of Leicestershire & Hull

welcome you

we are from: Griffydam ~ Coleorton ~ Coalville ~ LEICESTER ~ Hinckley ~ Blaby ~ Aylestone . . .
connecting the family names Haywood ~ Stevens ~ Bennett ~ Swanwick ~ Fretter ~ Holt ~ Manderfield ~ Ison ~ Smith


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if not already visible

Click for

a great site,
hundreds of photos
of decades

Mum's dad, Henry Holt, aged 61,
in 1954, at his 2nd daughter's
wedding in Coalville

Bovril neon lights in Leicester
A poor animation of
Leicester's Clock Tower,
c.1960, and the old BOVRIL sign.
Looking back, that was almost a
'welcome to Leicester' sign
when walking down Gallowtree Gate
towards The Clock Tower.
Click for
a great site,
hundreds of photos
of decades past

Mum's dad, Henry Holt, aged 78,
in 1971, at a grandson's
wedding in Aylestone

JACK'S JOURNEY :: The Journey of one Royal Marine
Mne Jack Stevens  1916 ~ 1989
Lyness - Towyn - Durban - Suez MEF - Ceylon - Exton - Dalditch
mostly explaining MNBDO I & II and interpreting an RM service record

The Royal Air Force and Military Matters
the photos of the late Norman Haywood 1948 - 1952 :: mostly Malta

A DEMS Gunner -

the story of Able Seaman Jack Hill RN
26.6.1921  -  31.8.1942
of Ravenstone
and the loss of the 'S.S. Jack Carnes'



We have found and made contact with the DOYLE family, directly in
their home town of Wexford.  Their 'long-lost' photos and docs have now gone
home to Wexford itself.  Thanks to all who saw the Facebook messages and helped.

Now, we still need to find the CROSBY family of Coalville
We'll see if Facebook and NextDoor can do the same trick !

The CROSBY family of Coalville, relatives of Beryl Crosby,
her daughters "Sara Jayne Crosby" and "Kathryn Claire Crosby" ....
we have photos for you!  I've searched the web for both girls, to no avail.

See more details below .. ..

with heritage in Coalville

I hold a small number of slides of the CROSBY family of Coalville, the family of Beryl Crosby and her daughters. There are many slides of holidays and trips in the 1970s that I feel sure that younger family members would like 'returned' to them. I really don't want to have to 'skip' them, they are this family's heritage. I'm sure someone would treasure them, if only I can find them.

We would be keen to hear from a member of the family who would like to take possession of this small collection, being such a great shame they have been lost to them for so long. The big problem for me has been tracing them, and now with Ancestry, and the help of Facebook and Nextdoor, we finally have a chance.

I inherited them when my father died in 1997, as he was Beryl Crosby's second husband, and they lived for a while in Coaville.  Email me, and tell me your connection to this family, give me some assurance you are the right people, and I will arrange something suitable to us all.  I really don't want to have to dump these.

So there are three boxes of family slides
of the CROSBY family to locate and return to the right family.
Some of them are possibly still in Coalville.
Some of the above info may ring a bell and nail it.

This message was first posted in early 2020

I can also now offer help with interpreting RAF and RN records, as well as army.

Leicester City Transport
a personal recollection 1968 - 1973 - mostly buses
Includes a full article, very long, on the fine details
of conducting a bus. Carries a boredom warning!

Online Photo Repair and Restoration service
scan and 'repair' cracked, torn, faded or damaged photos, mostly b&w, military as speciality

mostly nonsense : can't 'scan and repair' him, but we can make a shrewd guess.
... his burial and what really happened. Maybe. Perhaps. Who knows.

Genealogy and our own family history
An Admiration for Vine Weevils . .

. . word 'admiration' is not to be taken too seriously,
but perhaps this extensive study and article will help you.

Dig even deeper and you will find a host of other interests as shown on our Links Page.

We hope you enjoy your visit to our website.
If you have any queries, we would be pleased to hear from you.
email: click the button on the left

of photos being restored?

Do you have any old photos which are crinkled, scratched or damaged in any way?

Perhaps after flood or other accidental damage.
Don't throw them away - they can be restored.

Maybe I can help ... see my full page on our

Just click the link or menu button to go to a new page
displaying many before-and-after examples of my work.

military - naval - transport genre photos a speciality

Also slides, glass or film, card or plastic mounts,
and negatives either loose or in strips.


