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Eastern Road Havant
Standing, George CBE DSO MC 1875 – 1966 Methodist Minister 1900 – 66
George was born on 11th November 1875 at Havant, Hampshire, to parents George Richard Standing and Emma Jane Till. His father was a local preacher, successful businessman (grocer) and Justice of the Peace.
George attended Bedhampton Sunday School and was influenced by Rev William Cuthbert to think of ministry. He entered Hartley College in 1898 and served for six years on the Aldershot Mission before the First World War.
When war broke out in 1914, George Standing immediately volunteered his services and was commissioned into the Royal Army Chaplains’ Department. He was the first Primitive Methodist minister to enlist in the armed forces and after time spent at Aldershot, organising the chaplaincy work with the army, he was sent to the front, serving with distinction in France and Italy. During the war he was mentioned in dispatches four times and was awarded the CBE, DSO and the Military Cross for bravery. He was also awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy.
By the end of the war he had been appointed the Assistant Principal Chaplain. After the war he was involved in France in the secret procedure for the selection of the Unknown Warrior. He then returned to Aldershot Garrison, and in 1929 became Deputy Chaplain General at the War Office. He was also made an Honorary Chaplain to the King. He was respected and somewhat feared in military circles because of his fight for the recognition of Free Churchmen in the services.
In retirement George returned to Havant and continued to preach in the area. Almost to the end of his life he visited weekly the cottage hospital which his parents had largely been instrumental in building. George died on 6th January 1966 at Havant, Hampshire.
Source: My Primitive Methodist Ancestors
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There is one aspect of Havant history that few people will be aware of. The parents and siblings of a (then) well-known cycle and car manufacturer, George Singer lived at Warwick Lodge, Fourth Avenue Denvilles during the last decade of the nineteenth century and until 1925, when the last survivor, Mary Singer died. The grave of George Singer (senior), Hellen Singer, Mary Singer and Arthur William Singer is in the newer part of New Lane cemetery.
The Singer Company is little known these days – it manufactured its last car as an independent concern in 1955, before being taken over by the Rootes Group
Singer Family History
Founder of the Singer marque, George Singer was born to George and Hellen Singer on the 26th January 1847 at Kingston House in the parish of Stinsford, Dorset. His parents had travelled south from Aberdeenshire to work on the Kingston Estate, as Farm Bailiff and Dairy Manager respectively, at some time following their marriage of 1845. Such working arrangements were commonplace in the nineteenth century; it would have been a tough life for the Singers, working hard on the farm and raising a family. The Kingston Estate had been purchased from William Grey Pitt in 1845 by Mr Francis Pitney Brouncker Martin, a wealthy well educated man with an inclination to experimental farming and amateur science. It is not known why the Singer family chose the Kingston Maurward Estate in Dorset; perhaps there was a connection with the Martins or they simply responded to a job advertisement.
George junior had two surviving siblings, Mary and Arthur William; sadly there is record of another, Frederick, buried in the local church, St. Michael’s Stinsford in April 1852, aged five months. The Stinsford churchyard also contains the grave of Poet Laureate Cecil Day Lewis (died 1972) and is the resting place of the heart of poet and novelist Thomas Hardy (died 1928), buried alongside the grave of his first wife Emma Lavinia Gifford who died in 1912.
Stinsford is the village ‘Mellstock’ of Hardy’s novels ‘Under the Greenwood Tree’ and ‘Jude the Obscure’. Hardy had been born on the Kingston Estate in 1840, and from the age of eight attended the village school at Lower Bockhampton near Kingston farmhouse. Francis Martin’s wife Julia Augusta taught at the school, which had opened in 1847 on land she and her husband had donated. Following a dispute between Hardy’s mother, Jemima, and Julia Martin, Hardy was taken away from the school in September 1849. George Singer junior most likely attended the school, possibly from when he was three years old. School attendance at such an early age was not uncommon in those times.
In 1851 George and Hellen Singer were employing Martha Hurden as a house servant. She was a local girl; her family lived nearby in Lower Bockhampton. Martha’s sister Fanny had been at school with Hardy but sadly she died aged 20, and in his poem ‘Voices from Things Growing in a Churchyard’ Thomas Hardy remembered Fanny, though he re-named her Fanny Hurd.
