During the May half-term week, 2015, the Hutchison family had a great time on our regular “big family holiday”. This has typically been held every two years in recent times. But this time was the second consecutive year that we’ve been to stay at a site in the Teifi Valley, south Wales (on the border between Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion). Finding places to stay that can accommodate such a large family group is very challenging, and this site fitted us very well.
The family group this time totaled 39 people; 4 generations; 27 adults, plus 2 teenagers, and 10 aged 10 or under. The young second cousins all had a great time running around together. A theme of “Pirates” had been set for the week, and one evening we all dressed up for a “Pirate party” – partly as a birthday party for one of my cousins, who’s birthday it was that day, and also for the 4 other family members with birthdays in May. This is when we had a whole group photo.
During the week my gran gave little St John’s Gospels to various family members. These gospels are replicas of ones given to soldiers in the First World War, which were produced last year to mark the 100th anniversary of the war.
These replica gospels were being given away through local churches and my gran had picked up 10 copies with the idea of giving one to each grandchild, with some details added about their Great-grandfathers who had served in the First World War. And she had tasked me with compiling those details to add to the gospels.
It was a challenge working out what to fit into such a small page space – the booklets are 11.5 cm (4 ½”) high x 7 cm (2 ¾”) wide! The details I was able to include – on a single extra page stuck inside the front of the booklets – were as follows;
- William Oliphant HUTCHISON; b. 2/7/1889, Kirkcaldy, Fife. d. 5/2/1970, Kensington, London. Family were Corn Merchants in Kirkcaldy. He studied art at Edinburgh College of Art; 1909 – 1912. Served in the Royal Garrison Artillery during WW1, in Malta and in France, where he was severely wounded.
- Ernest Garfield SWAIN; b. 20/8/1881, Leicester. d. 26/3/1968 (aged 86). Shoe and boot maker “E.G.Swain & Co.”, then Wholesale Confectionary for Clarnico & Co. Enlisted in the Leicester Regiment (TA) circa 1915. Appointed an officer; Second Lieutenant, Territorial Force, 4th Battalion (1/4th Battalion) The Leicestershire Regiment, on 21/11/1915. Deployed to France, where he suffered shrapnel injuries to his left leg and eye.
Currently we’re not sure of the whereabouts of any of the medals that either of these two Great-grandfathers had (possibly somewhere in the wider families)! But I’ve had a search of the British Army medal index cards, on-line at the National Archives (UK), where I believe I’ve identified both their records, which I could order digital images of to gain some more details of their war service.