NETTA Humphris, a farmers’ daughter with little known Pulham Coaches’ ancestry, has passed away, aged 93, writes Sue Hubbard.
Just five weeks before her 94th birthday Netta (nee Netta Pulham) born in the village of Broadwell near Stow-on-the-Wold has danced her last waltz.
Netta was a popular, regular attendant at the Cheltenham Town Hall ballroom dances, but the connections with her family ancestry were little known by many of her friends.
Net and her identical twin sister Evelyn were born on November 3, 1927, eight years after the First World War, 12 years before the our nation entered into the Second World War.
The twins’ incredibly rare, unexpected, but ‘successful’ birth’ took place 25 years before the existence of J Wilds’ ultra-scan technology, which only became available during the late1950s, but has since revolutionised child birth in the UK.
Prior to this technology existing, very few twins survived birth.
Tragically, Evelyn the first born of the identical twin girls died at the early age of seven years.
She initially contracted polio and then meningitis.
Netta and her twin sister were born at home in their mother’s bedroom at Sydenham Farm, Broadwell, near Stow-on-the-Wold.
Their father Wilfred Pulham, a farmer, was the second born son of William Pulham of the village of Naunton.
William Pulham was a farmer too, but he was also an entrepreneur, and in the 1900s he founded the business that has become the very successful Pulhams Coaches company.
Initially the fledgling transport business amounted to a single ‘carrier’s cart’ transporting customers and goods twice a week to and from Cheltenham.
This service was in great demand prior to the establishment of the railway line from Bourton to Cheltenham.
Net’s paternal grandfather, William was renowned as a man not to be ‘messed with’, it was reported that on one occasion he, ‘rode shotgun’ on his carrier’s cart to successfully deter ‘highway thieves’ who had started to target his customers’ goods.
Net’s maternal grandfather, George Langham Jordan, the local solicitors’ clerk, lived in Bourton-on-the-Water. He, with his wife Annette, in the late 1800s, provided reading and writing tuition to young children from poorer backgrounds in Bourton.
Net’s mother, Doris Jordan, originally emigrated to America alongside her sister Netta Hahn and her brother-in-law. However three years later she was ordered, by her father, to return to Bourton to replace her elder sister’s presence in the family home who had married and moved away to south Wales.
Such were the Edwardian family duties expected at that time – some-what different from parents’ expectations nowadays!
In 1915 Doris Jordan sailed back from America on the HMS Mauritania which, alongside her sister ship The Lusitania, were the fastest passengers ships of their era.
The next ship, due to return from America, was The Lusitania, which was tragically torpedoed and sunk by the German military forces in May 2015.
Net’s memorial service will be on Thursday, October 21, at 12.30pm at St Lawrence’s Church, Bourton-on-the-Water, parking available, near by at the old Royal Legion.
The rector’s advise, with reference to coronavirus, is that masks are recommended but not mandatory.
Black dress is not necessary, but rather plenty of colour and, at Net’s request, no sad faces.
Netta’s family have requested donations in her memory, and in lieu of flowers, to the Contented Dementia Trust, via: