Maj William Gammell and his descendants

William (end of back row in the right) in about 1885 (from Lin McGarry)

Maj William Gammell and his descendants

William Gammell was the eldest son of Lt. General Andrew Gammell and Martha Stageldoir. He was born in London on 27 September 1789, and was baptised in St. Georges Church Bloomsbury on 30 September of that year (St. Georges Parish Register).

The next we hear of him is his appointment on 14 January 1808 at the age of 18, as an ensign in the 25th Foot. (Public Record Office WO 25/759 Folio 49), so we know nothing of his earlier education.

He was promoted to Lieutenant in the 85th Foot on 25 January 1809 and fought in the Walcheren Expedition that went to the Lowlands (Holland) in 1809.  He served in the Peninsula with the 85th Foot from March to October 1811 and was slightly wounded at the 2nd siege of Badajoz on 5 June 1811 (as was his fellow officer Lt Harcourt Morton, who in 1814, married William's sister, Martha).  His regiment, which had suffered many casualties, was ordered back to the UK to recruit and was subsequently reformed ( with William being transferred to the the 95th Foot.  With that regiment, he fought at the battles of Orthes (February 1814), Tarbes (March 1814), and Toulouse (April 1814).   He received the Military General Service Medal, with clasps for Orthes and Toulouse.

He became a Captain in 1816, and served in several different regiments before retiring on half pay on 26 August 1826, having on that day been gazetted Major by purchase. He is referred to on his wife's death certificate as 'late Major in The Rifle Brigade'.

On his father's death in 1815, he received equal shares with his three brothers and three of his sisters in his father's estate, while on the death of his grandfather, James Gammell, the Banker in 1825 he inherited £20,000 in trust for him and his children. It was on the strength of this legacy, obviously, that he decided to give up active soldiering, and retire. Exactly why his grandfather left him cash instead of property - his younger brothers were all provided with at least one estate - is not known, but the fact that he was left such a handsome sum of money, seems to discount the possibility of a rift between him and his grandfather, and it may have been that he expressed a preference for a cash legacy, but this is speculation.

He was married on 7 June 1824 at St. Georges Church, Hanover Square in London to Maria Du Vernet, daughter of Abraham du Vernet of Old Chorlton, Kent (St. Georges Parish Register). After his retirement from the Army in 1826, he and his wife settled at Braddons Hill, Torquay, where on 13 August 1828, their only son Andrew Gammell was born (see 1. below) and on 18 March 1830, their only other child, a daughter, Miriam Sophia Adelaide Gammell was born.

William and his wife appear to have moved from Torquay to Plymouth, sometime before their daughter's first marriage and resided at 1 Victoria Place, Stonehouse, and it was there that William died on 21 February 1853 and was buried at Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth. His will in Somerset House, leaves everything to his wife, and no mention is made of his children, but this is understandable in as much as they were provided for by the terms of the legacy left to William by his grandfather, mentioned above. William's wife Maria, survived her husband by 30 years, and died in December 1883 in Hampstead aged 88.

2. Their daughter Miriam was married in St. Andrews Church Plymouth on 10 November 1849 to Colonel John Messiter (1798-1882) an elderly widower, who was at that time serving in the 28th Foot. On 24 November 1850, a daughter, Frances Effield Messiter was born, but she died after a long, but unknown, illness on 8 June 1872.  After Colonel Messiter's death on 13 January 1882, Miriam married Julius Alfred Bertram another widower on 28 March 1883.  Julius' first wife had been Martha Janet Gammell, her first cousin. Miriam died in London on 14 July 1901.

1. Andrew Gammell (1828-1870) was, as stated above, the only son of Major William Gammell and his wife Maria Du Vernet. Born in Torquay on 13 August 1828, he chose, like his father and grandfather before him, the Army as a career, and was gazetted as a Cornet in the 76th Foot on 16 April 1846 at the age of 16 years and 8 months (Public Records Office WO 76/301). He was obviously a dedicated soldier, and served most of his time overseas, He commanded a detachment of the regiment during the insurrection in Cephalonia in 1849, and received the thanks of Colonel Trollope commanding the troops in that island, for his services in suppressing the insurrection and in carrying out martial law’ (Hart’s refers). 

Sometime thereafter transferring to the 12th Lancers, he
served in the Crimea from 17 May 1855, including the
capture of Tchorgaun, battle of Tchernaya, siege and fall
of Sebastopol and various operations near Eupatoria
(Medal with clasp; Turkish Medal), and was advanced to
Lieutenant in July 1855.

