Tag Archives: charles percy gasson

Grandad in uniform

4 May

This is how I know my grandad was in Gibraltar in 1940.

Charles Percy Gasson (December 1940, Gibraltar)

The writing in the bottom-right corner says “Best wishes for 1941. Your loving husband. Gibraltar Dec: 1940“.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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From the family album: My grandfather at work

1 Aug

I mentioned painting and decorating yesterday, so below is a photograph of one of my painter and decorator ancestors at work, my grandfather Charles Percy GASSON.

Unfortunately I don’t know where or when this photograph was taken, but I am guessing some time in the mid 1950s and probably somewhere in the vicinity of West Grinstead, Sussex. The glass roof is quite distinctive but I suspect it may well have been replaced by something easier to maintain by now.

When grandfather left school

2 Jul

Looking at the records for Southover School, Lewes, Sussex I picked up a couple of interesting facts that might be relevant to my grandfather’s move from Lewes to London.

My grandfather, Charles Percy GASSON, left school in Lewes on the 2nd November 1917 and the reason was given as “went to London”. Arthur Leonard JESSOP left the same school on the 2nd November 1917, and the reason he left was “returned to London”.

Connection or coincidence?

At first glance this seems like a good match, but of course there is a problem, I don’t have a single JESSOP in my family history. It may be that I just haven’t found them yet, or it may be that there was a different type of relationship. Perhaps my great-grandmother was a domestic servant for the JESSOP family, and if they moved she moved with them.

When I looked at the headmaster’s log book I discovered that there was some significance to the date of the 2nd November 1917, which may suggest it was a coincidence after all. The log book records that on the 2nd November the school was “closed until Wednesday morning for mid-term Holiday”.

The 2nd November 1917 was a Friday, so Wednesday was the 7th. They didn’t have much of a mid-term break, but if you were going to move your child out of school then the start of the holiday would be a good time to do it. So perhaps it was just a coincidence after all.

I think I need to find out more about Arthur Leonard JESSOP, his father’s name was Alfred and I have his date of birth (24th March 1910), so it shouldn’t be too difficult to put together some information on his parents and see if there is a connection somewhere.

Does any record of Morden Terrace School remain?

1 Jul

Despite my best efforts I have struggled to find any additional information on the school that my grandfather attended in the London Borough of Greenwich. The amount of information that has survived about this school seems to be minimal to say the least.

I’ve paid a visit to the Greenwich Heritage Centre, and despite the best efforts of the very helpful lady there, we were unable to find out much more. At least I have now confirmed that it did exist and have a map which shows where it was.

Morden Terrace School was on the north side of Albion Hill at the junction of Lewisham Road, in the borough of Greenwich. Having been destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, it appears that the site is now occupied by a modern school, Morden Mount Primary School, and Albion Hill has only partially survived as Quince Road.

I have been searching through the catalogues for the London Metropolitan Archives, and the only thing they seem to have is a set of plans for the school. I am sure they are very interesting, but what I really need to find out is whether there are any records of the pupils.

It does feature in directories of the area, but they provide virtually no more information, they don’t even mention who was the headmaster. There is no suggestion that it was a boarding school, the evidence is not conclusive, but this suggests that my grandfather was living in the area with someone.

I still need to spend some more time searching for the school records, just in case they have ended up somewhere else, or under another name. However it looks like I need to be trying to find a relation that spent some time in Greenwich, with whom my grandfather was living.

That is going to a rather large task, but I am wondering if I might have a sneaky short cut. My grandfather’s admission record for his time at school in Sussex notes that he left on the 2nd November 1917 with the reason being that he "went to London". Is there anyone else in that admission register that left at the same time to go to London?

What was my grandfather doing in Greenwich?

30 Jun

My grandfather, Charles Percy GASSON (1910-1992), spent some of the early years of his life in the London Borough of Greenwich.

That statement doesn’t really do justice to the mystery and challenges that this presents. For someone who was born, married and died in Sussex (and if asked would have almost certainly have called Sussex his home), how and why did he end up going to school in Greenwich.

The answer is probably tied in with the actions of his ‘parent or guardian’. I hate to use the term ‘parent or guardian’ but because he was illegitimate it probably best sums up the number of different people who could have been responsible for him at the time.

  • His mother (May GASSON).
  • His father (Charles William GEERING).
  • His ‘adopted’ parents (Horace and Margaret DUNFORD). Margaret was his mother’s sister.
  • His aunt and uncle (George and Mary Elizabeth RICHARDSON). Mary Elizabeth was his mother’s sister.
  • Any one of his eleven other aunts or uncles.

So far my research has failed to find evidence that any of the above people had any connection with Greenwich. I have very little evidence about his time in Greenwich, basically a letter from his headmaster in Greenwich and an entry in his school admission record from Lewes, Sussex.

What I am left with is a gap between when he left school in Lewes, Sussex on the 2nd November 1917, with the reason “went to London“, and when he married in Keymer, Sussex on the 5th December 1936, at which time he was living in Burgess Hill, Sussex.

The letter from his former headmaster indicates that he had been at Morden Terrace (B.) School, Lewisham Road, Greenwich for six years until he left on the 23rd July 1924. I know almost nothing about the Morden Terrace School, except that it was destroyed by enemy bombing during the blitz, supposedly destroying all the records in the process.

It has been suggested that the ‘B’ might stand for Boarding, and that raises even more questions. Who paid for him to attend a boarding school? Was he paid for by a charity?

After leaving school at the age of thirteen in 1924 did he head straight back for Sussex or did he remain in London? There are twelve years until he surfaces in Burgess Hill for his marriage in 1936, where was he during those years?

My first step is going to have to be to find out more about Morden Terrace School. If it was a boarding or charity school then that will radically affect where I go next. Otherwise I need to try and find a ‘parent or guardian’ who was living in Greenwich, which is going to be like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

Treasure Chest Thursday: Royal Engineers Christmas Menu, 1939

7 Jan

I think this is my first Treasure Chest Thursday post, and it is a shame I didn’t think about it a week or two ago when it would have been more topical.

I was looking through the photos on my hard drive the other day when I realised that many of the images I was looking at weren’t photos at all but scans of other items, most of them related to the time my grandfather, Charles Percy GASSON, spent in the Royal Engineers during the Second World War.

These items need almost as much work on them as the photos do, in fact some more so, as many contain clues as to what he was doing and where he was at a given time. Next to nothing is known about his time in the Royal Engineers, so these clues are going to be vital in piecing together his army life.

The first item is pretty self-explanatory, a Christmas Menu from 1939, but even this raises several questions. Who are all those signatures? and where were the breakfast, dinner and tea being held?

Christmas menu 1939 image 1

The actual menu itself looks surprisingly appealing, certainly not as austere as one might imagine for a wartime Christmas dinner. Whether what was served up actually matched the promise of the menu is anyone’s guess.

Christmas menu 1939 image 2

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