M1/5.h Ernest Edward May, nicknamed 'Peck' was the eighth child and third son of Charles John May and Caroline Amelia May nee Glessing. He was born on 5th November, 1875(?) and died after 1963 (date unknown). No other dates are confirmed but he may have had two sons. During the First World War, in about 1915, his wife and daughters were killed in an air raid in UK.
Phillip remembers that his Uncle Peck lived somewhere near Camberley, in a forest, and used to make a living out of cutting timber with his two sons. However, Doris wrote to say that, as far as she knew, Peck did not have two sons, so Phillip's recollection may not be exact and it may have been that the two younger men helping Peck when he and his father visited were just assistants.
Doris recalled that Peck had written a letter to his brother, Percy (Pa) during the '80's in which he said, 'All I need in life are my smokes and rest!' He was nearly 90 when he wrote this.
Born between 1875-1876, Redhill [Source: Census 1881 - CD]
Address (Facts Page) 1: 1875, Redhill
Address (Facts Page) 2: 1881, Croydon
Census: 1881, 31, Alexandra Road, Croydon, Surrey aged 5
M1/5.i Caroline Amelia May, nicknamed 'Lils' for 'Lily' was the ninth child of Charles John May and Caroline Amelia May nee Glesing. She was born 1877, died 1920. She married (1st) H (?) Skinner and they had three children:
c.1. Vera Skinner who married Victor Hill and had a son called Robin Hill,
c.2 Muriel Skinner and
c.3. Colin Skinner. Caroline Amelia May married (2nd) Robert Whitehead (1868-1933), the widower of her sister, Grace Rebecca May. There was no issue of this marriage. Robert Whitehead was the Chief Engineer when the Crystal Palace was being built and he was involved in the invention and installation of the anti-fire sprinkling system there in about 1910(?)
We have a small photograph of Vera Skinner, given to us by Girlie Thomas. She was of course Girlie's cousin, but Girlie had difficulty explaining to us just what the relationship was.
Born between 1877-1888, Redhill [Source: Census 1881 -CD]
Address (Facts Page) 1: 1877, Redhill
Address (Facts Page) 2: 1881, Croydon
Census: 1881, 31, Alexandra Road, Croydon, Surrey aged 3
M1/5.Percy Augustus May, nicknamed 'Slump'. For details on him, from whom our family descends see section M1/5..
M1/5.k Emily Violet (Baddy) May, was the eleventh and last child of Charles John May and Caroline Amelia May nee Glessing. She was born on 20th.June, 1881 at 31, Alexandra Road, Croyden and married to Frank Grove, who was born on 4th.August, 1881 in Esher, Surrey. He was a Surveyor and they lived in Surbiton Road, Kingston-on-Thames. He died on 4th.December, 1952 at Clyde Mansions, Surbiton Road, Kingston-on-Thames and Baddy died on 12th.March, 1964 at Brookwood Hospital in Woking. They had three children:
c.1 Violet Grove, who was born in March, 1905 in Kingston(?) and she died on 4th.December, 1917 at St. Thomas' Hospital in London.
Doris believed that she got a rusty nail in her foot, which went septic. This necessitated amputation of the foot and she did not recover. Doris remembers that Molly wrote some verse in her autograph book concerning Violet, likening her to a flower. 'It is very sad because those two loved each other.'
c.2 Bronwen (called Molly) Grove, born 21.10.1908 at Kingston-on-Thames and died 30.4.1971, Haywards Heath. She married Rupert Darnell on 27.10.1942.
He was born in 1887, died on 27.2.1963 in Kingston-on-Thames and was the son of George Darrell (a writer and actor in Australia, and the son, Rupert, was a writer of plays). Molly was an actress and played the part of the maid in Charlie Chaplin's production of 'Limelight'. She died at St. Francis Hospital, Haywards Heath on 30.4.1971 and
c.3 Peggy Grove, born 13.2.1920 in Kingston-on Thames, who married John Leslie Rodgers, who was born on 20th.October, 1918 in Rotherham, Yorkshire. He was a businessman and the son of Alan Leigh Rodgers and Cecily Dorothy Rodgers, who lived at 18, Liverpool Road, Kingston-on-Thames, Yorkshire.
Desia Woods wrote in January, 2002 that she and Ethel Whitehead had lunch with Baddy at her home in Kingston-on-Thames. 'I have a cine film of her taken on the steps outside the house but haven't looked at my films for years and they are probably faded. I also met Peggy, Madelaine and Melanie (4 years old). A good looking family. I have seen a photo of Aunt Baddy beside the ambulance she drove during World War II.'
