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The Allery Clan

Colourful characters adorn our family tree!  - the chapters for the family history story for our grandchildren On my Dad's side, Cec...

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Grandmother Mary Jane Robinson: her impact on me!

Mary Jane was a woman of mystery to me. She had left this earth before I could know her - I don’t count the 9 short years I was on this earth at the same time. As a 4 year old I had no real sense of belonging and with a world shattered by war, there were huge upheavals in my family - we emigrated to Australia in 1949. By May 1954 she had died at Surrey, Northern - a fact revealed to us by mail in our new home in Victoria. I do not remember the impact of her death on my mother, but I am sure it would have been devastating.

I wish I had known Grandmother Mary Jane! Such strength in the face of adversity - in this story I reveal the characteristics I have earned from her.

When Mary Jane Robinson was born on 9 June 1872 in Croydon, Surrey, her father, George, was 36, and her mother, Mary, was 39. She married Charles Harry Newland Cutting on 16 June 1901 in Enfield, Middlesex. They had seven children during their marriage. She died in May 1954 at the age of 82, and was buried in Surrey.

1872 - 1954 there is a whole life in that little dash.


Mary Jane gave birth to twin boys on 19 October 1901, just 5 months after their marriage. Obviously their marriage was hastily arranged and was conducted away from the family seat in Croydon. Mary Jane Robinson married Charles Harry Newland Cutting in Enfield, Middlesex, on 16 June 1901 when she was 29 years old. The Marriage took place at the Parish Church of St Andrews with their friends, the the Goodalls, in attendance as witnesses. Her sister and brother-in-law were also in attendance, Edith Mary and Charles Howells.

The marriage certificate states that both were living at Southbury Road, Enfield at the time of the wedding. Their fathers were listed on the certificate, but I suspect that they did not attend. Charles Harry was a 23 year old plumber. Six years difference in their ages - I wondered if this was to become an issue.

Giving birth to twins would have been challenging for Mary Jane. Especially under the circumstances with gossiping neighbours to consider. The boys were born in Croydon Infirmary (the site of the old Workhouses) and they were baptised in November 1901 back at St James Church in Surrey. 

t was not long before Frank was shipped out to live with his Auntie Edie, and he spent most of his life living apart from his twin brother. I always asked why my Uncle Frank lived in one house and my Uncle Reg in another when they were young. The 1911 census lists both my Uncle Frank and my Auntie Violet as living at 70 Gloucester Road, Croydon with Edith Mary and her husband Charles Howells, a Carpenter who was born in Glamorganshire, Wales.

My mother Winifred Edith was born in 1903 and she would tell me of how close she was to her brother Reg but estranged from her brother Frank. 

I noted the further multiple birth of triplets for Mary Jane in 1906. Harry, Ron and Violet were born in Kingston Infirmary and their arrival would have caused a great deal of disruption to the household. Taking care of several young children under the age of six would have been tough for Mary Jane. So having farmed Frank out to his Auntie Edie, Mary Jane could focus on the triplets. Harry was the weakest and needed much of her attention. He died just one year later; and I suspect he died from one of the most virulent diseases of the times - in 1900, pneumonia and influenza, tuberculosis, and enteritis with diarrhea were the three leading causes of death.

Mary Jane is therefore dealing with multiple births again, at the age of 34 as well as grieving for the loss of Harry and the estrangement from Frank. I am so sad for her. I wonder how much her children realised the hardships she faced. 

There was also the intriguing story of how Grandmother Mary Jane was seen chasing Grandfather Charles Harry up the stairs brandishing a knife, from two sources, my eldest brother John and my cousin Sally. John first told of the incident and Sally filled in some details.

It appears that Mary Jane had caught Charles Harry red handed in an affair with a younger woman (infidelity would certainly have caused anger and potentially violence.)

In searching through some further records for Grandfather Charles I came across a reference to Alma ? ? who was 24 at the time of their meeting as colleagues in the same workplace. Was she the object of the infidelity?

Mary Jane lived with Charles Harry Newland Cutting until her death, so my guess is that they resolved their infidelities or at least did not let them breakup the family home.

