Inherited Craziness
A place to share all the nuts found on my family tree

Sunday, 1 August 2021

Charley Stone and Ellen Jones

St George's Church, Tiverton

Charley Stone (Char), son of Charles Stone and Emma Middleton, married Ellen Jones (Nell), daughter of David Jones and Laura Elizabeth White, on 3 Jul 1922, at St George's Church, Tivertongenerally considered to be the finest Georgian church in Devon, and one of the best examples in England. Witnesses were the groom's uncle, Francis StoneWilliam Henry Middleton, the groom's elder half-brother and their mother, Emily Stone (former Emma Middleton). Given that line up, my feeling is that Bill was best man, while Frank gave away the bride.

Charley Stone born 6 Jun 1898 at 1 Silver Street, Tiverton, and baptised on 20 Jul 1898 at St Peter’s Church Tiverton, lied about his age when he enlisted in the Royal Marines at Exeter on 18 Jan 1915, which is why this and many subsequent records for him suggest he was born a year earlier in 1897. They can't ever have discovered the one year discrepancy though, because his record notes the 139 days he was underage, from 18 Jan 1915 to 5 Jun 1915, but 6 Jun 1915 will only have been his 17th birthday. 

Char did his training at the Royal Marine Depot, Deal, until 18 Aug 1915. Then after a brief period at Plymouth Division, was assigned to HMS Revenge (06) on 1 Feb 1916 and stayed with this ship until 24 Jan 1918, being promoted to Corporal on the 1st day of that year.

Revenge (left) and the battleship Hercules (right) at the Battle of Jutland

Consequently, on 31 May - 1 Jun 1916, just five days before his 18th birthday, Charley Stone took part in the Battle of Jutlandthe largest naval battle of the First World War. "In the course of the battle, Revenge had fired 102 rounds from her main battery [...]. She also fired 87 rounds from her secondary guns. She was not hit by any fire during the engagement." [Thankfully.]

British battleship HMS Glory at Murmansk
From 23 May 1918, until 16 Jul 1919, Char was assigned to HMS Glory (1899), of the British North Russia Squadron, which took him to Archangel and Murmansk during the North Russia intervention. "Glory was based at Archangel to protect supplies that arrived there for the Russian Army. The squadron's mission evolved after the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917 into preventing the supplies that had been delivered from falling into the hands of the Red Army." 

Char will have arrived just in time for A Fire, a Riot, a Bombing, and a Mutiny

Like most who went through these events, Char never spoke about his experiences, except to a brother who was also a Marine, and what I've been told of that only intimated that things were really bad (understatement) up there. 
HMS Royalist (1883)
Continuing his amazing ability to turn up in all the wrong places at the right times, from 12 Feb 1920 to 15 Mar 1922 Char was sent to HMS Colleen (formerly HMS Royalist (1883)), which was then the depot ship at Queenstown (Cobh), Ireland, at the height of the Irish War of Independence. Being hulked (stuck in one place), allowed more opportunity to fraternise with the locals.

Nell and Char's only child, Charles Francis Stone (Frank) was born, on 17 July 1923 at The Military Families Hospital, Devonport and christened at The Anglican Church of Saint Paul, Durnford Street, East Stonehouse on Sunday, 5 Aug 1923. This was the day after the wedding of his first cousin Frederick Thomas Stone and Kathleen Mullarkey, at which Char was best man. The wedding could have been the new baby's first "social engagement" - not that he'd have remembered it - but it feels like a real connection to the past to imagine that maybe Maria Mullarkey, the bride's mother, may have fawned over the new infant (as you do). The family's address at that time was 36, Admiralty Street, East Stonehouse (now The Fig Tree Restaurant.)

The rest of Char's Royal Marines' career was spent mostly at Plymouth Division - they lived in the Eastern King battery - and at HMS Impregnable training establishments in Devonport: the former HMS Black Prince (1861) in late 1922 and the former HMS Ganges (1821) in 1923/24. Char was promoted to Sergeant from 9 Aug 1924, Colour sergeant from 2 Apr 1931, and Quartermaster sergeant (QMS) in Aug 1932, retiring on 5 Jun 1936. 

Charley Stone's uniform tunic now in the possession of the Royal Marines Museum

Nell and Char on their
25th Wedding Anniversary
in 1947, in the garden of 117,
Corisande Road, Selly Oak.
After he retired from the Royal Marines, Char took a job as a Post Office Van Driver in Birmingham, which is where we find the family in 1939, at 117 Corisande Road, Selly Oak with Charley Stone, Postman Driver (Heavy Work) still listing himself as a year older and Ellen trying to be two years younger than she was. Frank (16) was working as a Stationery clerk at the Screw Works. 

Char worked as a gardener before he'd joined the marines, having worked, casually, in the kitchen garden at Knightshayes Court in Tiverton. In Birmingham, he grew soft fruits - I remember being sent up the garden to pick raspberries and blackcurrants - and he had a greenhouse stuffed full of his favourite fuchsias that, in his Devon accent were always pronounced foosherrs.

Charley Stone died on 10 May 1973 at Selly Oak Hospital. He was 75.

Ellen Stone died on 31 Jan 1993 in Highcliffe, Dorset, in her 99th year.

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If you're related to any of the people written about, I'm guessing you'll recognise them from the surnames. If you are, do please get in touch.