Pollie, Elaine and Rosalind Ogilvy.
Widow and daughters of David Ogilvy.
After the death of her husband David
, widowed Pollie Eaton Ogilvy appeared in the 1934 Epsom Electoral Register as still living at the address of Long Grove Mental Hospital, but by September 1935 she and her daughters, Elaine and Rosalind (who was also known as Roddy), had moved to Appletreewick, 80 Worple Road, Epsom. Her son Alexander was a member of the Royal Navy and was away serving on the cruiser Frobisher
Elaine, who was aged 21 and working as a secretary, travelled with two friends to Worth Matravers, Dorset for a camping holiday. On 4 September 1935, she and her friends, Anne Monier-Williams who lived in Downside near St. Martin of Tours church and 19 year old Mary Elizabeth (known as Wendy) Rathbone who lived in Blickling, Ashley Road, decided to picnic at Arish Mell Gap and arrived at about 3.30pm on the Friday afternoon. They went bathing in the cove, after which they had tea. Elaine and Wendy left their friend Anne at about 5pm and walked along the cliffs towards Lulworth, expecting to be away only for an hour or so, but by 8pm had still not returned. Anne drove to Lulworth to get petrol and to look for the girls, but on not finding them there, returned the way she had come. She voiced her concerns about her friends to a policeman who she found at the crossroads above Arish Mell. It was then around 11pm.
Map of the area - click to enlarge, opens in a separate window
Adapted from a Geology map by Dr Ian West
An alternative map can be found here
After phoning the police station, the officer and Anne travelled back in her car to the campsite to see if the girls had returned there. From there they returned to look around the coast of Arish Mell again. By 2am, with darkness hampering them, they waited at Lulworth until dawn. With daylight helping them, they continued their search along the cliffs near Arish Mell Gap. They then descended to the beach and went in opposite directions and very soon, around 8am, the policeman heard a faint sound coming from the rocks. He shouted and a few seconds later, heard the same sound again. In his statement, P.C. Northover recalled that, twenty yards away in the rocks, he found the two girls lying face-to-face on top of each other. "One of the girls was dead. I spoke to the other girl and she complained of the cold. I put my cape around her. She said she had fallen down the cliff."
At some point during the night Elaine had died from exposure and shock following the compound fracture of her right femur, numerous abrasions and bruises she had sustained when she fell from somewhere up the cliff. Her friend Wendy told the policeman that:
"About 7.15pm on September 4th we had been for a long walk and got as far as Lulworth Cove from Arish Mell Gap. On our return we could not get along the beach to Mupes Bay and we met some boys there and asked them if we could walk along the beach to Arish Mell. They said we could and we came along and found we could not."
It was later believed that the Cockpit Rocks below Cockpit Head barred their way back along the beach to Arish Mell.
Looking towards Cockpit Head from Arish Mell beach c1898
"We were in a hurry and my friend [Elaine] said "Lets climb up the cliff". I did not like the look of it, but I went up first. I got some way ahead and waited for her now and then. I went on to where I saw a safe place and I thought I could get to the top without much difficulty. I waited for my friend, who I thought, was losing her nerve. I tried to cheer her up. Then she slipped and fell and I could not see where she was. I climbed down and when I got some way I saw her covered with blood. Then I hurried too fast...I cannot remember any more. When I woke up I heard my friend calling for help. We talked a bit together and very gradually she moved towards me. She died some time in the night. We both wanted to die together."
As this happened in the days before mobile phones etc., the police constable had to return to Lulworth to contact H.M. Life Saving Corps who, after hearing of the seriousness of Wendy's life or death injuries, decided to put out a lifeboat despite the rough sea. The lifeboat returned for Elaine's body after Wendy, who had severe spinal and other injuries, had been taken by ambulance to Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester where she was put on the danger list.
The Coroner recorded a verdict that Elaine's death was due to misadventure and expressed his sympathy to her relatives, none of who were present. It was explained that her widowed mother Pollie had been forbidden to travel by her doctor as she was in bad health, with Rosalind presumably nursing her, and that her brother Alexander was abroad serving with the Royal Navy.
Newspapers also noted that the chalk cliffs that the girls had tried to climb rose at that point to 350 feet and were dangerous at any time but even more so after the rain of the previous week. Mr. E. Brook Williams of the H.M. Life Saving Corps, who had recovered the girls in the lifeboat, commented that judging from the girl's injuries, he thought they must have fallen from near the cliff top.
From the sea, looking towards the cliffs where Elaine's fatal accident happened.
Photo courtesy of Pari White © 2011
Elaine's body was returned home and on Tuesday 10 September, two requiem services were held, one at 7am and the other at 10am, at St. Barnabas church, with Rev. S. K. Anderson officiating at both. Elaine's mother Pollie and sister Rosalind attended the later service along with many friends including Wendy's brother Lieutenant John Laurence Rathbone, R.N.
