Gilly Roots Story…..Cinderella Roots

Gilly Roots Story…..Cinderella Roots: Introduction

Where my little life changed and I went from being loved to being cursed….

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Swinging on the gate of 4, Arthur Cottages waiting expectantly for my mum to come back home with my favourite sweets – Rowntrees Fruit Pastilles….

It’s funny how inanimate objects (if you can call a swinging gate inanimate?) can hold such powerful and vivid memories. The same gate, having been left open by one of his big sisters, gave rise to my mum’s younger brother’s (my Uncle Ron) accident. When my Uncle Ron was little he ‘escaped’ the small garden and ran straight into the road, where he sustained bad injuries………For sure my maternal grandparents, Nan Minnie May and Granddad Bill suffered greatly at the hands, or shall I say the wheels, of the motor car……..My mother had been having ‘turns’, literally. On one occasion my cousin Tony was sent to fetch my mother from the pub, apparently the family would gather round Nan’s for Sunday roast each week and my mum would have a little drink with her work friends before, but on this occasion she didn’t show at Nan’s, so young Tony went to ‘fetch’ her and on the way he found her slumped over a neighbour’s fence, she was out cold!…..No wasn’t drunk!…. My mum had blacked out. My Nan was very troubled and worried by these ‘turns’, she’d had about four, my mum would literally ‘turn’, veer to one side and collapse.

The fact that my mum still rode her bicycle to work could have been at the root of the trouble between my Nan and my father, I’m not sure, but l have been told that my Nan blamed my dad, unfairly or otherwise, for her accident? This bad feeling led to a devastating row, where, at it’s climax, my Nan threatened my father with a calving knife. This was very out of character, but at the height of her grief maybe she felt that my dad didn’t care enough about my mum and should have stopped her from riding it?….Knowing my own nature, one of wilful independence (and I certainly don’t take after my father!) my feeling is she would have ridden her bike whatever……. That’s what she did!

Auntie Lil, my cousin Mick and I were just getting off the bus on the 31st May 1954, when Auntie Lil saw my mother’s bike in the middle of the road, she saw a crowd of people around my mum’s body! She feared the worst and her first instinct was to get me away from the scene, so she ran me and my cousin Mick to her house, which was very near, just round the corner and left us with Mick’s dad, my Uncle Dougie. Auntie Lil ran straight back to her sister, but she was already dead! It seems that my mum had ‘a turn’ while on her bike……. Straight into on-coming traffic…..I was three years old…..

I was inevitably told of her death I guess, but it didn’t stop me waiting hopefully every day for my mum to come home from work…..Swinging on that gate.

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A picture of ‘Cinderella’ by my daughter Georgia, she wrote the date on it too (21.2.’91), she would have been just 4 years old, interesting about the same age l was when my mum got killed. Georgia is a great artist who dates her work, ha ha! l taught my artist children well!

Why Cinderella?

My story has much in common with the original fairy tale, and also many of the same characters:

Cast of Characters

Cinderella……………………That’ll be me!

A Mother that sadly died when l was three…….My Mum.

A weak (& feeble) father……………..My Dad.

A wicked Stepmother……….Tawdry Audrey.

Ugly Stepsisters…………….No, but I had an spiteful, vicious Stepbrother…..Let’s call him ‘The Cuckoo’.

Fairy Godmother………..My foster-mum Hazel.

The Prince……..That’s another story!

Cinderella fairy tale? Well not sure if I believe in ‘happy ever after’, it’s certainly not a given, except in fairy tales of course……..It’s all about the choices you make with the circumstances you find yourself in….Your choices define who you are. Having said that though, you have no choice if you are a child, your future lies in the hands of the adults.

'8 my mum and tony 1946

My young mum with possibly my cousin Tony or maybe me? The only certainty is that it is my mum.

No one at any time asked me what I wanted! Never! If I was asked, what would l have said? “How much can I ask for?” That’s what I would have said…..I’d ask for the moon!!……….

As well as looking deeply at the smallest wild flowers, all nature gave me great comfort, l also looked up to the stars….The moon, the mother.

Here’s my story…..NATURE or NURTURE? NURTURE or NATURE?

The death of my mother was devastating and her loss changed all of our lives forever. My mum’s father; Granddad Bill was a decorated war hero, a very brave and courageous man who had survived two World Wars, but the events that followed were to break his heart and he died before his time, this was true also of my Nan Minnie May. My mum’s sister Auntie Lil lost so much weight it took her years before she got back to full strength. Also my Auntie Queenie emigrated to Australia with my cousins Doug, Wendy and Robert a couple of years later and as for the little three year old she left behind….

My story is interesting as it shows clearly both the effects on a child of nurture; in many ways the good and bad things that happened to me as a child have shaped who l am, and of nature……

I guess it is easy to understand my reluctance to throw anything away. l had everything taken from me as a child, even memories, though l tried very hard to hang on to them, but without photos, so hard.. After life took away my mother at age 3, too soon after, my sad, lonely, lost father put an ad. in the newspaper ‘Lonely Widower with small child seeks……’ Be careful what you wish for……..Little did he know what a big mistake this would be! Tawdry Audrey, swooped in and swept him off his feet Umm? maybe not so much ‘swept him off his feet’ as ‘bewitched’ him…….This is why l call her the ‘Witch’.

Within a very short time, in fact, while I was seriously ill in hospital with acute appendicitis, she dragged him off to the registry office and what’s more, after several weeks in a convalescence home, ‘Little Pond House’, she lost no time in trying to get rid of me again by trying to have me committed with lies and petty protests. Unfortunately for me, even though by default, she had her wicked way. She kicked me out of my mother’s house and installed herself and her son, ‘the Cuckoo’, in my place. My father adopted him………!!!

In the report from the Psychiatrist J. M. Stephen, M.B; B.S; D.P.M; it stated and I quote……Dated 21st October 1959.
“Gillian’s behaviour is quite normal and she doesn’t give
any trouble to the staff in the ‘hostel’ or in the school.
It has become clear that Gillian’s difficulties were precipitated by her stepmother’s pathological jealousy of the child’s presence in the home.
It is obvious that Gillian cannot return to this disturbed home”.

And so I went into care…..I was just a little child……

I lost not only my father, but all my ‘dead’ mother’s family, who were every bit as attached to me as I was to them…….I hadn’t one single photo of them, or any of myself…..They had disappeared and so had I !!!

But I never stopped believing in my father, I always thought he would come and take me back home, but he never did……

THIS I BELIEVE IS MY NATURE.

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My father stationed in Malaysia in World War Two

HE NEVER FOUGHT FOR ME….NOW HE’S DEAD TO ME…..DEAD IN MY MEMORY

It’s Easy To Blame Her, But She Was Nothing To Me,
Ultimately He Was My Father. I Was His Responsibility.

Yesterday was my dad’s birthday (23rd August), sad really that I can’t ‘ big’ him up …….Still feeling raw and confused by him and his choices in life, never has the precept ‘ Your choices define you’ felt more apt and was indeed a life sentence for him. For those that know me well, know that I come straight out with stuff, well, when it came to my dad, I didn’t, I should have said “pick me!” l should have said we can get through this together, but I was struck dumb in his presence, unable to say what I wanted to say – why? Well, for fear if I spoke up I would lose him too, which ironically I did anyway, so (unnaturally) I kept quiet……A rare thing for me!

The moral of this story is speak up, however hard it is – don’t miss the opportunity to make yourself heard, if no one listens, shout louder, never give up. Don’t hand yourself over to fate without a fight !!!

AFTER MY MOTHER’S DEATH!

