Edward Lyttleton Anthony
Date of death 24 March 1917 Age 18
Edward was born in the autumn of 1898 in Ludlow and christened there on 22 October of that year. His parents were Oswald Lyttleton Anthony and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, nee Small. Oswald was born in Clunbury in 1865 the youngest child of a farmer and in 1881 was working on the farm with his parents and his brother, Alfred Henry. Although he was still living at the family home in 1891 he had changed his occupation to draper’s assistant and in the fourth quarter of 1897 he married Mary Elizabeth Small in Ludlow.
Mary E was born in Ashford Carbonnel in 1864 into a farming family. In 1881 the family live at Serpant Farm, Ashford Carbonnel but Mary aged 17 was living in Ludlow at the home of her elder brother, Arthur, aged 22, along with younger brothers Benjamin aged 11 and Septimus aged 9. Her occupation is given as housekeeper domestic so it appears she ran the household for her brothers. In 1897 at the age of 33 she married Oswald and the next year their son, Edward, was born.
The story so far follows the norms of late Victorian life but unexpected developments follow. In 1901 Edward was 2 and is recorded on the 1901 census as being a visitor at the home of the Cadwallader family who lived at 53, Hop Yard, Cainham, Ludlow. The first thought is Mary had died and Oswald had to hand Edward to foster parents. However, the 1901 census shows that Mary, then aged 37, was living with her 6 years younger brother, Benjamin in Ludford, Ludlow but where was her husband Oswald? Had he died and why was Edward apparently not with Mary?
Ten years later in 1911 Benjamin had married Adelaide and they had produced two children but Mary was still living with them as a housekeeper domestic. It has not been possible to discover any evidence to show that Mary and her son, Edward, ever shared the same home or why this is the case but we know that Mary died in Ludlow on 10 June 1947 aged 81.
The path Oswald chose to follow has been revealed. The 1930 United States census recorded that Oswald had left his wife and baby son in Ludlow and completed immigration to that country in 1901. He then married Myrtle D Nicholls, a resident of Ohio, on 12 July 1905. The marriage certificate records, ‘he was not previously married and has no wife living’. At this time Oswald was one month short of 40 but his age is recorded as 35 which more closely matched Myrtle’s 27. Oswald appears to be guilty of bigamy as divorce was almost exclusively the reserve of the wealthy and he therefore told at least two lies which is made even more interesting by his occupation which is recorded as evangelist minister.
Oswald stayed married to Myrtle for the rest of his life and he was recorded as a clergyman on the US 1930 and 1940 censuses as well as his death certificate. On these documents the couple lived in the state of Washington which is in the extreme NW of the USA bordering Canada. They moved around from town to town within Washington and were living in Chihalis when Oswald died on 19 September 1954 at the age of 86 according to the death certificate. He appears to have maintained the discrepancy regarding his age to the end but did he ever tell Myrtle of his other family and their apparently bigamous marriage? Myrtle died almost exactly eight years later on 24 September 1962 aged 83.
The 1911 census recorded Edward as 12 and living with his maiden aunt, Jane Ann Small, at Ivanhoe Cottage in Minton. Jane was the four years older sister of Edward’s mother and was born in Ashford Carbonell. She had ‘private means’ and there appears to have been no other residents at Ivanhoe. Jane died a short time before her sister, Mary, in Ludlow in the first quarter of 1947 aged 86.
Ivanhoe Cottage April 2018
In the autumn of 1916 Edward became 18 and it is probable that soon afterwards he enlisted. He did this at Ludlow and subsequently joined the 52nd Graduated Battalion of The Manchester Regiment. His military service was short as he died at Prees Heath Military Hospital at Whitchurch on 24 March 1917. Prees Heath opened in 1915 as a training camp for trench warfare and developed provision for thirty thousand men. Later it also became a store for general supplies and had a branch connection to the railway system. Later developments included the 609 bed hospital, shops, a theatre and a cinema. The installation of the camp’s electricity supply preceded similar provision in nearby Whitchurch by a long time which neatly illustrates war time priorities.
It has not been possible to establish the cause of Edward’s death so it could have been natural causes. He is buried in Ludford Cemetery, Ludlow in a grave which accommodated his mother thirty years later. There are four Commonwealth War Graves in Ludford Cemetery but Edward’s is not one of them. His is a relatively opulent memorial with the following inscription:
In loving memory of Edward Lyttleton dearly beloved son of Mary Elizabeth Anthony. Died March 24 1917. Aged 18 years. His life for his country he nobly gave.
Shattered hopes and secret tears dim the glory that he was. I only know that buried there is my dear son.
On the side of the base of the cross is the memorial to Mary:
Also Mary Elizabeth Anthony Died June 10th 1947.
The Soldiers’ Effects Records of war gratuities paid to the families of those killed show that Edward’s relatives were entitled to receive £3-5-7 but the section showing to whom this money was paid is blank which suggests that no-one came forward. However Edward’s death is recorded on the Little Stretton war memorial and so presumably his last home address was Minton and his aunt ensured his name was recorded after a very short and, apparently sad, life.