Henry Augustus Webb
2nd January 1880 - 21st August 1926

Gus and pal in the Boar war
Rita's cherished photograph of her Father
Gus at a family wedding
Rita Webb's Father, Henry Augustus Webb, known to all as "Gus" was born on Friday 2nd January 1880 at Tracey Villa, Iverson Road, Hampstead. His father Henry Richard Webb was a Dentist and married Gus's Mother Rosa Jane Cane in Islington at the Parish Church on 28th April 1873 (Gus was 20 when his father died aged 53 on 30th March 1900 of chronic asthma and acute bronchitis.) Gus and his brothers, Richard Lewis & George Robert Webb went to St Mary's School and later transferred to Netherwood Street School on 3rd December 1891 whilst living at 31 Kenilworth Road.

Above, Gus and his brothers are listed in this 1891 Netherwood Street school register
A rare picture of The Webbs together circa 1894

Gus was a young man when he fought in the Boar war with his Brothers, Richard and George. He was a Private in the 30th Battalion and spent 321 days in the army, 200 of which were spent abroad.

He was discharged on 8th January 1902 and his discharge was confirmed at Malmesbury, Cape Colony on 24th November 1902. His height was listed as 5 '4" and his occupation was listed as a clerk.

Less than a year later Gus married Rose Jeannette Durlacher a divorcee who had seven year old twins Leslie & Gordon by a previous marriage.

Rose was pregnant with their first child by the time they married at Hendon registry office on 18th July 1903. (Rose bore him a daughter Olive (Rita) in 1904 whilst they lived at 87 Hartland Road, Hendon (Gus was listed on his two twin stepsons school register as father when they attended St Augustine´s School on 21st April 1904

Above, the Durlacher twins are listed on the 1904 St Augustine´s School register

Two years later the family had moved to 12 William Street, North Leyton, where Rose gave birth to a son, Henry Richard. The marriage it seems was a happy one, but the ill wind of fate would shatter what happiness the couple had two years after their second child was born.

Rita's Mother Rose Jeannette Webb

In 1908 Rose died of cancer, Gus was 28 years old and left alone with four children to look after. The twins were sent to live with their grandma Julia Kyezor while Gus kept his own children Henry and Olive.

Four months after Rose's death Gus travelled to Australia with the merchant navy. He remarried three years later while the family lived at 36 Tavistock Crescent, Bayswater. The wedding took place on 7th September 1911 at St Michael's church in Pirbright, Surrey.

Gus in 1911 marrying for the second time to Gertrude Bolingborke

Gus's new bride was 30 year old Gertrude Bolingbroke (nick named Billy) a milliner and spinster who's father Alfred Bolingbroke was a sculptor. At this stage Gus is listed as being a steward. (It is not known where the family settled after the marriage, but they probably lived in London, possibly in Lambeth.) the couple had three children, George Augustus Webb, born on 6th March 1912 at 41 St Luke’s Road, Paddington (He would have a certain amount of fame later in life playing the non-speaking role of Daddy in "Keeping Up Appearances" George died on 30th December 1998 and had one son, Michael) the next child born to Gus and Gert was the ill fated Denis Alfred Webb on 21st September 1913, poor Denis died in tragic circumstances in 1918 when he was picking flowers for his mother he was run over by an army car, still clutching the flowers in his hand he died under the wheels of the car witnessed by his Brother and sister (something they never got over) The final child born was Joan Webb on 11th August 1915 (she would marry three times and have one daughter Judith) Joan committed suicide in 1989 after years of ill health

Gus (seated front row far right) at the 1913 wedding of Gert's sister Daisy

Gus was enlisted in the RAF on 2nd June 1915 and had his examination on 29th June 1915, no disabilitys or allments were recorded. At some point in service he was badly gassed and in 1916 he spent six weeks in hospital in Egypt and in 1918 he was sent home and spent two months in hospital. By October 1918 he put in 22 claims for disability with Sciatica(the degree of disability was recorded as less than 20%) the RAF discharged him on 10th February 1919.
In October 1919 he travelled to the west Indies returning in December the same year. He made one last voyage with the Navy in 1920 when he was 40 years old.

