Mrs Lillian Alice Rostigina
Lillian Alice Rostigina was well known around the villages of Beaulieu, East End, Milford and East Boldre (which she usually referred to by its ancient name of Beaulieu Rails). She sewed kettle holders for her living and would sell or usually barter them with her long standing customers. One of these was my Needle-work teacher at Bartley School, Miss Moody and my Granny, for that was who Lillian Alice Rostigina was, had long conversations with her about Needle-work. Granny also made Patchwork. Villagers who knew her said she was an educated woman.
She was quite a character around these parts and could often be seen with her old pram talking to someone in the villages. I remember she had a helpful and very sympathetic nature, but she was also a very private person. If you fell and hurt yourself a Murray Mint would make it better!!
Her name was Gunner-Whatmore before she met my Grandfather Joseph Rostigina and she was born in Micheldever near Winchester. Her father Charles Gunner was a wheelwright and her mother was Sara Whatmore.
Lillian met my Grandfather and they travelled around North Hampshire and Sussex before settling here in the New Forest. I know nothing of my grandfather except that he died in 1939 a year before I was born; he was 63 years of age. They had four surviving children, two girls and two boys, one of whom was my father Joseph, the eldest son.
Private Joseph Rostigina on the right with comrade
Courtesy of June Gittoes (nee Rostigina)
Joe was a much admired six footer and at the outbreak of the Second World War he volunteered and joined the Hampshire Regiment. He was sent for training on the Isle of Wight and later at Guildford. Subsequently he transferred to the Royal Warwickshire’s and was posted to India where he spent his war years. He also saw service in Burma. I have his war record and medals including his Burma Star.
I started school at East Boldre aged only four and clearly remember seeing the date of September 1944 written on the blackboard in the right hand corner. I was six years old when my father returned from the war in 1946. At that time the school leaving age was fourteen and I remember some very big boys and girls were there in those days. I think Basil Burton may well have been one of those older school leavers!
Granny’s other son was my Uncle Tony (Anthony), he was also tall and handsome and served in the Pioneer Corps. Very sadly he died in his early forties quite suddenly of a heart attack working in his garden at Thorney Hill.
My father Joseph survived until the age of 82 and passed away peacefully in the village of Sway.
My Grandmother Lillian died aged 75 in November 1965 and is buried at Saint Paul’s Church East Boldre near to my Grandfather.
June Gittoes (nee Rostigina)