THE BRAVERY OF BLANCHE DEFFLEY - FORD, RIDGEWAY, SHEFFIELD 1928

The following article appeared in the Manchester Guardian dated 7th April 1928 and concerns the inquest into the death of Mrs Alice Defley in the Bridge Inn, Ford, Ridgeway, Sheffield

   

It must have been a terrifying experience for Blanche as her mother was "enveloped" in flames. She tried to beat the flames with her bare hands but to no avail - her mother Alice was burned to death.

But Blanche must have been not only brave but tremendously resilient as well.

In the Sheffield Star dated Saturday 15th August 2014, well over 86 years after the tragedy, the following obituary was published

TYLER (nee Deffley)
Blanche
Aged 99 years, died peacefully on August 8, loved and cared for at Pymgate Rest Home. Widow of Harry, beloved mother of Judith, Steven and Christopher, loving mother in law of Barrie, Susan and Jackie, treasured grandmother of Matthew, Justine and Helen. Dearly loved by her great grandchildren, nephews and nieces.
She will be missed by all her family.
No flowers please. Donations if wished to ‘Alzheimer’s Society’. Funeral Service at Hutcliffe Wood Crematorium on Thursday, August 21 at 1.30pm.
All enqs. and donations to Jonathan Alcock & Sons Ltd., Brook House, Brook Road, Cheadle, Cheshire, SK8 1PQ. Tel 0161 428 2097. 

From the notice is looks as though Blanche was spent the last years of her life in a care home as a result of developing impairments associated with Alzheimer's disease. I am sure that she will be missed by her family given the bravery and courage she showed in attempting to save her own mother's life.

Four months after having posted this article to the site, I was contacted by a descendent of Blanches who added some further information

" Blanche's father George Deffley was killed in the First World War when she was only 3 so she had two heart rending tragedies by the time she was 13. She was pulled from pillar to post before she left home and went into service. One of her positions was living in the Tower of London looking after the children of the niece of the Keeper of the Keys. Not many people can point to a room in the Tower and say that their mother in law lived there. I suppose a few Royals could say that  they had relatives who lived ( and died) there. She (Blanche) went on to have a full life and was dearly loved and respected by her children and grand children who she adored.
We never managed to find Alice Deffley's grave in Ridgeway church although we searched quite a few times. However we did manage to take her to France to see her fathers grave. It was very emotional and was reported in The Sheffield Star on 1st Nov 1999. 
It really is the end of an era and a lost way of living-for good or bad."

In late July 2015 the same descendent kindly supplied me with this additional information

"We have just got around to looking through all Mum's papers, books, cards etc - she saved everything, receipts - the lot !
Among her books there is one called " Twentieth Century Ridgeway - Remembered " by Jack Hambleton . Blanche was consulted by Jack many times and is quoted and mentioned often in the book. It talks about her time at the Bridge and at the farm in the village. It is a simple, reminiscing type book but we, obviously, found it of great interest. I just thought that you may be interested as it sort of helps to complete the Blanche/Alice saga."

I checked with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and found the following entry for George

Rank:Private
Service No: 50060
Date of Death 17/10/1918
Regiment/Service Essex Regiment 11th Bn. 
Grave Reference: V. A. 1. Cemetery PREMONT BRITISH CEMETERY
Additional Information:

George Arthur Deffley Private 50060 served with the 11th Bn., Essex Regiment and died on Thursday 17th October 1918. He is buried in Premont British Cemetery at Aisne, France (Plot 5, Row A, Grave 1). He enlisted in Sheffield and was formerly Private 64979 of the North Staffordshire Regiment

Name: George Arthur Deffley
Birth Place: Eckington, Derbyshire
Residence: Sheffield
Death Date: 17 Oct 1918
Death Place: France and Flanders
Enlistment Place: Sheffield
Rank: Private
Regiment: Essex Regiment
Battalion: 11th Battalion
Regimental Number: 50060
Type of Casualty: Killed in action
Theatre of War: Western European Theatre
Comments: Formerly 64979, North Staffs Regt.

And Georges family seem to have originated in Eckington near Sheffield

1901 Census

1911 Census

Sources

The Manchester Guardian dated 7th April 1928 

Sheffield Star Saturday 15th August 2014

UK Census

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

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This page was last updated on 13/08/15 16:00