Florence Fisk and William Mummery (My Great-Grandparents)

Friday, January 17, 2020 1:12 PM

My maternal great-grandfather William Mummery was born the 25th of July 1860 in Saint Mildred’s parish, Canterbury, Kent, England, the son of John George Mummery (born 1828), a shoemaker, and Sophia (Ellis) Mummery. His Mummery ancestors had been living in Kent for at least 11 generations before he was born. They had lived in Deal, Caldred, Folkestone, Great-Chart and Ashford, all just matter of a short distance apart over this 400-year period.  

William married Florence Mary Alberta Fisk, born 28 April 1859 in St. Hanover Square, Pimlico, London, England on the 17th of September 1887. Florence was the daughter of Herbert Stevenson Fisk and Sarah Ann Fell.

This was Florence Fisk’s second marriage. She had previously been married to Edward O’Leary, born 1855 at St. Pancras, London, England. Edward was with the Royal Artillery, stationed at Tilbury Fort in 1881. They had four children; Edward Herbert (born 1879), Kathleen Frances Margaret (born 1881), Elizabeth (born 1883 at Malta), and Frederick William (born 1886) at Woolwich. Edward O’Leary died in 1886 at Colchester. Edward was a full-time soldier and it has been assumed he was at Colchester Barracks, leaving Florence with 4 children.

Florence and Edward’s youngest child, Frederick William O’Leary in 1903 joined the Royal Garrison Artillery as a full-time soldier. Frederick served overseas in WW I, in 1916 he received the UK Silver War Badge at Dover Castle and was discharged from the service due to shell shock. He had received a wound in the head and as a result still had shrapnel in his head.

Frederick O’Leary and Eva Ann Horne

Frederick married Eva Ann  Horne in 1910 and their children were Molly Frances (born 1912) and Herbert Edward O’Leary (born 1913). Eva was heavily pregnant in the fall of 1918 with their third child when she contacted the Spanish Flu and died on 22 October 1918. At the time Frederick was living at 20 Percy Road, just a few houses away from Florence Fisk and her second husband William Mummery living at 39 Percy Road. Florence was tending to Eva, her daughter-in-law when she died. The pain was not over for the family as just 12 days later on the 3rd of November 1918 Frederick and Eva’s youngest child Herbert Edward O’Leary die of the Spanish Flu. Again, Florence was nursing him at his death in her own home at 39 Percy Road.

So, by 1918 Florence Fisk had lost her first husband, her daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. Then her son Frederick could no longer take the pain and he took his own life. He is recorded as not only living with the pain but the shrapnel has caused paralysis on his right side.

Florence had 6 children with her second husband William Mummery: Florence (born 1889); Reginald (born 1890); Bertha Amy (born 1892, she moved to Canada);  Edgar Walter (born 1895); Cecilia Ruth (born 1897 and Leslie William (born 1900, my grandfather).


I just discovered that William Mummery served with the “Border Regiment” for about a year and 6 years and 202 days with the Lancashire Fusiliers. I haven’t completed the research as yet, but I believe the Lancashire Fusiliers served at least that length of time in India. William likely serving in the 1880 or 1890s. I suspect that William and Florence knew each other as a result of their joint military service.

In 1914 Great Britain was again at war. William was 54 and was a shoemaker working out of his own abode in Canterbury, Kent. A Sergeant Manderville “gave him notice” and he signed up to the East Surrey Regiment as “Special Reserve” on 1 October 1914.

There were a bewildering number of William Mummery’s who served during Work War I, likely all cousins of one degree. The following is a list of some of them:

  • Harry William Mummery, born in Ashford, living at Marden, Corporal with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, 8th Battalion, died 23 March 1918, Flanders;
  • William Benjamin Mummery, born at Bermondsey, private with the King’s Own Royal Lancaster Regiment, died 9 June 1917, Flanders;
  • John William Mummery, born Groesion, Carnarvon, private with the Household Cavalry of the Line, died 1 November 1914 in Flanders;
  • William Mummery, born and living in Ashford, Kent, Lance Sergeant with the Buffs (East Kent) Regiment, died 8 February 1915 in Flanders, interned at Ypes (Menin Gate) Memorial;
  • William A. Mummery, born and living in Sheperdswell, Kent, with the Buffs (East Kent) Regiment, died 23 July 1915 at Flanders;
  • William Mummery, born in Alkham, Kent living at Cheriton, Kent, with the Queen’s Own Royal West Kent Regiment, died on 8 May 1915 on the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force in the Persian Gulf. William Mummery is commemorated on the Basra Memorial Cemetery (Panel 19);
  • William Mummery, with the East Surrey Regiment, died on 30 September 1916, father William Mummery.

