Cemeteries and graveyards, full of love, betrayal, tragic deaths, murder, and suicide. What will you find?

Friday 21 June 2013

Dunklesbuhler - Angels and Diamonds

Angel monument to Kathleen Dunkels, Frances Dunkels and Ernest Dunkels, Maidenhead All Saints Cemetery, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England

"Kathleen Dunkles 15 August 1906
Frances Dunkles 16 December 1953
Ernest Dunkels 12 September 1956"

Ernest Dunkles was born Ernest Dunkelsbuhler on 18th February 1880 in London, Middlesex to German parents Anton and Minna Buchenbacher.  Anton was a famous diamond dealer who owned Anton Dunkelsbuhler & Company.  Ernest became a barrister and assumed the surname Dunkles in 1895, perhaps he felt it would be easier for his clients and neighbours than Dunkelsbuhler.

Ernest can first be found on the 1881 Census living with his parents and siblings at 255 Camden Road, Islington, London. Visiting the family at the time of the Census was Anton's brother Siegfried, a pencil manufacturer. by 1891 the family had moved to 36 Belsize Park, Hampstead, London, where they can still be found on the 1901 Census.

In 1909 Ernest married Frances Stanton Van Nostrand, who travelled to England from New York on the ship Germanic on 9th June 1897.  On the Incoming Passengers List her occupation is listed simply as 'Lady'.  They lived together in Woodhurst, Ray Mead Rad, Maidenhead and in the June of 1910, they celebrated the birth of their daughter Kathleen Daphne Dunkels. George Anthony followed in 1911, Cynthia Dorothea in 1913, and Marjorie Patricia in 1916.  That same year Ernest enlisted and served in The Great War at home as a Clerk for the Women's Forage Corps. In 1939 Ernest and Frances are still living at Woodhurst, along with their two younger daughters Cynthia, and Marjorie. Living with them is their son George, now a barrister at law, and his wife Mollie Renton. Frances was to pass away on the 16th December of 1953.  Frances's Obituary was reported in the Maidenhead Advertiser on 18th December 1953 as follows:


Mrs. Frances Dunkels

Mrs. Frances Dunkels, second wife of Mr. Ernest Dunkels of Woodhurst, Ray Mead-rd., died at her home on Wednesday. She had been ill for three years. For many years Mr. Dunkels has been a patron of all Maidenhead sportsmen and has given many trophies to local clubs. his wife was of a retiring disposition and took no part in local events. The funeral will take place at Maidenhead Cemetery on Sunday." - Maidenhead Advertiser, 18th December 1953.

Ernest was a keen sportsman, he enjoyed football, cricket, tennis, and swimming, becoming President of the Maidenhead Football Club in 1919 and opening the new 500 seat stand in 1922. Ernest also lends his name to the Dunckel Swimming Cup, the cup presented to the winners of the long-distance Boulter's to Bray Swim. Ernest was to follow his wife three years later.  The Maidenhead Advertiser reported on his death on 14th September 1956 as follows:

"Ernest Dunkels Dies at 76

The death occurred on Wednesday at his London home, 49 Hallam St., W1, of Mr. Ernest Dunkels, formerly of Woodhurst, Ray Mead Rd. He was 76.

Mr. Dunkels lived in Maidenhead for about 50 years and left the district some two years ago when Woodhurst was sold. The house was bought by actress Diana Dors.

Mr. Dunkels was a great philanthropist, but he shunned publicity. He supported many local societies and organisations but much of his assistance was given anonymously. He was a well-known figure in Maidenhead, but it was a tribute to his modesty that few people knew much about him or his many works for the town. 

A Swimmer.

He was president of Maidenhead United Football Club from 1919 until 1947, and president of Maidenhead Regatta and the York Road Lawn Tennis Club for many years. He was also president of the Swimming Club, and among the sporting trophies he gave to the town are the cups for the two Thames long swims. Mr. Dunkels himself swam in the race. For some years Mr. Dunkels ran a nursing home for children (now Maidenhead Nursing Home) Near Boulter's Lock. Young people were cared for free of charge.

Mr. Dunkels practiced as a barrister before the war. He had an interest in cinemas and built the Plaza in Queen St. during the pioneer days of movies. 

His second wife, Mrs. Frances Dunkels, died three years ago. He leaves a son and three daughters. The funeral will take place quietly today (Friday)." - Maidenhead Advertiser, 14th September 1956.

In a previous version of this post, I mistakenly stated that Kathleen Dunkels was Ernest's sister Fanny. Back when I originally researched this family in 2012 many of the records were either unavailable online or poorly transcribed.  Kathleen M Dunkels who died on 15th August 1906 was in fact Ernest's first wife. Unfortunately, I can find very little about her, but will continue to keep researching.


  1. Quite a beautiful angel --- and interesting post!

  2. Did Ernest have a brother or other relative F>s. who boxed for the Belsize Boxing Club in 1913?


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