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London resident

I have spent many years researching my family past in an amateur manner, but there were others in my family who also did research, such as Dr. Geoffrey Whittall, my father’s brother who died in 2002. The family saga in Turkey starts with 5 generations before me, Charlton Whittall who started out representing the merchant Mr Breed Co. of Liverpool, England. I have copies of letters sent by Charlton and his sister Mary who remained unmarried but clearly was a remarkable businesswoman with an interest in a ship. More of my ancestors later.

My earliest personal recollections is from aged about 2, when crawling on all fours in my grandmother’s house in Istanbul, but having to stop at the top of the stairs, looking down frustrated. My grandmother Lillian Whittall was known in the family as ‘Willie’, as her husband was William, in the fashion of Mrs William Whittall. The second set of early memories from aged about 4 come from my boat journey with my pregnant mother to England, with the sailors amusing me with paper boats in a basin. This journey was to ensure my sister got British citizenship. Similarly I was born in England, as the capitulations which would have ensured I inherited my parents citizenship had been rescinded in 1922, and my mother on that trip went to England and back without her husband, returning by train.

Before the critical battle of El Alamein I went to Egypt around 1940-1. My family were advised to leave Turkey at the outbreak of the war as the Germans were advancing through the Balkans. A lot of people thus left. We went to Egypt by train, parting at the Haydarpaşa station which was a sad occasion. The men of the family had to stay behind despite the fact that business had stopped. So me, my sister Elizabeth, my young mother and maternal grand-mother formed our travelling group. My father, Hugh McKinley Whittall, thought of applying for the army, then aged about 45, had fought at Gallipoli on the Allied side, won the DSO, yet loved Turkey. His plan, failing that, was that he would go to Rhodesia where his youngest brother William (Bill) had pioneered a cattle ranch. He had shares in this ranch.

He nevertheless got taken by the army to work in intelligence in the Greek Islands and Syria. He was keen on game hunting, so in Syria he spent the war hunting and shooting. He did go to the Greek islands post liberation and observed there were no cats or dogs there, the population almost forced to starvation level. He had to go there as a judge delegating on minor matters, as recalled in his memoirs.

One of the reasons we went to Egypt was because mother had a sister (Yolande) married to a Scotsman in Barclays bank there (Hugh Carruthers), at Alexandria, but it was like out of the fat into the fire, with the war front approaching that area fast. We initially lived with them, then mother arranged her little house. There I was enrolled at the English Girls’ College at Alexandria school, and remember the day when I went to school as usual, had a morning assembly and filed to classrooms. Classmates included Swiss, Jewish and Italians, with the numbers augmented because of the war, though many families also had business interests in Egypt. There were about 100 girls at the school.

Then bells started ringing again, so we filed back to a second assembly which was unusual. The head-mistress, Miss Inman came, we all stood up. She announced the city was being evacuated, the school was closing and that we were going home. Some went by car, some by bus. At home adults were packing up. To keep the spirits up, something patriotic such as ‘I am sure we will be back for the autumn term’ was said. The music mistress, Miss Eskanazi, played something patriotic like the ‘British grenadiers’. We marched out. Some went by car, some including me by bus. At home mother was packing up.

I remember people were burning papers, and smoke was swirling up here and there. Our doctor, Mr Russell shot his dog which upset me, to avoid it catching rabies or starving when left behind. We took the train east to Cairo with my aunt, cousin and grandmother. Uncle saw us off at the railway station, the train was packed, I was pushed through a window, though we had priority places on the train through Barclay’s Bank connection.

In Cairo stayed at the ‘Mena House’, a very grand hotel, and there were a lot of children there so it was a good time for me, including such novelties as riding a camel. We were about to go to Port Said for a boat to South Africa but the tide of war changed and I back to school for the autumn term.

We had a lot of parties, the mothers wanted the girls to meet young men, so sailors were invited. However ranks were never mixed, so the parties were either for officers or sailors. Our local train station was called Sidi Garba and with returning hospital train carrying the war wounded from the front. My mother working within the auspices of the WVO volunteered to some canteen work. I accompanied her, stating at the station handing out refreshments and tea for the wounded. In a similar way, shipwrecked survivors from a torpedo attack would be given refreshments, sometimes in the middle of the night. We also went to hospitals, and chatted up the wounded to help morale, and my presence as a little girl helped this endeavour. In addition there were frequent air raids at night, and we hurried to the air-raid shelter in the garden. If the all clear was sounded later than usual we could be late to school, a bonus for a little child!

War ended and we came back to England on what had been a troop ship. Rules were at night women were advised to wear pyjamas for modesty in case having to rush to life-boats at night. The Mediterranean was pronounced clear but there would always be the odd mine about. I have kept up correspondence with an Italian Jewish girl and a Swiss Protestant girl till today.

We arrived in Glasgow and then via Liverpool to London. I stayed in London at some stage later mother goes back to Turkey. My sister goes to higher education, but I felt too old to start a new school, so went to a finishing school, which was quite fashionable in those days. This was the end of the age of servants, so it was good to learn domestic skills. However I was nearly expelled from the, didn’t like it. Situated at Beckshill-on-Sea, as a rebel I would swim out and from the shore they would shout, ‘come back’. I remember getting very bored doing a white sauce etc. However made a good friend with a girl from the West Indies. After a year’s of this schooling, went to secretarial college, ‘Miss Judson’s’ in London for 9 months, passed, got various odd jobs but kept going back to Turkey, because I loved that country. I loved the outdoors life and the unspoilt countryside there. Had jobs in Turkey, worked with international refugee organizations, part of the post-war chaos as Turkey took a lot of refugees. Also later, in the 1950s, worked for the World Council of Churches, run by Miss June Stoll, an American who married a Turk. A few years later came to England, the community in Turkey was changing, the English community was disappearing as they retired and left. Life was changing as well. In Istanbul the community was able to keep up the old style of living with one or two big houses and some servants, a life style which ended earlier in Izmir or Egypt. So by the 1960s I had moved permanently to London, England, sharing flats with other girls, working for the National Hospital, now called the Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery at Queen’s Square near Great Ormond Street, still the prime neurology hospital. I worked there till I retired in the late 1980s.

 Note: One of the books recommended by Miss Whittall providing a vivid insight into the life and atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Egypt is laid out in ‘Cocktails and Camels - Jacqueline Carol’ - segment:

The following is an excerpt of a Miss Whittall’s recollections of childhood, penned a few years past:


Marble steps, cool in the summer, rose from the front door to the hall where across a parquet floor, behind a curtain, a door opened to a shabby linoleum covered staircase that descended to the basement. Here a dull stone led along a passage, up a few steps, to a little door at right angles to the front door.

So if Osman, that most excellent of excellent of cooks, had to leave his kitchen unexpectedly to answer the front doorbell in a floury or meat-stained apron he could hide behind the big front door as he opened it and disappear through the little door while morning callers were greeted by Marinna in a pink frock and white cotton apron standing, slightly breathless, at the top of the marble stairs or Sultana, slightly flushed, welcomed afternoon visitors from the same height in a black dress with cream frilly organdie apron and cap. Great-aunts and great-uncles calling on my grandmother climbed those stairs, which had no banisters, and looked to me like elegant tortoises.

My sister, four years less three days younger than I was, was still not able to walk properly when, bored with nursery entertainment, I stole down the back stairs to see what amusement Osman in his kitchen could offer me. The garden looked enticing peering from windows at ground level, and the lift rattling to the pantry above could give rides to a small child, and copper pans from England hung on a wall.

But Osman already had a visitor: a fisherman smelling of the sea and the fish it yielded him. About the floor, hitting their claws futilely, pitifully against the unfamiliar dryness of it, crawled crabs, lobsters - I didn’t know their names. I knew they were creatures of the sea and must be returned to it. Osman spoke Greek in the house. “Thalassa, thalassa” [the sea!] I cried pointing to them and amusement on the fisherman’s face turned to annoyance then anger as he sensed the forfeit of a sale. Osman had watched me across the marble-topped kitchen table. Between its painted legs I saw him stoop and pick up a small crab which he held out to me. I shrank from its waving claws and fisherman’s stinging disapproval dismayed me! Briskly Osman tied string round the crab, made a loop at the free end for me to take, found scissors. I knew I must carry the scissors away from me, points hanging down. Out of the back door I fled, up steps on which servants sat under the vine and gossiped on warm afternoons and summer evenings, past the rosemary hedge, the crab-apple tree, the plumbago [an evergreen shrub] that reached up the side of the house to the drawing- room windows.

When the garden gate banged shut behind me I stood alone in the drive for the first time in my life. Mindful of the fisherman’s scorn, I chose not to venture down the cobbled village street, which sloped to the pier where the paddle-steamers called, to leave my crab in water by the wooden landing-stages where fishermen made fast their boats: a relative, a servant or a tradesman might notice me and take me home; and the fishermen would certainly mock me.

I turned right and walking through iron gates shaded by a cypress tree, which creaked in the wind, into an avenue of pine trees, which sighed in the wind, entered my great-grandmother’s property. We called her Garden-Granny because she let us children, cousins of first, double-first, second, third and many times removed orders, play in her garden. A miscellany of mademoiselles, governesses, Frauleins and dadas (Greek nursemaids) attended us and bade us interrupt our games to step forward to greet her when she was wheeled amongst us in her bath chair.

In our games we had endowed the house with (the house had) a ghost so I avoided the path that ran beside it; and the one that zig-zagged gently to the sea - it was in view of balconies and windows. I trespassed flower-beds, squeezed through a hedge and slid down a steep bank. Boy cousins on summer holiday from prep school in England had said it was snake-infested. If a snake came now I would offer it the crab and as the snake stretched towards the crab I would cut off the snake’s head with the scissors. There was no execution and I was in the bottom garden. Rather than cross the disused tennis-court I wriggled through surrounding reeds. The hole in the wall separating Garden-Granny’s land from her eldest son’s through which with giggly girl cousins seeking excitement I’d peered no tramp or gardener or a big, black man (rare still in the country) leaping out to scare me.
Boats were laid up by the opening in the sea wall and I reached the beach. Little waves kept running forward to see what they could claim from it before receding reluctantly to the water’s edge. I placed my presumably eager, enthusiastic and ever-grateful crab on the pebbles and remembered to cut the string. A wave came and covered it and when the wave slid back the crab had gone.

