Category Archives: Redhill

Streeter family update

After I published the original post on the Streeter brothers I was contacted by their relative Christine Johnson, and she supplied photos from the family album, with permission to use them. It’s taken a while for me to have chance to research further around them, but here they are.

Firstly, the original of the image that appeared in The Ringing World and local newspapers after Albert’s death, and the memorial card created by the fmaily:

Then an image of William jr:

A man shown full length, wearing army uniform, he has his right hand on a prop garden wall. A background behind him (probably a painted cloth) shows a formal garden scene

William Streeter jr in the uniform of the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment), recognisable by the Lamb and Flag cap badge, standing in front of a studio background. He’s carrying a walking out cane, and has some sort of braid over his left shoulder, these may also be studio props. Probably taken shortly after joining up in about September 1914, or just before he was posted to France, he arrived there on 1 June 1915

There’s a later image of William jr with his wife:

A man stands on the left of the photo, wearing army uniform. On his right sleeve, at the bottom are four overseas stripes, showing service outside the UK during the First World War, half way up the upper-arm is some sort of badge (not easily made out) an inch or two square. His shoulder titles are also not easy to make out, but do not appear to be very long. On the right is a seated woman, wearing a wedding dress, and a ring on the ring finger of each hand. On his left breast he has a single medal ribbon, probably that of the 1914-15 Star

William Streeter jr pictured with his wife, Susannah “Nessie” Leaven, presumably on their wedding day, 26 April 1919.


With confirmation that he married, I was able to track down the marriage certificate. William Streeter (26, a soldier) and Susannah Leaven (22) on 26 Apr 1919 at Holy Trinity, Finchley. Fathers’ names William Streeter (recorded as a farmer, whether this was a misunderstanding by the vicar, or a deliberate attempt to “sanitise” the fact it was a sewage farm isn’t clear) and Abdy Leaven. The address for both is given as 9 Prospect Place. The second marriage recorded on the same page of Arthur Edgar Hill (20, a soldier) and Ellen Louisa Connor (20) who also both give their residence as 9 Prospect Place, one of their witnesses is Rhoda Streeter, sister of William, while one of William and Susannah’s witnesses is Dorothy Grace Hill, presumably a sister of Arthur. They had a son, Kenneth W, on 15 February 1927 in the Barnet registration district, and a daughter Binnie J, in Halstead, Essex, in 1933. By 1939 the family were living at Mount Pleasant, Stoke Goldington, Newport Pagnell. William’s death was registered in Northampton in the first quarter of 1967.

Perhaps most interesting were the photos of William sr, showing that he also served during the war:

I’ve not been able to find a matching profile on Lives of the First World War: given his age it seems likely that he would only have served in the UK, so he would not have been eligible for campaign medals, and so would not have profile. This does though raise the possibility that it was actually William sr who is listed on the roll of honour, not William jr, although the unit is stated as Queen’s, not Royal Engineers. I never could find any evidence of William jr ringing in Surrey, and we can now see that he had moved away from the area straight after the war.

There was also a photo of him with the Redhill ringers in 1902 (I made use of this in the post on Henry John Dewey):

Five men standing and three seated, all wearing suits, and several with flowers in their lapels. They are arranged in front of a church doorway.

The ringers at St John’s, Redhill, when they rang to mark the Coronation of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra on 9 August 1902. Edward Dewey is named as steeplekeeper, and is probably the man seated in the middle of the front row. The man at the right of the back row marked “My grandad” is William Streeter (father of the Streeter brothers).

Finally, some photos more closely related to other members of the family, a wedding photo of Ellen Jane Streeter and Augustine Chandler:

A group of people around a wedding couple, pictured in front of a large wooden door or gate in an ivy-clad brick wall. In the front are some children sitting or standing on the ground, then a row of seated adults, and a row of standing adults at the rear, just in front of the wall

The full wedding party for the wedding of Augustine “Austin” Chandler and Ellen Jane Chandler at Redhill on 17 June 1919

In the bottom right is a man in army uniform, cropping this section out for a closer view, it seems evident that this is William jr, with his father (William sr) to his immediate right, and then his wife Nessie. William jr’s shoulder titles now seem to be the later form of fusilier shoulder titles, with the flaming grenade now separated from the letters representing the regimental title.

