Joseph Charles Abram and Lucy Thompson

Lucy Thompson was the first wife of my great grandfather Joseph Charles Abram.  Lucy and Joseph, a Corporal in the Army Service Corps residing in Aldershot, married on 16 April 1906 in Northampton.

Lucy’s life was short – born in Northampton in 1880, Lucy was the daughter of William and Harriett. She died in Farnham, Surrey in 1907. After Lucy’s death, Joseph re-married. His second wife was my great grandmother, Millicent May Bowers.

I have been able to trace Lucy on census returns. On the 1881 census, Lucy can be found aged one, living with her parents and sisters Emily, Annie and Alice.  Living in the same house is Lucy Munns (described as mother in law).* In 1891, Lucy, aged 11,  can again be found living with her parents and sisters at Great Russell Street.  Her father William is now recorded as working as a Gentleman’s Gardener. Finally, in 1901, Lucy, aged 21, is no longer at home with her parents but is working as a servant for a widow, Elizabeth Peach, at 25 Margaret Street, Northampton.

I have been able to find William and Harriet on the 1901 census. William is recorded as a market gardener and Harriet a greengrocer shopkeeper. The are still living at Great Russell Street. In 1911, William, now 72, is still recorded as a market gardener, living at Burns Street with Harriett.

I am interested to learn more about Lucy and her family, as she has been described to me as ‘a dark skinned lady’ and I have discovered that Northamptonshire has a significant black history, with people of Asian, African and Caribbean origin, residing in the county over many centuries.

* I have located a Lucy Munns on the 1851 and 1861 census returns. She is recorded as having been born in Riseley in Bedfordshire and is married to George Munns.  The couple have a daughter called Harriett.

Army Life

My great grandfather Joseph Charles Abram enlisted in the British Army on 22 January 1901 aged 19 years and five months. He worked as a Farrier Staff Sergeant (a blacksmith specialising in shoeing horses, a skill that requires not only the ability to shape and fit horseshoes, but also the ability to clean, trim, and shape a horse’s hooves) in the Army Service Corps. During his time in the army he served in South Africa, Egypt and Palestine. He left the army in 1922.

My family is fortunate to have a copy of his service record together with other mementos of his time in the army, including a brass tin (a Christmas gift from Princess Mary to those serving in the armed forces in 1914), the Christmas card that came with this,  his war medals and the Oak Leaf emblems which he received for having been mentioned in despatches on 30 December 1913 (a member of the armed forces mentioned in despatches is one whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer, in which gallant or meritorious action in the face of the enemy is described).

Further information about the tin can be found below.

The medals are the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal, also known as Pip, Squeak and Wilfred.

Further information about the medals can be found below.

 

Princess Mary Christmas tin

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