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Comments derived from Letters from Australia.

Marian’s letters from Australia can be read with some degree of sadness.

She and Paul and family emigrated in 1923, I gather in part because he was a conscientious objector and because of his age, 55 years old. His style was seen as too retro for the work of the time, particularly war memorials.

Within ten years of these letters, Paul Montford was to die of Leukaemia and Marian and the children were to return home to live in Sutton in the house in Cavendish Road that was spare to the Pape Family. Mrs Pape was the sister of Marian (nee Aglio) Marian Montford’s mother. At some point Marian Montford’s sister, Margaret Cowham, moved in with her with three children as she had return from India, unable to cope with the weather and life out there, leaving her husband the Rev. Gerald Cowham until he returned some time later. The house must have been very full.

Further insight into life for the family at this time can be obtained from ‘Unspoken Hope’ an unpublished memoir by Mary Cowham, a niece of Marian’s.

Judging from the letters, Marian was obviously very close to her brother Lionel and this is supported by the copy of a letter from him to her in Australia at the time of their mother’s death in 1928.

The powerful family ties come through time and again in letters and there is always this tendency to see this family as the centre of the Universe.

Three years after the time of these letters Lionel and Cecily died. Not only must this have had the must immense impact on the immediate family in England, particularly Peter and Joan, but it will have sent waves of sadness across to Marian in Australia and Lionel’s brother Joe in America.

Marian must have felt very isolated at a time when not only was she struggling to survive in a foreign land but also members of the family were dying and she was not with there to share the grief.


She emigrated in 1923

Her father died in 1925

Her mother died in 1928

Her brother and sister-in-law died in 1933 leaving 2 children

Her sister had got divorced in America and was left with 5 children.

And then her husband was to die in 1938

The closeness between Marian and Lionel is demonstrated again by the quote from the letter from Lionel to Marian at the time of their father’s death:

"You know our faith, as his, & we yours so that whilst we are sorry for ourselves & you we are glad for him. I cannot do more than indicate this on paper but you know how our hearts go out to yours & that only the sure certainty of our souls reunion & communion enables us to ‘carry on’ just as he wished & taught us.

Personally I feel that the conviction of his fuller knowledge of any future life will help me to be more worthy in the coming years of his memory & of the reunion later."

A particularly sad aspect of the letters is how unsettled Marian appeared to be. I think she longed to be back home in England, near the family, she felt very unwelcomed by the people and the infra structure showed a lot to be desired. One letter indicated quite clearly that the opportunities and advantages of Australia did not really materialise. Paul on the other hand was probably quite at ease because he was busy with his work, which was of some significance and was well respected. He had the confidence to stand up against arguments with professionals and by so doing created works of art to his satisfaction. Also their ages in 1930 must be considered, Marian 48

Paul 62, with youngsters 7 to 17, a difficult time for Marian who, one must remember, was a trained and very competent artist in her own right.

It perhaps can be mentioned here that at the time of Joan Welburn’s (nee Dibdin) funeral in 2009, comment was made that, from the Eulogies, she sound in many respects like Marian. The same artistic talent and nature, strong will and feeling of disappointment with the world around and its people, except the close few.

I do think that Marian’s observations regarding Australia are well founded. She refers to the hardship experienced by many and the injustices that existed such as with the Juvenile immigration. See the article below. All of this is well documented elsewhere and Marian must have been living on the edge worrying about the future. The problems created by drought are still experienced to this day.

A reference, in one letter, to Ethel Dibdin, the eldest sister of Marian and divorce is, to me, new information, Ethel married in July 1902 to George Edward Moore and moved to America but when is not known. They both died in Orleans Louisiana and records show that they had 5 children as the letter states. There is an oblique reference to the divorce and how Ethel was managing in a letter from Joe Dibdin who had emigrated to America and was working there as an engineer. The letters indicated that life was quite hard going and so it was a problem to be worrying about his sister Ethel who he felt was managing.

As comes up again and again, for the Dibdins, family was of considerable significance. This can be seen in two ways, both of which indicate the somewhat introspective nature.

