A Family History Collection
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World War II saw this generation of the Fitch Family married with children and they had a tougher time of it than their parents.
Charlotte Fitch had married Arthur Tye and they had two sons, Jimmy and Alfred.
Jimmy Tye was 18 and had joined the Navy, serving aboard HMS Kent.
In 1944, Charlotte and Alfred received the worst possible news -
Winnie Fitch had married Bertie Burrage, a career Merchant Navy man. My fondest memory of Bert was when I was a very little girl. We were visiting my Great Uncle and Aunt who were both jolly and friendly. Bertie called me over to where he was sitting with a conspiratorial, knowing look. He called me close and, lifting his trouser leg, pointed at his sock. He nodded towards it. Completely baffled I reached out and touched it. My shriek of surprise when I felt hard wood insted of soft flesh attracted the attention and the mirth of everyone in the room!
Bert's party trick scarred the mind many a family child!
Victoria Rose Fitch married Arthur Edward Higgins in 1918.
He was a Kinematographer - when he was discharged in 1918 he went to train in the new Art of Cinema though he had been a Master Baker before the War. At that time, the short films were put on as an Act in the intervals in plays, or in the Music Hall.
So he travelled the country with a troupe of Actors, showing films to the audience in the interval.
Sadly, eventually he did not come home at all and settled with another woman when he became a cinema Manager in Halifax. So Victoria Rose was left to bring up 5 small girls alone.
By the start of World War 2 the girls were all in their teens and the family were living in Gillingham, too close to the Dockyard for comfort. Bombing raids were a nightly occurrence and damage from badly aimed bombs was considerable.
Victoria decided to evacuate to Cornwall, where she had lived for a time with Arthur and where several of her daughters had been born.
They went to Alternun.
Gradually the girls left to take up War work. Sheila,
the daughter of Winnie and Bert Burrage, joined the Wrens.
Eileen joined the WAAF
It would seem that Victoria was wise to move to Cornwall. In 1940 her home in Beatty Ave, Gillingham was hit by a bomb!
The house at Alternun was a peaceful retreat for members of the extended Fitch family. The girls were all remakably pretty and attracted many young men on leave from the Forces! The family album is full of groups whose happy faces belie the horrors of the War they had, briefly, left behind.
Eileen Higgins, Sheila Burrage, Victoria Rose Higgins nee Fitch, Betty Higgins, Audrey Higgins at Alternun