The Tragedies of a Hythe Cricketing Family

This one gravestone commemorates five members and three generations of the same family.

 

Munds and Bass2

Inscription In/loving memory/of a dear one/Edgar Munds/who was drowned while/skating on the canal/Dec 3rd 1890 in his 15th year/loved by all who knew him

Jesus wept

A light from our household is gone/a voice we loved is still/a place is vacant in our home/which never will be filled

Also/Percy Charles Munds/died Sep 28th 1886/Aged 6 months and 3 weeks/who was interred at Lydd

In/memory of/Cpl. W.E.E. Bass R.G.A./the dearly loved grandson of Edward and Susan Munds/who died of wounds April 3rd 1917/aged 23 years/interred in military cemetery/Arras France

And of/Susan Hewitt/the beloved wife of/Edward Munds/who died October 5th 1920/in her 76th year

Also of/Edward/the devoted husband of the above/who died April 15th 1929/aged 82 years

 

Munds and Bass 1

To start at the beginning:  Susan Baker, a young woman from Lydd, Kent, who was in service with the local schoolmaster, got married to Edward Munds in 1869, when she was about 24 years old. Edward was also born in Lydd, the eldest son of James Munds, a tailor, and Ann, his wife. By the age of fourteen he was working as an agricultural labourer.  A year after their marriage, the Munds had a son, and thereafter babies appeared every two years or so. There were eight eventually.  Percy Charles, who is mentioned here but buried in Lydd, was the first to die at only six months old.

In the late 1880s, Edward moved his family to Hythe, about thirteen miles away and took on the license of the Sportsman public house at 111 High Street, where he remained until about 1903 (the inn burnt down in 1907).

During these years, Edward and his sons developed their keen interest in cricket. Edward, as well as keeping the pub, worked as grounsdman for Hythe Cricket Club.  Two of his sons, Arthur and Raymond, were good enough to play for Kent, and the newspaper obituary for their brother Edgar described him as a promising cricketer, too. However, in the winter of 1890, when he was fourteen, Edgar was drowned in the Royal Military Canal at Hythe. It was not unusual for the canal to freeze solid in winter and to be used as a temporary skating rink, and on the day he died there were a lot of people, young and old skating.  Edgar had gone there with a group of his friends, including one of his older brothers, who told him to avoid the area under Scanlon’s Bridge (a road bridge), as the ice was thin there. Edgar disregarded his advice, the ice was indeed thin and gave way under his weight. He tried to save himself, but was unable to get a grip on the ice and sank. The water here was about fifteen feet deep, and it took nearly half-an-hour before he could be rescued.

Dr Arthur Randall Davies, a local physician (who is also buried in St Leonard’s churchyard) had  been skating himself and was called to the scene. He waited for Edgar to be brought ashore and took the boy to the School of Musketry, just across the road. He tried everything he could to save him, but it was too late.

Edgar’s sister, the eldest daughter of Edward and Susan Munds, was Georgiana. In 1894 she married Walter Bass, a soldier, and their son Walter Edward Edgar Bass was born in January the next year. Georgiana followed her husband to his posting in Ireland, but died there in April.  Walter Bass senior had no option but to send his infant son back to Hythe to his grandparents, while he was sent off to fight in the Boer war. Edward and Susan brought up the boy, whom they called simply ‘Edgar.’ He, too, became a keen cricketer.

By the age of sixteen, the lad was working as a Telegraph boy in Hythe, and Edward, having lost his pub, had moved to Theatre Street and devoted himself to his groundsman’s duties, with a horse stabled at the eastern edge of the field to pull the mower and roller and rake up the grass. When he retired in 1919, his son Raymond followed him into the job.

Walter junior/Edgar joined up in 1915, and served with a Royal Garrison Artillery Heavy Trench Mortar Battery, until he was injured and died of wounds.  He was awarded the Military Medal. He is buried at Ecoivres military cemetery in Mont-Saint-Eloi.

Bass WEE

Susan Munds, having lost three of her children and the grandson she had raised, died in 1920. Edward devoted himself to Hythe Cricket Club until his death, never missing a match.

 

 

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