Sunday, 31 March 2013

William David Ivall (1898-1927), a victim of trench fever

William David Ivall was a great grandson of David Ivall (1795-1850), the highly successful coach maker who was a brother and business partner of my ancestor Thomas Ivall (1781-1835). David left £5,000 (a substantial sum of money then) to each of his six children when he died. The youngest was Albert Ivall (1839-97), who lost most of his inheritance between 1861 and 1871, when he was a farmer. He was declared bankrupt in 1875 following a court case brought against him by the Mayor and Corporation of Hastings (see my item on Albert’s life for more details). Albert’s youngest son was Harry Ivall (1869-1935), who married Emily Ann Carpenter (1862-1942) in 1896 in Hemel Hempstead, where Emily was born. They moved to Upton Park, West Ham where they had three children, Hilda Maria (born 1897), William David (born 1898) and Harry Robert Ivall (b1905).

The 1901 census shows Harry (32, a draper’s assistant), Emily (36), Hilda (3) and William (2) Ivall on a visit to the house of Emily’s parents William (62) and Rosina (68) in Hemel Hempstead. In 1911, William Ivall (aged 12) is listed as living at 35 Selsdon Road, Upton Park, West Ham (a property of 6 rooms) with his parents Harry (41, a draper’s assistant) and Emily (45), siblings Hilda (13) and Harry (6) plus grandmother Maria Ivall (70).

William was too young to join the army in 1914, when war was declared. The Military Service act came into force in March 1916. This introduced conscription for single men aged 18 to 41. William’s army record can be viewed on the Ancestry website. It shows that he completed his Attestation Form on 11 September 1916, aged 17 years 11 months. He was unmarried, a photographer, living at 35 Selsdon Road, Upton Park. His height was 5 foot 6¾ inches, chest 33½ inches. He was mobilised into the 19th Training Reserve Battalion on 12 March 1917 and posted to France on 17 October 1917, where he was allotted to the King’s Royal Rifle Corps. On 3 May 1918 he was admitted to Sutton Veny Hospital, near Warminster in Wiltshire. He was granted a furlough (leave of absence) from 19 to 29 June, returning to his unit on 30 June 1918.

William was not demobilised from the Army until October 1919, after 2 years 227 days service. He was assessed as 30% disabled from the effects of trench fever and granted a payment of 12s 0d per week for 26 weeks. Trench fever was first reported on the Western Front in December 1914. Incidences of trench fever continued to grow throughout the war. It attacked all armies and until the final year of the war, baffled doctors and researchers.  Chief symptoms of the disease were headaches, skin rashes, inflamed eyes and leg pains. Despite such wide-ranging symptoms, the condition was not itself particularly serious, with patients recovering after five or six days although prolonged hospitalisation amounting to several weeks was common. In military terms, however, it proved one of the most significant causes of sickness. In 1918 the cause was identified as excretions from lice. The disease was transmitted via the bites of body lice.

Records at The Wellcome Library indicate that William was employed as a photographer at The Wellcome Bureau of Scientific Research (WBSR) in London, before the war. His job was to take photos for scientific purposes in connection with the museum of tropical medicine and hygiene for a salary of 30 shillings per week. In March 1919, the WBSR wanted to re-employ William in this role at 50 shillings per week. However, he was not released from the Army in time and the post was filled by someone else. Rifleman W Ivall 204142 was then in 5th Battalion King's Royal Rifle Corps, R.G.A. Barracks, Sheerness. 

A 1925 London directory lists William Ivall, photographer, at 35 Selsdon Road, Upton Park.

In the second quarter of 1927, William married Dorothy F Henderson in West Ham. He died in September that year, aged 28, in Romford, Essex. He was buried in grave 76/319 in Manor Park Cemetery, East London. His tombstone is inscribed In loving memory of my dear husband William David Ivall, who passed away 23rd September 1927 aged 28 years. If my love could have saved thee, thou wouldst not have died, but God knows best.

Photos of William's grave
(supplied by Shelley Williams)

The cemetery records give his last address as 64 Glenham Drive, Ilford. There is no record of probate being granted on his estate.

No comments: