William Charles Duff 1883 - 1906
A brief history of William Charles Duff 1883 - 1906
William Charles, born 22 nd February 1883, according to his naval record at Streatham.
After his mother Phoebe's death in 1884, his father Robert James could not cope with nor support his family. The Union Workhouse Kingston did not accommodate children and placed paupers' children to other institutions, mostly to Cowley Oxford but lesser numbers also to Brentwood and Grays in Essex, and Margate and Ramsgate in Kent. The Duff children, Rebecca, Rachel, Esther, William, Catherine and Elizabeth were sent to the Cowley Industrial School, an austere institution run on strict and harsh disciplinary lines on the outskirts of Oxford. The site is now the BMW factory. However, the children benefited from a basic education of the four "R"s - r eading, w r iting, a r ithmetic and r eligion. It is believed that this stood them in good stead when it came to employment. Upon leaving Cowley Industrial School they were found employment in the Kingston area by the "Guardians".
It is known that he worked as an errand boy in a greengrocer's shop in Elm Road thought to be owned by the Sears family.
According to his Naval record -
His service record -
20 th June 1902 qualified as a TM (believed to be a Torpedo Mate)
His character and ability were rated as good and very good throughout.
However, note that during the above the 1901 census William Charles is shown working as a Greengrocer's Assistant at 162 Elm St (surely Elm Road ?) Kingston-upon-Thames
William Charles died aged only 23, in Kingston, of TB. His funeral was in Kingston Cemetery April 24 th 1906.
This page was last updated on 17th October 2010.