Then, to continue with the life of M2/5 Percy Augustus May after the death of his first wife:]
1909 and 1910 were difficult years for Percy as his wife's death in 1909 was followed by the deaths of three family members in 1910 (a) his father's brother, Arthur Wellesley May and (b) his older brother, Albert May and (c) his aunt, Charlotte May, to say nothing of his need to find someone to care for his young family while he was working for the Chartered Company at No: 2, London Wall. In addition, in 1912 there was also the death of his sister, Grace Rebecca Whitehead nee May. At the beginning of the war, in 1914 Percy joined the City of London Volunteers.
During the war, probably in 1915, Percy's sister-in-law, the wife of his brother Peck, and their two daughters were killed in an air raid and in 1916 he was sent by the Chartered Company to Livingstone. During 1917 his parents were living in Surbiton and Frank Groves, his brother-in-law, husband of his sister, Baddy, was an architect at the Town Hall in Kingston.
On a post card to Victor dated 19.9.1916, Percy mentioned travelling to Cape Town by train and then to Camps Bay. Then there were two cards from Livingstone dated 2.10.1916 and 17.10.1916, obviously posted after his return there.
Then, in 1917, on post cards addressed to one of his children, he told them he was on three weeks leave and had been on a hunting trip and in 1918 he was building a boat with a friend he had made in Livingstone. Percy regularly sent post cards to the four children in England and these were retained by his two daughters and handed down to their children. We have copies of some of them, with short messages on the back and pictures of Livingstone and other places, etc. on the front.
On 23.1.1917 he wrote to his parent's in Surbiton. Then on 8th May 1917 he sent Victor a post card with a view of Livingstone, showing the Main Street, with a hardware shop and explained that his office was opposite 'on the left' and mentioned that a Picture Palace had been built between the Bank and the Barber shop on the right. He remembered Victor's birthday on 9th May.
Other cards showed the troops leaving for German East Africa (dated 6.11.1917) and mules pulling their food wagons (dated 13.11.1917). At Christmas time he got three weeks leave and during this break he walked 50 miles to the Machili river on a hunting trip 'for trophies'.
On 19.3.1918 he wrote that he was busy taking out a trial balance [presumably for the Treasury] and on 28.8.1918 he was building a motorboat, during the weekends, with a friend (who would not sell it for eighty pounds!). Then came news of the 'Spanish influenza' where he writes: "One chap died on Saturday with it - he went into hospital on Friday at 12 noon and was buried on Saturday at 5.30 p.m." ... and, in fact he, himself, had also been laid low with it as he wrote to Victor on 8.11.1918 saying: '" have received a letter from you but I have been laid up for the last three weeks with the Spanish 'flu and it has left me decidedly weak. I shall be pleased to get to England to recuperate. I have still got nasty pains in my head and knees. 14 white people have died with it and numbers of niggers; 3 or 4 a day, on one day eleven [died]. Some disease, eh! I am pleased to say it is going away now, however, and nearly all the people here have had it. I hope you will escape it, as it leaves one so very weak. Well, the war will soon be over now, I fancy, and the huns are getting a good thrashing I am pleased to see, are not you? The news of the war has been extremely good this last few weeks and last night's news very much so."
This was followed by one dated 19.11.1918 and read: "I suppose you had a good time over the Armistice, when the good news came through, but never mind we will endeavour to celebrate it when I get home. The huns have found out that might is not right and fancy the Kaiser running away to Holland. I hope we fetch him to England and he is tried for murder, together with his War Party."
And among those who died at this time in Livingstone (on 18.11.1918) was Arthur John Squires of what was called 'The Spanish Influenza', which had swept around the world like a plague, killing an enormous number of people. [He was the first husband of Mabel Helene nee Nolan who was married to (2nd) Percy Augustus May]