Lola Gwen Allsopp – Part 2

Lola Preston in Treloars Marching Band Uniform

Lola Preston in Treloars Marching Band Uniform

For Mothers Day 2016 we continue the story of the life of my husband’s mum:

After finishing Tech I started work at a mixed business called Money Savers.  The shop sold groceries, men’s wear, home linens etc., and it was situated on the corner of Peel and Bourke Streets in Tamworth.  I was put off from Money Savers just before my 21st birthday.

I was only out of work for a few weeks when I got a job at Penny’s Clothing Store.  They also sold lollies, drinks, men’s, ladies, and children’s wear.  I was Department Head for the babies wear section.  I was only at Penny’s a few days when I was rushed to hospital by ambulance from work with appendicitis and was off work for about a month and I really believed that I would loose my job, but the boss Mr Hargraves kept the job open for me.  Whilst I was working there I joined the Treloar Girls Marching Team and we did very well at a number of competitions in Tamworth, Goulbourn, Singleton and Maitland.  We won 2nd place and received a medal.

Kerribra

Kerribra

When I turned 21 Mum and Dad threw a great birthday party for me at their home – Kerribrae – in Attunga.  The party was held on the veranda which ran around 3 sides of the house.  There was lots of food and I think that most people brought a plate and as always with Allsopp get togethers there was plenty of grog.  A friend (the bus driver) Ray Flexman and another chap played the music for the party.  He played the saxophone and flute and the other fellow played drums.  There was dancing and singing with lots of family and friends.  Mum and dad gave me a lovely soft pink tea set.

I left Penny’s Store in November 1955 and went to Sydney with Mrs Kirk to buy the material for my wedding gown and veil and make not only the bridal gown, but also the bridesmaids dresses.  I had never been to Sydney and could not believe how tall the buildings were.  Mrs  Kirk’s daughter Barbara went cross on me and told me not to look up at all the buildings.  It was the first time I had ever seen and escalator and I was scared stiff to get on it.  The bridesmaids (Peggy Roach and Mavis Jones) bought their own material which was the same but in different colours.  The colours were mauve and green so that I could have the girls carry my favourite flower – yellow daffodils.  I made my wedding dress and the bridesmaids dresses cutting them all out on the lounge room floor of our home at Currububula.  Peggy Roach’s mother, Bertha Roach, made our wedding cake which was 2 tiered and had a small silver vase sitting on the top, which has tiny flowers in it.

Our friends gave us a lovely kitchen tea, mostly thanks to Mrs Bertha Roach and there was dancing as well.  We got lots of lovely gifts as the do was quite large.  On the day that Ted and I got married we dared to have lunch together in a café in Peel Street, Tamworth and it caused an uproar with family, as you weren’t supposed to see each other until arriving at the church.

Lola Preston nee: Allsopp 11 Aug 1956

Lola Preston nee: Allsopp 11 Aug 1956

After our honeymoon we came back to live at Currabubula and work for Mr Kirk on Willowvale.  We stayed there for 8 1/2 years and our first and second boys – Terry and Wayne – were born whilst living there.  After buying our house in Churchill street in Tamworth we had another son – Michael.  My mum and dad Cyrus and Florence Allsopp lived with us for a number of years.  Around this time I starting sewing from home making quite a few school uniforms for customers.  They would buy there own material and pattern and I would charge a set amount according to what was required in the making of the garment.  The child would come for a fitting during the making and most of the uniforms were for girls.  I did make a ball gown for Coral Moss and she actually won Bell of the Ball.  I also used to make shirts for our three boys.

 

Ada Amelia Eliza Huff

Ada Amelia Eliza Huff

Ada Amelia Eliza Huff

What an absolutely gorgeous young woman!  Ada Amelia Eliza Huff was born in Melbourne, Victoria but moved to the Singleton area around the aged of 3 years.  You will note that the skirt that Ada is wearing shows that it has been mended.  I do not know the circumstances of the family but the mended skirt could imply that Ada’s family, whilst not destitute, were certainly not wealthy.

Ada met and married Michael Allsop, who was the son of convict Rowland Allsop at West Brook near Singleton, New South Wales on 1 Oct 1872.  There was no church at West Brook at the time so the marriage was most likely held at a private residence.

