2. Hubert Robert HOAD was born on 25 Mar 1901 in Brighton Sussex.(1) He died on 2 Mar 1967 in Brighton Sussex.(2) Hubert was never known by that name, always either Bert or Don. He was a very competent woodworker, skilled at making anything out of wood and was in fact a journeyman Carpenter.As a boy he joined the Army, but had a fear of horses, and on being asked to take two at a time to the river to drink, he became afraid and deserted. He joined the Royal Flying Corps ( as the Royal Air Force was then known ) using his mother's maiden name of Wood, and saw service in India at the time of the British Raj. At the outbreak of World War 2 he was among the first to volunteer and saw service as ground crew until being demobbed at the end of the war He then started up his own builder's and decorator's business ( at one time his son Victor worked with him ) but it was never a success and the family lived from hand to mouth from then on. All the children were expected to contribute to the family's living expenses both while living at home and away from home, and most if not all of them turned 15 one day and left home the next. He had a huge sense of humour, which made him quite a likeable fellow. However, in the fashion of the day he could be very hard on his children, and subjected them all at one time or another to a taste of the belt which he wore and had obtained during his service in India. He died very suddenly in 1967 without ever really enjoying the security of regular income that the Old Age Pension gave him..He much enjoyed visits which he made for Christmas or summer holidays to the author's home. He was married to Florence JOHNSTON? on 6 Aug 1927 in Brighton Sussex. (3) It is not known where Bert ( as he was mostly known) and Florence met. I always believed that they had met at 10 Trafalgar Road where Florence and her first husband Albert Radford lived, and that the Hoad family occupied one floor of the house at that time owned by Mr Radford. However, research has suggested that Mr Radford did not own the property, as I have had communication from the family who DID own it during the 1920s. Whatever the truth is, Florence was certainly pregnant with Victor when they married in 1927. He gives his address as 83 Brading Road and she gives 33 Frances Street, describing herself as a Widow. The marriage was performed in the Register Office in Brighton, by Certificate, and Florence gives her age as 25. This reconciles with her age as given five years earlier at the marriage to Radford of 19, before the birthday of that year, so points to a birth date of 1902. As her adoptive mother Mrs Johnston was a witness at that wedding, it is unlikely that her age was falsified. The marriage to Bert appears to have been a happy one between the two of them, I remember many signs of affection between them, affection which was not shared with their children.
3. Florence JOHNSTON?
was born about 1900 in Unknown.(4) Florence's
birth remains a mystery. A birth certificate in the name of Florence KENNETT
was found in her belongings some 20 years after her death and the person so named
was traced right back to the 1700s before it was discovered that our Florence
could not be the one named in the certificate, who actually died in 1937. How
or why she came to have this in her possession I do not know, except that she
may have believed herself to be the person on the document, and therefore there
is a certain amount of belief that her name may well have been KENNETT. It is
interesting that this certificate is a copy of the original, and was sent for
in 1948, the same year that her adoptive mother Mrs Johnston died., so maybe
Mrs Johnston told her of her birth circumstances on her death bed - who knows?
If she was told, she certainly never divulged it to anyone, but it does seem
likely, especially in view of the name KENNETT which is not a common name and
the county of Kent, which had never figured in any speculation as to her origins.
Perhaps she preferred the personae of "A Woman of Mystery"!
She was taken in by a Mr and Mrs Edward Johnston and lived with them until her first marriage to Albert Radford. Some say she was 18 months old at the time, but others, notably Uncle Cyril and Olive say that she was 11 or 12. Uncle Cyril was also taken in by them in 1916 as a young child of a few months old. Mr Johnston was either a chemist or worked in the pharmacy business and Mrs Johnston was a monthly nurse. They both had Irish connections, she certainly had a most beautiful soft Irish brogue, and I remember her well, a small lady with lovely skin who wore beautiful blouses with high collars stiffened with whale-bone.I have her Death and Marriage Certificates, but have been unable to find any trace of his death, presumable prior to 1922 as Flo states that he was deceased on her marriage certificate. I have also been unable to find any trace of them on the 1901 Census, and wonder if they may have been back home in Ireland at the time?