The sea was the Sea of Marmara where the Bosphorus broadened into it and beyond, with a skyline scalloped and pierced by mosque dome and minaret, was Europe.
It was because of my great-grandfather’s grandfather, Charlton Whittall, that I stood, and English-born child on a Turkish shore, with the seeping through my shoes and a crab dangling on a string.

The article below represents Miss Whittall’s research on the early history of the Whittalls in England and Turkey.

Chapter I

Sailors in Liverpool in 1791 celebrated the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence. This was because at least twenty-seven ships in port were bound for America. Afterwards the “Masters of the American Vessels” among them apologized to the inhabitants of Liverpool in two newspapers for the “licentious conduct of their crews on Monday afternoon ... regretting exceedingly that they had not withheld the indulgence usually given their men that day.” But some of the inhabitants did not resist a reason for rejoicing. One of them was the family doctor.

So when Sarah was brought to bed for the second time he could not easily be found. Her confinement was difficult and the people attending her expected her and the baby to die. 4 July is St Fortunatus’ Day and the doctor arrived to save them. Sarah must have been reminded of him in later years when she smelt drink on her husband’s breath. The boy born to her was not strong. Relatives described him as a “poor, we bairn” [bairn = Northern English slang for child or baby] and did not think he would survive.

Sarah cradled and cuddled her sickly small son and, since she had named her daughter Sarah, called him Charlton, after his father. Carefully, devotedly she nursed him through his many childhood illnesses and he lived till he was seventy-six years old but he did not grow taller than five foot three.

Poor James by his wife had eleven children. He was not poor in the material sense. Oh,no! He owned property in Turkey Street and lived in a fine house in Broad Street. He was poor in grandchildren. On 18 March 1721 the register of All Saints’ Church in the City of Worcester stated that his marriage to Margaret Dumbell had been solemnized and from 1722 to 1739 a clerk entered in that register the baptisms of their babies and always he spelt the children’s surname Whittall.

When the first-born, Francis, was admitted a Freeman of the City of Worcester he described his father as a tobacconist - perhaps a retailer? Certainly James was well to do. He had been a hop merchant and agent for the Leighton family of Shropshire; he drove his own four-in-hand, owned race-horses, won cups at Worcester and Chester races. But five little babies died, middle-aged sons pre-deceased him. Daughter Margaret married late, though she did produce two daughters - but Somners lived in Chester; and Benjamin, the beloved last-born, perished on board HMS Cambridge at the battle of Fort Moro. James remembered by heart the words of the message telling the Lord High Admiral’s Office “That Mr Benjamin Whittall served in the Quality of Midshipman from 24 February to 1 July 1762 on Board His Majesty’s Ship Cambridge” and “received a mortal wound engaging the Moor’s Castle at the Havana” and “expired in an Hour afterwards”. He bahaved with “Care, Sobriety and Diligence being always Obedient to Command”. James remembered with pride that Captain Rodney had mentioned him in despatches when Benjamin Whittall, Able Seaman, served on Board HMS Dublin under his command in the station of Midshipman from the 13 day of May 1757 to 28 January 1759 “During which time he always behaved with Dilligence & Sobriety and always obedient to Command”. James and Margaret cherished these two certificates. Alas, Benjamin! Alas, beloved boy!

George, who also took his oath as Freeman of Worcester, married. Light eyed and laughing he chose for his bride Mary Speed and she brought him controversy over estates in Frodsham and Overton in Cheshire to which she laid claim as a descendant of the Gerrard family, two sons and a Bible. Sir Charlton Leighton (his mother’s maiden name was Charlton) settled on his estates in the year the elder boy was born and stood godfather to him. Mary wrote in her Bible (the Oxford Edition which John Baskett printed in 1727) that her son Charlton was born on 19 October 1764 at 5 o’clock in the morning and in 1769 she added that his brother William was born on 6 October at twenty minutes past four in the evening.

George died in August 1770 so there were no more babies whose names Mary could write in her Bible. They buried George in the tomb of his sister, Betty (who’d died the April before), in the cemetery of Hallow, a village four miles from Worcester. They laid a heavy stone on them and on the stone engraved a ponderous epitaph enjoining the Reader to remember his Creator. There they lie; and “While, the Sun or the Light or the Moon or the Stars be not darkened” the old cemetery, perched on the brow of a low hill, epitomizes all that is peaceful and picturesque.

James provided for his daughter-in-law. In his Will, in his own hand-writing, he gave and bequeathed her the bed on which she commonly slept and also that other bed whereon her sons slept and allt hat belonged to the two beds. And he left her ten pounds per annum for the rest of her life. The only child of his for whom he provided was Margaret Somner. Grandson William was to receive £50 when he arrived at the age of twenty-one. Meanwhile Grandson Charlton was to see that William was properly educated, fed and clothed, and he was left money in payment and payment for his grand-father’s just debts and funeral expenses. And the residue of the estate (£300) went to him.

Charlton had a fair classical education then, like his Uncle Benjamin, he joined the navy. One Saturday, 16 February, he set out from Worcester to go to sea. He travelled (by road, expenses 5/0d) to London, where he bought “4 C Shirts & 3 Pr Flannen Draws” for £1 11 8, “B Cravat thread worsted Gloves & c” for 10/8d, a knife and scissors for 1/6d, “Pockets Books & Quils” for 2/4d and he gave Mr Heming’s servant 1/0d. His total expenses in London were £5 14 2.

He travelled to Portsmouth (by coach for £0 18 0) where he spent £7 1 0 on his uniform, jacket and waistcoat, and 14/0d on a hat and cockade and a chest to put them in cost 10/6d. His sword and belt were £1 17 6. “Things for Trouzers” cost 8/0d, board, lodging, etc, etc, 18/0d, and he had to buy bedding, sealing wax, a tin plate, a nutmeg grater, stockings, comb and hair dressing, and he remembered to buy soap. His rum and brandy were 6/6d and he added another bottle of brandy at 2/6d. He kept these accounts in a leatherbound notebook.

The article below is an abridged version of the piece written by Yolande Whittall for her local church (St Mary the Bolton) magazine in November 1999.

THE ENGLISH GARDEN - full version

On the Asian shore of the Bosphorus is a plot of land given by the Sultan of the Ottoman empire to England, known as the ‘English garden’. On the gates is the sign in Turkish ‘Among those commemorated here are the men and women who died in war 1854-1856’. The garden is kept immaculate by Mr Recep Köktürk in charge for over 30 years, continuing the work of his father. The nearby big square building over looking the Bosphorus was Florence Nightingale’s hospital.

There are graves of nurses who themselves died caring for the Crimean wounded, Sophia Walford, matron, Barrack hospital, Scutari (Üsküdar) -1855, Mary Marks, died at the Palace hospital, Scutari – 1855 and Sophia Barnes all serving at the time when Florence Nightingale was christened the ‘lady with the lamp’.

Then there are the surgeons also served to relieve the pain; Dr James A Wishart, staff surgeon aged 33, Edmund Sidney Mason, MD assistant surgeon, 13th Reg Light Infantry, ‘died actively and faithfully discharging his too arduous professional duties’, Alfred Henry Cherry, veterinary surgeon, Royal Dragoons, Alexander M Grigor, MD deputy inspector general Army hospitals died Scutari, aged 45, Edward John Complin, civil assistant surgeon, aged 25, staff surgeon C Hume Reade, etc.

Also the soldiers from that war, Major Robert William Colville, ‘yielding to the severity of a winter campaign with the allied army before Sevastopol, died on the passage from Balaklava to the hospital ship at Scutari…cheerfully terminating his life in his country’s service.’ His ‘bereaved and sorrowing sister… erected this Tomb as a faint Memorial of his private worth and excellence’; ‘Henry Croft Singer, Lieut,…killed in collision at sea…on his return from the Crimea, Invalided…’. A tomb, beautifully inscribed, is ‘Sacred to the memory of Hon Grey Neville…24…surviving by…6 days his brother…Hon Henry Neville…killed at Inkerman…to the dear memory of those so loved and early lost, their sorrowing Family inscribe this Stone’.

Count Amadeo Preziosi and the Englishman William Simpson’s early paintings of the cemetery show few trees.

 Note: The Internet site for the Maltese painter who became a permanent resident of Istanbul, Count Amadeo Preziosi (1816-1842 Istanbul-1882)

Now rising above venerable ones Baron Marochetti’s monument to the Crimean soldiers is visible from the sea. Four panels between four angels have inscriptions in English, Turkish, French and Italian. A century later a student of the Florence Nightingale School of Nursing in Turkey unveiled a plaque on it, ‘To Florence Nightingale whose work near this cemetery relieved much human suffering…this Tablet cast in Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation Year…has been raised by the British Community in Istanbul…’

Ahead, where ‘Their name liveth for evermore’ (words from the Bible chosen by Rudyard Kipling), is the glory of the garden. On the gates, after ‘1856’, you read ‘1914 – 1918’. Smooth mown grass sets off border and border of English garden flowers. There are ‘a Musalman soldier of the Great War’, ‘Hindu soldier…Honoured here’, ‘a soldier of the Great War, known unto God’. Men of HMS Julius, HMS Iron Duke, HMS Benbow, Irish Guards, Australian Infantry, Royal Naval Air Service, Gordon Highlanders, Norfolk Regiment, Royal Field Artillery, Indian Army…The altar like stone of Remembrance names those buried in distant cemeteries, or without graves. On the gates, after ‘1918’ is written ‘1939 – 1945’.

Once Imperial, now Commonwealth, Sir Fabian Ware’s War Graves Commission tends also civilian graves, as here. On a tall cross, ‘Sacred to the memory of Mary Saxton (Janie), the faithful nurse and friend of the Whittall family for sixty-two years’. She was born in Yorkshire. You will find many graves belonging to the Whittall merchant family who originated in Worcestershire. A knight and his lady, ‘James William…born Smyrna 1836, died Constantinople 1910’…‘Edith Anna’…sons and their wives surround her: ‘William…Lilian…’; ‘Frederick Edwin, CBE, ‘It’s not farewell, beloved, only good night’. Kenrick Edward…1878-1963; and daughter ‘Florence…widow of Canon F.C. Whitehouse, Chaplain to the British Embassy and All Saints, Moda’; a relative ‘Marie Whittall 1847-1948. Their spacious graves, their great ages denote gracious living. But not all enjoyed longevity. Not far away is ‘John Reginald Whittall Kernick, aged 7, ‘and the people murmured and said, - Who hath plucked this flower? – and the gardener answered, - The Master. – So they held their Peace.’

