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Gaius Walter's shop, Somerton

Family of Gaius Walter and Mary Adelia Carter


Hugh Penny Walter

Hugh and Robert Walter in America


Harold Philip Mcleod Walter

Journalist husband of Edith Catherine Spahn (nee Binden) and Manorama Kathju

P&O Strathnaver

P&O Strathnaver

Harold Philip Mcleod Walter (1905- ) was the son of Gaius Penny Walter and Mary Adelia Carter of Somerton, Somerset, England. He was born in Castle Cary but was brought up in Somerton. In 1911 the family lived in The Cottage, North Street, Somerton while his parents had a drapery business in Broad Street.

Journalism and first marriage

On April 24 1925 a 21-year-old journalist Harold McLeod Walter of 12 Cavendish Rd, Barrow left London on the P&O Malwa for Shanghai, China. Harold Philip Mcleod Walter married Edith Catherine Spahn nee Binden in St Giles on 14th September 1929. Also on 14th September 1929 Harold McLeod Walter left on SS Pembrokeshire (Glen Line Ltd) travelling 1st class from London to Port Swettenham (Port Klang) Malaysia. His marriage certificate gave his address as 16, Catford Hill, Catford. However, the ship's manifest gave his address in the UK as 2 Devonshire Avenue, Southsea (the home and business premises of his brother-in-law Norman Speck) and his profession as journalist. No reference was made to his wife. There were 12 passengers on board and the vessel was bound for the Straits, China and Japan. He returned to Southampton (2nd class) onboard the SS Patria from Singapore in 1931 giving his home address as 13 Newton Mansions, NW18 and age as 28. Edith divorced him in 1934 and remarried in 1936. There is a conflict between his registered birth (September Quarter 1905) and the date usually shown on shipping records: June 6 1903. A Mr H P Walter left London for the Cape, South Africa on 8 April 1936 aboard the Union-Castle Durham Castle (no further information shown).

At some point in 1946/7 Harold reappeared from Bombay on the Strathnaver, a P&O liner that docked at Southampton, with 163, Francis Avenue, Southsea, Hants given as permanent UK address. On 31st May 1947 Harold left Liverpool on board the Cilicia (Anchor Line) bound for Bombay. India was given as his country of intended permanent residence and his UK address as c/o Chartered Bank, Bishopsgate. Family information states that he worked for The Times of India in Bombay. He landed in Southampton on September 23 1954 from the Cunard Samaria, this time with the Francis Avenue address but an intended address outside the UK (no details). On September 13 1955 he arrived from New York on the Nieuw Amsterdam (Holland America Line) showing England as his last permanent abode and the Bank as address.

On 23rd March 1958 he left Liverpool again on board the Cilicia bound for Karachi stating that he was single and that his country of intended permanent residence was Pakistan. He gave his UK address as c/o Mr N. F. Speck, 163, Francis Avenue, Southsea, Hants but his last permanent residence as Jersey, Channel Islands. He reappeared on May 19 1959 on the P&O Iberia with a wife Elizabeth Walter born July 1909. Their UK address was shown as 66 Abingdon road, Kensington, W8 and India as last country of residence.

Manorama Kathju

In 1968 Harold Philip McLeod Walter married Indian journalist Manorama Kathju (Katju) (born 26 April 1925), former editor of Screen magazine and a niece of Pandit Nehru, at the Kensington Register Office. They had originally met when he worked for The Times of India. Both gave their addresses as Hotel Europe, Cromwell Road. Harold gave his status as divorced. The family knew Harold as 'Max' and Manorama as 'Manni'. Around 1970 they moved to Malta where they remained until relocating again to New Delhi in 1994.

More about Edith Catherine Binden

Edith Catherine Binden was born in December 1897 to Benjamin Tilt Binden (b.1865) {an Indian Government Inspector at the time of her marriage} and Sarah Eliza Tickner (1867-1930; died Lambeth) who were born in London and Nottinghamshire respectively and married in 1891. Edith first married John Leslie Spahn in September quarter 1918 and had a child John L. Spahn in March quarter 1919. Both events (and her marriage to Harold Walter) took place in St Giles District (Bloomsbury). John Spahn was probably from Buffalo, N.Y. and in 1902 married Helen May Butler (1867-1957) "The Female Sousa" by whom he had two children: Helen May (b.1903) and Leslie Erlander (b.1905). According to her family website, she was the leader of a rare all-female band. John Spahn "discovered" them and renamed them "Helen May Butler and her Ladies Military Band" promoting them as an "Adam-less Garden of Musical Eves". Although normally known as "Jack" he disguised his gender by signing his name J. Leslie Spahn. They divorced in 1908 and Helen remarried James H. Young in 1911.

John Leslie Spahn continued as a "music producer" specialising in all-female vaudeville. His Cora Youngblood Corson Sextette went to Europe, including England, at the end of 1917. Edith's marriage certificate to Harold states that she was divorced . There is no trace of Edith travelling to the USA or accompanying Harold on any of his known voyages as a journalist although her divorce petition states that she lived with him in Kuala Lumpur. Edith's son John was thereafter known as John Leslie Walter (1919-1994). After divorcing Harold in 1934, Edith C. Walter or Spahn married Frederick W. Wallace in Paddington in 1936. She died in Hove aged 62 in 1960. John Leslie Walter married Mary Lauriston McKinnon (1909-1994). A birth was registered in 1944 for the couple (he was a Captain in the Gurkha Rifles, she was a sister in Queen Alexandra's Imperial Nursing Service) at Shillong in North-East India).

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