The first can best be summarised by the expression ‘blood is thicker that water’ namely, some of the rest of the world may be alright as people but none compare with family, and family must be protected from the rest of the world. This extends into the need to close ranks when there are difficulties as reported in a letter from Elsie, Reginald Dibdin’s wife, to Reginald regarding the comment in a dialogue with Marian and her mother Marian, at the time of his post World War 1 depression, "Rex is mad - but I will never tell the doctor so" "Well! Rex is difficult at times, I suppose all clever people are" – she cut in with "I know I know", and "continued but I’m am still hopeful, for I feel sure genius gets recognition sooner or later"

The second way in which blood family is so significant is associated with inherited traits. The children do not seem to be allowed to be individuals in their own right but have to be compared with other members of the family. It is well known that doting relatives love to point to whom a new born baby looks like, but there is a danger in attributing every trait and talent to another member of the family or ancestor. Having said that, there is something to be said for it, in so far as it means that a talent is recognised and that in being sign-posted back in time to ancestors or sideways to other family members, children may be given inspiration as how they may see themselves and how they may develop. However there is a risk that it can be stifling.

Marian’s letters, time and again, describe her children in terms of others; now this may be for the sake of anchoring them in the minds of the family in England, but it seems to demonstrate a delight in family comparison, a phenomena which I myself experienced and not always in a constructive way. And here lies the danger. In later life, one may be able to look back over the family history and the attributes and behaviour of ancestors with affection and the understanding of age but in youth stories become muddled and for those of a destructive nature the power of comparison can be immense.

These issues may be further explorer in an article on Ancestor Worship but in the meantime it may help the reader to interpret Marian’s detailed jottings in her letter of Family members in Australia by looking at the following 3 generation genealogical report of the Descendants of Robert Lowes Dibdin who was a brother of William Joseph Dibdin, the father of Marian and Lionel and seven other siblings. Robert emigrated to Australia from Liverpool aboard the 'Queen of India' on the 19th May 1860. It should be noted that William also went out to Australia in 1867 joining his brother in 1868 but returned sometime after 1972 to settle in England, marry and start a career in the world of chemistry and engineering.

It must be that the reference to Stuart Heseltine in one letter will be the Stewart Heseltine who may be Stewart Henry Heseltine 1881-1960. The Heseltine name moved into the Dibdin family when Eve Mary Dibdin, the sister of William Joseph Dibdin ( Marian’s father) married William Heseltine in 1865.

Stewart Henry was one of Eve Mary’s sons and so was in fact first cousin to Marian.

Another of her son’s was Frank Dibdin (born 1866 ) who was the grandfather of Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, the leading Tory MP in the late twentieth century.

How and when Stewart Henry move to Australia is yet tot be researched.

Dorothy Dibdin, Tom Dibdin’s daughter, an artist & a very beautiful girl who married Adam Gordon Fletcher may well have gone on to work as an artist professionally .

Reference has been found to her illustrations of a book "Happy Endings to Old Nursery Rhymes" by an exceptional individual Frederick Oswald Barnett (1883 – 1972) who strove to solve the problems with child poverty and babies in slums, in Melbourne.


The letters indicate that the family started their time our there in Geelong but by the time of the available letters in 1928 they had settled in a rented house at 20 Bruce Street Toorak. There is a suggestion in the last letter, to Peter at the time of Lionel and Cecily’s death, that Paul Montford went out first and that Marian and children followed a little later but no details are yet available. It seems that they have a studio in England before leaving for Australia.

It would be interesting to know whether Paul had the contract for the Shine work before leaving for Australia or whether they felt they had to emigrate and take the chance of finding work.

In one of the early letters there is reference to Marian possibly obtaining a cottage, further out into the countryside and then in the last letter in 1933 there is reference to that cottage and how it was nearly caught by a bush fire. Also there note to say that they had been burgled.

On returning home after Paul’s death the family was offered the chance to stay in the house of one of the Aglio Aunts, Mrs Pape, Cremona, 105 or 36 Cavendish Road, Sutton and it seems that they lived there up until the move to Brighton. Soon after settling back in England Marian’s sister, Margaret and her three children also moved into the house as they had just returned from India, leaving Gerald behind.

Further insights into the Cremona stay are to be found at the end of this article.


Descendants of Robert Lowes DIBDIN

Taken with thanks from the work of S.Dibdin


Generation No. 1

1. ROBERT LOWES7 DIBDIN (THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 02 Jul 1842 in 33 New, Bond Street, London, England., and died 14 Jan 1916 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.. He married EMMA HORLER 27 Feb 1865 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia., daughter of JOHN HORLER and ELIZA HOOD. She was born 25 Nov 1847 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia., and died 23 Dec 1933 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia..


Sailed to Australia from Liverpool Aboard the 'Queen of India' on the 19th May 1860. The ship arrived in Melbourne, Australia on the 31 August of the same year.

Children of ROBERT DIBDIN and EMMA HORLER are:

2. i. ALICE EMMA8 DIBDIN, b. 11 Feb 1866, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.; d. Unknown.

ii. SOPHIA KATE DIBDIN, b. 06 Mar 1869, Queensland, Australia; d. 10 Mar 1869, Queensland, Australia.

