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Matilda May Muller (1907 – 1997)

By Paul Ricketts

Matilda May Muller, my grandmother, was born Matilda May Glue in the small Sussex village of Harting on the 5th of September, 1907. She was christened the following month, on 6th October 1907.

Matilda May Muller, my grandmother, was born Matilda May Glue in the small Sussex village of Harting on the 5th of September, 1907. She was christened the following month, on 6th October 1907.

Commonly called by her middle name, May’s parents were Levi Glue and Emily Pay. She was their second child. Her older sister, Emily Rose was born a year before her in 1906. Levi and Emily then went on to have seven more children between 1909 and 1923. In all May had six brothers, Levi, John, William, Ronald, Wallace and Arthur, and three sisters Emily, Edith, and Daisy Violet.

Matilda May Glue Meets Arthur Muller

May and Arthur Muller met in the early 1920s soon after Arthur left the army, having served in the First World War. The circumstances under which they became life- long partners is a mystery Arthur having been briefly married to a lady named Elsie May Cox whom he had met after being shipped home from France in December 1918.

May and Arthur’s first child Gladys was born in 1926 while Arthur and May were living in a house on Lutenor Road, Easebourne. They then moved to a house in Easebourne Lane opposite St. Marys church steps by which time three more children had been born – Joan, Rosemary, and Donald. Arthur was working for Post Office Telephones as a linesman.

The Mullers Move to 17 Easebourne Street

In 1938 the family moved to Easebourne Street. In 1939 as the second world war approached the UK  government carried out a special census. May and Arthur are listed here along with their children. Arthur is listed as a ‘Skilled Workman, Telephone Communications’. We also find May’s parents Levi and Emily Glue living down the road at number 10 Easebourne Street.

May had four more children, three boys, and a girl. They all grew up in the house at 17 Easebourne street, through the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Arthur and May had many grandchildren, and 17 Easebourne Street became a focal point for an increasingly dispersed family.

May Muller Dies

May and Arthur continued to live together till Arthur died in 1974 aged 74. May lived in the house until she moved into the smaller middle house in her later years. Shortly before her death on 16th October 1997 May became too frail to live on her own and moved into Birch Trees Rest Home, Hollist Lane, Easebourne. Both Arthur and May are buried in Easebourne Cemetery.

Arthur and May’s Family’s War Service

The period during the second world war must have been particularly difficult for May and Arthur. Not only was Arthur going out in the black-out, during air-raids to survey and organize gangs to fix telecommunications lines, but four of May’s brothers entered military service. Three of May’s brothers joined The Royal Sussex Regiment and one joined The Royal Navy, while Arthur’s brother Charles Muller joined the Royal Engineers.

  • John ‘Jack’ Glue was taken prisoner of war in Libya in 1943 and spent the rest of the war in three different POW camps in Germany.
  • William ‘Dick’ Frank Glue joined the ranks of the BEF in 1940 then went on to fight in North Africa. In 1943 whilst leading men in a cleanup operation he was shot and killed. Dick is buried in the village of Massicault Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in Tunisia.
  • Wallace Glue was the third brother to enlist in The Royal Sussex Regiment. He survived the war having served in the BEF, North Africa, Sicily, Monte Cassino and on through Italy and France.
  • Arthur Glue saw war service in The Royal Navy from 1941. In 1946 he met and married an Australian girl. In 1948 he emigrated to Australia.
  • Charles Muller joined the BEF in the Royal Engineers. Tragically he was killed after evacuating from Dunkirk when his transport ship, the Lancastria was sunk just off the French coast.