Bracebridge and Benyon

Harry Benyon 

My Grandmother Nora Derwent Benyon (Bracebridge) her father Harry Benyon, who I was told and it was kind of a family myth that he was was knocked down and killed by a tram in Trenton NJ USA.

I have always been interested in the tale of my Nan and USA. She told me when I showed her a picture of Niagara falls that she had been to America? I could not figure it out.

Harry I always thought had emigrated to Trenton NJ with all the family Nan included around 1910 as my Nan would have been 10 then. And I was told that Eliza the mom hated it as it was too cold and returned to the UK. Then the tale goes that Harry was killed by being run over by a tram.

I thought that he would have been 30 years old or close at this point and that is why he never returned. The story is more intriguing than this. The shipping lines passenger lists show that he was back and forth across the ocean and had left here earlier.

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190 Jefferson Street Trenton was the address where Harry and Eliza and the two children were living written on many of the passenger lists where Harry was going to and from the UK.  Eliza’s mother Mrs Carpenter was living at 18 Jersey Road in Birmingham UK.

I found a news cutting and its almost true. He was killed after being struck by an automobile on a Friday night the 27th October 1939 on West State Street and Hermitage Avenue and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery 1800 Hamilton Ave Trenton Mercer County New Jersey USA.  He was 64 years old his wife Eliza had already passed away in England in 1934. I had imagined all sorts of stories as to why the family was never reunited. But it seems his mother and father had also passed away in Trenton USA.

At some point Harry was living with his sister and her husband Agnes Benyon who was married to William Henry Mycock.


This is the junction in Trenton NJ where the accident happened.

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John Henry Benyon  (Brother to Harry Benyon)

My Great Grandfather Harry Benyons brother John Henry Benyon married Emma Froehlich in Trenton, New Jersey, USA, on 16 August 1906 when he was 20 years old.Trinity M. E. Church. He joined Canadian Engineers in 1918 and deserted from Engineers in 1919 but the war was over by then. He was working as a potter at Star porcelain co 101 Muirhead ave  Trenton NJ. That he was also in Trenton New Jersey was another surprise to me


The Star Porcelain co was company was located in Trenton, NJ at 101 Muirhead Avenue and was incorporated June 24, 1899, for the manufacture of dry process electrical porcelain and specialties. The founder of the company was Dr. Charles P. Britton, a druggist, who sold his drug store in 1900 in order to devote all his time to the pottery’s manufacture electrical insulators.


Other owners were Dr. Thomas H. MacKenzie and Herbert Sinclair. The factory was located on Muirhead Ave near Dewey. In the December 30, 1905, issue of Electrical World and Engineer they advertized black glazed porcelain. The factory was enlarged and work completed in June 1905 that would double the production of electrical porcelain, and, for the first time, start making porcelain tubes, which commenced in August. Herbert Sinclair patented an oval split knob (patent #806,588) in 1905 and a unique style of split knob (patent #855,208) in 1907.

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Star Porcelain started making insulators for spark plugs in 1916 from steatite along with Jeffery-Dewitt Co. In mid-1922 they announced the manufacture of radio antenna insulators for M. M. Fleron & Son, Inc. In 1925, a trade journal article mentioned they had plants in Annandale, NJ (equipment was being moved to Trenton) and in Frenchtown. In the Arthur Watts 1939 article, there is a reference to Star having made a line of high-voltage insulators from 1901 to 1907. There is no other information regarding this, and no pin-type insulators are known which can be attribut¬ed to this company. The company was closed in 2003.


John Henry Benyon Joined the Canadian Expeditionary Force in 1918
He then deserted in 1919.


Stephen Henry Bracebridge

Also I found out that my Great Grandfather Stephen Bracebridge the father of Nora Bracebridge’s husband Frederick Bracebridge and aother son named Stephen Henry service number DM2/155220. He was in the 265th Mechanical Transport Company. He died on the 2nd April 1918 in France aged 38 in the 25th Stationary Hospital Rouen. He is buried in St Sever ext Cemetery Rouen France.

The Base Hospital was part of the casualty evacuation chain, further back from the front line than the Casualty Clearing Stations. They were manned by troops of the Royal Army Medical Corps, with attached Royal Engineers and men of the Army Service Corps. In the theatre of war in France and Flanders, the British hospitals were generally located near the coast. They needed to be close to a railway line, in order for casualties to arrive (although some also came by canal barge); they also needed to be near a port where men could be evacuated for longer-term treatment in Britain.


