The Habbes Family: Great War Walthamstow Soldiers of German Heritage

Charles Booth, in his Poverty Map of London (1898-1899) characterised the core of the Parish of St Augustine Stepney in Mile End Old Town as Middle Class and Well to Do. Nevertheless, around its eastern edge, Romford Street, families were classed as Very Poor and subject to Chronic Want. On its western edge, around Union Street, families were considered marginally better off and were classed as, simply, Poor.

This variety in living standards reflected a variety of backgrounds of the parish residents. At 8 Union Row lived the Scheiffendesker family: father Uskar was a bookseller, and both he, his wife Minnie, and daughter Constance had been born in Germany, whereas his son Richard had been born in Mile End. They rented space in their home to a customs officer from Cork, Ireland named Jeremiah Lane, and Germans John Goarbe and Christian Owradel.

At 10, Union Row lived gold jeweller Marks Jacobinsky and his wife Rachael. Both had been born in Russia, whereas their four children were Londoners. The Jacobinskys rented space to Issac Epstein, a Hebrew teacher who had been born in Warsaw in Russian Poland. This pattern was repeated along Union Row and onto Union Street. The Woolfe family: parents born in Poland, and their children born in London. The Fisher family: parents and elder children born in Poland, and the younger children born in London.

At 11, Union Row lived the Habbes family. Father Louis was a 33 year old tailor from Germany, and he had married his wife Caroline in London in 1888. Caroline had been born in Eisenbach in Germany and moved to Britain at some point before the 1881 census, where she was recorded as working, under her maiden name Sattel (Saettele in other sources), as a domestic servant for the Lundy family at 72, Brecknock Road in Kentish Town. In 1891, she and Louis were sharing a home with their 2 month old son Ludovick.

In 1901, the Habbes family had moved to 39 Palmerston Road in Walthamstow. Louis by this point had chosen to Germanicise his hame to Haber, and Caroline is recorded as Karolina. Ludovick, however, is now named as Louis. Louis and Caroline have two more children, Joseph and Minnie. Moreover on the night of the 1901 census, a 3 year old boy named Willie Pritterman is listed as a visitor alongside Carolines niece, Hildred Sattele [sic], a 37 year old Tailors Assistant.

By 1911, the Habbes family are living at 84 Erskine Road in Walthamstow. Louis was running a tailoring business out of the home, and was employing Hildred (now Hildegard) as a Tailoress. Louis and Carolines daughter Minnie is employed as a Dressmakers Apprentice, and Louis the younger is described as a Provision Dealer working from home. Joseph is a Baker.

On the outbreak of the Great War three years later, the Habbes would no doubt have been subject to anti-German sentiment that manifested itself in Walthamstow. Local tradesmen of German extraction took out advertisements in the local paper noting that they were loyal British citizens. Nevertheless, this did not prevent instances of violence on one occasion during the Summer of 1914 a crowd invaded a local butchers shop near Markhouse Road and ransacked the premises, their efforts only limited by the fact that there was not much meat on sale. A large crowd gathered and lingered long into the evening with no clear purpose, except to exchange rumours. In such circumstances, one can only speculate if Joseph, as a local Baker, was also subject to discrimination by erstwhile customers, or whether Louis the elders tailoring business witnessed a decline in sales.

Whether they experienced direct discrimination or not, both Louis and his younger brother Joseph went on to serve in the British Army during the Great War. Louis enlisted at Stratford on 20 September 1917, and was assigned to 30th (Works) Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment. This, with its sister unit the 31st Battalion, the Middlesex Regiment, was composed of naturalised British citizens of alien parents.

Louis is described as Roman Catholic, 5 feet 7 inches tall, with a 36 inch chest, and weighs 138 pounds. Since the 1911 census he has changed his employment from a Provisions Dealer to a Button Maker no doubt complementary to his fathers tailoring business. He was posted to No. 5 Infantry Labour Company in France and therefore served as a labourer behind the Western Front, and was not demobilised until 17 January 1920. His brother Joseph similarly served in the Middlesex Regiment, as a Private in No.1 Infantry Labour Company, and served behind the Western Front. Both brothers were awarded the British War Medal and British Victory Medal.

The Habbes family remained in what later became Waltham Forest after the war: Louis the elder passed away in December 1943, and Caroline in December 1953. Louis the younger passed away in September 1967 aged 76. His brother Joseph married in 1922 and moved to Honiton in Devon in later life, and passed away there in 1986. Their sister Minnie married in 1918, and after living in Chingford, moved to Northamptonshire where she passed away in 1980.