The Kingston Maurward estate was sold in 1853 to James Fellows, the ensuing departure of the Martins signalling the exit of the Singer family.
By 1861 the Singer family had moved to the interestingly named Polthooks Farm near Bosham in West Sussex, where George senior worked as farm bailiff for John Baring Esq. of Oakwood, East Ashling in the parish of Funtington. John Baring was a member of the famous Barings banking family. Baring had been born at Lee in the parish of Lewisham, not far from the Greenwich and Deptford works of famous marine engineer John Penn who built, among other things, the engines for HMS Warrior, now moored in Portsmouth Harbour. George Junior was by this time aged 14. The family’s long stay at Polthooks Farm probably gave rise to the incorrect statement, made in some publications, that George Singer was born in Sussex. Although the original Polthooks farm building remains, the farm itself has become a small business park.
Some connection with the Martins continued during the Singers’ stay at Polthooks because the census records tell us that Mary Singer, aged 21, was visiting the Martins at Broadwater, Worthing in 1871. In the subsequent (1881) census when she was home at Polthooks, her occupation is given as ‘Postal & Telegraphist Clerk’, with her brother Arthur William being recorded as ‘Cow Keeper Agricultural Labourer’.
Most members of the Singer family remained at Polthooks until at least 1891, before moving to Havant to live out their final years. However, George junior did not reside there for long, because before his 15th birthday he left the family home to become an apprentice mechanic at John Penn and Sons of Lewisham, from whence he was drawn into the sewing machine industry by Newton Wilson & Co. It would be a reasonable assumption that the connection with the Lewisham born John Baring led to young George’s move to Lewisham. At this stage it is important to establish the fact that that although George worked in the sewing machine industry for a period, there is no connection whatever with Singer sewing machines.
It’s at Lewisham that another illustrious name from the history of motoring crops up – William Hillman, born in Lewisham and like Singer employed first by John Penn and then Newton Wilson & Co. Singer and Hillman are recorded as bell ringers at the local church during their period together at Lewisham, but life must have been very full for those bright young men because they found time to ring only a single peal at their home tower in February 1867.
In 1869 George Singer moved to Coventry and in 1871 is recorded as living in Union Street, lodging at the home of George and Elizabeth Addison, his stated occupation being given by the census of that year as ‘Sewing Machine Finisher’. A fellow boarder was William Hillman, with stated occupation ‘Sewing Machine Manufacturer’. George Addison himself is recorded as ‘Sewing Machine Maker’. It is therefore probable that Singer, Hillman and Addison all worked at the Coventry Machinists Company Ltd. (earlier the Coventry Sewing Machine Company Ltd.) under works manager James Starley. This is supported by motoring journalist David Burgess-Wise who tells us that Starley had ‘head hunted’ William Hillman and George Singer from Newton Wilson & Co because of their abilities. Starley himself was an extremely able man having started out as gardener to John Penn of Lewisham; today he is considered to be the father of the cycle industry.
At this point we catch another glimpse of ‘Singer the Man’ outside the context of his work, for George became a member of Vicar Lane Chapel, a non conformist Church known as the Independents, who at some point changed their name to Congregationalists. It is probable that George went there because the Addisons attended. On 2nd February 1881 George and six others were appointed to the Finance Committee at Vicar Lane, together with the Pastor and Deacons. George himself became a Deacon on 30th March 1881.
By 1881 George Singer had married and was living at 8 Stoneleigh Terrace Coventry with his wife Eliza and three children Louise, George and Minnie. His stated occupation was ‘Manufacturer of Bicycle and Tricycle Employing 300 Men and Boys’. George was clearly prospering because he was able to employ three servants.
Captain “Joe” Walter Napier Thomason Beckett was born in Bilaspur in the Central Provinces of India on 25 March 1893 where his father had been a civil engineer working on behalf of the Indian government.
