A man not focused on in detail thus far, is Leonard Havelock Hassett – the brother of Elaine Cynthia Hassett.
In the early days of the Anglo Indian research I discovered his baptism record:
- His birth date as: September 6th 1925
- Baptism date: November 21st 1925
- Baptism location: St Mary’s Church, Parel, Bombay
- His name: Leonard Havelock Hassett
- His parents: David Vincent Hassett and Edith Aileen Hassett
- His parents abode: Sion
- His fathers occupation: Customs Officer, Bombay
This confirmed his name, date of birth and baptism, location of baptism and his parents as David Vincent Hassett and Edith Aileen Hassett (which was already known, but it’s good to get official confirmation).
Official records have been hard to find for Leonard. This is most likely because (to the best of our knowledge) he lived his entire life in India. Born during the British occupation of India (1858-1947), but married and died after Indian Independence in 1947. This means his official records (if they exist) will be held in India (not the British Library, London – where the majority of the official documents have been found for this research).
Where did his name come from?
Something that emerged during the collection of ancestor’s official documents was the discovery of a burial record for Leonard Hassett:
- Leonard died: 22 January 1896
- Cause of death: Dysentry
- Age: 1 year
- ‘Profession’: Son of James and Martha Hassett
- Burial date: 23 January 1896
- Burial place: Hardha
Leonard Havelock Hassett was born in 1925 and this burial record is not his. However, this is the burial record of his uncle, and namesake, Leonard Hassett; brother of his father, David Vincent Hassett. What this suggests, is that Leonard Havelock may have been named after his father’s late brother. David Vincent was born on 23 September 1896, so was not alive when his brother died in January of the same year.
Leonard was better known as ‘Len’ or ‘Lennie’, to his friends and family. This is apparent in many family letters, cards, diary entries and personal items.
It appears that Leonard was engaged to be married in 1944.
Dear Darling Sister and Brother,
Stanley and Elaine,
Your loving brother and sister-to-be; Len and Amy.
It is not known what happened to Amy, and whilst official documentation is lacking, we do know Leonard married Gemrose:
The official details are unknown but several pictures exist documenting their marriage:
One picture in particular (below), sent to Edith Aileen Smith – Leonard’s mother – gives the apparent date of Leonard and Gemrose’s wedding as 19 June 1949 at Bandra’s Town Hall (Bandra is a suburban village in Western Bombay (Mumbai)):
Again, whilst the official documents have not been discovered yet, the following documents show that Gemrose was born on 31 December 1911 and died on 26 February 1963 (aged 51 years):
It is believed (yet, no official records) that Gemrose died of leukaemia; an extract of a letter received by Elaine Cynthia Wheeler on 25 February 1963 (the day before Gemrose’s death) says:
Len’s wife Gemrose is laid up in the hospital with an attack of Leucemia
Leonard not only lost his wife in 1963, his mother, Edith, also died on 23 September of the same year.
Leonard Havelock Hassett
It is believed that Leonard lived his entire life in Bombay, India. Despite not having any official documents we do know that Leonard died on 5 June 1977, aged 51. An entry in Elaine Wheeler’s (his sister) diary dated 15 June 1977, reads:
What a day. Got up early and went down and then the post came. A letter from India. My heart just knew what was in it when I saw it was from Sidney Noble. It was to tell me that Lennie died on the 5th June at 2 o’clock of a heart attack. My dream of ever going back to Bombay is over. I don’t think I can make it now… Poor Len. How I wish I had been with him just for a few moments, even. We’ll meet again on the great Divide (emphasis added).
Cover picture credit: Vivien Marshall
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