Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Tombstone Tuesday: Remembering Ernest and those who remembered him

It's 95 years to the day since the loss of Great-Uncle Ernest Brown, Signaller 394 with the 17th Battalion AIF.  Like his brother Reginald, who died around two weeks earlier, Ernest is commemorated on the Villers-Bretonneux memorial.  I have written about Ernest before here and about the letters written after his death by his fiancee here.

Ernest and Reginald emigrated to Australia a few years before the outbreak of war and seem to have been close to the family of their maternal uncle, Joseph Warren.  Joseph had emigrated around the 1880s and would not have met his nephews before they arrived in Sydney.  However, they appear to have integrated into his family; he was the executor for their wills and he and his children placed notices in the papers for the boys' deaths and in memoriam for a few years after.

I have been trying to trace Joseph's descendants for a few months now.  I have his children's names, and those of his grandchildren, and a couple of great-grandchildren (my third cousins).  On Sunday I had a breakthrough of sorts.  I found that one of Joseph's granddaughters received an MBE in 1966 and swiftly discovered a funeral notice - a mere two years ago, she had lived to the age of 91.  The notice confirmed the names of her two sons, and her late husband.  I then "found" one of her sons - imagine my dismay, it was another funeral notice, same church, same funeral directors, but the funeral had only been held two days earlier, on Friday.  The details on the notice were scant - no names of relatives - so I don't know if that particular branch of the tree has come to an end.  So far, no luck in finding my late cousin's brother, but I will, of course, keep trying.

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