We begin our fourth January Issue by
wishing everyone a happy and, above all, a peaceful New Year. Thank you
too for all the Christmas cards and e-mails.
A few days ago, we received the following e-mail from New Zealand:
"I have come across a Christmas Card
of 1934 sent by Walter A Stentiford to my
father who died in 1975. The printed card
is from "HMS Leander, Home Fleet" and the envelope is
postmarked "Devon". Is
it possible that you know of this Walter A Stentiford? I would
be happy to pass this card to a member of
his family as it is ornate and unusual."
From our database, we know of two men named Walter Archibald
Stentiford; both were born in 1901. If any of our readers can help to
identify which man this is, please contact us so that we can put you in
touch with our correspondent to whom we are very grateful.
Reg Norton returns to tell the story of the the sinking of HMS
Stanley - the ship in which Ernest Charles Stentiford lost his life
in 1941. Like his father, Ernest was a stoker in the Royal Navy. His
days were spent in the engine room below decks, working with his
comrades to maintain the ship's engines and keep them running. Stokers
did a thankless but absolutely vital job, knowing that should the vessel
be torpedoed, there was very little chance of escape from the engine
rooms deep down inside the ship. A tiny handful of men did survive the
sinking of HMS Stanley and it is through their accounts that Reg
is able to tell us how Ernest - and hundreds of his comrades -
lost their lives.
During the year, we intend to return to the South Hams to tell the
story of Stentifords whose existence has been well-hidden for years.
Many parishes in this area have been omitted from the IGI, making
research impossible for family historians who are unable to reach the
Devon County Record Office. Few of our ancestors from this area show up
in FreeBMD simply because records have not yet been included for the
years when the family presence there was at its height. We begin 2005 by
visiting Kingsbridge which lies at the head of the Salcombe River to
introduce our readers to Stentiford Hill.