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

Showing posts with label Leith. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Leith. Show all posts

Saturday, 28 August 2021

Edward John Bicknell, Marcella Jones & Harry Babb

Portsmouth Cathedral
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © N Chadwick - geograph.org.uk/p/6829155

Edward John Bicknell married Marcella Jones, eldest daughter of David Jones and Johannah Anne O'Callaghan, at St Jude's ChurchSouthsea on 12 Dec 1906. Among the witnesses was Marcella's younger sister, Helena Jones. At the time of his marriage to Marcella, Edward John Bicknell's rank was Corporal RGA (Royal Garrison Artillery), then stationed at Southsea Castle. On the marriage certificate, Bicknell's father is listed as Edward Bicknell, a farmer. 

Their only child, David Nicholas Bicknell was born on 20 Jan 1909, at 15 Gold Street, Southsea and baptised, on 10 Feb 1909, at The Anglican Cathedral of St Thomas of Canterbury, known simply as Portsmouth Cathedral

Fort Rowner-Gosport
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Colin Babb - geograph.org.uk/p/704877

On 17 Dec 1895, Edward John Bicknell, listed originally as aged 14 years, 11 months (although the 14 appears to have been over-written as 15 on the 2nd page), from Withycombe [Withycombe Raleigh], Exmouth, Devon, formerly a Telegraph Messenger, had enlisted for Long Service in the Royal Artillery, at Slough, Bucks. The name and address of his next of kin was given as Mrs F E Palmer, 18 Hencroft Street, Sough, Bucks. In 1901, there was an Elizabeth F Palmer (60) Tailoress, from Withycombe, Devon at that address. 

In 1891, as Edward Jno Bricknell (10), at Hencroft Street, Upton with Chalvey, Eton, Buckinghamshire, with Henry Palmer (42) Butler domestic and Elizabeth F Palmer (54) from Withycombe, Devon, he's described as their nephew.

Records show that Henry Palmer had married Elizabeth Fanny Bicknell, at St Margaret's, Westminster, London, in 1873. In 1881, they were living at Church End, Tempsford, Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, where Henry was Under butler. Elizabeth Bicknell, listed in Withycombe Rawleigh in 1841 and 1851, bap. as Elizabeth Nanny Bicknell on 5 Jan 1834, had a brother named Edward, born 1830. However, he died in 1870, so cannot be the boy's father.

When he enlisted in 1895, Edward John was 5' 1⅝' tall, weighed 98lbs, had a fresh complexion, hazel eyes and dark brown hair. He was sent to Fort Rowner, Gosport on 21 Dec 1895. Initially passed as fit, he spent 29 days in hospital from 5 Feb 1896 to 4 Mar 1896, whatever he was suffering from, referred to only by the initials V.D.H., it was of unknown cause and he was discharged on 7 Mar 1896, as "Not being likely to become an efficient soldier."

On 19 Sep 1900, in London, at 18 years and 9 months, Edward John Bicknell, once again enlisted in the Royal Artillery. The record, again, says that he was from Withycombe, Exmouth, Devon. Was he cured of his previous ills, or was he hopeful that nobody would tie the two together (which they don't seem to do)? 

There are many people named Edward Bicknell, in Withycombe, going back to the 17th Century. None of them were farmers. And I can find no birth, nor baptism record for an Edward John Bicknell, in 1881, anywhere near the area. The closest is an illegitimate birth of an Edward John Bicknell in St Thomas, Devon (district under which Withycombe, Exmouth would fall), in 1879. 

All that and naming their son only after his maternal grandfather and uncle and not after his father, leads me to think that Bicknell had no idea who his father was and, as is often done, simply made one up for the marriage certificate.

Leith Fort flats, North Fort Street
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © kim traynor - geograph.org.uk/p/2623474
The flats were to be demolished, but the wall and remnants of the old fort were to remain.

In 1901, Edward John Bicknell (19) Gunner Royal Artillery, was listed on the census at Leith FortNorth Fort StreetLeith, Edinburgh, Scotland.

Tigné Barracks, before its demolition in 2001. Image: Billy Shewring, CC BY-SA 3.0
Parts of The Point Shopping Mall include architectural elements from the former Tigné Barracks.

In 1911, Sergeant Edward John Bicknell (29), from Exmouth, Devon, was listed on the census of Overseas Establishments with 96th Company RGA (Royal Garrison Artillery) at Fort Tigné, Malta. Also listed on the census there at that time are wife, Marcella Bicknell (26) and son, David Nicholas Bicknell (2).

