The Murrays in my tree are all descendants of Andrew Murray and Sarah who were living in Bloomsbury from around 1800 to their deaths in 1831 and 1847 respectively. From baptism records their address was Everett Street, and Andrew was a Hairdresser. It seems likely that they were the Andrew Murray and Sarah Jones who married at St George, Hanover Square on the 17th October 1800, and that Andrew had been born in 1774 in Banchory Devenick in Kincardineshire. In the course of my research as I come across various snippets of information about family members they will gradually be added below. First - a mystery badge found among my mother’s papers: I’m assuming it goes this way up from the orientation of the letter C, and I really have no idea what it refers to. Anyone got any clues? And the front and the back of a photo from the same source (click photos to enlarge): In February 1943 my mother went on an Instructors’ training course with the National Fire Service to Red House, Spalding Road in Streatham. This group photo dates from then, and quite a few of those attending  signed the back, some rather cryptically and with their station ID and phone number after their names. Does anyone remember them? Spud Murphy 38.A.1.Z FOR2228, Pudding Dunning (?) 38.F.1.Y CRO.1220, Ginger Ellis 38.F.2.X, Sprink Park 30.32(?), Blossom Burbridge, Wisteria Wolfe 38.C2.S.D, Marigold Maunder E.6.Z Burgh Heath 2222, Mimosa Masters 38.D.6.Z, J. Kemp 38.D.4.Z, H. Smith 38.B.2.Z, D.L. Taylor B.3.Z, Pat Brazier 38.F.3.Z, Tulip Tear 38.A.4.V Waterloo 4176, Carnation Cole 38.E.5.Z, E. Williams E.5.Z, J. Botting A.2.Z, Bluebell Bemrose 38.D.3.Z Esher 100, Drage D.5.Z, G. Davis 38.C.1.Z, V. Thomas B.1.Z, Crocus Cattle F.1.Z, W. Lamborn (?) F.5-4, B. English B.3.23(?), Thistledown Thyers B.4.75(?). My mother was stationed for a time at Old Kent Road which was 38.A.3.Z according to the back of another group photo. I’m currently going through my mother’s photo album, scanning the pictures to make some photo books and I thought I’d share her treasured school photo. When the family home at 87 Fitzalan Street in Lambeth was destroyed by a direct hit in WW2, they lost everything apart from what they stood up in and the contents of their handbags (well apart from what was in the dormitory at Old Kent Road Fire Station where my mother and her sister Grace were stationed). This was one of the possessions my mother carried with her, it’s battered and torn as a result. Click the picture to enlarge This was taken at Walnut Tree Walk School in about 1924, and my mother is standing at the far right of the photograph, three rows back, with some rather nice ringlets.  Frank Murray, my mother’s brother was just 19 when he was killed in action on the 20th May 1940 in France.  He is buried in the Saleux Communal Cemetery  with 9 other war casualties all from The Queen's Royal Regiment (West Surrey). My mother wrote in her memoirs: “It was while I was stationed at the Paragon [with the London Fire Service] that our troops retreated from the Continent and Dunkirk. These were very worrying days waiting for news, for Frank, although very young, was over there somewhere, and Fred [her brother-in-law in the Royal Artillery] as well. Fred came home all right, but Frank was reported ‘missing presumed killed’. We had very nice letters from two of his officers explaining that they had been completely scattered by the German tanks near Arras.” Saleux is a village 6 kilometres south-west of Amiens on the road which runs south-south-west off the Amiens-Poix road, to Conty. The Communal Cemetery lies 273 metres north-west of the church which is on the main road through the village. WW2 Devon connections Just got back from a visit to Devon, and a lot of the place names reminded me that some of my Murrays were evacuated to Newton Abbot during the Second World War. My mother’s youngest siblings, Peg and Chris were joined by their father Charles Frank Murray - who was registered blind probably as a result of gas in the trenches in the First World War - when the house in Lambeth was destroyed in a direct hit. Peg joined the Land Army and married a Holsworthy farmer, and Chris joined the Devon Cadets. Here are some mementos of that time: The annotations with arrows read: “Dad’s pub” and “Up there is our house”. Click to enlarge images and use arrow keys to move to next. The other day I found my mother’s badges from when she was a member of the Kennington troop of the Life Saving Guards. They were the Salvation Army’s equivalent of the Girl Guides, and were inaugurated by Mrs General Booth on 17 November 1915 with the aim of providing enrichment for the body, mind and spirit of its members. The Salvation Army website tells us that “The uniform was grey and red, brigades were divided into patrols and were under the direction of a Guard Leader ... There were also a large number of badges which could be worked for such as First Aid, Athlete, Hostess etc and these were worn on the arm of the uniform ... Each girl worked to become a second class and then a first class guard ... Guard troops met weekly and often included camping in their programmes.” Considered too weak as a child to go swimming or camping my mother said she was never able to progress to Leader, though she certainly earned a lot of badges. She had also told me that, with her sister Grace, she tried out all the different churches in Lambeth where they grew up in the 1920s, sitting at the back of the congregation just to see what was going on. When times got hard for the family a few years later the only church that provided practical help in the form of children’s shoes and food parcels was the Salvation Army. So they joined the Life Saving Guards. The amazing thing about the group photo is that my mother and her sister were just about the shortest women I knew, yet here they stand at the back, taller than the other three (though they may have been much younger of course), whose names I unfortunately do not know. Great uncle Joseph Henry Murray was born in 1891 in Walworth, South London and appears on the 1901 and 1911 censuses. In 1914 he married Jenny Atkins in Catford, and they were producing children fairly regularly in the Lewisham registration district - so probably still Catford - up till 1931. But then where did they go? Thanks to the electoral registers now on Ancestry and the 1939 register on FindMyPast I can see that the family stayed in Engleheart Rd., with Joseph Murray listed there at no. 4, till his death in 1964. I can only suppose there was some kind of family rift as other members of the family who stayed in the same area never mentioned them as far as I was aware. I've managed to trace Jenny Atkins' line back to her great grandfather William Attkins, a Cook in Cotton Hall, Eton College in 1841. Her father William Attkins (the second 't' gets lost around the year 1900) worked for the Great Eastern Railway: he's a lavatory attendant in 1911, a Railway shunter in 1891, and his demotion becomes clear in 1901 when he's described as a railway servant, with "lost both legs" written in the disability column - presumably an industrial accident. In both 1901 and 1911 he describes himself as married, though his wife is not present. In 1911 he even says he's been married 20 years, with 3 children of whom one is living. Jenny Atkins turns out to be an Essex Girl, born in Walthamstow 21 April 1894, and her mother was Jane [Wilson] Wright who married William Atkins in Hackney in 1891. In 1911 William Atkins and his daughter Jenny are living with his brother Alfred and his wife and daughter along with Maria Atkins, mother to William and Alfred, in Silvermere Road, Catford - just the other side of the present-day Catford Gyratory from Engleheart Rd. where the Murrays are living. They were new arrivals south of the river: Jenny's little cousin Ada who is just 1 in 1911 was born in Manor Park, Essex, which is where the whole family were living in 1901.
      
A Murray miscellany Home Murrays
Poem written by Frank’s sister Peg while he was still reported missing. Click to enlarge Chris leads the Cadets in Torquay 28 April 1945. Newton Abbot post card c1940 Nell and Grace Murray in the Life Saving Guards c1930 Badges from the Life Saving Guards Nell and Grace in the Life Saving Guards, Kennington troop, c1930