By the time I came on the scene in 1945, the last of my mother Winifred's six children, I was totally unaware of such family matters and did not begin to ask questions until Grandmother Mary Jane was long dead.

The multiple births continued in my own siblings; my closest siblings were twin boys born in 1940 - and I do know how much of a shock their arrival was to my parents. There is a story surrounding their birth that was often told to provide the context for their turbulent arrival.

“It is the height of the Battle of Britain, 1940 and on Sunday, 15 September, the Luftwaffe launched its largest and most concentrated attack against London in the hope of drawing out the RAF into a battle of annihilation. Around 1,500 aircraft took part in the air battles which lasted until dusk.[4] The action was the climax of the Battle of Britain.[16]” Source: Wikipedia


Winifred and Cecil were attempting to escape the strafing of bullets from a sniper as they traveled north to Oxford after fleeing the city of London. My mum was heavily pregnant. Dad was driving and he took the car beneath a bridge for safety and it was there that Mum went into labour; not surprisingly.

The next objective of course was to get Mum to safety to give birth. The bridge was outside a small town and at the edge of the town were a few houses to which Cecil drove the car. Astonishingly the owner of one house, Madam Barishnekov, a Russian Lady,came to my mother’s rescue. She took Winnie into her house and helped as a midwife; my brother Brian appearing fairly quickly. Surprises all round when Madam Barishnekov announced to my mother, that there was another child still to come out. Mum had no idea she was having twins; a few moments later my brother Michael was born.

Then there was a flurry in the household to get two sets of infant clothes and blankets and to care for them all whilst the Luftwaffe was still swooping. I have often imagined what this tumultuous time meant for my mother. But, I think my mother’s own strength of purpose was a legacy from her mother, Mary Jane, who had survived the perils of World War 1 and the multiple child births before her.

Multiple births occurred for my siblings but skipped me, thankfully. Both my brother and my sister had twins in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

Thanks to my Grandmother Mary Jane I too have strength of purpose and owe my business enterprise, and style of parenting to her legacy. 

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Diary of a Nurse

This is an example of a digital story created in PowerPoint with narration, photos and musical soundtrack.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Requiem for Harriet Priscilla Allery

This piece was submitted as an assessment for the "Introduction to Family History" module in the Diploma of Family History studies at University of Tasmania.

 Harriet Priscilla Allery:

Death 21 December 1953 in Mount Alveria, Stawey Rd,
Guildford, Surrey, England

Funeral service at St Saviour’s, Southwark on December 24.

My Dad, her son Cecil Henry, was not there that day but he sent this story along with his condolences to his sister.

Dear Imee,

I weep for the loss of our mother and am in anguish that I cannot attend the funeral. My finances just won’t stretch to a journey home from Australia. Such a poignant time to say goodbye, right on Christmas. So sorry that you have to bear the brunt of it.
I have sent money to help with the funeral costs and hope that you can send me a photo of the casket and flowers. I have also put together a potted history of Harriet and I hope that you might read it out to the congregation.

Harriet buried 3 children and a husband. Now she is at rest.
Harriet was employed as a machinist in the Allery Tailoring business during the 1890s. Work as a machinist did not pay well then. Many unmarried young women had little choice of occupation in Edwardian times (domestic service, prostitution, shop work, the stage or dressmaking). Harriet continued to live at home bringing into the household her meagre income of a few shillings; making shirts at 7 pence a dozen. She worked from seven in the morning to eleven at night. Grandfather, Walter Frederick, commissioned the construction of shirts from her for his private tailoring business, and that is how they first met.

Walter Frederick and Harriet Priscilla were married on December 27 in 1896 in West Ham, Essex. 

They were both hard working in the Tailoring trade, a trait passed down from their ancestors.

By 1901 Harriet and Walter were living at No. 28 Elton Parade, Kingston on Thames, Surrey. They had one son, Cecil Henry, then aged 11 months. Walter Frederick was an Employer and his occupation was Tailor/Journeyman – working from home. His younger brother Joseph was staying with them on the night of the 1901 census, a frequent occurrence for young Joseph, who much later, was to inherit the tailoring business from Grandfather Walter.

