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Edward Almachilde Bianchi

Rank: Lieutenant

Lifetime: 1892-1918

Lieutenant Edward Almachilde Bianchi was born in Fulham on 19 October 1892. His father, the impressively named Cecilio Scolastico Carravagi Bianchi, was born in 1858 in Como, Italy and died in Surrey on 4 March 1907. His mother, Angelino Arrigoni, shared an Italian name (and presumably an Italian heritage) but had been born in London in 1865 at Hatton Garden, the centre of the London Italian community. By the time of the 1911 Census his mother, a widow, lived at Glenmore, Upper Teddington Road, Hampton Wick (now part of Woffington Close) and described herself as Mrs Cecil (the anglicised version of Cecilio) or as (the even more anglicised version) “Jessie Mary” Bianchi.

The birthplaces of the various Bianchi siblings demonstrate considerable social mobility. The family’s oldest child, Rebecca Helen Mckenzie (nee Bianchi), was born in Central London in Marylebone in about 1885. A son, named Cecil Clemente Bianchi after his father, swiftly followed on 23 May 1886 by which time the family had moved to the relatively genteel East End suburb of Hackney. A further daughter, Margherita Aida Bianchi arrived next, in early 1888 and then, finally, Edward Almachilde was born in Fulham before the family moved even further south-west to Hampton Wick.

Lieutenant Bianchi was educated initially at St Paul’s Convent, Hampton Wick. From 19 January 1903 until 5 June 1908, he attended Tiffin Boys’ School, which was then located on the Fairfield, Kingston. According to his obituary in the Surrey Comet dated 3 April 1918, his death “caused much regret in his wide circle of friends in Hampton Wick and Teddington”. Known to his friend as “Mac”, he had apparently demonstrated much skill in amateur theatricals and on the concert platform locally.

Towards the end of 1915 (sometime between October and December), possibly in October 1915 in Teddington, Edward Almachilde married Violet Alice Tough. Although Violet had been born in Clapham in about 1892, according to the 1901 Census, by the date of that Census and at the time of her marriage she was living with her parents, Athur Thomas Tough (a lighterman) and Emily Elizabeth Tough, at Grantully in Manor Road, Teddington.

The couple had a son, Douglas Edward Bianchi, who was born on 18 May 1916 and registered in the district of Brentford. Given the respective dates of their marriage and of the birth, it is possible that the impending arrival of their son may have hastened the wedding date. The grant of probate, dated 4 September 1918, of an estate worth £387 2s 7d to the widow, Violet Alice Bianchi gives the marital address as 65 Haslemere Avenue, West Ealing, Middlesex so the couple had obviously moved out of the area following their marriage. Violet remained in the area after the death of her husband. Her death was registered in Richmond in March 1968.

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s site, he was a Lieutenant in the 2nd/4th Battalion of the Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry when he died, aged 25, on 21 March 1918. There is a reference in the London Gazette dated 29 November 1915 to his appointment as a 2nd Lieutenant on 25 November 1915. According to his obituary in The Surrey Comet, he had enlisted in the London Scottish Regiment in 1914, being transferred to the Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry after his commission. There is a medal card for him (WO372/2/133049) at the National Archives which states that he arrived in France on 25 May 1916, shortly after the birth of his son. At the time of his death, he was attached to a Trench Mortar Battery.

He has no known grave and so his death is recorded on Panels 50 & 51 of the Pozieres Memorial on the Somme. He is also commemorated on the Great War Memorial at Tiffin Boys’ School and on the Teddington War Memorial. We would like to thank the archivist of Tiffin Boys School for the information he provided on Lieutenant Bianchi.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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