3. iii. EMMA MARY DIBDIN, b. 06 Mar 1869, Queensland, Australia; d. 22 Sep 1951, Queensland, Australia.

iv. ROSE KATE DIBDIN, b. 05 Mar 1871, Queensland, Australia; d. 19 Dec 1931.

4. v. CHARLES LOWES DIBDIN, b. 17 Dec 1874, Queensland, Australia; d. 1952.

5. vi. WILLIAM MICHAEL DIBDIN, b. 15 Aug 1880; d. Nov 1952.

vii. ARTHUR COLEMAN DIBDIN, b. 21 Sep 1889, Queensland, Australia; d. Unknown; m. IVY SCOTT; b. Unknown; d. Unknown.

6. viii. CHARLOTTE ELISABETH DIBDIN, b. 03 Sep 1878, Queensland, Australia; d. 1951.

7. ix. EDWARD JOHN DIBDIN, b. 04 Jan 1886, Queensland, Australia; d. Unknown.

8. x. THOMAS ROBERT DIBDIN, b. 28 Mar 1873, Queensland, Australia; d. 1947.

9. xi. VIOLET ISABELLA DIBDIN, b. 07 Mar 1884, Queensland, Australia; d. Unknown.

xii. HENRY WILLIAM DIBDIN, b. 05 Nov 1876, Queensland, Australia; d. 03 Jan 1878, Queensland, Australia.

xiii. UNNAMED DIBDIN, b. 06 Feb 1868, Queensland, Australia; d. 06 Feb 1868, Queensland, Australia.

Generation No. 2

2. ALICE EMMA8 DIBDIN (ROBERT LOWES7, THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 11 Feb 1866 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia., and died Unknown. She married GEORGE POWE. He was born Unknown, and died Unknown.


i. ALFRED EDWARD9 POWE, b. Unknown; d. Unknown; m. ELIZABETH ?, Unknown; b. Unknown; d. Unknown.

3. EMMA MARY8 DIBDIN (ROBERT LOWES7, THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 06 Mar 1869 in Queensland, Australia, and died 22 Sep 1951 in Queensland, Australia. She married THOMAS DANIEL SKYRING 09 Oct 1894 in St Pauls Cathedral, Rockhampton, Queensland, son of HENRY SKYRING and EMILY JONES. He was born 25 Oct 1866 in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia., and died 19 Sep 1940 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia..


i. DR. MILDRED EMILY9 SKYRING, b. 18 Sep 1895, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.; d. 05 Mar 1915, Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia..

ii. LOWES HENRY SKYRING, b. 30 Oct 1896, Bundaberg, Queensland, Australia.; d. Abt. 1914, Turkey..


Died in a Turkish Prisinor of war camp in 1914. Light Horse Ambulance.

iii. DORIS UNA SKYRING, b. 20 Mar 1898, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.; d. 17 Jun 1957, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia..


4. CHARLES LOWES8 DIBDIN (ROBERT LOWES7, THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 17 Dec 1874 in Queensland, Australia, and died 1952. He married MARGARET ANN TUCKER 21 Aug 1907 in Queensland, Australia.. She was born Unknown.


i. ROBERT LOWES9 DIBDIN, b. 31 May 1909; m. JOAN GOOD; b. Unknown.

5. WILLIAM MICHAEL8 DIBDIN (ROBERT LOWES7, THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 15 Aug 1880, and died Nov 1952. He married (1) CATHERINE MITCHELL. She was born Unknown, and died Unknown. He married (2) RUBY CHEAL 25 Mar 1924. She was born 26 Aug 1890, and died 17 Apr 1980.



Children of WILLIAM DIBDIN and RUBY CHEAL are:

ii. ROBERT WILLIAM9 DIBDIN, b. 24 Jun 1925; m. MARGARET RUTH PILGRIM, 21 Jan 1950; b. 17 Mar 1928.

iii. WILFRED ALAN DIBDIN, b. 27 May 1927; d. 08 Jun 1974; m. JANET ANNE OXLEY, 22 May 1965; b. 22 Jul 1934.

iv. CHARLES GEOFFERY DIBDIN, b. 22 Jan 1930; m. DAWN ROSE DUNCAN; b. 16 Aug 1935.