Their first born son, Walter Frederick Alfred Joshua, born in 1898, died in 1900 from Gastro Enteritis. His death was extremely hard to bear for Harriet as she was pregnant with another child at that time, me. Tragically, her first son died one month to the day, prior to the birth of Cecil Henry on the 25th April 1900. 

There was no counselling for young bereaved mothers then - infant mortality was high in Edwardian times.  As her own mother Elizabeth, had already passed on in 1894, at the age of 51, Harriet had no support. She needed all her strength to weather the turmoil and tragedy in her own life. She buried her pain along with her child.

April events had even more poignant significance for Harriet throughout her life. 

By 1911 the family had grown and had moved again to live at London House, Coombe Lane, Norbiton. Walter was then a Master Tailor, and Harriet was now mother to four young boys. Cecil aged 10, Edward aged 9, William aged 5, Samuel aged 1, and one little girl, Imee aged 3. The 1911 census lists the number of live births for Harriet as 7 and 2 dead. Sad statistics for a mother to have recorded for her in such archives. Grandfather Walter had filled in these details himself in his neat and precise handwriting.

Harriet's sad story gets worse when she loses her husband Walter Frederick on the 5th of April in 1915. He had been a soldier in World War 1 and the circumstances of his death remained a mystery for a while. It appears that he was knocked down and killed by a cyclist whilst walking across the road in Kingston. 

In 1915, prior to his death, Walter planned for the care of his family and his Tailoring business. Uncle Joseph purchased the business premises from him and took on the running of Allery and Sons, in Coombe Lane, Norbiton. A substantial sum of money, over 2000 pounds, was left to his widow, Harriet. She was able to be self-sustained throughout her 40 plus years without him, raising her family alone – she never remarried!

In 1930 Harriet learned of the horrific death of her son Edward Lionel - it was all over the newspapers at the time - a tragic motor racing accident at the Brooklands Raceway took the life of her 28-year-old son. Another April tragedy. I cannot imagine how she felt on hearing the news. I do know how this tragic accident affected me. I blamed myself for encouraging Ted to become a mechanic and to be there, that day, at the raceway. Perhaps Harriet also blamed me for her loss. This is why I was reluctant to encourage my own twin sons to become motor mechanics or to enter the motor racing industry.

Life was not all tragic; there were the brighter aspects. Harriet passed on her dressmaking skills to her daughter Imee, who later specialised in ‘haute couture’ and earned her income by working from home. As far as I know Imee is still making dresses for the wealthy. You may like to know that my own daughter Carole has inherited Harriet’s red hair.

Harriet is now at rest, to be buried with her beloved son, Edward Lionel in the Guildford cemetery. A fitting resting place.

Farewell to Harriet Priscilla.

Post Script: Harriet Priscilla was born in December 1873, Married in December 1896 and Died in December 1953. Harriet Priscilla lost her first born son, her husband and her third son in the month of April several years apart.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Impact of a Diary

