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The Guise History The Fleuss History


Vera Guise nee Vera Agnes Fleuss ( Mater) married to Jules Guise Fleuss


Vera Guise nee Fleuss

Born 11 Dec 1892 in Lambeth

Married Jules Guise  Aug 1916

3 children
Anthony Benoit 
born 05 Apr 1917
Yvonne Marie 
   born 16 Feb 1919
Marie Amelia
     born  02 Oct 1922

Died 1981


To clarify there were 8 children born to Henry Otto FLEUSS, seven married and 6 of these were girls 

Children of 
Henry Otto FLEUSS

Spouses of Children


Katherine Edith Levine Frank Herbert WILSON WILSON
Margaret Amy  Arthur Michael BAINES BAINES
Gertrude Frederick EUSTACE EUSTACE
Audrey Mary Charles Arthur FRANKLAND FRANKLAND
Gerald Osmond Wilhelmina FREW FLEUSS
Vera Agnes Jules GUISE  (GIESE) GUISE  
Wilfrid Arthur



The Matriarch of the Guise-Fleuss Family in Streatham

Vera Guise, grand-daughter of Henry Joseph Fleuss, the artist and first Drawing Master of Marlborough College and was the daughter of Henry Otto Fleuss - Clerk and Heraldic Artist.

To write about Vera Guise, or Mater as she was known by her family and friends, seems an impossible task. She was a giant within the family, among friends and probably in the local neighbourhood.

It is difficult to document Mater's life from a factual point of view and so most of our understanding of her is derived by extrapolating from the impact that she had on other people. There is probably only one person alive that could do justice, in writing, to her life. This article is an effort to relate personal memories, and draw together comments made over the years by family members that encountered her. 

She was the youngest of 8 children and maybe had many of the attributes associated with a sibling in that position. In this respect a comparison can be drawn between her and Margaret Dibdin, the youngest of 9 children, who was the aunt of her son's wife, Joan. 

She was intensely proud of the achievements of her ancestors 

My own knowledge is based on the hearsay from wartime London and limited contact with her in the the following years. 

It can be taken for granted that this passionate and emotional woman was devastated by the death of he son during the war. He was the apple of her eye, in fact of most people's, and being left with two daughters, albeit loyal ones was no compensation. There was obvious friction between Mater and her daughter in law, Joan, whom she felt had stolen her son from her, during the mid war years. 

To get some insight it is worth looking at what there is available of the lives of her three children, 
Marie, Yvonne, Anthony and the introduction into her family of Joan Dibdin and her brother. 

What is known about of of the family at this time in WW2 is written about in the Booklet Three Lives in World War 2 although seen though the eyes of Joan and in some respects Tony.  

Little seems to be known about her life before 1939, and her life with Jules Guise but it is rumoured that he was a little undemonstrative and it is sad to note that he died at the young age of 50 in 1939.

During the war years and for some years after Vera was recognised for her hospitality and of course the pressure of war and bombing in London was a good enough reason for a party at any time. "One may not live to see another day" . The Young Dibdin family, Joan and her brother Peter, who were parentless, were both grateful to be welcomed by the family. This occurred though the intervention of Tony, who met Don Haycraft, Joan's cousin, while training in Scotland and invited him to call in at any time at Pinfold Road. 

Tony wrote home to his mother,  asking that he should be welcomed.

" Darling V,
Introducing Donald … pal of mine. Has met Gertie, the Andersons and Stevenson’s – we do things together. Fix him up with bath & meals etc and get Widdy to show him the local dumps and tell the girls to look after him. Know you’ll all like him, he is quite used to me".

Don was in training as a Sergeant. The girls were of course Tony’s two sisters of 22 and 20 years.

Yvonne Maria

Also in the letter there is the statement that he should be home on leave on the 20th June 1941.

Just at the end of the first blitz of bombing in London, in early May 1941, Don Haycraft, with Joan, arrived on the doorstep at No 4 Pinfold Road. This first time visit was an introduction to wild excitable family that consisted of Mater, and two daughters, Yvonne and Marie who were the doting younger sisters of Tony.

The story goes that when Don and Joan arrived at 4 Pinfold Road, the two girls were out at the local cinema. Some one was sent to fetch them out of the film as some friends of Tony’s had arrived and so it was time to celebrate.


From my memory of the early 1940's there were always people about and very often parties. There was bustle and chatter and music and all this going on with Mater sort of static in the middle. She obviously felt it right to have a watching eye over her first grandchild, who she would have hoped to be the incarnation of her son but she was given only limited access. 