After my mum’s death in 1954, I was three and a half, I remember going with my dad to the place he worked (Always Welding) he was a Press Brake Setter OP. This was in Ash, Surrey, but obviously this couldn’t have been for long, my Nan and Auntie Lil did most of the caring for me. I remember that my father did not like my Nan, she never thought much of him either. As l said earlier, there was quite a big bust up on the last day my cousin Tony saw my dad at Nan’s house……Apparently she so completely lost it with him, she picked up a carving knife and threatened him with it! Not her usual behaviour, and l only remember her as loving and kind. Everyone loved my nan. So why the bad blood between them? I’ve heard nan held him responsible for my mother’s death, I’m guessing she was none too pleased with the prospect of him marrying the wicked stepmother, Tawdry Audrey either, and as for putting me in the home…….I’m surprised she never used it !!!?   My guess is she didn’t just stand by and not speak her mind, she was a strong woman who’d had a difficult life and she was born under the sign of Taurus, just like my Corrina, intuitive, formidable, but fair. While we are on astrological analogies, my father was a Leo (23rd August) pretty much on the cusp of Virgo, so although my dad was weak, he was also stubbornly proud, fixed on a path of destruction, taking me with him……I will never know for sure? What I do know is he cut my mum’s family completely from my life…..

I recall going to Durham (up north) for maybe a year? I suppose I went to school there as I do remember with relish the school dinners, probably the only time l ate! Puddings! Yum!. Again other than my recollection of the school puddings l remember sitting on the ground with trees around me, always alone. We must have gone to Durham for my dad to ‘court ‘ Tawdry Audrey, as that’s where the wicked stepmother came from, yes, I remember her name, it was Audrey Rothery.

When we came back to Surrey I got very sick with acute appendicitis. I was rushed into hospital with the sirens going, I would have died if my mum’s sister (Auntie Lil) hadn’t come round, “Get this child to hospital straight away” she told them, Tawdry Audrey would have let me die, that would have suited her purposes exactly! This was in December 1957, just before my seventh birthday, I was there for Christmas too. I’m not sure how long I was in the convalescent home (Little Pond House) after l left hospital, as it is not stipulated in my records, but at least three months, possibly as long as six? While I was safely out of the way they got married!

As soon as this wicked woman had married my father she showed her true colours ……After I had recovered I went back home for a short while, but that short while is indelibly etched in my memory, such was the neglect and cruelty both mentally and physically she showed me behind my dad’s back…..

My father bought me two really pretty dresses, I can still picture them clearly, one was a pink candy striped dress made of see-though fabric with pink lining and a sash round the waist. The other was a crisp cotton dress with small diamond shaped cluster patterns in pink, pastel blue and pale green, it had a pink ribbon tied in a bow from the neck right down to the hem….I loved them both. Tawdry Audrey would get them out of the wardrobe and carefully display them on my bed and she would drag me to them and tell me she had no idea why my father had wasted money on buying them for me, as I was too ugly to ever wear them…….Such was the constant taunting and deriding of me. so naturally l always believed I was ugly, as I never wore either of those dresses.

On another occasion, in a fit of uncontrolled rage, Evil Audrey threw a saucepan of boiling hot Baked Beans at me, they were thrown at my head, so I ducked! But ‘The Cuckoo’, who was standing behind me and taller, got them full in his chest and always carried the scar….. Of course the wicked stepmother blamed me for it all, it was my fault her son got burned, because I was nimble enough to get out of the way!

……And I soon became invisible, a little unloved wild thing……… I was usually found playing in the gutter or searching the garden for plants and weeds to eat because I was so hungry, I soon learnt what I could or shouldn’t eat ! I found a plant that I called vinegar leaves, don’t know what it’s real name is? I found out that clovers were sweet tasting. I always seemed to be alone, unloved, neglected, bullied, starved & hungry…..Where was my dad?….Always at work! How my father didn’t see all this I don’t know? He wasn’t a bad man, just a sad man; weak & feeble. There was something really lacking in him. 

I guess he was a broken man?

Once Tawdry Audrey and her evil son ‘The Cuckoo’ had their foot in the door, she got rid of me as soon as she possibly could.

Near to the end, just before I went into the ‘hostel’ (Thornchace) to be assessed, Tawdry Audrey got caught!…….My father came home early from work unexpectedly one day and he caught her chasing me round the the sofa with an iron poker, my dad went ballistic! He got her round the throat and nearly strangled the life out of her, such a terrible throttled screech came out of her mouth!…..Tawdry Audrey always was such a drama queen! I think this episode sealed the deal really, something had to be done!

My records state that I went to Thornchace Hostel (This was a secure unit, not sure whether to keep people out or the children in!!) at the beginning of 1959 (I was just eight) and by the end of ’59, just before my ninth birthday, my father signed me over to ‘Malmesbury House’ National Children’s Home in St Leonards, Hastings.

Quote from Admission form……..

‘What special circumstances give the child a claim to be admitted to the National Children’s Home?’
“GILLIAN HAS A STEPMOTHER & IT HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE FOR GILLIAN & THE STEPMOTHER TO LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSE WITHOUT CONSTANT CONFLICT. THE STEPMOTHER IS PATHOLOGICALLY JEALOUS.”

*I noticed that on the form of admittance to the National Children’s Home, where it says ‘GRANDPARENTS’ there was nothing?!……My father left this blank, denying both their rights and mine to any contact……This is the thing l find the hardest to understand and forgive him for, why did he do this to me and take everything from me? If he couldn’t keep me, then no one else can?….. Did he fear that my Nan & Granddad would come and rescue me? Or was there some other sinister reason to cut me off from all connections to my mother’s family? Well, I will never know?

I WENT UNDER THE WING OF THE NATIONAL CHILDREN’S HOME ON 3rd NOVEMBER 1959

I was 8 years old…..Signed, sealed and delivered, one little girl…….

Malmesbury House National Childrens Home, St Leonards on sea 1959/60

Malmesbury House National Childrens Home, St Leonards on sea 1959/60

Once in the home I was measured, poked and tested every 6 months…..

PSYCHIATRIST’S REPORT……..17th May 1961. (I was 10 years 5 months)

Gillian Boulton d.of b. 18.12.50. C.A.10:4. M.A.11:4 I.Q. 110.

Gillian passed all tests at year 9, four at year 10, three at year 11, two at year 12, three at year 13, one at year 14, one at Average Adult level and failed all at Superior Adult 1 level. This gives a M.A of 11 years 4 months and an I.Q. of 110.
On the Raven Matrices she obtained a score of 28 and so falls into grade II, indicating that she is of above average intellectual ability.

Gillian is an attractive little girl who was friendly and co-operative throughout the interview. She is of an affectionate disposition and is very sensitive. She wishes to please but is only too aware of her inability to often do so. She is imaginative and has a great feeling for beauty. If reality becomes too harsh this child will be liable to retreat into her private inviolable dream world, but she is most responsive to a friendly approach and able to form good and effective relationships’

During my life I have been fortunate to have had the protection of some good people, sometimes professionals like this, ones who see me, with profound insight into who this little girl was….And the above description is exactly who l was……So I went from being invisible to being accepted.

Mine is a just story in the most part ….My father had the most dreadful life, cut off from his own blood and he lived the rest of his life in misery!

I can’t get my head around how anyone can sacrifice their whole family, in fact their whole life for a women, and a bad women at that! I struggle with the idea that a good person could do this? How could he give me up for such a women? A women who answered an ad?!…..Because of this his family never spoke to him ever again and he lost the love of his life…..ME!
Of course he never came and found me, he couldn’t face me…. Of course he called out my name on his death bed, the guilt of what he had done haunted him and he never had any peace. It’s hard for me to talk about him without a lump in my throat, but I find it so hard to forgive him for such a calamitous decision, because at the end of the day I was his flesh and blood, his little girl, who he obviously loved and whose mother had not long died!   He should have put me first and done the right thing. He failed me.

I believe the existentialists had it right and that your choices define who you are…………

As for her, the wicked stepmother, I feel that justice was never really done, she was the sort of person who did terrible things and thought nothing of it, I haven’t come to any satisfactory conclusion as to how karma works in her case? Maybe that no one has anything good to say about her and I don’t think she ever achieved anything, least of all any happiness. Hers and my father’s life was one of bitter disappointment and I have written her part in it all……This is their legacy….

For me, with all my disadvantaged childhood, I was and still am, a very happy person, how could l not be as l am blessed with four extraordinary children, each one of great beauty and each one a light in the world…… And this is my legacy…..