It was a rainy day in March 2012. I was sorting the memorabilia from my late sister’s estate when I found her 1944 diary. The Universal Diary for 1944 was a tiny journal containing moments of her life as a young trainee nurse in London. I wish I had known of it before she died, I would have asked many questions. Pam and I had a close bond as the eldest and youngest of a large family of six children. She was always delighted when I came to visit her in her one bedroom flat in Emerald, Victoria … and she did try not to smoke when I was in her house. We would talk of times gone by and she would show me her photo albums and recount the days of her youth, but never anything about 1944. I wonder now if that year was too painful for her to recall. She was happy to show me her albums of family, friends and holidays. I have kept some of these for my archives. Among the archives was her birth certificate. I noticed that our Dad was listed as a Chauffeur – something I did not know. Pamela Marie was born on the 9th March 1927 in Kingston, UK.
Being the eldest Pamela was often called upon by our mum Winnie to care for the rest of the tribe. By the time Pam was fourteen, there were 4 other children including John, Patricia and twins Michael and Brian. I did not arrive on the scene until 1945. Pam’s memories stored in poster books and diaries has piqued my interest in this feisty lady for many years. In one scrap book was her certification of Registered Nurse – a profession she continued after migrating to Australia in 1949. In her later years she became a Palliative Care nurse. Pam was very proud of her training and kept her medals in a small trinket box that was also among her favourite possessions. Each one of these small pieces of metal had special meaning for her. I keep them still. In one of her scrapbooks she kept small calendars of life in Surrey where we lived as a family after the war. Pam would spend hours with a pot of glue and her favourite poster books to fill in the minutiae of her life. 
Back to the diary! 
Pam's life revolves around her work her studies and her many boyfriends. First we hear about John, then Alan, then Pat, then finally Doug. Doug was one of the three soldiers from the Welsh Guards who started up a conversation with Pam and her friend Frances, on the grass outside the dance hall. According to the diary note on Sat 5 July, Frances was trying to fight her for Doug's attention. "But I needn't have bothered. He loved me from the first day he met me"! July to September is a whirlwind romance between Pam and Doug.
Diary Notes: 
Mon 7 Aug, I love him so very, very much. Nothing can equal the feeling I have for him. 
Sun 13 Aug, Doug held my hand. 
Wed 16 Aug, Doug put his arm around me and we had our first kiss. 
Aug 21-27, Doug showed me how to do a certain kiss (It was a bit horrible). But he said:'Why didn't you stop if you didn't like it?' I said, 'Because I love you so much. I do I do so very much.' And he said, 'I love you very much.' Oh joy, my happiness was complete. 
We caught the last train home and we kissed again and again. 
 28 Aug, Dad came home!!!! He wanted me to pack some things and come back to Wales with him. Of course I can't. Still saw Doug (I love him). He gave me a really big kiss 'to last for two weeks', he said. He will ring me on Monday. 
We might get married after the war. 
Later in the diary Pam expresses her dismay at not ever hearing from Douglas Humphreys again. Memoranda 
Douglas Humphreys, Welsh Guard (my heart is broken, I just can't bear it, Over Douglas) 

A search for details of Douglas Humphreys of the Welsh Guards at Ancestry provides this poignant post script for the brief love affair he had with Pamela:

Douglas Humphreys, Welsh Guardsman Number 2739486,  
Died 14 February 1945, Western European Campaign, 1944/45.
I wish I had known about the diary when Pam was still alive. And I wish I had been able to complete this vital piece of research and ease her troubled heart. I would have been able to tell her, before she died, that her first love had died during the war and had probably not been able to say where he was being posted. Pam kept her diaries, letters, scrapbooks and meticulous lists of everything, all her life until her death on 27th January 2012 – she had lived for 84 years and was deserving of an OBE – ‘over bloody eighty’.
My latest digital story 'Diary of a Nurse' is about the impact of that Diary.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Across the moors: Welsh beginnings

The river Cleddau runs through Pembrokeshire forming two rivers the Eastern Cleddau and the Western Cleddau. They rise in the Presseli Mountains, the Eastern flowing through Mynachlog-ddu and the Western flowing through Haverfordwest, and forms the Milford Haven estuary, a natural harbour in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Cleddau comes from the Welsh word cleddyf meaning 'sword' - [a fitting word for the history of this land of my heritage]. The combined stream flows through Wolf’s Castle, where it enters the spectacular 90 m deep Treffgarne gorge, cutting through the hard volcanic rocks of Treffgarne Mountain.
Haverfordwest is the capital city of Pembrokeshire and is my great grandmother's birthplace. Mary Ann Evans was born some time in May (my own birth month) and was baptised at St Mary's Church on 24 May 1833. St Mary's, originally built in the 12th century, sits at the top of the High Street as a prominent landmark, and contains artifacts from the 15th century. It is a Grade 1 listed building, placing it prominently in the history of Wales. 

I visited St Marys' in 2008, whilst travelling back to my roots, on a celebration day of the Church's history. Part of the items on display were the transcripts of the census of the town of Haverfordwest from the 1830's to 1911. From these I was able to locate the residence of my great grandmother; she was living in Fountain Row, not far from St Mary's Church. 