The family returned to Britain for their son’s education. Beckett boarded at Park House School in Kent and in 1906 he entered the Royal Naval College, Osborne, where he excelled at sports and became friends with fellow cadet HRH Prince Edward, the future King Edward VIII. Whilst here Beckett won numerous cups and medals for boxing, bayonet fighting, sabres and foils at the Naval Colleges, and later in the fleet and at the Royal Naval and Military Tournament. Whilst in the Navy Beckett held the title of Heavy-weight boxing champion for some time, and this is what earned him his nickname after the British boxer Joe Beckett.
Walter Napier Thomason was a noted Royal Navy officer in both World War I and World War II. In ‘Fabulous Admirals and some naval fragments’ written by Commander Geoffrey Lowis RN, published in 1957, Beckett is described as “an Elizabethan character, who was rough, tough, large and strong, and his words smelt of tar, spun yarn, sound commonsense and humour.”
World War I Beckett served as Sub-Lieutenant in the destroyer HMS Legion, of Commodore Sir Reginald Tyrwhitt’s Harwich Force, and took part in the Battle of Heligoland Bight and the Battle of Dogger Bank. When HMS Amphion, the first Royal Naval ship to be sunk during the First World War, was going down, Beckett was aboard searching for survivors, and often became the hero of this tale when told.
While Beckett was serving with the Harwich Force, he befriended the English author Rudyard Kipling. Kipling was very interested in the Royal Navy, and used Beckett as a source of information for his 1916 naval classic, “Sea Warfare”.
From April 1916 until the end of World War I, Beckett was employed in Coastal Motor Boats (CMB’s), with a group of bright young officers known as the ‘Suicide Club’ and during this time Beckett was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
From May to November 1919, Beckett volunteered for “Special Service” on a dangerous secret mission in North Russia using CMBs. During this time he worked with the military (on land) as a Lewis Gun Officer, and on mine clearance duties on the river.
World War II In January, 1939, Beckett was appointed Captain of Dockyard, Deputy Superintendent and King’s Harbour Master of HMNB Devonport (HMS Drake). While this was an unusual job for a junior captain it was one to which Beckett was well fitted. At this time war was on the horizon and a strong man was needed to tighten things up. However, Beckett was a seadog and when the opportunity of Captaincy of the York Class heavy cruiser HMS Exeter became available Beckett jumped at the chance.
During this time Beckett’s health began to fail due to heavy workload, exposure to poison gas in Russia and shrapnel in his left knee received in CMB’s. After persevering after a month of ill health at the dockyards Beckett left on the 7th March 1941 for the last time.
Beckett was taken to Saltash Hospital for an exploratory operation after stomach and chest pains the night before. He later lost consciousness and died on Monday the 10th March with his beloved wife Gladys holding his hand and now resides in Warblington Cemetery.
A memorial service for Captain Beckett was held at his grave on 10th March 2018.
The ‘Last Post’ sounds, the Standard dips and the Rear Admiral and Pete Cox of the HMS Exeter Association salute in tribute to Captain Beckett.
The wreath from the HMS Exeter Association and the poppy crosses laid on behalf of the family for Captain Beckett and to his Wife Gladys (for Mother’s Day).
Once the weather improves the HMS Exeter Association will place some turf on the grave to help it blend in with the surroundings and look tidy.
Eastern Road Havant
Stallard, Albert Donald Died 27th May 1915
Albert Donald Stallard was an Assistant Paymaster in The Royal Navy and was killed, aged 20, as the result of an explosion on board HMAS Princess Irene.
The Princess Irene and her sister ship the Princess Margaret were built as passenger liners in 1914 for the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and requisitioned by the Admiralty on 20th January 1915. By March the ships had been converted to fast minelayers with a capacity of 400 mines.
The Princess Irene (pictured above) was based at Sheerness and on the morning of 27th May 1915 she was moored in the River Medway, approximately three miles from Sheerness town centre. Her crew and naval personnel drafted from Chatham were preparing the ship for her third mine-laying operation in the North Sea. Additionally, civilian workers from Sheerness Dockyard were on board to strengthen the improvised gun decks. Mines were also being loaded from barges and stowed on the ship’s two mine decks. At 11.12 hours there was an explosion and the Princess Irene disintegrated. A column of flame 300-feet high was followed by smoke and further eruptions of flame above where the Princess Irene had been moored. A small steam ship and two barges lying alongside were also destroyed and a collier moored half-a-mile away downstream had its crane blown off its mountings.
