Private Raymond Sydney Townsend

Raymond Townsend.
Photograph courtesy of Catherine Marshall-East
Raymond Townsend
Image courtesy of Royston Williamson 2015

Thank you to Lenka Cathersides for the following research. Thank you to Catherine Marshall-East for the photograph of Raymond.

Raymond Sydney Townsend was born on the 6th of June 1892 in Dorking, to labourer Sydney and Emma nee West.

At the time of the 1891 Census, the family lived at Lime Works Cottages, Betchworth, Surrey. The family comprised of general labourer Sydney, his wife Emma and children Grace, Lily and Annie.

Raymond Townsend 1896 School Register © Surrey History Centre

Raymond was admitted into the Dorking British School on the 31st of August 1896. At the time of his admission the family lived at North Street in Dorking.

Raymond Townsend 1901 ©

At the time of the 1901 Census, the family lived at 50 South Street, Dorking. Sydney was working as a colporteur [bookseller] and Emma was looking after their children. The household further comprised of mother’s helper Maud Bowen and a lodger, assurance agent Harry James.

Raymond Townsend Canadian Passenger Lists ©

On the 15th of April 1910, seventeen years old Raymond arrived on board the Empress of Ireland at New Brunswick, Canada.

Raymond Townsend Canadian 1911 Census ©

At the time of the 1911 Census, Raymond was a lodger of farmer Joseph D. Slater at Manitoba, Canada. Raymond was working as a farm labourer and stated that he could read and write.

On the 2nd of July 1915, in Sewell Camp, Raymond attested into the 45th Battalion (Manitoba) of the Canadian Expeditionary Force. Previously he was part of the 99th M.R. for four months. He was a Private with regimental number 425425. He had grey eyes, light brown hair and a light complexion. At the time of his attestation he was working as an ironsmith.

Bramshott Camp ©

From June 1916 he served in France as the part of the 43rd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force and subsequently at the Royal Canadian Regiment. On the 29th of September 1916 he was wounded.  From April 1917 he served in Bramshott, Hampshire. On the 30th of August 1917 he was transferred to the Canadian Forestry Corps and on the 31st of August 1917 sent to Base Depot of the Canadian Forestry Corps in Sunningdale, Berkshire. Raymond Townsend’s Attestation Papers can be seen here.

At the time of his death he was part of the 27th Company of the Canadian Forestry Corps. Raymond’s brother Stanley was killed in France on the 30th August 1918 aged 19.

Raymond Townsend Gravestone ©
Raymond Townsend Dorking Cemetery Roll of Honour ©

On the 9th of February 1919 he was admitted with flu into the No 12 Canadian Military General Hospital in Bramshott where he died on the 14th of February 1919 at 4.15am. He was buried on the 20th of February 1919 at Dorking Cemetery. His grave reference number is: 8.70.63.

At the time of Raymond Sydney’s death his mother Emma lived at 13a South Street, Dorking.

TOWNSENDS WWI graves Dorking Cemetery. Photograph courtesy of Lois Leyland
Stanley and Raymond Townsend. Photograph courtesy of Catherine Marshall-East
Born Dorking, Surrey
Lived Manitoba, Canada
Son of Sydney and Emma Townsend of 13a South Street, Dorking
Regiment 27th Battalion. Canadian Forestry Corps
Number 425425
Date of Death 14th February 1919
Place of Death Bramshott, Hampshire
Cause of Death Died of flu
Age 26
Cemetery Dorking Cemetery

Townsend Family History

Raymond’s father was born on the 22nd January 1860 in Aston, Oxfordshire to unmarried dressmaker Mary Townsend. Mary was born about 1838 to Adin and Janias (also spelt Janius, Genius, Genias) nee Bartlett. Mary was baptised on the 20th of May 1838 in Bampton, Oxfordshire. Mary’s mother Janias remarried labourer Francis Bullock on the 12th of January 1846 in Bampton. At the time of the 1851 Census, Mary was working as a farm servant for her brother William at the hamlet of Aston & Cote, Bampton. At the time of the 1861 Census, Mary and her son Sydney lived as lodgers at Cottage Shop, Aston Square, Oxfordshire; a shop run by grocer William Bartlett. Mary married widower Edmund Cook on the 23rd December 1869 in Bampton. Edmund was working as a mason. Mary wrote on her marriage certificate her mother’s name ‘Janias Bullock ‘ as her father. At the time of the 1871 Census, Sydney lived with his mother Mary, Edmund and their new family at Bull Street, Aston. At the time of the 1881 Census, Sydney was a lodger of railway labourer William Singler at Bromsgrove Street, Halesowen, Worcestershire.

Sydney Townsend married Emma West on the 11th of April 1885 at St Mary’s in Holmwood, Surrey. At the time of the marriage the couple lived in Holmwood and Sydney was working as a plate layer. Curiously, he stated that his father was mason James Townsend.

Raymond’s mother Emma was born about 1860 in Reigate, Surrey to farm labourer James born about 1835 in Capel, Surrey and Ann born about 1838 in Reigate. Emma was baptised on the 19th of August 1860 at St Mary’s church in Reigate.

Raymond had seven known siblings: Grace born about 1888; Lily born about Florence; M. Townsend born about 1895; May B born about 1897; Stanley H. born about 1900 and Gladys born about 1903, all in Dorking. Also Annie born about 1891 in Betchworth, Surrey.

At the time of the 1911 Census, Raymond’s family lived at 50a South Street in Dorking. Sydney was working as a furniture dealer and Emma was at home. The household further comprised of their children: housekeepers Annie and Florence, Stanley and schoolgirl Gladys and daughter Grace Presland with her daughter, Canadian born Winifred. Emma stated that she had given birth to nine children of whom eight were still alive. The accommodation comprised of nine rooms.

Raymond’s father Sydney of 50a South Street, Dorking died on the 17th of February 1917. He left £1654, 12s and 1d in probate.

Raymond’s mother Emma of 49 Somerset Road, Redhill, Surrey died on the 10th of August 1957. She left £1129, 1s and 4d in probate.

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