Monday, March 3, 2014

The fourteen children of David and Susan Whybrew - part 2

(See also The fourteen children of David and Susan Whybrew part 1)

Benjamin John (Jack)

Born in Canterbury in 1879, David and Susan's son was recorded as "John Whybrew" in the civil register, "Benjamin J Whybrow" in the British Nationals Armed Forces register of births, and "Jack" in the 1891 census. He used John and Benjamin interchangeably on later census, but John seems to be his most commonly used name.

Next of kin listed on John's army records
John Whybrow (sic), joined the 3rd Essex battalion in 1895 at the age of 17. His military records give his next of kin as David and Susan Whybrew of Pownell Cresent, Colchester. He was discharged from the 44th and 56th foot of the Essex battalion in July 1896 to join the York and Lancaster regiment, but was discharged from there as medically unfit in January 1898, due to a perforated eardrum. The medical officer who examined him couldn't account for the perforation, but didn't think it was due to anything related to his time in the army. He considered that it was untreatable and that John's deafness on that side would be permanent. It's tempting to think that this disability probably saved John's life.

In late 1898 John married Emily Licence, the daughter of a blacksmith from Leiston in Suffolk. They lived in Colchester, where John worked as a bricklayer. In 1901 they were living with Henry and Harriet Malone along with Rose Anthony (nee Whybrew).Their daughter Emily was born in late 1902. I haven't yet discovered any other children.

Possibly John tried to join the army again at the beginning of WW1. A medal roll index card exists for a John Whybrew who joined the Army Veterinary Corp in 1914, but was discharged in 1915. Whether or not this is the same John Whybrew I haven't been able to discover - the card, like most, carries very little personal information.

I'm told (third hand) that after Emily, John's wife, died (in 1913) John remarried, leaving young Emily with Eliza and William Beales. I haven't been able to find any record of this marriage, if it was official. John himself died in Colchester in 1941 at the age of 62.

It's worth noting that, despite having had 14 children, David and Susan had no grandsons to carry on the family name. In fact, they had relatively few grandchildren in total. 

David Henry

Like John, David Henry was registered by one name on the civil register of births (Henry Whybrew), but by another (David H Whybrow) on the British Nationals Armed Forces births register. He seems to have been generally known as Henry.

Again like John, Henry joined the 3rd Essex Regiment at the age of 17, in 1898, and then transferred to the 44th and 56th foot. But his army career, while short, was far more tragic than John's. In October 1899, at the outbreak of the (second) Boer War he joined the Royal Irish Fusiliers. Records show that in February 1902 a Private H. Whybrew of the 1st battalion of the Royal Irish Fusiliers died "of disease" at Springfontein. This was almost certainly Henry, as no further record of him can be found. His death would also account for why Susan had only 7 remaining children at the time of the 1911 census.

William (Bill)

William was born in 1884 while his father David was stationed in Kent, and he appears with Susan in the 1891 census as "Bill". In the 1901 census he is described as William, aged 16, working as an assistant gardener and living with David and Susan in Colchester.

After this a certain amount of speculation is needed to piece together his story. In the 1911 census a William Whybrew born in Canterbury, Kent is living in Cambridge with his wife Annie Whybrew, (along with a lodger). Annie is a good 20 years older than William, and they have been married for 6 years, but Annie has no children, living or otherwise, suggesting (but not proving) that she was single rather than widowed when they married. 

The only marriage in or about 1905 that seems to fit is that of William Whybrew to Adelaide Williams in Colchester in 1905. Was Adelaide perhaps known as Annie? According to the 1911 census "Annie" Whybrew was born in about 1866 in Ipswich, Suffolk. There was an Adelaide Williams born in Ipswich in 1867. But of course there were dozens of other Annies and Adelaides born in Ipswich about this time. 

What happened to William after this is also uncertain, but my hunch is that he is probably the Private William Whybrew who was killed in action in France in October 1918 - just a few weeks before the end of the war. 

Private Whybrew enlisted in Colchester and was a member of the 9th battalion of the Alexandra Princess of Wales Own (Yorkshire) regiment. His regiment number was 34021, and he was originally a member of the Army Veterinary Corp. This would tie in with William's occupation in 1911 as a 'carman', that is, someone who drove a horse-drawn cart delivering goods. The Veterinary Corp helped to look after the millions of horses, dogs and other animals used by the British army. The only detail against this hypothesis is that Private William Whybrew is said to have been born in Colchester, but his brother Henry's papers include the same error. Such details were not always accurate, and it would be an understandable mistake.

The British Cemetery at Vis-en-Artois
By MilborneOne (Own work)  via Wikimedia Commons
Private Whybrew was buried somewhere in the British Cemetary at Vis-en-Artois, France and his name was listed on the Vis-en-Artois memorial (panel 5).

According to the British Army medal roll index card, Mrs Whybrew (no first name given - mother or sister not specified) requested that William's 1915 Star medal be sent to her. The address recorded on the card is 195 Bramford Rd, Ipswich. An Adelaide Whybrew was married to John Sanders in Ipswich late in 1919 suggesting that the widowed Annie/Adelaide remarried.

(I hoped that tracking down the occupants of 195 Bramford Rd in the 1911 census would give some more clues, but the family who were living there, the Lasts, seem to be unrelated to William or Annie. The husband, Henry Last, died in 1917 and possibly the family moved after that.)

As I say, a lot of speculation is involved here, but it seems to explain the absence of a civilian record of William's death.*

Ellen (Nellie)

Ellen was born in Colchester in 1890, and married George F Howard there in 1910. At the time of the 1911 census she was living alone, alongside many other army wives, in Aldershot, so it's probable that George was a soldier. Two George F Howards were listed in the Barracks at Aldershot at the census, one single, the other married. The latter was born in Stortford, Bedfordshire and was a member of the 1st Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment (Infantry). 

St Michael the Archangel, Aldershot*
 © Copyright Basher Eyre,
 licensed for reuse under this CC license

Ellen and George had a son, Alexander George Ernest Howard on 2 September 1911. He was baptised at St Michael the Archangel church in Aldershot. They may possibly have had another child, Leslie O. Howard, born in Colchester in October 1914, died in Colchester in 1915. (The child's mother's name is given as Whybrew). 

It seems that George Howard was yet another victim of the carnage that was World War 1, although I haven't positively identified his military records. In September 1919 the now-widowed Ellen Howard, daughter of David Whybrew (deceased) married Alfred Lloyd in London. The register was witnessed by Ada Metson and Joseph Metson. 


Ada, born 1895, married Joseph Metson in the second quarter of 1913 in Colchester. Joseph clearly survived the war, since he was present at Ellen's wedding in 1919. The fact that he and Ada had a child born in 1916 suggests he may not have joined the army until late in the war, if at all. Apart from that, I haven't been able to find out anything about him.

Ada and Joseph had at least 3 children - Florence born in Jan 1914, Joseph born in 1916 (both in Colchester) and Violet born in mid 1919 (in Islington). After that I can't find any definite record of either Ada or Joseph, but it seems likely that Joseph died in Edmonton in 1935 and Ada died in Torbay in 1980.

* Update: I now have a copy of William's marriage certificate which confirms that he married Adelaide (Annie) Williams, and have other evidence that he was killed in action in 1918.

You may also be interested in:

David Whybrew
Susan Mason
The fourteen children of David and Susan Whybrew part 1
William Whybrew - an update
David Whybrew's military career part 1
Susan Mason, a wild colonial girl


You can find out more about Susan and David Whybrew and their family, in my book Susan: convict's daughter, soldier's wife, nobody's fool.
It's available on Amazon and other online books stores

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