Private Henry Holt
Highfield St     Coalville
Reg't No : 204379
The Leicestershire Regiment

Grandad 'Harry' Holt, enlisted aged 18, on the 8 Nov 1911, in 156Protection Company of the Royal Defence Corps, the equivalent oftoday's TA, the HQ battalion of which was based at Loughborough. His records show he signed up for 4 years when living at home in a humbleminers' cottage with his parents, Charles and Susannah, just downHighfield Street. My mother would be born there some 19 years later,and had my father not been in the RAF at the time, it's very likely Iwould have been born there some 20 years later too.

He was first fully mobilised, along with thousands of others in thatmomentous week, on the 5 Aug 1914, at the huge camp on Loughborough Rd,Whitwick, and signed up into the Leicesters. But he was a coal miner,for the Ellistown Colliery Co, and in a reserved occupation, and so wasgreatly disappointed to be immediately sent back to his workplace andonly remain in the regiment's reserves. There were plenty of othervolunteers, and he was a newly married man. Besides, it was all goingto be over before Christmas, and he wouldn't be needed. As such, hedidn't actually get called to the Colours until the spring of 1915, atwhich time he was also transferred to the 6th Btn Northamptonshire Rgt.Not his choice, but I suppose it was to fill vacant ranks created bywar losses in that neighbouring county regiment. He then served inFrance in October as a machine gunner, and was demobilised in February of 1919.What had been intended in 1911 to be a sign-up of 4 years turned out tobe 8. By the time he left the army, he and Violetta had two daughters,Gladys born in 1915, and Edna, born in 1918.

Fortunately for us, though his army records are amongst what are knownas the 'burnt records', they are remarkably intact, albeit with verysinged edges. And so we have a good deal more information about hisarmy service than we otherwise would have had.

A lifelong Methodist and Salvationist of extremely strong faith,returning home to his work in the mines, and already with two olderdaughters, Henry and Violetta had two more girls, Mavis in 1923, andSylvia, my late mother, in 1930. Grandad referred to his fourdaughters, from their initials, as his four GEMS.

He took part in the General Strike in 1926, suffered more than onenervous breakdown largely as a result of his war service but not helpedby dire poverty, and eventually ended up working for Coalville UrbanDistrict on the local refuse tip. This First War veteran ended hisworking life on 'the Dust'. The Second World War wasn't without it'strials, though now too old to serve but losing his wife to cancer in1941, and a son-in-law Jack, married to Mavis, torpedoed at sea in1942. Also a skilled watch and clock mender of some local repute downHighfield Street in Coalville, he retired in 1958, and died in Januaryof 1972, aged 79, ironically enough during the Miners Strike of thatyear, of pneumonia after a fall in the dark during one of the manypower blackouts at that time.

The fine drawing above, in it's frame with emblematic symbols of King,Country and the Empire, had already been hanging above the sideboard intheir tiny sitting room for some 30 years before I came along in the1950s, and so I've known and revered it all my life. I'm proud to ownit now. It was an image of an example of a man to live up to, but Ifear I failed by quite a wide margin.

I pay tribute here, in 2018, exactly 100 years after his
posting to France, to the memory of a lovely man,
who I should have got to know better when I had the chance.


Genealogy is one ofthe fastest-growing hobbies on the world wide web. Rob and Val have researched most of their families and you will find more details here.

For more general genealogy links which might prove
helpful if you're just starting out, click here.

The table below shows some of the main names in our
respective Leicestershire family trees.
We moved to Hull in 1978, but we have no family here.

a very stunted tree
showing where we come from

of Griffydam
& Leicester

HILDA SMITH of Aylestone Leicester

HARRY HOLT of Donnington
le Heath
& Coalville

of Shepshed


of Hinckley

EDITH BENNETT of Sharnford nr Hinckley

THOMAS SWANWICK of Blaby Leicester

of Aylestone

of Leicester & Coleorton

of Hugglescote and Coalville


of Hinckley

of Aylestone & Leicester


of Leicester

married Aylestone 1971

of Leicester



our three grand-daughters

ELEANOR MAY - b. 2001
ROWENA HOLLY - b. 2003



We are members of the Leicester & Rutland Family History Society. H0789.

A firm belief: "EveryEnglishman should know and be aware of his own history."

Here's a quote by another Englishman:
"England has become a dwelling-place of foreigners and a playground for lords of alien blood. No Englishmen today is an earl, a bishop, or an abbot; new faces everywhere enjoy Englands riches and gnaw her vitals, nor is there any hope of ending this miserable state of affairs."