You find La Fontaines, Benjamin Barker, Harold Madge and an obelisk: ‘Charles Simpson Hanson, son of John Hanson Esq of the Rookery, Woodford, Essex,…departed this life…1874…deep in love of his wife, children and grandchildren and numerous relatives. During a residence of 50 years in this country he won universal esteem and reverence’. ‘George Baker, born at Totteridge, Herts. 1822, came to Constantinople …1847, where he died 1905. He was head gardener at the British Embassy.

 Note: It seems Mr George Baker also had a commercial side as he set up a department store, near the Embassy, that was successful enough to be continued by his sons.

You find ‘The remains of Julius M van Milligan, MD, who closed his pilgrimage on the 1st December 1878. Born 19th of July 1800, graduate of the Edinburgh university, he joined Lord Byron in Greece and after its independence settled in the East and served five successive Sultans as Court Physician…and his son, Edwin: ‘Eminent as an Oculist (eye disease) and an Aurist (ear specialist). ‘Greatly beloved as a Man.’

There are Jane, 1807-1872, and Georgina, 1818-1877, daughters of Major Thomas Walsh and Arabella, his wife. ‘For more than 23 years Miss Walsh, aided by her sister, conducted with sound discretion, unwearied zeal and distinguished success an institution opened under the protection of Sir Stafford Canning, British Ambassador at the time, and subsequently established by the magnificence of HIM Sultan Abdul Medjid. The great object for which she sacrificed her ease and native home was to offer means of liberal education to young girls without distinction to race, creed or rank. Her recompense in dying was the firm belief that the blessing of God which has so far aided the noble work would continue to rest on its progress and ensure its invaluable results.’

There are three Miss Lynes who spent their working lives as governesses in Istanbul. Said a Turkish gentleman to an English resident, ‘Send no ambassadors, for your Miss Lynes are the truer representatives of your country’. Nearby, ‘Sergeant William Lyne, Royal Engineers, for 54 years custodian of this cemetery.’ Florence Nightingale, we are told, saved his life in her Scutari hospital by delegating a nurse to sit with him to see he did not choke on his swollen tongue.

‘Charles Nollet, Lieut, RN, late of HMS Albion…died at the Royal Naval Hospital, Therapia, January 1855’. Sister McKenzie ran this hospital on the European side of the Bosphorus near the Black Sea. When the cemetery there could no longer be maintained, graves, Crimean or older, were brought here.

 Notes: Photographs and general information of hospital and cemetery can be accessed at: and the information sheet in pdf format issued by the Commonwealth war graves commission on the Haidar Pasha cemetery can be viewed here:
Over the years, Miss Whittall has visited the Haidarpasa cemetery numerous times and has gradually built up a listing of names and inscriptions on tombs in this cemetery, viewable as a work-in-progress listing in pdf format here: Miss Whittall is keen to contact people who also have an interest in the cemetery, for a possible future grouping as ‘friends of the Haidarpasha cemetery’ to assist in the continuation of this work of collation and care.
Ms Whittall also takes a keen interest in the Anglican cemetery in Bornova in Izmir, where many Whittall relatives are buried, and she has recorded and photographed many of the tombs.

Yolande is familiar with many of the family names in the civilian section of the cemetery from her childhood in Istanbul, or from family folklore. She believes the Madge family came to the city as chartered accountants and the first comer marries a lady from the Maltass family, one with deep roots in the Levant. There was a Pat Madge who was a prisoner of the Japanese during WWII and the experience was so traumatic and he became so thin that his mother didn’t recognise him on his return. The original Maltass marries into the Icard family [William Maltass and Marguerita Icard] and a descendant from this line, Jane Maltass, a beautiful woman, marries a Mr Baldwin. This enigmatic lady is painted by the leading portrait painter of her day, Sir Joshua Reynolds [done in 1782] and this painting after being lost, was rediscovered, and recently [Nov. 2003] a sold at Christie’s in London for over £3 million and is now housed in the Compton Verney Trust in Warwickshire - view. There are other names in the cemetery that hark back to her childhood, such as the Bond name, a gentelman by that name came to live in Moda in the 1930s.

Another name remembered is May Hamson, who lived on the Prince’s islands in Istanbul a generation older than Miss Whittall. They had a lovely house on Prinkipo with a garden that went down to the sea of Marmara which Miss Whittall visited quite often. May had 2 nephews there, of Miss Whittall’s age group, one of whose name Yolande can remember, Nigel Bane who went to the Sandhurst military academy. This was in the 1930s and Nigel’s mother was a Hamson and father was from the navy. Nigel’s mother died young and he was brought up by his aunt, whom he would visit in his brief returns to Istanbul in later years. It was lastly in the 1950s when Miss Whittall saw May Hamson and the surving sister who had a boy, who also went to Sandhurst. - further details on the Hamson family from a book here:

Miss Whittall is also an occasional contributor to the Turkish Culture magazine ‘Cornucopia’, drawing from childhood memories and photographs of life in Istanbul. She is the daughter of Hugh Whittall who died in 1976, marking also the date of her final departure from Turkey. Hugh Whittall represented the last generation to maintain the firm established by his grand-father, Sir William Whittall (1838-1910) who had left Izmir to England, but the disagreeable climate there caused him to make Istanbul his and his descendants new home.

Miss Whittall is keen to share recollections and photographs some of which I have scanned. One of the earlier and precisely dated, and individually named, on a separate sheet, is a family group photo, taken over 100 years ago in the December of 1902, outdoors in Moda, with Sir William Whittall standing at the centre of the large group with his wife and descendants all around. In those days especially in Turkey photography was available to a privileged few, however financial constraints did not apply to Sir William who was even able to ensure the photographers edited the photo to show absent relatives who at the time could not attend the shoot as they were in England. The added pair can be spotted only by the fact that their gaze is in the ‘wrong direction’. This photo also features Miss Whittall’s father Hugh seated at the front as a young child with a cap.

The earlier history of the Whittall family in Turkey is visually recorded through oil paintings of which Ms Whittall has a batch, including the original founder of the Levant branch, Charlton Whittall.

Another photo shows Miss Whittall’s father, Hugh in uniform who fought in Gallipoli like many other Whittalls, showing their loyalties were ultimately with the ‘mother’ country. He was rewarded with a DSO for his services in 1915, and Yolande still retains a copy of the citation. Roland Whittall who was a first cousin to Hugh, as well as an Australian relative, driver P.G.Whittall, both lost their lives in this conflict.

Hugh Whittall was a keen traveller and there are a number of albums dedicated to photos taken of archaeological sites across Anatolia, though in the 1950s and 60s, when these locations were still virginal with statues still in place and no guards or other tourists to be seen. There was a price to be paid for his intellectual curiousity. The photos also show the car and its Turkish driver who was eventually paid for his services with the car that became his taxi.

The photo albums also stretch back in time to the 1920s showing Yolande’s grandfather William on various hunting expeditions mostly on the Asiatic side of Istanbul in the then barren areas of Alemdag and Samandra. William Whittall had bought land in Alemdag and built a ‘red house’ in around 1900s and was used as a country lodge through the 1930s and was sold off after WWII.

One informative shot shows Yolande as a young girl aged 4, in 1933, on board a liner in the Mediterenean for the birth of her sister, Elizabeth Ann, thus ensuring like Yolande before she would have British nationality. Shortly before the abdication crisis in December 1936, in the September of that year, King Edward VIII of Britain paid a visit to the community and one of the photographs shows all the pubils from the boys and girls British school, and the British community including Yolande, lining the pier of Moda to greet the royal guest. Yolande also took photos on her simple camera and one memorable shot shows the staff of the house grouped in the garden. Yolande remembers their names, (from left), Mehmet the gardener and chauffeur to the ford car, her father’s batman till the war, Abbas, Osman the cook and sitting in front, the Greek and Turkish maids, Marina and Sultana.

Yachting was clearly important to the family as there are many shots of happy days spent boating around the then pristine Marmara sea. There are revealing shots of Moda bay crowded with sea crafts, many belonging to the Moda community. An interesting shot shows ‘Bulwer’s castle’ on Bulwer’s island, Ms Whittall describes as some ‘crazy ambassadors folly’, a pseudo castle built on a barren flat island, in the middle of the Marmara sea.

Note: Later enquiries I made with Mr Andrew Mango revealed, ‘Bulwer’s castle on Yassı Ada (one of a pair of satellite Prince’s islands, known as Plate in Greek) is no more. I remember seeing the ruins from the Buyukada ferry half a century ago.’ The John Freely Guide to Istanbul reveals, the island is the former residence of Sir Henry Bulwer, British Ambassador to Turkey, where he lived in what Murray’s Handbook of 1892 describes as a ‘dilapidated Anglo-Saxon castle’ (1p-p.266) . This island was to have a later notoriety as a state prison, in that it was the location of the military tribunal that during 1960-61, in a show trial, tried leader and many deputies of the government of Adnan Menderes it had deposed, resulting in 3 shocking hangings.

The photos of the time show Moda and surrounding area idyllic, compared to the present sprawl. The house pictures include the building known as the ‘Tower’, where her great-grandparents, Sir James William Whittall lived till he died in 1910 and wife Edith Anna nee Barker lived till she died in 1935. Ms Whittall’s grandparents house is also recorded in her photo albums.

 Note: Moda was also the residence of Count Basil Zharoff (white Russian aristocrat ?), a famed arms merchant who sold weapons all over the Middle East. Zharoff’s striking mansion, located on the coastal street going up the hill from Kadıköy to Moda, has been restored and is now used as a branch of a local bank.

1973 marked the centenary of the establishment of the J.W. Whittall company of Istanbul and in a group photo of the Whittall descendants from an evening party, both Izmir and Istanbul branches were represented including, a cousin of Yolande, Irene Whittall one of the ladies crouching in front, and the last with the family name to die in Istanbul in the year 2000.