Above, Gus's Pension record photograph taken on 28th October 1920

It’s been said that Gus was a heavy drinker who took his two step sons and his own son around the local pubs, making them wait outside for hours at a time forcing them to sell lantern wicks. Henry Webb wasn’t keen on his father, but Olive (Rita) adored her father, whom she called “My Darling Dada” (there are family stories of Gus completely naked chasing after Gertrude down the street) At some point in their Marriage Gert and Gus parted ways (although they never divorced)

Left, Gert with Dennis, Joan and George. Right, Gus with Joan, Gert & George

After Gus split with Gertrude he had several children with Minnie Louisa Gibbon nee Green (1881-1971), Her first child, Irene Dorothy Gibbon, was born outside of wedlock on 11th November 1905 at 10 West Road, East Ham. Irene was adopted by Walter Charles Hill and Ellen Hill (who would later have there own daughter Gracie Lillian Hill in 1910) On the 9th May 1908 Minnie gave birth to her second daughter Vera May Gibbon (1908-1944) in Hampstead. Minnie married Frank Joseph Gibbon (1877-1963) at Willesden register office on 8th June 1913,while the couple lived at 36 Cambridge Avenue, Kilburn. Five months later at the same address on 10th November 1913 she gave birth to Bernard Gibbon (1913-1989) three years later on 2nd January 1917 another son Stanley Gibbon was born. And on 25th November 1918 George Gibbon was born.

Minnie with Vera circa 1910

Gus’s granddaughter Margaret Edmonds contacted me and had this to say, From what I can gather Henry lived in the top flat of a house in I think, Granville Road my grandmother and her children lived in the basement. They formed a relationship and rapidly had 3 children (Gus’s Mother Rosa Jane Webb also lived at this address)

Given the circumstances it’s easy to see how Minnie and Gus became involved with each other. And a surviving letter supplied by Margaret from Frank Gibbon explains it all in great detail; again Margaret takes up the story I found a copy of a letter , written by Frank Gibbon in 1961, trying to explain to his son Bernard how contact was lost with his mother. Bernard was Minnie's eldest son but seems to have left Granville Road around 1920 to be cared for by his father. At the age of 12 Frank sent him to Australia on one of the child migrant schemes and he did not return until 1980, he never saw his parents again.

Quote from letter

You see my wife has never forgiven me for letting you go to Australia. In the first world war I was over seas for nearly 4 years. I came home in May 1919 to Granville Road in Kilburn. A large house let out to 3 or 4 tenants. Among these was a certain Gus Web who had been invalided out of the army after a dose of gas and had been living there with his mother for 2 years before I got home. Mr Gus Webb’s own wife lived in Woking, but 2 children were in Kilburn with their father. The boy was nicked named ‘Nigger’ and the girls name was Olive. The main thing is that here under the same roof were a man whose wife was living away and a man whose husband was far off over seas. Both normal human beings in their late thirties and both better suited to each other, I should say than their legal partners. For my part I just drifted along . As regards Gus Webb he was quite normal and agreeable in the ordinary way but there was an ingrained black streak in his nature that came to the surface whenever he has too much to drink. And it showed itself with a scene in the house and a fight outside with my eye blacked and a few bruises as a result.Thus the long simmering affair had boiled over.I left Granville Rd and rented a room in Chelsea. Mum and Gus Webb had moved to Granville Road soon after I moved to Chelsea.

Once Minnie moved in with Gus she took the surname Webb, Gus and Minnie would have three children together, the first was daughter Phyllis Joan, (02/05/1921) Harold soon followed (10/10/1922) and lastly Ena (1923) according to Margaret, Ena’s last memory of him is when he had moved down to the basement flat and spent most of his time lying on the settee

Ena and Harold outside the family home and insert Phyllis in 1957

After Gus died Minnie lived on at 9 Granvile Road until 1933 (she reverted back to her married name Gibbon in 1929) and from 1934 to 1937 she lived at 25 Oxford Road, Kilburn and from 1938 to 1956 49 High Road, Willesden (in 1939 she listed herself as a widow, although Frank Gibbon did not die until 7th July 1963)Minnie died in 1971 aged 89.