In World War I when a soldier died their family was given a “Dead Man’s Penny”, illustrated below.

William Mummery’s “Dead Man’s Penny"

At this stage I would like to pause and pay tribute to the unbelievable sacrifice of the Mummery family in Work War I. In addition to those listed above who gave the ultimate sacrifice may be added the following persons:

  • Arthur Richard Mummery, (K/16667), age 24, Royal Navy on “HMS Vanguard”; Killed by internal explosion of vessel at Scapa Flow on the 9th of July 1917, buried Chatham Naval Memorial, Son of William and Elizabeth Mummery of Ivy House, Wootton, Canterbury;
  • George Herbert Mummery, (S/34143), birthplace Bermondsey, Surrey, residence Rotherhithe, Kent, enlisted at Camberwell, Surrey, Lance Corporal, 2nd Battalion, The Rifle Brigade. Died the 25th of March 1918, France and Flanders;
  • Alfred Ernest Mummery (No 10012), birthplace Sea Salter, Whitstable, residence Whitstable, enlisted Canterbury, Kent, Private 1st Battalion, Buffs East Kent Regiment, Expeditionary Force, killed in action 20th of October 1914, France and Flanders, son of George of Whitstable;
  • Victor Frederick Mummery, (625930), birthplace Eastbourne, enlisted London E.C., Gunner the Honourable Artillery Company, Artillery Section, died of wounds 31 August 1918, France and Flanders;
  • Percy Charles Mummery, (3314), residence Southwark, enlisted London, Riflemen the London Regiment, 6th Battalion, Died of wounds 27 January 1916, France and Flanders;
  • Harry Norman Samuel Mummery, Captain Highland Light Infantry, died 6 August 1918;
  • Ivan Herbert Mummery, birthplace Lowestoft, Mercantile Marines, 3rd Mate, on board S.S. “Baku Standard”, Swansea, drowned as a result of an attack by an enemy submarine on the 11th of February 1918, age 19. Son of John Herbert and Mahala Florence Mummery (nee Hambley) of 25 Kirkby Park Road, South Lowestoft;
  • Ernest Edward Mummery, (10036), The Essex Regiment 1st Battalion, killed in action on 1 July 1916, buried at the Knightsbridge Cemetery in France;
  • Leonard Ralph Mummery, (12099. D.A.Ch.), birthplace Lowestoft Royal Navy Reserve, HM Trawler Agile, died on 13 May 1917 as a direct result of enemy action, his wife name was Maud;
  • Albert Mummery, (1240), Australian Infantry, Gallipoli died 16 October 1915, age 17, buried at the Beach Cemetery, Anzac;
  • Frederick Mummery, (8369), birthplace Lewes, Sussex, enlisted Brighton, Sussex, Private with the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry 1st Battalion, died 30 November 1916 in Mesopotamia;
  • Albert Mummery, (468024), birthplace Ashford, residence Ashford, enlisted at Ashford, 11th County of London Battalion, Finsbury Rifles, killed in action, France and Flanders on 20 September 1917;
  • Alfred Edward Mummery, (G/3035), birthplace St John’s Margate, Kent, residence Margate, Kent, enlisted Margate, Private with the Buffs (East Kent) Regiment 6th Battalion, killed in action 7 October 1916, France and Flanders.

Lest We Forget!  

Great-grandfather Williams death is recorded in the Pension Ledgers. He first enlisted with the East Surrey Regiment 1 October 1914, assigned to Dover and was discharged on the 5th of November 1914 do to his state of health. He re-enlisted on the 18th of October 1915 at Kingston-on-Thames and was transferred to the Royal West Kent 9th Regiment on the 24th of November 1915; he was subsequently transferred on the 22nd of September 1916 to the Duke of Cambridge’s Own 29th Middlesex Regiment and was finally discharged on the 8th of February 1917 as being “no longer physically fit for service”.  He was awarded the War Badge (#148,450) and Florence’s “widow’s pension” card (reference #139/0673/MUL-MUN, document #11W/23764) is stamped on the back 8 January 1926. So, Florence lost her second husband in late 1925 or early 1926.

My mother had great love for Florence. My grandfather Leslie William Mummery came down with asthma in the 1930. He was a tool and instrument maker and had 7 children with his wife Mary Barnes. Florence moved all her worldly goods into one room and my grandfather’s family moved into his mother’s house. My grandmother took my mother to church as a child and was compassionate to her family. In the fall of 1940 my grandfather passed away. So, his mother had by this time lost two husbands, two sons and two grandchildren.

My mother describes Florence in her last days, she remembers her laying on a bed with long beautiful white hair. Florence died in the fall of 1941.

Florence (Fisk) Mummery


             Corfe Castle