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Remembered Today:

What were Englishmen doing in Perim/Aden (Djibouti?) in 1918?


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Abacus Auctions is offering a postcard sent to Miss D Coles in Tilehurst, Reading in 1918.

 

Catalogue

 

(Lot 753)

 

A comparable envelope is shown here

 

In the first case I know Oak Tree Road well and there are a few Victorian/Edwardian houses at the northern end and a few more at the southern one. According to Kelly's 1914 Directory, none is named "Windrush" and "Coles" is not included in the list of residents.

 

In the second case, it may be that a father was writing home to his daughter, "Miss Pugh".

 

Thanks to Mr Google I've read a bit about Perim/Djbouti/Aden in the first years of the war but there seems to be little available about the situation in 1918.

 

Perim appears to have been one heck of a dump to be based at.

 

Come to think of it, "Djibouti" in the auctioneer's description appears to be inaccurate, certainly misleading, and may refer to the image (not shown) on the card.

 

Thoughts, please?

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Article available online

"The British Campaign in Aden, 1914-1918" by Mark Connelly Journal of the Centre for First World War Studies Vol. 1, No. 3, 2005. pages 65-96. Now an archived page.

 

However, there isn't much detail about 1918. 

 

Aden was administered as part of India  (Bombay Presidency) at this time, so even before the war there were always at least some British there.  

 

FIBIS Fibiwiki page Aden

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Aden

 

Cheers

Maureen

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Maureen: thanks for those. Mark Connelly's article is particularly interesting as it indicates that Perim had some strategic importance - but confirms my impression that it must have been an unpleasant place to be based.

 

It seems that it was garrisoned by Indian units and I guess that researching their members is all but impossible. Possibly the senders of the card and envelope were British officers.

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stevebecker

Mate,

 

An Australian Light Horse Regiment was dropped off there for a short period on there way to Egypt in 1915.

 

I think the stay was short during a disterbence at Adan.

 

I had a mate in the Aussie Army (early seventies) who had served there with a Scottish Regt (Argyells I think) back in the sixties during the trouble then, by the name of (Jock) Gabby, quite the drinker.

 

S.B

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A 1920 and 1930 Directory shows a Frank Coles living at that address.  

 

There is probate 1940 to Dorothy Mabel Baker (wife of Arthur Herbert Baker).At the time of death address given as 971 Oxford Road Tilehurst.

In the 1939 Register he is a widower, living at that address with his daughter Dorothy and son-in-law.  His occupation given as Superintendent Marine Engineer (Retired).

 

Aden was a coaling station, or as Wikipedia has it, ‘the port city of Aden was an important way station for ships going through the Suez Canal’.  The sort of place that would require Superintendent Marine Engineer.

 

Dorothy born 1909, was living with her married mother in 1911, father apparently absent.

 

Possible?

 

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13 hours ago, kenf48 said:

A 1920 and 1930 Directory shows a Frank Coles living at that address.  

 

There is probate 1940 to Dorothy Mabel Baker (wife of Arthur Herbert Baker).At the time of death address given as 971 Oxford Road Tilehurst.

In the 1939 Register he is a widower, living at that address with his daughter Dorothy and son-in-law.  His occupation given as Superintendent Marine Engineer (Retired).

 

Aden was a coaling station, or as Wikipedia has it, ‘the port city of Aden was an important way station for ships going through the Suez Canal’.  The sort of place that would require Superintendent Marine Engineer.

 

Dorothy born 1909, was living with her married mother in 1911, father apparently absent.

 

Possible?

 

Well done, Ken and thanks. TBH I was hoping someone might dig around a little. Because of my interest in Wiltshire I usually resort to the University of Leicester on-line local directories but they're very cumbersome to search. Having discovered easier-to-use versions on a Reading website I was going to make more of an effort later this week, but you've saved me the effort.

 

Oak Tree Road is connected to Oxford Road by some 120 yards of another road, so perhaps  he rented Windrush for his family, liked the area and retired to around the corner.

 

One of the articles that Maureen linked to above refers to the term that British soldiers had for the Gulf of Aden. I won't repeat it here, but it refers to "everything passing through it".

 

Thanks again.

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13 minutes ago, Moonraker said:

Oak Tree Road is connected to Oxford Road by some 120 yards of another road

True, they are in same Census enumeration district but I can't see 'Windrush' in 1911.  Mother and daughter were not living there in 1911. It seems an interesting arrangement in 1939, for 1939 that is, wouldn't raise an eyebrow now but Dorothy and Arthur were living at the same address and married later!

 

Glad to help even though I wouldn't describe us as 'snowed in' on the sunshine coast it's too bloomin' cold to do anything outdoors other than a quick run to the park.:thumbsup:

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