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Jul 23

Reginald Loftus Briars

Reginald was the elder brother of Arthur and Hugh born on the 9thOctober 1887.  He probably left LWGS in 1901 or 1902 as he became a railway clerk accountant for the Great Western Railway on 9thJuly 1902 and was living at Paddington, London. In June 1907 he moved to Fishguard, still working as a clerk for the Great Western Railway; in 1911 was living with his elder sister Emily Maude in a small three-room house at 26 Vergam Terrace.

The following year, however, he resigned and seems to have moved back to London. On 9thOctober 1915 he married Agnes Rose Horwood, a carpenter’s daughter at Putney St Stephen’s Mission Church, Wandsworth in London.

During the war he served in the Uganda Railway Volunteers with the rank of Corporal. He is not included in the Absent Voters List of 1918/19 so he may have returned to England before the end of the war. However the record does become mixed as they had a daughter Olive Mary, who was born in Mombassa in 1917

For certain he was in Thame in 1921 when he became a Mason in St Mary’s Lodge, his occupation given as ‘civil servant’, which could mean any kind of public service. By 1922 the family were back in Mombassa as a son Ralph Algernon was born there in 1922. A second daughter Audrey Briars was born in 1923 but she died shortly thereafter. Perhaps this prompted a return to the UK where they lived in Putney, London.

Three years later  on 26thMarch 1926 he sailed 2ndclass from the Port of London on the SS Modasa, a liner of the British India Steam Navigation Company, to the port of Beira in Mozambique accompanied by his wife and his young son Ralph but not their daughter Olive. (It is likely that she remained in the UK and was at boarding school.)

His stay in Kenya was relatively short and on 26thJuly 1933 he and Agnes returned to England from Beira to Southampton in a German ship the SS Matussi of the Wörman Linie. He must have prospered in Kenya as they travelled back first class.  Ralph was not with his parents.  Perhaps he was in school as a boarder back in England.

On his return, Reginald seems to have moved from public service back to private enterprise. In 1939 he and his wife were living at 17 Rectory Close Newbury and he was a branch clerk of an electrical contracting company; also an Air Raid Warden. 17-year-old Ralph Algy was living with his parents, working as a costing clerk in the same business. In 1940, eldest daughter Olive was married in Newbury.

Reginald was still at the same address in 1950 but died on the 6thMay the following year, leaving a modest £735 to his widow.

Their older daughter Olive now Olive Ryan and her husband had emigrated to South Africa but on the death of Reginald they returned to Newbury. Olive died in 2009. Ralph had died in 2003, and their mother Agnes in 1968.

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