As I walked into the church that day, I felt a strong feeling of belonging. I sat in the pews and listened to the Burgess introduce a guest speaker who specialized in the history of this church and this town. It was my lucky day, and I listened intently whilst quietly browsing the census documents. 

I had a strong yearning to walk the moors and to find some standing stones - to immerse in the past. This was not an easy thing to do in the short time we had in Wales, so I needed to wait until we were in Devon. There is something ancient and magical when touching these stones that have stood for centuries. But I am getting ahead of myself in this story of Mary Ann Evans and her clan in Pembrokeshire.

Mary Ann was a worker bee, no high born airs and graces for her, just hard work and seizing opportunities. I believe that she saw an opportunity to marry George Robinson (Railway man) and move out of poverty and out of Pembrokeshire to Croydon, England. I wonder how they would have met. Perhaps as Mary Ann had occupations in the Pubs and Inns as a maid, she met her prospective husband when he stayed at one of those pubs. 

But marry they did in 1859 and I have the certificate. On it I noticed that Mary had made the mark of an X where the signature should be and realised that she was unable to write. Marrying a man of substance was about to transport her into a very different world of commerce, transport and prosperity.  

Mary Ann came from strong Welsh stock! Her father David Evans was a labourer and he was a good provider for his wife Lettice, and  family of eleven children. Mary Anne was the eldest of his tribe. It took a long time to prove, genealogically, that David and Lettice were the parents of my great grandmother. This was a gate opening moment, and now I could see further down the line to my Welsh communities behind Mary Ann. I can see some of her clan were born either at Treffgarne, Llantrisant, Pembroke and Haverfordwest. My wish to travel back again to Wales and visit these towns and look for the headstones of my clan members. I need also to return to Haverfordwest - the churchyard and cemetery of St Mary's was under repair on my last visit - so I now wish to go back and see where my Welsh connections are buried.

The maternal line for Lettice Evans is an interesting one to travel - the name alone being very different to all the other Mary's, Elizabeth's and Jane's. Lettice was born in Treffgarne and died in Haverfordwest. These two towns are not very far apart, but today's standards - but in her day, transport was limited. Lettice was a strong child bearing woman, giving birth right up into her 40's. I wish I could have known her. I would love to have seen the beautiful little church at Treffgarne and to stand where she had stood centuries before.

I also believe that the skill of 'knowing' is strong among my Celtic clans and that is where I think I am drawn to explore just what they were capable of. It is their imagined lives that drive me forward in writing the Family Saga.

I have imagined that Lisbet (Elizabeth Evans my GGG Grandmother, at the age of seven) was able to commune with the stones in Pembrokeshire.  ... but that's a story for another post...

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Needles in Haystacks: Evans in Wales

Lettice Day: Great Great Grandmother

Lettice was christened on 22 November, in Treffgarne, in 1808 to George Day and Elizabeth Evans. Treffgarne is a small village and parish in Pembrokeshire, south-west Wales. Her father was a Roper Maker and he married Elizabeth in 1803 in Pembroke. There are many Evans families in Pembrokeshire and when I found a Day, I thought I had a break through, only to find that George Day had married another Evans.

Lettice Day, born five years later, became the eldest daughter of a tribe of children in the household. Her legacy as my Welsh Great Great Grandmother is something I am most proud.
[I have written my fictional stories of these female Evans ancestors - I saw them as midwives with knowing skills handed down for generations. She appears in Chapter 3 of the Whirram Way, a work in progress.]
Let me first paint a picture of the life of Lettice (Day) Evans. In 1841, according to the Welsh census, Lettice was living with David Evans, her husband, and their four children at Shutt Street, Haverfordwest:
·        Mary aged 10;
·        George aged 7;
·        John aged 3;
·        Richard aged 1.

Given these facts I saw that Lettice was only 23 when she gave birth to Mary, my great grandmother. I wondered when she was married to David so I searched the National Archives for her and found that she was married on the 1st July 1828, when she was just 20 years old. This same search revealed that the Banns for this marriage were read out on 15 June at Haverfordwest, St Mary, Pembrokeshire, Wales.

I sent that information to Shirley, my Welsh genealogist, to find the actual marriage records in St Mary's Parish for that year. She was able to confirm this from the parish records and send a copy of the marriage certificate.