6. CHARLOTTE ELISABETH8 DIBDIN (ROBERT LOWES7, THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 03 Sep 1878 in Queensland, Australia, and died 1951. She married NATHAN GEORGE WETHERELL 21 Apr 1903 in Queensland, Australia.. He was born Unknown, and died Unknown.



ii. GWEN WETHERELL, b. Unknown.

iii. THOMAS WETHERELL, b. Unknown.

iv. HENRY WETHERELL, b. Unknown; d. 1927.

Notes for HENRY WETHERELL: Died from a shark Attack.


vi. CHARLES WETHERELL, b. Unknown; d. 1985.

vii. MARGARET WETHERELL, b. Unknown.


7. EDWARD JOHN8 DIBDIN (ROBERT LOWES7, THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 04 Jan 1886 in Queensland, Australia, and died Unknown. He married MILLICENT MCMASTER 06 Oct 1909 in Queensland, Australia.. She was born Unknown, and died Unknown.


i. MURIEL MAY9 DIBDIN, b. 04 May 1912; m. JOHN FITZGERALD; b. Unknown.

ii. THOMAS ANGUS DIBDIN, b. Unknown, Queensland, Australia; m. MARGARET N BOLTON; b. Unknown.

8. THOMAS ROBERT8 DIBDIN (ROBERT LOWES7, THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 28 Mar 1873 in Queensland, Australia, and died 1947. He married KATHLEEN MAEGRAITH 24 Jul 1906 in Queensland, Australia.. She was born 02 Nov 1876, and died 1947 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.


i. GERALDINE LOWES9 DIBDIN, b. 28 Jun 1907, Mount Morgan, Queensland, Australia.; d. 22 May 1997, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

ii. DOROTHY BALFOUR DIBDIN, b. 05 Jun 1907, Queensland, Australia; d. 16 Apr 2002; m. ADAM GORDON FLETCHER; b. Unknown.

iii. MARJORIE LOWELL DIBDIN, b. 25 Sep 1919, Port Pirie, South Australia, Australia; m. HENRY EDWARD TOUZEL, 1948, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.; b. 1917, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

9. VIOLET ISABELLA8 DIBDIN (ROBERT LOWES7, THOMAS ROBERT COLMAN6, THOMAS JOHN5, CHARLES4, THOMAS3, NICHOLAS2, NICHOLAS1 DYBDEN) was born 07 Mar 1884 in Queensland, Australia, and died Unknown. She married ROBERT WETHERELL 25 Aug 1908 in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia.. He was born Unknown, and died Unknown.


i. DIBDIN9 WETHERELL, b. Unknown.

ii. KENNETH WETHERELL, b. Unknown; m. BRENDA ?; b. Unknown; d. 1994.

iii. RITA WETHERELL, b. Unknown.

iv. JOAN WETHERELL, b. Unknown.

v. CLARE WETHERELL, b. Unknown.

vi. MAJORIE WETHERELL, b. Unknown; m. COLIN HENZELL; b. Unknown.


Some further details

DIBDIN, EDWARD JOHN (1886-1963), soldier and accountant, was born on 4 January 1886 at Rockhampton, Queensland, ninth surviving child of Robert Lowes Dibdin, auctioneer and later accountant, and his wife Emma, née Horler, both London-born. Educated at Rockhampton state and grammar schools, he became an accountant and joined the Mount Morgan Mining Co. On 6 October 1909 at St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Rockhampton, he married Amelia Lucy McMaster.

Dibdin had long been attracted to soldiering, having entered the senior cadets in 1901 and attained the rank of sergeant. In 1904 he joined the 15th Australian Light Horse Regiment as a trooper and rose through the ranks to be commissioned as second lieutenant in 1908. Two years later he took up soldiering as a profession when appointed temporary area officer at Mount Morgan. In July 1912 he became second lieutenant in the 1st Australian Light Horse Regiment (Central Queensland Light Horse) and area officer for Rockhampton, an appointment he held when war began. In March 1915 he took on temporary duties for the Administrative and Instructional Staff and in July was promoted lieutenant.

Dibdin joined the Australian Imperial Force as a lieutenant on 1 April 1916 and on 1 May was promoted captain and appointed adjutant of the 42nd Battalion, embarking from Sydney on 5 June. Following training in England and service in the trenches at Armentičres and Ploegsteert, France, until April 1917, he had two months in hospital, missing the battle of Messines. He returned as adjutant of the 42nd and served through the 3rd battle of Ypres. Early in 1918 he took part in operations on the Somme at Sailly-Le-Sec, Morlancourt, Villers-Bretonneux and Hamel, and was promoted major on 10 May. His administrative ability showed out during reorganization of the 11th Brigade in late June-early July. On 4 July he commanded the 42nd 'with great skill and initiative' during the battle of Hamel and later in life remembered this offensive as his most dramatic wartime experience.

