Hetty May Whiting 1898-1995

Parents: Benjamin Whiting and Caroline Palmer.(1)
Born: 5th September 1898 at 2 Parsons Yard, Haverhill.(1,2)
Baptised: 27th September 1898 at St Mary's Parish Church, Haverhill.(1)
Married: Wallace Seggar, Cosford district, 4th Quarter 1921.(3)
Children: Gabrielle May Seggar b.1922, John Douglas Seggar b.1925 and Living Relative
Died: 1995 in the Gipping and Hartismere district.(10)

Bio: Hetty May was born on 5th September 1898 at 2 Parsons Yard, Haverhill.(1) She was the first child of Benjamin Whiting and Caroline Palmer. Benjamin was a rope maker, and Hetty can be seen on the 1901 census living with her father, mother, and younger sister Dorothy at the Rope Walk, Haverhill.

Hetty moved with her family to Hadleigh, Suffolk, around 1905 and can be seen on the 1911 census living at 23 Benton Street with her parents and five sisters, Dorothy, Violet, Alice, Florence and Evelyn. Hetty is a scholar, aged 12.

In 1921 Hetty married Wallace Seggar, who can be seen on the 1911 census, aged 28, a Rifleman with the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade in India. He was actually born in Hadleigh in 1886, the son of John Seggar, a Maltsters foreman, and Emily Durrant. We see from Militia Records in National Archives series WO96 that Wallace joined the Suffolk Regiment 3rd Battalion as Private 5841 on 17th November 1902 before joining the Rifle Brigade on 5th June 1906. We get a description of him; he was 5ft 3/8 inches, weighed 106 lbs with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and dark brown hair.(4)

From the 1911 census, we know Wallace was based in India with the 2nd Battalion Rifle brigade, but what happened to him after this? There do not appear to be surviving service records for him, but one clue lies in the medal rolls for the First World War. His name is unusual, and there is a Wallace Seggar who was Private 8487 in the 7th Hussars and who received the Victory and British War Medals after the war. What makes this a possibility to be him is that the 7th Hussars served in India during the war, and also saw action against the Turks in the middle east.(6) We know that the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade sailed to England in 1914, but that some members elected to remain in India and were transferred.(5) Whilst this is speculation, it would seem possible that he was transferred from the Rifle Brigade to the Hussars and remained in the east. What we do know is that he was back in Hadleigh after the war. Whether he was still in service at this time is unclear.

So, back to Hetty. She married Wallace in 1921 and they would have three children over the next decade. Hetty's son John Douglas Seggar was killed during the Second World War. He was a Leading Seaman C/JX 251844 aboard the destroyer HMS Boadicea, and was killed when the ship was sunk by two torpedoes from German Junkers Ju 88 bombers off Portland Bill on 13th June 1944. Only 12 of the crew of 182 survived.(7,8)

Hetty's husband Wallace died in 1973.(9) Hetty herself lived to the grand old age of 96, only thee years short of her father's 99 years, dying in 1995 in the Gipping and Hartismere district.(10)


(1) Suffolk Records Office, Bury St Edmunds, Parish Registers of St Mary's Church, Haverhill. Fiche 578/4/p39 of 41
(2) Birth Register. 4th Quarter 1898, Risbridge District, Volume 4a Page 772
(3) Marriage Register. 4th Quarter 1921, Cosford District, Volume 4a Page 2129
(4) Findmypast, British Army Service Records 1760-1915, WO96, Militia Records, TNA.
(5) http://2nd95thrifles.myfastforum.org/archive/2nd-battalion-rifle-brigade__o_t__t_371.html
(6) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/7th_Queen's_Own_Hussars
(7) Peter Singlehurst; Naval Memorials in the United Kingdom Chatham Part 6; Roll #: 40465_291374.
(8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Boadicea_(H65)
(9) Death Register. 2nd Quarter 1973, Sudbury District, Volume 4b Page 2963
(10) Death Register. May 1995, Gipping and Hartismere District, Reg.12a, Dist.7451, No.190