The founder of the Istanbul branch of the company, Sir James William Whittall, was painted as a boy dressed in oriental garb by the prominent portrait painter of the time and a member of the Royal Academy, Sir David Wilkie, (born 1785) and it turned out to be amongst his last works (he also had time to do work in Smyrna, such as this) as he died on board in the Mediterenean in 1841. The event inspired another famed painter of the time, J.M.W.Turner to paint ‘Peace: burial of Wilkie’. It turned out Wilkie had done another version of the watercolour of young James for his own collection, and its existence was only discovered by accident by the family in the late 70s when it was offered in an auction. The Whittalls could clearly afford to commission portrait paintings including for the earlier generation, the ‘first’ Whittall, Charlton and his wife Magdeleine nee Giraud, though in this case the artist for the oil paintings is unknown. However family lore has it that the Wilkie painting was a gift by the artist to the family who had accommodated him. Among Wilkie’s effects a picture of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire was found.

Miss Whittall retains a copy of a book by Edmund H. Giraud, a relation of the Whittalls who published a book in 1934 titled, ‘Family Records - A record of the origin of Whittall families of Turkey’. The book has a minor section, ‘and a short history of the La Fontaine family by James La Fontaine’. This book was based on family records which Edmund was rich enough to hire people for their reading. The book formed the basis both for Yolande’s compilation of the family tree in 1967 and Betty McKernan’s (nee Whittall) more extensive family tree compiled in 1996 that is still available for sale. Betty McKernan was also the chief organiser of the 1999 Whittall family get together in Imperial College, London to which over 300 arrived from around the world. For many years Mrs McKernan has acted as the membership secretary of the Anglo-Turkish society, a London based cultural grouping associated with the Turkish embassy, details:

From a newspaper (Milliyet) article cutout Ms Whittall presented me, and I was able to ascertain the date at which she conquered one of the mighty mountains of Turkey. The peak of Erciyes was reached in the June of 1961, together with a cousin and a mountaineer, Mr Sydney Nowill, a businessman in Turkey at the time. At the time, Miss Whittall worked for the world council of churches and the International refugee association.

1- From Sydney Nowill who has La Fontaine and Whittall background, I learn of the work of Sydney La Fontaine who was a gifted watercolour painter. Sydney J.W. La Fontaine (1845-1935), son of James La Fontaine (b. Boudjah) and Lydia Maltass of Smyrna, married Edith Amelia Whittall1n and most of his work was from the late 19th century (c.1880?), which unfortunately were pillaged with the events of 1922, and had to be tracked down to coffee houses in villages around Bornova, had to be bought back. However later an eccentric relative Percy Whittall gave away the collection to a dealer, and now only a few survive. 2 of these are in the possession of Sidney Nowill, who is himself a painter, one shows ‘Moda bay’, the other ‘Lice’ currently known as Ilica a resort 5 miles from Çesme. Mr Nowill believes there are still relict properties, owned by members of the community, to be seen here. Another watercolour in the possession of Mr Nowill is a mid 19th century (c.1860) painting depicting the Golden Horn and signed by ‘Commander H.R. Correlli’, a painter of whom Mr Nowill knows nothing about. My subsequent investigations did reveal nothing, and from information gained from Mr Andrew Mango, ‘A recent, exhaustive study of 19th-century foreign depictions of Istanbul (Semra Germaner and Zeynel Inankur Oryantalistlerin Istanbulu / The Istanbul of Orientalists) does not list him.’
2- Another Whittall descendant (from the Sir William, Istanbul side, through his mother), Phillipa Threadwell, has a few Carrelli paintings in her possession, a couple in pen and ink and a couple in watercolour. She also has a Tristram Ellis watercolour of Istanbul dated 1910, a painter of whom the family again knows nothing about.
There is little on the Internet on this painter, however in the National Portrait Gallery of London, there is an example of his work that can be viewed on:
The sitter for that portrait is detailed as Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922), Traveller, politician and poet, possibly related to the Smyrna consul (1856-1864) Charles Blunt.
3- The Whittall family were also prominent in the tea growing and processing industry of Ceylon [modern Sri Lanka] and these have since been taken over by Keells holdings that run hotels including in a converted former factory building.
4- Ms Whittall has recently (2004) donated to the Exeter university library copy of letters, books and archives relating to the Whittall family of Turkey (EUL MS 259).
5- To view a simplified family tree of the Whittall family tree and Yolande Whittall’s position in it, click here:

A book recommended by Ms Whitall is ‘Travels and discoveries in the Levant - C.T. Newton’, written by a traveller sent by the British museum where he was the keeper of Greek and Roman antiquities, during the second half of the 19th century. Published in 1865 in London in two volumes with colourful descriptions and numerous illustrations, one volume mentions Charlton Whittall.

 Note: Miss Whittall is a member of the Anglo-Turkish society and a frequent attendee of the lectures held there. She gave a talk on the Whittall family history in Turkey in 1983, and the following text is taken from her lecture notes.

Charlton was born on 4 July and there were at least twenty-seven ships in port bound for America and their sailors celebrated the Declaration of Independence. Subsequently the masters of the American vessels among them apologized through the press to the inhabitants of Liverpool in these words: "for the licentious behaviour of their crews on Monday afternoon, which had their entire disapprobation and regretted exceedingly that they had not withheld the indulgence usually offered to their men on that day of the year".

The celebrations nearly cost Charlton his birth. One Liverpudlian to participate in them was the family doctor who should have been attending his mother but he was found and arrived in time to save her life.
The baby born was frail and small and the mother, as she nursed him through infancy and his many childhood ailments despaired of raising him. He lived. He lived till he was 76 years old "but he never grew taller than 5' 3".

His father, also called Charlton, after a brief career in the navy, returned to the family background in Worcester, ran through his patrimony and moved to Liverpool to seek work as a merchant. But he had a liking for drink and this often made work unobtainable so his wife, Sarah, took in sewing to augment the family income. She was determined that her children should have the best education possible in Liverpool. When her brother-in-law accused her of semi-starving her children she retorted that she wasn’t putting everything into their stomachs, she was putting something into their minds as well. What was put into Charlton’s mind was a good grounding in English and a fair knowledge of the classics and mathematics. Then Mr Breed, whose shirts Sarah sewed, took him into his firm as an apprentice. After four years he was so pleased with Charlton that he decided to send him to Smyrna to replace his agent there with whom he was not a bit pleased. Charlton would have known then that Smyrna was the commercial capital of the Ottoman Empire, that its annual trade movement was nearly £1,000,000 and from agaric to zedoary he could probably have listed all her exports and imports.

The family originated in Worcester. Charlton, his brother James and sister Mary were the first Whittalls to go to Turkey. The brothers married and had fifteen children between them of whom two sons in each family married and had issue. So began the Whittalls in Turkey.

The merchants of Smyrna had their warehouses along the quay, they lived above or in streets behind and most of them had country houses in surrounding villages. When Charlton arrived in 1809 the plague was raging and he found the town deserted. Nearly everyone had fled to the country. He did the same. He went to Bournabat and found lodgings. Later he lodged with the widow of a French merchant. She had two sons and a daughter.

The captains of the sailing ships brought news and letters.
His father wrote: "I had no fear of your safe arrival. I hope you will be careful of your health considering you are entirely among strangers; keep up your spirits and by no means neglect your duty to your Maker." His mother wrote scolding him for the late hours he kept, particularly at the Carnival; such late hours would destroy the strongest constitution. "Regular living", she said, "will, I am sure, agree with you."
Irregular living or not, Charlton quickly gained the respect of the "business community of Smyrna which consisted of people of many nationalities.

His father wrote: "Whatever particular national absurdities you meet with never let the people or the individuals in whom you notice them perceive that you consider them as such. If you do, you will gain their ill will without any advantage. I am glad you seem to feel the necessity of being extremely cautious in all your words and actions for on the propriety of your present conduct depends the welfare and happiness of your future."

Mr Breed wrote: "You will consider your salary to be from this day at the rate of £200 per annum for the first year you conduct my business of the Milo at Gibraltar, Malta, Messina, Palermo and Smyrna; and for the second year you conduct my business of the Mediterranean, your salary shall be £250 per annum and advance £50 per annum to £500. The £40 advanced you here you will consider to be a present."

Mr Breed’s letter was dated 4 July 1811. In that year Charlton formed his own firm, C Whittall & Company and in that year J B Giraud, a prominent French merchant in Smyrna, died.

He and his family were Royalists. A cousin of theirs married a soldier of Napoleon and the family immediately disowned her. But the soldier’s name was Massena. He became the greatest of Napoleon’s marshalls and riches and titles were heaped upon him and as his wife became Duchess, Princess the fortunes of her family declined. They had a ‘conseil de famille’ to which they invited their cousin in distant Smyrna and they all agreed to reinstate their errant daughter in "the graces of her family and they went one step further: they became ardent Bournapartistes.

So in Smyrna J B Giraud was now a Bournapartiste but when he died they said it was of a broken heart because the British captured two of his ships entailing a loss of two million francs.

Charlton, took rooms in his widow’s house. Her daughter’s name was Magdaleine Victoire Blanche Giraud; she was French, she was Catholic. Charlton Whittall was English and Protestant and a year before the Battle of Waterloo they married. A year after they gave refuge to a Bournapartiste who was fleeing from the British, or the Bourbons, or both.

When Napoleon went to Potsdam he went to the Palace of Sans Souci and entered the library of Frederick the Great. He was accompanied by Marshall Savary, the Duke of Rovigo. Savary wanted a souvenir of Frederick the Great and noticing a manuscript in Frederick the Great’s handwriting lying on a desk he picked it up while Napoleon’s back was turned and put it in his pocket. He was captured by the British and imprisoned in Malta. He escaped to the harbour wearing two suits of clothes, his pockets stuffed with underlinen and one pocket containing the manuscript. A boat took him out to sea and a merchant ship bound for Smyrna took him on board. When the ship reached Smyrna the captain went to the owner and said to him: "Mr Whittall, I have on board a passenger whom I picked up in an open boat outside Malta and 1 think you should speak with him, for upon my word, sir, he is a gentleman, although he is a Frenchman." Charlton went on board and seeing that the passenger was indeed a gentleman took him home to meet Magdaleine since both shared a loyalty to Napoleon. The Whittalls sheltered him for many months and in return Savary allowed Charlton read and copy the manuscript. It was in French and consisted of Frederick the Great’s advice and instructions to his nephew and heir on how to govern. Charlton copied it faithfully and the copy is dated 4 July 1816.

