Wilfred James Blaber

Name on Plaque

W. J. BLABER

Connection with Effingham

He was not native to Effingham. Nor were his parents, but the War Graves Commission records that they were living at Ranmore. In 1948 his parents were living at 1, Red Gables, Dunley Hill in the Ranmore Common area of Effingham parish [1948 Electoral Register].

Genealogy

His grandfather Richard Blaber was born at Jevington near Willingdon, East Sussex in 1856 [GRO Ref: Eastbourne 2b 46, 1856 (Q1)]. Richard married in 1884 to Annie “Ada” (née) Stannett [GRO Ref: Brighton 2b 323, 1884 (Q3)]. She had been born in Burnham, Buckinghamshire to parents Joseph and Emma on October 3rd 1862 and baptised there on November 16th of that year [IGI: Batch C013600]. Although baptised simply as “Annie”, she was apparently registered at birth as “Annie Sophia” [GRO Ref: Eton 3a 373, 1862 (Q4)]. By the time she married she was calling herself “Annie Ada”.

Richard and Annie produced a son Ernest George – the future father of Wilfred James – in 1890 [GRO Ref: Brighton 2b 231, 1890 (Q4)]. Here they are with him in the 1891 Census:

1891 Census
No. 11, Hastings Road, Brighton, Sussex : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 808 Folio 114 Page 32

Richard Blaber : head : mar : 35 : porter at fish market : Jevington, Sussex
Annie Blaber : wife : mar : 29 : — : Burnham, Buckinghamshire 
Ernest G. Blaber : son : unm : 4 months : — : Brighton, Sussex
John W. Heasman : boarder : unm : 21 : shop porter : Burgess Hill, Sussex
Joseph Stannett : brother-in-law : unm : 19 : ostler : Burnham, Buckinghamshire

They subsequently produced at least one further child Joseph Charles [GRO Ref: Brighton 2b 245, 1895 (Q3)].

Richard died aged “43” in 1899 [GRO Ref: Brighton 2b 142, 1899 (Q1)].

Annie and her children appear not to have been enumerated in the 1901 Census.

Ernest’s future wife was Eliza (née) Starks, born at Falmer (5 miles west of Lewes) to parents Thomas and Eliza in 1892 [GRO Ref: Lewes 2b 194, 1892 (Q2)].
The 1901 Census finds her family living in Falmer:

1901 Census
ewes Road, Falmer, Sussex : PRO Ref: RG13 Piece 919 Folio 52 Page 7

Thomas Starks : head : mar : 47 : carter journeyman : Fletching, Sussex
Eliza Starks : wife : mar : 43 : — : Lewes, Sussex
together with 9 children, including:
Eliza Starks : dau : unm : 9 : scholar : Falmer, Sussex

At the time of the 1911 Census the Starks family was still living in Falmer and Ernest was staying with them as a visitor:

1911 Census
No. 88, Lower Housedean Cottages, Falmer, Sussex : PRO Ref: RG14, Piece 5079, Schedule 4

Thomas Starks : head : mar : 58 : carter on farms : Fletching, Sussex
Eliza Starks : wife : mar : 54 : — : Lewes, Sussex
Eliza Starks : dau : unm : 19 : domestic servant unemployed : Falmer, Sussex
David Starks : son : unm : 16 : carter boy on farm : Falmer, Sussex
Ernest Blaber : visitor friend : unm : 20 : general farm labourer : Brighton, Sussex

Ernest’s normal home address at this time was probably Hammonds Farm in Lingfield, Surrey, since that address was cited for him – as next of kin – a few years later in the army papers of his brother Joseph.

Ernest and Eliza married in 1915 [GRO Ref: Newhaven 2b 507, 1915 (Q4)]. They produced a son Wilfred James in 1921 [GRO Ref: Croydon 2a 603, 1921 (Q4)].
The latter source spells his first name as “Wilfrid”. In 1930 they produced another son Philip Ernest [GRO Ref: Epsom 2a 91, 1930 (Q2)].

In the War Wilfred served in the West Yorkshire Regiment and was killed in action in Burma on June 3rd 1944. His grandmother Annie may have died at about the same time, possibly from shock [GRO Ref: Surrey Mid.E. 2a 255, 1944 (Q2)] – but indexed perhaps in error as “Annie R.”]. Eliza died on May 29th 1952 [GRO Ref: Surrey S.W. 5g 758, 1952 (Q2)] and Ernest on August 14th 1955 [GRO Ref: Surrey Mid.E. 5g 165, 1955 (Q3)]. They are interred in the Effingham parish burial ground together with their son Philip Ernest who died on July 29th 2007.

Military Records

1. Service Record – not yet available

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

Name
Rank
Regiment
Age
Date of Death
Service No.
Additional info.
Grave/Memorial Ref.
Cemetery

BLABER, WILFRED JAMES
Private
West Yorkshire Regiment (Prince of Wales’s Own), 1st Bn.
22
03/06/1944
4803788
Son of Ernest George and Eliza Blaber, of Ranmore, Surrey.
Face 7.
RANGOON MEMORIAL