Later that afternoon, at Brookwood near Woking, Rev. S. K. Anderson officiated at Elaine's funeral service, after which Elaine was cremated. It is possible that this was also the place where her late father David was buried or cremated.
, appeared with his mother Pollie and sister Rosalind in the 1938 and 1939 Surrey Electoral Registers as living at 80 Worple Road, Epsom, but he was still serving with the Fleet Air Arm, Royal Navy.
The engagement between Rosalind and Lieutenant John Laurence Rathbone was announced in the Times
newspaper on 24 April 1940. Their marriage on 7 June 1940 was reported in the same newspaper on 10 June 1940:
RATHBONE - OGILVY - On June 7, 1940, quietly, at short notice, at St. Bartholomew's Church, Gourock, Scotland, by the Rev. W. Fox-Robinson, R.N., LIEUTENANT JOHN RATHBONE, R.N., second son of the late Percy Rathbone and Mrs. Rathbone of Blickling, Epsom to ROSALIND, younger daughter of the late DAVID OGILVY, M.D, and Mrs. Ogilvy, of Appletreewick, Epsom.
Three months after his sister's marriage, on 4 September 1940, Alexander was killed on active service. After his death, Pollie commissioned a carved wooden statue of St. Peter in memory of her deceased children.
Statue of St. Peter and the plaque in memory of Alexander and Elaine Ogilvy
Photos courtesy of Clive Gilbert
A member of the St. Barnabas' congregation, who now lives in Australia, recalls that:
On the left of the entrance to the Lady Chapel there was a beautifully carved wooden statue of St. Peter with Bible in hand and from his belt hung the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Above the figure hung an oil lamp. The Memorial was given in memory of a Naval Officer and his sister. I am sorry that I cannot remember their names, but at the foot of the figure carved in wood was a Naval badge as seen on a Naval Officer's peak cap.
Fortunately, despite the radical changes within St. Barnabas from its traditional church layout to a modern open plan design with very few of its original furnishings, the statue still stands to the left of the Lady Chapel, in loving memory of Alexander Eaton and Elaine Eaton Ogilvy.
Lady Chapel 2014
Photo courtesy of Clive Gilbert
Rosalind's sister-in-law Wendy Rathbone, who had recovered from her life-threatening injuries, married Rev. J. M. Evans in 1941; the couple had two children and lived in Sutton, Surrey.
John Rathbone's name was mentioned in Dispatches and appeared in the supplement of the London Gazette dated 8 January 1942 as Lieutenant Commander of H.M.S. Orion.
On 18 January 1944, the Admiralty in Whitehall issued the following letter stating:
"The King has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following appointment to the Distinguished Service Order and to approve the following rewards and awards:-
For gallant and distinguished services in H.M. ships "Nelson", "Warspite", "Rodney", "Valiant", Faulkner" and "Troubridge" in operations in the Mediterranean from the time of the entry of Italy into the war until the surrender of the Italian fleet."
Lieutenant John Lawrence (sic) Rathbone of Epsom was listed as one the officers being awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC).
The London Gazette dated 26 May 1944 records that on 23 April 1944 Mrs. Rosalind Mary Eaton Rathbone had been made up to Acting Third Officer W.R.N.S. The following year her husband's name appears in the 1945 Surrey Electoral Registers, within the Service Register section, as being a member of H.M. Forces, his address being 'Blickling', Ashley Road, Epsom. Also listed at this address were his siblings Michael, Christopher and Angela. Rosalind's name does not appear in these records or with her mother Pollie, who was living alone at 80 Worple Road, Epsom.
Rosalind's husband John was promoted and by 1952 was Commander of H.M.S. Daring.
It seems that their marriage ended in divorce as in 1959 John married Pamela M. A. Stewart. He was aged 85 when he died in Twickenham on 27 March 1985.
Pollie appeared as Mrs. David Ogilvy of the same address in the telephone directories from 1958 to 1964. She died, aged 71, in her home Appletreewick on 8 March 1964; her probate record reads:
"Probate London 26 May to Rosalind Mary Eaton Rathbone single woman. £25,523."
Rosalind appeared in the 1965-1967 telephone directories as 'R.M.E. Rathbone', living back in her family home, Appletreewick, 80 Worple Road, Epsom. She died, aged 50, in late 1967.
None of the Ogilvy family was, to our knowledge, buried or had their ashes scattered in the Epsom area.
Epsom, Surrey Electoral Registers
Epsom Advertiser 12 September 1935
The Times 6 September 1935, 7 September 1935
London Gazette 26 May 1944
With thanks to Dr. Ian West and Pari White.