Ralph Sturman's father Edward Albert Sturman

Contribution by Lucy Tarr:

Edward Albert Sturman - a communications engineer with the British Colonial Service came out to Africa in 1887 on the same ship as Arthur Squires and they were close friends. Both returned to Britain the same year and then were sent out at the beginning of the Boer War. Both saw service with the Engineering Corps but Sturman was mainly based in the Western Cape.

After the end of the Boer War, Sturman returned to Britain where he married. His wife died in childbirth and in 1897 he returned to South Africa and was based in Cape Town. He brought his little girl of 4 years with him. In Cape Town Sturman met and married Jessie Powrie who came from George. Her mother was the granddaughter of Miss Sarie van der Pohl. Sarie's father had come to the Cape in 1790 with Simon van der Stel. Sarie's daughter married Powrie who was the chemist in George. Their marriage is recorded in the register at St George's Church and there is a street named after Mr Powrie. The Powrie family were well known in the Elgin District of Scotland as Powrie's father, who was also a chemist, had invented the percussion on the modern day rifle.

Jessie's mother was a fine soprano singer and acknowledged for a good 20 years as having the finest voice in the Cape. Jessie had inherited her mother's good ear for music and when she married Edward Sturman, they made a good team as he had a natural ability to remember and play any tune he heard. In 1918 Sturman was appointed Post Master General of South Africa and the family moved to Pretoria. The children consisted of Grace from the first marriage, Ralph, Marjorie who became very well known in Ballet circles and was given the Freedom of Johannesburg in about 1995, Teddy who was the Senior Telecommunications engineer for the City of Cape Town and Peggy, the youngest.

In 1923 Sturman retired in order to take Teddy and Peggy to England, He and Jessie never returned to South Africa. They lived for the rest of their lives in Bromley, Kent and he died aged 86 in 1949. Jessie lived with Peggy until her death in around 1958.