Some insights into the nature of the relationship with the family can be gleaned from letters from Tony to his mother during the war period especially if looked at in juxtaposition to those written to his new love and wife. 

08/11/1941 -Letter from Tony to Mater  from Poolewe Achnasheen
Thanks for a glorious leave ......Planning for a spring offensive ......Give my love to everyone old dear

Again many thanks for a glorious time and many thanks for keeping the atmosphere clear. Do try to understand Joanna Darling – she’s not very used to family life and may be a bit strange at times but she’s a wonderful kid and does so want to be loved by you all and does so want a home – so be good to her …"


Summary of letters to Vera from her son,  Tony in WW2

Letter to Vera from Tony in India during WW2 in which he delighted in describing to her the menu for a meal and the Taj Mahal Hotel in Bombay. 

Some comments by the family giving insights into the nature of Vera.

From a Letter from Muriel, daughter of Dorothy, Vera's sister, talking about her mother.

Much could be written about her. She was rather a complex person not unlike Aunt Vera by what Yvonne and Maria say. Quite dramatic and theatrical in a way. Fainting at will or going to her supposed “sick bed” if things didn’t always go quite right. I must say it stopped with her. Ursula and I did not inherit it. It served her well in the early years and being obedient children we always buckled under to “keep the peace” at all costs. As we grew into adulthood we could see through a lot of it.


From Celia, grand daughter of Vera's sister, Katherine Edith, referring to photographs

Vera reminds me of my mothers half sister Margaret (always called Peggy) I have photos of her all costumed up and in some play or other. Peggys daughter Betty was in fact married from Pinfold Road home in Streatham, I found a note Marie Guise which she sent to me in 2001


From a letter to Richard Stenning from Gerald Fleuss in 1992

There seems to have been an official issue over Vera's nationality which did echo down to her son, Tony, when he wish to apply  for officer training.

01/05/1940 -Letter from Tony to Mater
Hopes that when Mater reclaims English Nationality that she gets a government job

01/11/1940 -Letter from Tony to Mater
Just arrived in Scotland  ...... Please send chess set as he has met another human being. .....Really sorry about asking for money. .....Recommend for commission but Nationality issue is insurmountable  .....Six months since being home

From Marie to Richard Stenning


The Mystery of Hugh B Heinrich --From Ancestry:

Hugh B Heinrich  born in 1912 in Eastry mother's maiden name Fleuss - 
Meanwhile Dorothy aged 30, who was to marry Arthur 2 years later, was at 10 Osbourne Road, Broadstairs with her sister, Vera aged 20.  No.10 was a  home of 32 women aged 78 to 17 years old.
Both girls referred to in the 1911 Census as Help at Home  

Dorothy Fleuss married Arthur Heinrich in 1914 just before the outbreak of war

In the 1911 Census Arthur Heinrich,  born in Germany in 1884 was visiting a house in Fulham
He worked as a superintendent for an Insurance Co.

There is an entry in Ancestry for the marriage of Hugh B Heinrich or Hugh B Atkins to Rosa Gerson in South Eastern Surrey in 3rd quarter of 1937.  
Hugh Ben Atkins born 2 Jun 1912 died in Aug 1984 in Hastings and Rother.
Rosa Atkins born 17 Mar 1912 died in Sept 1996 in Hastings and Rother.

A birth certificate and/or marriage certificate would explain more.

( Just to add to the mystery: 
Heinrich S Gerson married to Florshein or Lazarus
in 3rd quarter of 1942 - probably no connection)


Links to other related pages

Fleuss Family Homepage
Guise Family History
Frankland Family Details
Link to a number of Birth Marriage and Death Certificates
Fleuss Family  and relations ( In the Museum)
Index of Family Trees for Fleuss and related Families
Photograph Album  of photographs relating to the Fleuss family
Photograph Album of Historic Frankland Family
Photograph Album - Fleuss but details unknown
Gallery of Paintings by Henry Joseph Fleuss
A Crest found in the archives
The Will of Catherine Wale
Photographs of Guise Family
Older Photographs of the Guise Family
Details of the Tourniaire Circus Family
Origins of the Guise - Giese Family
Extra Notes and Details from Richard Stenning Archive
Various lists and Family Trees in rough
Current Heinrich -Rich Family
Letters from Family Descendants