I join with my grateful people
in sending you this memorial
of a brave life given for others
in the Great War.
Family correspondence: Fred Garnham
from Texas wrote:
"Oh my gosh,
"My great grandfather
Fred Garnham. I have been trying to find out information about him and
great grandparents. My
Garnham was born a few days before Fred was killed.
We know nothing about Fred or his
parents. I have
been researching for
several years and just came across your blogger.
I couldn't believe what I was reading. I have a picture of my great
you would like to post it."
wrote from the United States:
"I happened to stumble
on the website. My wife
is from Chelmsford, Essex, England. Her Grandfather was killed
in The Great War, 1914, Sept 8th.
We have been researching my wife’s family
some years now and she has some interesting stories. We also have a few
pictures of her family that we are going to send along with her note. My step-daughter (Amanda)
corresponding with you."
Frederick Garnham, was
September, 1887 in Chadwell Heath, Dagenham, Romford, baptised 22,
the Parish Church of Stondon Massey, where both his parents were
father was foreman at the Soaphouse Farm.
enlisted in the Essex Regiment, 2nd Battalion.
He was in Norwich, market square where pictures of
the troops were
taken, he sent two of these photos (postcards) which were dated 10,
August,1914, to his wife. He was deployed from Norwich to France, was killed in
the Battle of the River
Marne, 8, September,
1914 and is buried in Montreuil-Aux-Lions, British Cemetery, France.
His name is on the
inside and outside of the church in Highwood, also inside Roxwell
is on the Essex Roll of Honour in the Essex Chronicle dated Friday, 8,
My father, Frederick
Wilfred Garnham was born
4, September, 1914.
Photos: Top. The
War Memorial at Highwood Church.
Middle: A letter
sent from Buckingham Palace, accompanying the medal sent posthumously
to Fred Garnham's wife.
Private Fred Garnham's 1914 Star, also referred to as the Mons Star.
Frederick Garnham, a Stondon-bred man who died on 8 September
(Top Left) A commemoration issued by Buckingham Palace. (Middle)
Maureen Garnham-Lopez kneels at her grandfather's grave. (Bottom). A
photograph of Fred Garnham with his wife, Rosa.
for the First Time
Our trip started at my brother
Dennis and wife June's house in Cooksmill Green, it was early August,
could feel that there was much anticipation of the events that
to happen in the next two days.
Dennis had packed his
uniform, he is in the Essex Yeomanry Band, we packed our
clothes for two
very special days. Muriel, my only sister, Adolfo, my husband, Dennis
were all getting ready for our road trip.
June had packed all of
lunch and snacks, we finally got into Dennis' car, it was hard to
we were finally on our way, we took a ferry across to France, Dennis
nervous about driving on the other side of the road.
He read the map before arriving, mapping our route,
had to stop a couple of times more to reread the map, as we got lost,
our way pretty fast after that.
France was very
beautiful, breath taking
countryside, quaint little villages with only a few houses, all with
shutters and they were all closed. It was as if there was only one road
through the middle of colorful fields, we had seen only two farmers
fields and that was it.
From a distance, I could
see the cross, the
memorial it was just like they said, 96 kilometres South-South-West of
the road from Château-Thierry to La Ferte-sous-Jouarre, just
off the main road.
As our car came to a stop, my heart started racing, I stepped out of
opened a small gate, it squeaked just like in the movies. We were
looking for him, where was he? I believe Dennis found him. I could not believe how I
felt, it felt like
I was meeting him for the very first time, this man whom I loved so
all said our hello's, expressed our love, shed some tears and stood
silence, putting our hands on the headstone like we were gently
Grandad, we have found you at last, I thought.
We found a hotel a few
miles away, and all took a shower and got dressed. Dennis had put on
uniform and was ready, he had a job to do, a job he yearned to do for
years, this day was finally here. Dennis drove us back to the cemetery.
a hot day, 90 degrees. I knew he was hot in that wool uniform. The
Dennis did was to drape the stairs of the memorial with a Union Jack
George flag. June handed us our programs, grandad's photo was on the
cover. Inside, we
all had parts to read
and hymns to sing. Adolfo
say his part, everyone else followed, Oh! Boy! Were we proud. Dennis
got to do
what he had only dreamed of for years and that was to play the taps for
Grandad, as he has done for many other soldiers but this one was
was for Grandad. All eyes were on Dennis, he quivered, sounded a little
sometimes but for all of us, this was the moment, his moment and we
had our service for Grandad, when it was over, we all went to the
there, had our private words, walked around just taking in all the
At the entrance, in the
brick wall of the
gate, inside was a visitor book. Dennis and I signed it, thanking the
people for doing an immaculate job in taking care of the cemetery.
The following morning we
drove around in the countryside and picked
poppies to take to Grandad's grave. It was a day of mixed feelings. We
picnic near Grandad's grave, it was another hot day, we sat there
every moment we could, gave each other time for a private goodbye. I
Grandad that I would not ever forget him and will tell others of him
I got the chance.
|Something must have
happened to Harriet or James
Garnham (her second
husband) before 1881 since their oldest daughter Alice was placed in a
workhouse and Rosa Emily was placed with family members.
Harriet appears in Romford, Essex with
someone calling himself George Garnham
with a son Frederick Garnham. They moved to
Stondon Massey before 1901 and lived at the Soaphouse Farm.
Harriet Lewis first married a George
Smith. Her second marriage was
to James Garnham.
steal those two names? In
the 1911 censes they were still living
together at the Soaphouse Farm. George and Harriet lived at least ten
years at the farm. I believe until they became too sick to take care of
themselves, Harriet was living in Radley Green at the time of her
George was in the Stanford Rivers Poor House [Ongar Union Workhouse] at
time of his death. Both passed away in the same year 1916: Harriet in
George in November, and are buried at Stondon Massey.
thinking of my father Frederick
Wilfred Garnham losing his father, Frederick Garnham at 4 days old, and
grandparents George and Harriet at the age of 2. All he knew was his
Garnham was killed in the Retreat
at the beginning of the First World War.]
of all, who was this man calling
himself George Garnham?
Then this meant, who are
we? Have we been Garnham by name all these years but are Smith's by
secret was Stondon Massey holding about all of us and why?
my heart, I believe that Joseph Smith
became George Garnham
when he got involved with
Great-Grandma Harriet Garnham.
to think our family tree ends here on the Garnham side, it is our
the lies and for what reason did this information come out at the
Stondon Massey. What did Revd Reeve know, and if anything, what did he
he really know George Garnham?
the 1901 Census:
George Garnham lived in
Stondon Massey at the Soaphouse Farm. They had a boarder named Arthur
Bolt, 9 years
old, birthplace unknown.
mentioned an Arthur Bolt,
At this time I have no idea whom this person is, maybe family somehow,
mystery person. Other family members mentioned with Arthur are Alec
Shuttleworth and a Arthur H. Watts, both are relatives of mine.