image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Frederick Edwin Whittall CBE of Moda, Istanbul of J.W. Whittall & Co. (1864-1953), m. 1887. Son of Sir ‘James’ William Whittall of the ‘Tower’, Moda, founder of the J.W. Whittall & Co. and of Edith Anna nee Barker.

Memories of Mr F.E. Whittall, by David Whittall of San Francisco, grandson of F.E. Whittall
My first recollection is of staying with my Aunt Audrey Gardner at The Old Hall, Tacolneston, Norfolk, in 1937. Grandpa was there, and he taught me to shoot. Once, crossing a style, I forgot to uncock the gun and it went off, hitting my boot (fortunately without injury). He sent me to my room for 24 hours, on bread and water. Fortunately my cousin Diana was there too and she helped with titbits. She was engaged to our cousin Edwin Gardner whom she later married, He was killed in the Battle of Britain.

Grandpa was considered to be among the ten best shots in Britain, and on occasion had been invited by King George V to Sandringham... One day we went out to the property of Rev. John Corbould Warren, his brother-in-law, at Caistor, to shoot pheasants. There were about four shooters, perhaps eight men to drive the birds. Grandpa used three guns with two men behind him, loading.

Grandpa once told me of his involvement in the creation of the Turkish Petroleum Company in 1912. He told me that at one point J.W. Whittall & Co had an option of 50% of the shares, but he and his brothers decided that the investment was beyond their means. In the end 5% went to an associate, Calouste Gulbenkian, “Mr 5%”. I asked him if he regretted his decision and he said “No. We would have had an income equivalent to that of Holland and Belgium combined, and I don’t know what we would have done with it.” Other tales involved sailing (he used to have a large yacht) and wintering at the King David Hotel, before it was blown up by terrorists. Strangely enough, he didn’t have a car but always hired a taxi.
David Whittall
October 2007

image courtesy of Betty McKernan
wife of Frederick Edwin, Adelaide ‘Lily’ Helen Whittall, nee La Fontaine.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Herbert Octavius Whittall, the “manager” of a football team with a bowler hat. Herbert Octavius was one of the many children of James Whittall of the Big House, Bournabat and Magdalene Blanche Giraud. With the exception of three persons, all are identified (at least with the surname). It’s date is a bit of a mystery, but Herbert was born 1858 and died in 1929, so I suppose this could be around 1890 or so! Location almost certainly Smyrna. Names: Back row, from left: Jim Wilkinson, unknown, Herbert Octavius Whittall, unknown, Frank Hatton, unknown; middle row from left: Le Bailey, Edward Whittall, Clarke, Fritz Charnaud, Harold Frederick Giraud; front row from left: Oswald Barker, Fred Wilkinson, Charles Joly, Frank Joly, Frank Whittall - click here for a later generation football group photo
Frank Joly is probably Francis Octavius John Joly, (1864-1930 Naples) son of Stephen Joly and Sophia Borell, both also of Smyrna. Charles Joly appears to be his brother, Ernest Thomas Charles Joly (1859 Smyrna-1932 Beirut). According to information received from Yvonne Joly, a family relation in 2008: Ernest Thomas Charles Joly left Smyrna, first for Cyprus and then for Beirut. There around the end of the 19th century he took over a shipping company, Henry Heald & Co. which is still owned and run by his descendants to-day.
Harold Frederick Giraud (1872-1963), of the Oriental Carpets Ltd, married Marie Fidao, was the son of Frederic Jacques Giraud and Mary Whittall.
Edward Whittall maybe Edward Walter Whittall, (1864-1923), son of Charlton Whittall and Helen La Fontaine.
Fred Wilkinson is definitely Frederick Edgar Wilkinson, later British Consul-General in Mukden, Manchuria, son of Richard Wilkinson and Jane Whittall. Jim Wilkinson could be James, the older brother of Fred.
Frank Whittall could be Charlton Francis Whittall (1864-1942), son of James Whittall of the Big House, Bournabat and Magdalene Blanche Giraud, who married Ethel Maud Barker of Smyrna.

