I do know that, like his father before him, he was a groom, and my grandmother always maintained that she inherited his love of horses.
In 1901, he was living at 71, Lyall Mews West, London; a relatively short distance from where my great grandmother worked as a domestic servant in Bruton Street.
The circumstances of their courtship is unknown, but they were married in 1906 and five years later, they were living in a three room, tied house with their three year old daughter, Dorothy, in Kirk Langley, Derbyshire. William was now employed as a coachman.
In 1915, aged 34, William signed up to fight in the Great War. My grandmother and her twin brother were just two years old.
I've seen the beautifully embroidered postcards he sent back to his beloved Edith, from France, inscribed with sentimental longing. They are among my second cousin's most treasured possessions. I have a small shaving dish, passed to me by my grandmother, that is believed to have belonged to him during his time spent in the conflict.
In the photograph, taken on the Isle of Wight, William has the look of a confident young man. Dressed in, what is presumably, his groom's attire, he poses quite well for the camera of Mr Ernest A. Kime of 116, St James Street, Newport. Quite what he was doing on the Isle of Wight, is unclear. Even more of a mystery is why he would have had a studio photograph taken while dressed for work. Answers on a postcard?
He died in 1924. I haven't got around to buying a copy of his death certificate yet, but the family speculation is that he may have caught syphilis on his travels.
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© 2009, copyright Martin T. Hodges