a Rugby match between Stratford and Leicester Westleigh.

He joined the Leicestershire Royal Horse Artillery as a gunner 1914 and was appointed temporary second lieutenant in May 1915.  He transferred first to the Lincolnshire Regiment (Service Battalion) where he was confirmed in rank, and then in September 1916 to the 5th Battalion Connaught Rangers, attached to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  In 1915 William married Lilian Annie Rayner (1892-1976) in Yorkshire just days before leaving for the front.  William first disembarked in the Balkans in November 1915 and later served in France and Flanders.  William and Lilian lived at Fairholm in Hessle, Yorkshire and also at King Street, Maidenhead.  They had a son, Billy R Cuming, at the end of 1917.

William died in action on 31st July 1917 at Boesinghe, probably at the battle of Pickem Ridge, so Billy never met his father.  On 18th August 1917 a small article appeared in The Leicester Mercury:


Official notification has been received of the death in action, on July 31st, of Second Lieutenant W E Cuming Connaught Rangers, attached to the Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.  Mr Cuming was the son of Mr W Cuming, of 13 Kirby Road, Leicester.  He entered the teaching profession, and for a time held an appointment at the Hazel Street Schools.  Before the war he served in the RHA Territorials and when war broke out his period of service had expired.  He however, with his brother, immediately rejoined his old corps.  Later he received a commission in the Lincolnshire Regiment and was with his battalion on foreign services.  Transferred to the Connaught Rangers and the Inniskilling Fusiliers, he fell in battle, as stated, on July 31st.  His widow lives in Hessle, Hull.

An article also appeared in the Reading Mercury:

We regret to record the death of Second Lieut W E Cuming, who was killed in Flanders on July 31.  Lieut Cuming, who was born at Maidenhead, was the youngest of four children of  Mr and Mrs Walter Cuming, formerly of King Street, Maidenhead.  He was an old Maidenhead British School boy , and before he joined the army was a Council School teacher at Leicester, where his parents now reside.  He was a fine swimmer and Rugby football player, and was a general favourite.  He leaves a young widow.

William’s effects of £99 18s were sent to Lilian in January 1918.  She received a War Gratuity in 1919 and again in 1920 and William’s medals were sent to her in 1922.  William’s body was moved and reburied after the Armistice at Artillery Wood Cemetery.  He is commemorated at Maidenhead war memorial.

After the war Lilian remained in Hessle and remarried in 1923 to Harold Oscar Gee who had been a Captain and mentioned in dispatches.  He was killed at a level crossing with their 12 year old son, Harold Rayner Gee (1924-1936).  An express passenger train had struck the car they were in; the gate lock that should have prevented Harold using the crossing had been vandalised.  In her lifetime Lilian lost two husbands and a son prematurely and in traumatic circumstances.  Lilian lived at Ivanhoe, Hull, in 1940.

Stanley Cuming was born on 23rd February 1893 in Brighton and attended Wyggeston Boys’ School.  He lived at home with his parents until 1913 when he travelled to Quebec, Canada on the 29th July on the ship Lake Manitoba, intending to reside there permanently.  Stanley’s occupation was engineer and he had plans to meet with family in Montreal.  He returned to Liverpool on 21st December 1913, nevertheless intending to live permanently in Canada.  However, Stanley appears to have remained in England and was able, with his brother, to join the Leicestershire Royal Horse Artillery at the beginning of the war.  .  In 1914 he served as a driver (as recorded in the The Wyggestonian magazine). There is no surviving war record, however we do know that Stanley was on active service during 1917 because when he married Ida Agnes James (1890-1966) at St Paul’s church on Boxing Day 1917, was described as “soldier on munitions”, with his address as 25 Chapel Hill, Crayford, Kent.  The marriage was performed after banns had been read three times, so there was obviously time to prepare for the occasion.

Ida was a milliner.  She and her family lived and worshipped in the parish of St Martin.  During the war and until at least 1920 they lived with Ida’s parents at 157 King Richards Road.  It was here that Ida gave birth to their son Edmund, who lived just five hours.  He was buried in an unmarked grave at Welford Road Cemetery on 14th April 1919.