My four blessings.....While l smile everyday!

My four blessings….. Why l smile everyday!

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Gilly Roots…..Boulton/Gregory…..West Midlands/Derbyshire Peak District

The Boultons, but more interesting….. The Gregory Roots!

My father’s name was Boulton, but I’m more interested in his mother’s, my grandmother’s family….. The Gregorys.

This section of the blog l dedicate to my cousin Dorothy (Dot), who was named after my mother because my dad’s eldest sister (my Auntie Harriet) was so fond of her……Nobody was ever named after my dad’s  second wife!!

This is Dot and I when we were reunited for the first time in nearly 60 years!!!

Dot is a real gem and if it wasn’t for her l wouldn’t know anything about, or have any photos of my father’s family, he never, ever talked about his family, in fact it was hard to get him to talk about anything….Thanks Dot for all you have done for me…….

How were we reunited……Dot found me through the Salvation Army via my pension!!!!!

All the information I now have has been given to me by Dot, who has been painstakingly searching  for me, my dad and our granddad for years……………

The Gregorys originated from Youlgrave in the Derby Dales……

Youlgreave or Youlgrave is a village in the Derbyshire Peak District, lying on the River Bradford, four kilometres south of Bakewell.Youlgrave nestles on the hillside above the joining of the beautiful Lathkill Dale and Bradford Dale at Alport. Set within the Peak National Park it is the largest village with a population of 1500. 

The origins of Youlgrave’s name is uncertain, but it is likely that it has reference to mining, which is a local industry. Most favoured contenders are ‘Ye Olde Grebe’ which means the old mine (rake). Or from ‘Giolgrave’, meaning yellow grove. Yellow refers to the colour of the ore. Grove may not be to do with trees but from groover which was another name for a miner, possibly it was where the old groover lived!? The family on my great grandfather’s side were miners, but my great grandmother’s family were farmers. This is my great Grandmother Harriet & Great Grandfather Thomas Gregory, with their youngest son Harry who was a professional boxer!!!
…..My Great Uncle Harry…….
My Great Uncle Harry (Gregory) My Grandmother’s youngest brother who was a professional boxer from 1929 – 1937. Harry Gregory from Walsall boxed between 1929 and 1937 with 83 professional contests. Also my grandma’s older brother James was a boxer too!
On the left is James Gregory who had 4 children – John, Thomas Robert,Bessie & May …..Aunt Bessie & May are still alive today, Aunt Bessie is probably my eldest living relative.

 


 

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My Grandmother, Harriet Boulton (Gregory) she was so beautiful and clever,  she was a tailoress, now l know where l get my artistic talent from, and it is lovely too that l have passed it on……To me that’s a beautiful thing.

This is my grandmother Harriet with her younger sister, Elizabeth (although she signed her name Elizcath Gregory on my grandmother’s marriage certificate?) my grandmother designed and made both their dresses, she is the one sitting down on the right.

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This is my grandmother Harriet with my grandfather James and their eldest child, my Auntie Harriet, my dad’s eldest sister.

 My father had two sisters, Harriet and Doris, Harriet was 3 years older and was born in 1919 and Doris was 2 years younger and was born in 1924…. My grandfather James was a complete rogue by all accounts, l knew him and wasn’t too impressed, l thought he was a tramp. He used to pop out his glass eye, which used to make my flesh crawl. l thought maybe this was a war wound, so l never showed my disgust, but now l am thinking it was because he had syphilis! Apparently he was some kind of low life that brought syphilis back to the home and infected my grandmother with it and because she was so ashamed she never went to the doctors, it went to her brain and she died by the time she was forty in 1938. Apparently my grandfather fled with my father, (who was just fifteen) leaving his daughters (eighteen & thirteen) behind. This action had a knock on effect and negative impression on my father, l feel if my grandmother hadn’t died so young, things might have been different.….BUT WOULD THINGS HAVE BEEN SO DIFFERENT THAT I WOULDN’T ACTUALLY EXIST?…….When my grandmother’s family found out the cause of her death they were suitably outraged and went after her ‘killer’ – don’t forget that 2 of my grandmother’s brothers were boxers!!!…..My grandfather James fled with my father to Aldershot where my father enlisted in the army………When the war was over he must have decided to stayed in the area, as this was where he met my mum. l don’t know where they met, possibly in the local pub, but it wasn’t by any ad. in the paper!!! 
.
 
 

 

 

 

Gilly Roots…Crumplin…The South…The Surrey Hills.

This is my grandfather William Henry Crumplin, he was a First World War Veteran who was awarded medals for bravery, but apparently he never like to talk about it……So it’s left to me to do so! 

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This is my grandfather William Henry Crumplin, he was a First World War Veteran who was awarded medals for bravery, but apparently he never like to talk about it……

Gilly Roots’ roots on my mother’s side are firmly planted on the Surrey/Hampshire border around Guildford, where most of them still live today……But a few have flown the coup as far as Australia!

This section is dedicated to my Auntie Lil, at 86 she is as bright as a button and without her help l would be struggling, God bless Auntie Lil (my mother’s sister). 

My grandfather…William Henry Crumplin.

William Henry CRUMPLIN (1896-1961)

Born 1896 (birth record 1896 Q2 Volume 2a Page 137 Farnham)

His parents were Henry/Harry CRUMPLIN (1857-1938) and Harriet AnnIe WOODERSON (1871-1952)

Below is my granddad Bill with his mother, my great-grandma Annie.  

1 grand-dad Bill with his mum Annie Crumplin [Wooderson]

So I will briefly tell my grandfather William Henry Crumplin’s story, of how he was a First World War Veteran awarded medals for bravery….My granddad Bill received The Distinguished Conduct Medal (DCM) which was an extremely high level award for bravery……

‘1685 Cpl. W. Crumplin, 7th Bn., E.W. Surr. Egt. (Farnham).
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the attack on Tara Hill, on 23rd August, 1918, when, with two other men, he dashed out in front of our advancing line & quieted a machine gun, killing two of the crew and driving the rest off. Later, he went out alone and established connection with the battalion on the left. During the whole day’s fighting he set a fine example to all ranks’. ………….London Gazette, 14th Jan 1919

Military Medal
Military Medal (UK).pngUK Military Medal ribbon.svg
Obverse of medal and ribbon
Awarded by UK and Commonwealth
Type Military decoration.
Eligibility British and (formerly) Commonwealth forces
Awarded for acts of gallantry and devotion to duty under fire
Status Discontinued in 1993
Statistics
Established 25 March 1916 (back dated to 1914)
First awarded 1914
Precedence
Next (higher) Distinguished Conduct Medal
Equivalent Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Flying Medal
Air Force Medal
Next (lower) Mention in Despatches

And also two Military Medals (MM) this was a military decoration awarded to personnel of the British Army and other services, and formerly also to personnel of other Commonwealth  countries, below commissioned rank, for bravery in battle on land. The medal was established on 25 March 1916. It was the other ranks’ equivalent to the Military Cross (MC).

 

For his bravery in the field he was appointed the King’s Sergeant, he was a very special, brave man and to be a King’s Sergeant is very rare, it has pretty much mythical standing in the army and it means that whatever happens only the King himself (well Queen now) can strip him of his appointment…..l am astonished and very proud to be a descendant of such a great man. 

 


It is so gratifying that l have been given these photographs of my granddad Bill, it gives me a picture of some parts of his life that l would not have known……Thank you so much my new-found cousins.

This is granddad Bill having a pint with his mates, he is the man in the army uniform. Ah love him! He’s the one l got the ears from….Sorry that l passed them on Honor Scarlett!!

 

 

Granddad Bill is on the right, he must’ve played cricket as this photograph is testimony to that, as he and company are all in whites……l will investigate this further?….

 

A picquet of the 10th Battalion, Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment) lie behind a wire ‘block’ on a road at St Jean during the Battle of the Lys, 29 April 1918. From the Imperial War Museum collection, with my thanks.

I wrote to Ash Museum…….And l received a wonderful response ……

Ash Museum…….. 

