Three generations

My mother’s family wasn’t a camera family and we have almost no family history photos. For the fourth generation back – my great grandfather’s generation – I have just this one photo.

Great grandfather Alfred is standing on the left. On the right is his eldest son Alfred Thomas and between them is Alfred Thomas’ son Edward Alfred. Seated is great grandfather Alfred’s youngest son Edward Cecil, holding his son Raymond Alfred. So there are three generations in the photo. (It would be easier to describe them if they hadn’t kept using the same names, but of course that was the tradition.)

Why were the three male generations gathered together, evidently in their best formal clothes and wearing ties? The photo was taken in 1928. Young Edward Alfred was fifteen and apparently wearing a sailor’s uniform. 1928 was the year that he enrolled at the Thames Nautical Training College. After two years’ training there he spent three years at sea as a Sea Cadet. So perhaps this was a family send off when he went away to training college?

His uncle Edward Cecil, by the way, had spent the whole of World War I in the navy, so young Edward was perhaps following in his uncle’s footsteps.

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