Cuming 188 Fosse Road South
188 Fosse Road South

By 1924 Stanley and Ida lived at 3 Norman Street and between 1925 and 1928 at 103 Fosse Road South.  They appear to have shared their accommodation with others.  In 1926 they had their second child, Constance (1926-).  At some time around 1930 they moved to 150 Church Lane, Brent, where they lived until at least 1960.  Stanley worked as a toolmaker and production engineer.

During the 1950s and 60s Stanley and Ida travelled extensively – to Madeira, to South Africa and to Australia.  Ida died in 1966 and Stanley in 1970, in Hillingdon, London.

Margaret Elizabeth Cuming was born in Brighton on 16th March 1890.  As a young woman she obtained two qualifications – the Board of Education Certificate and also an advanced grade piano certificate, which she passed with Honours in 1905.

Margaret gained a great deal of experience in teaching before the war, working as assistant mistress at Narborough Road Senior Girls’ School from 1911 but also having previously spent time at King Richard’s Road Council School, Ingle Street Council School, Elbow Lane Council School, Mantle Road Senior (Mixed) School, Robert Hall Junior School and The Newarke Secondary School.

Margaret enrolled as a member of the British Red Cross on 26th August 1916, while she was living at home with her parents.  She worked as a nurse at the 1st General Hospital in Birmingham from August 1916 until March 1917, then from April 1918 until at least June 1919 at the 2nd (10) General Hospital in Manchester.  By the end of the war Margaret lived independently at 94 Sparkenhoe Street.  After the war Margaret returned to Narborough Road Senior Girls’, remaining until at least August 1920 when she joined the Teachers Registration Council register. In 1925 she moved to 188 Fosse Road South.  In 1926 she was joined by her parents.

Margaret enjoyed travel.  In 1928 she travelled to Genoa with friend and teacher Hilda Fisher. In 1930 and 1931 they visited Malta and in 1933 Buenos Aires.  By 1931 Hilda lived with Margaret and her father at 188 Fosse Road.  During the second world war Margaret carried out voluntary teaching work to support the war effort.  On 2nd August 1941 she married William Simons (1886-1963).  William was a boot and shoe warehouseman and the older brother of Margaret’s fellow teacher Mabel Simons.  Witnesses were Margaret’s friends and colleagues Edith Prince, an elementary school headmistress, and Henry Whitwell, schoolmaster.  William died in 1963.  Margaret died on 2nd May 1987 at St Benets Nursing Home, London Road.

The DAY family – Private DAY, Frederick Bernard (1898-1917)

Day 5 Daneshill Road
5 Daneshill Road, where Frederick was born

Frederick was born in 1898 at 5 Dane Hill Road, Leicester, the only son of Frederick “Fred” Day (1861-1930) and Jane Eliza Hart, known as “Ginny” (1867-1955) who also had five daughters Olivia Jane (1889-1939), Elsie Emma (1892-1979), Constance Mary “Connie” (1893-), Dorothy Mildred (1896-1978) and Marjorie Susan (1903-1997).  He was baptised at St Paul’s on 24th April 1898.  Frederick senior was a fine art dealer and picture framer whose business was at 24 Pocklington’s Walk.  The family lived at 33 Dane Hill Road in 1901 and from at least 1906-1912 at 8 Newtown Street.  By the start of the war the Days lived at 55 Regent Road, where they would remain until after their son’s death.

Frederick Bernard was just sixteen when the war started.  He initially enlisted into the Royal Army Service Corps, perhaps unable to join a front line force due to his young age.  However he eventually joined the 2/6th Lancashire Fusiliers.  The 2/6th Battalion moved from Lancashire to Kent in May 1915 and landed at Le Havre 28th February 1917.  So Frederick would have been in France for just seven months when he died on 8th November 1917 in Rouen at the 4th General Hospital of wounds sustained at Passchendaele, probably at the Battle of Poelcapelle.  Accounts of the nightmare conditions endured by the men of the battalion at that time include marching through knee deep mud, trying to ignore the screams of their drowning fallen comrades, before meeting German machine guns.

His parents placed a notice in The Leicester Mercury on 22nd November 1917: “DAY – On November 18th, Pte F B Day, Lancashire Fusiliers, died of wounds in France, only son of Mr and Mrs Fred Day, 55 Regent Road, aged 19.”

