Ernest & Marjorie Winchester of Wimbledon

ernest & marjorie
Ernest & Marjorie ca.1920

Ernest John Winchester, a son of Charles and Harriett, was born in Redhill on 8 August 1895.  As a young man he worked in a bicycle shop in Reigate and became a volunteer fireman with the Reigate Brigade.  During the First World War he served as a driver and dispatch rider in Salonica with the RASC Motor Transport Division (see Ernie's war).  In 1918 he returned to England on a hospital ship suffering from malaria and spent a further 12 weeks in hospital.

Evelyn Marjorie Woods, a daughter of Andrew and Kate, was born in Redhill on 25 November 1896 and baptised at St Matthew’s on 27 December.  She went into service as a kitchen maid in a house in London, but became ill and returned to Redhill where she later worked for the Russell’s, two sisters and their brother, who lived nearby.

Ernest and Marjorie knew each other as children and used to walk home from school together.  They were married in Reigate Registrar’s Office on 30 August 1920.  They moved to Wimbledon where he served in the regular fire service and drove the ambulance for many years.  They had two daughters:

Winifred Evelyn

25 Feb 1921

Ethel Mary

23 Nov 1924

fireman's funeral
Fireman's funeral - Reigate 1926

In 1921 they were living at 14 Pelham Road.They are known to have also lived above a shop in Wimbledon High Street but at the beginning of the Second World War they moved into the recently completed Fire Station Flats where, as Leading Fireman, Ernest was given flat number 1.

A photograph shows Ernest (standing left) at a fireman’s funeral. This was the funeral of John Legg in June 1926. John was from a Reigate family of fireman and had also joined the Wimbledon brigade. He used to travel from Reigate each day by motorcycle and was killed one morning in an accident at the top of Reigate hill. The photograph was taken outside the Legg house in Slipshoe Street Reigate and it is believed to be his father, Fred Legg, behind the wheel.

Ernest retired from the fire service a few years after the end of the Second World War and eventually they were given a new council bungalow near Wimbledon Common. Then for a number of years he worked as a chauffeur in Westminster. He died in Wimbledon on 18th February 1983 and was cremated at Lambeth crematorium on 24th.

Marjorie moved to Newton Longville to live with her daughter Ethel. She lived to be 98, died on 6 July 1995 and was buried at Newton Longville where her headstone commemorates both her and Ernest.

MI in Langney Cemetery
Headstone in Newton Longville

happy memories
a dear mum and dad
and grandparents
died 6.7.1995
aged 98 years
died 18.2.1983
aged 87 years

Of their children:

  • Winifred served in the fire service in London during World War II and married Sydney Harold Hunnisett in Wimbledon and lived in Eastbourne (see Sydney & Winifred Hunnisett).

  • Ethel was a telephonist in London during the Second World War. She married Gordon Derek Hunnisett (her sister's brother-in-law, see children of Jon & Edith Hunnisett) in Wimbledon on 6 September 1947 and moved to Eastbourne.