There were two types of Base Hospital, known as Stationary and General Hospitals. They were large facilities, often centred on some pre-war buildings such as seaside hotels. The hospitals grew hugely in number and scale throughout the war. Most of the hospitals moved very rarely until the larger movements of the armies in 1918. Some hospitals moved into the Rhine bridgehead in Germany and many were operating in France well into 1919. Most hospitals were assisted by voluntary organisations, most notably the British Red Cross.


St Sever Cemetery and St. Sever Cemetery Extension are located within a large communal cemetery situated on the eastern edge of the southern Rouen suburbs of Le Grand Quevilly and Le Petit Quevilly.

The officers and men of the ASC – sometimes referred to in a joking, disparaging way as Ally Sloper’s Cavalry – were the unsung heroes of the British Army in the Great War. Soldiers can not fight without food, equipment and ammunition. They can not move without horses or vehicles. It was the ASC’s job to provide them. In the Great War, the vast majority of the supply, maintaining a vast army on many fronts, was supplied from Britain. Using horsed and motor vehicles, railways and waterways, the ASC performed prodigious feats of logistics and were one of the great strengths of organisation by which the war was won.

The 1918 Spring Offensive or Kaiserschlacht (Kaiser’s Battle), also known as the Ludendorff Offensive, was a series of German attacks along the Western Front during the First World War, beginning on 21 March 1918, which marked the deepest advances by either side since 1914. The Germans had realised that their only remaining chance of victory was to defeat the Allies before the overwhelming human and matériel resources of the United States could be fully deployed. They also had the temporary advantage in numbers afforded by the nearly 50 divisions freed by the Russian surrender (the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk).

There were four German offensives, codenamed Michael, Georgette, Gneisenau, and Blücher-Yorck. Michael was the main attack, which was intended to break through the Allied lines, outflank the British forces which held the front from the Somme River to the English Channel and defeat the British Army. Once this was achieved, it was hoped that the French would seek armistice terms. The other offensives were subsidiary to Michael and were designed to divert Allied forces from the main offensive on the Somme.

No clear objective was established before the start of the offensives and once the operations were underway, the targets of the attacks were constantly changed according to the battlefield (tactical) situation. The Allies concentrated their main forces in the essential areas (the approaches to the Channel Ports and the rail junction of Amiens), while leaving strategically worthless ground, devastated by years of combat, lightly defended.

The Germans were unable to move supplies and reinforcements fast enough to maintain their advance. The fast-moving stormtroopers leading the attack could not carry enough food and ammunition to sustain themselves for long and all the German offensives petered out, in part through lack of supplies.

By late April 1918, the danger of a German breakthrough had passed. The German Army had suffered heavy casualties and now occupied ground of dubious value which would prove impossible to hold with such depleted units. In August 1918, the Allies began a counter-offensive with the support of 1–2 million fresh American troops and using new artillery techniques and operational methods. This Hundred Days Offensive resulted in the Germans retreating or being driven from all of the ground taken in the Spring Offensive, the collapse of the Hindenburg Line and the capitulation of the German Empire that November.

Sgt Charles Henry Downard

Sgt C_ H_ Downard 2

2/8 Battalion Royal Warwicks Regiment. 2742 Killed in action on 16th August 1916, at Fauquissart close to Fromelles and Neuve Chapelle. He is buried in Nord, France. Merville, Departement du Nord, Nord-Pas-de-Calais, France PLOT XI. B. 2.


The Duck’s Bill’ Crater was a fortified mine crater in no man’s land on the eastern edge of the village of Givenchy. This crater was connected to the British front line by a communication trench and was just forty yards from the enemy lines.


Fauquissart is a village in the department of Pas-de-Calais, France.
It lies on the D171 road South West of Armentières, near the village of Laventie. The road is known as “Rue Tilleloy” north of Fauquissart and “Rue du Bois” south of it. Faiquissart is not named in the map above, being a very small place.
Static trench warfare took place here during that whole period, and Fauquissart was in the front line for several key engagements: the attacks of 14-18 December 1914, the Battle of Neuve Chapelle (10-13 March 1915), the Battle of Aubers (9 May 1915) and the Attack on Fromelles (19-20 July 1916). The buildings of the village were used for close support to the trenches, and housed battalion headquarters, signals units and artillery observers. As the months went by, enemy shellfire gradually reduced Fauquissart to ruins. Many British units were rotated through this area and Fauquissart features in many war diaries.


Charles H Downard was born in Brighton. He married Nellie Elizabeth Bracebridge on 21st March 1914 in Bordesley Birmingham. Nellie was the daughter of Arthur and Fanny Bracebridge also the sister of Ethel Bracebridge. They lived at Lock House Bordesley Birmingham.


Clement William Green in the same photograph was married to Nellie Bracebridge’s sister Beatrice Bracebridge.



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