No.317 General Hospital & The Guy Family of Finstock

Discussion in 'Oxfordshire' started by euryalus, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    I am wondering if anybody has worked on the Guy family of Finstock (or Witney?) I am looking into the history of Finstock military hospital, and have come across the recent obituary of Gwendoline Guy Grasseler Gadarowski, who died in the USA aged 88 on 10 July 2013. She was the second of the nine children of Cyril and Maud (Empson) Guy, and worked as a blanket weaver at the Early Blanket Company from about 1943 - presumably at Witney Mill. In 1943 (or more likely 1944) she met an American soldier called Homer Grasseler, who was stationed at Finstock as part of the 317th US Army 317th General Hospital. They married about 3 years later, and Gwendoline moved to the United States. I suspect that the Guy family were from Finstock rather than Witney, although Empson is a Witney name.
     
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  2. gillyflower

    gillyflower Always caring about others

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    Sorry I couldn't find anything For a Gwendoline Guy in either Witney or Finstock. Perhaps my eyes are tired!
     
  3. Huncamunca

    Huncamunca The Knowledgeable One

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    22 year old Gwendoline Guy of 1 Watney Cottages, Finstock, a weaver, left Southampton on 20 December 1946, on board the Queen Elizabeth, bound for New York.
     
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  4. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    It is interesting that she was listed under her maiden name, which may be because she could not marry Homer until she had become a Roman Catholic. I have just googled "Gwendoline Guy Grasseler Gadarowski" and a whole lot more has appeared on the web pages of US local papers (It seems that Gwendoline remarried after Homer's death).
     
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  5. janetbooth

    janetbooth Top Dog Stalwart

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    The first mention of the GUY name in Finstock baptismal register (OFHS parish register transcripts start in 1843 and end 1920) is that of the baptism on 11 February 1844 of a John GUY son of Joseph & Sarah GUY of Finstock. The last is that of a Sarah Jane GUY baptised on 3 August 1884 (aged 13) daughter of John & Hepzibah GUY, 87 Bell-acre Street, Birmingham, Labourer. The latest marriage is in 1906 between an Amos Albert GREEN & Jane GUY. The latest burial is that of a Gerald GUY, aged 3 of Finstock, on 5 January 1906.

    Not much help with your search for Gwendoline I'm afraid but there are certainly GUYs in Finstock from 1844 onwards.

    Janet
     
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  6. Barry Guy

    Barry Guy New Member

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    Hello euryalus. I've only just joined this site, so don't know quite what to expect of it yet. However, I have done some research on the Guys of Finstock and Witney. Idon't have any info on Finstock Military Hospital but have a few general refs. to Gwendoline Guy Grasseler. I believe she was related to one of my gt.grandfather's brothers. As you say the Guys are mainly from Finstock, but then some including my direct ancestors moved to Witney. Some are also known to have married into the Empson family. I'm not sure if any of this is relevant to your particular interest. The Guy family of Finstock lived mainly around the area known as The Bottom. If you have any further info about the family I would be interested in this, and if I can be of help in your enquiries, please let me know.
     
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  7. Ma-dotcom

    Ma-dotcom A Bonza Little Digger!

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    Hi Barry & welcome in, always lovely to have fresh faces & news.
     
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  8. Sis

    Sis Rootles out resources!

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    Welcome BarryC|:-)
     
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  9. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    Hello Barry, and welcome to the site. I have not had much luck with the Finstock Hospital research, but am tempted to conclude that the site may have been a multi-purpose site which also served as an army camp and perhaps an equipment store.

    The 'camp' area was complete by 1943, and the Oxfordshire & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry Regimental Chronicle records that, on 13 September, the 1st Battalion moved to 'Ramsden Heath Camp, near Charlbury, to mobilize'. The Battalion remained at Finstock during the break up of the 42nd Armoured Division and the formation of the 53rd (Welsh) Division, in which it fought for the rest of the war. This provides firm evidence that the Finstock site was more than a hospital, while there are also suggestions that 3 American Lysander aircraft may have been stationed at nearby RAF Akeman Street aerodrome, perhaps for use by 'special warfare' unit which may also have been quartered at Finstock.
     
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  10. Barry Guy

    Barry Guy New Member

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    Hello euryalus. Info re Finstock Hospital very interesting and helpful for my family research. I've often wondered about the connection between Gwendoline Guy and Homer Grasseler. Unfortunately her brother that I had contact with has now died-a lesson there somewhere!
     
  11. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    Hello Barry. I assume that you have read the obituary note in the Jamestown Press but, if not, it records that:

    "Gwendoline Guy Grasseler Gadarowski, 88, fondly known as Gigi, passed away July 10, 2013, at her Jamestown home, leaving a large family and circle of friends to mourn her sudden death and reflect on her delightful presence.Born in Finstock, Oxfordshire, England in 1924, she was the second of nine children of Cyril and Maud (Empson) Guy. In 1943, while working as a weaver at the Early Blanket Company, she showed a respectful welcome to Allied forces, including those with the US Army 317th hospital. One of the troops, a young corpsman named Homer Grasseler, met Gwendoline on his way to a training session in 1943 and they spoke for a few moments. Following their brief conversation, Gwen told her mother, 'I’ve just met the man I’m going to marry'. Three years later as Homer’s fiancée, Gwen left Finstock to begin her life as Mrs Homer Grasseler in Manchester, Conn. She loved the United States, becoming a citizen in 1957".
     
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  12. Barry Guy

    Barry Guy New Member

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    Hello euryalus. Yes, I have read the obituary of Gwendoline Guy, but thank you anyway. She appears to have been quite a 'character'! I hope to follow up this branch of my family very soon.
     
  13. Graham Cridland

    Graham Cridland New Member

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    My father-in-law Ronald Rowles of the Rowles family in Finstock worked the land as a young boy with his father. He told us last night how they went to bed only to find by the morning the US had taken over the fields. Ron new Gwendoline and others. He was remenising last night and i began to research airfields in and around Witney. During D Day landings injured troops were flown to Witney then by ambulance to the hospital in Finstock
     
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  14. euryalus

    euryalus Well-Known Member

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    I am not sure if transport aircraft could have used Witney Aerodrome, which had a grass landing area and no runways. It would surely have made more sense to have flown casualties to RAF Broadwell or RAF Brize Norton? There are also stories of injured troops being conveyed by train to Bampton station, from where they were taken by ambulance to either Bradwell Grove or Finstock military hospitals.
     

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