Blog #21 IAMAT: Another Non-profit with Great Resources

For those of you new to travel health, you may not be aware of the International Association for the Medical Assistance of Travelers – or IAMAT.  It has actually been around since 1960 and was started by a physician who saw a need to help travelers stay healthy.  It is a 501(c)(3) with a Board of Directors and an International Advisory Board made up of travel health experts.  It’s free to join. Membership is valid for one year but can be renewed with a tax deductible donation.  Over the years, they have produced a number of excellent resources to assist travelers and travel health professionals.

I’m sure many of you feel as I do – that we are constantly bombarded with information and it can be difficult to muster any enthusiasm for one more unfamiliar thing, but this is an organization you should investigate further.  I sort of stumbled upon IAMAT several years ago when a travel health colleague retired and someone passed along her IAMAT mail to me. The brochure described a number of seemingly useful travel health resources and services. I was intrigued and made my way to their website.

Here’s what I found. They have a monthly blog with timely topics. See Stings and bites: Preventing marine injuries, In the news: Vaccines, pharmacies, bug spray and brain drain, and New! Try Our Travel Health Planner!

Travelers can get country specific updates regarding local health risks, recommended vaccines, and current conditions. They also get access to a list of English speaking clinicians around the world vetted by IAMAT. These affiliated physicians and mental health professionals can only charge up to a maximum of $100 for the initial visit. Travelers can also download IAMAT’s comprehensive Guide to Healthy Travel and Guide to Travel Health Insurance.  The former is a detailed 84 page guide written by University of Washington travel health experts Elaine Jong and Anne Terry along with IAMAT’s Tullia Marcolongo.  It covers a wide array of topics. Travelers with specific questions can ask one of IAMAT’s travel health experts. There’s an open access e-library with lots of articles covering topics such as traveling with anxiety, bed bugs, traveling with medications, and medical tourism.

Handy charts include the World Immunization Chart which is an amazing summary of general vaccine recommendations for every country in a two-page brochure. The World Malaria Risk Chart and World Schistosomiasis Risk Chart are also quite informative.

For travel health professionals there’s a new publication, The Older Traveler – A guide for the health professional, which is a collaborative effort from the South African Society of Travel Medicine, the South African Geriatrics Society and IAMAT. It is available in the US for only $16.

In addition, IAMAT offers a number of scholarships that provide additional training to physicians and nurses in the area of travel health.

In summary, IAMAT provides a wealth of reliable travel health information at very little cost. It’s simply a great deal – especially for travelers on a budget. I’m glad I joined IAMAT and recommend you join too.  Their mission is in sync with our mission – keeping travelers healthy- and there’s still plenty of work to go around.

-Julie Richards, President

American Travel Health Nurses Association

Why Baking Soda is a Great Deodorant

This post is inspired by Queen Composters post on DIY vs. Chemistry on the Green Phone Booth on Friday. It addresses the whole these greenies are dissing chemicals but really its all chemistry dilemmaand Im really glad it does. Because shes absolutely right.

A few years ago my mom sent me a chemistry lesson email on why baking soda does indeed work as a superb and cheap deodorant. She was a chemistry prof for years, and if Id had her in high school instead of who I did, I might have stuck with it longer.

I think this is brilliant, and I offer it to anyone who thinks they might like to give up the aluminum chlorohydrate stuff and try doing the non-stinky thing without rubbing a metal solution onto freshly shaven skin really close to, you know, your breasts, those lovely things that so often seem to be a place where icky malignant cells seem to gather and party

A short lesson in buffering, sodium bicarbonate, and bad smells:

smelly goat

smelly goat

Lots (most?) of bad body odors are the result of the production of stuff that is either acidic (butyric acid essence of rancid butter,  caproic acid eau de male goat, eg)  or alkaline (many many amines, the products of protein degradation dog anal gland exudate being an example here). Baking soda is able to neutralize those amines by transferring its hydrogen ion to the amine, changing it into an odorless amine salt.  In the case of the smelly acidic stuff, it steals the hydrogen ion from the acid, forming carbon dioxide and the odorless acid saltalmost magic, huh?  Thats what buffers do they can neutralize both acidic compounds as well as alkaline compounds by taking or donating a hydrogen ion.  And since sodium bicarb is pretty much neutral itself, it does all this at the bodys normal pH and isnt too acidic or alkaline itself to cause any irritation, at least for THAT reason.  AND ITS CHEAP!!!There you have it. From my mom the chemistry prof. Chemistry at work. Shes my litmus for suspicious-sounding crunchy remedies, and if it works, shes likely to know why. And when she can explain, through chemistry, exactly why something does work, Ill buy her explanation every time.