When we visited them, Leslie was in the pet trade and commuted to London daily. He started with tropical fish but broadened the business from there, providing cat litter and boxes, etc. Peggy wrote (16.12.72) "The demand is enormous because of the increase in the number of flat dwellers and we serve the whole of the S.E. Region with the office and packing station at Twickenham." They bought a holiday flat on a co-ownership basis in Ibiza, where they spent from January 15th to February 15th each year. They were both interested in amateur dramatics and cinematography, entering their films and doing well in International competitions.
They had two daughters:
(i) Madeleine Leslie Rodgers, born 21.1.1944 in Surbiton, married Ian Malcolm Andrews, born 17.4,1941 in Hawick, Scotland. (a physicist) and they had a son, Stuart Leslie Andrews and a daughter, Laura Felicity Andrews, both born in Winchester.
Peggy and John Rodgers' second daughter was:
(ii) Melanie Dawn Rodgers, born in Kingston on 5.6.1954. She went to live in Southern Spain and was in the Estate business there in 1985.
In 1947 while I was in England with my father, I went to Baddy Grove's home and met my future parents-in-law [Pa and Ma], as they were also in UK on a visit. It was extremely cold in this typically English, three-storey house, but I was too nervous or shy to mention that I felt frozen! I gave the impression that I was not feeling very well, which did not go down too well with Ma, as they always prided themselves on their good health. They must have been pretty stoical to survive that chilly place, being used to South African temperatures, as I was. There was a coal strike on, the rationing of food, petrol and other things brought in during the war, was still enforced, making it a very difficult time for the English.
It was at the beginning of 1954, that Phillip and Pa sailed to Britain (on separate Union Castle liners, as it was still very difficult to obtain bookings on board ships sailing to UK at that time), and they stayed with Baddy until I came over with our two sons, in June. Food rationing was still on, although the war had been over for years, but it had eased up sufficiently that one could obtain meat without coupons if one was a visitor and could show one's passport to confirm this. Phillip and Pa went to the butcher in Kingston-on-Thames and he provided them with an excellent, good sized round of beef for roasting. This was the first proper beef roast Baddy had cooked since shortly after the beginning of the war, so it made quite a celebration for all of them.
We found accommodation in a boarding house and, together with the two small children, we visited Baddy at her home in Kingston-on-Thames and on this occasion I met both her daughters, Molly and Peggy, who were there for the day.
Before the war, Molly was an aspiring actress in London [She took as her professional name 'Molly Glessing' from her grandmother's surname] and Phillip remembers that she took him to see a film with Clark Gable called 'Test Pilot'. During the war she joined E.N.S.A. and it was through this group that she met her husband, who was also a member. One of the tours entertaining the troops took them to Cairo, where Phillip was able to meet up with them at Shepherd's hotel for afternoon tea. In about 1946 they went to live in Sydney, Australia and shortly after that Baddy and Frank visited them there and considered immigrating, but only stayed about nine months. [There is a photo of Baddy and Percy in UK in about 1948]
Molly also returned to England, and eventually, sadly, she was stricken by a mental condition and placed in a home, where she died. I remember her as such a happy, friendly, out-going character, full of fun and affection.
Over the years, we also visited Peggy and Leslie several times when we were in England. He was with the BBC before the war, but after the war he joined a company selling pet requisites and originally travelled up to London each day from Surbiton. They moved down to Lewes, West Sussex (where we saw them in 1968) and later to the exceptionally pretty village of Long Parish in Hampshire (we visited them there twice, first in 1978 and then in 1983 on way to Lyme Regis.) They both died while living at Long Parish. We also met their daughter Madeleine and baby, while they were at Lewes, then, when we went to Spain in 1985 we called on their younger daughter, Melanie, who was working in (I think) Almeria, but we didn't linger there as it was a most unappealing place in the midst of a number of salt pans.
It was during our visit to Britain in 1954, that we also went to see Billy at 'The Grasshopper' and met the German au pair girl, Ilse, who was helping him and who, later, became his wife.
Doris wrote: 'Auntie Baddy was a person who could play the piano with her elbow!' And 'I last saw Auntie Baddy and Uncle Frank Grove in 1947, when they had been to Australia to see Molly. We were all at the Cape at the same time. We rented a house and I well remember Auntie Baddy playing the piano with her elbow! I have a photo of them, Pa and myself taken at Seaforth by Dick.
Of this generation there may have been issue from Charles (Charlie) May and Sarah May nee Chase and/or from Albert May's marriage to Sarah ??? or, possibly from Ernest Edward May remaining in England, but no trace of them has come to hand as yet. But Percy Augustus May and his descendants lived in Africa; that is, what are now Zambia (Northern Rhodesia), Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia) or South Africa and details of their lives are recorded under MF2 The May Family in Africa then, more recent information on those living in Perth, Australia; San Francisco; and Auckland will be found under MF3 Percy and Mabel May's Descendants.