Edward May Lound was born in Leicester in 1884. His mother was in service there and it is plain that Edward was born out of wedlock. His mother was Rose Annie Lound who married James Laurence in her native Yarmouth in 1889. He was a Norfolkman, from a family of farm labourers in Roughton. Edward seems to have liked his stepfather; and for a time during his teens Edward Lound even changed his surname to Laurence. He was always known as Laurie, and his army records show his second name as Laurence, although it was actually May. This introduces another puzzle about his name; May is not a boy’s name, unless his biological father’s surname was May. The truth must be out there somewhere, but it is obscure to me.
James Laurence might have been a Catholic convert. He appears to have been born an Anglican, but soon after Rose Annie’s marriage she had her son baptised in the Roman Catholic Church. Edward Lound remained a Catholic until he wished to become a Freemason after leaving the army, and membership of Masonry was incompatible with Roman Catholicism. He eventually left the Masons, but did not return to Rome.
Rose does not appear to have had any further children after Edward, and by 1911 she was a widow, living with her mother in Blackfriars Road. James Laurence’s occupation was that of fisherman when he was living in Yarmouth and, as I can find no record of his funeral there, he may have been lost at sea.
Whatever his paternal origins, Edward Lound was taken from Filbert Street in Leicester to Great Yarmouth while only a few months old, to be lodged with his grandparents. In spite of his mother’s subsequent marriage, he remained with them until he was 24. His grandparents were a Norfolk couple, his grandfather Thomas having been born in Stalham and his grandmother in Hingham. They had met in Norwich where Thomas regularly went with a cart of barley. Edward’s grandmother Mary Ann was working as a cook in a hotel. Although he did not have a seafaring family, Thomas was determined to go to sea and eventually became skipper of the sailing trawler Cambria, sailing out of Yarmouth.
Edward Lound had spent the years of his youth working backstage in the Aquarium Theatre. He did not begin his career in the regular army until he was in his 20s. Although he had been living in Yarmouth, the regiment he joined was not the Norfolks but the Sherwood Foresters. He had intended to join the Royal Lancers because he liked their nickname – ‘The Death or Glory Boys’ – but they were “full up”. He joined up in Derby in 1908 and in 1911 he was serving in the garrison at Plymouth. He was in the Curragh, County Kildare, Ireland, when the First World War broke out. He was immediately sent back to England and then within a week or two to France. He fought right through the Great War on the front line as Colour Sergeant. On the cessation of hostilities, with the Armistice, he remained on the continent, being sent to Germany to occupy the defeated country. Other places he served in were Turkey, Egypt and India. He had knocked a few years off his age on enlisting in 1908, and final retired from the army in 1927.
The lady in the picture with Uncle Laurie is my grandmother, Nanny. Nanny’s maiden name had been Peachey and by the time these pictures were taken she had become Mrs Lound. Her first husband had been William Mason; my grandfather William had died in a road accident in 1945. Edward Lound’s first wife was called Alice Mason (no relation), but she had died before I knew Uncle Laurie. She was the daughter of a Yarmouth bootmaker. Nanny and Uncle Laurie Lound were married in Thorpe St Andrew in 1954 and honeymooned at the Craighurst Hotel, Southwold, in September. This hotel, which was demolished many years ago, was on the cliff overlooking the sea at the north end of the town.
He was a gentle-man and a marvellous raconteur, but a very modest man. He had terrible stories of blood and death to tell of the First World War, which he would regale my father and me with as we sat entranced. He had a soft spot for me I think, giving the little boy various treasures from his collection over the years. I am afraid the ostrich’s egg from his days in Africa did not last long, but a wooden bench lasted in various gardens until the last few years, and an antique ‘wag on the wall’ clock I still have. I also have a substantial oak wardrobe I inherited from him.
After finally leaving the armed forces he became an accounts clerk with Ayton’s, a heavy engineering firm in Derby. He did not return to East Anglia until he retired in 1949. He had two sons by his first wife, Peter and Kenneth.