Exposure to the 1952 Great Smog increased the likelihood of being diagnosed with asthma

We currently understand very little about the long term consequences of pollution and particulate matter in our air. We have evidence that air pollution can worsen asthma symptoms and rates of heart attacks spike during times of high pollution. We also know that exposure of cells in culture to environmental pollutants causes cell damage and an increase in inflammation but don’t yet know if this can lead to the development of asthma or other lung diseases long term. In 1952, London was covered in a thick layer of smog for 5 days in an event that came to be known as the Great Smog of 1952. During this time, air pollution levels were between 5 and 23 times the currently accepted regulations. Much research has been focused on this event as it presents a ‘natural experiment’ where groups of individuals were all exposed to an experimental condition that we can look back on an test hypotheses against. Research to date has identified several short term complications of this great smog including increased mortality, heart attacks, and lung infections. Recently, a research paper by Bharadwaj and colleagues out of the US has shed some light onto the long term consequences of being exposed to this Great Smog and in the process has linked air pollution to the likelihood of developing asthma.

The researchers collected information from 2,916 respondents in the English Longitudinal Study on Aging born between 1945 and 1955. They tabulated the incidence rate of asthma in this population and separated them out depending on their age at the time of the Great Smog and whether they lived in London or another area in England. Included in this sample were 199 people who were born after the Great Smog and so were not exposed to it. The team saw that exposure to the Great Smog in the first year of life (ie. Born in 1952) increased your likelihood of having asthma in childhood by 19.8%. Additionally, exposure to the Great Smog in utero (in the womb) increased your risk of childhood asthma by 7.9%. Finally, they saw that early life exposure increased your risk of having asthma as an adult by 9.5%. The reason for this increase incidence is likely due to changes in the development of the young child’s lungs as a result of the pollution.

This study is powerful because it was able to compared a large group of people exposed to a high level of pollution and compare them to people living in different urban areas in the same year. This greatly limits several confounders that normally plague epidemiologic research like differences in wealth, education, and urban vs. rural living. We still don’t yet know the exact mechanism at play here but by looking at other ‘nature experiment’ like the 2013 Eastern China Smog we may be able to unravel how pollution affects lung development, lung disease, and hopefully implement policy changes to reduce pollution levels worldwide.

Image Credit: N T Stobbs

Tagged: Airways, Asthma, Lung, Pollution



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Announcing the Great Task Youth Leadership Experience!

Attention Youth, Youth Leaders and Educators!

Do want to make a difference in your community,  your school and in the lives of others?

Gettysburg can help.


The Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation are very excited to announce a brand new youth leadership and service program entitled the Great Task Youth Leadership Experience, which is designed to help inspire civic engagement through the study of history. Borrowing the phrase made famous by President Abraham Lincoln in his immortal Gettysburg Address, the Gettysburg Great Task Youth Leadership Experience is an intensive two-day program geared specifically toward high school-aged students and their teachers who wish to make a positive impact in their schools, their communities, and in the lives of others. Participants of the Great Task Youth Leadership Experience will learn about the actions, the decision, and, most importantly, the leadership demonstrated by ordinary individuals confronted with the extraordinary challenges presented by the Battle of Gettysburg, the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War. By examining these actions and then recreating them, participating students will be able to then identify and develop their own leadership skills and be inspired by the lessons they learn while on the battlefield to make a positive difference in their own lives.

Working closely with National Park Service Rangers and Educators, participants will learn how soldiers, doctors, and ordinary civilians rose to the occasion and demonstrated great leadership when confronted with the crises experienced during the Battle of Gettysburg—and learn how examples from the past can still be applied to the challenges of today.


But the Great Task is much, much more than just a learning experience; indeed, we want to see how the leadership lessons learned here can make a difference in your schools or communities. We want to see how  participating students complete their “Great Task.

To that end, student groups or teachers who wish to participate must first identify what their “Great Task” will be. Perhaps it will be to clean up and maintain a community playground or park, or maybe to establish an anti-bullying program in school. Perhaps a group will wish to facilitate volunteer programs in their communities, or set up a special tutoring center for younger children at their school Truly there is no end to all the Great Tasks that can be identified and accomplished.

