SOLE Co-ordinator’s Report April 2024

Maureen Storey By Maureen Storey

In this journal we welcome Lesley Blackman back to the Society. Lesley has a double connection to the Society, with interests in both Sewell and Sole. Her Blackman line includes the marriage of Richard Blackman and Martha Sole in Chartham, KEN, in 1756. The Society’s records show that Martha’s family has been traced back through church registers to Nicholas Soale and Elizabeth Dixon, who married in Denton, KEN, in 1627, but earlier generations are known through the 1621 will of Richard Sole of Aldington, which names his mother, four siblings and his two nephews, one of which was Nicholas.
We have also had a preliminary query from Gill Jones, a descendant of Richard Sole (1772-1843) and Sarah Berry (1771-1825), who married in Kelshall, HRT, in 1796.
Although neither Ancestry nor Findmypast has added any major new datasets over the last few months, there have been some new sources that provide details of interest. For example, Ancestry have added the UK Royal Mail Pension and Gratuity Records 1860-1970. Amongst several entries for people from Society families there is a recommendation that Edith Emily Soole (b 30 Mar 1884), a sorter for the Post Office Savings Bank, should receive a gratuity in 1907 after 5 years 2 mos of service. Edith emigrated to Canada shortly after this date, so presumably this was part of her severance pay. Although she and her siblings were born in Fulham, Edith was a descendant of Robert Soule and Elizabeth Brabb of East Cottingwith, who married in Aughton, YKS, in 1657.
Ancestry has also continued to add information about World War 2 prisoners of war, with the publication of a set of questionnaires detailing their treatment which the men were required to complete on their return to the UK. For example, we learn that Cecil Bruce Soul, a salesman from Welwyn Garden City, who enlisted in the KRRC on 15 Nov 1939, was captured at Calais on 26 May 1940 and spent the rest of the war in five different POW camps. The first four were in Poland and the last was in Bavaria. Like most of the POWs he was initially put to work as a labourer but was then lucky enough to be employed as a company clerk for the British prisoners. Another of the questionnaires was filled in by Frederick Jack Soal of Ruislip Common, who enlisted in the RAF on 10 Jul 1939 and served in Squadron 21 of Bomber Command. Frederick was captured at St Pol, France, on 18 Jul 1941. The details of his capture are not given but he was taken to hospital to received treatment for a broken leg, so it seems safe to assume his plane had crashed. Frederick was initially held in Belgium, before moving first to France and then a series of POW camps in Germany.
Findmypast are continuing to expand their records of criminals. Their more recent additions include the deserters and absentees lists from the Police Gazette. These lists include the man’s name, his unit, place of birth, age and pre-enlistment occupation, and a detailed description. For example, Alfred Robert Sole of the Yorkshire Regiment was born in Dunnahady, Londonderry in 1863. He was 5ft 7½ins tall with a fresh complexion, light brown hair and grey eyes. He had a bracelet tattooed on each wrist and a cross on the back of his left hand. In civilian life he had been a fireman. He was 22 when he absconded from Richmond, wearing regimental uniform. Frustratingly I haven’t been able to place Alfred in a family. Our records don’t include any families living in Londonderry in the 1860s and the only other clue we have is from his attestation papers which give his next of kin as his older brother Alexander Sole and younger brother William Sole, neither of whom I can trace!