Ada and Michael had a small farm at Mitchells Flat and grew tobacco, potatoes, grapes and corn.  They would give the grandchildren a penny for every hundred grubs they caught on the tobacco plants as there was no insecticide back then.  The family tell stories of Ada sneaking away every now and again to smoke a clay pipe!

Ada and Michael had 12 children together:

  1. Sarah Jane b. 11 Apr 1874
  2. Arthur George b. 9 Nov 1875
  3. Lucy Elizabeth b. 19 Apr 1878
  4. Ada Ellen b. 23 Apr 1880
  5. Mary Louisa b. 24 Oct 1882
  6. Rowland Michael b. 14 Sept 1883
  7. Rhoda Margaret b. 11 Oct 1886
  8. Mabel Alice b. 29 May 1889
  9. Ethel b. 3 Nov 1891
  10. Amelia May b. 3 Nov 1891
  11. Sophia Eliza b. 10 Oct 1893
  12. Cyrus Clarence b. 17 Dec 1896
Ada and Michael Allsop - date unknown

Ada and Michael Allsop – date unknown

As you can imagine, having such a large family and helping on the farm kept Ada very busy!

Ada Allsop - 25 Dec 1933 just a month before her death

Ada Allsop – 25 Dec 1933 just a month before her death

Sadly little else is known of Ada.  She passed away  on 21 Jan 1934 in Singleton, New South Wales.

McGrath Family Photo’s

There are some families that just do not seem to have many photo’s, and the McGrath family is one of them.  Florence May McGrath is my husband’s grandmother and she was born on 31 Mar 1896, John Joseph (b. 1871) & Eva Eileen (b. 1875) McGrath nee: White being the parents of Florence, and my husbands great, great grandparents.

The family have predominantly come from the Forbes/West Wyalong area of New South Wales.  The family moved to the Tamworth area sometime after 1896 when Florence was born, and before 1913 when she was Confirmed in the area. At the time of her Confirmation Florence’s parents were living at Somerton, New south Wales which is not far from Tamworth.

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Edward Preston – A Life Saved By Fate – Part 3

Ted Preston at Burrinjuck Dam 1949 - 1950

Ted Preston at Burrinjuck Dam 1949 – 1950

In 1949 Ted gave up work at the mechanics shop in Wagga Wagga to start work hundreds of other men on the construction of Burrinjuck Dam as a labourer, and later as a “crusher”.  He operated a Bell Crusher and a Crab Jaw Crusher.  During his time on the construction crew there was an accident that cost the lives of 9 of his workmates and which took place on 19 Oct 1950.  On the day in question Ted had been asked to work with the Bell Crusher at Upper Burrinjuck instead of at his normal location at the spillway with his usual crew.  This single action saved his life, by putting him out of harms way on the day of the worst accident to occur during the construction of the dam.

Burrinjuck Accident - The Newcastle Sun, 19 Oct 1950

Burrinjuck Accident – The Newcastle Sun, 19 Oct 1950

Swept to Death In Disaster at Burrinjuck Dam (The Newcastle Sun – Thursday 19 October 1950, Page 1)

Burrinjuck:  Seven men were today swept by raging floodwaters 400 feet to their death down the sheer face of Burrinjuck Dam into a raging cascade, the last 100 feet over precipitous rock.  Flung into a maelstrom of fast running water the men, black pinpoints in a sea of foam, were swept along at terrific speed to disappear completely from view.

Turbines were turned off in the forlorn hope that the river level might be reduced and some of the men might find a precarious hold on the waterswept rocks.  But all hope has been abandoned  and a net has been placed across the river at Jugiong, 30 miles below the dam, in the hope of recovering the bodies.

The accident happened early this morning and the men were all employees of the Water Conservation Commission.

The above article goes on to explain the accident in detail and our family often marvel at how fate intervened in Ted’s life that day.  Ted stayed at the Burrinjuck construction site for about 2 years.