“I have found your granddad three times in the London Gazette, which can be viewed online”

 http://www.london-gazette.co.uk

Jan 1919 DCM for conspicuous gallantry at Tara Hill 23 August 1918.

Jun 1919 MM for bravery in the field.

Aug 1919 for second bar on his MM.   By then he was 1685 Sjt W Crumplin DCM MM 7th Bn Royal West Surrey Regiment (Farnham)”

The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment)

The Queen’s was sometimes known as the Mutton Lancers, after their “Lamb and Flag” cap badge.

7th (Service) Battalion
Formed at Guildford in September 1914 as part of K2.
September 1914 : attached to 55th Brigade, 18th (Eastern) Division.

My Granddad – Sjt W Crumplin DCM MM………….

9 ondongazettecrumplin_13 Jun_1919

1685 &jt: ‘Crumplin, W.,- D.CM., 7th Bn.
(Farnham).

9 londongazettecrumplin_20_aug_1919

1685 .Sjt. W. Crumplin, D.C.M., M.M., 7th
Bn., R.W. Surr. R. (Farnham).

9 londongazettecrumplin_14_Jan_1919

1685 Cpl. W. Crumplin, 7th Bn., E.W. Surr. Egt. (Farnham).
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in the attack on Tara Hill,  on 23rd August, 1918,  when,  with two other men,  he dashed out in front of our advancing line and quieted a machine gun,  killing two of the crew and driving the rest off.  Later,  he went out alone and established connection with the battalion on the left.  During the whole day’s fighting he set a fine example to all ranks…………..London Gazette, 14th Jan 1919

EXCITING NEW INFORMATION……….THANK YOU SO MUCH TONY, TONY & I SHARE THE SAME GREAT X 4 TIMES GRANDFATHER WILLIAM CRUMPLIN !!!

Tony says “Our common ancestor is William CRUMPLIN (1753-1838).  He is George’s grandfather.  

He is your great x 4 grandfather and is also my great x 4 grandfather”.

 

William Henry CRUMPLIN (1896-1961)

Born 1896 (birth record 1896 Q2 Volume 2a Page 137 Farnham)

His parents were Henry/Harry CRUMPLIN (1857-1938) and Harriet AnnIe WOODERSON (1871-1952)

 

He is shown in the 1901 Census as living in Farnham………

 

Class: RG13; Piece: 614; Folio: 11; Page: 13

No 5 Birmingham Buildings, Bridge Square, Farnham, Surrey

 

Head – Henry CRUMPLIN aged 40 years born Farnham, Surrey – Bricklayers Labourer

Wife – Annie CRUMPLIN aged 29 years born Farnham, Surrey

Son – William Henry CRUMPLIN aged 4 years born Farnham, Surrey

Son – Arthur George CRUMPLIN aged 3 years born Farnham, Surrey

Daughter – Louisa Annie CRUMPLIN aged 1 year born Farnham, Surrey

 

In 1911 he is again in Farnham

 

Class: RG14; Piece: 3131; Schedule Number: 75

Badshot Lea, Farnham, Surrey

 

Head – Henry CRUMPLIN aged 50 years born Crondall, Hants – Farm Labourer

Wife – Annie CRUMPLIN aged 39 years born Farnham, Surrey – Married 16 years – 7 children – 7 living

Son – William CRUMPLIN aged 14 years born Farnham – Nursery Labourer

Son – Arthur CRUMPLIN aged 13 years born Farnham -School

Daughter – Louisa CRUMPLIN aged 11 years born Farnham, Surrey – School

Daughter – Mabel CRUMPLIN aged 8 years born Farnham, Surrey

Daughter – Dorothy CRUMPLIN aged 6 years born Farnham, Surrey

Daughter – Ellen CRUMPLIN aged 2 years born Farnham, Surrey

TONY(Marchant)…….“I found William Henry’s war medal card” …….


 

“The Medal card shows that he was Private (later Sergeant) G1685 in the Queens Regiment ( West Surrey regiment).  He was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal and Military Medal (as illustrated above) and also the Victory Medal, British Medal and Star Medal.  He first served in France”………My gratitude goes out to Tony Marchant for all this information.

Bill's sisters Alice on the left and Edith [Edie]. The baby is my sister 1953

Bill’s sisters Alice on the left & Edith [Edie]. The baby is Rosemary’s sister 1953. Rosemary is my granddad’s brother Arthur’s granddaughter

I remember my grandmother Minnie May as an ideal. I have this picture of her in my mind, she had a special presence and a smell that I can still bring to mind, warm pressed clean sheets, yes, that’s it! Of her allowing me to roll out the suet pastry for a syrup roly poly pudding, which was my favourite, she used to boil it wrapped in cloth…..It was the best ever!

 

Speaking to my long lost family I recalled the pets 65e06889fab02b1e9e64115f49a10c27and remembered that my Nan Minnie May had a cat, a ginger tom called Sandy and l dressed this cat up in little clothes, maybe baby or dollies clothes, l loved it, although if l did this today l would probably be arrested by the animal police! 

l think l was thoroughly spoilt ha ha. l remember being happy, also there was some kind of fir or pine trees near to Nan’s and l have always really loved that smell too….It was because of happy memories l expect……I’ve been told more than once that my Nan doted on me.

My very first memory was of being in a large carriage pram outside in the front garden, with a cat net protecting me. Two women were gossiping beside the pram and were saying nothing is too good for this child and that l was the ‘apple of my grandmother’s eye’……What a strange and quite random memory to have? Maybe l held onto this as proof that I was once cherished and part of a family that loved me.

Everyone speaks well of my nan, well nearly everyone!

So why the bad blood between my dad and my nan?…….. My guess is she didn’t just stand by, but spoke up against my father marrying the evil Audrey, she was a strong woman who’d had a difficult life and she was born under the sign of Taurus, just like my Corrina, intuitive, formidable, but fair. It’s a strange thing, but pretty much all of my close relatives are born under the sign of Taurus, my granddad Bill was born on the 1st May, my dear mother was born on the 8th May, my nan Minnie May was born on the 9th May, & of course last but not least my first child was born on the 13th May, to me, a firm astrology freak, this is mighty significant! Now my dad on the other hand was far from fair born as he was on the Leo/Virgo cusp he had the worst Leo trait, that of thinking he was right when in fact he was very wrong, an arrogance which made him believe he couldn’t/shouldn’t be questioned. I would not, nor would I ever, under any circumstances have made the same devastating decisions…..They were truly irredeemable and disastrous! My verdict is critical…..I belonged with my nan, it’s where l should have stayed.






Motherhood – I Made My Own Family

First l made a little girl……….      Corrina born 8:25am, 13th May 1971, she was 10 days late and weighed 7lbs 1oz……..She was so cute! And tiny, tiny!

I went into labour at 1am of the 13th May and my husband Kevin (Ray) was at work, he worked nights at a factory at this time, but before l had time to call him, he walked through the door……l don’t know who was most shocked? Him, to find me in labour, or me, seeing him home as if he somehow knew, telepathically or something that l was in labour…..So weird! He just appeared as if by magic after my first labour pain, before l had even sent for him, apparently he was sent home from work because of a terrible toothache!…….He was disputing whose pain was worse ha ha! Men are such babies!

And Ray (Kev) says I remember going to the phone box for an ambulance the night Corrina was born and having to drag Chris Turnbull away from a woman in his room to look after you while I was gone. And the clinic throwing me out on the street in the early hours, they didn’t like men around in those places back then. Turned out lovely didn’t she. xxx”         Photos by the commune photographer – Gordon………. Then eighteen months later…………………………

I made a boy (Well, we made a boy ha,ha!)…….Joel was born at dawn, 6:58am, Wednesday 15th November 1972. He was 11 days late, weighed 8lbs 2oz and I had him at home, my midwife’s name was Gill White……My Christian name and my foster-parents surname! With a name like that, how could she anything other than great!

Joel was a result of the electricity strike……What else are you going to do when there’s no telly ha ha!!

Joel was the easiest birth I ever had, not just because it was the shortest labour, Just 3 hours from the very start at 3 am, but because he just swam out…….I always knew he would be a swimmer!

