Oil sketch portrait by Marjorie Brend

Contributed by Christine Le Blanc

Oil sketch portrait by Marjorie Brend

This depicts (L to R) my grandmother, Maud Ellen Dennis, my grandfather, Thomas Victor Wheeler, unknown maid, and my great uncle, Bert Wheeler.
Maud was a nursemaid in the Brend's household. During World War 1 the Brends hosted 'Strawberry Teas' for soldiers and Maud met Thomas and Bert, who were both serving in the Middlesex Regiment. They both fell in love with Maud, however in 1916 Maud and Thomas married but Thomas was badly wounded during fighting on the Somme and died from wounds and gas poisoning aged 41 in 1922. His brother Bert and another brother were also killed during this terrible war so my great grandparents lost 3 sons. Maud, aged 24, was a widow with two children. She never remarried and 63 years later died aged 87. She always loved Thomas and was buried in the same grave in Hove Cemetery so were 'Reunited at Last'. Bert Wheeler is buried a few feet away from them.

This is important to me, knowing how my grandmother had to work so hard to keep her family together. (At one point her sister in law wanted to put her children in an orphanage). It also demonstrates the sacrifices made by the three brothers and the misery that their parents must have endured.

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