Romances between local girls and soldiers in the camps became fairly common- we know of 50 marriages that took place in Chickerell where the main camp was based, and there were others which took place in Weymouth parishes or further afield if the bride was born elsewhere.
This charming wedding group was supplied by Alison Macloughlin in Perth WA, daughter of Max Scott. It shows the wedding of Walter Percy Scott, father of Max, to Rachel Vera Mayne a local Chickerell girl who nursed him. They married in Chickerell Parish Church on 17 April 1918. Alison says 'I don't know much about the our Mayne relations as my grandmother died when my father was young. She had a sister (Patience Shepherd?) and two brothers John and Robert'. A search of the 1911 & 1901 census shows the family in Weymouth with Rachel's father John Mayne born 1865 at Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey. He was a Hawker or Grocer (1911). Please e-mail Alison if you know anything of this family.
Ernest Henry Chambers was born in 1895 Sydney Australia. His parents were Johanna and Frederick Henry Chambers. When he enlisted for service abroad on 12th May 1915 he had been in the 24th Infantry Regiment for 2 ½ years, but he had been a labourer who had done an apprenticeship. He was wounded three times during WW1 and sent back to rejoin the regiment twice. It must have been when he was in Weymouth on one of these occasions and stationed at Westham Camp, that he met and married Florence Beatrice Walden who had been born on 4th February 1895 and was the eldest daughter of Robert Alfred Old Walden and Sarah Alice (nee Wright). They were married at Holy Trinity Church, Weymouth on 9th July 1917 his address was Rollestone Camp, Salisbury. Ernest for the second time was wounded in action in France on 6th November 1917 and sent to Liverpool. He rejoined his unit yet again on 17th July 1918 in France. The last time he was wounded was on 3rd October 1918. He was award a medal for bravery in the field on 19th October 1918. He returned to England in 1919 and then went on to Australia with his wife and daughter Kathleen Lillian who had been born in 1918 at Weymouth. They travelled on the “Ormonde” and arrived on 16th June 1919. Their second daughter Betty Alice was born on 29th June 1919 in Australia. Ernest was discharged as invalid from the army 14th August 1919. A medical on 13th October 1919 showed a bullet on the 9th rib, this stayed in place until he died.
Sadly Kathleen died of meningitis in 1920 when she was 2 ½ years old. Ernest and Florence had their last child Ernest Robert (known as Bob) on 26th October 1925 at Rockdale, Australia.
Florence always longed to come back to England and in the winter of 1932 the four of them came back to Weymouth. On the voyage back Betty caught pneumonia and died in May 1933 not long after arriving in Weymouth. Bob married in Weymouth in 1947 to local girl Doris J. Butler, they went on to have 5 children. Bob decided that he wanted to return to the country of his birth in the 1950’s. Florence could not settle without her last remaining child and grandchildren so at the end of August 1961 her and Ernest arrived in Australia once more. They had only been there a few years when Bob who was now 40, died of a heart attack whilst refereeing a football match.
Thus every time they went across the seas one of their children died. Before Ernest died on 2nd October 1978 he made Florence promise to return to live in England, this she did living with her sister Edith in Weymouth, later another sister Kathleen returned from Eastbourne to live with her two sisters. They had a jolly time living altogether again after all those years. Florence was the first of the sisters to die on 7th January 1982, and her ashes were scattered on her daughter Betty’s grave in Weymouth Cemetery, as were the other sisters as their time came.
To have seen Florence you would not have believed that she had such a sad time, her hair was quite dark until she died and although it was waist length she always wore it in a bun. She was a tiny lady who I remember being a good cook.
I always knew that Ernie (as he was known) had been wounded in WW1 and had shrapnel inside him still, but it was not until now that I have looked up his army record that I realise what a brave lad he was, I remember him as a very quite but nice uncle. I always associated him with the Monte Video Hospital at Weymouth and on his record there were the words Monte Video, strange how some things you hear as a child stick in your mind.
by Jennie McGowan, Weymouth, Dorset
(to be published in the J. of The Somerset & Dorset FHS)
Sue Hogben tells the intriguing tale of her elusive grandfather born in London, emigrated & fought at Gallipoli & the Western Front, then was sent to Weymouth & had an affair with a married woman.... read on!
Julie Atkinson granddaughter of Harry, kindly supplied this touching picture (right) of Harry with his wife Julia and two sons taked shortly before he embarked from Fremantle on HMAT Adjana on which there was an outbreak of Menigitis which Harry caught, and from which many troops died onboard. Harry arrived in England still suffering from the disease and was sent to a training camp on Salisbury, but was assessed as unfit for active service so was sent to the camp at Montevideo where he died from Hydrocephaens/spinal fever on 4 Feb 1917.
Harry had to go to Weymouth for a medical examination that altered the expected course of his stay in England after being wounded in France. He makes some interesting comments on Weymouth as well as the army processes. It tells of a man from an impoverished background in Australia who goes on to a significant career in education.
Tim Green has been tracing his ancestor Dick Charters who married into his maternal WICKENDEN line at Wyke Regis in Weymouth. Richard [Dick] Ernest CHARTERS, born Feb 1889 (whose family I am still in touch with). He died in Seymour, Vic Aus Dec 1972. Dick was 1 of 7 [5 sisters & 2 elder brothers] He was the son of James H Constantine CHARTERS b. 1845 Belfast - d. Dec 1892; and Barbara HUGGARD b. 1859 Whroo, Vic - d. 1875 Toolamba, Vic [whose parents were both of Ireland].
Dick married Ethel May [my Gt. Aunt] Oct 1916 at Wyke R, then later moved back to Aus, revisiting UK in 1950's they had 2 boys & 1 girl, in Aus. Ethel was also from a large family having 3 brothers & 4 sisters.
I have a note of his service details: As Private #495 in 7th Batt: Australian Imperial Force, then based at the Hutment? camp Monte Video, Chickerell. Having been repatriated to UK after being wounded at Gallipoli. Click here to download his full story as a PDF (150k).
The soldier is Fred Kelly, the nurse is my aunt, Ella Clarke, of Portland. I have not researched the story, but Fred was a member of the Goldfields Regiment. He was wounded in action and brought to Weymouth. They married and moved to Kalgoorlie, WA.
Gerald Clarke on our Facebook Group