Olive Gosling was my great-aunt on my mother’s side – her father’s, mother’s sister…. She was one of three children of Arthur and Ellen Laura (nee Baynham) Gosling and had twin younger sisters, Dorcas and Ruth, born in 1892.
Born in Dorking on 7 January 1891, Olive and her sisters lived at 28 Grange Road, Ealing in 1901, her father working as a verger (Church of England). The 1911 census for 103 The Grove shows Ellen, her children and her mother, but no Arthur and family legend has it that he ‘deserted’ Ellen Laura – not what one would expect of a verger!
Olive worked as a telegrapher and also drove an ambulance during the bombing/air raids in World War One. She was my mother’s godmother and took this role very seriously. She was an upright, correct lady but not known for outwardly showing affection. She never married and lived in Haywards Heath with fellow spinster, Muriel Deighton. They are believed to have met in London whilst working. By command of Her Majesty the Queen, she was forwarded a Coronation Medal in 1953 … I wonder what made the Queen recognise her in this way?
Olive was a regular visitor to the church in Wivelsfield in her latter years. She retired before Muriel and took on the role of housekeeping whilst Muriel continued to work.
Olive died in 1968 and was buried at Wivelsfield. My mother was a teenager when Olive died and I never met her. There are so many questions we have about her life but now, it’s too late.
What role did you play in World War One? What did you do for a living? Did you keep in touch with your father, Arthur, after he left the family home in the early twentieth century when you were just a teenager? What did you do to be awarded the Coronation Medal?
Will we ever know….