This photo was taken late summer 1972, no I’m not fat, I’m pregnant!! Corrina had just learnt to walk and we were out for the day with Hazel & Roy (my foster-parents) practising her new skills on the beach……For a safer landing! The dog is my old best friend George.

Out with my mother-in-law this time, it’s  summer 1973, so Joel would be 7-8 months old and we are at Margate. Joel was the perfect baby, very happy and content……Just so long as l was in view…….Mummy’s boy! Still Corrina was a proper daddy’s girl, so it just seemed fair……. That’s why she took it harder than Joel when her dad left when she was not even 5 years old…..Hey Corrina you backed the wrong horse! No, I took them both everywhere with me, these children were (and still are) my life and the best creation ever!

We were a unit and as solid as a rock………

Me and my gorgeous children out for the day with some of me mates down at the Rochester castle gardens, summer 1974.

I have never understood the attitude of some people who think their lives are over when they have kids because they are tied down, if this is a ball & chain, then it’s a gold one! Children are the gift that keeps on giving. I AM SO BLESSED!

Ray (ex-husband Kev) says……”And just in case I should die of something I’d just like to say I’m sorry for being such a crap husband and father to our children. You did a fantastic job with them, they’ve grown up to be truly lovely human beings. You’re a good mother and a good person. Think I just got married too young but then I’ve no personal regrets, we wouldn’t have Corrina and Joel if we hadn’t got together.” ………….This is indeed true and…………

Me (Gill) in reply…..”Thank you truly for such a huge compliment Ray, l really do appreciate it, yea we were really young, but as you say we have made 2 beautiful human beings, that make this world so much better. l am so proud of them. Also the times we lived in were not very conducive to marriage were they?”

I have never kept my children from what I do, be it socially or work, they are always at the centre of my life, they are why I live.

Cobham Woods was a favourite haunt for me and the crew…..We spent many happy moments here……..and indeed had parties for the kids at the Cobham Mausoleum ………….

Corrina’s fifth birthday party at Cobham Mausoleum 1976….
I made her fairy dress.
Me (Gill)….Oh my little fairy princess!”

Corrina…..I think I look more like a pixie!!!!” 

Lin…..You were such a little sweetie. (Don’t think this was the time we all left you behind in the woods!!)

Corrina….. “My children never tire of hearing that story!!! how old was I when that happened?? I think I was 8 but I could be wrong??”

Lin…….“I’m not sure but I do remember Alan searching for you in his ice cream van!”

Me (Gill)…..“Corrina was always getting lost, she was trying to leave from about 18 mths, she was off looking for more sensible parents (and ones with more money!!!!!) lol.
At the back Lin (oldest friend) then fom left my son Joel, next an almost naked Candice(daughter of another friend, Lin’s Matt, my daughter Corrina & Lin’s Heidi. Cobham Mausoleum 1976

We had the wickedest parties for the kids……In fact these are the ones l can remember the most……Maybe cause we were sober for them?

For one of Joel’s parties l can remember we (the adults) played blind-man’s bluff, it was in our smallish flat in Short’s Way, Borstal. People were moving the furniture around so I  didn’t know where or which room I was in……I can’t think when I laughed more…..almost wee-ed myself with laughing…..I think the kids thought we were very silly, they often were the only adults present haha!

THE STORY OF WHEN WE LEFT CORRINA IN COBHAM WOODS!

Yes I guess Corrina would have been eight or nine,  it has to be either late summer 1979 or summer 1980 because I was with Simon and I didn’t meet him ’til summer 1979,  a whole posse of us in various vehicles  went off to Cobham Woods for the afternoon. Come time to leave I presumed she was with her best friend Heidi, cause that’s who she was always with, in their car and they thought she was with us in our car……She was off picking flowers! She saw the cars drive off and thought ‘oh dear???’ When we got home I went round to Heidi’s house, she lived very near, to pick up Corrina and when she wasn’t there!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt the blood drain from my brain…….An unspeakable dread came over me and I was frozen like a rabbit in a headlight. All my friend’s snapped into action, Heidi stayed put with Lin, just in case Corrina showed up back home and the rest of us went back to Cobham Woods to search for her. We had all the bikers, who often rode round the woods on their bikes, all over the woods searching for her…..All the time in my head was ‘What if someone has taken her!’…………Meanwhile Corrina…..Oops, sees cars going without her, thinks ‘Drat, how am I going to get home now?’ ‘I know’ she thinks ‘I’ll catch the bus!’ and then ‘but I haven’t got any money’. Anyway she went to the nearest bus-stop and a nice old lady took her on the bus to Rochester Police Station and they brought her back home…….Mean while in Cobham Woods no sign of Corrina, the situation in my mind was getting more and more desperate…..I kept thinking ‘ What if…What if….What if I never, ever see my little girl again!’ These were the days before mobile phones.  I walked to the phone box, I decided to ring my friend Lin to tell her that we couldn’t find Corrina and that we were going to call the police and she said ‘ Don’t bother they’ve just left, and Corrina is here’ Wow all the cares of the world were lifted from my shoulders! When I saw Corrina I didn’t know whether to scold her or cuddle her……Of course I cuddled her, I never wanted to let her go!

Afterwards when thinking about it, it was definitely not Corrina’s fault in the slightest, the blame was all mine.

Me posing on the same occasion at Corrina's fairy birthday party...Good times.

Me posing on the same occasion at Corrina’s fairy birthday party…Good times.

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HOLIDAY IN THE BEDFORD ROMANY CARAVANETTE 

Most peoples biggest nightmare….Two adults and two kids and in a tiny caravanette, which you couldn’t swing a cat in…..Not so us, we had the best time ever……..
Me,  early in the morning (looks like Corrina and Joel aren’t up yet) and the beautiful Romany CA Bedford in Cornwall, Summer 1983……I loved this little camper van. We left at the end of July and came back just in time for school in September!

The four of us, Corrina , Joel, Simon and me, started our trip in Tunbridge Wells, through to the south coast and then we followed the coast-line all the way round taking in Dorset, Somerset, South Devon, all Cornwall, with a linger at Polpero,
then St Ives, North Devon and up to South Wales………..Corrina the Surfing Queen! Joel the poser!

…..Til the big wave comes…..HELP!!! Who would have thought he would turn out to be the best swimmer l’ve ever seen and as a youth a life guard!


The Rebellious Years……Turning On !

Gordon’s photograph of me late ’60s…….Gordon was a good friend at Art College.


I am having a lot of fun reading this section of my files from the time I was still under the care of the NCH in my late teens, I wish I’d asked for the reports sooner, particularly in view of losing my foster mother, so fifteen years earlier would have been in time to express my gratitude, now I know how much she did outside of the line of duty……But I know she wouldn’t want the praise as she did it all because she was committed to me. Hazel, my foster mum wanted to adopt me too, but my father wouldn’t allow it….WHY? This is also a bone of contention to me…..A bee in my bonnet you could say. I think if Hazel was allowed to adopt me it would have taken the pressure off her in many ways, for a start I was constantly measured,  weighed and assessed by the NCH…..She used to laugh and say “They are making sure I’m not beating you Gilly” But I know it was a big pain for her, and also for me. Things would have been less tense and more natural if she felt she could just relax on the heavy discipline a bit ……But she was looking after someone else’s child and it is a huge responsibility.
On my part l don’t think I would have rebelled so hard if I’d known or understood the situation better……..I was learning and rebelling, of course I rebelled because l was so tightly controlled, poked, tested and thoroughly under supervision, a person of my nature just reaches a point when they rebel, l just couldn’t take the restrictions or the pressure any more. Having said that though, l remained close to my foster mum, Hazel all of her life and my foster mum Jeanne and l are still close to this day…….
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“SINCE LAST SEEING GILLIAN THE FOSTER-PARENTS HAVE HAD THE FIRST REAL TROUBLE SINCE GILLIAN WENT TO LIVE WITH THEM……………………………

Oops, that’s the official version anyway and I’m not sure whether or not I will tell my version of events………Maybe?  I think if they really knew the full extent of it, my head would have rolled!_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 This is another extract from my NCH files, there were countless meetings with my foster parents and with the art college…… Background is l had experienced L.S.D for the first time and my whole outlook changed, well actual I was moving in that direction naturally, but this speeded up the process…. There were repercussions at Art College…..
Date 22/10/69 report by Mrs E Mason, Senior Child Care Officer 
Report on a visit to : The Medway College of Art, Rochester, Kent.