Three adults in what are probably their best clothes, seated on wooden chairs, the man on the right is in army uniform, with the flaming grenade of a fusilier regiment just about visible on his collar strap. A young child is seated on the ground in front of them, and four other adults standing behind are partly visible

Crop from photo of the wedding of Augustine “Austin” Chandler to Ellen J Streeter: the seated adults are believed to be (from left to right) Susannah “Nessie” Leaven, William Streeter sr and William Streeter jr (compare with other named photos)

In addition to the photos I also tracked down a local newspaper account of the funeral of William sr in 1942, Surrey Mirror, 9 January 1942, p7:

THE LATE MR W STREETER.-The funeral took place on Wednesday of Mr William Streeter, who passed away, following upon a fall, at 9 Park-lane, Coulsdon, the home of his son, on December 31st, at the age of 71. Mr Streeter was for many years in the employ of the Reigate Town Council at the Corporation Farm. He was conscientious in the discharge of his duties, and was much respected. He was also a member of St John’s Church bellringers for many years. His wife predeceased him in 1935. The funeral service was held at Reigate Parish Church, the Vicar (the Rev R Talbot) officiating, and the internment was in the family grave in Reigate Cemetery. The mourners were: – Mr W Streeter (son), Mr and Mrs R T Streeter (son and daughter-in-law), Mr and Mrs G Chandler [sic] (son-in-law and daughter), Messrs G and S Streeter (sons), and Mr and Mrs R L Taylor (son-in-law and daughter). There were a number of beautiful flowers.

The 1939 Register shows that William sr was living with the Chandlers at 1 Holmside Cottage, Dorking Urban District, Surrey, England when the register was compiled on 29 September.

To bring the First World War service of the family together, I’ve created an additional community in Lives of the First World War for the member’s of the family who served. Hopefully I’ll be able to create a profile for William sr at some point.

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Harold Dennis (1894-7 November 1916†)

Harold Dennis (Lives profile) was another son of a ringer at Redhill, like the Streeter brothers. Harold was born in Farningham, Swanley, Kent in mid-1894, the second child of Edward Dennis and Susan Martha (neé Cousal). They had married at All Saints, Wandsworth on 24 January 1891 when both were living at 57 Cambourn (or Camborne) Road. He was 30 and a gardener and she was 26. They were still living at the same address when the census was taken at the end of March. The census shows that Edward was originally from Leigh in Surrey, while Susan was from Reading, Berkshire.

By the time that their first child was born in the first half of 1892 they had moved to Farningham, Swanley, Kent. The birth of Mabel Emily Dennis was registered in the Dartford registration district in the second quarter of 1892. Harold’s birth was also registered in that district in the third quarter of 1894.

The family then moved to Redhill before the birth (or at least the baptism) of Edith Dennis. She was baptised at St John’s Redhill on 6 December 1896, with the baptismal record noting that she was born on 17 September 1896. Edward is still recorded as a gardener. She was followed by Charles Edward Dennis on 4 February 1900 (baptised 15 April 1900). At the 1901 census the family were living at 11 Carter’s Row Cottages. The family was completed with the arrival of Herbert Dennis on 21 January 1903 (baptised 5 April 1903).

The family were still at 11 Carter’s Row Cottages at the 1911 census. Harold had now followed his father into work as a gardener. Mabel Emily had left the family home and was boarding at 10 Elm Road, East Sheen, and working as a teacher at a church elementary school. The rest of the children were still at school.

Edward features quite frequently in ringing reports from Redhill. Harold was elected to the Surrey Association on 24 July 1914, so had probably been ringing for a little while before that. In 1915 he rang the treble to two quarter peals of Grandsire Triples at Redhill. In the first the band was joined by Pte C A Hughes, a London ringing serving with 17th Battalion (County of London), London Regiment, then stationed nearby, but about to leave the district. In the second they were bolstered by F W Bailey, one of the Bailey brothers of Leiston, Suffolk, very well-known ringers, who was serving with 9th Battalion, Suffolk Regiment.

The amount of war gratuity paid out after Harold’s death indicates that he joined up around June 1915. The Ringing World of 9 July 1915 reports that he was with 3rd Battalion, The Queen’s. Army records show that he enlisted at Guildford. The battalion was then at Rochester, serving as both training unit and on home defence duties. Harold completed his training in October, and was posted to 8th Battalion in France on 13 October 1915. 8th Queen’s, along with the rest of 24th Infantry Division had suffered a real baptism of fire at Loos, with the battalion losing 439 men killed, including 12 officers, and similar (and even worse) losses in other battalions of the division. The battalion was in desperate need of reinforcements.

Harold would have been with the battalion when they suffered a German gas attack at Wulverghem in 1916, and then during the Battle of the Somme in the Battle of Delville Wood and the Battle of Guillemont. By November 1916 they had been moved back up to the old Loos battlefield, then relatively quiet. Rotating in and out of the trenches. On 7 November 1916 the war diary records “One casualty – killed – aerial dart”. These were very simple weapons, little more than steel rods, often dropped from aircraft. He was taken to the cemetery at Philosophe, Mazingarbe, for burial.

His death was recorded at the next AGM of the Surrey Association, and of course he is on the roll of honour of the Association, and the Central Council for Church Bell Ringers. The current band marked the centenary of his death with a quarter peal (appropriately of Grandsire Triples) at Redhill on Sunday 6 November 1916. They had also previously marked Albert Streeter’s death.

