Private Harry Lamin

Harry, William Henry Bonser Lamin was born in August 1887 near the Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire border. His family were originally well-to-do farmers but, in 1875 sold up the farm in Annesley, Nottinghamshire. I have a poster advertising the farm sale. The family story is that drink was involved in the decline of Henry's farm. Henry then became a Farm Labourer, later a "Chemical labourer". Of course, this all happened well before Harry was born. Harry was quite a bit younger than his brothers and sisters. A "Tacker", as they say in Cornwall.

In the 1901 census, Harry, aged 13, is found to be staying with his older brother John (Jack) in Oxford. Jack was then a school master. I have no way of knowing whether this was a holiday or a longer stay. I suspect it was a lengthy stay as the Oxford people and places are mentioned in his letters. Maybe it helped the family finances.

Later Harry worked in one of the local lace factories. His occupation on his marrriage certificate is lacemaker but it is believed that he was a maintenance fitter for the lace machines. In Ilkeston, where he then lived, the most common occupations were coal miner or work at the local Stanton Iron Works. The Lace factory would be a relatively "soft" option.

In February 1917 he would have probably been conscripted into the army, rather than volunteering. He was well under the upper age limit of 41 for conscription.

More Characters

Kate (Catherine Lamin) is Harry’s sister. She was 10 years older than him. She was a successful midwife in London and later moved to Leeds where she, eventually, became a Matron of a hospital. She died in July 1948 when she was 70 years old. The evidence suggests that she is Connie’s mother. The photograph of Willie and Connie is clearly professionally produced. Ethel certainly wouldn't have been able to afford it. Kate may well have been able to help. (Sister Anita has the chair today)

It is also likely that Kate helped Harry's family through the difficult years following the war. If her daughter were living there, that would make some sense.

My sister remembers Kate as a "formidable woman".

Connie (Constance Wilkinson Lamin) was a bit of a mystery. She was brought up as Willie’s sister, but she certainly wasn’t his real sister. There are two stories.

Willie, (Bill),(who’s memory is not too reliable now, aged 90) has said that Connie was the daughter of a wealthy family in the town. As she was disabled, they advertised in the newspaper for someone to look after her. Ethel answered the advert and looked after Connie.
The true story is that she was Kate’s illegitimate daughter. Kate would not have been able to pursue her successful career in hospitals with a daughter in tow. The birth Certificate I have obtained confirms this. Kate is buried in the same grave as Connie. The grave in Ilkeston cemetery contains just the two of them.

There is a mention in a letter of Connie "walking" which made sense when I received her death certificate which confirmed that she had cerebral palsy.

The photograph is of her and Willie. She was born in 1910 and so was about 8 in the photograph. Willie would be 2.

Sadly she died at 19 years old in 1929. She was buried on Christmas Eve 1929 in Ilkeston cemetery.

Click to enlarge photograph