“l visited the college and had a long discussion with Mrs. Crocker who is Gillian’s tutor. Mrs Crocker stated that it is her opinion that Gillian is a very talented intelligent girl. Her design is good and her practical work very acceptable, it is unfortunate that she is unable to make the effort to concentrate at any depth, she has a very haphazard approach to life with little sense of responsibility. She is often noisy and inattentive and because of this members of staff tend to become irritated with her. 
However Mrs. Crocker says it is very noticeable that the same members of staff forgive her much more easily and quickly than they do other students and also go so far as to make excuses for her. She is a very attractive intelligent girl with a lot of charm…..”
Ha ha little did they know! l am having a lot of fun reading this part of NCH files from the my late teens, because l know what was really happening in my life…..Drugs, Sex & Rock & Roll lol ! Well a slight exaggeration, but at this time l was growing up fast, my world was expanding as l was getting involved with music, left wing politics and burnt my bra (hypothetically of course, there was no fire involved lol)……l was a fire cracker though!
l had to make my own way and my own mistakes and l learnt quickly, also l had come out of a situation of make or break, l was very sure that l was a survivor and that l knew what l wanted and more importantly what l needed in life….Freedom to grow and spread my wings……So that’s what l did!
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Hazel wrote a letter to the Senior Child Care Officer that said…….. “You should have heard from Gillian by now that she has changed her mind about leaving ……. l think the grant must have gone to her head a bit……..”  Good old Hazel, always pretty much excepted me for who and what l was. I’m sad that I hurt her in the process but one of my strong character traits is my strong independence and I think this is one of the reasons she picked me in the first place…..A double edge sword.

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I remember well all the fun of those jumble sales back in the day…..Whatever happened to them?
Here is another excerpt from my files from NCH…
Report of a meeting with Mrs E Mason. Senior Child Officer. London…..
   Gillian came to the office and we had lunch in the canteen.  She is now completely self-supporting and is managing on her major award from the Kent Education Department…….. She is clothing herself and at the moment is in a very trendy fashion, buying at jumble sales etc.,…………After our official discussion I offered to take her to where-ever she would like to go as a birthday treat. She chose to go to the King’s Road, Chelsea where we visited numerous clothes shops, coffee bars, antique shops etc., Gillian thought this was wonderful.
 I can remember this well, l had some money for my birthday and l bought a long sleeve T-shirt with a star on the front down the Kings Road, purple with a white star if my memory serves…….I’ve always loved London and always loved shopping.    

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Quote from the report above “Gillian is a very immature girl and at the moment is going through a peculiar phase in her life. She wishes to be very modern and up to date in her outlook and yet seems afraid to make decisions. Nevertheless she is a very likeable girl and these foster-parents are extremely fond of her but they are at the moment unsure how much freedom they should allow her. She has a front door key and is allowed to have friends in her flat. these are always male and she has these in great numbers. They have suggested that a few girls might be a welcome change but with no effect; I pointed out the point of safety in numbers and reassured them by suggesting that this phase will pass and that she will eventually acquire more sense”      ……………lol ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Gordon was studying photography on the floor above where I was studying fashion. The photographers often used us dress girls to experiment with, in the non biblical way l mean ha ha, but we were friends outside of the establishment.

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Our commune symbol  We had dreams of an Art commune, but in fact nobody would rent to us ‘stoned heads’ but we landed up taking over a large house, room by room, the landlord was pretty tolerant, there was all manner of shenanigans and mischief going on here ha ha! We had such laughs! Hysterical times! __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Millbrook, Borstal Road – Rochester Commune. From Attic down – Kev and me followed by Kev , me and baby Corrina, she was almost born in the attic room………………… Raymond Weatherill (Kev) “That takes me back…Our little rooms at the top of the house.Such a long time ago and I’d spend just one day  there back in time in an instant.If my memory serves me well it was all good in that  place.I remember going to the phone box for an ambulance the night Corrina was born and having to drag Chris Turnbull away from a woman in his room to look after you while I was gone. And the clinic throwing me out on the street in the early hours, they didn’t like men around in those places back then. Turned out lovely didn’t she. xxx………..”

and Chris next door in the broom cupboard!

Various people inhabited the next floor down, not all at the same time, but during the year or two we were living there –  Lee, Gordon, Tim, Don, Bunny and more……..

Kev ‘Bunny’ Warren in the window of the living room of Rochester Commune….. Late 1970 or early 1971.

Not all the the gallery photos that follow are visible, but if you click on any one they will appear as a slide show………………………..

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Here’s a recent conversation from a Facebook conversation posted in Rochester Commune and friends http://www.facebook.com/groups …….

Chris….”If I was the leader, how come I had to sleep in the broom closet? There’s something wrong about that!”

Lee.……“Luxury!” Gosh I didn’t know you were the leader??? If I’d known I would have been nicer to you.x

Chris……”Yeah, that broom closet was like a psychedelic tardis. I had a king sized bed in there made out of clouds and had a light show made from rainbows. Every night I would have ecstatic love-ins in there with all the Medway town’s hippie chicks. The Grateful Dead played there several times too. It was far out, man!!!”

Gill (me)….. Yea, l was always knocking on that broom cupboard door to tell you to keep the noise down!”

Chris…..”Yeah, but at least it wasn’t me who set the kitchen on fire, Gill!!!”

Gill (me)…..”Do you remember that? sure it wasn’t Kev!!!???”

Chris….. “Nah, I don’t remember it coz I’d gone to live with my Mother in London by then according to that newspaper report. Funny thing is my Mother never lived in London…. Maybe I was living with The Mother’s Of Invention. I don’t know, it was all so long ago. Anyway Tim told me it was you.”

Gill (me)…..”Do you remember when I set the attic on fire also? l knocked over the little paraffin fire and because we were right up in the attic the only thing to hand was the piss pot, it stunk for ages ha ha!”

Chris…..”Luckily for me, I can’t remember anything about the 60’s! Who are you anyway?”

Gill (me)……‎”?????…. It’s a shame you can’t remember cause we sure had a laugh!!!!”

Chris……”Somewhere on here earlier I thought I saw a bit asking who the landlord was?…. I can’t find it now! Wasn’t it Mr Milton?” I can’t believe he put up with us for so long. Did we ever pay him rent?”

Gill (me)…….“?????….. He was a saint or on drugs!!”

Chris…….“Sounds like everyone I knew in those days. Even the Drug Squad were on drugs!”

Gill (me)……“They were just c*****!”

Chris……“Now, now, Gill. They were just doing their job. They were lovely blokes really….. Called me Tonto!”

Lee…….“I think the Detective in charge of ‘that incident’ was named Griffen (gryphon) am I right?? There were rumours that some of the constabulary were users yes……That night of ‘the incident’ at the police station is imprinted on my memory. The sniffer dogs, getting squashed into a Black Maria, then the fingerprinting, then about 3am, just Gill and I sitting on a bench (not sure if there was another girl) in the reception area and about 15 of you guys in the tiniest of rooms all making jungle noises. Hilarious!!”

Gill (me)…..“So funny, l remember it clearly because l wasn’t on any drugs because l was pregnant, Barry on the other hand was off somewhere for about 3 days!!! ha ha !”

Chris and Lee, another masterpiece from Gordon, the photogragher

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Commune Baby…………………….

And Ray (my ex Kev) says I remember going to the phone box for an ambulance the night Corrina was born and having to drag Chris Turnbull away from a woman in his room to look after you while I was gone. And the clinic throwing me out on the street in the early hours, they didn’t like men around in those places back then. Turned out lovely didn’t she. xxx”    

This photo was taken by a photo/journalist who ran some rubbish article that was saying a load of old bull…..But the pictures are great, this was mine and Kev’s (Ray)  attic room where we lived in 1971. This was at Millbrook Rochester Commune.


