Thursday, May 13, 2010

G. D. R. May 23, 1828. Jan 16, 1920.

In addition to the letter from Queen Victoria below, David Wingate also sent me a scan of the memorial card from the funeral of Sir George Dalhousie Ramsay [1828-1920].

Ramsay was the maternal grandfather of George Mills and the first cousin, three times removed, of David Wingate. He was a civilian who first served as secretary to the Hon. Fox Maule Ramsay while the latter was Minister of War. Sir George later became the Director of Military Clothing in the War Office where he served from 30 November 1882 until his retirement in 1893.

Interestingly, Ramsay has been credited with introducing khaki to the military. You can read more about the life, career, and character of Sir George in the text of this memorial card.

Of great interest to me is the sentiment written on the front that reads: "With My Love Edith Mills." Wingate noted: "It would seem that the funeral card was probably sent to Elizabeth Patricia Wingate (nee Maule) by Edith." That would have been David's grandmother [Edith's first cousin, once removed], the wife of Rev. George Wingate.

Edith's signature and sentiment don't reveal an awful lot except that, despite what the census reports may say, she was called by her middle name, Edith, as opposed to Elizabeth. Perhaps she was raised with or near the recipient of this card, Elizabeth Patricia Maule, and was called Edith to minimize confusion.

[Update: The above speculation is probably not correct. In researching Lady Elizabeth Patricia Maule, it turns out she was born in 1846, making her twenty years older than Elizabeth Edith Mills. What makes me even more certain is that Miss Maule was later involved in a legal proceeding detailed on Wednesday 14 June 1876 in the Scottish Law Reporter entitled "Petition—The Honourable Mrs Elizabeth Binny or Maule, and Miss Patricia Maule." Despite the difference in their ages, Elizabeth Patricia and Elizabeth Edith apparently went by the names Patricia and Edith, respectively!]
That is, though, exactly why, despite being named Harry after my father, the family has always called me by my middle name, Sam. Nicknames like "Little Harry" and "Junior" were considered and rejected [Thank Goodness!]—except that I would not have been a "junior" anyway. For some reason that no one knew, my father was the only one of seven children who hadn't been given a middle name. He was the fifth of the seven, and was followed by both a brother and a sister.

Dad served in the United States Navy during the Second World War as a diesel mechanic and machine operator in logistics, and he spent his time overseas primarily on Okinawa. Apparently the Navy frowns on two-initialed sailors, and he was processed from enlistment to return to civilian life as Harry N. M. N. Williams"no middle name."

Anyway, to read the story of Sir George Dalhousie Ramsay, click the images to enlarge them!

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