In the battle of 8 August the 42nd was left flank battalion of the Australian Corps; following tanks it achieved all its objectives and also captured over 300 prisoners, machine-guns and trench-mortars, while suffering few losses. Casualties were severe in the attack on German positions at St Germain's Wood four days later, mainly because this operation was carried out in daylight and without artillery support. Under Dibdin's skilful leadership the enemy post was captured and held in spite of heavy shelling with mustard gas and high explosives. From late August to 9 September he successfully led the 41st Battalion in the advance from Mont St Quentin to Roisel. He was mentioned in dispatches in November and awarded the Distinguished Service Order in the 1919 New Year honours for distinguished service from February to September 1918.

Back in Australia by mid-1919, Dibdin resumed militia service with the 5th Light Horse and in 1921-24 served as captain, major and commanding officer of the 49th Battalion. Having in 1920 become honorary secretary of the Queensland branch of the Returned Sailors' and Soldiers' Imperial League of Australia, in 1924 he took up the paid position of federal secretary for the league in Melbourne. Working closely with the president, (Sir) Gilbert Dyett, he campaigned for preference in employment for returned soldiers and easier financial terms for soldier-settlers, and was adept in lobbying governments. In 1929 he became the league's representative on the Commonwealth War Pensions Entitlement Appeal Tribunal, a position he held until retirement in 1949.

Meanwhile, apart from Masonic activities, Dibdin had regarded soldiering as his recreation. For five years to 1930 he commanded the 32nd (Footscray) Regiment in Melbourne, retiring as its honorary colonel. His reputation for sound administration, courageous soldiering and especially for humane leadership endeared him to the 42nd Association which he helped found and which elected him president in the immediate post-war years. He helped compile the battalion history and, assisted by his wife's hospitality, maintained his wartime friendships. Predeceased by her, he died at Windsor, Melbourne, on 19 August 1963, survived by a son and a daughter. He was cremated.

Taken from the Australian Dictionary of Biography




Taken from UNSPOKEN HOPE –

By Mary Cowham


This is a short excerpt from an unpublished autobiography

Not only do it give some background to the Montford family and their move to and from Australia but also some insights into Dibdin family relationships and how they were managed by the next generation.

ALL OF MY MOTHER'S sisters -who were eighteen, sixteen, twelve and nine years older than she -had married much older men and at the end of World War Two all of them were widows. We never knew Ethel, the eldest, as she and her husband, an engineer, and their five children left for the United States when my mother was a teenager. The next in line, Marian, was a portrait painter who specialized in delicate miniatures - mostly of children -in water colour on ivory .She was one of the first two women to be accepted as students at the Royal Academy of Art at the turn of the twentieth century . There she met and married the sculptor, Paul Montford. Like his father before him,

Paul taught at the Academy for many years. Also like his father he was an atheist as well as an ardent socialist, which did not endear him to his in-laws. My grandmother was very distressed because Marian did not wear a wedding ring -"a symbol of slavery" -until a month before the birth of her first child.

After the Great War of 1914-1918 there was a huge demand for war memorials all over the world to commemorate "the war to end all wars" and Paul's design for The Monument, as it came to be known, was approved by the City Fathers of Melboume in 1922. My uncle and his wife and children sailed for Australia early in 1923. Shortly thereafter Great Britain went off the Gold Standard and Paul's commission was sharply curtailed. Their lifestyle in Australia must have been strikingly different, especially during the Depression years, from their happy-go-lucky days in London with their Bohemian friends before and during the Great War.

MY GREAT AUNT LETTY'S eccentricities were legendary within the family. She was said

to have had a heart attack at the age of twelve but she outlived all the rest of her generation. Not long after our return from India we were summoned to have tea in her dark and gloomy house -known to the family as Cremona. It was named in honour of my great great grandfather, Augustine Aglio, who was born in that small Italian town in 1777.

As a childless widow Great Aunt Letty had often hinted to each of her nieces (except Margaret) that they would inherit "something substantial" after her death. In fact, when she died at the age of ninety-two all that was left of her once considerable fortune was her house in Sutton, Surrey. Letty and Tine, the alleged beneficiaries of her will, were chagrined to discover that the man who had sold her an annuity some two years earlier had long since skipped to South America. Property values in the South of England plummeted immediately after the Munich Crisis in 1938, and my unfortunate aunts (both widows on small fixed incomes) were saddled with a house that was next to impossible to sell.

