Edith Eliza Priscilla Downes was engaged to William Edward Anderson, one of the fifteen local men serving as sick berth attendants on the Rohilla. He had suggested the name to Edith after hearing that one of the officers on the ship was proposing to have his new – born daughter christened with the name of the ship.
The couple had been saving and adding to their “Bottom Drawer” for over four years. When William received his call – up papers as a naval reservist on the day before war was declared, he wanted to get married before he left. It was Bank Holiday Monday so they couldn't draw out the money in time to buy a special licence.
William had been posted to H.M.S. Pembroke so he assumed he was entitled to make a sailor’s will. He told Edith that if anything happened she would be entitled to all he possessed.
After showing her the will, he sealed it in an envelope marked “To be opened one month after my death” and hid it in a drawer in his father’s house.
After working in a cotton mill for 12 hours a day he still found time to paint pictures.
Copyright © Ken Wilson 1981