Lorna's Uncle Percy L and family
On 27th May we posted a photograph of Lorna's Uncle Percy W and family. They lived in Malvern in the house next door to that of Lorna and her parents in the period that she was writing her war diary.
Lorna’s other Uncle Percy was the youngest of her father’s four brothers. He was a lawyer, and also Diocesan Registrar and Legal Secretary to the Diocese of Gloucester (1932-57). We know from Lorna’s cousin Margaret’s self-published memoirs that he was ‘interesting and profound’ and rather absent-minded (wearing odd socks on occasion). Lorna herself included him in the group of family ‘intellectuals’ in her war diary entry of 29th January 1940.
Uncle Percy’s wife was Lorna’s Aunt May, a daughter of the Roberts family that established the Victorian toy and games manufacturer Glevum Games (acquired by Chad Valley in 1954). Uncle Percy and Aunt May had one daughter. This was Lorna’s first cousin Diana, who was born in 1919. By the time she was 20 in 1940, cousin Diana was also included in the group of ‘intellectuals’ in Lorna’s family. We know from her obituary that cousin Diana patrolled the rooftops of Gloucester Cathedral during World War II as a firewatcher, and that postwar she campaigned to draw attention to the plight of wartime refugees.
The threesome in the blip comprises Uncle Percy, Aunt May and cousin Diana as a baby. The other people In the group photo are Uncle Percy’s in-laws: Aunt May’s sister Doris and their parents Elizabeth and Harry. The family dog also makes an appearance in this shot.
From the age of cousin Diana in these photographs, we believe that they were taken in 1919 or 1920. The location is Aunt May’s parents’ house: Cainscross House in Stroud. Aunt May’s parents lived here until the 1930s.
The house has an interesting war time history. According to the Digital Stroud web site, not long after Aunt May’s family sold the house, it was occupied by Lieutenant Colonel Gudman, leader of the West of England branch of the British Union of Fascists (BUF). He claimed to have known the Nazi leaders before they entered politics, helped Ribbentrop and Goering in their smuggling activities (alcohol and guns respectively), and wrote to the local press in 1939 to object to the adoption by people in the area of Jewish refugee children from Germany. Sir Oswald Mosley, who set up the BUF, is also said to have stayed in the house.