In that same year Paul Montford died in Australia and because he was an ardent socialist, who condemned life insurance as an evil of capitalism, my aunt Marian was left almost penniless. Thus when she decided to return to England with her three grown children -artists all -Letty and Tine promptly offered her Cremona at a nominal rent.

DURING FORTY YEARS OF widowhood Cremona had been sadly neglected and by 1943

my aunts were faced with a financial crisis. The rent Marian was paying did not cover the property taxes and the cost of essential repairs so Letty and Tine invited her "to join forces with Margaret for the duration." Even though she was in no position to protest, she deeply resented having to share the house with anyone, and especially with her youngest sister whom she had not seen for twenty years. To my mother (and me) it seemed like an ideal solution because we were very anxious to get away from our miserable rooms in Hoylake.

Cremona was not designed to accommodate two separate families, but even if the layout had been ideal, the reunion between the two sisters would have been strained in the best of times. The drawing room was our living room but Marian had access to the garden through the French windows at all times, and the only privacy my mother and I really had was in the dining room, which was now our bedroom. Marian and her daughters lived upstairs and the master bedroom was both their living room and studio. Hugh and my cousin Adrian were already in the Army and whenever Christine came home from college she had to sleep in the maid's room in the attic. Most importantly, our need to share the bathroom and kitchen was a set-up doomed for disaster .

My first surprise was to discover that my elderly and skeleton-thin aunt routinely waited on her daughters. They were in their thirties and while, admittedly, the older one was a semi-invalid I was shocked that the younger one, a dancer, never did any cooking, cleaning or even shopping. She was rarely home from the theatre before midnight but I secretly resented the fact that she always slept until noon even when not in a show. Another surprise was to find that the daily chore of queuing for food was even more time-consuming than it had been in Hoylake where all the local shops were only steps away from that noisy flat of ours. In Sutton it took me fifteen minutes to walk to the High Street, and another fifteen or more when lugging heavy bags of groceries back to Cremona.

Shortly after D-Day, the South of England was bombarded with hundreds of "doodle-bugs" -pilotless planes that flew low, and made a loud buzzing sound before their engines were programmed to cut off. During an eerie silence of several seconds, they would swerve sharply to the left, and burst into flames on hitting the ground. Those pilotless planes, and later the more powerful V-2 rockets, were targeted at the heart of London, but a great many landed, at random, in the suburbs and all over Southeast England.

Fortunately "our" doodle-bug was not a direct hit. When its familiar buzz came closer than usual, my mother was having her customary morning nap. I ran from the kitchen and into my own bed and pulled a pillow over my head before a crackling "crump" shook the house and shattered all the windows. As we had already taken the precaution of taping all the windows with strips of old sheets soaked in flour paste we were not cut by flying glass, but everything everywhere was covered with glass shards, plaster dust, and greasy, black soot. None of us was hurt, but it took days to clean up the mess, and the windows were not repaired for many weeks.

Once, in the midst of an air raid, I heard the front door slam with ominous violence. Marian, in her husband's old dressing gown, had run out of the house and was standing in the middle of the road while ack-ack [anti-aircraft] guns were popping all around us. What had precipitated that particular row between my mother and aunt I didn't have time to find out, but it took several minutes before I could persuade her to come back into the house.

"Get your aunt some tea! She is very upset," said my mother, glaring at me as if I had done the upsetting, as she engulfed the reluctant Marian in a huge bear hug. Their frequent "grand reconciliations," full of tears and tension, precipitated ever- larger rows that often revolved around ancient family history .

THE PRESSURE IN OUR factory eased dramatically after D- Day and the worst of the air raids were over by September when the German Army began retreating from the Allied Forces in Europe. At long last, I was free to look for alternative work, but all I could find was an equally monotonous but less exhausting job in a bank where I had the unprepossessing title of "waste clerk." In that archaic institution which, in 1944, possessed neither a typewriter nor an adding machine, it was my job to enter the amounts of all the local and out of town checks into their individual columns on a huge sheet of paper. At the end of each day my totals had to match those arrived at independently by the chief clerk and I could not leave the bank until they did. I will always remember the fifteen year old office boy laughing out loud at my rueful expression the first time I watched the chief clerk enter the grand totals into a huge ledger and then tear up my whole day's work into small pieces and throw them into the waste basket!

