However, when the war started George was shocked when he asked Ellen to marry him, she refused saying “Marry in haste repent at leisure.’ A week before he left for France they slept together. George wrote to her every day and his letters always got there because he sent them out with his written reports. Over the course of the next three months she found herself pregnant. She didn’t want George just to marry her because she was with child. She explained to George that he could walk away if he wanted to and that she would bring the child up on her own.’
George was adamant that he wanted to marry Ellen upon his return.
“Ellen said that she would not marry him whilst she was carrying a huge bump. Ellen said that when the war was over they would be married but on January 17th 1915 he was killed by a mortar shell. George had made a will and had left the Bridgewater Cottage to Ellen and his child.’
Ellen could not face the ridicule of having no father for the child and when the baby was born on March 10th 1915 she named her Abigail citing George Martin as the father. Ellen’s mother Elizabeth Forrester was not in very good health at that time and Ellen knew that she could not look after her mother, her younger brother, and a child as well so she had the child adopted. As far as she knew Abigail was taken by a well to do family who lived in Hertfordshire.
Ellen knew at least her daughter would be brought up as a lady and would have a good start in life.’
Elizabeth Forrester died on 20th November nine days after the First World War had ended. She was buried in Whitley bay cemetery along side her husband.’
When Edward returned from the war he was very withdrawn and it took him a long time to get over the death of both his parents and the horrors of war. For months he kept having nightmares. He awoke in cold sweats calling out friend’s names of those who had been killed on the battlefield. Ellen nursed him through it until he was able to face the world again.
He found work in Lloyds bank in Newcastle and worked his way up to manager status.
He and Ellen never discussed the child that she had to George Martin; some things were better left unsaid.’
After Ellen had shown Muriel around they sat in the conservatory at the back of the cottage where Edward had made them some tea. Ellen was a fine baker who had been taught by her mother. She had made a corned beef and onion tart and some fruit scones which she knew Edward particularly liked with fresh cream and strawberries. The strawberries were out of season now but Ellen made her own strawberry jam and with clotted cream they went down well. It was so peaceful just sitting in the conservatory. The rain had stopped now and there was a huge rainbow in the sky.
“Well at least we won’t get wet when we go to the picture house tonight.’
“Are you going to see Bleak House?’
“Yes, Edward tells me the book is very good.’
“Ah yes, the book; I promised to loan Muriel the copy from our library.’
“My copy you mean.’ Don’t worry Muriel you are welcome to read it and I’m sure that you will enjoy it better than the film. I will go and fetch it for you.’
“Thank you Ellen.’
“When she had left Edward asked what she thought of her sister.