Looking back a couple of days to that incredible headstone for Guy Willock, it seems that he came from a very interesting family.
Guy was the son of Charles Johnston Willock, who was born around 1863 in Shalymanpore (sp?) India and his wife Eleanor Maud Hawes. The couple married in Brighton in 1890 and by the time of the 1891 census lived at 66 Lansdown Road in Hove. Charles described himself as a student of law in the Inner Temple at that time. Guy was born towards the end of 1891 by which time the family were resident in Richmond, Surrey. He was baptised on 5 February 1892 at Richmond.
In 1901 Guy was boarding at school in Rottingdean, and sadly was bereaved of his mother in 1902 when she was just 34 years old. Charles remarried in 1906 and a half sister to Guy was born in 1908. In 1911 Guy showed on the census with his father, now a barrister, and half-sister Joan at 16 Warwick Square, London. Guy was at that time an undergraduate at King’s College, Cambridge. There were also six servants at the 19 roomed property.
It seems that Guy’s father was not a man to be lost for words – as an addendum to the 1911 census entry, he added: ‘I can fill in no further details as all the servants decline to give me any information as a protest that women are not given a parliamentary vote.’
Guy’s entry in the King’s College records state that he had previously attended Eton, and was admitted to the university on 4 October 1910, attaining a B.A. in 1913. He was admitted to the Inner Temple and was a member of the O.T.C. at Eton and Cambridge, holding a commission from 1912.
We’d been planning the trip to the battlefields for months – I was determined I was going to get there for the centenary commemorations of the battle at Vimy, and when I saw that Clive from Battle Honours was hosting a trip I booked before I’d even seen the itinerary. With a late morning pick up from the free port at Dover, it was sensible to do the 250 mile trip there the day before. We opted for a cheap and cheerful night at the local Premier Inn, had a great meal at the pub adopted by the channel swimmers, and woke on the Friday morning to the news that there was to be a world record attempt that day.
Depending on which news outlet you use, there were 82, 85 or 100 hot air balloons in the world record attempt to cross the channel. When we saw the item on the breakfast news, they were just about to set off, so we hot footed it outside to be treated to the spectacular sight of dozens of hot air balloons passing directly overhead and gently out to sea. My photography skills are pretty appalling, but good enough to remind us what an amazing sight we were witnessing. One of the balloons almost didn’t make it over the harbour wall, but recovered and gained height just in time to pass over and rejoin the rest of them for the trip to France.
What a great way to start the weekend; an unexpected treat before breakfast – beautiful weather. It all bodes well for a very special trip!
Apologies for the delay in posts; our week in Cornwall was quickly followed by a long weekend in Northern France commemorating the Centenary of the Battles of Arras and Vimy. There will, no doubt, be plenty more posts about the weekend to bore you with, but for now, I just want to share a couple of pictures that have been passed on to me by Alan, a fellow traveller who we first met several years ago on one of our first battlefield walks.
The first is a picture that he took which tells so poignantly how bereft a soldier’s sister felt when her brother didn’t come home from war.
The second one is a picture that Alan took of a headstone in the Dud Corner Cemetery, Near Loos. Captain Willock died on 25 September 1915 aged 23. What’s so interesting about his headstone is the sheer amount of wording detailed after his service details. Most headstones have little, if any inscription beneath the official wording. The family of the deceased man was expected to pay for these additional words, apparently at a rate of 3d per letter. Many families would have been unable to afford this added expense, and a lengthy epitaph could be seen to indicate something of the financial status of the grieving family. This one is undoubtedly the longest inscription that I’ve ever seen on a soldier’s headstone!
With a touch over 200 characters, this should have cost around £2.50, equating to about £100 in today’s monetary value. There may well be a bit more information about Guy Charles Boileau Willock later this weekend.
Thank you to Alan for allowing me to use his images 😉
Another beautiful day for weather and scenery – by now we’re wondering how long it can last. More fun things to see amidst all of the old buildings and modern shops. I was ticked off for taking a picture of the astronomical clock in the old church we visited, which was interesting, as there were probably another hundred or so people also taking pictures……
Oh, and another dramatic sunset to add to my collection
After two days of washing and ironing, finally I get round to uploading my holiday photos!
The first stop we made was at Zeebrugge, from where we ventured inland to Bruges. Lots to see there, as well as great beer and chocolate! One of the things I was most pleased to see was a display of ceramic poppies related to the Poppies for Peace project. They were visible from the road as we walked around town, but easier to get close to from the river.
So many beautiful things to take pictures of; too many to post all of them, but here’s a selection of some of the fun ones:
Oh, and the sunset was pretty, too!