96th Company, I believe, remained in Malta for the duration of World War I. 

Edward John Bicknell was Mentioned in Despatches at least once.

On 27 Oct 1919, Edward John Bicknell, then a Battery Sergeant Major at Sandown Barracks, Sandown, Isle of Wight, filed for divorce from Marcella, citing her adultery with Co-respondent, Harry Babb, a Fitter in His Majesty's Dockyard at Portsmouth, with whom she was allegedly residing at 34, Castle Road, Southsea. The final decree was granted on 29 Sep 1920 and Harry Babb was ordered to pay the costs of £63 18s 4d (around £2,900 in 2021).

Marcella Bicknell married Henry Babb in the 4th quarter of 1920, in Portsmouth.

Babb was no easier to pin down than her first husband. The only relevant birth of a Harry Babb, in the 4th quarter of 1894, is in Barnstaple, Devon, with his mother's maiden name given as Ware. There was a marriage of an Eli Francis Babb and Annie Ware on 21 Feb 1880, at St Martin-in-the-Fields, in The Strand, London. Harry was baptised on 25 Jan 1895 at Holy Trinity Church, Barnstaple and the baptism record gives his parents as Levi Frank and Annie Babb, with his father's occupation listed as 'Boots' at the Fortescue Hotel

The word came from, ‘boot boys’, an occupation in the 1830s and 40s requiring young men to clean the boots of hotel guests. Later, the occupation had become simply known as ‘boots’, and duties included odd-jobs around the hotel. 

In 1901, Levi F Babb (43) Hotel servant (boots) from Somerset (Eli Frank Babb was baptised in Williton, Somerset in 1857); Annie (42), Levi F (18) born in London, John (14), Ellen E (11), Harry (6), Rose (4), Charley (3) and William G (2) were living at 2, Higher Church Street, Barnstaple, Devon

In 1920 and 1921, records show that Sergeant Major Edward John Bicknell was a member of Sandown Masonic Lodge on the Isle of Wight. 

Edward J Bicknell also remarried, to Ida G Priestley, on 25 Mar 1921, on the Isle of Wight. Ida Gertrude Priestley (b. 31 Dec 1891), was the daughter of Thomas F and Sophia C Priestley. Her father was a Yacht steward. Her mother, Sophia, was from Jersey, Channel Islands. In 1901, the family address was Grocer's Shop, 62, West Street, Ryde, Isle of Wight (now a branch of The Co-operative Food). In 1911, Ida Gertrude Priestley (20), had been employed as a Lady's Maid to Mrs Winifred Walker at 10 Marmion Road, Battersea, London.

Edward John Bicknell was discharged from the Army on 18 Sep 1921, at Dover, under Paragraph 392 (xxi) of the King's Regulations - the end of a period of engagement. He was awarded a pension of 51½d per day for life from 19 Sep 1921. His address on discharge was 177, Filbert Street, Leicester.

But Edward John Bicknell of 4 Burton Street, Leicester, Bank Messenger, died on 21 Apr 1922, at Leicester Royal Infirmary from shock following an operation, having been diagnosed with stomach cancer 5-6 months previously. He was 40. His death was registered by P H Priestley, Brother-in-law (Ida's younger brother, Percy H Priestley, born 1895) of 18 Hartington Rd, Leicester.

It would appear that Ida G Bicknell remarried to Thomas A Brennan, in Southampton, in 1923. In 1939, she was living at 66 Shakespeare Avenue, Hillingdon with two daughters, born 1924 and 1927. She is listed as married, but her husband is not at home. Ida died, in Uxbridge, in 1942, aged 50.

In 1939, Harry Babb (b. 17 Nov 1894), Marine Engineer, Marcella Babb, David N Bicknell and a lodger were living at 10 Wilberforce Road, Portsmouth.

Marcella Babb of 1 Festing Grove, Southsea, died on 9 Oct 1963, at 80.

Henry Babb, also of 1 Festing Grove, Southsea, died on 19 Nov 1967. 

David Nicholas Bicknell never married. He died of a cardiac arrest on 22 Jan 1987, two days after his 78th birthday. The retired production controller still lived at 1 Festing Grove, Southsea. His place of birth quoted on his death certificate was India. The records show that he was, in fact, born in Southsea, so I wonder if his father spent time in India while he was growing up. 

Festing Grove, Southsea
cc-by-sa/2.0 - © Kate Jewell - geograph.org.uk/p/3319369

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.