SOLE Co-ordinator’s Report April 2023

Maureen Storey By Maureen Storey

In this journal we welcome new member Jane Butler.
Jane’s Sholl family has been traced back to James and Jane Sholl, whose son James was baptised in Stepney in 1736. Joseph Sholl, Jane’s 2xgt grandfather, moved from London to Faversham in Kent in the 1890s. Jane’s gt grandfather William Thomas Sholl (1879-1957) married Christine Frances Garlinge, whose mother was Mary Ann Solley (1862-1928), daughter of Henry Solley, so Jane had a double reason for joining the Sole Society.
During her research Jane became aware of two other Sholl families who appear in London in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and wondered if we had any evidence that would link her family to either or both of these. Member Philip Lloyd, who has done a great deal of work on these families, has told me that such a connection has been long sought but never found. Philip’s own Sholl family moved to London from Cornwall, where the earliest record of them comes from the parish of Kea in the seventeenth century. The third family in the London records hails from Taunton, Somerset, and were silk weavers. Samuel Sholl (b 1752, Taunton) moved to Spitalfields in 1776. He published a book about silk weaving and silk looms in 1811, which includes a short account of his life story. In this, he mentions spending some time in London in the 1760s with his father’s brother, who was a baker, but unfortunately he doesn’t give the brother’s name. Could this nameless brother be the link between Samuel’s family and Jane’s?
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission have recently updated their records of the World War II civilian war dead. For each individual the record includes, amongst other things, the date of the death and the ‘address’, which is not necessarily the casualty’s home but is where the fatal incident occurred. Searching the Internet using this date and ‘address’ will usually lead you to what actually happened, sometimes with a surprising amount of detail.
For example, 17-year-old Charles Arthur Sole was killed when a high explosive bomb landed in the ticket hall of Bank Underground Station on 11 Jan 1941. The resulting blast killed 56 people and injured more than 100. Charles was the son of Charles Albert and Julia Ada (nee Marsh) Sole and was part of one of our Kent families.
Another of the civilian war dead was Samuel Ernest Sole (b 1901, Battersea, SRY), son of Samuel and Lilian Sole and husband of Mabel Lilian Bishop. He was killed on 15 Sep 1940 on Barnehurst Golf Course, Bexleyheath, Kent. Before the war Samuel worked as a bootmaker and repairer and was living with his wife and two daughters in Bexley. Too old to be called up at the start of the war he volunteered with the ARP (Air Raid Precautions), which probably accounts for his presence on the golf course that day. A squadron of Hurricanes based at Hornchurch Airfield was sent to intercept some Dorniers that had been spotted crossing the coast and heading for London. One of the Hurricane pilots noticed that one bomber had been damaged by anti-aircraft fire and gave chase. The Dornier pilot knew that his aircraft was too badly damaged to complete his mission and was looking for a safe place for a crash landing when the Hurricane caught up with it and opened fire.
The Dornier came down on the golf course and burst into flame but didn’t immediately explode. It attracted quite a crowd of local onlookers and souvenir collectors before police and ARP volunteers arrived to keep the public away. The plane was still burning but they managed to rescue the pilot. However, tragedy struck shortly after when the fire reached the one of the bombs and the plane exploded, killing five people including Samuel Ernest Sole.
The earliest records we currently have for Samuel Ernest’s family are the baptisms of four children of James and Ann Sole in Westminster, Middlesex, between 1834 and 1841. This is a prime example of a family that we hoped our DNA project would help us place in one of our larger families. So far we’ve found two of their descendants who have taken an Ancestry DNA test and are willing to help us, but unfortunately they do not appear to have any helpful Sole matches outside their immediate family. We are still at the stage where some of our larger family groups are not represented in the DNA database. The problem is that Ancestry doesn’t allow you to search their DNA database for anyone with connections to a particular surname, a tester can only search for that surname within his own DNA matches. This is slowing up progress considerably.