On my return from the bank one evening I was pleasantly surprised to find a fully cooked meal on the table. A few days later my mother astonished me even more by announcing that she had walked to a local real estate agent's office and wanted me to go with her the next day to look at a four-bedroom house on Colston Avenue. With a block of shops around the comer and Carshalton railway station nearby, the location was ideal, and the monthly mortgage payments would be little more than the rent we were paying to my aunts. I was as eager as my mother for her to buy it, but there was one big snag. Had she been single, widowed or divorced, my mother could have purchased the property in her own name but as a married woman she was legally a non-person! After a couple of cables to my father explaining her dilemma, he willingly I arranged for a lawyer in India to notarize an affidavit authorizing her to sign all necessary legal documents on his behalf.

To the relief of everyone, we moved into the house on Colston Avenue on October 1, 1944.

The whole chapter Cremona from UNSPOKEN HOPE which gives some interest insight into wartime factory life and further family issues is available.

Juvenile Immigration

In the period between Federation and World War II, children were seen as ‘ideal immigrants’. They were malleable, controllable and adaptable to new conditions. Unlike other migrants, especially during periods of economic recession, they did not invoke the opposition of trade unionists since they were not competitors on the labour market. Child migration was regarded by governments as a form of social welfare, and also as a means of overcoming the decline in the birth-rate (a particular preoccupation of the early years of the twentieth century and of the 1930s) through the introduction of British youth. Governments, British and Australian, both state and Federal, private institutions, philanthropic associations, and the Churches all, from time to time, sponsored child migration. Governments subsidised non-government organisations working in this area between 1921 and 1930 and, in special cases such as the Fairbridge Farm Schools and Dr Barnardo’s Homes, during the 1930s depression years also. Once in Australia, the children were generally brought up to perform manual labour, the girls as domestic servants (referred to in the later part of this period as household workers) and the boys as farm labourers. Children were brought to Australia under a variety of schemes at various ages, some very young.

The records in the National Archives particularly relate to Commonwealth and state policy regarding juvenile migration schemes and relations between government and non-government voluntary organisations and institutions in both Great Britain and Australia. One of the best known government schemes, begun before World War I , was that of Premier Barwell of South Australia from 1922–24. Non-government organisations involved in child migration included:

  • The Big Brother Movement which sponsored juvenile male migrants, 15–18 years of age;
  • The Child Emigration Society, London, in conjunction with the Children’s Farm School Immigration Society of Western Australia, the Trustees of the Lady Northcote Bequest in Victoria and a Committee of Rhodes Scholars in New South Wales which conducted the Fairbridge Farm Schools and brought out children of both sexes;
  • Dr Barnardo’s Homes which brought out Protestant youth of both sexes;
  • The Dreadnought Trustees who sponsored British boys;
  • The Roman Catholic Church which included the Catholic Emigration Association, London, the Christian Brothers’ schemes, and the Catholic Episcopal Migration and Welfare Association, Perth;
  • The Church of England, including the Church of England Immigration Council and the work of Rev. R C Nichols known as ‘Brother Bill’ of St Mark’s Church Fitzroy, Victoria;
  • The Salvation Army;
  • The Presbyterian and other Churches;
  • The YMCA;
  • The Boy Scouts’ Association;
  • The Young Australia League of Western Australia;
  • The British Orphans Adoption Society.

Taken from naa.gov.au resources

The Cricket Mess up 1932-33

Low blows

It just wasn't cricket. The 1932-33 Bodyline series, still the sport's most infamous controversy, confirmed that the Ashes far exceeded the boundaries of sport. By the end of England's tour to Australia, relations between the two countries had soured so much that trade relations were affected and diplomats became embroiled.

"There are two teams out there," said Australia's captain Bill Woodfull during the acrimonious Adelaide Test. "One is trying to play cricket and the other is not."

At issue was England's - in particular, their Scottish captain Douglas Jardine's - aggressive tactic, named Bodyline, or "fast leg theory", in which a fast bowler would aim a delivery hard into the batsman's body, while fielders crowded on the leg side waiting for a catch. The ploy was considered highly dangerous to batsmen who, before the era of near full-body padding, were liable to break a few bones.

Jardine had, with his fiercely quick bowler Harold Larwood, conceived the tactic when he noticed that the great Don Bradman jumped when faced with lifting deliveries into his ribs. Bradman had scored hundreds of runs against England two summers before, and Bodyline had been conceived specifically to counter his threat.

It worked. England won the series, albeit amid such acrimony that the Australian Cricket Board fired off a cable to the MCC, stating that Bodyline "is causing intensely bitter feeling between the players as well as injury. In our opinion it is unsportsmanlike. Unless stopped at once, it is likely to upset the friendly relationships between Australia and England."

The MCC responded with: "We, Marylebone Cricket Club, deplore your cable," and more. The row rumbled on for years, occasioning many changes in the Laws of cricket and informing the rivalry still so evident in Ashes fixtures.