At the age of 39 Lettice and David lost their young son Thomas, he lived for just three short years. He died just 3 months before Lettice gave birth to their son William in 1847. In 1850 Lettice gave birth to twins Elizabeth and Henry.
[If this family was like my own mother's - in that when twins and triplets were born into her family, one or more was farmed out to live with other relatives - then perhaps Henry was living with an Aunt or Uncle. A search of Census details for the siblings of Lettice will help me out there. Now I see the origin of the multiple births in my mother's ancestry and note that it is rare for both twin babies to survive.]
By 1851 the family had grown and the family was then living at 104 Fountain Row, Haverfordwest. The children are listed: 
George 16, 
John 14, 
Richard 11,
Thomas 9, 
William 4, 
Elizabeth 1.

When I look back at the census for 1851 young Henry is not mentioned, but appears again in the 1861 census. Mary is not listed at this address as she was already in live-in employment as a domestic servant in Warren, in the shire of Tenby. She worked as a house servant to John and Elizabeth Rees on their 345 acre farm which employed 7 labourers.

By 1861 the family has grown and one more child is listed in the census, living at 104 Fountain Row; John is now 19, Elizabeth 17, David 13, Henry 11 and Thomas is 7. [But that can't be right, Elizabeth 17, she should be 11, same as Henry. That is if my facts are correct that they were both born in 1850. Need to verify those details.]

Lettice is widowed in 1870 and is shown living at 53 Keeston Village, Camrose with her youngest son Thomas. But where are her other children? More searching is required to find out where they have gone to.

Searching for Evans in Wales is like looking for needles in haystacks!

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Pioneers: Allery's Emigrate to Australia

1900 in London, UK

My dad was born on 25th April 1900 at 70 Beaumont Avenue in Richmond, Surrey and later christened at Christ Church, Richmond. The turn of the century was an interesting time in the United Kingdom, when huge changes were taking place. The parish of Richmond had a population of about 20,000 people, had excellent transport links to London (trains, trams and omnibuses) and was emerging as a sought after residential and commercial location.
Residents were kept informed by no less than four local newspapers:- the Thames Valley Times was published each Wednesday and the Chiswick Times on Fridays. The Richmond & Twickenham Times and the Richmond Herald appeared on Saturdays.Richmond at that time had a military presence, being home to territorial forces of the 6th Battalion East Surrey Regiment under the command of Major W. Merrick. They were based at the Drill Hall on Park Lane.
Source: Richmond Surrey in the Great War.
Cecil was interested in motor mechanics from an early age and this was to feature in his life both at home in England and after emigrating to Australia in 1948. He and his brothers were motor car enthusiasts and they spent a great deal of time in the 'workshop' at Hook Road, Surbiton.

