My grandmother Bertha Alice Ratcliffe and her younger sister Charlotte.
Elizabeth A. Ratcliffe
December 21, 1885 – October 9, 1888
Elizabeth was the first child of my great-grandparents John Thomas Ratcliffe and Mary Hannah (Buckley) Ratcliffe. In 1888 there were 100 deaths due to typhoid fever in all for Bristol County. Elizabeth was one of them. She died in Fall River, Massachusetts at the age of 2 years 8 months and 19 days of typhoid fever.
November 6, 1891 – December 24, 1892
William Ratcliffe was John and Mary’s second son. He died of burns on Christmas Eve, 1892 at the age of 1 year and 17 days.
Elizabeth and William are buried together in Oak Grove Cemetery, Fall River, in the same plot as their grandparents Zedekiah Buckley and Nancy (Reece) Buckley.
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013, image 136 of 1504, Elizabeth A. Ratcliffe.
Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Death Records, 1841-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013, image 191 of 1946, William Ratcliffe.
Massachusetts. Office of the Secretary of State. Annual Report on the Vital Statistics of Massachusetts: Births, Marriages, Divorces and Deaths…, Volume 49, 1891.
Bertha Alice (Ratcliffe) Bence and her son Staff Sergeant Raymond Everett Bence Jr.
In World War II Raymond served in the 445th Bomber Group, 8th Air Force as a nose-gunner in a B-24 Liberator. He was shot down over Germany on September 27, 1944 during the infamous “Kassel Mission”. He spent the remainder of the war as a prisoner-of-war, first in Stalag Luft IV and then on “The Black March”.
This photograph accompanied an article in the Quincy Patriot Ledger on Raymond’s first visit home to Braintree, Massachusetts. At the time of his liberation in May of 1945 he weighed less than 100 pounds. A few months later he still appears to be very gaunt.