Amongst the names on the Stockwell War Memorial are three brothers, Ernest, Frederick and Alfred Desaleux. They all died in 1917 – Frederick in February, Ernest in April and Alfred in May. The brothers joined different brigades, although two, Ernest and Frederick, were riflemen. Alfred may have moved to Canada before the war: he joined the Canadian Field Artillery and his widow, Alice, is listed as living in Winnipeg in 1917. She was certainly in London during 1911. In 1911 the Desaleux family were living at Fountain Street (now gone), Stockwell.
E. W. Desaleux
Service no. S/14522
Rifleman, Rifle Brigade, 1st Battalion
Died age 23 on 15 April 1917
Son of Son of Jules B. and Edith Desaleux
Remembered at Arras Memorial, France
At least one other Desaleux brother served in the war: Albert. Dan Desaleux, his great-grandson, provided the following information.
You might like to know that my grandfather Reginald Desaleux is one of the children of Albert Desaleux who you have listed above. He too was born in Lambeth, as was my father, Barry.
I do have some more information on Albert Desaleux: Volunteering in March 1915 he embarked for France six months and served throughout the war. During this period he was engaged on light railway construction and in laying tracks for guns, and was present in the Battles of Arras, Albert and Vimy Ridge. He was buried by a shell explosion in the course of operations and on recovery served with the signal section until hostilities ceased. Demobilised in May 1919, he holds the 1914-15 Star, and the General Service and Victory Medals.
Jules Desaleux was a map publishing assistant who lived in 73 Tavistock Street, Westminster and married Edith (unknown maiden name). This information is from a census page. However, we have no information of what year the page is actually from.
Information from the 1911 census
In 1911 the Desaleux family lived at 20 Fountain Street, Stockwell.
Jules Desaleux, the father, is listed as a 45-year-old warehouseman born at “St George, Hanover Square”, London. His wife, Edith Desaleux, was born in Dover, Kent.
Living with them were nine of their many children:
Albert Desaleux, 18, a general labourer with the railway, born at Pimlico (more details below)
Ernest Desaleux, 17, a warehouseman, later to die in the war
Frederick Desaleux, 14, also a warehouseman and also to die in the war, born in Lambeth
Bertha Desaleux, 12, still at school, born in Lambeth
Henry Desaleux, 11, born in Lambeth
Hilda Desaleux, 8, born in Lambeth
Emma Desaleux, 6, born in Lambeth
Ethel Desaleux, 4, born in Lambeth
Gertrude Desaleux, 2, born in Lambeth
Also, in the 1911 census, at 8 Pownall Terrace, Stockwell, Alice Eleanor Desaleux, 20, wife of Jules Benjamin Alfred Desaleux and her six-month-old son Alfred Hugh were listed as visiting Henry James Kemp (described as an “attendant”) and his wife Alice and their five children.
Information from the 1901 census
Ten years previously, in 1901, the family were living at 186 Upper Kennington Lane, in the parish of St Peter’s, Vauxhall, with eight children (the other four were not yet born), including:
Louise Desaleux, born 1886, then aged 15 (listed in the 1891 as ‘Edith’)
Alfred Desaleux, born 1888, aged 13 (listed in the 1891 census as ‘Jules’)
Ellen Desaleux, born 1890, aged 11
All were listed as having been born in Holborn.
Jules Desaleux’s parents Benjamin, born 1815, a journeyman lamp-maker and Maire (or possibly Eliza), born 1821, a corset-maker, came from France. In 1881, according to that census, they were living at 36 South Molton Street, “St George, Hanover Square” with their 24-year-old daughter, also called Maire and also a corset-maker. They had lived at this address for at least 20 years (they are there on the 1861 census). Meanwhile, Jules, then 22, was a Private in the Army Hospital Corps and living at the South Camp at Aldershot.