STILL UNDER THE NCH – FOSTERED

LIFE WITH HAZEL

About the time l left the NC Home to live with Auntie Hazel, my foster mum, 1962. Gorilla got my hair! — with Me in front, Linda(Roy, my foster father's niece), Joyce (from NCH. Like me) and Hazel at Canterbury?

About the time l left the National Children’s Home to live with Auntie Hazel, my foster mum, 1962. Gorilla got my hair! — with Me in front, Linda(my foster father’s niece), Joyce (from NCH. Like me) and Hazel at Canterbury?

I went to live with Hazel, her husband Roy and her best friend Jeanne at the end of July 1962. This truly turned my life around…….Joyce from the home went with me at first, it was strange that the NCH should give me another girl from the home to settle me in with, and a bit cruel to send her back once I had found friends of my own. I would think this would be upsetting to Joyce and would explain why we didn’t get on that well. Let me explain….We were both visited and went on holiday with Auntie Hazel, when we were living at the home, so maybe that’s where the animosity came from? I was totally unaware of the situation, until I read it in the notes in my file from the NCH. Joyce must have felt used, and I don’t blame her.



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Just arrived to live with my new foster family…..From back left….The adults – Auntie Doris (My foster gran), Jeanne and Hazel (my joint foster mums) Mr & Mrs Thomas? (friends of Jeanne’s) Front from left….The girls – Linda (foster father’s niece), Joyce (from NCH), Me (Gilly) and Linda (Mr & Mrs Thomas’s? adopted daughter)

My Foster Mum, Hazel and Me……

Me and Hazel out at the Medway Little Theatre Club.

Hazel was a drama queen ha ha!…….No, well, she was a bit, she was an actress and a keen supporter of the dramatic arts and the arts in general and I think this was why we were somehow drawn together. The principle of the Children’s Home felt we were a good match and Hazel saw a little spark of potential in me. I’ve always had a strong creative drive ……whenever I was in trouble or down I would escape to a world that I had control over and a world that I excelled in, it was my thing! and art, drawing, painting, in fact anything even plasticine!!! Anything creative and I’d throw myself into it enthusiastically!

I was never excluded and was treated as much like an adult as she could…..I liked this very much. We had great ’60s parties and my favourite drink was Cherry B, none of us knew that this was alcoholic, so after 2 or 3 I was half cut and extremely funny…..I think they thought I was just excited about being out with the adults……I didn’t find out until I was an adult and someone calling Cherry B the ‘Chatham leg opener’……I thought this was hilarious.

I will tell you right now, I fell on my feet. I was lucky to have been picked for, or picked by, this foster family. The balance between stimulation and calm security was perfect for me. I was definitely a challenge for these good folks, as l was inexhaustible. They had to take me out for walks like a dog, without the lead though ha! It was pretty much an impossibility to wear me out and it was usually my foster parents that were exhausted , not me, I’d still be up for anything. You might say that was my problem, I could not stay still or quiet, had ants in my pants and boredom would lead me to get up to all sorts, but fundamentally I just wanted to please, so I suppose the analogy comes right back to dogs!


            
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Jeanne, Hazel & Ginger the cat and me (Gilly)


Report 24/09/1962.

‘All continues to go smoothly in this foster home and 

Gillian appears to be settled there. Mrs White said there 

were no problems. They generally find Gillian obedient 

and helpful although she naturally has her off moments 

and is sometimes a little irresponsible. On one occasion 

l gather she asked if she could bring home a friend for tea 

and arrived with 6 friends’ 

Ha Ha, not naughty, just bad at maths !!!

    

SCHOOL PHOTO first year at Christchurch Secondary Modern for Girls  Me at age 11 ......The dreaded school. A candidate for worst school photo competition.


Me at age 11…..The dreaded school photo! A candidate for worst school photo competition!

SCHOOL PHOTO first year at Christchurch Secondary Modern for Girls


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Me (Gilly aged 16) and Hazel, who was to be my mum and best friend for life.. I’m wearing a dress I designed and made……This was the summer before I went to Art College to study Fashion.

We shared many interests and were always in each others lives, respectfully, she always accepted me for who l was and guided me to being more and to reach for more on my own terms…..She fought for me, many, many times both as a child and throughout my life. She taught me so much….How l miss her…….

Here’s an example from my files……l would have been fourteen.

19.2.1965 Report by Mrs E. Mason, Senior Child Officer……….

continued….

‘Later l talked to Mrs White (Hazel my foster mum) alone. She said that the school were often complaining about Gillian (me) and her high spirits, but the foster-mother says she feels she must defend Gillian over this because the behaviour they complain about is not, in her opinion, as bad as the particular teacher makes out. Gillian questions things and this is taken for impertinence, but Mrs White (Hazel) says in the home there is never any question of defiance or bad behaviour. Both she and her friend, Miss Adams (Jeanne my foster mum’s best friend), who resides with them said that Gillian is most co-operative and gives them no cause for anxiety.’


31.8.65 Report by Mrs E. Mason, Senior Child Officer……….

continued….

“Mrs White told me that Gillian had a very controversial report from school. She seems to pit her wits against teacher and earns herself rather a bad reputation. Mrs White is very much on the defensive here as Gillian gives no trouble at all in the foster-home. She is amiable and happy”. 

At this point I would just like to say a little about my secondary school education……….I really hated it!!!

How many of us in care went to Grammar School? I believe not many, well not in my day in the 1950s & ’60s.
A couple of months ago I got my files from the time I was in the National Children’s Home (1959 – 1962 St Leonards NCH & 1962 – 1970 fostered/boarded out), and much of this information was a complete surprise to me. I didn’t realise that I was above average intelligence, because I never went to Grammar School, so assumed I was not all that, but having discovered from the tests I completed at the age of 10yrs 4mths that I achieved and I quote….

“Gillian passed all tests at year 9, four at year 10, 

three at year 11, two at year 12, three at year 13,

one at year 14, one at Average Adult level and

failed all at Superior Adult 1 level.

This gives a M.A of 11 years 4 months and an I.Q. of 110.

On the Raven Matrices she obtained a score of 28

and so falls into grade II, indicating that she is of

above average intellectual ability.

 

So, not bad eh? I wish someone had told me, it would have given me so much more confidence, I was confident in my artistic abilities, as I had won competitions, but I had the impression that my academic level was at best average and possibly poor and this stayed with me most of my life……This makes me feel deceived, but explains why I had such school reports as……“Gillian pits her wits against the teacher and earns herself a bad reputation”.……….Well that’s because I was smart and in one of the worst secondary schools in the Medway Towns and bored out of my brain, I did next to nothing, I didn’t need to………..I warn all ex members of children’s homes, who haven’t yet got hold of their files of the time they spent in care, hold onto your hats! You will find out things that had you known, could well change your whole life.

It’s like Pandora’s Box!!!!! 

 

It’s clear not everybody was on my side.

Me out with my foster dad’s mum, Auntie Doris, at Kew garden’s…..I’m wearing a suit I made for my O’level exam…..What’s wrong with that you say?…….I was wearing it out before it was marked! …..Still passed though….Just!! lol ! Check the matching gloves and shoes!

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I went to get my records from the National Children’s Home now called Action for Children, in Stockwell, London, where I met a nice woman (counsellor) and she went though the more interesting (horrifying!) parts of my records of my time in their care and this is one last stories, showing how much interest or control was kept on my life right up til the day I married………….

Report from Mrs E. Mason, Senior Child Care Officer……….

