In the diary of Percy Ebenezer Trower that I mentioned yesterday are frequent references to “Ern and Doll Nye”. Apart from being good friends I had no idea who they were or whether they were related although I suspected they might be related to Percy’s wife Kate Standing.
Ern and Doll also appeared in some of the photos that I had which had originally come from Percy’s collection, so I thought it would be good idea to try to identify them properly.
It was highly likely that Ern and Doll were nicknames, my thinking was that they were probably Ernest and Dorothy Nye, but I couldn’t find a suitable marriage for that combination.
Fortunately last night I came across an entry in the diary for the silver wedding anniversary of Ern and Doll in April 1951. Even armed with that fact it took a while to find the marriage in the GRO indexes.
It looks very likely that Ern was actually Henry Ernest Nye and Doll was in fact Emily Standing (more than likely Percy’s sister-in-law). They were married in Q2 1926 in Cuckfield Registration District.
I will need to check the actual marriage entry to make sure that Emily was Kate’s sister but I was able to match the death of Henry Ernest Nye in the GRO indexes with the death of Ern in Percy’s diary, so it seems a likely match.
This morning I decided to try to find out a few details for Henry Ernest Nye. He was born in 1902 so the obvious place to look was the 1911 census. Henry Ernest was living in Ansty, Sussex the son of Ernest and Anne Nye. The address they were living at in 1911 was Diamond Jubilee Cottages.
Presumably these cottages had been built around the time of the diamond jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. How strange that I should have turned up this record during the diamond jubilee of our present Queen!
When I wrote about the importance of Betley I mentioned that my 2x great-grandparents moved from Henfield, Sussex to Sayers Common, Sussex.
I have long known the reason behind this move, it was because Ebenezer was going to work as a gardener for Rev. William Buchanan Dunlop the new vicar at Sayers Common parish church, but the exact date was a puzzle.
From the baptism records of their children it was possible to narrow down the date range to around 1892, but it never really felt that important to have an exact date.
An entry in the diary of Percy Ebenezer Trower (one of their sons) provides an exact date for when the family moved and also a date for when Ebenezer retired from work.
Wednesday Dec 31 / 30
The end of 1930! Father came home to-day at dinner-time. 39 years ago next March 7th that he came to Sayers Common to work for Mr Dunlop, just installed as Vicar here. 39 years, probably half his life he has spent with Mrs Dunlop. He came from Henfield with two children, Ethel & Henry one year old. Since then four more were born. I being the fifth, and two have died, one in the R[oyal] Sussex C[ounty] Hospital and the other killed in France. What changes he has seen in those 39 years. He must feel the severance of this long time as gardener for Mrs Dunlop but the long journey to Hassocks was too much for him.
The “next March 7th” would be in 1931 and 39 years ago would be 1892. So Ebenezer and Annie Trower and their two children moved to Sayers Common on the 7th March 1892.
It is nice to have an exact date for when an ancestor moved, because so rarely is there any record of their actual movement unless, it is a major move such as emigration, usually the only sign that they had moved is the change from one record (like the census) to the next.
Sunday July 24  Today was unveiled the Menin Memorial Gate at Ypres. ‘To those whose graves are unknown’ Unknown or rather graveless, those blown to fragments during these ghastly years as you my brother was. How well I remember your last words to me when I saw you for the last time. And how did you die? how can I ever know. Were you mercifully killed or were you wounded & died slowly. Died slowly in a strange country amongst strange people & knowing all the time that you would never see your loved ones again. Oh my poor brother what an ending to your life, hard for you, hard for us what hardship of mind & body must you not have endured in France & no doubt you often thought of the time when these years of anguish would end & that you could return to us again.
I recall again in memory all the days of our childhood, when we were boys & companions together. The only real companion I have had in my lonely life we had no secrets from each other. How straightforward & courageous you were too my dear Ern.
But never, never again can you & I meet. In memory only can I see you. Our days of boy-hood are long past now and you, my boy-hoods companion are dust in Flanders whilst I have gone much further in my journey & these days seem long, long ago now, but whilst life is in my body I can never forget you, even if I may have found someone who may be a dearer companion than ever you were.
These worlds were written by my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer TROWER about his older brother Ernest Arthur TROWER who lost his life during the First World War. Whilst I have no memories of Ernest, only facts and pictures, I feel privileged to be able to honour the life and sacrifice of Ernest this Remembrance Day.
Recently I have been sharing postcards of Beachy Head, near Eastbourne, East Sussex on my blog. Yesterday I mentioned that people have been visiting Beachy Head for decades, and one of those people was my 2x great-uncle Percy Ebenezer TROWER.
In one of his diaries he records an excursion on the 30th June 1928, presumably by coach or bus, from Brighton (B’ton) with his future wife Kate (K). They were married five years later in 1933.
Sunday July 1/28
Yesterday K & I went to B’ton by the 1.33 bus & then took a trip to Eastbourne 2.50 till about 6. A fine day but very windy. We went to Beachy Head & thence to Eastbourne & home through Lewes. The journey through Newhaven I preferred where we are nearly always within sight of the sea. These & similar facts are written for perusal many years hence when scenes have changed. This is a record of a pleasant afternoon that my love & I spent when she was 18 & I 30. I may in years to come live again our ride by the sea on that windy day in June when K was still a girl in her youth & freshness.
Beachy Head, ’twas 10 years, ten years since I last saw you, – in 1918 – during my sojourn at Summerdown Camp. Many faces, many happenings come again to memory, memories of ten years ago, memories of unsettled years, memories of days gone for ever. They were [unreadable] sad days but many happy memories remain. How well I remember my scottish companions of my marquee, & their scottish accents.
But I must get to bed & sleep.
Summerdown Camp was the army convalescent hospital on the outskirts of Eastbourne where Percy spent a month recovering from a gun shot wound received during the First World War, but that is another story (and another collection of postcards).
The route from Brighton and Eastbourne is one of my favourite bus journeys. There is a regular bus service that stills runs “nearly always within sight of the sea”, offering some spectacular views of the coastline and countryside alike from the top of a double decker bus. There is a slightly different service at weekends, that actually takes you right up to Beachy Head if you don’t fancy the walk. Details are available from Brighton and Hove Buses website (services 12 and 13X).