Ted Preston and Friend

Ted Preston and Friend at The Diggers Ball, Gunnedah, July 1952

In 1951 Ted left Burrinjuck Dam for work at Keepit Dam near Gunnedah.  During his time In Gunnedah Ted learned of dam construction work taking place in New Guinea and that they needed skilled dam labourers and crushers.  As work at Keepit Dam was winding down Ted and some mates  headed off to Melbourne for an interview. When his application for New Guinea was unsuccessful Ted went back to Gunnedah staying in a hotel for about 3 weeks.  He ended up getting farm work for Mr Joe Grosser as a farm labourer staying there for about 2 years, after which he re-joined the crew at Keepit Dam as a Cable Way Operator, staying there until June 1956. 

Keepit Dam Today

Keepit Dam Today

Ted met Lola Gwen Allsopp at a Somerton Dance on a Friday night in late 1954 or early 1955. Ted remembered eating a chicken roll in the car on the way to the dance. He had dropped some chicken and managed to stain his trousers with grease which bothered him, as his trousers didn’t look clean.  He had asked Lola to dance with him, as they waltzed around the dance floor he apologised for the stain on his trousers.  Lola told him not to worry about it, she hadn’t even noticed.  From there the young couple dated, going to movies and to other dances at Carrol and Somerton and occasionally in Tamworth.  They really enjoyed the dance halls with live music the most though. 

Ted asked Lola to marry him in early November 1955.  They had taken a walk along Armidale Road at dusk when Ted suggested they walk up to the Tamworth lookout.  Tamworth lookout has a magnificent view of the city a surrounding areas, and was quite a safe and beautiful place to visit after dark in 1955.  Whilst up there he got down on one knee and asked Lola to marry him – and she said yes!  Once he knew that Lola would marry him Ted drove them both out to Lola’s parents home  – the property Kerribrae at Attunga –  and asked her father for Lola’s hand in marriage in the time honoured way.  The conversation between Ted and Cyrus Allsopp took place on the front veranda of the family home.

Tamworth Lookout at Dusk. Photo by TRRRA

Tamworth Lookout at Dusk. Photo by TRRRA

For his bucks night Ted went down to the Somerton Pub for a few drinks with mates, including Scott Caslick.  At last Ted’s life was taking a turn upwards, and he would have a beautiful woman by his side to help him.  Ted told me as we sat at the dinning room table of his Tamworth home, that at the age of 28 years he had not expected to have love, a chance for a permanent home and children would come into his life.

Sources:

Swept to Death Article – TROVE Digitised Newspapers –

Photo Keepit Dam – http://www.publicworks.nsw.gov.au/hunter-new-england 

Photo Tamworth Lookout – Tamworth Regional Residents and Rate Payers Assoc.

Lance Corporal – Cyrus Clarence Allsopp – Australian Imperial Forces

My husbands Grandfather, Cyrus Clarence Allsopp, was just 19 years old when he joined the Australian Imperial Forces.

Cyrus Clarence Allsopp Abt. March 1916

Cyrus Clarence Allsopp
Abt. March 1916

Handsome and young, he headed off on an adventure to help save our country from untold evil, arriving at the Military Training Camp in Maitland, New South Wales on 23 March 1916.  Cyrus trained hard with other recruits making friends with some along the way until 5 May 1916, finally embarking on HMAT A68 Anchises, out of Sydney, on 24 August 1916.

A68 Anchises

The men, including Cyrus, arrived in the United Kingdom on 26 October 1916 as part of the 9th Infantry Brigade, 34th Infantry Battalion, 3rd Reinforcements – his Service Number was 2029.  They underwent more training in England and finally departed for France on 22 November 1916, joining the trenches on the Western Front on 27 November 1916, just in time for one of the worst European winters on record.

French Trench in Northeastern France

French Trench in Northeastern France

This picture shows how life looked for soldiers within the trenches in France during World War 1.

Information on Trench Warfare can be found here.

Cyrus’s military record does not mention where in France and Belgium he fought however on 1st June 1917 he was wounded in action with gunshot wounds to his left thigh and left side.  After a short time in a field hospital he was transferred to a military hospital in Boulogne, France.  This took place 6 days before the 34th Battalions’ engagement in their first major battle at Messines in Belgium, so I believe he was near Messines at the time he was wounded.  On 4 June 1917 he was transferred to Colchester Military Hospital in England.

