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Ronald Basil Girdler

1925 - 2017


Helene Girdler

1927 - 2020

Elizabeth (b.1884)

Elizabeth was always known to me as "Auntie Liz". She married twice, the first marriage being to Hawtin and they had a son Tom. Her second marriage was to Moses (known as "Mo") Collins, who was a postman, and they lived first over the chemist's shop on the corner of King Street, Walton, then moved to Rochdale and returned to Felixstowe in the late 1920's, In Felixstowe, they first had a house in St. Andrews Road, then moved to Margaret Street and lastly to a bungalow on the Council Estate, in Brackley Close. They had 2 daughters who died in infancy and a son, Herbert (known as "Herby", born in 1913). In addition, they looked after and brought up her grandson, Tommy Hawtin (the son of her son Tom) after he had been left an orphan by the death of his parents when he was only 3 years old. I remember them all well, as my parents used to take us to Walton from time to time for our summer holidays. The whole family always seemed to be happy and cheerful and I have good memories of those times. Uncle Mo was quite a keen gardener and had an allotment, and I recall one occasion when he brought back some prize specimens of red cabbage to the house. I liked Walton and Felixstowe very much and remember going on the beach at Felixstowe and then stopping at the ice-cream shop at the top of Bent Hill for a delicious ice-cream on the way back. Another enjoyable memory was a visit to the Harwich Regatta.

At one time, Auntie Liz was the manageress of Fludger's Hotel during the summer season. After Uncle Mo retired from the Post Office, he and Auntie Liz ran a fish and chip shop in Great Yarmouth and I remember one holiday we spent there just after the war when I was on leave from the R.A.F. My father and I cycled from our home in Colindale, London, all the way to Great Yarmouth on a tandem (taking 2 days each way) and my mother and sister went by train. Uncle Mo showed me how he smoked herrings to produce kippers and we had the most delicious fish and chips for supper, the fish being fresh out of the sea that morning. I remember having a

contest with Tommy Hawtin to see who could eat a whole Spanish onion first! Later on, the family unfortunately suffered from illness. I remember that Tom (Hawtin) died in 1936 at a very early age after being in great pain in hospital. Uncle Mo suffered badly from rheumatism in his later years and had to be taken around in a wheelchair. Herby married Rene Rudd, and he also suffered badly from rheumatism later on and died in middle age. Rene Is presently living in Bradwell.

Uncle Mo died on 22nd June 1959 (aged 72) and Auntie Liz died on 16th April 1961 (aged 77). They are both buried in Walton cemetery. Shortly before Auntie Liz died, there was a meeting of the 5 remaining children of William Stephen and Mary Ann i.e. Auntie Liz, Auntie Lil, Auntie Tal, Uncle Fred and my mother, Louisa. A photograph taken on this occasion is shown opposite.

Lily Maud(b.1885)

Lily Maud was always known to me as "Auntie Lil". She married Frederick Arthur Rudd (the uncle of Rene Rudd) in 1904 and they lived at 51, King Street, Walton. From information on a Permit Book issued in 1916, she was 5'4" tall and had dark brown hair and blue eyes. Frederick Arthur was always known as "Uncle Bonker" and the family had a nickname for each member. They had 8 children in all as follows:-

Hilda (nicknamed "Wigs")

Fred (nicknamed "Shonk")

Arthur (nicknamed "Wit")

Mabel (nicknamed "Shine")

George (nicknamed "Punch")

Lilian (nicknamed "Shriggy Diggy")

Joan (nicknamed "Piddlearse")

Alfred (nicknamed "Tin Poke")

Uncle Bonker had several occupations over the years. He worked tor some time at a local laundry, became a self-taught engineer and worked at several jobs to do with engines, including looking after the engine in a brick works. Later on in life, he drove the steam roller for the local council, rolling the newly-tarred roads in Walton and Felixstowe. He finally died on 4th May 1959 (aged 76) and Auntie Lil died on 3rd March 1963 (aged 77). They were both buried in Walton Cemetery.

Concerning their children:-

Hilda married John Davis and they lived in Putney and had 3 daughters - Daphne(b.1928), Jean(b.1930), Jill(b.1932), and a son - John(b.1932-twin with Jill). Hilda and John died in the 1960's.

Fred married Ada Kate West (known as Cissie) and they lived in Felixstowe. They had no children. Fred was in the Salvation Army and at one time owned 3 fish shops and a greengrocer's shop in Felixstowe, but sold all his shops before he retired, some years before he died.

