Rita Webb's half twin brothers Leslie Joseph Durlacher and Gordon Louis Durlacher were born on Tuesday 24th March 1896 at 41 Sutherland Avenue to parents Rose Jeannette and Samuel Durlacher. Gordon was born at 3:30pm, Grandma Julia Kyezor was present at the births.
Their parents separated when the boys were young and they were told that their father had died. They would never learn the truth that their father was actually still alive (and was living in Germany where he eventually remarried and had 5 children some years later.)
In 1908 their mother died of Cancer and they were sent to live with their grandma Julia.While their stepfather kept Rita and Henry. (The twins were never to see them again.) while under grandma Julia's care they went to Tivoli House school in Gravesend
Leslie who was 5ft 2in tall with brown eyes and light brown hair died of Bronchil Pneumonia on 16th February 1919 while in the 1st Australian Hospital, Warminster.
His funeral was held at the United Synagogue Jewish cemetery in Willesden where his grandma Julia was also buried (she had died aged 84 on 29th March 1917 in her home at 10 Cambridge gardens)
Gordon & Leslie Durlacher
The twins it seemed were inseprable and they enjoyed sports and outdoor activities, especially soccer. they were one of the first children to enjoy the newly set up scouts club in Hampstead and had a public school education
Their mother Rose eventually remarried a man named Henry Augustus (Gus) Webb and bore him two children. Daughter Olive (Rita) and son Henry Richard., the boys attended St Augustine´s School in 1904 while living at 87 Hartland Road.and Gus was lsited as their Father on the school register.
The Twins with sister Olive (Rita) Webb
What life was like for the young boys growing up believing they were orphans is unclear. They both joined the army in 1915 with Leslie signing up in Australia (after working on farms and visiting relatives there)he served in Egypt and France.While Gordon signed up in Britain.Serving in France, where he was shot in the arm, but survived by swimming the river Somme. In later years he would insist that his children learn to swim as his ability to swim had saved his life! The boys met up in Paris while serving in the war and had their photograph taken in full uniform.
A fascinating letter from Head teacher Isidore Berkowitz known as "Berko" to his nephew Phil Goldberg has survived and within the handwritten four page letter dated 28th August 1910 Berko tells Phil "As for the Durlacher twins 1 & II they have been a source of immense anxiety and trouble to me & Plummer" and on the next page he laments "Strange to say before receiving your letter about ten minuets had to send (6.30pm) Durlacher to bed & Davis in a room until he goes for "conduct" You know I am not eager to punish especially on holidays" Phil responded to his uncle Berko's letter on the 31st August 1910 and on page 4 (of an 11 page type written letter!) he says "I am surprised that the Durlachers give you and Mr.Plummer and all concerned so much trouble. They are far removed from angels, but we rarely have much anxiety from them, save for their warlike dispositions"we don't know which twin was sent to bed early that night, but it seems the boys were a handful at times, not having a Mother or father in their life must have made them even more close than they already were.
In 1926 Gordon traced his brothers footsteps back to Canada and Australlia meeting many of the people Leslie had talked about on his travels.
On the boat back home to England Gordon met Elizabeth McCarthy whom he would later emigrate with to Australia and marry on 13th February 1928 in Melbourne.
The couple had 3 sons and a daughter. Doris Elizabeth in 1929, Leslie John in 1931, Richard Brian in1933 and Allan Arthur in 1947.
In 1947 the family changed their Durlacher surname to Dale. Gordon Louis died aged 59 in 1956 and his children, Grandchildren and great Grandchildren all still live in Australia.
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Leslie Joseph (1896 -1919) & Gordon Louis Durlacher (1896-1956)