Hester Muriel McInnes (1897 – 1940)

Hester Muriel McInnes was born in Nottingham during 1897 and the third child of Malcolm James Rowley Dunstan, a director of technical instruction, and an artist named Edith Rose Turner (great great great granddaughter of the brother of Joseph Turner, the landscape painter.) In 1901 the family lived at Newcastle Circus in Nottingham and in 1902 moved to Wye in Kent where Malcolm became the principal of the South-Eastern Agricultural College.

In 1916 Hester married Cyril Hart Collins, an officer in the Royal Flying Corps, at St. Mark’s Parish Church in Regents Park, London with a son named Roy Dunstan Hart Collins born in Wye the following year. Two daughters named Susan and Patience were born in 1919 and 1922 respectively. In 1929 Cyril divorced Hester and she quickly remarried the same year to George Tronson McInnes who at the time was a lieutenant in the Royal Navy. A daughter named Bridget was born in Malling district during 1933, and at some point in the 1930’s George and Hester moved to Huntsman’s Lodge in Wrotham Heath.

On 15 October 1940, whilst visiting her mother at Wrotham Heath Place, Hester was killed during the air raid that devastated the area and claimed a number of local lives. At the time she had been sitting in an armchair in front of the fire when the explosions occurred.

Locally Hester was well-known for her kindness and took an interest in a number of good causes. During the war up until her death she reputedly ran a soup kitchen from the garage at Huntsman’s Lodge for army drivers. A villager later said that:

She kept an open house and may whom she befriended thought a great deal of her kindness.

Photograph of Hester and Telegram courtesy of Edward Dunstan.