Arthur married Joy ---- and used to manage one of his brother Fred's shops before he left Felixstowe in 1955 to start his own business in Slough. Arthur and Joy had 2 daughters - Jacqueline (b.1941) and Frances (b.1942). Jacqueline was born brain damaged and has lived in a Colchester hospital since she was 7 years old - she is now 50. Arthur and Joy lived in Alresford and were very keen golfers and played regularly on the local course. I played him once at my own golf club and he beat me easily! Joy died in February 1991 and Arthur has recently suffered with heart problems.

Mabel married twice, firstly to Clifford Elliot and then, after a divorce, to Sack Cotton. She had 3 children from the first marriage - Pat (b.1931), Peter (b.1933) and Anne (b.1936) - and one child from the second marriage - Linda (b.1943). Mabel lived in Birmingham from the early war years and died ca. 1966.

George managed one of his brother Fred's shops for a time before he started up his own business in Felixstowe. His wife, Dorothy, died in October 1991 and they had one son, Ronald (b.1934). George retired in the late 1980's and had two hip replacements before his wife died - he is still walking very well and managing to look after his home and himself.

Lilian married Harry Taylor and they lived at 95, Station Road, Felixstowe, but have recently moved to 78, Leopold Road. They have one daughter, Kathleen (1).1954), who married Matthew Ashworth and gave them 2 grandchildren - Luke (b.1987) and Lauren (b.1990).

Joan married three times, her third husband dying in 1987. She had one son, Clive (b.1955), who is married and living in Birmingham.

Little is known about Alfred, but it is thought that he married at least twice, each ending in divorce, and had 2 sons - Stephen (b.1947) and Nicholas (b.1953).


William married and had 2 sons. He was a naval man by profession and lived to a good age. He died in April 1968 at the age of 82.

Sarah Rebecca(b.1889)

Sarah Rebecca was known to all of us as "Auntie Tal". She was always cheerful and never seemed to be unhappy. She had an infectious laugh and was always fun to be with. She was born in Walton in 1889 (Certificate 6) and married Thomas Henry Denton in 1924 when she was 35 and he was 30. Thomas Henry (known as Harry) was a purser on board ship and travelled all over the world, but unfortunately became quite ill and died at the very early age of 40 on 18th. December 1934. They had no children.

Auntie Tel was working before she was married with 2 of her sisters at Frascati's restaurant in Earl's Court, London, where she was dealing with the roast dinners, and living in lodgings in Kempsford Gardens, Earl's Court. After the death of her husband, she was working at one stage as a chambermaid in a hotel. She lived in Woolston, Southampton, not far trom the "floating bridge" across the mouth of the River Itchen. She was a fairly frequent visitor to my parents house in Colindale, and was always laughing and cheerful. She later moved to a warden-controlled flat in Tankerville Road, Southampton, and after my parents died she came to stay occasionally at our house in Surrey. She led a full life and belonged to various social clubs in Southampton. Still lively to the last, she had a stroke and died in 1973, aged 84.


George was engaged to Edie Smith when he went to fight in the Army during the First World War. Edie was (according to my Auntie Tal) a lovely, friendly girl who got on extremely well with the rest of the family, and she was heartbroken when she learned that George had been killed on active service. He was a sergeant with the Royal Garrison Artillery and was killed on the 31st. May 1916, aged only 26.



Uncle Ben worked as a golf course greenkeeper for most of his life. He married Annie ----- and they had 3 children. The 2 sons were Ben and Harold and the daughter's name was Evelyn. I met them all only once as far as I can remember. Photographs of Uncle Ben and the 2 sons are shown opposite.

Uncle Ben died at the early age of 47 in 1940. I was told that his premature death was as a result of hitting his head and causing a stroke, but have no confirmation of this.


Auntie Mabel married William Blunden and they had 2 daughters - Kath and Winnie. She did not have the best of health, and during the brief time I saw her at my parent's house I remember that her husband (Uncle Bill) had to carry her upstairs to bed as she was not well enough to climb the stairs herself. She died in 1930 at the early age of 36.

Uncle Bill lived on in their house in S. London (New Malden?). I remember that he was a keen fisherman and spent some time at this hobby. The 2 daughters were both married, but I was informed that Winnie had unfortunately contracted multiple sclerosis fairly early in life.

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