gentleman above was contacted through the help of one of the contributors,
and I already knew one member of the family was killed in the First
World War, from the plaque on the wall of St John’s church. Ralph Max
Warren died in 1915, though unlike other war dead from the same list
no information concerning his family were available in the Commonwealth
War Graves Commission web site.
Ralph Max Warren was in fact killed during WWI and he was the son (one
of eight boys and one daughter) of Amos Warren who was my great-grandfather.
It was Amos you went to Smyrna to work with the Ottoman Railway Company,
around the early 1860s. He was an accountant with the company, as far
as I know. He was born in Penhurst in Kent in 1841 and was the second
son of John Alfred Warren of Tunbridge Wells, about whom I know nothing
more. But Amos took a liking to Smyrna and decided to make it his permanent
home. He married Madelaine (born 1847, maiden name unknown) in 1869
and their eldest son was Albert (born 1870), my grandfather. The other
offspring in order is, John (1872), Sydney (1873), Alfred (1875), Percy
(1876), Ralph (1879), Edgar (1881) and Louisa (1887) - see
photo. As a result three generations of Warrens were born there.
My father Cecil Redvers, and myself Redvers Cecil. I was under the impression,
though I do not know where the information came from, that Amos was
a keen Anglican and played a significant part in having the Church in
Boudjah built. I have never been there to see it in spite of the fact
that I have been visiting Izmir annually for the past thirty years or
Clearly Amos was devoted to his wife as this poem written in 1919 in
Boudjah, still on the back of the photo
taken in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary.
Fifty years ago my Dear, we both our vows did take,
That we would all our Strength devote for each others sake,
We prayed for God’s assistance, and He the most divine,
Is good to those who keep his laws and makes their faces shine;
Thus were we joined in happiness, a joy unto each other,
With thankful hearts we toiled on helping one another
We have had our trials....The lot of all mankind,
Yet being so united we left them soon behind;
Boys we had in numbers, in them we found a pleasure
At last a daughter came to us in her we found a treasure!
We lost a boy in infancy our hearts were full of pain
And Ralph when fighting bravely was by the Germans slain.
Oh God, who helped us in the past thy benefactions spread
before the path, as on our way with failing strength we tread
And when to thee it seems the time to close our earth career
Oh let us then behold thy face in heavens atmosphere.
Ralph Max Warren’s newspaper announcement
of his death is also retained by the family, from which the following
is obtained. ‘...Corporal Ralph M. Warren, was killed in action in France
on July 30th and also cousin, Corporal
Cecil P. Rice, has died in Boulogne of wounds received whilst in
action. These two gallant Britishers came with a party of sixteen from
Smyrna to serve their King and country, and it is to be regretted that
most of them have either been killed or wounded. In a most sympathetic
letter to Mr Sydney Warren, Lieut. John Maxwell of the 7th Battalion
Rifle Brigade, says: “Your brother was in my platoon, and I regret his
loss very much indeed. He was a gallant soldier, and had every quality
which I would wish for in a N.C.O. His perfect coolness and reliability
would certainly have got him rapid promotion and distinction. His death
took place in an attack we had to make through a wood. I can only regret
that England has lost a very gallant soldier, whilst I have lost my
best N.C.O., as well as a very good friend.”
Note: From the Commonwealth war graves
commission web site, Max
Warren was one 5 soldiers killed in 1915, the first batch to reach
a total number of 12 by 1919. Thus it is mysterious that the phrase
‘most of the 16 have either been killed or wounded’ by this early date.
Clearly the casualty rate amongst volunteers was shockingly above the
general soldier, and the above sentence could be explained by the same
wounded soldiers returning to the trenches to be killed, almost in entirety.
The phrase cousin means the Warren and Rice families were related, though
this link is now lost.
Albert Warren probably worked for a period of time at the Ottoman Railway
Note: This hunch is strengthened by
the discovery of an ‘A. Warren’ who had a ‘bachelor pad’ (only 1 person
shown in domicile) in the 1898 ‘Point radius listing’, no doubt a convenience
for a person (almost certainly Albert, 28 at the time and not his father)
working at the nearby station.
He had two sons with wife Anna (nee
now unknown, but possibly Kasapoglu, suggesting an ‘Eastern Catholic’
origin), Cecil Redvers (1899) and Eric Valentine a couple of years later.
Alec Issigonis, the Smyrna born legendary British car designer’s mother
and my grandmother, Anna were sisters. As a result of the deteriorating
situation in Turkey the remaining part of the Warren family, namely
my grandfather Albert and Anna, my father Cecil and Marcelle and son
Redvers (me aged 1), as well as Eric Warren moved to Athens Greece in
Note: From the Guildhall records we
know that Cecil married Marcelle Topuz a year before this departure.
I suspect this surname is of an Armenian Catholic background.
Once my parents got to Athens they did not leave. The only exception
was the war period of April 41 to November 1945 when we were refugees
in Jerusalem for the duration of WW II. Marcelle born 1904 in Smyrna,
died in Athens 1978, while husband Cecil Redvers life span (same locations)
was 1899-1982. Albert and Anna Warren escaped from Athens ten days before
the Germans took the city in April 1941, and were in Cairo as refugees.
Albert died in Cairo in 1950 and is buried there. Anna
outlived him, came back to Athens after the war and died at the age
No more of Amos Warren’s progeny remained in Smyrna. The brothers John,
Sydney and Percy all married three sisters (nee unknown)! John went
to England early on and studied electrical engineering, did amazingly
well in his chosen profession until he died in 1950, aged 78, and the
Financial Times printed his obituary,
still retained by the family. Sydney Warren also went to England where
he married Flory in 1897 and lived in Teddington, and had a daughter
and a son. Both died a ripe old age. Alfred married Catina Zaharoff
(Russian background?) with whom he had three sons and a daughter. He
died in Ealing London in 1961. Percy Warren married May and had seven
daughters and one son. Edgar Warren I think emigrated to Australia,
where he married, had a family and died in 1938. Louisa
married Val Stewart, was an accomplished painter in her day, and of
which we have two oils, signed LW, and died in London in 1974.
My wife, Margaret, has assembled a family tree with quite a bit of information
regarding details of marriages, dates of birth and death etc as well
as pictures of many of the individuals. However, no photos or references
to the family house in Boudjah.
Note: Mr Warren has kindly copied a
dozen family photos covering all 3 generations (with names indicated)
to add to the photo archive file to supplement this document.
Dick Wookey is an entrepreneur/developer here in Toronto. He was also
born in Smyrna but as I understand it his parents divorced, his father
returned to England while his mother remarried to an Italian gentleman
in Smyrna whose name escapes me at the moment. Mr Wookey was the gentleman
who developed the prestigious Toronto central neighbourhood of Yorkville
in the Bloor / Avenue Rd area.
Notes: 1- The marriage records for Bornova
viewed at the Guildhall library lists a William Wallace Wookey marrying
a Ruby Gladys Whittall in 1926. William is listed as an industrialist
and his father Lionel appears to be the consul at the time. However
the Whittall family tree gives his name as Gerald which may be an error.
Ruby was the daughter of Albert James Whittall and Agnes Maud Keyser
both of whom have featured in this study before. Ruby’s son Ian Richard
was born in 1928 and his sister Daphnee (b.1931) married Enrico Aliberti
with whom she had a daughter and 2 sons, and still lives in Bornova.
2- View family tomb in Athens, Greece.
3- In July 2010 contact was established with the Australian branch of the Warren family, grandson of Percy Warren and a member of this family has placed online the memoirs of Sydney N. Warren, another of one of the sons of Amos, viewable here with additional genealogical information.
interview date 2003