This photo probably represents the first few years of “Bournabat Football and Rugby Club” established according to a web site, in 1894, and amongst the founders listed, there is a level of matching seen here (matching names: James La Fontaine, Edwin Whithall, Frank Whithall / not visible here (unless a ?): Arthur Whithall, Edwin Giraud, Henry Joly, Richard La Fontaine).
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
The front of Frederick Edwin’s house in Moda, Constantinople. As you face the house, the large greenhouse that was in the 60th wedding anniversary picture - below - was on the right and quite a way back. The other side of the house was nearly identical and faced the sea.
image courtesy of Edwin La Fontaine
The extended La Fontaine and Whittall family group shot. Back row, from left: John Edward La Fontaine, Edward Leonard (Eddie) La Fontaine, Joan Denise Binns (nee La Fontaine), Peter Morrier La Fontaine, Grace Edith La Fontaine, Hubert Victor Whittall, James Frederick La Fontaine Whittall, Kenneth Edwin La Fontaine Whittall, Lily Whittall (nee Williams), Roland James La Fontaine Whittall, Phyllis Audrey Landale (nee Gardner), Percy Kenneth Whittall; sitting row, from left: Eilleen Helen La Fontaine (nee Whittall), Lydia Mary Whittall (nee La Fontaine), Adelaide Helen Whittall (nee La Fontaine), Frederick Edwin Whittall, Audrey Grace Gardner (nee Whittall), Mary Whittall (nee Malins); on the floor from left: Patricia Mildred Eileen Binns (now Lorcin), Betty Ann Whittall (now McKernan).

The little girl on the front on the right is me, Betty Whittall, later McKernan. The photo was the 60th wedding anniversary (married 1887, photo is from 28 April 1947, Istanbul) of her great-grandparents, Frederick Edwin and Adelaide (known in the family as Lily, nee La Fontaine) Whittall and it shows a number of their children, their wives, their children’s children and wives, and Pat Binns and Betty Whittall, who were the great-grand-daughters.

The giant greenhouse in the background was just that - some beautiful plants were planted in there. I also remember it being desperately hot and humid. The picture was taken in the garden of my great grandfather’s house (Frederick Edwin Whittall) in Moda, Asian side of Istanbul. Unfortunately the beautiful wooden house was eventually bulldozed and now there are flats built there. The house was basically opposite the tennis club, if you ever go there and it faced the sea. The property ran from the main road into Moda from Kadikoy and right down to the sea. There used to be two lodges at the top and on either side of some enormous green metal gates. Between these lodges were wonderful marble steps leading down to a large open area with lots of plants grown in circles within circles, then that lead to a path down to the main house. On each side of this path was the vegetable garden and the rose garden! There was then another large gravelled space before the house which had really tall pine trees from which pine nuts came down and there was seating there which was regularly used. In fact, I remember as a very young child climbing onto my great grandfather’s knee and asking him if I could sniff his beard, because his goatee smelled of bay rum and it was wonderful! In fact, in the photo Grandpa Edwin as he was known to me, did not have a goatee - that only appeared after Granny Lily had died! And strangely, my grandfather, James Frederick, grew a goatee after Granny Mary died! The women were strong characters and did not like bearded men, apparently.

At the time of writing (September 2010), the last time I visited Moda was in October 2008 when I was there with my sister (Jennifer Storm), our husbands (Paul McKernan and Richard Storm) and one of their twin daughters (Stephanie).

We took the tram from Kadiköy to Mühürdar where we alighted and walked towards Moda. After a while this road bends to the left and a road goes off to the right. At the junction of the main road and the road going off to the right was the entrance to the property owned by my great grandfather, Frederick Edwin Whittall. The property extended from that junction right down to the sea. My memories of the property could easily be wrong as Grandpa Edwin died in 1953, and I was aged just 8½ at the time.

The entrance to the property was through very large iron doors, painted green. They must have been about 4 – 5 metres high and 2½ - 3 metres wide. On the inside of the property and to each side of these doors were two stone buildings. The one on the left of the gates was originally the stables and coach house and had been converted into very adequate and comfortable living accommodation and the one on the right was occupied by Herakli and his family. Herakli was Greek and looked after the maintenance of the property.

Once inside the green gates, across a little bit of gravel, there was a beautiful marble staircase leading to the lower level of the garden. On each side of the stairs was a curved slope of a fairly steep gradient (I assume for carriages). The lower level of the garden was a large, square area, the centre of which had two or three concentric circles planted with a variety of enormous phormiums. The perimeter of this area had lots of trees and shaded areas. There was also a rather more recently constructed “garage” on one side of which was a magnificent magnolia tree. Directly across from the magnolia, over the concentric circles and beside the wall separating the property from its neighbours, was a large medlar tree (muşmula). My Mother dreaded my sister and me eating the fruit – invariably we got stomach upsets!

Opposite the marble stairs and on the other side of the concentric circles was a path way which led down to the house. On the left of the pathway, and behind a hedge over which one could see, even as a small child, was the vegetable garden and on the right, again, behind a low hedge, was the rose garden. There may have been other decorative plants there as well, but I was oblivious to them at the time.