Minnie at Southend in 1945

So what did Rita make of her extended family? Once again Margaret fills in the gaps As a small child I loved to listen to stories about the family from my mother and grandmother and Rita Webb known to the family as Olive was often part of these tales. Rita was very fond of this second family and was very kind and financially supportive towards them. Mum has told me that she had a flat in Brighton and took her there for weekends. They were in Brighton and watched the R101 come down in France. It was on 4th October 1930 The family always referred to her as Olive but were immensely proud of her success All 3 siblings were invited and went to her memorial service.

Gus's mother Rosa died on 18th July 1924 at New End hospital at the age of 77. Two years later his daughter Rita married and six months after this event Gus was sent to St Mary's Hospital in Paddington where he died of heart failure on 21st August 1926. He was buried in an unmarked grave at Willesden cemetery.

Rita can be seen behind the bride, her half sister Joan's first marriage in 1935
Gus's sister Ethel was a colourful character, who lived a bright and exciting life. She was born Ethel Mina Webb on 4th August 1886, the youngest of five children to Henry Richard Webb and Rosa Jane Webb, Like her three older brothers she attended Netherwood Street School (Enlisted on 24th April 1893 while living at 31 Kenilworth Terrace) it is noted in the school register that she previously went to Waterloo college.

Ethel was the last of her siblings to leave home, it is believed that the same Ethel Webb and Rosa Webb resident at 41 Dynham road, Hampstead, listed on the 1901 census are Rita's aunt Ethel and paternal grandmother Rosa. If this is Ethel she was working aged 15 as an assistant in a confectioners shop, although it is believed Ethel worked as a Manicurist in a barbershop at a young age, this is where the widowed Charles Archibald Samuells, a retired Judge, first met her, he was 40 years her senior and they married in 1908 in Hendon.

Ethel had a long term relationship with Archie’s Nephew, Major Ellis Herbert "Brockie" Brocksopp (1878-1940) Archie was in full knowledge of his wife’s infidelity, and the three travelled around the world together, living for many years all over Europe, Ethel who is mentiond in the autobigraphy of Mr Justice Humphreys was also a gaiety girl from 1904 to 1918, under the name of Estelle, and a male impersonator too!
Ethel and Archie had no children, and doted on her sister May's children (Gladys and Barbara) instead of Gus's children (Rita and Henry) it was Ethel who paid for a head stone when her mother Rosa died in 1924.

In 1931 Archie died in Cannes aged 85, and Brockie died on 10th June 1940 at the Mount Zion Hospital in San Francisco, his effects worth just £20.3s were left to Rita's uncle Richard Lewis Webb. Ethel settled in South Africa, where she made her final will and testament there in 1954 leaving most of her money to charity, she died on 3rd December 1954 in South Africa, Ethel left behind a stack of memories from her life including a scrapbook diary of pictures, postcards and comments some of which are included on this page



Gus's younger brother Dick (born Richard Lewis Webb-6th July 1882) was an electrical engineer who married Gus's second wife’s sister Kate (Kit) Bolingbroke on 5th August 1912 at St Cuthbert’s Church, Hampstead.

Dick was a witness at Gus's first marriage to Rose Durlacher in 1903, he was also present at Kit's sister Daisy's wedding in 1918.

Eight years after they married the couple had a child, a boy they named Luke Webb, born 27th July 1920, he died in tragic circumstances on 22nd March 1922 when he crawled unnoticed out into the snow and died of hypothermia.

In 1924 Dick was in attendance at his Mother Rosa's death, and the imformant at Gus's death in 1926, his address for these events were 10 Lee Terrace, Blackheath, he was also present with Kit at Rita's half sister Joan's wedding in 1935 He liked wearing a boater, like his father Henry R, he also smoked heavily.

Dick and Kit were married for 42 years when he died on 14th February 1954, Kit followed him to his grave five years later when she died on 14th June 1959


Very little is known about Gus's older brother George Robert Webb, he was born on 18th April 1878 in Hampstead ,with his two younger brothers he attended St Mary's School and then Netherwood Street School on 3rd December 1891 whilst living at 31 Kenilworth Road.

