Joseph William ASH Clifford Joseph Thomas ASH Stanley Frederick ASH Gladys Ivy ASH John Ellerton George NICHOLS Frederick George GRAHAM Kathleen Lily (Kit) ASH Florence LOMAX Mini tree diagram
Doris Kit & Gladys Ash 1911

Doris Kit & Gladys Ash 1911

Doris May ASH

29th Dec 19091 - 11th Nov 20011

Life History

29th Dec 1909

Born in West Ham, Essex.1

between Jul 1933 and Sep 1933

Married John Ellerton George NICHOLS in West Ham, Essex.1

4a 481

between 1939 and 1940

Resident in Leiston, Nr Sizewell, Suffolk.2

Evacuated? to "Sunrise", Fitches Lane

between 1943 and 1953

Resident in Underknotts, Firbank, Westmoreland.2

between Jan 1948 and Mar 1948

Married Frederick George GRAHAM in Kendall, Westmoreland.1

1b 1261 Westmoreland S District


Emigrated from New Zealand

Hastings, Hawkes Bay, North Island

11th Nov 2001

Died in East Hastings, New Zealand Heart failure (709 Heretaunga Street, East Hastings).1

28th Nov 2001

Buried in City of London Cemetery (Grave 226 plot 110993)

At her request body was flown back to England and buried with her mother, and tombstone erected to both of them.


  • On the Occasion of Mrs D.M. Graham's 90th Birthday
    29th December 1999

    Doris May Graham (nee Ash) was born in Norfolk, England, on 29th December 1909. She had two brothers, Clifford and Stanley, a sister Gladys (who died when Doris was eighteen), and a younger sister, Kathleen.

    She had a happy family life on the farm and loved the animals and the countryside. She was full of high spirits, and among other activities liked to climb trees. When she was two years old she fell into a well and had to be rescued, and another time, when the water butt was iced over in winter she fell onto it, breaking the ice.

    When Doris was about six years old she went to live with her father's parents, possibly because she was a bit too high-spirited for her mother to cope with. She returned to live with her mother two years later.

    Doris' maternal grandfather was a Methodist minister of whom she was very fond, and he fostered her natural inclination towards Bible study and the church. In later years Doris was confirmed in the Church of England.

    During the first World War her brother Clifford served with the Scottish Regiment.

    After she left school. Doris found employment as an office assistant in London, travelling an hour each way by train. She worked with the same firm for eight and-a-half years and rose to be in charge of thirty-seven girls.

    When she was twenty-one she became engaged to John, a pharmacist with whom she had kept company for several years. They attended concerts, operas and plays and were very happy as they made preparations for their wedding. However shortly before the wedding date John became ill and within a short time died of pneumonia. Doris was devastated.

    Some time later, on 16th February 1933, she married Frederick George Graham at St Peter's Church of England in London.

    Later Doris had her own catering business, and single-handedly ran the Gwentland Temperance Hotel in Northumberland "'catering" for officers and servicemen during the second World War. Doris did everything including the cooking and baking - it was impossible to get staff. The war years (1939-1945), with rationing, shortages of supplies and the bombing of Britain, took their toll in m any ways, and in June 1945 Doris had a severe heart attack.

    After the war Doris and Fred went to live at Callaly Castle (privately owned) in Northumberland, where it was possible for Doris to avoid having visitors or seeing anyone for six months following her heart attack, having been ordered complete rest. Later they lived on various farm properties including "Half End" at Oughton in Cumbria, "Fairbank" in Cumbria, "Hale" at Milnthorpe, Cumbria, "Kendal Park Farm" in Cumbria (between two main railway lines) and "Underknott". Doris loved farm life.

    Doris became seriously ill with a toxic thyroid and in Coronation Week 1953 she was operated on. It became obvious that she would need a long convalescence. On 14th April 1954 Doris and Fred set sail on the "Oronsay", arriving at Auckland, New Zealand on 25th May. They intended to stay in New Zealand for four or five years.

    They bought land in Eskdale Road, Glenfield on the north shore of Auckland, and got on with their lives. Doris' health did not improve a great deal. After five years she realised that Fred had no intention of returning to Britain.

    In 1958 they moved to Hawkes Bay and built a house in Joll Road, Havelock North where they lived for five years. Next they moved to a two-storey house in St Aubyn Street East, Hastings, where Doris, who had always taken great pleasure in her garden, had dozens of rose bushes. She also took pride and pleasure in her pedigree pekinese dogs an interest she had since 1946.

    Doris always regretted not having been blessed with children of her own, but over the years she cared for several babies and young children and followed the course of their lives with interest.

    In 1970 they moved to Emerald Hill, Havelock North and again Doris had a big garden to care for. She continued to suffer poor health. She had never been given the opportunity to learn to drive and was becoming m ore and more confined to the house except for Sunday drives. Fred's eyesight was failing, he was concerned about Doris' health and decided they should move from the hill and nearer to the shops in case he became unable to drive. So they moved to 1202a Heretaunga Street East, Hastings in the late 1970s, and were there until Fred's death, after much ill health, on 26th September  1996.

    Since Fred's death Doris has moved to a town house with a smaller more manageable garden. It was not easy to adjust to life on her own after being married for 63 years. However her mind and her memory are as sharp as ever as she approaches her 90th birthday on 29th December 1999, on the eve of a new millenium. Her life has spanned most of the twentieth century, with all its historical events, scientific achievements and social changes, and she has continued to maintain an interest in her homeland and the royal family.

    With her clear mind and strong Christian faith, she can look back at the tapestry of a long life that has included considerable illness, pain and suffering, but also many wonderfully happy times and good friends.

    (Beverley Finn)
    December 1999


  • 1. Death Certificate
  • 2. Family photo

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