Friday, 9 December 2016

Claude Russell and other Parish Notes

From “The Pilot “, the magazine of the Church of England in 1978, comes this piece from Terry Hampton in the Parish notes. Most notable is his obituary on Clause Russell, whom I remember seeing at the Church on Christmas Eve services. “Call me Claude”, he’d say, this elderly but very genial and warm hearted gentleman.

I came across this:

Medal card of Russell, Claude Holland
Royal Fusiliers
Second Lieutenant

But I believe he rose in the ranks, and was actually Colonel Russell. He lived with his wife Barabar Jean (nee Penny) at “The Haven”, Mont Arthur, St Aubin. She was actually a widow when she met and married him, having been married to Archibald William Yell.

All that I’ve been able to glean comes from their will and testaments, dated 10 July 1964, and filed in the Jersey Archive. You would think that such singular names are rare, but trying to find any more information, I have found a Claude Holland Russell who was a Lieutenant Colonel in the Boer War, several Barbara Jean Pennys in New Jersey, and Archibald William Yell living in the mid-1800s in Scotland, who would have been long dead by the 20th century.

In the following, my extra notes are in square brackets.

by Terry Hampton


In December our church family met to say God-speed to our much loved senior Warden.

Claude began to worship with Barbara at St Aubin in 1964 and from 1968 he was both Warden and Treasurer. He was a true man of God and a deep personal friend who guided and advised me. Not that we always agreed! But as I said in the funeral address, when Claude argued about some-thing it was always on an important principle and not just because he wanted to be awkward.

The fact that so many from the village came to join us on Wednesday, December 21, showed the affection and respect in which Claude was held and the great number of cards and messages sent while he was in hospital meant an enormous lot to him. At the service we gave thanks for Claude's complete devotion to God, and also that Christ promised to welcome all His faithful soldiers and servants.

Michael [Halliwell, Rector] and Gerald [Stoddern, Methodist Minister] shared the service because Claude belonged to us all. But his chief love was the church "on-the-Hill". Thanks to him and others who prayed, worshipped and gave, St Aubin's has come alive again.

The many tasks which Claude did so cheerfully and efficiently will have to be taken on by others, but we shall not easily fill the gap that he has left in our lives and hearts.

All will miss that welcoming smile and our older members will miss those kindly visits with The PILOT, or a call because he had noticed a friend was not in church. At the back of our church is a small notice which says: "Let no one in this church a stranger be." Claude did his best to make sure that no one was a stranger and he worked hard to strengthen our church family. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith.

GIFTS. We have received a cheque for £50 in memory of Bill Vaughan, of La Haule Court. We do thank Mrs Vaughan and David for this generous gift, which will be used to buy some much-needed extra hymn and service books for our growing family service. Bill is another person I shall miss very much. Although very crippled, he was always cheerful and gave me a great welcome when I went in with Communion.

CANDLES. We had a marvellous Christmas Eve candle-lit communion service. (I've been told this by many who were there.) We welcomed villagers and holiday-makers, and one member of the municipality who got an unasked-for extra helping of candle hair-tonic! Getting a church ready for the services means a lot of work behind the scenes, and I do want to thank the flower ladies for the marvellous decorations, Bill [Morris] and Gerry, who put up candle holders, and Mike, who provided a marvellous extra heating machine.

Three of our youngsters spent an evening putting candles on the trays - Nicola, Penny and Jenny, and our wonderful, patient, Jessie [Blampied] removed a great deal of wax from the carpet! James Horsfall played some beautiful voluntaries and enriched the hymns with descants. Last, but not least, my friend Philip [Daubeney], who has shouldered so much extra work cheerfully and efficiently, as a Warden should.

To you all, and to any that I have not mentioned but whose help was noticed and appreciated, a very deep and sincere thank you.

GOOD NEWS. In the Christmas mail I had a newsletter from my theological college, now St John's, Nottingham. The number of people in training is going up from 114 to 121, of which 26 come from overseas. The college is planning to extend, as there is a steady increase in the number coming forward and whose quality is very high. Men in training include doctors, a journalist, a dietician, a nuclear submarine engineer, a Russian language monitor from the BBC, and even a museum tutor. So the C of E isn't finished yet - not if we all play our part. The same newsletter also mentioned the Archbishop Luwum memorial fund, which has now reached £14,000; this will be used to buy books for Ugandan clergy and, when conditions improve, to provide bursaries for travel to England for further training. [Archbishop Janani Luwum was murdered on 17 February 1977 in Uganda for standing up to the dictator Idi Amin]

GROWTH. During Lent there will be a special display on the Bookstall of Bible study material. I hope that you will all look at it, take some and use it! To tackle a book we know nothing about can be hard going. But notes, written by experts, can point out a key verse, ask a question, or give an explanation which makes the passage come alive. I hope during Lent to provide a series of "The Bible and Archaeology" at the Vicarage. We will look at the material from a particular time, and link it with a Biblical character so that we learn more about this book which is the basis of our knowledge of God. Do make time to come! 

A BOOK. In December I recommended a book "The Happiest People on Earth" and it was very exciting to see all the copies sold. This month I want to tell you about another book I've read recently. It is called "Twice Freed," by Patricia St John, and is the story of Onesimus. As I'm sure you will remember(!) Onesimus was a slave who ran away and finally met Paul in Rome; he became a Christian and Paul later sent the converted slave back to his owner, a man called Philemon. Paul's letter is in the New Testament; in fact it is the only really personal letter of Paul that we have. So do read this book.

THIRTY YEARS AGO. I read that short article and saw that St Aubin had been £11 short of the Diocesan Quota. (And St Brelade were £1 short!) Well times have changed because on the 1977 Quota of £337 we have sent £400 and will be "topping" this up to £500. We had an appreciative letter from the Treasurer thanking us for the cheque of £100 towards the Bishop's Ordination Training Appeal.

ST AUBIN'S DAY. Just to remind you again that our family adults' party is on Saturday, February 25, and our Patronal Day thanksgiving services are on Sunday, 26 February. Do come, and invite a friend to come with you.


1 comment:

James said...


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 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 he was in the Army before the war even broke out.

Similarly I have his promotion to Lieutenant on 2 February 1915 and to Captain on 3 September the same year. You'd need the details of his battalion, but if you had that the site at would give you a good idea of where he served.

From Ancestry I have him baptised on 5 January 1897 at St Andrew, Barnsbury in Islington, and the register says he was born 14 October 1896. He was indeed 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.

There may be more in the British newspaper archive.