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Four generations in a photo

This delightful photo (see left) is of four generations of females in one family. From left to right they are :-  the daughter, the grandmother Ella B. Day née Home born in Brighton in 1871 and died in 1959, the mother Kathleen E. F Roche née Day born in Cheltenham in 1894. And the great-grandmother Elizabeth Georgianna Home née Elton born in India on 29th April 1851 and died in 1939.

It can be seen that the photo was professionally taken in a studio in Fleet Hampshire. Ever since seeing this photo I have wondered if there was any significance to the newspaper or was it just a useful stage prop?

The grandmother, Ella B. Home married John George Fitzgerald Day (1854-1931) in Cheltenham on 4th October 1893. John George F. Day was the son of Rev. Edward Fitzgerald Day (1804-1867) and Sarah Louisa Maunsell (1830-1904) and the grandson of Judge Robert Day of Kerry (1746-1841). Colonel Day was in the Royal Engineers, and had been in Peking during the Boxer Uprising. He was also an excellent artist and four portraits by him are in the National Portrait Gallery.

The great-grandmother, Elizabeth Georgianna, nicknamed both Gaga and Lizzie, was the daughter of Henry Nathaniel Elton (1819-1907) a Surgeon-Major in the Bengal Army and Eliza Everina Rochfort (1826-1868). Lizzie was born in India and married there on 7th January 1868 at Sealkote. Her husband was Robert Home (1834-1896) a Colonel in the Royal Bengal Engineers. Robert’s brother was Lieutenant Duncan Charles Home (1828-1857) of the Bengal Engineers who was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously for leading the assault on the Cashmere Gate in Delhi and died shortly thereafter due to the accidental explosion of a mine. Robert and Duncan were two of the twelve children of Major-General Richard Home (1789-1862) of the Bengal Army. Their two uncles were Major-General Robert Home (1784-1842) and Major-General John Home (1788-1860) both of the Indian Army. The grandfather of Robert and Duncan was Robert Home (1752-1834) the painter, some of whose portraits are in the National Portrait Gallery including one of the Duke of Wellington.

The name of the newspaper, the Daily Sketch, can be seen in the photo but not the date. Obviously a trip to the Newsroom in the British Library was necessary. I calculated that the newspaper must have been printed between 1930 when the youngest person in the photo was about 10 years old and 1939 when Elizabeth Georgianna Home died. Not too many years to read on microfilm! Thankfully I did not have to check many film reels (six reels to each year) before I found the date of the newspaper in question – Tuesday, October 16th, 1934; Issue 7949.

The dead war leader was Raymond Poincaré. At this point I realised my knowledge of French World War 1 leaders was sadly lacking. A quick search on Google and I discovered that Raymond Poincaré (1860-1934) was President of France between 1913 and 1920.

However there does not seem to be any connection between Raymond Poincaré and the four females in the photo. A careful perusal of the rest of that edition of the paper suggest no other connection with any of the other people mentioned on the inside pages.

There is one red herring. At the bottom of the front page there is a picture and story about an American actress who was returning to England after a car accident where she had injured her legs and feet. Her name was Miss Frances Day. Immediately I thought – maybe – a connection to the Day family. However further research showed that her name was a stage name and her real name was Frances Victoria Schenck (1908-1984). Therefore no connection, just a pure coincidence!

So in conclusion I now believe that the newspaper was only a prop used by the photographer to achieve a delightfully posed photograph.

The work involved in dating this newspaper was still worthwhile as it almost dates the photo itself. 


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