The end of that path was marked by a huge tree, I believe a variety of pine, under which was seating. I have a vague recollection of me as a very young child approaching my great grandfather and asking him if I might sniff his beard: he used bay rum on it which had a most attractive fragrance!

I cannot remember what was to the left of that seating area under the tree, but to the right was a low lying glass house where all the cuttings were taken and plants for the garden propagated. In its vicinity was a pine tree, the black nuts of which would be bashed between two stones by us children and the kernels devoured. One young cousin was remembered by my Mother describing the process as “Tak, tak” (the sound of the bashing) “mum mum” (the sound of munching). Beside that was a very large greenhouse where the exotic plants were kept. This was a much taller building and I seem to recall had green and decorative glass panes.

Just beyond the seating area, heading towards to sea, was the house. Pictures of this white painted wooden house are scarce now, but a few photos survive. It was enormous, and I have heard it said that it had 33 rooms. To enter, one went up one of two marble staircases on each side of a marbled area which lead to the front door. The hall, which ran the length of the house, doubled up as the sitting room, with wonderful tapestries, elegant furniture and a grand piano. The draught from the entrance door was stopped by a four panel screen.

On the left of the entrance was Grandpa Edwin’s study, with leather furniture and wood panelled walls. I remember it had a very distinctive smell – leather, bay rum and possibly pipe tobacco, although I cannot be sure of this last item. Next to that, still on the left, was a door to a corridor: this lead down to the kitchens, laundry and servants’ quarters and also upstairs to the bedrooms. Beyond that and running the length of the remainder of the hall, still on the left was the dining room which had an enormous table, which would seat a vast number of people (I cannot guarantee it, but at least 24). On the walls hung all the portraits of the ancestors. The window overlooked another marbled area, rather like the front of the house and from there one could see the sea at the end of the garden.

Opposite the dining room, was what was known as the “Turkish sitting room”, which had a “mangal” in the centre and the furnishings were thick cushions. Next door to that was a smaller room, in which I believe suitors to Grandpa Edwin’s daughters asked him for their hands! And beyond that, and now opposite Grandpa Edwin’s study, was the billiard room with a glorious green baize billiard table in the middle.

I am unable to describe the floor above at the time that my great grandparents were alive, but I do remember it as having the same layout as downstairs, although the rooms were smaller and more numerous. Whilst there was a large bathroom on the mezzanine level at the end of the corridor mentioned on the ground floor, I do not know how many there were upstairs. I know they existed as after Grandpa Edwin’s death, his daughter, Edythe, and her family, who lived in Alexandria at the time, stayed up there during the summer months while my parents, my sister and I stayed on the ground floor!

Continuing the description of the garden, facing the entrance to the house, on the right was the green glass panelled hothouse and just beyond that was a gate that lead to an underground passage that lead down to the sea. I cannot remember what the lower level of the garden was like, other than when one emerged from the tunnel and walked down a few metres, there was a magnificent green fig tree which produced copious amounts of fruit. This tree was so tall that it rose to the marble balustrade at the end of the top level of the garden. The other side of the marble balustrade was a sheer drop down to the lower garden. It was wide enough to stand on, and my sister and I would regularly give our Mother heart failure as we climbed onto it to get the figs!

Closer to the house and opposite the gate to the lower garden was a sunken bit of the garden which had flag stones and a pergola. Wisteria would grow on this and it was heavenly to sit underneath it on a warm summer’s day, with the sweet scent filling the air.

Click here to view Mrs McKernan’s notes of the location of the former Whittall properties in Moda referencing old maps of the area.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
A corner of the hallway of Frederick Edwin’s house in Moda, showing the rich furnishings inside. F.E. Whittall was an influential member of the community who had close contacts with the upper echelons of Turkish officialdom, and he had a part to play in trying to keep Turkey out of the First World War. The information on these activities is gleaned in the book ‘The quest for C: Mansfield Cumming and the founding of the secret service - Alan Judd, 2000’ - segment

Description of the house by David Whittall and Betty McKernan:
The central feature of the house was a hall that ran from the front to a terrace. On the walls hung about six Aubusson tapestries, which had holes in the middle: These had been made during WWI, when the house was taken by Enver Pasha as a hospital for Turkish officers, and the chimneys of heating stoves were driven through them. On either side were the main rooms. On the right side were the Turkish drawing room, where Granny Lily spent most of her time playing bezique. This room contained a “mangal” and the seating was large cushions made of carpet bags (Betty still has two of them). On the left the dining room overlooked the terrace. David can’t remember what was on the left side except before the dining room were two small rooms divided by a glass door. The further one contained a sofa and two chairs and was known as the engagement room. The nearer contained one chair and was for a chaperone. On the second and third (attic) floors were many bedrooms. Outside David’s bedroom window when he stayed in 1947 window was a creeper with figs on it. The terrace overlooked a small dock and a lower garden at sea level. There were several magnolia trees with chairs and tables in their shade.