After having decided upon a Great Task, groups can then apply to attend one of our Great Task Youth Leadership Experience weekends, which will be offered every weekend from mid-July to early October. Accommodation grants and financial assistance is available for qualifying groups. For additional information and to apply, please visit

Please be aware that this is an intensive experience and we expect to see results! After attending one of our Great Task Youth Leadership Experiences students will report back to us on how they are applying the lessons they learned at Gettysburg in meeting their goals and in rising to their own occasion to achieve their Great Task.  In turn, their efforts and accomplishments will then be recognized on the “Great Task” wall inside the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center and their efforts will also be shared on the Park’s social media pages.  In addition, each participating group will be nominated for the “Great Task” Student Leadership Award. This new annual award will be presented to leaders of the best community or school leadership projects of the year. Award winners will receive $500 in grants to support their Great Task projects.

For more information, including testimonials of previous participants, please watch the video below and be sure to visit here.

Opinions, Quality and a Great Experience

Recently I read an article titled, Dear Writers: Stop Releasing So Many Novels. If you haven’t read it, you can find it here:

I think the author of this blog had some fairly valid points. I also saw where quite a few of the comments on his post were negative and contradictory to what he stated. I think one of the key aspects to this piece is the author clearly stating it was his opinion. A lot of folks missed that before pulling out the whips, chains and knives.

I am a fairly prolific writer. It doesn’t take me long to pound out a thousand words or more. If I really wanted to, I could easily write 6 or 7 novels in a year. No, that is not bragging, just stating an honest fact. However, I have no desires to put out that many books in one year.

I am a plodder. What I mean is I plod along in my stories, often reading what I wrote previously before I write the next day. I am methodical in that approach, which allows me to get into the mindset (even if for just ten minutes at a time) of my current WIP(s). This allows me to pound out those thousand words a day with relative ease.

Just because I can write a bunch of words doesn’t mean they are all good words or that they should all see the light of day. In truth, over half the stories I write I would never show the world. I could probably put out 8 or 9 volumes titled Crap I’ve Written with the amount of stories I’ve completed that should NEVER be read by any reader.

So often in marketing, the idea is to hit the customer with catch phrases and logos over and over again. Repetition is the key to people remembering who we are or what product we are selling. People making sales pitches will often say the same thing three times, with each one having more emphasis than the last. Again, this tactic is often used to get you to remember what is being said (or sold).

This same mindset seems to have taken hold here in the business of publishing. It is one thing to have your advertisements and logos in front of people. It is another thing to write a novel and put it out as quickly as possible. And then do it again. And again. And again.

The argument here isn’t necessarily about how many words someone can put out in a day, week, month, year. The argument isn’t even about putting out one novel as opposed to six. The argument is how many quality works can someone put out in any given time period?

I know, from experience, that I can put out a lot of good work in a short amount of time. Does that mean it is my best work? Not necessarily. Does that mean it needs to go from concept to written to published in a couple of months? Not necessarily. There are no real facts supporting time from start to finish equating to poor or good quality. I say that as someone who believes in taking my time in getting from one project to another. I don’t rush them, no matter how bad I want them to be done and out the door for people to read. If it is not ready, it is not ready.

But that is me. I plod along. Some people race along at breakneck speeds. We are all different.

I don’t believe I could ever put out six or seven novels in one year. I could write a ton of short stories, but novels? Nope. I just don’t see that happening. But some folks can. And of those some folks, some of them probably put out quality book after quality book. My question: how many of them can do it?

Something at the end of that article really stuck with me, though, and I believe it is somewhat accurate: Drafting a novel quickly is not the problem; rather, the problem is releasing everything that touches a Word document within six months of conception in an attempt to inflate the number of works attached to your name.

I think a lot of folks took offense to this. I know writers who do this very thing, who have said they do this very thing. This amounts to the whole marketing concept of hit them hard and continuously with ads about you and your product. In our case, put out as many titles as you can in a short amount of time to keep your name in front of the readers. Eventually, someone is going to see your name enough to think ‘hey, I should read something this person put out.’ This is subliminal advertising at its best, kind of like the theaters showing us people with food and drinks in their hands going into the movies. Doesn’t that just make you want to go get the jumbo popcorn soaked in heart attack butter and the mega-bladder buster soda?

The mindset seems to be ‘the more I have out there, the better chance I have of making sells.’ While that may be true in many cases, I go back to should you or I do that? I know I can put out a ton of work in a year. That doesn’t mean I will put out a ton of work in a year. I’m not going to pad my catalogue with inferior stories just because I can. It’s not fair to me and it is not fair to the reader.

What it boils down to is the reader. Without them there are no books being bought and read and no need for us to publish. The writer is not the person who is important here. It is the reader. It’s not just about getting readers, but getting them and making sure they are happy with what you put out time and time again.