She died on 3 Apr 1976 in Brighton Sussex.(5) By the time Florence died, I was already living in New Zealand, where my husband Arthur and I had gone in 1968. There had been no communication with Flo ( as I call her) since I had left England. I had been in the habit of writing on a fairly regular basis while I was still in the UK, but the relationship had once again deteriorated and I had determined that it ( the relationship) was not worh it. I was recovering from major surgery when Norman contacted me to tell me that she was also in hospital in England, having had surgery for a bleeding ulcer. I do not know what made me do it, but on the spur of the moment I decided to telephone the hospital, and was connected to her bedside. There was an emotional conversation with her, during which I told her of the birth of my first grandchild Rebecca and the fact of my own recent surgery, and she came as close as she ever had done to being a regular Mother, possibly because I knew I was far enough away that she could not hurt me! After I put the phone down I felt that something had been forged and was quite pleased I had made the connection. Less than a day later she was taken back to surgery with a heavy bleed and died on the table. In my efforts to trace Flo's origins I felt I should start from a place that I knew she had been and try to go backwards in time from there. Accordingly I tried the Post Office Directory for 1922 for 2 Shirley Street, which is the address she gives on her marriage to Radford. It is listed as a furniture repository with no indication of any residential premises. The next Directory which became available to me was the 1926 one. This lists the occupiers as a Mrs M Johnston ( obviously Granny Johnston) and Lewonski and Sons - Undertakers. This name rang a clear bell with me and on checking the marriage certificate again for the marriage to Radford, lo and behold one of the witnesses was - a Mr George Lewonski. I have no idea at all of the relationship ( if any) of Mr Lewonski to the Johnstons. Children were:
i. Norman Edward HOAD was born on 28 Jul 1923 in Brighton Sussex. (1) He was a Royal Air Force between 1941 and 1978. (6) He was an Artist from 1978 ro present day in Suffolk. this is a part of the Web Page produced on Norman by the gallery at which he exhibits:-
Born 1923 in Sussex. Entered the R.A.F. in 1941 and retired from it 37 years later, with the rank of Air Vice Marshall. He is a CVO, CBE, and holder of the Air Force Cross and Bar. He began his artistic career by studying part-time at the York College of Art. He quickly established himself as an artist specialising in aviation and other military subjects, and now has work in many public and private collections. While serving in Paris in the early 1970s he became interested in painting the horse-racing scene, and this soon embraced all aspects of equestrian painting. In particular, his studies of the thoroughbred race-horse and the heavy workhorse have earned for him an ever widening circle of patrons, including Sheik Mohammed al Maktoun of Dubai and His Excellency King Qaboos, Sultan of Oman for whom he has produced 23 works. Norman Hoad is a founder member of the Guild of Aviation Artists, a Vice-Chairman of the Armed Forces Art Society and for 7 years was Chairman of the Society of Equestrian Artists. He now lives in Suffolk. Norman was always the 'clever' one in the family. The author was unaware that he was in fact her half-brother, until visiting him with her husband Arthur in about 1960, when Norman told her. At that time he was still in the Royal Air Force and on the way up the ladder to where he eventually retired with the rank of Air Vice Marshall. He had obtained a war-time commission, when he distinguished himself with acts of bravery and courage, being decorated several times with medals like DFC, AFC etc etc and a CBE. He was flying bombers over Nazi Germany as a very young man and was shot down and spent several years as a POW, and was one of those included on the infamous 'walk' from Sagan POW Camp at the end of the War. After his marriage to his wife Olive and the birth of 2 sons, Malcolm and Graham he decided to stay in the RAF and launched a most succesful career. After his retirement he devoted himself to his painting becoming a very competent horse portraitist as opposed to a painter of horses. He has had a succesful career as an artist not only of horses, but aircraft and military things as well, although I think his first love is the painting of horses. At the time of writing he is now over 80, has had a kidney removed, prostate cancer and a heart attack but still keeps going. After all his 'adventures', more than enough to satisfy most people, he still insists that, given the chance, he would live his life all over again, he had such fun!
