Victoria Maud Cooley was born on 25th September 1906 at Bareilly, an RA station on the plains not far from Kanpur where their father’s battery was then stationed. She was named after her mother (Henrietta Maud) and Victoria after her father’s brother Frank Victor, who had died of TB in 1904. Her first name, Victoria, was never used in her youth but ‘Maud’ was popular at the time.
In the hot weather wives and children were sent to ‘the Hills’ (in an oxcart, according to Dorothy) to Chaubattia, about 1000’ higher than Ranikhet. The men were left behind to swelter on the plains.
Before Maud was 2 years old the family came back to England (Charles was born in Colchester in 1908) and then went to Ireland, to Fermoy in County Cork, “and I can remember the journey. I didn’t know I was on a boat but I was lying on a shelf and everybody was crying and I was crying too, and they were passing a bowl round…. I must have been all of three”.
They then moved to Ewshott, near Aldershot, where Dorothy, Frank and Hal were born. “While each one of them was being born we had to go to a crèche. I cried like mad. Charles was in a playpen and I cried like mad about that. Vashti was very philosophical about it. We didn’t have babies’ cots either. I think the baby slept with Mum until the next baby was born”.
They moved up to Sheffield and, Maud continues, “being a very active child, I was always dirty. Vashti got terrible headaches and I can remember her sitting on Father’s knee. Charles and I were a pair – and we were chased out to play. There was gravel between the blocks of buildings and cast iron railings round them. These had to be climbed and I fell when half over and the spikes caught in my socks and I had to hang there until my socks tore and I fell to the ground… and got a cut knee when I fell on the gravel and was taken home by a neighbour up the stairs to their flat, only to be soundly smacked by Mother for giving her such a shock. I was a naughty child, always hurting myself and getting dirty. Vashti was good and always clean”.
At the beginning of the Great War the family moved to Colchester and “stayed with Aunt Maud and Uncle Tom who lived at 49 Morant Road until Dad came out of hospital [c1916?] and then we went to Shrub End road for about a year. At our previous school the children had hated us, called us ‘nasty little soldiers’ trollops’ but here we were liked – there were only army children here and Dad was an officer and wearing uniform – but there was animosity between the garrison and the town.
At Shrub End school, climbing on the hat and coat pegs I fell off and went, crying, to Vashti, who pushed me off. Mum came home: ‘apple to the outside, crab at home’ and said I was crying just to get sympathy”.
When the family finally moved to Pond Hall, Vashti, Maud and Charles went to Hadleigh Council School for six months and then transferred to Ipswich schools. “We left home at 7.30 each day, taking a packed lunch, and walked one and a half miles to Raydon Wood station. We often had to run the last bit because we could see the train coming. We were called ‘twinkletoes’ by the children already on the train because Clay Lane was made up with a white chalky substance. The lane was [is still?] cut deep into the hillside at its entrance by the gates to Kate’s Hill farm, with almost perpendicular sides and it was on these sides that you looked for the first primroses and both blue and white violets. Wood anemones and bluebells grew in Bentley Woods. We went by train to Ipswich, changing at Bentley, and walked a mile to school. The return journey brought us home at 7pm.”
Rosemary takes up the story: “Maud went to the Home and Colonial Training College in Wood Green, London. She was there in the 1926 General Strike and walked to Trafalgar Square where they saw buses overturned by strikers.
She was captivated by the glamour of the army - threadbare flags of old campaigns hanging in the Red Church in Aldershot, which was where she started teaching as a Queen's Army Schoolmistress - QAS.
This is where she met and married Herbert Henry Ind (born 14 August 1899) of Duckmanton, Derbyshire. He was the youngest and soon to be only surviving child of the schoolmaster there. They married in 1932 in Aldershot Garrison church.The photo shows Maud in 1931, holding her niece, Gay
Bert had just caught WW1, in the Royal Flying Corps. He had pilot's wings which he was allowed to wear on his army uniform when he joined the army, which he joined when his only suit was ruined by rain when he was measuring a dye factory as an accountant. (I mention this to show he didn't really join it from choice.) He taught maths and map reading in the Army Educational Corps.
They went to India soon after their wedding but, I think, separately - he on a troopship”.