So said William of Malmesbury around 1130.
William's father was Norman, but he was English through his mother. He lived in the early 1100s, just half a century after the Conquest, and was a monk at Malmsbury Abbey.
He's famous now for being one of our very earliest historians.

It seems he told it how it was.
And he didn't get into bother with 'the authorities' for saying it.
No PC brigade in evidence back then.

We forget our own history and heritage at our peril !

Leicester City Transport : cap badge for uniformed platform


I joined Leicester City Transport in 1968 as a bus conductor and later trained as a driver. The image above was my cap badge! Local public transport was important in those days as fewer families had cars. There were more buses around 40 years ago and certainly many more than are seen today. Some people are actually interested in all old forms of transport and there is an abundance of photographs here to interest any present-day bus enthusiast, and especially those with a specific interest in LCT.

Go to a 5-page photo montage of
LCT vehicles
and journey back in time!

Grantham to Leicester to Coalville to Coleorton .. c1955
a text article originally posted on LEICESTER OVERSEAS,
now modified and updated and posted here.
A child's-eye view of rides on the Midland Red and in Leicester, training days on LCT, and now also a short article on ticket machines.

Leicester City Transport : Leyland Atlantean PDRA/1 : PBC 115G : LCT's first overall advert bus, in 1971
Leicester City Transport :
Leyland Atlantean PDRA/1 : PBC 115G
Their first, and very flowery, overall advert bus, in 1971, on what
was then the relatively new service 62 to South Wigston.

was formed in 2007, and now has a new website.
They have an interest in, and preservation of,
all manner of road transport over the decades
in and around Leicestershire,
with a special focus on the Midland Red and LCT.

TS TIGER - Leicester Sea Cadet and Royal Marines Cadet Unit

Leicester Sea Cadets and Royal Marines Cadet Unit
in honour of my time there

This is a link to an organisation that gave me
some of the best 7 years of my life.
Click the Tiger badge above to go to their site.
But please read on first.

For any lad in his mid-teens, with nothing
particular to do and seeking adventure and
a wider interest in life, I can't recommend
joining a cadet unit highly enough.

Sea Cadets or Marine Cadets, the adventure and fun and mates are the same. It's all part of our same Royal Navy, and it's all a question of preferences. I originally joined the Sea Cadets in 1965, but was quickly 'poached' by a Marine Colour Sergeant, and that was that. I stayed on as a sergeant-instructor till, aged 22, I and my wife left to go and live in Hull. I always intended to offer myself as an adult volunteer to the local Sea Cadet Unit in Hull, but shift patterns forbad, the chances passed, and to my regret, I never did.

The Royal Marines Cadet Unit, at TS Tiger in Ross Walk, Leicester, was the saving of me, and gave my life direction and focus at the time of a family break up in my mid-teens. I could have so easily 'gone in the other direction', and as people say, become a wrong'un. Instead, I went camping, rowing, caneoing, rock climbing in North Wales, and made a great load of mates. I learnt pride in myself, my uniform and the Corps, and got some badly needed discipline. I can't thank them enough. Except to put a link here and wish the CO and all the lads and lasses down there, who work so hard for each other and their proud unit traditions,
great good fortune for the future.

To go directly to their website for more information, address, contacts, etc,
click the fearsome tiger above.
Or ring them direct on 0116 266 2865, Tues or Thurs evenings, 19:00 to 21:30.
email the CO:

(I see now there is also a Sea Cadet unit at Wigston.
A quick call to the above number should get you the details.)

For guys n' gals in Hull that have an interest in the sea and would like to take part,
is Hull's own unit, based in Argyle Street.
They can be contacted by clicking the link,
or email

is an account, from his memories and his RM service record 1940-45, of my father-in-law's
travels to the Middle East and Ceylon by
troopship during those dangerous years.
It tells how we mangaged to piece his
story together, long after I had been told
and forgotten a lot of it.
Above all, it explains what an MNBDO is.

Military Forums

Military Forums and Support our Soldiers
are websites for those interested in supporting H.M. Armed Forces. There are many links on these sites where you can show your support and the obituary pages are exceedingly poignant indeed. The whole nation should pray that our forces will succeed in whatever task they undertake: they give the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf and we should never forget that.

is of course original support organisation for all our Armed Forces,
giving help for heroes since the 1920s.
Did you know that you don't have to have been in the
Forces to join the Royal British Legion?
The Royal British Legion Home Page

Members of both our immediate families were in all the forces;
our fathers in the the RAF and Royal Marines,
other family members in the RN and the army.
We are proud to support all our Forces, and we hope you do too.
Please take time to look at these websites thank you.