Grandpa’s office was to the left of the front door, was quite small and dominated by a portrait of his son, Roland, who was killed at Gallipoli. It must have been poignant for him, having tried so hard to achieve peace between his own country and the Ottoman Empire, to lose a child in this way. Two other sons fought on the Salonika front against Bulgaria. The room had dark brown panelled walls and dark brown leather furniture and contained a tiny model of a house with beautiful furniture that had been hand made by some “white” Russians as a thank you when he had helped them. Among his prized possessions were a collection of Turkish pocket watches, and a rifle made for him “by Colonel Holland (of Holland & Holland, the London gunsmiths), who was under an obligation to me.” It was a .762mm Mannlicher action weapon, and with my assistance (because his eyesight was poor and he needed a spotter) he used it to kill seagulls on the wing from the terrace. On another occasion we went to his place at Alemdagh, inland, to shoot snipe and hoopoes.

Opposite Grandpa’s office was the billiard room which contained a full length green baize covered billiard table. The front entrance was between Grandpa’s study and the billiard room and was shielded by a screen - presumably to keep out the cold air!

The hallway was furnished with beautiful sofas, arm chairs and occasional tables, rugs and a grand piano.
1- Uncle Edwin’s mission to the Turks occurred as they were just about to join the Germans. Prior to that the German ships - the Goeben (later Yavuz) and the Breslau anchored off the family gardens, and I well remember the Breslau, high in the water and with 4 funnels, and the Goeben, long, and squat, and low and menacing in appearance. Their arrival in Turkey was the signal for all of us to leave Turkey on board the “Malatian”, a British semi cargo ship, on which your Uncle Kenny (F.E.W’s youngest son) was very sick. We landed at Holyhead after a couple of weeks on board. Uncle Edwin had (much later) acquired a case full of correspondence of the Turkish Foreign Office in a variety of languages. These he stored in London to be, alas, destroyed in the Blitz. He also was the first man to shoot a variety of wild sheep in Asia Minor. Sadly he and Aunt Lily were very retiring but she was never well after producing such a numerous family. I wish I had cultivated him more. Of the children mother always said that Roland resembled him most.
2- The book whose name I gave gives an account of Uncle Edwin in the 1st World War mentioning him at Dedeagatch - “Churchill And The Secret Service, David Stafford” - segment:
3- More on the life and achievements of Frederick Edwin Whittall in this family published book:
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Another corner of the F. Edwin Whittall house.
Moda Tennis Club Courts, which were located directly opposite the side (staff) pedestrian entrance to my great-grandfather’s (Frederick Edwin Whittall) house. The house visible in the background was that of Reginald Whittall.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
left to right: F. E. Whittall’s wife known as Lily, but Adelaide nee La Fontaine (1867-1948, daughter of James Stephen La Fontaine & Helen Barker), Eileen La Fontaine, nee Whittall, wife of Edward Leonard La Fontaine (and daughter of F.E.W., b. 1889), unknown, (Lydia) Mary Whittall nee La Fontaine (1888-1978, sister of Edward Leonard, married James Frederick La Fontaine Whittall of Moda), Audrey Gardner nee Whittall (b. 1888, eldest daughter of F.E.W.), probably Moda bay.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Moda pier in the early 1920s.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
The house in Bornova, Izmir that used to belong to Edward Whittall (1851-1917, son of James Whittall, the ‘coin collector’) known amongst us as the horticulturalist, as he is responsible for introducing the Whittallii tulip to England. Records are at Kew, London. This house is now occupied by Brian’s mother, Gwynneth Giraud.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
The former house of Sidney James William La Fontaine (currently Aliberti) in Bornova, Kazım Karabekir Cad. No 49.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
The former house of James Frederick La Fontaine Whittall (now designated a listed property) currently owned by the family of the late rock singer and showman, Barış Manço, who died in this property in 1999. J.F.L.F.W. (1890-1981) was the son of F.E.W.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