ii. Edna Olive HOAD was born on 19 Mar 1925 in Brighton Sussex. (7) Edna was 10 yrs old when the author was born, so she is almost a generation ahead., and very little is known by me of her life as a child or young woman. My memories of her start during WW11 as a young woman just starting out in the social life of the time, with all the drawbacks of wartime. She met her husband Johnny when the Canadian Servicemen were stationed somewhere near Brighton, and I remember him and his brother Matt visiting the family home. I was a bridesmaid at their wedding when I was about 9 or so, being the youngest siser. She was one of the first of the War Brides to leave England in the troop carriers designated for that purpose, and I remember her departure vividly. After arriving in Canada, which I believe she disliked at first, they made their first home in a place called Rosetown but before long they moved to Edmonton Alberta where Johnny, a qualified tailor had a job with a big department store. Their son Robert was born about 1948 and there were no other children. She visited England twice since then, once in 1956 and again after Johnny died in the 1990s. At the time of writing , in April of 2002, she has just had her 77th birthday and has been resident in a Palliative Care Unit for the last 4 months, since 7th December 2002 with lung cancer.Edna passed away very peacefully, with her son holding her hand, on July 10th 2002 She died on 10 Jul 2002. She was cremated on 16 Jul 2002.
iii. Victor HOAD was born on 13 Feb 1928 in Brighton Sussex. (1) He died on 8 Oct 2000 in Ashtead. Surrey. Victor was unfortunately a very mixed-up character indeed. This stemmed from his dislike of his Mother, and he was inclined to blame her for every thing bad in his life. He was a very fine musician, and able to read the five staves of organ music at a glance. He was at various times in his life both organist and choir master at several of the London churches, and was much in demand in this area. He married Gwendoline Mary Smith on 27th February 1953 after his return from Service abroad with the RAF when he took part in the Berlin Air Lift which occurred after the end of World War 2 and saw service in Singapore for a two and a half year stint. His first daughter Hillary Mary born in October of 1955 formed a hatred of him due to abuses which happened in her child hood and had no further contact with him after the age of about 17. His second child, a son Christopher Michael born in February of 1957 was very badly mentally handicapped, but has non-the-less lived a ( for him ) useful life and can safely be said to be happy in his own world. His third child, another daughter Bridget Anne born in May of 1959 has married twice and has two daughters of her own, Emilia and Mandy, and would seem to be living a normal life. After giving up smoking late in life Victor put on a great deal of weight and this must have contributed to his death from heart disease. It seems a sad life to me, mainly due to his inability to accept and recover from the dysfunctional family life. He had a huge preoccupation with death and dying throughout his life, almost as though he couldn't wait to find what happens after death. Now he knows.
iv. Rae Naturelle HOAD was born on 21 Aug 1931 in Brighton Sussex. (6) This is the sister closest to me in age, and therefore the one with whom I spent the most time as a little one. Together we watched while our siblings left home one by one, and home circumstances being what they were, she was obliged to take me with her everywhere she went. This did not bring us closer together and was the cause of much friction. Like the rest of us, she left the family home at the first opportunity and worked away from home for much of her life. After her marriage to David Gann and the birth of her daughter Francine they decided that life would be better outside UK and in 1955 they followed Edna out to Canada, settling in Edmonton, where she has lived ever since. A son, Colin, was born in Canada. David himself died from heart problems sometime in the 70s and she has subsequently made three further marriages. We enjoyed a reunion in New Zealand in 1986 after the death of her second husband Bert , but I think that the whole family had lived apart for so many years that it was unrealistic to expect that we would be very close. There was a breakup between the three sisters lasting over 10 years which has only recently been mended, and in general the relationships between the four remaining children remain affectionate, but distant when compared to other families. A great sorrow to the author After Edna's death an effort at reconciliation was made between me and Rae which lasted for a few months, but before long her old autocratic ways showed themselves again and I realised that this relationship had not changed, and never would.
1 v. Patricia Ruby HOAD.
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