After having lived for over ten years at Regent Road, Frederick senior and Ginny retired circa 1927 to The Knoll, Frisby on the Wreake, where Frederick died in 1930.  Frederick was buried at Welford Road Cemetery and joined by his daughter Olivia in 1939.  Jane returned to Leicester and lived at 4 Evington Park Road.  She died in 1955 at The Towers Hospital, outliving her only son by almost forty years.  She was buried elsewhere.

Day 3Unlike daughter Olivia, Frederick was commemorated on his father’s gravestone at Welford Road Cemetery:  Frederick Bernard/Beloved son/Died of wounds in France/18th Nov 1917

The DEXTER family – Private DEXTER, George Harry (1887-1926)

Plumber’s labourer Robert Dexter (1851-1926) married Mary Anne Cartwright (c1846-1911), a framework knitter, in Leicester in 1871.  They had ten children:  Four boys Robert (1876-1933), John William (1881-1947), Frederick Henry (1882-1956), George Harry (1887-1926) and six girls Annie Louisa (1871-1915) Alice Dinah (1872-1945), Ada Kate (1875-1943) Mary Amelia (1878-1927), Florence (1884-) & Gertrude Ellen (1890-1953).  Between 1873 and 1887 the family lived at The Friars, 25 Ruding Street.  By February 1891 they had moved to 26 Sycamore Lane (which was afterwards slum cleared to make way for Great Central Street) and by 1894 to “The Old Town Hall” now known as Leicester Guildhall.  The family acted as caretakers for the building.

Old Town Hall and St Martins
The courtyard of The Old Town Hall (now Guildhall), with St Martin’s in view

During the 1870s Robert was a detective in the Leicester police force.  He was promoted to Inspector in 1881 and later to Detective Superintendent.  He retired from the force in April 1900.  In 1909 Mr and Mrs Dexter were members of the St Martin’s congregation (though they hadn’t been when the children were young) and their son Frederick Henry went on to conduct the bells during the 1920s.  Eight of the ten children were married at St Martin’s, between 1894 and 1920.

Youngest son George Harry Dexter was born in the parish of All Saints Leicester in 1887.  He was baptised privately at St Nicholas’s Church, where his siblings were also baptised, on 10th November 1887.  As a young man George served for four years in the Royal Horse Artillery but by 1911 worked as a gas fitter for the corporation in Leicester.  He was 5’8” tall and had fair hair. In 1911 his mother Mary died and he also married Eliza Burden (1884-1922) at Holy Cross (Roman Catholic) church on 24th December 1911.  George and Eliza moved in with Eliza’s parents at 40 Newtown Street.  George worked as a filler.

When war broke out George signed up with the Territorial Army at Leicester on 29th August 1914, but he but was discharged on 14th November to join the regulars.  He joined the Army Supply Corps attached to the North Midlands Supply Corps on 14th November 1914 in Luton, aged 27 years.  He was given the role of batman and cleaner to an officer.  George served at home until 25th February when he boarded the SS Queen Empress at Southampton, bound for Le Havre, presumably with his officer.  He served in France until 15th January 1916 when he returned to England due to a wounded face.  He was presumably able to meet his first child, daughter Eveline Mary (1916-1989) who was born on 7th August 1916.  By the end of November George had recovered and returned to France but almost exactly a year later, during the very last days of the war, George received a fractured leg.  He was sent by ambulance train to 5th Northern General Hospital, Leicester (now the Fielding Johnson building, part of the University of Leicester) where he recovered.

5th Northern General Hospital
Patients relaxing by the fish pond at 5th Northern General Hospital

George returned to Eliza and to 40 Newtown Street.  In August 1920 he was awarded a pension due to bronchitis aggravated by service – 6s 10d weekly until March 1921.  On 16th August 1922 Eliza gave birth to their second daughter, Monica (1922-1984).  Sadly she died a month later, aged just 38, and was buried on 23rd September at Welford Road cemetery.  George also died while his children were young, on 26th April 1926.  He was buried alongside his wife.  Orphans Eveline and Monica went to live with their father’s sister Alice Dinah and her husband Ambrose Tomkins.