REPORT OF A MEETING WITH GILLIAN BOULTON AND KEVIN WEATHERILL
“I met Gillian and her boyfriend whom she intends to marry. My first impression of him was one of horror. He is a slow, small statured boy aged 19 with a very white spotty face and very long black hair. We found a restaurant in which to have a meal and be able to talk. In commencing our talk I was immediately impressed by this boy’s manner and common sense. He obviously thinks very deeply and has the courage of his convictions. He maintained that he loved Gillian deeply. He wished to be with her and he considered marriage a good thing and the right way to live. He has no religious beliefs as such but his own conception of God and what he considers the right way to behave, think and act. After a while I was able to discuss his appearance. he accepted this in a very good natured way. I pointed out that on first sight people would be inclined to condemn and not take the trouble as I had done; to try and discover what he was really like and this could lead

He accepted advice on this aspect most pleasantly. He told me he has a family in Rochester, parents, a brother 17 and a sister 15. His parents approve of Gillian and he thinks, welcomes this marriage because they imagine it may give him stability. He works as a painter and decorator and intends to join a firm who were willing to give him a permanent post although at present he is self employed. He would like Gillian to continue the course at her college for the final year.

Gillian listened to this conversation with great interest. She is very pleased to see that in spite of the boy’s appearance l was willing to listen to him and discuss marriage. These two young people are obviously very much in love and l feel that Gillian will benefit from this relationship in spite of appearances. l like this boy and feel she should be helped towards providing for herself the roots that her father was unable to give her. She has written to her father but has had no reply. She intends to marry on June 20th.

 

IN CARE at St Leonards NCH (1959 -1962).

The form that says it all !…..Well interestingly enough it doesn’t actually say my name! It has a blank where my name should be…..Very strange how that was overlooked, anyway it was me that went into care!  

Signed, sealed and delivered, one little girl……..

I WENT UNDER THE WING OF THE NATIONAL CHILDREN’S HOME ON 3rd NOVEMBER  1959. I was 8 years old. 

 

Quote from Admission form……..

“What special circumstances give the child a claim to be admitted to the National Children’s Home?

“GILLIAN HAS A STEPMOTHER & IT HAS NOT BEEN POSSIBLE FOR GILLIAN & THE STEPMOTHER TO LIVE IN THE SAME HOUSE WITHOUT CONSTANT CONFLICT. THE STEPMOTHER IS PATHOLOGICALLY JEALOUS.”

*Note that on the form where it says ‘GRANDPARENTS’ my father left this blank, denying both my grandparents and me to any contact……This is the thing l find the hardest to understand and forgive him for, why did he take everything from me? And so it was that l went into care……l lost all my dead mother’s family who were ever bit as attached to me as l was to them……l hadn’t one single photograph of any of them, or any of myself….They had disappeared and so had l !!! l had nothing………..


 


National Children’s Home Charity, now renamed ‘Action for Children‘ was started nearly 150 years ago. These images show its early days, the boys and girls it took off the streets, and the building it inhabited.

1st National Children's Home. The charity's original residence in Church street, Waterloo, London

1st National Children’s Home. The charity’s original residence in Church street, Waterloo, LondonThomas Bowman Stephenson, the Methodist minister who founded the charity in 1869. He was assigned to a poor London parish and was determined to do something about the poverty, unemployment and neglect that he encountered

Some of the children cared for....

Some of the children cared for….London’s streets accommodated many orphaned, neglected or abandoned children in 1869

1 Action-for-Children-

Malmesbury House long time before it was the National Childrens Home. — at St Leonards on Sea.

MALMESBURY HOUSE, NCH. ST LEONARDS On Sea, SUSSEX.

In 1953, the National Children’s Home (NCH) opened its new Malmesbury House premises at 125 West Hill Road, St Leonards on Sea, Sussex. The property, a former convalescent home, received its initial intake from the NCH’s home at Malmesbury in Wiltshire and had been renamed in commemoration of this.

Once in the home l was measured, poked and tested every 6 months……..

PSYCHIATRIST’S REPORT……..17th May 1961. 

Gillian Boulton d.of b. 18.12.50. C.A.10:4. M.A.11:4 I.Q. 110.

“Gillian passed all tests at year 9, four at year 10, 

three at year 11, two at year 12, three at year 13,

one at year 14, one at Average Adult level and

failed all at Superior Adult 1 level. This gives a M.A

of 11 years 4 months and an I.Q. of 110.

   On the Raven Matrices she obtained a score of 28 and so falls into grade II, indicating that she is of above average intellectual ability.

   Gillian is an attractive little girl who was friendly and co-operative throughout the interview. She is of an affectionate disposition and is very sensitive. She wishes to please but is only too aware of her inability to often do so. She is imaginative and has a great feeling for beauty. If reality becomes too harsh this child will be liable to retreat into her private inviolable dream world, but she is most responsive to a friendly approach and and able to form good and effective relationships”

However my relationship with my father was somewhat difficult and unresolved. But, I never stopped believing in him, I always thought he would come and take me back home, but he never did…...I believe this is my nature, as l am fiercely loyal. Maybe I’m too optimist and blind-sighted in the face of devotion?…..Unconditional love.

In my NCH notes from the time they say that l’m always very excited of the prospect of any visits by my father, but as soon as he arrives they note that l become very subdued and quiet. Those that know me well, know that I come straight out with stuff, well, when it came to my dad, I didn’t, I should have said “pick me!” l should have said we can get through this together, but I was struck dumb in his presence, unable to say what I wanted to say – Why? Well, for fear if I spoke up I would lose him too, which ironically I did anyway, so (unnaturally) I kept quiet……A rare thing for me!

The moral of this story is speak up, however hard it is – don’t miss the opportunity to make yourself heard, if no one listens, shout louder, never give up. Don’t hand yourself over to fate without a fight !!

I can remember having this picture taken, it has remained in my memory because it captures a when l was in trouble, l had to go before Mr Craig, head of Malmesbury house and this is the story……..Every year at Christmas time, one of the children in the home get picked out to have a special gift and (for whatever reason?) that year l was chosen. So this particular Christmas l received the pram in the photo, but l wasn’t allowed to push it down the hill for the picture, because the day before l had been caught riding the pram down the same hill go-cart Style! l am the little girl at the bottom of the hill with the boys ha ha. l was a bit miffed, but fair cop gov’ner!

 

Mr Arthur Craig, Governor of Malmesbury House.

Sometimes, because l was a bit of a ‘live wire’, l had to go before the head of Malmesbury house and this was him….Mr Craig, actually he wasn’t too scary, he was very nice, a kind man, he was held in the greatest respect by everyone, staff and children alike. Mr Craig knew all of our background stories and took interest in us as individuals. He saw that l excelled in the arts and so placed me with a creative family, when l was fostered he came with Sister Marjorie to make sure l was happy in my new home…..l think that was very thoughtful.

 

Sister Marjorie Chapman

l really don’t know how l would have survived without Sister Marjorie, seriously life was made bearable by her, l owe her so much it is impossible for me to properly explain. Within the home there were six family units, each one looked after by a sister, but this sister was more like a mother to me, l really loved her….Sister Marjorie was  an angel….Well you can see by just looking at the photograph of her the humour and warmth she radiates. l was quite sensitive, but very  spirited (possibly naughty? well just a little ha ha!) but she understood, never did she lose her temper or shout, she always listened to your point of view, because l always had an excuse for every naughty deed! Sister Marjorie was clever with her hands too, she was a very accomplished dressmaker and had the patience to show me how to make things. She knew about all the little preferences the girls had and from one batch of fabric she would conjure up several different designs for all us girls to be different, she was so gifted. The one downside to being fostered was that l had to leave my Sister Marjorie, it was like pulling teeth!….l have never forgotten her.

 

SISTERS OF THE CHILDREN.

  


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Me (Gilly) with Yogi Bear, Linda, my foster parents niece, Joyce (also from the home) & Auntie Hazel, soon to be my foster mum………..When l first went to live with her it was strange that the home should give me another girl (Joyce) from the home to settle me in with, and a bit cruel to send her back once l had found friends of my own. l would think this would be upsetting to Joyce and would explain the slight resentment that l felt from her………We were both visited and went on holiday with Auntie Hazel, when we we both lived at the home. l went to live with her, her husband Roy and her best friend Jeanne at the end of July 1962. This truly turned my life around………l always did fall in the sh**  and come up smelling of Roses he he!

Unfortunately Joyce was not so lucky.