Lost Trails...help Needed in Canada

Discussion in 'Searching for Someone & Military Genealogy' started by drdetecto, Feb 5, 2020.

  1. drdetecto

    drdetecto New Member

    hello. My late father, Capt.Wes Clare, M.C., was in the RCAMC, attached to the RHLI for the Dieppe Raid, Aug.19. 1942.
    He refused to leave his wounded on the beaches and consequently was captured and at his request, he and a couple of other Canadian M.O.'s were given permission, by a ranking German Officer, (English speaking) to go with the OR's to a Stalag (VIII-B-Lamsdorf), rather than to an Oflag.
    While there, dad received mail from a Lady in London, whom he'd met whilst training in various camps. Dad had this photo at home up until he died in 1996.
    My quest here, is to see if ANYONE might recognize this lady, Julia Edwards. The photo has a faint "Gepruft" stamp on the reverse from Stalag VIII-B.
    If you happen to have any info about this beautiful young lady, PLEASE contact me in the forum here. THANKS so much in advance.
    Scott Clare, Brantford, Ontario, CANADA

    IMG_7925.JPG IMG_7926.JPG IMG_7927.JPG IMG_7925.JPG IMG_7926.JPG IMG_7927.JPG IMG_7925.JPG IMG_7926.JPG
    Lindele, Cee and canuck like this.
  2. Robert-w

    Robert-w Banned

    Nell Gwynn House still exists and is in Chelsea. It is a series of serviced apartments and is today used for short term lets to wealthy visitors to the capital. During the war it was used by more permanent residents and had a reputation for being popular with artists and actors. My aunt who was an artist who stayed in Chelsea during the blitz mentioned it and I think she stayed there once - she almost certainly went to parties there. Perhaps the current owners might have lists of former tenants - you could try enquiring at

    Nell Gwynn Apartment 2 Ltd, Sloane Avenue London SW3 3AX
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
    canuck likes this.
  3. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Nell Gwynn House is a 10 storey block of residential flats in Sloane Avenue, Chelsea, London. Completed in 1937, it has flat numbers at least as high as 907. Rents at that time were £ 90 to £190 per year & it seems to have been an exclusive address. Several famous people have lived there including the UK entertainers Bruce Forsyth & Diana Dors, and also Roy James, one of the great train robbers.

    Nell Gwynn House - Wikipedia

    The wikipedia page does not mention it being used for any special activities in WW2, but these three people with interesting roles in WW2 lived there at some point:

    Frank Foley (1884–1958), Secret Intelligence Officer who helped many Jewish families to escape from Germany in the 1930s.
    Frank Foley - Wikipedia
    Vera Atkins (1908–2000), Romanian-born Intelligence Officer of the Second World War. Occupied Flat 725 between 1940 and 1950
    Vera Atkins - Wikipedia
    Samuel Hughes (1913–2002), Canadian field historian, during Second World War
    Samuel Hughes (judge) - Wikipedia
  4. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    From Ancestry database - About London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965
    Historical Background
    Electoral registers are lists of individuals who are eligible to vote during the time the register is in force (usually one year). Registration for voters in England has been required since 1832, and registers were typically published annually, though some years had two. Registers were not published during the latter years of World War 1 (1916–1917) or World War 2 (1940–1944).

    So we cant find her going through that route. We cant be sure where she was living in 1939 when the register was taken, and also we dont know her date of birth but could stab at her being born somewhere between 1915 and 1925. We also cant be sure that Edwards was her maiden name, she could have married and (a Mr Edwards) and he could have been killed or died of natural causes prior to 1942, - we dont know is he is single or widowed for example

    The only possible and nearest I can get purely based on 'gut instinct' is

    1939 England and Wales Register
    Name: Julia R Edwards
    Gender: Female
    Marital status: Single
    Birth Date: 12 Nov 1922
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: "Clarence Lodge" Englefield
    Residence Place: Egham, Surrey, England
    Schedule Number: 28
    Sub Schedule Number: 17
    Enumeration District: DMGM
    Registration district: 32-1

    Assuming she is about the right age and presumably at a sort of 'Ladies College' before moving into London - cant find any further details about her

    stolpi and papiermache like this.
  5. JimHerriot

    JimHerriot Ready for Anything

    Julia Spalding Edwards maybe?

    Stars and Stripes correspondent immediately post war. Possibly in London working for her newspaper prior to this. Age would be about right by the looks of the photo.

    Apologies if this proves to be a red herring.

    Good luck with your searches.

    Kind regards, always,

  6. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    Remarkably few girls called Julia Edwards appear in the records of Free BMD born 1916 to 1926, births registered in England.

    TD is the expert at this but I found a marriage in Chelsea in September 1948 on Free BMD which "matches" his instincts.

    I don't have access to newspapers, etc.