Charlton travelled; when he went to Liverpool he took with him his wife and baby and lots of servants. In 1817 he brought out his younger brother, James, to work in the firm. He thought James could look after things while Charlton was away on business, especially if he went to America.

He wrote to his father: "I find James very useful though lately I have been deprived of his services as he has caught a tertian fever through exposing himself to the sun and eating unripe fruit. Hitherto we have lived in my country house, consequently we are forced to journey into town each day and back every evening. This saves the rent of a town house which would be £200 per annum. My conveyance is a jackass, James also has one as he always accompanies me. The road we pass is delightful and in my opinion the exercise contributes greatly to my health. My country house is like a palace, its running costs are £500 per annum including food, clothes - for this I need but one good consignment from England. But winter is approaching and I will need a town house."

Letters were now going over land. Charlton became a member of "the Levant Company. He still worked for Mr Breed. James too worked for him.

Charlton wrote to his father saying he had offered Breed & Company a share in his establishment. "Should they accede to my proposals the concern will immediately become the first in Smyrna and immense profit would result. If they refuse I shall have more difficulty in making myself a reputation, but I don't despair."
Charlton wrote again to his father: "I shall want you to write to me by post once a month with every possible information such as ships for the Mediterranean, who the shippers are, what the shipments are, and give me particulars of every sale of Smyrna produce in Liverpool, such as madder roots, valonea, figs, raisins, silk, called Prousa [Bursa] silk, olive oil and the prices of wheat."
Charlton imported Manchester goods, manufactured iron and a shipment of porter in bottles and coffee.

In 1826 he made his first Will. He bequeathed his "Soul to his Creator, confident that in His mercy his sins would be forgiven." But his worldly goods he bequeathed to his mother, sister, wife and children and listed them as follows:

1- Land in Everton near Liverpool;
2- A house, garden, outhouses and tarlas [fields] in Bournabat;
5- Another house and garden in Bournabat;
4- Some ground in Bournabat;
5- A town house;
6- Furniture appertaining to the three houses;
7- His share of two hydraulic pressing machines;
8- His share of the capital of C Whittall & Company.

But his particular wish was that his children, especially his sons, be educated in England and that they should go there not later than nine years old, preferably younger, and remain at school until the age of sixteen. If his sons were suited- for a commercial career they should be placed in a merchant’s office in England - nothing was to be learnt in a merchant’s office in Smyrna, nothing but idleness and impudence - nor for that matter was anything to be learnt in a broker’s office in England.

So the children went early to school and were cared for in Liverpool by their grandmother and their aunt Mary. His son James wrote regretting the loss of an old coin he had brought from Smyrna. His father replied "Never mind, when you come for your holidays you will find another coin." Father was right. James found another coin. In fact he continued to find them all his life. When he died Sotheby’s sold his collection. The sale lasted eight days. The Hermitage in Leningrad bought some, the Berlin Museum others and "the British Museum bought 365.

Smyrna in the 1800s was turbulent and lawless and in the grounds of his office premises Charlton buried a jar in which valuables were hidden against "fire, pillage and revolution".

In 1855 Charlton received a letter from the Sublime Porte, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, signed Rechid:

"We have learnt from H E the Governor of Izmir how willingly and impartially you have contributed to the efforts of those in authority in the interests of law and order. You have thus given resounding proof of your sympathy with the Ottoman Empire and its Government. It is an honour for me, Sir, as a servant of H. M. the Sultan to express my gratitude and high esteem for your person."

From 1854 to 1856 Charlton and the British and the French merchants of Smyrna proved their sympathy for the Ottoman Empire and its government. Family legend says that the British Government, through the bankers Glyn, Mills & Co, gave Charlton £2,000 to buy fodder for the horses in the Crimea. Certainly Charlton’s son, Charlton Arthur, secured many contracts. And Whittalls must have been involved in the building of Isambard Brunel’s military hospital at Renkioi on the Asiatic side of the Dardanelles.

After the war Charlton’s business developed thanks to foreign money invested in Turkey and extended over almost all the Ottoman Empire. Charlton himself, in his business dealings, was known for his truthfulness, fairness and kindness and the Turks called him the "Küçük, Büyük Adam" [the little big man].
Forty merchants of Smyrna presented him with a portrait of himself and a testimonial printed on silk: among their many phrases of praise they alluded to him as "One who makes noble use of ample means honourably acquired." All forty signed it.

H. M. the Sultan Abdul Aziz knew about the Englishman and wished to see him. His yacht, "Sultanieh", bore him to Smyrna, possibly to the landing-stage for Bournabat. He was accompanied by a brilliant staff which included Fouad Pasha, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and preceded by a host of servants, including cooks and stewards, and a string of camels bearing food and table equipment. They journeyed along the road to Bournabat. This account of the visit is given by Admiral Sir Henry Woods, Pasha, of the Imperial Ottoman Navy in his book ‘Spun Yarn’. At the time of the visit he was Lieutenant Woods and he was interested in the Whittall household as he was to marry in 1870, Charlton’s grand-daughter, Sarah.

 Note: Admiral Sir Henry Woods (1843-1931) became possibly the highest ranking British man in the Ottoman forces, and was decorated with both the grand cordon of Osmanieh and similarly of Medjidieh. He was certainly not unique in foreign subjects rising to high positions in the Ottoman army and navy as the expertise they brought was highly valued in an increasingly threatened empire. They came from a multitude of nationalities, some of whose graves can be located in the military cemetery of Hasköy, some of whom adopted Turkish names and Muslim (probably mostly nominal) religion.

Magdaleine being dead, Charlton’s two daughters-in-law received the Sultan at the gates of the Avenue. They were dressed in Turkish costume and one of them presented the Sultan with the keys of the house on a silver platter. The Sultan admired the embroidery on her dress.

The Sultan ate his meal in a private room. It was prepared and served by his staff but he wanted to know what the other guests were eating and had the menu brought to him. When he saw that it had his favourite dessert he asked for a portion. The dessert was pistachio nuts and dates crushed in cream.

After lunch he walked in Charlton’s gardens. Charlton had invited every notable of Smyrna, native and foreign, and he entertained them in marquees outside his house. The Sultan asked to see the Protestant church which Charlton had built for the people of Bournabat. Lieutenant Woods says that he was told that when the Sultan entered the church he uncovered his head - a mark of respect not yet shown "by Greek and Armenian officials.

After the visit Charlton received another letter from the Sublime Porte, from the Minister of Foreign Affairs, signed "Fouad", thanking him for the agreeable day the Sultan had spent with him and enclosing two beautiful brooches of brilliants and pearls for Charlton's two daughters-in-law. Charlton received the Order of the Medjieh - 4th Class.

Wandering tribesmen would come many days journey from Asia Minor to submit their differences, even their blood feuds, to Charlton for his arbitration. When they learnt he was dead, they asked to speak with his heirs for they felt the integrity of the man would descend the generations.

One of Charlton’s grandchildren through his son James, the coin collector, was the eldest grandchild here, James William, whom Wilkie painted as a boy, moved to Constantinople, or Istanbul, and founded a family firm and a family there. He was a keen sportsman.

Edward, was a botanist. He collected wild flowers of Asia Minor and cultivated them in his garden in Bournabat. The garden is still there in Bornova. He also had a garden on the Nymph Dag [mountain]. Several species were named after him, such as Tulipa Whittallii and Fritillaria Whittallii.

James William published his grandfather’s copy of Frederick the Great’s manuscript. It was printed in French, just as Charlton has copied it, with an English translation. At the beginning he gave a brief family history and at the end, so because he loved them so and/enjoyed recounting them, he included a selection of his favourite Nas-rettin Hoca stories. He called the book "Frederick the Great on Kingcraft".

At the end of the Second World War a British Army Officer entered the bunker in which Hitler and Eva Braun died. He stumbled on a book and picking it up read "Frederick the Great on Kingcraft, Whittall, Longmans". History does not reveal whether Hitler in his last hours disciplined himself to read Frederick the Great’s advice on how to rule or whether he and Eva Braun consoled themselves with the stories of Nasrettin Hoca.

Mrs Whittall has in her possession a number of family papers, letters and articles, and she has generously allowed me to view some of these. The first is a newspaper cutting of the account of the funeral of Yolande’s great-grandfather Sir (James) William Whittall, who founded the J.W. Whittall & Co. of Constantinople, detailed below:

The Late Sir William Whittall
The Levant Herald – Wednesday April 13, 1910

The immense concourse of mourners at the funeral of the late Sir William Whittall yesterday demonstrated that, besides being the leading figure of the British Colony of Constantinople, the deceased also occupied a most prominent position in the social, financial and industrial circles of this city. It would be practically impossible to give the names of all those present at the ceremony, where the British Colony was of course very largely represented.
The procession started from the residence of the deceased at 1.40 p.m. for the Moda Church of All Saints. Only the members of the family met at the house. The cortège was led by the several Croats in the service of the family, followed by the small grandchildren of the deceased dressed in white holding bunches of white flowers. Then came to coffin covered with the flag of the R.M.Y.C. [Royal Moda Yachting Club] on which was placed a bunch of heliotrope the favourite flower of the late Sir William.
The coffin was carried by sailors of the deceased’s yacht the Abafsa assisted by sailors of M. Gavin Gilchrist’s yacht the Florican and of M. Reginald Whittall’s yacht the Rosalind. Lady Whittall followed in a mourning coach which in turn was followed by the sons and daughters of the deceased and the other members of his family.
The procession winded its way slowly to the church which was crowded with members of the British colony of Moda and with relatives and friends of the deceased.
The service was conducted by the Rev. W.S. Laungston-Day M.A. the incumbent of “All Saints”, assisted by the Rev. F.C. Whitehouse M.A. Chaplain of H.M.’s Embassy.
Within the altar rail were Mgr. Constantine, Bishop of Dafnoussia, representing the Bishop of Chalcedon and the Greek Patriarch, a Delegate of the Armenian Patriarch, the Archimandrite Father Ierothsos, an old and valued friend of the Whittall family, an Armenian Priest who represented the Armenian Community of Kadikeui and a Deacon of the Greek Church of Kadikeui.
Three hymns were sung which had been chosen by the late Sir William who had been chosen by the late Sir William who had given precise instructions as to his funeral, which he desired to be simple. He had specially requested that no wreaths or flowers should be sent.
After the short and impressive service, the coffin was placed on a hearse and was followed by the mourners in carriages.
The children of the Greek and Armenian Schools lined the road outside the church.
On the way to the Cemetery the procession was joined by two Rabbis representing the Jewish Community.
All along the Kadikeui main road the shops were closed and a great number of the inhabitants lined the street.
The procession stopped outside the Armenian church of Kadikeui and a priest came forward and recited prayers whilst the bells of that church and of the Greek church of St. Euphemia were being tolled.
On the Haidar Pasha road the procession was joined by a large number of officials of the Anatolian Railway Company.
On arrival at Haidar Pasha the procession was met by the numerous friends who had come from town in a steamer, specially chartered for the occasion.
It is impossible to give an idea as to the number of these present but we ventured to think that never has such a large concourse of people been present at the funeral of any Englishman in Constantinople.
The coffin on being removed from the hearse, at the gate of the Cemetery, was again borne by the sailors.
The pall bearers were the British Ambassador Sir Gerard Lowther, Mr. H.C.A. Eyres H.B.M.’s Consul General, Sir Edwin Pears, Vice Admiral Sir Henry Woods Pasha, Mr. T.J. Maltass and Mr. C.B. Charnaud.
After the service, numerous friends and acquaintances of the deceased came forward to console with Lady Whittall and members of her family.


The death of Sir William Whittall comes just a year after the movement which brought about a change in the reign of this country. On that occasion Sir William opened the doors of his residence at Moda to a great number of persons who were in danger of losing their lives and many of whom were present at his funeral. With the pluck characteristic of Englishmen Sir William unhesitatingly risked his own life and those of the members of his family in order to protect those who had sought refuge in his home. The strain was, however, too much for a man of his advanced age and he was in failing health ever since that memorable day.

 Note: According to Yolande Whittall, Sir William Whittall was knighted for his earlier efforts of rescuing Armenians [1895 pogroms?], and travelled to the Queen Victoria’s summer residence of Osborne on the Isle of Wight to receive this honour. He used his large yacht, the Abafna, to transfer the refugees to larger ships waiting off-shore. In 1908 Abdul Hamid II was forced to summon a parliament by the Young Turks movement. He attempted a counter revolution in April 1909, and when this failed he was deposed and exiled to Salonika. It seems the Armenians also suffered in these convulsions.

The following letter gives a child’s vignette view of life in Moda, written by Miss Whittall’s father Hugh in 1906 so 10 years of age, to his father, who was presumably abroad on a business trip.

‘My dear father,
I hope you are well, we are all well. There was a very hard wind and very big waves. At Prinkipo [the chief of the Prince’s islands visible from Moda] boat sunk. I don’t know if any one was drowned. Victor saw it sink, and he says there was a big boat near it – he thinks they were all saved. I hope you will soon come back to Moda. And I hope you are having a nice time. We are having a very nice time. Monica [elder sister] is playing patience. I hope you got the letter I sent you. A woman jumped into the sea and Bedo caught her out. A hamal [street porter] was run over by a carriage. Monica and Edna [another sister] are just going to bed. We have 121/2 piastres. Edna went to uncle Reggie’s to tea. Mother is just going to auntie Gertie’s to dinner. They are painting your dressing room. I am doing multiplications of fractions. I did 18 sums in one hour. We have got for homework to put names in our map of Africa and learn the verses of William Tell. We have learnt them already. Yesterday the Kadikeui boat ran into a lighter – they were all saved.
Good night dear father,
Your loving son.’

 Notes: 1- Yolande Whittall’s father Hugh did record for posterity the complex history of the various Whittall companies, and the chief players in this extended family, viewable in the privately published book - segment.
2- Another book treasured by Yolande Whittall is a fishing almanac from 1926, ‘Pêche et Pêcheries en Turquie’ a type of survey of all sea and freshwater fish in Turkish waters conducted by an Armenian (Karakin Devedjian - former director of the fisheries of Constantinople), previously owned by a Kenny Whittall, who styled himself as the ‘Earl of Pendik’, because of all the entertaining he did at his cottage by the sea at Kaynarca, Pendik, about an hour by car from Moda. Kenny Whittall’s first wife was Ruth Lawson who was the sister of Yolande’s mother.
3- Click to view further images of the Whittall and allies families, provided courtesy of Philippa Treadwell (née Perkins) with supporting info - and Barbara Jackson of Canada, in 2011.
4- Geoffrey William Whittall was Hugh’s younger brother, born 1906 and died a couple of years ago in 2002. He was a prolific writer and some of the topics give an insight to the Levantine world of Moda. The following article is displayed in full, covering the subject of hunting, written many years after the period, of his recollections as a youngster then.

1912 - 1928
Apart from a brief reference in the family papers to the effect that one member of the family was killed by a wild boar in 1850, there is no suggestion that shooting was enjoyed as a sport until the days of my grandfather’s generation, two members of which Great Uncle Herbert and Grandfather William were devotees. The former of these two actually accompanying that great hunter Edmund Selous in his search for wild goats - mouflon - in Asia Minor. Grandfather William took life more easily, and in his early days could start shooting after an easy walk from his home in a suburb of Constantinople. On the other hand I know next to nothing of what went on in Smyrna, except that my uncle Jim was captured by brigands while out shooting and had to be ransomed by his father. In Constantinople two of grandfather’s sons, Uncle Edwin and father, became addicted to the sport.

Uncle Edwin was a first class shot and was the first man to record and shoot a red deer in Turkey. In my younger days specimens shot by him were on display in the Natural History Museum at South Kensington. Father took to the sport from early days and when at work after office hours he would walk the 10 or 12 miles into the country, to sleep in a Turkish village, and then shoot over the weekend, returning home on foot on Sunday night. I do not know whether it was through the influence of her brothers or of father, or a combination of the two, that Mother became a great upholder of the sport, although never actually participating, and this so much so that she held in poor opinion any boy who had no use for a gun.

To father shooting was the breath of life, never suffering discouragement from any degree of discomfort, and I have often pondered over which came first in his mind - the actual shooting, or a long day walking, often under adverse conditions, or an association with the local peasants whom he greatly loved and who in return loved him. A first class shot at woodcock, he was not so good in open ground - not that this worried him, for his main enjoyment came from a day spent in the country.

He was a great collector of equipment and after every trip to England returned with more and more to add to his store and this meant that he was never in lack of anything required. I particularly remember two long and heavy coats, lined with wolf fur, which he had bought in Russia, and also, if we went camping, there was everything to hand. If he had any bee in his bonnet it was on the matter of gun safety over which he was meticulous, the carelessness in the handling of a gun being to him the greatest of all crimes.

I have made mention of his love of the village peasant, and the respect and affection was passed over to us boys, so that however wild and unkempt and rough looking they might be, we never experienced any fear of them, but at the same time showed them all respect in illustration of the regard in which Father was held. Sali, an old friend, once walked some fifteen miles to reach our house because he had heard in Moda that Father was ill. Father's gun was a Holland and Holland. He also owned a revolver which hung, I think loaded, by his bedside. This I never heard used.

Turkey is a large country displaying large variety in its physical and climatic features, extending from high mountains to almost semi-desert, but with all this my experience of shooting was mainly limited to a small area on the southern shore of the sea of Marmara, within easy reach of our house. In this area climatic conditions were fairly stable, with warm summers and cold winters, the latter often accompanied by heavy snowfalls.

In respect of landscape the sea shore was bordered by a belt of flat land lying under cultivation or covered with coarse grass and low scrub, brown and arid in summer. Further inland this flat land gave place to ranges of low hills, rising at times to 1,000 feet or so. These in general were bare- topped, with steepish and stony slopes, covered in scrub, heath, pyracantha and the like, which in places gave way to tall forest, as in the vicinity of our Alemdagh house or to low oak coppice. Springs fed streams in the valleys which in places were occupied by almost impenetrable coverts

PRE -1914
Father introduced all his five sons to the art of shooting as soon as they had become capable of holding a gun, the first of which kind being a simple barrelled 36 bore, followed by heavier as they grew older. I remember going out with a man called Omk, and shooting my first bird, shamefully a blue tit. I also remember going after larks, who were attracted by the flashing lights as a mirror studded bird shaped apparition was rotated in the sun. I only experienced one mishap, and that when for some reason or other the gun went off in against my mouth, the resultant kick damaging my lips. This short experience of shooting then came to an end with the outbreak of war in 1914, when we all had to leave.

1919 - 1922
The War ended in November 1918, and father returned to Turkey early in the following year to find the Moda house in reasonably good order. The same, however, could not be said of the Alemdagh house, it having been occupied by the military. This was in a dreadful state, with the kitchen almost needing rebuilding, in consequence of which it could not be used as a shooting headquarters.

There was added reason for this. The town of Constantinople and the surrounding area was under the control of the allied military forces, who kept the city under good control, but this did not apply to the countryside m which poverty and the lack of legal enforcement led to an upsurge of brigandage, which rendered the Alemdagh house unsafe for occupation, with Father no doubt remembering that two of his brothers-in-laws had, in the past, been captured by brigands with a need for ransom.

In consequence, Father looked out for a replacement in the shape to rent nearer to the town and in a safer situation and found this in a locally known as Hamamli stretch of open country within easy reach of the town. The house he leased stood in open country in a somewhat isolated situation and had two floors, the upper of which was fitted up for father and his friends, with the lower rooms for use by the men, and as stabling for the dogs - all being housed in simple comfort. Except for woodcock in the winter the shooting in the immediate vicinity of the house was not good, but daytime excursions further afield could be made by car or cart.

The position in regard to brigands was unusual. In former days father had roamed all over this part of the countryside, and was well known and respected in all surrounding villages. In consequence he was a familiar figure to all locally raised brigands and had no fear of these, the real danger arising from those entering the district from further afield. In the course of shooting, Father often came into contact with such men. One lot telling him that they had seen mother out walking alone, and had followed her about to ensure her safety.