Past devotees of Tim Airey's

might be forgiven for blinking on sight of this logo! Unfortunately Tim's site has not returned, but much of it is still available at the remarkable WAY BACK MACHINE. This website is unsurpassed when searching for old web information. More correctly known as the Internet Archive, it is a brilliant and largely unknown resource which also includes old media, music and image sites. I might have also recommended a similar archive, called SCREENSHOTS. Although that site has worked for me in the past retrieving other lost websites, for some reason, it doesn't work with this one. By and large, most of Tim's surviving material that can be found is on the WAY BACK MACHINE, even if that is no longer updated.
Tim and his wife Carol created LEICESTERSHIRE OVERSEAS from their home in Calgary, Canada, and it was a work of genius, highly popular with many early users of the internet who were natives of Leicester & county. As far as I can see most of Tim's text is still here including the worldwide bulletin boards, all the hundreds of emails and contacts sent to him, as well as stories and histories. Some larger graphics will not load but many do. For those interested in "the Foresights", the pages appear to be largely intact. This page is for 6 Aug 2003, being the best link I can see that seems to load the majority of Tim's stuff. It really does contain a veritable goldmine and was one of the best things to happen for Leicester and the county in recent years.

Sadly, Tim died suddenly in 2006 and many Leicester folk and Tim's fans and correspondents around the world were greatly saddened by the news. Tim was a great 'son of Leicester' and also a founding member of the 1960s Leicester pop group The Foursights.

I hope you enjoy trawling through his site and hopefully, one of these days, some enterprising person will revive and rewrite Tim's site so that, in his memory, the site could be restored to today's internet. I'm convinced he would have liked that.

Of course, permission would be required from Tim's family. I get the impression from some of the correspondance on the site that many of you knew Tim and Carol far better than I. For I was just a passing new aquaintance that had barely got to know him when he tragically was taken from us. I'd help in any way I can, salving graphics and photos and pages. But it does need a dedicated host with an innate love of Leicestershire and her history.

And some webspace. Anyone ... ?

and what happened to King Richard III

Below is a quote from the 1813 account of William Hutton's tour around the Bosworth Battlefield, which includes some of the written and local knowledge of that time, some 350 years after the battle itself. William Hutton's book is now online, at Google eBooks, and can be read here on my Sutton & Wawne website where I help out at the local museum.

It's hard going, but here is an extract towards the end, page 220 I believe:

"Richard it is universally acknowledged performed prodigies of valour. Desperate, perhaps, at the last, he rushed furious into thickest of the fight, slew numbers and among them the standard-bearer of Richmond, with his own hand; and fell at last, ingloriously (if tradition may be credited), by a treacherous blow from one of his own followers. His body was thrown across a horse and carried for interment to the Grey Friars at Leicester.

After revenge and rage had satiated their barbarous cruelties upon his dead body, they gave his royal earth a bed of earth, honourably, appointed by the order of King Henry the Seventh, in the chief Church of Leicester called St Mary's, belonging to the order and society of the Grey Friars."

So there we have it. Folk going back even to before the Battle of Waterloo knew exactly where Richard's body lay. And all these years, every time I drove over West Bridge, I believed it was down there, under the bridge and deep in the mud under the river. Shucks!

So, now he is re-interred in Leicester St Martin's. Appropriately, that is now the chief church in Leicester, just as the lost Grey Friars had been in medieval times.

And as someone pointed out on the very long, ill-informed and frequently ignorant discussion on the BBC blog, it is somehow fitting that the birthplace of DNA fingerprinting should also host the remains of an English monarch only positively identifed by exactly that modern-age technique.

And that re-interrment is literally only feet away from where he was originally buried .. and back then, in great haste and lacking some ceremony, I've no doubt.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of where he should have been re-interred, this short story is my take on what happened over five centuries ago, and may solve the mystery of what happened to his feet. Maybe. Or not.

JUST TWO FEET -- a likely tale

Of course, if I'm wrong and an alliance of certain 'distant relatives' find out,
it could cost me an arm and a leg !

Finally, here's a link to a most excellent Leicester website ...
The local radio station has been going since 1968,
and regularly wins awards.
Not surprisingly, it's in our old home town ...
Where the Red Cheese comes from,
Walkers' Crisps ... and Pukka Pies !
A man just cannot live by bread alone .. ...

The first stop for news, sports and features
for Leicestershire and Rutland.


Holt Pics

a link to the Mountbatten Festival of Music
(skip the adds .. )