Gammell next transferred to the 31st Regiment, was
advanced to Captain in February 1858 and witnessed
further active service in the Second China War, when,
according to Hart’s, he ‘acted as Staff Officer to the
Royal Artillery, 1st Division, during the campaign in north
China in 1860, from the landing at Pehtang, including the
affair at Sinho, capture of Tangku, assault and capture of
the Taku Forts, actions at Chankiawan and Palichow and
advance upon and occupation of Pekin (Medal with two
clasps). Served as D.A.Q.M. General during the latter ​
​portion of the occupation of Tientsin in 1860-61, and in the operations against the Taipings in the vicinity of Shanghai in 1862, including the bombardment and storming of Kahding on 24 October (Mentioned in despatches and Brevet of Major)’.

Advanced to substantive Major in July 1864, he was next appointed to the 5th Foot, and served in the Abyssinia operations of 1867-68 as D.A.Q.M. General at Zoulla (Mentioned in despatches, Brevet of Lieutenant-Colonel and Medal).

He also served in India during 1854/5, 1857/8, 1866/7 and finally in 1869 until he died of cholera in Calcutta on 15 April 1870 at the age of 41. He is buried in the Alipore cemetery near Calcutta. Among the various regiments in which he served were 12th Lancers, 31st and 46th Foot, and at the time of his death he was attached to the 5th Foot.

On 7 December 1854, Andrew married at Holy Trinity Church, Bangalore, Mary Rybot (1835-1908), daughter of Francis Chancellor Rybot. Mary Rybot/Gammell was a great letter writer, and also something of an author. She wrote under the name of 'Arc-en-ciel', and there is a very fine description of a journey by bullock cart she made with her husband and baby daughter in 1867 across part of India. (Information from De Vine family).

After her husband Andrew's death in 1870, Mary Rybot/Gammell married for the second time in 1874, a man called Henry Montague-Bates, and had a son, Francis Stewart Montague-Bates (1876-1954). He had a distinguished military career, rising to the rank of Brigadier-General and was awarded the C.B., C.M.G., and D.S.O.. He married Gladys Beatrice Thomas in 1910 and in 1914 they had a son, Patrick Montague-Bates who worked for Imperial Airways, joined the RAF at the outbreak if the Second World war and was shot-down and killed in early 1941.

Mary Rybot/Gammell/Bates died on 25 November 1908.

Andrew and his wife Mary had a family of six as follows:

1.1 Andrew Francis Morley Gammell (1855- ?) was born in Devonport, England on 20 September 1855, and baptised at Stoke Chard near Devonport. We do not know how or where he was educated, but in his teens when his mother had joined her husband in India, we do know that he lived with his Rybot grandparents in Bath, and it is reasonable to suppose that he went to school in that town. He was only fifteen when his father died, and about the time that his mother remarried in 1872, he evidently decided to strike out on his own, and joined the Army as a private. All we know of his army career is that he was serving, possibly as a sergeant in Bangalore in India in 1882, from where he wrote a letter to his stepfather (in the possession of the de Vine family). In 1883 he, like his brothers and sisters, was left £5000 by his great uncle Andrew Gammell of Drumtochty, and by inference used part of this sum to buy himself out of the army, as by 1885 he was back in London and between 1885 and 1888 was a member of the Chiswick Freemason's Lodge, describing himself as a "Gentleman".  However, he was evidently short of money. In a note to his step-father, who, it appears, had rebuked him for getting into debt, he wrote "if Uncle James (James Gammell of Ardiffery) or Cousin John (John H.H. Gammell of Lethendy) do anything for me, I shall immediately put everything right". Neither of these two relatives evidently came to the rescue, and what happened to him after this remains conjecture.  Some say he went to America, some to The Philippines.  Certainly an Andrew Gammell (but was it him?) went to Buenos Aires in 1890 and is recorded in the Argentine census of 1895, as living in that city and working as a teacher.  An Andrew Gammell also appears on the electoral roll in Camberwell North in 1897, but again we don't know whether that was him?  The only possible clue to what happened to him is a note in his sister's handwriting "Andrew Gammell died Unmarried" but this could refer to her great uncle Andrew Gammell of Drumtochty.

1.2 William Hay Gammell (1857-1897) See below.

1.3 Maria Gammell (1858-1867) was born in England on 24 June 1858, went out to India with her mother in 1866, and died at Lucknow on 29 March 1867 at the age of nine. 

1.4 Ernest Gammell (1859-1878) was born in England on 29 September 1859, and baptised at York Town Chapel, Sandhurst. He was educated at Wellington College, Berkshire, quite probably on a grant provided for dependants of Army officers who had died on active service. He was in the Hardinge Dormitory at Wellington from 1871 to 1877, but does not appear to have distinguished himself in any particular way. On leaving Wellington, he immediately went to Australia, where he arrived in August 1877. In Australia he participated in a number of swimming competitions, presumably to make some money, but died in late January 1878 aged 17, having lost his horse, and missed his way in a very remote area about 700 miles north of Adelaide.