Templar was exemplar car with Lakewood birthplace


Ever hear of the Templar?

It was the only automobile built in Lakewood. A small, four-cylinder car made by Templar Motors Corp. from 1917 to 1924, it was manufactured on a 20-acre site south of Athens Avenue to the former New York Central Railroad tracks, between Halstead and Clarence avenues.

From an advertisement in the 1920 Lakewood High School "Cinema"

Templar Motors was formed by a group of Clevelend investors in 1916, with production starting the following year. Management took the name Templar from a military order founded in Jerusalem by the crusaders about 1118. It chose the Maltese cross as the car's emblem.

The corporation's main building, a three-story brick, concrete and steel structure with 300,000 square feet of floor space, still stands at 13000 Athens Ave. It now houses 16 tenants, the largest of which is Lake Erie Screw Products Co.

Three of Templar's original officers - President M. F. Bramley, Vice President W. J. Hunkin and Treasurer D. C. Reed - were prominent in Lakewood community affairs.

Their factory complex cost $2.5 million, a whole lot of money then. Plant capacity was 5,000 cars a year, though production was never in excess of a third of that. Actually, total output during Templar's short span on the market was only 6,000 units.

Nevertheless, the automobile that was advertised as "The Superfine Small Car" had a fair-sized sales organization for its time. A 1920 company financial statement boasted of 106 dealerships and distribution centers in 32 states and 15 foreign countries.

The plant turned out 1,850 cars that year, placing it sixth among Clevelend-area automakers and l5th in the United States among manufacturers outside the Detroit area.

There were four models initially - a sedan, a touring car and two sporty versions. At the outset they cost from $1,985 to $2,255. The most eye-catching entry was a touring-roadster introduced in 1921 and priced at $2,885.

The factory handled all final assembly operations and made its own engine, a four-cylinder, overhead-valve design that developed 43 horsepower and was considered more efficient than the majority of American engines of the period. Most of the car's parts were produced by supplier firms.

Lakewoodite Vernon Lieblein, 87, recalls working for Templar Motors as a teenager during the summers of 1917 and 1918, first as a service mechanic, later on the assembly line and finally as a helper in the experimental department.

One of his last assignments was to assist in building a special Templar for a famous race driver of the day, E. G. "Cannonball" Baker, who had a promotional tie-in with the company.

Two Lakewood-made Templars - a touring car and a Sportette roadster, circa 1923 - are shown in front of the marble home built by Templar Motors President M. F. Bramley on Harbor View Drive, off Edgewater Drive.

Photo from Western Reserve Historical Society

Cannonball would challenge all comers to match his Templar in speed, economy, endurance and reliability, and he set numerous records.

"The car I worked on for him was stripped down and fenderless, and had a top speed of 46 miles per hour, a velocity that was nothing to sneeze at during that infant period in auto history," Lieblein remembered.

"In 1919 he drove it from New York City to Los Angeles in four and a half days - a remarkable feat, considering the atrocious roads of the day. We even put a battleship steel plate under the car to prevent engine damage while crossing rockstrewn Arizona.

"Cannonball was a big hulk of a man, 6 foot 6 and weighing 250 pounds," Lieblein said. "Just before he set out, he told me he had slept for two whole days so that he would have the energy to complete the run."

Newly built Templars were put through their paces on a quarter-mile oval test track the company operated adjacent to the west side of its main plant.

Cornelius Mahall, 75-year-old proprietor of Mahall's Twenty Lanes in Lakewood, grew up near the Templar factory and fondly remembers the test track.

"Watching through the fence, as a 5-year-old kid, I was fascinated by the cars circling around," he recalled.

But all was not beer and skittles for the fledgling car company.

In 1920 it began hurting badly from the post-World War I depression, difficulty in obtaining parts and growing competition from other carmakers. Henry Ford, for example, at times sold his "Tin Lizzie" Model T for less than $300.

Then, on Dec. 13, 1921, a fire broke out, and only the main fireproof building that remains today withstood the blaze. Damage loss, estimated between $250,000 and $300,000, doesn't appear particularly great by today's standards but was crippling 67 years ago.

Although Templar rebounded and was producing at a rate of eight cars a day by April 1922, more problems surfaced. Severe financial losses as well as stockholder controversies soon beset the company.

Finally, in the fall of 1924, Templar defaulted on payment of a substantial loan and was taken over by a Cleveland bank.

Production halted and failure of the company caused about 20,000 investors to lose a total of $6 million, a sum that today, with the effects of inflation, would amount to more than $42 million.