On another occasion, Ossie and I had become separated from the main body, and were excited, at the same time on being approached by two men on horseback, with rifles slung over their shoulders, and with belts of cartridges across their chests, evident brigands. They stopped by us, asked us where Father was and told us that on hearing that he was in the neighbourhood they had come to pay their respects to him.

On another occasion the heads of a band approached Father to ask if he could get hold of some water proofs for them - they not daring to go into town - and this he did. The most renowned of these gentry was a man called Milti - and him we often met, until he was captured. Strangely, while father was hobnobbing with these gentry, Cousin George Whittall, in the army, was doing his best to get rid of them.

Soon after moving Father found that there was insufficient accommodation for friends and relations and so a Nissen hut was erected and divided by a curtain to separate the sexes, who presumably slept on mattresses laid on the floor. On one occasion there was a scene of confusion when in the process of undressing the curtain fell down (or was let down). Mother loved Hamamli, and especially in the autumn with its black berries and mushrooms.

Hamamli became especially popular on the occasion of a boar shoot, when every space in the Nissen hut was occupied by participants and onlookers - but of these I cannot write, not having been present.

At this period of time I was only in Turkey during the school summer holidays, and did little shooting from Hamamli. As against this I loved straying there, by reason of its lying in open country and also of the dogs. I will mention these later on, but in the mean time I thoroughly enjoyed their company and look back on our association with nostalgia. I have mentioned that shooting round Hamamli during the early autumn months, was not productive and we had far more fun on day trips to the village of Samandra which will be described in due course. On these we were often accompanied by army friends of father’s, who certainly enjoyed these occasions.

As I have mentioned Hamamli did not have much to offer Osie and me in the way of shooting during our summer holidays, and so we were helped out in this respect by day trips to Samandra, a village situated in a stretch of flat land, halfway between Alemdagh and the sea and bordering on the hills. The routine for such excursions ran as follows. The preceding evening would be occupied with loading cartridges, with white powder for ourselves and black for the men’s guns, some of which I would have hesitated to use. And so to bed, to be woken by father at 3.00am. The lights in the house immediately making the dogs kennelled in the garden restless. A light breakfast was followed by all, together with the dogs, bundling into a car - in very early days usually a T-type Ford, in later days a large one bought by father. The only signs of life in the town streets came from the reflection of the car’s lights in cat’s eyes and the journey usually took about three quarters of an hour.

Arrived at Samandra we would be joined by our two friends, Kara Mehmet and Ahmet Chaoush, and off we would set in the dark to reach the foot hills as the sun rose, at which hour we could hear partridges revealing their presence by their calls. Then would start the slog up and down the steep, stony scrub covered hills, of which two Keraz Bain and Delmen Bair in particular. Apart from a mid-term halt at a spring to refresh ourselves, we would battle on until, close on midday, we left off in the heat of the day to take on the hour’s walk home, back to the village, to be revived by the cold beer, drawn and of the well, in which it had lain in a basket since our departure in the early morning. Lunch then followed, and after, a rest and return home to Moda. On these day's outings we were often accompanied by British army officers, friends of father's who thoroughly enjoyed themselves even on a blank day.

III- POST 1922
Following on the expulsion of the Greeks from Asia Minor, and the signing of a peace treaty with Turkey, the allied forces quit Constantinople, which now became known as Istanbul. With this change, security was soon restored to the countryside, and following this the Alemdagh house was restored and refurbished. Many of its previous contents having been looted, with the piano later found abandoned on the slopes of the Alemdagh Hill. It was now safe to spend nights at Samandra village and this became our shooting headquarters.

We had at our disposal two houses in which to stay, each offering advantages and disadvantages. That of Kara Mehmet was single storied and lay in the centre of the village. It was fronted by a yard, and had no garden. The warmer of the two in cold weather, it was also the warmer and offering no escape in hot. Ahmet Chaoush’s house lay outside this village, and was set in an orchard. It was two storied and in hot weather allowed us to pick up our sleeping bags and take refuge in the cooler garden.

In the house we occupied a room upstairs, this, as in the alternative house being fitted with a seat lining the wall on all sides. At night bedding was taken out of a sort of cupboard and laid on the floor. Meals were taken out of doors on table and chairs. Toilet arrangements were primitive but adequate, and I rather suspect that night soil was used on the fields. One summer we could not stay in Ahmet Chaoush's house as one of the external, wooden walls had collapsed.

Cooking was left in the hands of Yorgi the Yalanddgi- George the Liar - our inevitable companion. He was a superb cook, although his methods may not have been of the most hygienic.

Morning shooting followed the same pattern, but was not confined to the same area, as now available was a patch of marshland which aroused hopes of a teal or a snipe, but in the main our chief targets were red-legged partridges and hare. Often late afternoon, after a sleep, we would walk the mile or so to Sari Ghazi, to sit under some trees, surrounding a pool, and await the arrival of doves The atmosphere of relaxation, accompanied by much chaffing and jeering to greet a miss and so back home as dusk fell and after the heat and the toil and the sweat of the day to sit in the quiet of the evening over a glass of beer or raki and discuss the successes and failures of the day. Kara Mehmet in particular enjoyed his raki, which made him more voluble than ever. And so as we talked, Yorgi prepared supper, and enjoying his share of raki, added to the conversation.

In the meantime, men from the village drifted in and so father, sitting on his chair, was surrounded by a group squatting on their heels, discussing village concerns and the events of the day, a conversation of which sadly I could understand little.

On the other hand, it was on such an occasion that Father appeared to us at his happiest and his best and most characteristic, surrounded by men whose company he so enjoyed, and who in return held him in all trust and respect. Today, some sixty years later, this is the picture of father that I most like to remember. And so to bed and the start of a new day.

Samandra, obscure village as it was, held two points of interest one of which were some massive ruins of Byzantine brickwork. For the second, an area of marshland close to the village was the gathering point for all storks in the district, prior to joining the main body of migration on its way south. This latter made its first appearance as a small cloud in the distance, gradually to reveal itself as a long broad line of thousands of birds, slowly passing overhead; an awesome and unique sight as the thousands upon thousands of birds slowly passed overhead.

Father had one sad experience while shooting in these parts. He was out with an old friend, Nazmi Bey, and on coming to a hill each skirted opposite sides. But on reaching the far end no Nazmi Bey turned up, and father on going to investigate found him lying dead on the ground, with gun and dog by his side, an ideal way to die.

Alternatively in the early autumn when a north wind gave promise to a passage of quail, we would set off early in the morning from Moda and take a short car ride down the coast where an extensive flat area of low scrubland formed a favourite landing place for these birds on their passage south. Shooting here was not as interesting as at Samandra, the countryside being flat and dull in character, while the actual shooting, demanded a slow pace of walking, with the birds tending to get up at one's feet and fly straight ahead. In general offering easy shots, especially with cartridges loaded with no10 shot. Whereas on the hills we had the world to ourselves, here there were always large numbers of other sportsmen and with them there was always a danger of being peppered. Leon Trotsky, the Russian Revolutionary, was said to have participated on occasion in this shooting, but I cannot claim ever to have recognised him, that is if I ever saw him. Whereas on the hills a good bag was a comparative rarity, this was not the case with quail and especially on a good day. Dick La Fontaine on one day shot 100 birds, though what pleasure this gave, except to pride, I cannot conceive.

In the course of these schoolboy holidays we, on three occasions went on trips away from home. The first of these was after quail at Eregli, the ancient Heracleum, on the northern aspect of the Marmara. For this purpose father borrowed an uncle’s yacht, on which we set sail one afternoon, to anchor shortly before dark. A net was immediately let down into the sea and next morning we set off at daybreak, to wander over rather uninteresting, but good quail country, which offered us some quite good sport. There were several other gunmen on the spot, but also and more interestingly some were using hawks for the same purpose as us and to my joy and surprise one of these birds swooped and flew off with a bird which was falling as I shot it. Apart from the ‘hawkers’ I saw one or two men on donkeys, each equipped with a sort of shrimp net which was skilfully used to trap birds sitting tightly. These men must have had astonishing eyesight, the one I talked to having already caught several birds, live. We eventually returned to the yacht to enjoy a breakfast of fresh fish, taken from the recently drawn up net.

Later there was bathing in the lovely transparent sea, followed by lunch, a short sleep, and a return ashore for more shooting and so back to the yacht. A truly idyllic day, to return home after a further morning's shooting. There was very little left of the old town, and all I could find were mosaics and pieces of pottery embedded in the cliffs.

On another occasion we spent a couple of nights in a Greek house, up the coast at Kartal. The house garden gave onto the sea, and shooting started a mere half mile away. On this occasion father was not with us and we were in charge of Yorgi - feasting on quail pilaff. This occasion proved leisurely and was only disturbed by the monotonous and endless music arising from a Turkish wedding across the way.

Our third trip took us further afield to the village of Teperen, south of the inland town of Afion Karalissac, where we lodged in a Turkish village house. The organiser of this trip was one Sedat, a voluble but amusing man who spent much time vaunting his honesty and running down the dishonesty of all other men in his line. We arrived at Terepen after a longish train journey and car drive to find that Sedat had found us comfortable lodgings, which were free of bugs and here we spent three nights. The shooting was various. In that wide valley there were grey legged partridge in some abundance, while in the adjacent hills there was a good number of red legged, while everywhere there was an abundance of hare. Outside of these there were said to be some sound grouse, but of these I did not see any.

One day, at an hour when thoughts turned to lunch, we found ourselves some distance away from our village and decided to ask for help on the way if eggs and bread at one close by. The head man saw that these could be found and ushered us into a largish room and offered us washing facilities We sat there waiting patiently and then a man came in carrying a large bowl of stewed chicken, and (I think) one of rice, and a loaf of bread. Those were set on the floor in the middle of the room as we all squatted down and partook of a veritable feast, Under these circumstances to have offered to pay would have been accepted as an insult, but luckily, we were able to repay our hospitable and needless to say, poor hosts by presenting them with some hare. Our stay in Teperen was most enjoyable, in part by reason of the abundance of game, and also m great part by reason of the welcome given us by the local people who could not have been more helpful and hospitable.