The order of Mecidiye (4th class) given by the Ottoman Sultan Abdul Aziz in 1863 to Charlton Whittall (1791-1867), the great-grandfather of Frederick Edwin Whittall (simplified family tree) after being entertained at Charlton’s house at Bournabat. It was remarkable that a) the Sultan visited him at his house and b) deliberately chose St George’s Day (23.4.1863) for the presentation. The Sultan was paying a visit to Smyrna on his return to Constantinople from Egypt.
image courtesy of Desmond Whittall
OBEs received by Jack and his son Desmond Whittall. Jack Whittall was awarded his OBE for his achievements in the Diplomatic Service, including Turkey and Desmond Whittall for services to Anglo/Turkish commercial interests and to the British Community in Turkey. Co-incidentally Desmond Whittall was the Chairman of The British Chamber of Commerce of Turkey, established by his great uncle, Sir William Whittall in 1887, during its centenary 1987/88.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Charlton Whittal, born Liverpool 1791, died Smyrna 1867. The first Whittall to come to Turkey.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Magdalene Victoire Blanche Whittall (nee Giraud), 1790-1861 wife of Charlton Whittall.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
James Whittall 1819-1883, son of Charlton and Magdaleine Whittall, the collector of Hellenistic and pre-Hellenistic coins of Asia Minor.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Magdalene Blanche Whittall (nee Giraud) 1823-1912, wife of James Whittall.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
James William Whittall - later Sir William Whittall - 1838-1910, Son of James and Magdalene Whittall.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Edith Anna Whittall (nee Barker) - later Lady Whittall - 1840-1935, wife of James William Whittall.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
Edith Amelia La Fontaine (nee Whittall), 1860-1947, wife of Sydney James William La Fontaine.
image courtesy of Betty McKernan
The wild Turkish Tulip discovered and introduced to cultivation by Edward Whittall of Bournabat, Smyrna (1851-1917), son of James Whittall (1819-1883).
Images and information above courtesy of Betty McKernan, 2007.
image courtesy of Philippe Vincent, 2010
From left to right: Herbert James (son), Herbert Octavius Whittall (C. Whittall & Co. Smyrna, son of James Whittall, b. 1858 in Smyrna, d. 1929 Tunis), last of the Whittalls to own the “Big House” in Smyrna, Kathleen (daughter), Louisa (Herbert Octavius’s wife nee Maltass), Mabel (daughter), George (son), Helen (daughter) and Henry (son).
All the Children of Herbert O. Whittall are in this shot, on the steps of the big house in Bornova (taken around 1910?) and 5 have living descendants, one of whom is the photo contributor Philippe Vincent, whose great-grandmother is Kathleen (b. 1881, d. 1960 London) married to Frederick George Keun (esparto - a type of grass - merchant, b. 1880 Smyrna, d. 1941 Tunis). Their eldest daughter, Norah Louise Keun married Norman Charlton Giraud, and their daughter Elizabeth Anne Giraud is the mother of Philip Vincent.
The postcard of the former train station area, sent by a V. Whittall, was probably sent before 1922, though at times these postcards depicting the pre-1922 scenes were used right upto the 1930s. The only 2 male ‘V. Whittall’ contenders are Vernon (born 1898, son of William James Harter Whittall of Moda and Lilian Adeline nee Whittall) or Victor (born 1914, son of Herbert James Whittall of Smyrna and Grace Pengelley). The reference to the Greek ‘Araxie’ house means this postcard would be have been sent pre-1922, so by inference the sender has to be Vernon Whittall.
Postcard view of the gardens of the Charlton Whittall house.
The later Vancouver branch of the Whittall family. It was taken circa 1955 and hosted by Norman Whittall and his wife, Glen.
Starting on the left, standing, Patrick Whittall (Victor’s son), Alec Landale (married to Phyllis Gardner Landale), H. Victor Whittall, guest, guest, Joyce Turland Whittall (married to Tom [H.V Whittall Jnr] Whittall), Norman Whittall, Hilda Chesterton, Bill (William) Whittall, Robert Fillberg, Mrs. Margaret Van Roggen, Edward Whittall, Christian Noblet, Osmond Whittall, Tom Whittall.
Seated, starting at left, Diana Chesterton Whittall (mother of Christine Kleer), Phyllis Gardner Landale, Jennifer Whittall, Richard (Dick) Whittall, Diana Whittall, Lynn Whittall, Glen Whittall, Mary Fillberg Whittall, Mary Malins Whittall, Judd Whittall, guest, guest, Dorothy Whittall.

return to the Whittall photogalleries courtesy of Yolande Whittall | Philipa Threadwell
Jim Wilkinson unknown Herbert Octavius Whittall unknown Frank Hatton unknown Le Bailley Edward Whittall Clarke Fritz Charnaud Harold Frederick Giraud Oswald Barker Fred Wilkinson Charles Joly Frank Joly Frank Whittall