Word War 1
On the 23 May 1917 Cecil enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps. I am sure that the death of his own father on the 5th of April, just 20 days before Cecil's 15th birthday in 1915, would have influenced his choice to enter the military. In fact we think he may have even enlisted as a 14 year old, given some of the service records found in his genealogical history. His 1917 enlistment number was 82153 and he has this information stored in the Forces War Records: 
Before transfer to R.A.F. from R.N.A.S. or R.F.C.- Rank:- Boy, Trade:- Boy Service/ Airforce Pay:- 1s. 0d. Terms of enlistment- Open Engagement Rank / Boy.
With a birth date of 25th April 1900, strictly speaking he was not yet eligible. Nevertheless, with determination and some creative registering, he became a Boy Artificer. An artificer is a member of an armed-forces service who is skilled at working on artillery devices in the field. The specific term 'artificer' for this function is typical of the armed forces of countries that are or have been in the British Commonwealth. I can only imagine how his mother would have felt at this decision. To see her eldest son embrace the military life and be away from home, would have been crushing for Harriet.
In the supply area the Royal Corps had responsibility for weapons, armored vehicles and other military equipment, ammunition and clothing and certain minor functions such as laundry, mobile baths and photography. Cecil was skilled in automobile mechanics - even at this tender age - and he specialized in the maintenance of military vehicles as an Artificer. By the end of World War 1 he is listed with the regimental service number of 2636 and has the rank of Sergeant Mechanic. Perhaps Cecil's time in service was to be less dangerous - as he did not see action overseas - but remained in England as part of the essential ground force of engineers and mechanics who maintained and repaired the military vehicles used in war. 
One intriguing story about Cecil's recovery of the Log Book of the German Cruiser 'SMS Emden', and subsequent donation to the Australian War Museum, is handed down in the family. The Emden was scuttled in the Cocos Islands in November 1914. But I do not know how he recovered the log book, or where he was at the time.
The SMS Emden had been cruising the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia, wreaking havoc on allied trading ships since the outbreak of the war in August 1914. Captain Karl von M├╝ller was famous on both sides for sinking 27 ships while only taking one life when the Emden ventured into the Indian Ocean in early November 1914.
Peace time
In later records, Cecil was listed as a Taxi Driver, a Mechanics Assistant and small business owner; 'Tolworth & Surbiton Car Hire & Repair Service'.
Cecil married Winifred Edit Cutting on 23 July 1924. He and Winifred eloped (motor bike & sidecar) on a Wednesday half day. They were married in the Registry Office in Kingston. Cecil listed his father as William Frederick NOT Walter Frederick (Master Tailor) and Winifred listed her father as Charles Henry Cutting (Master House Decorator). At this time Cecil is living at 55 Ellerton Road, Tolworth, Surbiton and Winifred is living at 13 Park Road, Kingston about a 20 minute drive apart.
Their first child, Marie, was stillborn in 1925 - a very sad beginning to parenting for them both. Their second child, Pamela Marie, was born on 9th March, 1927 in Kingston. Her life story will feature later in my blog. Their first son John Keith was born on 21st April 1929.
During the late 1930's Cecil and Winifred set up another business, a Bicycle Shop and in the 1939 England and Wales Register it is Winifred who is listed at the Cycle Dealer. By this time the Allery family were living in Hook Road, a long street of significant history in Kingston-on-Thames. Their daughter June Patricia was born on 2nd July 1934 in Kingston.
Life at Hook Road was always discussed as idyllic by my brothers and sisters and a few old black and white photos of family groupings on a picnic rug in the garden remain as images of gentle, safe time for the Allery family. Or was it?
My Dad's life was changed forever when he witnessed the death of his younger brother, Ted, at the tragic accident Brooklands in 1933. 
I now realise now, in hindsight, why my Dad was so against his own sons entering into the sport of car racing, and how much family conflict that caused. Losing his younger brother - a young man of 28 - in the horrific pile up at the race track in Brooklands, would scar him for life.
World War 2
Cecil enlisted once more in the 'E' Reserve on the 25th August 1939 at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough Airfield in Hampshire. Cecil's special skilled trade was then a Reserve Fitter for Aero Engines. His enlistment number is 2636 and he has this information stored in the Forces War Records: Before transfer to R.A.F. From R.N.A.S or R.F.C - Rank: Sergeant, Trade - Driver (M.T.)
Airforce Pay- 6s 0d Terms of enlistment, Open Engagement./ Rank Sergeant Mechanic. Rank 2nd Driver.
On 15th September In 1940 twins son Michael and Brian were born. Their birth place and the incident that immediately preceded their birth is another family story handed down with great pride by the two boys.  
