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Julius Rothermel (Watson) took his mother's maiden name, there was no father on his birth certificate and no marriage recorded. He was born in Horton Bradford Yorkshire. He was very secretative about his family background once or twice mentioning that there was a German connection . Hence his change of name to plain John Watson during the second world war. By the age of ten he was attending Wellingborough School as a boarder. This has been confirmed by the school, but only that he attended the prep department. He always supported Northants cricket team. He studied to become a Pharmacist and Optitian at Loughborough, he worked in a pharmacy in Nuneaton in 1937 when he qualified. His mother later became a 'Mrs Butler' when she married Ernest Albert Butler in 1916 in Shardlow Derbyshire. Julius's first job was as a Chemist on the Strand in Torquay. It was here that he met [Pansy] Florence Gertrude Ellen Wallace [Bird] in her Dancing School when he was learning to ballroom dance.
As his son Alastair has had no children the name 'Watson' has remained in the family for only two generations.
His mother as Mrs Butler had a son named Derek. She moved down to Torquay to be near John, Harry Bird put she and Derek up in Esdaile. There was never a 'Mr Butler' around, stories have it that he was in India! In fact he was listed as a Joiner on the marriage certificate in 1916.
In 1939 John and Ellen were sent to Grantham Lincs to manage a Chemist shop there, Pharmacists were posted all over the country to carry out the governments strict prescribing laws, so he never fought in the war. They never returned to Devon so Mrs Butler was left there on her own after Derek moved on. Janice visited her on occasions as a child when she spent holidays in Torquay.
The family moved to Reading after the war and then to Dartford in Kent where they remained for many years, eventually buying their own business in Stone.
Relationships became very strained over the years between John and his mother with only scant letter writing as far as we know. Barbara Lena Butler 'turned to Russia' according to John and was brainwashed by an obscure group. We were never allowed to ask questions at home on the matter. She died penniless in an upstairs room in Torquay in August 1976. Dorothy and some of Janice's cousins kept in touch and visited her with food parcels from the Bakery in Kingskerswell. It is all very sad but the subject was never allowed to be mentioned in the Watson household. We therefore grew up not knowing any relatives on the 'Watson' or Butler side.
We were brought up quite happily believing that both sides of our family came from Devon!

My father was nearly 90 and somehow knew he hadn't got long to go. He ordered a shredder from a magazine ( they were a new invention then) and every morning when Alastair was out he shredded anything to do with the family history apart from around 3 letters and his Pharmaceutical certificates and a few bits and pieces. So when he died there was nothing in the house. I had taken all the boxes of photographs after mother died as he said he didn't want them gathering dust in the loft. Unfortunately it was before the time I had a scanner and the next time we had some sort of Bird family reunion I gave a lot of them to Simon and Adrian which was a big mistake as we are no longer in contact. ...Janice

See latest on the Butler story for section

Plus entire ROTHERMEL section for the German history.

Dear Janice
Hello, what a fascinating tale of changing names! I don't have access to the School Register just at the moment, but I can see that a J R Watson was a pupil here from 1920 - 1923 which might fit in with your dates, he was here as a junior pupil.
Wellingborough School