Meet the Relative – Great Uncle Sam

This blog celebrates its first anniversary today.


If I ever met Great Uncle Sam I don’t recall it. That’s a shame for it seems I was almost ten when he died. Had he lived a little longer we’d have had a family car and might have got to see him.

So my knowledge of Sam is based on what my dad wrote – and here is his paragraph about Sam.

UNCLE SAM. Sam was dad’s brother nearest to him in age and was the most obviously bright of the brothers, not necessarily more intelligent but more of what would now be called a lateral thinker. He had risen to the rank of warrant officer during the war when the others had all remained as privates or gunners. We did not see him often but in some sense he was my favourite Uncle. He was Recorder for East Sussex Milk-Recording Society travelling around to check the reliability of records maintained on member farms. (He checked my weighings once during the war when I was looking after a herd.) In my childhood he lived at Hadlow Down which had the disadvantage of being difficult to reach from Bexhill by public transport. His wife, Nell (Unsted) was a bit sharp spoken and I never felt wholly at ease with her. When I last saw her in 1941 or 42 she was a distressing site being warped by arthritis; she died soon after. Sam kept the home going but he died of a coronary around 1958.

I can comment on the inconvenience of travel in times past. It was but 15 miles in a straight line between Sam’s house and the Bexhill home of my grandparents and dad. But the journey was nigh on more than could be achieved in a day. They’d have needed a bus to get to the central station in Bexhill, followed by a train to Lewes and another on from there to Buxted. Then they’d have needed a bus to Hadlow Down and still something of a walk to Sam’s house. That public transport journey worked out at about 38 miles, hardly a major distance, but it involved four different buses or trains and waiting times. It would have taken hours.

So Sam and his family remained a bit of a hazy set of people. But of course, I have photos although Sam seemed not to be in the Edwardian family postcard writing set.


This must be Sam, the new recruit, ready to go off to fight in World War 1. By then he was already married to Nell and they had two sons.

Sam was promoted in the army.


This family photo shows Sam the sergeant and Nell with sons Aubrey and Don.

I have no photos from Sam’s later life.

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