One aspect of life in the Turkish countryside which interested me was the local knowledge of springs and of the quality of their water, some being charted as good and others indifferent or bad. On one occasion I drank at a spring without asking advice, and paid the penalty by reason of its content of Epsom salts.

MEN - To my mind one of the greatest pleasures associated with shooting in Turkey came from our close association with the men who accompanied us on our outings.

We had three stalwarts - Yorgi the Yalandgi (George the Liar), who ran a drinking bar on the water front at Kavi Kem, and Kara Mehmet and Ahmet Chaoush, who lived in the village of Samandra.

Yorgi lived up to his nickname, never missing an opportunity of coming out with a good story. Thus he told one that during the War he had looked after father’s great dog Jibbo, and that the arrival at first sight of father on his return to Turkey, leapt out of a first floor window to greet him, whereas father told me that he was met with indifference. Then on another occasion, while out shooting quail, spent small shot from my gun bespattered his impressive backside as he was bending over with no apparent m effects. By next day however, I heard a graphic story of how his wife had spent the evening extracting small shot from his behind - and this despite the fact that neither trousers nor his walking ability appeared affected. He was also an excellent cook, but above all an excellent companion, with a great memory for the past. Thus I remember him stopping me - at one point to remind me that it was on this spot that I had shot my first hare - something which had completely slipped my memory. Also I always found it interesting talking to him about past experiences, while at the same time being tolerant of one and my inexperience pointing out our errors and always prepared to laugh at mishaps.

He enjoyed his raki of an evening, which after made me wonder whether he drank away his day’s profits. Outside of this he was immensely proud of the Hammered Purdey gun he had bought for a song in the bazaars as also of his dog, Bitzu, a bitch of the utmost perfection in his eyes. He got one very well with our two Turkish friends. Of these Kara Mehmet was grey haired and of uncertain age, but still vigorous and tireless. He largely directed our operation - and this very successfully and reliably. He was a great talker, and especially so of an evening after a few glasses of raki, which he loved.

Ahmet Chaosh was older and less active, but in contrast to his fellow, a more gentle and kinder disposition. He could well be described as a ‘dear old man’, whose quiet reminiscences were fascinating. His health was failing and he died before I had ceased shooting, to everyone's regret. We usually stayed in his house, except on one occasion when one side had fallen down. I loved, respected and greatly admired these two old Turks, and especially so as they held father such regard. In fact Kara Mehmet attended father's funeral and at the gravestone, threw in a bunch of wild flowers he had brought from the village. What was particularly impressive about these men was that despite their ignorance and low origin, they behaved like gentlemen. Such was their innate dignity that they behaved like gentle folk in what ever company they were set. In addition to his un-moslem drinking, Kara Mehmet always appreciated us going shooting during the fast of Ramadan, for on such occasion he considered he was travelling, and so allowed to eat and drink in daylight.

DOGS - How these arrived on the scene I do not know but we always had about six, some from their black and white colouring, evident descendants of Jibbo I loved these animals and today glossing over their names, Samouri, Mimik, Ginmish, Kurt, Cedar, Spot, Yell, brings back happy memories. They were not highly trained but effective under local conditions. I particularly remember one incident. A pheasant had been shot but could not be found, and so we went on when to our surprise, Cedar turned up out of the blue, with the bird in his mouth. I once spent threenights at Alemdagh alone but with the dogs, thoroughly to enjoy theu- company.

GAME - My experience was very limited so I am limited in what I can say.

 Partridge - were of the red-legged variety and present everywhere m the hills, but never in abundance They could offer very difficult shots in this terrain, and especially so when walking over the unstable stony surface of the hills, when a crossing shot at speed, presented problems to one of my calibre.
 Pheasant - were scarce and mainly to be found around Alemdagh, often only indicating their presence by footprints in the dust on the roads. They chose thickets to live in. I once got a right and a left to the intense annoyance of Uncle Edwin's man, who was preserving these for the ambassador in hopes of a good tip.
 Wild Fowl - for these one had to cross to the European side of the Marmara, to the lagoon of Buyuk Tchekmedje. I never went there.
 Quail - A few bred locally, but the majority arrived on passage south in the autumn, often in large abundance On these occasions they landed on open country on both sides of the Marmara, with us up the coast and within easy striking distance. Their arrival brought out innumerable sportsmen, so that one had to be careful to keep out of their range. Quail shooting was not particularly fun as the landscape was uninteresting and in general they offered easy shots, to cause annoyance if missed.
 Dove - These were universal, but never very abundant and the same applied to Snipe.
 Woodcock - These we gave rise to the best shooting, but mainly during the colder months, when bad weather in Russian and elsewhere sent them south.

I never was able to have a go at these birds, but I managed to shoot one - probably a native. In bad weather they could arrived in abundance, to settle in tall scrub and among low trees to render conditions potentially most uncomfortable, what with cold, damp and thick scrub - all of which often necessitated snap shooting: Father loved this kind of shooting and was completely impervious to discomfort At this game he was an excellent shot requiring speed of action as the birds flitted through the covert
At one time he had bells attached to the dogs’ collars in order to know where they were or perhaps pointing. This shooting also proved very hard on boots and clothing, to leave father constantly in search of the ideal.

Once the Alemdagh house had been restored, father used this as his Headquarters, to take over from Hamamli, and it must have been fun in the house seated by a huge fire in the sitting room.

Of big game, there were wild boar, and roe-deer, but these required organised shoots, of which I only attended one to shoot a roebuck. In general the technique was to put the dogs into a thicket at the foot of a gully, with the guns stationed on the surrounding slopes. The dogs were of astonishing variety, extending from what looked like relics to those of much larger size.

A final word about cooking. The quail were fat and juicy and incomparably more palatable than those available in this country, while mother made a woodcock pie, without comparison in the world of game pies.

1- Turkish. Many Turkish men will not kill wounded birds, so that in practice it was as well to look into the game bags they were carrying, to despatch any such birds.
2- The area on which we used to shoot quail are today, completely built over with houses.

Unfortunately Ms Whittall died peacefully on the 28th July 2013, may she rest in peace.

Tribute to Yolande Rodney Whittall (b. 13 July 1929) read by her cousin Betty McKernan née Whittall at the commemoration service held at St Mary the Bolton, London on 11-9-2013

“A treasured member of the Whittall family and passionate custodian of its Turkish heritage”.

There are not many of the Whittall clan who did not know her. Having drawn up the first genealogy of the family in 1966, she was a living encyclopaedia and always had the answer one was looking for. I would not have been able to update the genealogy in 1996 without her unstinting help. Never did I hear Yolande utter anything negative about a family member, and in fact, when I mentioned to her that research I had done indicated that the birth of a son to an ancestor had taken place some 6 months after his marriage, her reaction was “Oh, but they were so young and innocent in those days”.

She was a model aunt and godmother and a very willing and caring baby-sitter: she never forgot birthdays and quite regularly took a troupe of excited and excitable children which she somehow successfully corralled on excursions to London, and to shows such as Charlie’s Aunt and The Importance of Being Earnest. The annual visit to The Royal Tournament was, I am told, as big a thrill for her as it was for her young companions. And later on in life, she supported her great nephews at swimming galas and cricket matches, despite having no understanding or interest in the latter!

Like her father and uncle, Yolande was a prolific writer and recorded family history. During World War II, she spent some years in Egypt, but not much has been recorded about that – it was all about Turkey, the wondrous countryside, the magical sea of Marmara and in particular, the warm natured people. She was not computer literate, yet she contributed greatly to the Levantine Heritage website. Her legendary photograph albums continue to provide material for this website. Yolande was a diplomatic lady who once gave the following tip to one of her fellow Rock & Fell Climbing Club members:

If you are a diplomat and say “yes”, you mean “maybe”
If you say “maybe”, you mean “no”
And if you say “no”, you are no diplomat.
But, if you are a lady and say “no”, you mean “maybe”
If you say “maybe” you mean “yes”
And if you say “yes”, you are no lady.

She loved the great outdoors: she would take part in the family expeditions to Alemdag, where the family went walking and shooting at weekends; she swam the Bosphorus; she climbed Uludağ and Erciyas Dağ in Turkey; she climbed the Matterhorn, an achievement regarded with awe at the time, and from 1990 onwards regularly took to sailing the southern coast of Turkey in the traditional gülets exploring archaeological sites.

Yolande’s interests went beyond the family: on a visit to Istanbul, she went to the War Graves Commission cemetery at Haydarpaşa, studying and recording the epitaphs of the graves of soldiers; and in 1996 she wrote an article called The English Garden about that cemetery – an article which was published in The Clarion, the Parish Magazine of this church; she was a keen walker and was part of the London branch of the Fell & Rock Climbing Club offering the use of her flat for its twice yearly committee meetings; she was a very keen traveller, visiting family and friends all over of the world; she made friends easily and kept up correspondence with them; she supported a number of societies. She loved poetry and classical music and Radio 3 would be on 24 hours a day as quiet background music in her flat.

She was a staunch supporter of the Anglo-Turkish Society, was an active member of its Council for many, many years and attended as many lectures and events as she could. In 1983, she even persuaded (or should I say subjected) the Society to a talk about the Whittall family. And in the days that the Society held an annual ball, she would support it financially regardless of whether or not she could attend.

She loved the garden behind her flat and would admire its view from her flat window. She would often be seen working with the gardener looking after the beds and ensuring that the Whittallii tulip thrived there.

Having occasionally provided me with accommodation, I know she was a wonderfully welcoming hostess. If one had the good fortune to be asked to her flat for a meal, be it lunch, tea or supper, it was always presented using china and silver. I cannot recall ever being served a hot drink in a mug at Yolande’s. She also enjoyed her glass of wine – she once told me that she loved the visits of her nephew, Richard, when they shared a bottle of wine and a meal on the evenings he had to spend in London for business reasons! She had made it a tradition to invite her neighbours on Shrove Tuesday for pancakes and did so for the final time just before moving to Oxfordshire when the friends did the tossing!

This is the picture of the sister, the aunt and great aunt, the godmother, the cousin and the friend that we have lost and whose life we are here to celebrate. I will always remember her with great fondness.

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