Postcard of Colchester Military Hospital

Postcard of Colchester Military Hospital

Cyrus’s mother and father – Michael and Ada Allsopp were notified of his injuries and the following report appeared in the local paper – The Singleton Argus.

Singleton Argus 26 June 1917

Singleton Argus 26 June 1917

After 7 months of recuperating Cyrus was sent back to his Battalion, joining them on 9 February 1918.  Just 2 months later on 16 April 1918 Cyrus was promoted to Lance Corporal, a position between Private and Corporal.  His records do not state why this took place, which I find very sad, and his daughter Lola Gwen Preston nee: Allsopp does not know.

Unfortunately only weeks after his promotion on 30 April 1918 Cyrus became ill and was once again transferred to the Colchester Military Hospital.  His record does not state whether this was a result of his previous injury, or something else entirely, but he didn’t re-join his Battalion until 20 July 1918 so whatever illness it was – it was considerable.

Cyrus was wounded just five weeks later for the second time on 29 August, 1918 with a gunshot wound to his left wrist and hand this time being invalided to the Cheltenham Military Hospital on 3 September 1918.

Cyrus seen here wounded and seated with unknown friend

Cyrus seen here wounded and seated with unknown friend

Cyrus had spent a good part of the war wounded or sick in hospitals in Belgium, France and England.  He was finally discharged from hospital on 18 January 1919 and sent home via the “Ulysses” arriving 15 March 1919.

Ulysses - the ship that Cyrus returned to Australia on

Ulysses – the ship that Cyrus returned to Australia on

He was discharged from the Australian Imperial Forces as medically unfit on 18 July 1919.

Just six months later on 31 January 1920 Cyrus married his fiancé Florence May McGrath in Singleton, New South Wales.  In the wedding portrait there is no evidence of injury to his left hand although it looks as though his left arm is purposely hidden from view.

Cyrus and Florence Allsopp 31 January 1920

Cyrus and Florence Allsopp 31 January 1920

His daughter Lola doesn’t believe his injuries caused long term disability though, as after some recuperation Cyrus again worked as a station Overseer on Bective Station , working with stock and riding horses in the Tamworth area where he and Florence settled .  Lola told how she never once heard her father talk about his war memories in all the time until his death on 9 September 1974 – 50 odd years later.  Cyrus never took part in an ANZAC march either, nor would he listen to a radio description of an ANZAC march.  My husband Terry however, once saw the scarring on his grandfathers left side and Cyrus simply mumbled “still got a piece in there”.

Sources:

 

Blogging the Newspaper – Anzac History

Flanders Poppy

Flanders Poppy

Tonight I wanted to do something different.  On nearly every page of our local paper this morning there was an article that was in some way related to the history or World War 1, which I have found unbelievably interesting and informative.  I have been researching my husband’s grandfather Cyrus Clarence Allsopp’s war records to find out where he fought, but the articles in the paper, not only today but over the past fortnight, have helped be to understand just a little of what he experienced.

I have learned so much about the conditions under which he fought in the trenches on the Western Front that it amazes me that any of our brave men survived at all. The hardships, the weather, lack of food, constant fighting for many days at a time, all seem such a world away from what anyone would experience these days.

One of the most moving things I learned about was the significance of the red Flanders Poppy. Like almost everyone, I knew that the red poppy was associated with WW1, but I had no idea of its actual significance or meaning until I read an article the other day. For instance, did you know that the red poppy were amongst the first plants to regrow in the devastated fields of Northern France. Or that the red colour was symbolic of the blood spilled by the soldiers’ comrades. Increasingly the red poppy has become symbolic of our Anzac day.

Over the last two months I have researched four relatives that fought during WW1, and heartbreakingly, only one came home – Terry’s grandfather. What a legacy each of these men left, what a sacrifice they made. I feel that I don’t ever want our family to forget these men, and to that end I have attempted to transcribed their war records and add a picture of them to the Discovering Anzacs website. What a privilege it has been to work on this project. If you haven’t seen the website it is well worth a look, and if you can spare the time, why not see if you can upload a picture of one of your relatives.

I will conclude by saying that I will view our local dawn service with new eyes this Anzac Day.