1.5 Phoebe Constance Gammell (1867-1945) was born in India on 19 February 1867, and baptised
at All Saints Church in Lucknow. It is noticeable that there is a seven year gap in age between
Phoebe and her elder brother Ernest. This can be explained by the fact that their father was
absent on active service in China from 1860 to 1866. On 1 June 1889 she married James Arthur
Forrest de Vine (1865-1916), a Captain in the Merchant Navy, at the Parish Church of Camberwell
in Surrey.

They had two sons:

1.5.1 John Oliver Ernest de Vine was born 14 May 1890, but died as a child on 23 April 1893.

1.5.2 The second son James Chancellor de Vine was born in Berkshire on 9 August 1898
​(see 1.2.5 below).

James A. F. de Vine evidently also had another relationship from 1907 onwards with a Mary Annie Goodenough and they set up home in Cardiff. With her, he had two sons, Arthur Leslie Devine (born 1908) and William Leonard Forrest Devine (born 1910), but of course neither of these sons were related to the Gammell family.  

James A. F. de Vine, who remained married to Phoebe, was killed at sea aboard s.s. Duckbridge which hit a mine off northern Scotland on 22 February 1916, and Phoebe herself died on 1 February 1945.

1.6 Florence Olive Gammell (1869-1946) was born in England on 14 April 1869, and baptised at St. James Church, Bath. She never married, and died on 21 February 1946.

1.2 William Gammell was as noted above the 2nd son of Andrew Gammell and his wife Mary Rybot, and as far as we know the only one to marry. He was born on 13 April 1857 and baptised at York Town Chapel at Sandhurst. In the late 1860s he was living with his Rybot grandparents, while his mother was abroad with her husband. He went to school in Taunton and aged 15 enrolled for 4 years as an indentured apprentice in the Merchant Navy.  After his father's death and his mother's remarriage, he was reunited with his mother, and appears to have been devoted to his small step-brother.

Having completed his apprenticeship in April 1876, in
January 1877, just before his 20th birthday, he set
sail for Australia on the barque "Corfu". Despite
qualifying as a First Mate in April 1878, he joined the
Australian Customs service, but returned temporarily
to England in 1883 after inheriting £5000 from his
great uncle Andrew Gammell of Drumtochty. While in
England he married on 30 January 1884 at All Saints
Church, Kensington, Annie Hay Campbell (1861-1949),
daughter of General Thomas Hay Campbell. The
marriage service was taken by The Revd. 
James Stewart Gammell the bridegroom's 2nd cousin.
William and his wife returned to Australia almost
immediately after the wedding, and settled near
Adelaide, where William resumed his employment
with the Customs, eventually becoming Harbour
Master at the port of Walleroo, South Australia.

In 1892, Annie and her children left Australia for
​England, and went to live with her parents in Tavistock Road, Bayswater. The reason for this move has not been established, but the time was one of acute depression in Australia, and they may have thought prospects for education etc. to be more advantageous in England than in the poor economic state of Australia. William was thus left alone in Walleroo where he continued to work.  At the time of his death from consumption on 27 April 1906 he was living in Norwood, Adelaide, Australia. William and Annie had a family of five, all born in Australia as follows:

1.2.1 Ernest Hay Gammell (1884-1900) was born in Adelaide, South Australia, 8 November 1884, he returned to England with his mother at the age of eight. He presumably then started his education in London, but unfortunately he contracted meningitis at the age of sixteen, and died in St. Mary's Hospital, Paddington on 17 May 1900. He is buried in the Campbell grave in Kensal Rise Cemetery.

1.2.2 Victoria Hay Gammell (1886-1973) (Queenie). Like her brothers and sisters, she was born in Adelaide, Australia, on 15 January 1886, and returned to England in 1892. She remained unmarried and died at Storrington in Sussex on 26 February 1973.

1.2.3 Phoebe Gammell (1887-1973) was born in Walleroo, Australia on 24 December 1887 and like her sister Queenie, she was also unmarried. She lived for a considerable time with her nephew, Captain A. D. de Vine in Cottenham Park Road in Wimbledon, and died in Wimbledon Hospital on 22 May 1973.