    Marriages Sep 1948
    Edwards Julia R Schiff Chelsea 5c 720
    The district Chelsea spans the boundaries of the counties of London and Middlesex; information about it can be found here

    Marriages Sep 1948
    Schiff Eric Edwards Chelsea 5c 720

    Could she be a different Julia "R" and older, based purely on a woman from the London area who has established herself in a smart London address and who has met a man in or about 1941-2 who is a qualified medical man ?

    Births Mar 1909
    EDWARDS Julia Rose Fulham 1a 329
    Last edited: Feb 5, 2020
  7. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    from the 1939 Register

    no 547 Nell Gwynn House
    GREY, Helen born 10 Oct 1892 widow, gentlewoman, independent.
    EGERTON, John born 12 Nov 1875 divorced, author

    On the register I could not find any Edwards at Nell Gwynn House, all in the records that are open and viewable.The section of the register for Nell Gwynn House has aprox a third of the records redacted, a higher proportion than most others I have seen. Usually they are redacted if the person was under 100 years old when the register was put online.

    From the London Electoral Rolls on ancestry for 547 Nell Gwynn House:
    1938 no occupants listed
    1939 Helen GREY
    1940-1945 registers not on ancestry (not updated in wartime until the 1945 General Election ?)
    1946 Julia R. EDWARDS, Penelope EDWARDS, Brenda M. BRATBY, Anne P. WALDRON
    1947 Julia R. EDWARDS
    1948 Julia R. EDWARDS, Barbara EDWARDS, Patricia M. MacKILLIGIN, Robert S. MacKILLIGIN
    1949 & 1950 Chloe BAGOT-CHESTER

    I then relooked at the 1939 Register & as well as the Julia R. at Englefield who seems to be a student, is the following much less likley entry

    Name: Julia R Edwards [Julia R Browne]
    Gender: Female
    Marital status: Single
    Birth Date: 21 Oct 1897
    Residence Year: 1939
    Address: 36
    Residence Place: Friern Barnet, Middlesex, England
    Occupation: Shop Assistant Pawn Brokers & Jewellers
    timuk and papiermache like this.
  8. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    In 1946 a Penelope Edwards at the Nell Gwynne address. Very few Penelope Edwards birth records in free BMD from 1900 to 1930.

    A sister, perhaps ?

    Births Mar 1910 (>99%)
    EDWARDS Penelope Carmarthen 11a 1373
    Surname First name(s) Mother District Vol Page

    Births Jun 1925 (>99%)
    Edwards Penelope A Dunn Birmingham N. 6d 978
  9. drdetecto

    drdetecto New Member

    hello Robert-w and the others who have replied! WOW! Faaabulous responses. Yes, I tried to track down that residence about 3 years ago. I think it is a series of condominiums now. Anyway, I sent off a note similar to the one I posted in here..got a NIL response, unfortunately. Thanks to all for the assistance here. I'll see if I can follow-up some of the suggested leads. Cheerio!
  10. drdetecto

    drdetecto New Member

    Ooops, sorry, Stalag VIII-B changed names in later'43 I believe, became Stalag 344. THAT is the Gepruft stamp on the reverse of Julia's photo. (Guess I should have done my own.."Gepruft" first, before posting.) ;-)
    Again thanks for the leads from all who have so Kindly replied, thus far!
    Much appreciated for sure.
    Regards from "the Colonies"...across the pond! ;-)
  11. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    I find two records that relate to Julia R SCHIFF & match the dob of Julia R EDWARDS at Englefield in 1939.

    Passengers arriving in the UK
    Name: Julia Schiff
    Arrival Age: 35
    Birth Date: 12 Nov 1922
    Marital Status: Single
    UK Address: 26 Holland Villas Road, London W14
    Occupation: Housewife
    Citizen or Passport holder of: South Africa
    Last Resident in: Canada
    Intended Country of Residence: UK
    Port of Departure: Montréal, Québec, Canada
    Arrival Date: 11 Jul 1958
    Port of Arrival: Southampton, England
    Ports of Voyage: Montreal
    Ship Name: Ivernia
    Shipping Line: Cunard Steamship Company Ltd
    Official Number: 4640/01

    and sadly a registration of death:

    Name: Julia Rosemary Schiff
    Death Age: 69
    Birth Date: 12 Nov 1922
    Registration Date: Jul 1992
    Registration district: Oxford
    Inferred County: Oxfordshire
    Volume: 20
    Page: 2195
    Order an online copy here

    Name: Julia Rosemary Schiff of 55 Old Road, Headington, Oxford.
    Death Date: 10 Jul 1992
    Death Place: Headington Oxon
    Probate Date: 7 Sep 1992
    Probate Registry: Winchester
    Ref: 9252419558G
    Order an online copy of her will here (cost £1.50 at the moment)
    Search probate records for documents and wills (England and Wales)

    I could not find an exact match death registration in the UK for Eric Schiff, perhaps he was South African & she had SA nationality and or passport only by marriage to him. Did he stay in South Africa ?