He married Lydia Mary Marshall on 23rd November 1898 at St Saviour's Church in Paddington. The couple had two daughters, Gladys Maud Webb, born on 22nd June 1899 at 5 Fordingley Road, Paddington and Irene Muriel Webb on 26th March 1902 at 10 Chippenham Gardens, Willesden (George registerd Glady's Birth and Lydia registered Irene's)

George served in South Africa in the Boar War and seldom returned home. he was presumed dead at some point and Lydia decided to remmarry, at this point George reappeard (apparently he had settled and had a family in South Africa) he tried to blackmail Lyddie, who gave him a large sum of cash to clear off, which he did and was never seen again.

Lydia known as Lyddie (who was Vester Tilley's understudy) spent the remainder of her life living with her eldest daughter Irene (Known as Renee) Lydia was born on 27th Feb 1879 in Kilburn (although no birth certificate has been found) when she married George Robert Webb in 1898 she was living at 152 Elgin Avenue, Kilburn and her father was listed as Alfred Marshall a Bricklayer.

it's unclear if Lyddie remarried, although from 1926-1929 she is listed as Lydia Du Mont on the electrol register, then reverts back to Lydia Webb from 1930 for the remainder of her life. No Marriage or divorce records can be found under her name, she lived at 68 Castellain Mansions, Paddington for over 30 years, by 1948 she had moved to 11 Stanhope Terrace, Paddington, where she remained until 1956. in 1957 her address was 22 Winchester House, Hallfield Estate, Paddington, where she was still listed as living in 1971. she died at Blythwood House, Uxbridge Road, Pinner on 1st November 1971 aged 92, her Niece Rita Webb was the Informant on her death certificate.

Irene Muriel Webb married Raymond Clive Owen in 1937, it's unclear what happened to Raymond, but by 1948 (possibly as early as 1940) Irene is listed as living with her Mother Lydia for the rest of her life. she died in St Mary's Hospital, Paddington on 10th May 1975.Her niece Mary Pauline Nunn was the informant on the death certificate.

Gladys Maud Webb married William Victor Sherwell in 1919, and had a daughter Pauline Mary I Sherwell in 1921, who married Christopher or Harry Clifford Nunn (1909-1987) in 1945 the couple had at least two daughters Jill and Jane Nunn, the family emigrated to Canada at some point where Pauline died in 2007 and is buried at Lansdowne, Leeds and Grenville United Counties, Ontario, Canada) along with her husband and his parents.

Gus's oldest sister was born Mary Ann Margaret Elizabeth Webb in Islington on 20th January 1874, although the family called her May, May married a man named Charles William Frederick Hewitt (1868) at the Holy Trinity church in Kilburn on 14th July 1894. They had at least seven children, daughters Irene Florence (1895)and Barbara (1900) whom their aunt Ethel took abroad several times, the other known children were Hilda Mary (1899), Dorothy Margaret (1897, Married Horace Guthrie Castle in 1921), Kathleen Elsie (1902) , Beatrice (1904) and son Charles Henry (1907) in 1901 they were living at 70 sprinfield Rd and by 1911 they had moved to 99 Broady, Leigh-on-sea in Rochford, near prittlefied and by 1939 were at 10 Fleetwood Avenue, Southend-on-sea (charles was an invalid by this point) and May died in 1947.

Dorothy Margaret's Great grandson Neil Castle contacted me in 2009 and he told me in the 1950's Rita would visit Dorothy and Barbara who flat shared in Haywards Heath, he also said that Rita was often talked of in the Castle houshold and whenever she appeared on TV his Father would say "That's Dotty's Cousin you know!" he also said that Janet Webb was also "One of Ours" although I have been unable to find the family connection between Rita Webb and Janet Webb (Although they do look very Similiar to each other)


Janet Webb was born on 1st July 1930 in Liverpool as Janet Patricia Webster and Married Violinist Charles Vorzanger in 1957. She is best remembered today for her appearances on the Morcambe and Wise show in the 1970s. she died from cancer on 29th December 1983 aged 53 leaving an estate worth £43.123 It is unclear what relation, if any she is to Rita Webb, but due to her appearance and comments from family members she is included on this page pending further investigation.


George was born on 6th March 1912 in Paddington, he died on 30th December 1998 and had one son called Michael. he is Best known for his role as Daddy in Keeping Up Appearances, George was Rita's half brother by her Father's second marriage.

Pictures copyright of Geraldine Lewis, Louise Webb, Judith Howard, Allan and Marg Dale

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