On Sunday 5th June I visited an Antiques Fair at Lingfield Racecourse in Sussex and as always my eyes were peeled for any interesting old photographs or postcards, that I might be able to research.
One such photo postcard of four soldiers in uniform caught my eye and on examining the reverse, although there were no names for the men on the front, there was an address sending it to Mrs N BENSON, 15 Hartland Road, Chalk Farm Road, Kentish Town, London, N.W.
Although there was no first name for Mrs N BENSON I wondered if the address would be enough for me to research and find a possible living connection – being ever hopeful I quickly made a purchase!
Once home I started my research wondering if Mrs BENSON had been living at the same address in 1911 and was quickly pleased to find that she had been living at 15 Hartland Road when the census was completed on 2nd April 1911.
Mrs N BENSON was in face Mrs Nora Marian BENSON aged 27 married to Edward Francis BENSON for seven years who was a Motor Omnibus Driver – they had three children Edward Frank aged 4, Ivy Jessie aged 2 and Nora Doris aged 9 months.
Source Citation: Class: RG14; Piece: 673 – Ancestry.com. 1911 England Census
Edward Francis BENSON had married Nora Marian FRENCH in the October quarter of 1903 in the Edmonton Registration District.
Now I wondered if Edward had served in WW1 and if so had he survived – I quickly found that he has served between 1914 and 1920 as Private M/317967 in the Army Service Corps formerly the R.A.S.C and that he had been awarded his British War Medal and his Victory Medal.
Source Information: Ancestry.com. UK, WWI Service Medal and Award Rolls, 1914-1920 – Class: WO 329; Piece Number: 2036
Could Edward be one of the four soldiers inn the photograph sent to Nora?
Searching Ancestry family trees I found two trees that contained the names Edward Francis BENSON and Nora Marian FRENCH and immediately sent both tree owners a message about the photograph I had discovered.
The same evening I received a reply from a lady called Jackie who had an online family tree containing these two names, for an elderly friend who she had carried out some family research for – Jackie was so pleased that I had made contact and said she would contact her friend accordingly, as Edward and Nora were her friend’s Grandparents.
Later the same evening Jackie emailed me to say that she had rung her friend and then emailed her the photograph and she was thrilled and she was going to compare it against other family photographs, to see if it was indeed Edward Francis BENSON or possibly some of Nora’s FRENCH brothers who had also served in WW1.
I am now waiting to hear further from Jackie to see if we can identify the men and then to hopefully reunite the actual photograph with her in due course.
Also searching the online Electoral Rolls Edward BENSON was still living at 15 Hartland Road in 1937 – the address that proved so valuable.
Family research is so rewarding when a forgotten or lost photograph can be reunited with a living family member and I am already looking forward to my next Antique Fair or Car Boot Sale visit!!