I want to give readers an experience, and not just any experience, but one they won’t forget. It’s like buying a burger. I’m not going to pay six or seven bucks for a burger at McDonald’s. Two bucks tops, and that would be because I am hungry and their burgers are relatively inexpensive, though friendly service seems to always be lacking. However, if I go to Fuddruckers, I expect to pay between six and eight dollars for one of their burgers. The quality of the food is great and the service is always friendly, therefore I would pay a higher price for it. I also come away more satisfied with the money I spent based on the quality of the food I ate and the service I received. My experience is worth more money at one establishment than at the other.

It’s the same with reading. I want you to have a great experience when reading my stories. I want you to feel you received the value out of them that you paid for. I want you to say, ‘that story was so good I would buy it again.’ Not that you would buy the same story, but hopefully, you would try something else on the menu. That menu would be the catalogue of books you can choose from. You read Dredging Up Memories and liked it? Why not read Cory’s Way? Hey, Along the Splintered Path was good? Why not curl up on your couch with A Stitch of Madness? I believe in the menu I present to you. I believe in its quality. It’s not McDonald’s.

If you paid five or ten or even fifteen dollars for something I wrote, I want you to feel you got your money’s worth. I want you to feel like you received Fuddruckers, not McDonalds. But I’ll be honest with you, if I put out five or six books in a year, you would be getting the Quickie Mart on the corner of Not Good Street and This Sucks Avenue, and that’s not what I want.

I know some folks might not like some of what I wrote here. It’s not meant to be offensive and it is not angst driven. Sure, there are some folks who can put out quality work every single time they sit to write. Sure, there are some folks—some being the key word here—who can put out three, four, seven books in a year and they are professionally done and are quality stories. I absolutely believe that. But most people can’t.

I’m never going to say you should do this or you should do that or you shouldn’t do something. Each person does things their own way. If you can put out six quality novels in one year, I say, ‘wow’ and ‘congratulations’ to you. It’s not easy to put out one or two quality works in a year, so it is amazing when someone can put out many quality titles over a twelve month period.

For me, and for you, the readers, I want you to have a great experience with my stories. If that means I only put out one book or two tops over a year period, then so be it. I would rather do it that way, than to bombard you with mediocre stories that do nothing for you.

The article I read was hit or miss. Some would agree with the author. Others would not and that is okay. I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on my thoughts, and the writer of that article should probably not expect a one hundred percent approval rating, either. But he hit on some things I have griped about over the years and he made me think, and that is always a good thing. And I hope I made you think, even if it was just about burgers.

Until we meet again my friends, be kind to one another.



All We See is the End

From the minds of A.J. Brown and M.F. Wahl comes two horrific tales of struggle and loss you wont soon forget.

Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 2.35.48 PM.pngRun For the Flame takes us into a world where an ice age has engulfed everything, driving life underground. The Sanctuary holds the last vestiges of humanity, but its walls are cracking and the ice is slowly encroaching. In their last grasp at survival, the community is forced to send their boys on an all important run for the flame … none have ever returned.

In Purple Haze, a crash landing on an uninhabited planet strands Adira and the surviving members of her crew. Surrounded by a quiet world of blue grass and purple skies, danger lurks within the beauty. Without contact to Earth and light years from home, they encounter a treacherous enemy that threatens to destroy them from the inside out.

Wahl, a #1 Wattpad featured author, and Brown, whose stories have appeared in over 200 publications, use their easy styles to draw you in and hold you close. Welcome to their nightmares.

Get the ebook on Amazon today.

Kershaw One Ton This Knife is Great! Another Kershaw under $30

Sorry if the title is a bit too Tony the Tiger, but this really is a great knife for the price. The handle scales were wide flat I was expecting a little more girth to them, but from what I understand the same is true of the Half-Ton. Kershaw also has a 3/4 Ton that has additional thickness on the handle scales The bonus of the narrow scales on the One Ton is the low profile of the knife overall.The knife is sharp and has stayed so for the last couple years in which its been my EDC (every day carry) rotation. The knife utilizes a frame lock where one scale is G-10, the other is the 410 steel frame that provides the lock. The G-10 is rigid enough for the lack of steel liner to not be a problem in the slightest. With the wider blade especially, its more of a cutting tool than a pry bar.

I keep wishing this knife had a flipper, but ultimately that would be impractical given the width of this knife already.

I loved this knife so much I had to pick up a Scamp as well, which struck me as a slimmer, sturdier version of the One Ton (the Scamp has a steel frame on both sides of the blade). For the price, this is a great knife!

Knife Photos Aug 10 2014 019 Kershaw One Ton shown above the Kershaw Burst