You can tell that these two pictures of Fred (6m, and 2yr) were taken in London, can’t you? I have left the photographer’s signature, just in case.
Dad always used to tell the story that Arthur crashed Baron Rothschild’s best car, and then his second best car, on the same day. The first was when he hit a horse as he was speeding back from Leighton Buzzard railway station, being a bit of a dare-devil for a younger house member, and the second when he backed into a gas standard. He had to pick up My Lord in a horse-drawn carriage and was dismissed for the transgressions. He and Sadie were married in St Barnabus Church, Islington, London in 1904 and Fred was born in Holloway Hospital, London, in 1907. Dad told me that Sadie had got Arthur the job as a mechanic driver with the Rothschilds because she lived there. She worked from aged ten as a maid for the Rothschilds, and for Ella du Cane, the artist and book illustrator. Ella’s family were friends of the Rothschilds in both Ascot and in Mentmore Towers.
Fred and Evelyn Latta married in Invercargill on 22 Dec 1945 “in the residence of Mr R Latta, Moa St, Waikiwi,” says the marriage certificate. Robert Latta was a sawmiller and neither of the witnesses’ names mean anything to me, since they are both Invercargill residents. The family story is that Fred, getting near 40yrs and with no marriage – or even a girlfriend – in sight, put a letter in the lonely hearts column and Evelyn responded. This is the official photo of their wedding.
Fred returned to Hastings and took a job as a freezing company worker in the Tomoana Freezing works not far from where he and Evelyn lived in Haumoana. He kept this job until he retired. I don’t know exactly what he did there, but the work can be heavy and physically demanding.
There was real tragedy for Fred and Evelyn over the welfare of their girl, Edith, seen here with Fred and her grandmother Sadie. I met her only once, as a teenager, and we went for a walk around the park not far from home. She was a simple girl with limited language, and she lived in a sheltered home. However, she had enough ability to work as a maid in the home, and she earned a little money.
We received a telegram from Fred on 23 Jan 1978 saying that Edith was very sick in Hastings Hospital. On 31 Jan came the awful news that she had died. She was just 31yrs. Fred told us that she had become very depressed and that she had drunk a terrible poison. She must have been in the most horrible agony for all those days between the telegrams.