The story of Peter and Ethel Pieraccini
A Postcard Walk Down Luton Memory Lane
Peter Pieraccini was born on the 20th September 1886 in Luton, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom. He was the second son and 4th born, to James Robert Pieraccini and Elizabeth Haywood. In total 9 children. Peter's grandfather, Pietro Pierachini (many variations of the surname spelling over the years) was born in Tuscany, Italy and immigrated in the late 1820's to Liverpool, United Kingdom, which is the start of the family in the UK. Pietro married three times during his life in the UK and having a total of 8 children between two of them.
Growing up Peter learnt the family trade and became a master plasterer, in his own right, working along side his grand father, father, brothers, uncles and cousins. Pietro had some of his work displayed in "The Great Exhibition of 1851". His busts are still displayed in various locations around London. Highly sort after and exceptional with their skills, the Pieraccini's work can still be admired today in London as they were instrumental in the rebuilding of London's theatres and buildings after the war.
During this time Peter met his wife to be Ethel May Dyer, born 23rd August 1886 in Bellow Mill, Eaton Bray, Bedfordshire, United Kingdom (Ethel's story further on), they were married on the 24th November 1906 in Luton and proceeded to have 6 children of their own. Unfortunately their time together was short and Peter never got to see his youngest son Bertie, as Peter was KIA on 12th October 1916 during enemy fire of WWI in France, a brave and determined soldier to the end, fighting for the rights of his family, friends and country.
Peter had signed up, along side his brothers and mates to defend his country. Serving with the 5th Batt. Bedfordshire Regiment, (No. 4223/4323 - the number is different on two documents in possession, human error I suspect) he was later discharged on the 18th September 1914, having served 132 days, due to being medically unfit for futher military service, however he resigning up, again serving with the 5th Batt. Bedfordshire Regiment (No. 19744) earning the Rank of Sergeant, but also claiming his life. He was an honourable and well respected soldier as well as a loving and devoted husband and father. He was the only member of his family who served to lose his life during WWI.
He is bruied in an isolated grave about 1/2 a mile S.E. of Beaulencourt and 3 miles S.E. of Bapaume, France.
31 years on this earth was not a long time, but the memories of this wonderful, skilled and selfless man, will never be forgotten. Through his children to theirs and so on, he will be remembered, as they all will, may they all rest in peace.
Peter's siblings were:
- Laura Elizabeth Pieraccini 1878
- Robert James (aka James Robert) Pierccini 1880-1954
- Margaret (Maggie) Pieraccini 1883
- Edith Pieraccini 1888
- Rupert Nelson Pieraccini 1890
- Constance Maud Pieraccini 1894
- Rose Pieraccini 1896
- Reginald Rupert Pieraccini 1899-1971
Peter's Children with Ethel were:
- Peter Pieraccini 1907-1977
- Victor Gerald Pieraccini 1909-1985
- Ethel Rose Pieraccini 1911
- Robert Henry Pieraccini 1912
- Ivy Nellie Pieraccini 1914-2005 (last of his children to pass away, and my grandmother)
- Bertie Percy Pieraccini 1916-1988
Ethel May Dyer, (1886-1952) was the eldest daughter of Eliza Ann Dyer (1865-1901), father was unknown. Her mother went on to have another daughter, Nelly Dyer 1888, again father unknown. On Ethel's baptism record the name Joseph Smith was written as father, then crossed off. Unfortunately it is too hard to find out if this was actually her father, or a mistake made on the records. Ethel's mother, Eliza went on to marry widower, Alfred Frederick Turpin (1862-1906) they were married on the 6th May 1896, at St Mary's Dunstable, Bedfordshire.
They had three children together, giving Ethel half siblings. Unfortunately Eliza died giving birth to her son, who also died in 1901. This left Alfred with 8 children, as he already had four children from his previous marriage.
Obviously he could not look after them all, so Ethel, was packed off to live with her Grandmother Phillis Maria Dyer (nee Brandham) who had only just lost her husband too and Nelly went to live with neighbours, the Brooks family.
Ethel, from the age of 15 was a Book Ruler/Machinist, working out of her Grandmother's home, until meeting and marrying Peter Pieraccini.
After Peter's death in 1916, Ethel made an momentous decision to move to Australia in 1920, taking her 6 small children with her and knowing no one or nothing of life there. Firstly arriving in Western Australia and then moving over to Sydney in New South Wales.
It was a struggle to start in Perth, she couldn't look after her daughters as well as the youngest child, Bertie, so the girls were put into a home till Ethel could support them all and move them all to Sydney. The eldest boys were sent off to work to help out. Upon arrival in Sydney Ethel found accommodation and also run it as a boarding house and opened a Newspaper and Book store in Balmain, Sydney. During this time Ethel started a close friendship with one of her boarders, Walter Seymour, who was to become her companion till her death, although they never married.
Ethel never forgot her home or her family and returned to spend time with her sister, Nelly and her family, back in Luton, it was to be her last trip as she passed away on the 9th June 1952 aged just 65 from Coronary Occlusion Arterial Hypertension. She was an inspirational woman and treasured memories of her have been passed down through the generations and will continue to for many more.
Unfortunately the Pieraccini line ceased here in Australia, as the eldest son Peter Pieraccini, never married nor had children and the other sons, Victor, Robert and Bertie, all changed their surname to Perry.
Ethel's siblings were:
- Nelly Dyer 1888-1973
- Percy Mark Turpin 1896-1953
- Florence Annie Turpin 1899
- Thomas Turpin 1901-1901
Step Siblings (Alfred Frederick Turpin's children) were:
- Nellie Turpin 1883 (Mary Jane Mooring)
- Mabel Turpin 1886-1976 (Mary Jane Mooring)
- Alfred Turpin 1893 (Mother unknown)
- Harry or Harold Turpin 1895 (Mother unknown)
If anyone has further information, or some information might be incorrect, please don't hesitate to contact me. I do have a family tree I am building on Ancestry.com.
The choice for my title came from the fact that Ethel keep many postcards (ones that have survived time) that she received from her family and husband, many of Luton, Eaton Bray and Dunstable area's of the late 1800's to early 1900's, so I thought it was an appropriate title, for every time I look at the postcards, I am transported back in time to where it all started and has me constantly thinking about just how life was then for them all.
-- Vanessa Evans