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Edwin William Lawrence and Mary Teresa Kearns
Edwin William Lawrence was born on 14 November 1899 in Forest Gate, London, the son of Harriet Lawrence, the identity of his father is unknown although on his marriage certificate he names his father as Edwin William Lawrence, an engineer. His early years were spent in London, the 1901 census shows him living at 38 Tower Hamlets road, West Ham, with his mother, grandmother, uncle and aunt. His uncle William Lawrence (who was the main bread winner in the family) was an engine fitter with the London and South Western Railway Company, and sometime between 1901 and 1911, the family moved to 174 Southampton Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire, this was possibly in 1910 when the L&SWR transferred locomotive building from Nine Elms to the new work shops at the motive power depot in Eastleigh.
Edwin joined the L&SWR Eastleigh Works on 8 April 1915 as an apprentice (lad) on a weekly wage of 5 s per week, increasing by 1 s per week at six monthly intervals. In 1922 he was earning 43 s per week.
London & South Western Railway Employment Records
Mary Teresa Kearns was born in Ballyboden, Dublin, Ireland, the daughter of James Kearns and his wife Margaret Corbally. It was always believed that she was born in 1899 and that her name was Mary Teresa, and all English records seem to confirm this, the 1901 Ireland census appeared throw some doubt on this as she appears as Teresa Kearns, aged 3, and the 1911 Ireland census still further doubt where she appears as Teresa Kearns, a domestic servant, aged 16. The recent discovery of her baptism record shows that she was born on 19 November 1896 and baptized on the 22 November 1896 as Teresa Kearns. Her godparents are named as Owen Byrn and Bridget Byrn. It is thought by some in the family that she came to England to do a cookery course, a rather brave decision for a young Irish girl at that particular time given the troubles in Ireland and the attitude of the English towards the Irish.
Edwin and Teresa married on 7 April 1918 at the parish church in Beckenham, Kent, by licence. The witnesses were Patrick Walsh R Campbell and Harriett Ellen Lawrence. Edwin's address is given as 64 The Avenue, Beckenham, and Teresa's as 33 Cedars Road, Beckenham.
Edwin and Teresa on their wedding day with Edwin's mother Harriet,
the other young man is probably the other witness, Patrick Campbell
During WWI Edwin served in the Army Service Corps (later the Royal Army Service Corps). Family lore states that he was under age when he enlisted but this cannot be verified for certain. His service records have not survived but his marriage certificate shows that he served in the motor transport section. His medal index card shows that he served as Private DM2 (Driver Mechanic 2nd class) 180413 and was awarded the British and Victory Medals. It is thought he served in Salonika (Greece). In WWII Edwin served in the Home Guard.
Teresa Lawrence nee Kearns
Edwin and Teresa had 11 children
Ellen Mary Teresa Lawrence (Molly) 1919 - 1981
Edwin William Patrick Lawrence (Pat) 1920 - 1998
Edwinina Winifred Brenda Lawrence (Winnie) 1922 - 2003
John Harry Denis Lawrence 1924 - 1927
Terence Christopher Kearns Lawrence (Terry) 1925 - 1927
Peter Anthony F Lawrence 1927 - 1998
Josephine Barbara Marie Lawrence (Josie) 1929 - 2010
Sadly John and Terry died within days of each other aged 3 and 2 respectively, of pneumonia.
Edwin continued to work at the railway works in Eastleigh and Teresa owned and ran a second ha
nd shop in Southampton Road, Eastleigh. She has been described by some one who remembered her (though not a family member) as "an Irish lady of uncertain temper" and judging by some of the tales told to me by my mother, Josie and my aunt Winnie, she was a rather formidable woman. However she is believed to have suffered from very painful rheumatoid arthritis, so can perhaps be excused her "uncertain temper" and is otherwise remembered as being generous and kind. Teresa died on 29th October 1956 in Eastleigh, Hampshire, of a brain haemorrhage. She is buried in Eastleigh cemetery. Edwin continued a widower until his death in December 1969 from lung cancer. He was buried with his wife.