The DURRAD family -Private DURRAD, John Harold (1881-1955) and Lieutenant DURRAD, William Edgar (1883-1970)

John William Durrad (1854-1939) and Elizabeth Hodgkins (1858-1927) married in 1880. They had three children: John Harold (1881-1955), William Edgar (1883-1970) and Mary Eunice (1884-1942).  During most of their childhood John William was the owner of a leather merchant’s business whose premises were at Victoria Buildings, Bowling Green Street.

Durrad Victoria Bldngs Bowling Green St
Victoria Buildings, Bowling Green Street

The family lived at 39 St Peter’s Road (above, left) until around 1900 when they moved to 3 Glenfield Road.  It was also about this time that John William stopped trading at Bowling Green Street.  By 1909 the family had moved around the corner to 350 Fosse Road North (Above, right) and rather than working for himself, John William became a leather traveller for tanners W Walker & Sons.  They attended St Martin’s for worship and during the war Elizabeth contributed to a fundraising tea for the congregation.  The children must have had an interesting childhood:  John’s obituary in the monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical society states that John had discovered several new crevasses in the surface of the moon, that he had an observatory in his small garden at home, and that he and Elizabeth had both been well known in local musical circles, playing the cello and piano respectively.  John William and Elizabeth remained at Fosse Road North until 1927 when Elizabeth died.  John moved to 36 Ashleigh Road and died in 1939.

Leicester Technical SchoolJohn William Durrad’s sons took different career paths.  William Edgar Durrad was born on 4th August 1882 in the parish of St Peter’s, Leicester.  He attended Wyggeston Boys School and then Leicester Municipal Technical and Art School, winning a prize for advanced geography (first class) in 1899.  As an adult he was 5’11” tall with brown hair and a fresh complexion.  He served an apprenticeship with Taylor and Hobson, Leicester (now Taylor Hobson), from 1898 to 1903.  He also spent three years serving as a private soldier with the Leicestershire volunteers.  In 1911 William boarded in a room above a baker’s shop in Lincoln and worked as a mechanical engineer but by 1914 he had settled in Nantwich, Cheshire.

William enlisted as a private in the 16th Service Battalion, 1st City of Manchester Regiment at Manchester on the 2nd September 1914.  He was appointed Lance Corporal in April 1915.  On 8th June 1915 he obtained a commission as second lieutenant in the 2/5th (Earl of Chester’s) Cheshire Regiment – shortly afterwards marrying Marjorie Dixon (1888 -1962) by licence at St Paul’s Church, Leicester, on 24th July.  By the time of the marriage William was stationed at Bedford, while Marjorie lived at 350 Fosse Road.  He was promoted to lieutenant in 1917 and served in France.

Marjorie and William had two children, Rachel Jessie (1918-1995) who was born shortly before the end of the war, and Robert (1921-2012).  After the war William returned to engineering and did not return to live in Leicester; by 1923 when William applied for his medals, he lived in Northwich, Cheshire, where Marjorie had been born.  In 1931 he registered a patent for improvements relating to treating liquids with gasses and he continued working as a chemical engineer during the second world war.  Marjorie and William remained in Northwich or very nearby for the remainder of their lives.  William died on 12 September 1970 and was cremated at Crewe Crematorium three days later.

John Harold Durrad was born in Leicester in 1881 and grew to be just a little shorter than his brother William, at 5.9”.  He was a brass worker in 1911, working his way up to become a depot manager.  In 1913 he lodged at 961 Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow, where he worked as a clerk.   He married Janet Pearson Gilchrist (c1891-1958), a Scottish woman, in Manchester on 27th July 1914 just before the outbreak of war.

John joined the Mechanical Transport section of the Army Service Corps (later the Royal Army Service Corps) as a private on 18th Jan 1917 when his daughter Isobel (1916-1958) was just four months old.  He transferred to what later became the RAF three months later where he served until February 1919, training as an aero rigger.  Throughout the war Janet and Isobel lived near Leeds.

After the war John became a buyer for a rubber company and the family settled in East Keswick, Yorkshire, where second daughter Jean Allison (1920-2002) was born.  John died in East Langbank, Renfrewshire, Scotland, on 20th December 1955.