Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Christmas Greeting from the Son left behind...

It's a sad story really, with little details as to why and even less details as to who raised him, but we do know that he was left behind in England, raised by another family member, grew up, joined the army, fought in WWII and was killed in Dunkirk.

John Bellew, Sr. arrived in the US in September of 1923 with one of his sons - William - my Grandfather. His wife Margaret and sons Hugh & John Jr. remained in England while he obtained a job and a place to live. In May of 1926 (almost 3 years later!) Margaret arrived in the US with her son Hugh. While John's name is on the passenger list, it is crossed off - we're assuming that his ticket was purchased - but he wasn't on board. The family "story" is, that at the time of the ship's departure John was too sick to travel and was left in England. Can you imagine?

In the 1910 Census of Providence Rhode Island I find the family and John Jr. is actually listed in the household - we know for certain that he NEVER came to the US. My Grandmother knew the family well and knows this without doubt.

At this point I have lost track of him, because the census records in England only have been released up to 1901, I will not find him in any census records for Preston. I'm still looking as there were many family members in the area. I have not yet exhausted all my avenues of research on his childhood - although there are very few clues.

My Grandmother (William's wife) has in her possession a prayer book belonging to Margaret and inside was a treasure of information. Prayer cards from a young boy's First Holy Communion, and this Christmas card which John sent to his mother in 1934 and there is a similar card sent to his father. Christmas greetings from a child who was left behind.

John was killed in Dunkirk in May 1940 - He was part of the 4th Battalion of the Oxford & Bucks Light Infantry, his infantry found themselves surrounded and overrun by Germans.

1 comment:

  1. This is a fascinating story . . . and it is YOUR history. Wow, no wonder you are addicted to genealogy research (I'm sure I just butchered the spelling).
    One day, you must write an epic novel.