    A possible is:
    Name: Victor Eric Van Der Schyff
    Death Age: 67
    Birth Date: 29 May 1927
    Registration Date: May 1994
    Registration district: Westminster
    Inferred County: Greater London
    Register Number: D34C
    District and Subdistrict: 2581D
    Entry Number: 268

    This is the matching London probate given after a will was sealed at the Supreme Court, Capetown, SA.
    Name: Victor Eric Van Der Schyff
    Death Date: 6 May 1994
    Death Place: London
    Probate Date: 25 Aug 1995
    Probate Registry: London
    UK Address: 31 Ennismore Gardens London SW7

    The 1948 marriage cert in Chelsea may link it all up (order on same link as death registration above)
    JimHerriot and papiermache like this.
  12. papiermache

    papiermache Well-Known Member

    The Marriage Certificate will be worth the small fee. Well done.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  13. Tricky Dicky

    Tricky Dicky Don'tre member

    Family tree on Ancestry (one I looked at earlier but was unsure)

    Julia Edwards
    BIRTH NOV 1922 • Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
    DEATH 1993 • Oxford, Oxfordshire, England

    Husband was :
    Eric Schiff
    BIRTH DEC 1920 • Netherlands
    DEATH 1988 • California, USA

    Slight difference in where he died

    stolpi, papiermache and travers1940 like this.
  14. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Thank you TD for finding this.

    Having looked at this tree I now believe that Victor Eric Van Der Schyff is probably a red herring.

    For the interest of forum members here is brief details from the tree, which better explains her South African Nationality/passport.

    Julia, born in Johannesburg, SA, was the daughter of Joseph Edwards & Edith Barbara (nee Jeppe). But by 1939 Edith was living at Witton House, Witton, Norfolk, UK & was of independent means.

    Julia's grandfather was Sir Julius Jeppe (1859-1929), who was born in Germany, but emigrated to SA with his family in 1870. Jeppe took part in President T.F. Burger’s commando operations at Sekhukhune I and also fought in the First Anglo Boer War (1880-1). With his brother Carl, they originally controlled a syndicate that owned land called Randjeslaagte, which when deemed unfit for mining, later became Jeppestown and Fordsburg under Jeppe’s chairmanship. During the Second Anglo-Boer War, Jeppe served as head of the Transvaal Red Cross. From 1919 to his death he was Chairman of the South African Townships, Mining and Finance Corporation. For his pioneering role in the development of Johannesburg he was knighted in 1922. He died in London in 1929.

    This tree shows that Julia & Eric had one child, whose details are private on ancestry, & I can't find in the England & Wales births on ancestry, but possibly their details will show on her will.
    papiermache likes this.
  15. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    With the agreement of the OP I have sent an ancestry PM to the three trees that the Julia Edwards (born in 1922) features on.

    Without wishing to veer off from the military aspect of the forum, there is further information from passenger records on ancestry that would seem to link Julia (born 1922) to the Edwards shown on the electoral roll for 547 Nell Gwynn House.

    Port of Departure: Mombasa, Kenya
    Arrival Date: 8 Feb 1930
    Port of Arrival: Southampton, England
    Ports of Voyage: Zanzibar; Tanga; Dar-es-Salam; Beira; Natal; Cape Town; East London; St Helena; Las Palmas; Ascension; Algoa Bay
    Ship Name: Llangibby Castle
    Shipping Line: Union-Castle Mail Steamship Company Ltd
    DYER, Jeanette, aged 8
    EDWARDS, Barbara, age 36, a housewife
    EDWARDS, Penelope, age 9
    EDWARDS, Julia, age 7
    All embarked at Capetown, were last resident in South Africa, intend to reside in the UK, and give their UK address as Campden Hill Hotel, London NW. It seems this is Julia, her mother & a sister.
  16. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Just a quick update.

    Research by Scott Clare and myself has resulted in a contact address for a close relation of Julia's, and a letter has been sent to them.
    JimHerriot and Chris C like this.
  17. travers1940

    travers1940 Well-Known Member

    Scott is now in contact with one of Julia's daughters.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  18. mandyb

    mandyb Member

    Firstly, what a beautiful lady and an amazing, intriguing story! Secondly, how supportive the members of this forum are. The research, advice and support you all gave to Scott Clare is fantastic. Such kind, caring people.

    I haven’t been on the forum for quite a while, but after reading and following this story I will definitely be a more dedicated member!

    Keep safe

    Mandy B xxx
    JimHerriot and canuck like this.

Share This Page