Thursday, 15 December 2016

A Bit More on Claude Russell

Daily Mirror - Claude's first engagement

I have thanks to my correspondent James, more information to share on Claude Russell the Churchwarden at St Aubin on the Hill, who featured in my blog:

My friend James found this for me:

Worth a look at the London Gazette website ( that ought to have various of his promotions and decorations in. I got this from the 3 March 1914 issue:

The London Gazette from 3rd March 1914, has this under “Infrantry”

“The Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment), Claude Holland Russell, late Cadet Colour-Serjeant, Ardingly College Contingent, Officers Training Corps, to be Second Lieutenant (on probation). Dated 4th March, 1914.”

So as James points out, he was in the Army before the war even broke out. Similarly James found his promotion to Lieutenant on 2 February 1915 and to Captain on 3 September the same year.

From Ancestry James finds him baptised on 5 January 1897 at St Andrew, Barnsbury in Islington (which agrees with "The Pilot", recording his death at 81 in December 1977), and the register says he was born 14 October 1896. He was at Ardingly College at the 1911 Census. He married Barbara Yell in 1940 in Hendon registration district, and I think he may himself have been a widower at the time. He was living in Church Lane in Pinner for most of the 1930s and right up to about 1949.

So he must have come to Jersey some time after that, perhaps in the 1950s.

James has found his first marriage (pictured above) in the summer quarter of 1917 - the bride is listed as Frances K Allen. The Hooge action where he was wounded would have been in April/May 1915 as part of 2nd Ypres.

The marriage took place in the Rochford registration district - near to Southend. It is unknown if there was a divorce, or perhaps a death. Given the high incidence of deaths from influenza in 1919, that remains a possibility.

The marriage notice says: "Kitty Allen, daughter of Frank Allen,managing director of the Moss Empire, is to be married to Captain Claud Holland Russell, of the Royal Fusiliers, Special Reserve."

More on the Moss Empire

I have gleaned these background tit-bits of information on the Moss Empire, Frank Allen, and Kitty Allen.

On December 15th, 1899, Moss' Empires Limited was incorporated. The Company was originally formed to amalgamate ten smaller companies, namely The Edinburgh Empire Palace Limited, The Birmingham Empire Palace Limited, The Newcastle Empire Palace Limited, The Sheffield Empire Palace Limited, The Glasgow Empire Palace Limited, The Cardiff, Newport and Swansea Empire Palaces Limited, The Liverpool, Leeds and Hull Empire Palaces Limited, The Nottingham Empire Palace Limited, The London Hippodrome Limited and The London District Empire Palaces Limited.

Mr (later Sir Edward) H. E. Moss was the founder of the great chain of theatres that bore his name. The original Board of Directors of Moss' Empires Ltd., consisted of Messrs. H. E. Moss, Richard Thornton, Oswald Stoll and Frank Allen, with Mr. William Thomson as Secretary.

Mr Frank Allen was Managing Director from December, 1912 to December, 1919 when he retired due to ill health, but retained a seat on the board.

A notice on a show at the Olympic mentions Kitty Allen among the chorus girls. Perhaps Claude Russell came across Kitty Allen through attending the wartime shows.

The "Nottingham Evening Post," 21st October 1915, reports that:

''In every theatre in the United Kingdom to-night [21st October 1915] the managements will give 1o per cent. of the gross receipts taken on the doors to the funds of the British Red Cross Society, a loyal and patriotic undertaking which will undoubtedly produce splendid results. It remains for the public to do their share.

"At the Nottingham Theatre Royal Mr. Lewis Waller, who is appearing in "Gamblers All," will for this occasion give one of the stirring recitations in the delivery of which he admittedly stands alone, probably either the great speech from "Henry V.," or Rudyard Kipling's "Ballad of the Clampherdown." Programmes and autographed portraits of the famous actor will be sold by nurses of the Red Cross forthe benefit of the fund. “

“"Mr. Frank Allen, managing director of the Moss Empires, has brought the circuit of music halls which controls, including the Nottingham Empire, into line with the theatres, and will make the same contribution in the case of each house."

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