Three crew members from the Princess Irene had a fortunate escape as they were ashore at the time of the explosion. There was only one survivor, a stoker who was found amongst the floating wreckage and rescued. 273 officers and men and 76 civilians perished in the explosion. Across the river, one-and-a-half miles away on the Isle of Grain, a nine-year-old girl, Ida Barden, was struck by a piece of metal and killed and a farm labourer working in a field nearby died of shock.
Wreckage fell up to twenty miles away from Sheerness. Civilians in Sittingbourne were injured by falling debris and a 10-ton section of a boiler damaged Admiralty oil storage tanks on the Isle of Grain. A box of butter landed in Rainham six miles from Sheerness.
Albert is buried with his brother, James Alan Stallard, who was a Private in the Gloucestershire Regiment and died at home, aged 19, on 26th August 1918 of wounds received in action. Their parents, Edward James and Beatrice, are in the same grave which is adjacent to the wall alongside the allotments.
Assistant Paymaster Albert Donald Stallard is commemorated on Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
James Alan Stallard is listed on the Board in Midhurst Rother College.
Sources: Wessex Western Front Association
Rother Valley War Memorials
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Wessex Western Front Association – Princess Irene
Kent Online – Explosion on board HMS Princess Irene
Rother Valley War Memorials – Private James Alan Stallard
Royal British Legion – Assistant Paymaster Albert Donald Stallard
Dissenters’ Cemetery – Havant
Scamp, Reverend William 1774 – 18th September 1860
Dissenting minister of Havant Independent Chapel from 1803 for 43 or 50 years, depending on which record you look at. According to the memorial tablet in the church erected by Frances his wife it is 50 years. However, church records and the Denomination records indicate that he was the minister for 43 years, and that is confirmed by the diary of Martha Burrows in Havant Museum. Martha was a church member and a very particular diarist.
The Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle 1819 (P422 Religious Intelligence) states “When preaching of the Gospel in the Established Church at Portsea ceased, Rev. Mr. Scamp, of Havant, again proclaimed the word of life, and ‘for the space of three years’, ‘preached in his own hired house, the unsearchable riches of Christ’.” The years referred to are not stated, but this appears to be prior to his appointment as pastor, so this may account for some of the discrepancy.
William Scamp was born at Devonport in 1774, of humble parentage; but at an early age moved to Gosport, where he followed the trade of a journeyman cabinet-maker and was promoted to foreman. He was converted by Dr Bogue and became a lay-preacher, subsequently enrolling as a student for the ministry at the Theological Seminary in Gosport, of which Dr Bogue was the principal. He preached at the Independent Chapel in Havant and was ordained as pastor over the church on 9th March 1803. He also officiated at the ordination of various missionaries.
Reverend Scamp died on September 18th 1860, at the advanced age of eighty-six. The records are not entirely clear, but it is believed that he is buried in the Dissenters’ section together with his first wife Ann and second wife Frances. His daughter Ann and her husband James are buried in the same plot.
Havant Dissenters’ Cemetery New Lane – A Brief History and Record of Burials by Gillian M. Peskett Havant United Reformed Church May 2012
Evangelical Magazine and Missionary Chronicle 1819
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Nuns in Warblington Cemetery
On entering the cemetery by the main gate, there is an area on the right hand side of the path given over to graves for nuns from two orders.
The earlier graves were for nuns from the Order of St Anne of Bethany. This Anglican Order was established in The United States in 1910. In 1922 a group of sisters from this order opened a convent at 34 Havant Road, Emsworth, opposite what is now The Emsworth Sports & Social Club, who originally rented their land from the Convent. The original convent building is now a dialysis centre.
By 1973 there were only 4 sisters left and they decided to rejoin the Order in the United States. The existing graves and additional plots were then entrusted to The Society of the Sisters of Bethany, who have continued to maintain them and have buried members of their order there as well. This Anglican Order was founded in Clerkenwell, London in 1866 and has subsequently had Houses in Bournemouth, Hindhead and Winchester. The House in Southsea opened in 1987 and is now the Mother House for this order. It is the nuns from this House that occupy the more recent graves.