LETTER TO THE EDITOR: I am researching family history and of interest is my great aunt Evelyn Diver of the Manor House Isleham.

PUBLISHED: 17:33 06 May 2014

I have been researching my family. Of particular interest is my great aunt Evelyn Diver of the Manor House Isleham.

She wrote diaries in the early 1900’s. These diaries are regarded as quite important and those that survive have been transcribed. Amongst other places, copies are held in the Cambridge Archive and at Oxford University for educational and research purposes. Unfortunately those for 1908 and 1917 to 19 are missing.

The Banks boys were well known to Evelyn and are mentioned frequently in the diaries along with other members of their family. Both boys were killed in the first world war. Harry was Evelyn’s “sweet heart”. She never married after his death. He was killed on The Somme on 14th November 1916 aged 21.

He wasn’t found and is commemorated on the Thiepval memorial. He was a member of The 1st/7th Bn Northumberland Fusiliers. Frederick was killed in an aeroplane accident, also aged 21, on 2nd June 1918.

He is listed as a second Lieutenant of the RAF and 3rd Bn Essex regiment. It appears he was a member of the Essex Regiment and volunteered to train as a pilot very soon after the RAF was inaugurated in April 1918 and that he was killed during this training.

Fred was buried in Hampstead London and his gravestone includes a commemoration of Harry ,”killed on the Somme”. At the time of their deaths the family was living in Milton Road Cambridge. Their father was Rev/Pastor George Banks who was the minister at the Baptist Chapel, Tenison Road, Cambridge. He lived to 94 and is buried in the Newmarket Road cemetery in Cambridge.

Both boys are commemorated on the memorial in The Guild Hall Cambridge and, we guess, they are probably mentioned elsewhere in Cambridge, but, so far, no luck in finding them.

By pure chance during our research we found two postcards sent to Evelyn by her cousin Arthur Nichols from Holt had been sold on Ebay this year, unfortunately we didn’t know about them until they had been sold. Arthur also died in the war. Evelyn’s sister, Bertha, also lost her sweet heart, Sidney Newling of Isleham, also son of a Baptist minister. Like Evelyn, Bertha didn’t marry having lost her beau.

My purpose in writing to you is varied, firstly to see whether you think you might be able to assist in tracing Evelyn’s missing diaries and any postcards sent to her, secondly to see whether you would know where the Banks boys might be commemorated in Cambridge, other than in the Guild Hall and finally to see whether you might have any archive material about their deaths.

I do realise all of this is a long shot but I would be very grateful for any help you can offer.

ALAN DIVER

Alan@divertack.freeserve.co.uk

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