Edwin Brazil

Stop number BLUE 3: To your left you will see a large white cross on a white plinth. This is the family plot of the Steevens family. Look for E Brazil's name on the plinth.
Steevens family plot
Steevens family plot
Read the story below and when you are ready to move on click on the dot/circle for R Hall.
Edwin Brazil's grave Crendon Street
Edwin Brazil's grave Crendon Street (SWOP BFP05729)

Edwin Brazil 1878-1916

Hello, my name is Edwin Brazil. I was born in 1876 near Colchester in Essex although we soon moved to London. My father was a pork butcher and my older brothers joined him in the business.

The business did well and we moved again, this time to High Wycombe, and I lived just a few hundred metres from here in Priory Avenue. I went to school at Chiltern House School, where I won a prize for writing about “half-hours in the Holy Land”

It wasn’t long before I was married; still aged 17 on May 24th 1894 I married Anna Steevens. We lived together on Crendon Street. The marriage was not a happy one and I’m not proud of my behaviour. My wife writing to her sister just three years later said, “My dear sister, your letter came by the first post this morning & I’ve been wondering all day what answer I shall send to the other. My first feeling was to send a reply directly saying the time was past for trusting him & tonight I’m still undecided what to do. I showed the letter to Mrs. Ayres & she says it is a very serious matter & needs consideration, that my feelings ought not to stand in the way, but I must remember that I am his wife & he has a claim on me & perhaps my influence might lead him back & help to save his soul & in time too, I might regain the love that I’ve lost. Mr. Ayres says that, he would not do anything in a hurry, but have proof that he is really changed before he trusted him again, for he has seen him just as penitent before but it does not last. If it's for the best that I should live with him, I am willing to overlook the past & to try and make his home happy for him, but not till I’ve had proof that he is really a better man.” To make matters worse I was unwell and needed to have a serious operation on my left leg. It was thought for a time that I wouldn’t survive. In the same letter my wife says, “They say at Stevenage that they do not think he will live very long & supposing I refused and threw away the opportunity, it might be a lifelong regret to me, I do not know what to say to him”

However, by 1901 we had separated, this was very rare then. Anna moved back with her parents and I was lodging in London and working as a wood carver. I moved around trying to earn a living and by 1911 ended up lodging as a worker in a farm in Essex. Soon after I decided to start a new life in Canada and I emigrated to live in Winnipeg. It was somewhat different than High Wycombe, with average January temperatures of -21 although in the summer it was usually about 26 degrees. I was working as a wood carver in Canada.

It wasn’t long before the war broke out and in November 1915, just as winter was hitting, I signed up and joined the 179th Cameron Highlanders of Canada. We were asked to make a will and as I was still married I put down Anna to receive everything if I was to die. We soon sailed to England on the SS Saxonia. The boat had just finished being used to house prisoners of war and had been moored on the Thames.

When we arrived in England we were based in East Sandling and while there I was promoted to Lance Corporal. We were preparing to travel out to France to join the Canadians who were fighting in the Somme. I wasn’t to get that far. On November 25th 1916 I had been given a few days leave and I was out in London. Possibly after a few drinks, I was crossing Grosvenor Square in Mayfair when I was hit by a London bus. I was taken immediately to St. George’s Hospital but died while in the ambulance. The jury, at the inquest held just a few days later, decided that my death was accidental and that the driver of the bus was exonerated from all blame. The funeral was held in High Wycombe and I was buried in my wife’s family plot. There are 12 other people remembered on the headstone including my estranged wife, who died in 1938. She received a widow’s pension and I a war grave, as although my death was accidental, I was overseas on service at the time.

Edwin Brazil researched and performed by Thomas Uhlarik Edwin Brazil and Anna
Edwin Brazil researched and performed by Thomas Uhlarik
To see the performance on YouTube click here.
The real Edwin Brazil and Anna

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