William Maynard (3 July 1887-25 September 1915†)

William Maynard (or Lives of the First World War) was the son of William Maynard senior and Elizabeth, nee Whitmore who had married around 1884. William was born on 3 July 1887, and baptised at St John’s Redhill on 21 August. Possibly a sister Lilian was born 25 June 1890. At the 1891 census, and for several years after, the family lived at 8 Lower Road, Meadvale. The household at this time comprised William, his father and mother, and a boarder, William Whitmore – presumably in fact Elizabeth’s father. There is no sign of Lilian – the only Lilian Maynard in the area is the daughter of another William and Elizabeth Maynard at Pimlico Cottages, Nutfield, so possibly she was not a sister of William at all.

A brother James George was born 24 September 1891 and another sister, Elizabeth Kate “Kitty” was born 12 December 1894. By 1901 it seems that his mother was ill, while the 1901 census records the rest of the family (or at least the two Williams and James – it is not clear where Kitty was) at 8 Lower Road. Elizabeth appears to be at the Victorian and Surrey Homes, Bognor. Sadly she died later in the year, and was buried in the churchyard of St Mary, Reigate on 18 September 1901. In 1901 William junior is recorded as working as a grocer’s errand boy.

William senior remarried quite soon afterwards (it was not easy being a single father with young children), to Annie Back (31) at St Matthew, Redhill, on 1 November 1902. More family tragedy was to follow, Annie had a son (a half-brother to William junior), Harold Herbert Back Maynard, on 3 December 1905, but sadly he was buried in the churchyard of St Mary’s, Reigate, on 15 September 1906. Annie had another child, a daughter, Eveline in 1908. The family had now moved to 75 St John’s Redhill.

When William junior actually started ringing isn’t clear, but he is reported as ringing the treble to a Quarter Peal of Grandsire Triples at Redhill on Sunday 8 January 1911, along with W Streeter, E Harman, A Gear, A Bashford, G Croucher, H Card and H Edwards. Other reports suggest that Redhill were only just trying to build a band at this stage.

By the 1911 census in early April William junior had become a carpenter and joiner, and the family were now living at 1 Lavender Cottage, Masons Road, Redhill. William senior was a brick maker and James a bricklayer’s labourer. Kitty is shown as a worker, but with no specific occupation.

With the outbreak of war, William did not join up immediately, and it was only on 12 or 13 January that he travelled to Guildford to enlist with the Queen’s (Royal West Surrey Regiment), becoming Private G/4189 (the G standing for General Service, indicating a wartime enlistment). His own service record does not survive, but those of 4187 Henry David Witham and 4196 John Allen did, and allow us to conclude when he enlisted. It is also based on those records that it seems that he trained with 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion in Rochester until around April when he was posted to the 1st Battalion in France. Their war diary records the arrival of a draft of 1 serjeant and 59 privates on 25 April, when the battalion was at Bethune, and of 50 NCOs and men on 8 May when they were at Le Hamel. It is probable that William was in one of these two drafts (having spent some time at an Infantry Base Depot on arrival in France). He would probably have seen action at the Battle of Aubers in May when they were part of 3 Brigade in 1st Division. This battle was a disaster for the British, the Queen’s were not among the hardest hit battalions as they were largely in reserve, as Corps troops for 1 Corps, under the direct control of the Corps Commander. They were in a similar position during the Battle of Festubert in the second half of May. June was a quiet month, and for part of July they were involved in improving the trench system between Cuinchy and Givenchy. Then came the news that there were to be posted to 5 Brigade which they joined at Bethune on 21 July. They moved into the trenches at Cuinchy on 25 July, and although a quiet period soon began to suffer casualties. For the remainder of July and August they went through the usual routine of swapping in and out of the line. This continued for the first part of September, but on 25 September they went into action as the Battle of Loos began, this was then the largest scale action by the British Army in the war to this point, and the first large scale use by the British of gas in an attack (this did not go entirely to plan as in some areas gas was blown back into the British trenches). The battalion was not in the first wave, but was soon committed. By the end of the day the battalion had 9 officers and 266 other ranks as casualties (killed, wounded or missing). They were far from the worst hit battalion. Among their casualties was William Maynard. He has no known grave and is commemorated on the Loos Memorial. His war gratuity, just £3 (as he had less than one year’s service), was paid to his stepmother.

Redhill, St John – the Streeter family

St John, Redhill had the second-highest casualty rate in the association. Three out of five of the ringers who went to war did not return. Two of the ringers listed were from the Streeter family, brothers Albert (killed) and William (who survived). Their father was also was also a ringer, and apparently had at least one more son who served (though the report which tells us this states that only one son was a ringer). The other two men killed were William Maynard and Harold Dennis. Maynard had previously been misidentified on the Central Council roll of honour.

The final man is listed as H Edwards. The 1911 census gives two candidates, Harry William Edwards and Henry Williams. Harry was a 38-year-old blacksmith in 1911, Henry a 31-year-old bootmaker. Either would be a good candidate for serving with the Supply Section of the Army Service Corps as indicated on the roll.