Winifred, heavily pregnant, was a passenger in Dad's taxi as he was taking them to safety during the bombing of London in that early part of the war. A sniper was focussing his barrage of bullets on supply trucks that were on their way to provide support for soldiers based north of the city. The taxi was caught up in this melee, and my Dad took the car off the road and sheltered underneath a concrete bridge. Of course, this sudden and alarming danger caused Mum to go into labour. Dad drove the taxi to a village nearby to seek help and Mum was taken into one of the houses owned by a Russian lady, Madam Nirishnikov. The twins were born and cared for by this Russian family for the first few days of their lives. [Mum did not know that she was having twins, and only had a set of clothing for one child with her. The Nirishnikov's provided the extra clothing, baby blankets and carrying baskets for the two boys.]
This period of time was known as The Blitz - and the Bombing of London was to continue until May 1941. My older siblings lived through this time, experiencing all of the horrors and deprivation that The Blitz delivered. 
I remember hearing some stories from my brothers about the sound of the Doodle bug bombs that were heard in and around London during their first few years - these bombs had a devastating effect on much of the English residential areas and many people died. The twins were warned about NOT travelling too far from home in their miniature push-pedal cars because of that danger, even in the so called safety of Hook Road. 
In June 1944, the Germans started sending V1 Flying bombs to bomb London. ... A doodlebug was really a bomb with wings. It looked like a small aeroplane and had no pilot - a bit like a cruise missile, but slightly bigger. Thousands of these doodlebugs were launched against London.
Treasured artefacts from Cecil's time in service during World War 2, include his uniform, medals and enlistment records. One less valuable, but poignant, item has been in my possession for some long time - his Housewife Sewing Kit - containing all that a soldier would require to carry out any repairs to his clothing when necessary. Inside it would contain a thimble, two balls of grey darning wool (for socks), 50 yards of linen thread wound around card, needles, brass dish buttons (for Battledress) and plastic buttons for shirts. The Housewife was often contained within a Holdall and stowed within the man's haversack. I remember this well used item and cannot help but see the immediate link with this Sewing Kit and his father's trade as a Tailor. I imagine my Dad having learned his sewing skills at his father's knee - then having to grow up rapidly when his own Dad passed away at the age of 45 - and putting an old head on young shoulders.
By September 1944, when my Mum was pregnant with me, Cecil moved his family to Married Quarters, Eglyws Brewis near St Athan in Wales. The twins, Michael and Brian and June Patricia went with them. Pamela Marie was completing her nursing exams in Kingston and John was already in the Navy. In her 1944 diary Pamela recounts the day-to-day life in London as a 17 year old and tells her story of lost love. [An older post for another day.]
My brother John remembers being asked to get extra orange juice (limited on the ration books of the time) and wondered why. He was not even told that I was on the way. The first that my sister Pamela knew of my arrival was when she was in hospital herself recovering from an appendectomy. I was born at the Cardiff General Hospital on 31st May 1945.
Cecil was discharged from the R.A.F. on the 21st September 1948.
Demobilisation processes had stepped up since the Great War and special arrangements were put in place by the government to assist the millions of returning soldiers to re-assimilate back into civilian life. Often this took some time and priorities were given to men and women over 50 and those who held key skills that would be beneficial to post-war reconstruction. The release process began on June 18, 1945, about six weeks after V-E Day.
 The Allery clan, parents and six children, had just 4 idyllic years in Surbiton after the war whilst Britain was recovering. My brothers and sisters all finished their schooling in Surbiton - my twin brothers at one of the Junior Schools and my older sister and brother at one of the High Schools. By then my eldest sister Pamela was working as a Registered Nurse in Kingston Hospital. There was little talk of the horrors of war, at least none that I remember, in our happy family home. 
More than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged, and more than 40,000 civilians were killed, almost half of them in London.
A week before being officially discharged from the RAF, on 14 September 1948, Cecil sailed to Australia on HMS Strathaird. An immigrant, pioneering a new lifestyle for the family, he had left at home at Hook Road; his wife Winifred and six children, Pamela, John, Patricia, Brian, Michael and Carole. The plan was for all to follow within a year, once a new home had been purchased. Dad would often tell us that, during his journey on sea, he had shared a cabin with a famous boxer - I had to verify that by looking up the Ship's Passenger Lists - and found that he did indeed share with 'Sugar Ray Robinson'.

On 14th April, in 1949, my family disembarked at Melbourne, and followed Dad to set up house in Moonee Ponds, Victoria. We earned some minor fame as one of the larger immigrating families to travel on board the HMS Orcades. We came to make a new life at 'Elsinore', 11 Laura Street and we were photographed by the local newspaper to have our '5 minutes of fame'. Dad had also secured a small Bicycle Shop business in Puckle Street and we were on our way into personal and financial security in our Australian adventure.

Cecil Henry Allery had come a long, long way from Boy Artificer at one shilling a week!