In about 1917 or 1918, William Millington began courting my grandmother, Florence Clayton. It is possible that they met when the Millington family, headed by Terence, moved from the Five Ways area of Lee Bank down to Garbett Street in Ladywood, which was where the Clayton family had lived for many years.
In the early part of 1918 Florence Clayton became unexpectedly pregnant and the couple’s first child, Ann Lillian was born on 31st October 1918. Ann’s sister, my aunty Kath, told me an amusing tale concerning the discovery of Florence’s pregnancy, although I am certain it was not so amusing at the time:
“Mom was about 19 at the time when granny Clayton noticed she was suffering from a lot of mystery ailments, so she took her up to see the doctor. He carried out an examination and of course he became suspicious as to her real condition. He must have been a very astute man because he got down a copy of the Holy Bible and placed our mom’s nervous hand on it and asked her “can you swear to us Florence that you haven’t been doing anything naughty?” Well, at that point she broke down and her little secret was out in the open”.
Four months after the birth of baby Annie, in February 1919, William joined up with the army again, this time with the Worcestershire Regiment and four months after that, on 23rd June 1919, William married Florence Clayton at Birmingham Register Office.
On their marriage certificate both parties claim to be 21, although we know that Florence was 20 whilst William was 19. Both were working as munitions workers, although Florence is additionally described as a press worker. William’s father Terence is also described as a munitions worker, whilst Florence’s father William Henry Clayton was a house painter. At the time of their marriage, William was residing at 6 back of 91 Garbett Street, whilst Florence lived at 20 Garbett Street.