1.2.4 Helen Mary Gammell (1890-1970) was born in Walleroo, South Australia on 16 October 1889 and returned to England at the age of two. She married Cecil Wakeham (1886-1968) on 3 December 1914 in London. They had two children, a daughter Phoebe Margaret Wakeham (1916–2003) who appears to have died without having had any children; and a son, Ernest Cecil John Wakeham, who was born on 20 February 1921 at Totnes, Devon.  He joined 145 Squadron of the RAF, and in June 1940 he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross.  He was a recognised fighter ace, downing 7 enemy aircraft before losing his own life on 8 August 1940 during a battle with Messerschmidts and Junkers which were attacking a convoy south of the Isle of Wight. He is commemorated on Panel 10 of the Runnymede Memorial.

1.2.5 Elizabeth Rose Gammell (1891-1977) was the youngest child of William and his
wife Annie Campbell and was born on 27 March 1892 and returned from Australia with
her mother while still an infant. On 27 September 1919 she married at the British
Consulate General in Paris, James Chancellor de Vine (1898-1991), younger son of
James Arthur Forest de Vine, and his wife Phoebe Constance Gammell, and thus her
first cousin (see above).  James C. de Vine served in The Royal Berkshire Regiment
in the 1914/18 war, and after service in the Indian Army (90th Punjabis), was for
many years in the Imperial Police in Burma. He served in the Intelligence Service i
​ the 1939/45 war and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

James de Vine and his wife Rose Gammell had a large family as follows:

James M. Vernet de Vine  1920-1993
Phoebe Ninette                1922-2009
Ann Yvonne                     1923-2005
Arthur Douglas                 1924-1991
John                               1928-2012
Robert Charles                 1929-2001
Sophie Elizabeth               1933-1991 James Montague Vernet de Vine was born in Devon in 1920, died in in Exeter on 30 November 1993. He had 4 children. Phoebe Ninette de Vine was born in Burma in 1922, had a child with Thomas Andrew Gwyn Hughes (born in 1918 in London and died in 1955).  But that relationship cannot have lasted, because she appears to have had another partner with whom she had her second child, and in 1947 she married Hugh Norman Harvey, (born in 1922 and died in 1976), with whom she had three children. She died in Australia on 2 December 2009. Elizabeth Rosemary de Vine, born the 8 June 1943, married Barry Lloyd Austin, in 1967 in London.  She had 2 children:  Robert Henry Lloyd Austin, born in Edgware the 5 February 1969, married Zuzana Salisova, the 10 August 2002 in Dolny Kubin (born in 1974 in Slovak Republic, daughter of Vladimir Salis and Olga Janosova); and Hilary Janet Austin, born in Tooting the 19 April 1974. David Patrick de Vine, born in Sheppey in 1944, died in Sheppey in 1949. Rita Anne Harvey was born on the Isle of Sheppey in 1948.  She had two children. Richard David Harvey was born on the Isle of Sheppey in 1949 and emigrated to Australia.  He is married with 4 children. Jeanne Harvey was born in 1953.  Also emigrated to Australia.  She is married with 4 children. Ann Yvonne was born in on 21 April 1923 in Burma and died on 1 July 2005 in Newport, Wales.  She married and had two children. Arthur Douglas was born on 4 July 1924 in Burma and died on 17 June 1991 in London.  He was unmarried and had no children. John was born in London on 25 June 1928. He was adopted by family friends after his parents’ divorce in 1942. He married, but had no children and died on 21 June 2012 in Croydon. Robert Charles was born on 23 November 1929 in Burma and died on 7 August 2001 in Arborfield, Berkshire. He married and had 5 children. Sophie Elizabeth was born on 31 March 1933 in Reading and died on 1 January 1991 in Newport, South Wales.

Rose and her husband were divorced in 1942, and James de Vine subsequently married Bessie Winifred Gaunt.

As will be seen above, this, the most senior branch of the Gammells, founded by William Gammell (1789-1853) died out in the male line with the death of Ernest Gammell in 1900. The de Vine family (in some cases now called Devine) however continue the branch through the female line. James de Vine being descended through Phoebe Gammell, grand-daughter of the original William Gammell, and his wife, likewise, through Phoebe's brother William. There are no other descendants of the original William, other than this Devine family.

(Much of the above information on the de Vine family from Lin McGarry and Paul Tucker)

Gammell & friends 39th regiment crimea (Fenton LC-USZC4-9357)

Ernest Wakeham (from Lin McGarry)

Elizabeth Rose and James Chancellor de Vine in about 1930 (from Lyn McGarry)

Phoebe C Gammell (From Lin McGarry)

LTR Elizabeth Rose de Vine (nee Gammell), Harold Cecil Wakeham, Helen Mary Wakeham (nee Gammell) about 1955 (from Lin McGarry)

Phoebe Gammell