Latifa Middleton and Gamila Binnie,
standing next to the cannon Mons Meg,
Edinburgh Castle, Scotland, June-July 1932
Image © and courtesy of the extended Binnie family
Over at Photo-Sleuth I have talked about the importance of photographs in documenting pilgrimages, how they help to maintain contact between distant branches of the family, and can provide a sense of history for families long since disconnected physically from their ancestral homelands. I scanned this photograph in February 1998 from the collection of Gill's Aunt Maud, before we emigrated from Zimbabwe a year later. Gill's paternal grandmother Gamila Binnie née Mansour (1897-1993), at right, is standing with her sister Latifa Middleton née Mansour (1905-1987) in front of what looks like an enormous cannon. According to my notes made during a visit by Maud in May 1998, she told me that it was taken in 1933 at Edinburgh Castle, and that Gamila was heavily pregnant with her fifth child, John. Edinburgh was the birth place of Gamila's husband George Hinton Binnie (1898-1965), although he had lived in Egypt ever since the end of the Great War, working as an inspector for the N.A.A.F.I. (Navy, Army and Air Force Institute) in Cairo.
Postcard of the P. & O. ocean liner T.S.S. Bendigo
Image © and courtesy of Ian Boyle & Simplon Postcards
George and Gamila were married at Cairo on 13 September 1919, and their three daughters Maud, Dorothy and Virgina were born between then and 1925. In July 1926 George had taken Gamila and their three very young children for a trip back to Edinburgh, and they had returned to Scotland again in the summer of 1929.
Passenger manifest for the Binnie & Middleton families, T.S.S. Bendigo
Arrived London 12 June 1932 from Port Said
Image © The National Archives & courtesy of Ancestry.com
Actually they arrived in London on 12 June 1932. It was the third visit for Gamila and her daughters, although this time, as the passenger list for the P & O liner T.S.S. Bendigo shows (click on images above for full pages of manifest), they were accompanied by toddler Leo, sister Latifa and Latifa's two year-old daughter Teresa (Tess).
Latifa, Teresa and Dick Middleton
Postcard portrait, Cairo, Egypt, c.late 1930-early 1931
Image © and courtesy of David Nelson
Latifa had married Richard James "Dick" Middleton (1902-1931) at Cairo in October 1926, and their daughter Tess was born in May 1930. Judging by Tess's apparent age, they must have visited a studio there for this family portrait shortly before Dick was killed in a motorcycle accident on 25 March 1931.
After disembarking the Binnies went directly to Edinburgh, where they strayed with George's parents at 36 Angle Park Terrace. Latifa and Tess appear to have first stayed in London and later joined the others in Edinburgh.
Postcard of the Nederland Royal Mail liner Christiaan Huygens
Image courtesy of Wikipedia Creative Commons & the Tropenmuseum of the Royal Tropical Institute
Passenger manifest for the Binnie & Middleton families, Christiaan Huygens
Departed Southampton 25 July 1932 for Egypt
Image © The National Archives & courtesy of Find My Past
The Binnie and Middleton families returned together to Egypt after a stay of six weeks, departing from Southampton on 22nd July aboard the Christiaan Huygens, a Nederland Royal Mail ship en route to Java in the Dutch East Indies via the Suez Canal. The Binnies would make further visits to Scotland in 1936 and 1939, before the Second World War broke out.
Hanna Wakim, Mona Saikily and Ronald Thomson
Mieh Mieh, nr Sidon, Lebanon, 29 April 2010
Image © and courtesy of Anis Francis
Latifa's daughter Madeleine and her husband Bill have recently paid a visit to the Latifa and Gamila's birth place, the village of Mieh Mieh, located just outside Sidon in southern Lebanon, where they were hosted by cousins still living there. This follows a trip there by another cousin, Maud's son Ronald Thomson, a few weeks ago (above) ...
Hanna Wakim and Lesley Payne
Baalbek, Lebanon, 25 May 1997
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
... and one which Gill and I made to Lebanon in May 1997 (above and below).
Gill (& Louise) Payne, Mona Saikily and son, Matta and Rita Wakim
Anjar, Lebanon, 26 May 1997
Image © and collection of Brett Payne
The tradition is continuing.