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Photo of Phyllis Hawksley

Phyllis Hawksley

Birthplace London Notting Hill EnglandPlace of Residence at HM Factory Gretna A 1 Eastriggs ScotlandPlace of Death Devon Ashburton Date of Birth: January 12, 1896 Date of Death: May 5, 1975



Date and place of birth :  12 January 1896 Notting Hill, London

Date and place of Death :  5 May 1975 Ashburton, Devon
Nationality: British


Phyllis grew up in London with her siblings:

Thomas Edwin Hawksley 1897

Dorothy Sylvia Hawksley 1906

Ronald George Hawksley 1908

Reginald Jack Hawksley 1914

Kenneth Phipson Hawksley married Julia Letitia Anderson Green in 1894,

Portsea, Hampshire
Parents occupation :  Kenneth was a Civil and Mechanical Engineer
Schools Universities attended and years of attendance – .

Convent of The Holy Child Magdalen Road St Leonards On Sea Sussex (1911 Census)
Place of residence at Gretna: A1 Eastriggs
Marital status:

Phyllis married James Vincent Bennett Raikes Bromage in 1924 London

Ralph Phipson Bromage born in Calcutta 1925

Thomas Nigel Bromage born in Ootacamund 1927

Kenneth M Bromage born in Kington District 1933.
Job title at Gretna :  Not known
Travels –

London to Bombay 1921

Returned to England from India 1928
Awards/recognitions: Nil known
Trivia/any other information:

Email from relative, Nov 2021:

I have had a bit of a rummage in my archive drawer and whilst I have failed to find any photos pertaining to the Gretna works I did come up with a couple that may help you put faces to the names on your list.

The one of Kenneth must be from around this era (in his younger years he sported a soup-strainer moustache and I’m not quite sure when he got rid of it)  and the one of Phyllis is actually dated 1920 so not too long after. I’m afraid neither are brilliant quality and they don’t scan very well.

It would appear the family firm, T&C Hawksley, did a lot of work for the ministry of munitions. Gretna was by far the biggest project but they were also involved at Queensferry and Northwich.I have a company letterbook which covers some of those years so this evening I have been leafing through it and found a lengthy letter from June 1916 about their terms of engagement.  It looks as if Kenneth hired and supervised a team of staff at Gretna.  From another document in  my possession it would appear that in August 1916 at least his wife was living at Justicetown (having previously been working with the red cross in France for which they awarded her a medal). It’s quite possible they rented a house where they could also have an office. I don’t know if they would have had live in domestic staff at this stage, especially given the shortage of such in the war,  but I gather there was a chauffeur.  Given the geographical extent of the water works for Gretna I could see why he might feel the need of a chauffeur. (I’m sure he would have been able if not willing to drive himself – his wife certainly drove when she had the chance, and Phyllis probably did too.)

I had a long chat on Tuesday  with Kenneth Bromage to see what he recalled his mother saying about the Gretna years.  We don’t know exactly what she did between school and the Gretna years, or whether she initially went up to keep house for her dad because Mum was working abroad.  But Kenneth says she became a housemistress for one of the Gretna hostels/houses/dormitories.  This would probably come quite naturally to her if she’d acted housekeeper in a busy household with her dad’s office staff and spent a number of years at a girls boarding school herself.  When she eventually married, she took on a sizeable ready-made family before adding 3 more of her own, so her years keeping order with the Gretna girls were probably good training!!

One story Kenneth Bromage related from his mother’s reminiscences was that if Kenneth H had to go down to London he would get driven to Gretna station by the chauffeur, who would park the car across the level crossing to make sure the train couldn’t leave without KPH on board!





Thanks to family members for photograph

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