WILLIAM CHARLES LUFF 1888 - 1957
William Charles Luff was born in Upper Hale, near Farnham on 21st January 1888.
He must have had a very unhappy childhood. He lost his mother when he was 4 years old. With his father and siblings he had experienced the poverty of the workhouse. By the age of 9 he had lost his two sisters and older brother.
William Charles enlisted in the Army at Aldershot on 14th January 1907, aged 19. His army records show him as being 5ft 10 1/2" tall, blue eyes with a fair complexion. He served with the 79th Battery Royal Field Artillery, reaching the rank of Gunner. He served time in India until he completed his period of army service in 1913. He then transferred to the Army Reserve and found work as a labourer.
At the outbreak of the 1st World War, he was promoted to the rank of Bombardier. He served in France near Rouen in 1915. He was wounded in France and then, in May 1916, was transferred to duties in India. He was stationed in Calcutta and Jubbulpore (1917). He was awarded the 1914 Star, British War Medal and Victory Medal.
At the age of 13, in 1901, William Charles was living with his father and grandmother in Wyke Cottages, Hale, near Farnham. He enlisted as a professional soldier in 1907, at the age of 19. It is likely that after his grandmother died in 1903 he lived with his uncle, Frederick George Luff, at 1, Hillside Cottages, Heath End, Surrey. His father James might also have lived there. I know from records that while on leave from the Army William Charles used to stay at 1, Hillside Cottages.
William Charles married Annie Beatrice Thomas in Chelsea on 10th August 1918. Annie Beatrice was born in Rawalpindi, India ( now Pakistan) on 28th March 1895.
After the Ist World War the couple lived at 33, Stadium Street, Chelsea. The marriage produced 3 children, as below.
William Samuel James Luff 1919 - 1919 (Son of William Charles Luff 1888 - 1957)
FREDERICK GEORGE LUFF (M.B.E.) 1923 - 2011 - for a history of Frederick George Luff and his family see next page
Lucy Beatrice Luff 1928 - 1997 (Daughter of William Charles Luff 1888 - 1957)
From 1922 William Charles worked for Westminster City Council as a labourer in the Works Department. In 1940 he and his family were bombed out during the Blitz. They moved to a requisitioned property in Draycott Avenue, Nr Sloane Square and were finally rehoused in Hortensia House, Chelsea in 1943.
William Charles continued to work for Westminster City Council until his retirement at 65 in 1953. He served 31 years with the Council. He then took a job as a liftman at the Westminster Building in Victoria Street, London. The conditions of the job, standing for hours in an unheated environment, and being a heavy smoker contributed to his death on 29th May 1957. He was 69 years old.
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FREDERICK GEORGE LUFF (M.B.E.) 1923 - 2011
Frederick George Luff was born at 33 Stadium Street, Chelsea on 14th January 1923. He was the son of William Charles and Alice Beatrice Luff (nee Thomas). He attended Ashburnham Junior School and then St Lukes College in Chelsea until the age of 14.
He then found employment with Queen Anne's Bounty, London in 1937 - which amalgamated with The Church Commissioners in 1947.
Fred ( as he was known ) and his family were bombed out twice during the Blitz in 1940, the German bombers target being Lots Road Power Station, Chelsea. The family were re-housed in a requisitioned property in Draycott Avenue, then later in Hortensia House, Chelsea in 1943.
Fred enlisted as a Royal Marine in 1941 and saw action in W W 2 in the North African and Italian theatres of war. He was awarded 6 service and campaign medals. He was a life-long Chelsea F C supporter, the highlight seeing, with his father, the 3:3 draw at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea played the FC Dynamo Moscow team in November 1945.
Fred married his Cornish wife Betty in 1943, they were married for 68 years. They had 4 children, 3 of their own and one adopted.
After demobilisation in 1946, Fred with his wife, and young family, lived in a requisitioned property in Beaufort Street, Chelsea. In 1948 Fred and his family were re-housed in Hortensia House, Chelsea.
The family then moved from Chelsea in the mid 1950's to a village in Kent. Fred never forgot his Chelsea roots.
He was awarded the M.B.E. in 1982, for services to the Church Commissioners in London.
He was very surprised and pleased to receive the Malta George Cross Commemorative Medal in 1994, some 50 years after the event. This medal was awarded to recognise service personnel who were in Malta during the large scale enemy bombings of that Island between June 1940 and September 1943.
Fred retired in 1983, and later moved with his wife Betty to Truro, in Cornwall. Fred was very much involved with the Royal British Legion, and was awarded their gold badge in 2010.
Frederick George Luff died suddenly but peacefully in Truro, Cornwall, on 17th March, 2011, aged 88. His youngest daughter was at his death and he died of bronchopneumonia. He left a widow, 4 children, 10 grandchildren and 7 greatgrandchildren.
He was cremated at Truro, Cornwall on 28th March, 2011 and was afforded a military style funeral, with standard bearers from the Royal British Legion, Royal Marines and Royal Naval Reserve. A buglar played the last post.
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St Andrew's Church, Farnham
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