A History of Preston

in Hertfordshire

A Sad Suicide

at Preston in 1933

On New Year’s Day, 1933, Kelman Norman Laing Forrest took his life at ****** Cottage, Preston.

 

 

Kelman was born at Edinburgh in 1901/2. He was the son of  C L and Marion Forrest. After his father’s death, Kelman’s mother was living in a seven-roomed house at 22 Church Road, Finchley, London with Kelman and a step-daughter, Jeanine Reid Forrest and a servant. In the summer of 1915, Marion married Victor Rose-Innes Suhr (right) at Hampstead .

 

Victor was almost twenty years younger than Marion having been born at Brighton in 1891. He began a career as a fledgling journalist in around 1908. During WW1, he briefly served in the London Regiment until he was invalided out of the army.

 

In 1932, Victor - ‘a brilliant rather fierce man with a legendary reputation in Fleet Street for keeping his reporters on their toes’ - was appointed news editor of The Evening News. When he retired in 1951, he was then news editor of The Sunday Dispatch  having been a journalist for forty-three years.

 

Marion died at Uckfield, Sussex in 1962; while Victor passed away in the summer of 1976 at Aylesbury, Bucks.

Meanwhile, on 23 October 1923, along with several other young men, Kelman’s passage from Liverpool to Quebec was booked on Montrose as part of a group from the Canadian Pacific Railway Lands Department. However, as his name is scratched through in the log, perhaps he didn’t board the ship. Nevertheless, the entry yielded up the information that he was now as a student.

 

On 16 March 1925, Kelman married Lucy Cecilia Cahill at Paddington Register Office, London.

 

 

Kelman’s estate was valued at £841 1s 5d. Its administration was granted to his mother, Marion Suhr.

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Their marriage did not last. Lucy committed frequent adultery with other men. A decree nisi was made absolute on 1 May 1928. Kelman was now a journalist living at 8 Barnstaple Mansions. Almost immediately, in the late spring of 1928, he married Stepanka Zelinkova at St Martin, London. Around a year later, a son was born who was named after his father.

 

Then tragedy struck. Kelman jnr died in early 1931. By 1933, Stepanka was also dead.

From occasional letters written to newspaper editors we can glean a little of Kelman’s life in the late 1920s. For example, in 1928, he was a member of the Asthma Research Council who were attempting to raise £50K to investigate the causes of, and discover a remedy for, the affliction. Another letter reveals that Kelman was also an associate of the Overseas League.

 

As Kelman was only around ten years younger than his step-father, it was hardly surprising that by 1931, he had followed in Victor’s footsteps, becoming a free-lance journalist.

 

Then in a missive to The Times dated 8 October 1932, Kelman gave some significant information about his activities during that year - he had recently spent eight months travelling in ‘Continental countries’ - visiting nine countries in all.

 

Sometime in the three months between 8 October 1932 and 1 January 1933, Kelman moved to Preston to await his end. He had contracted tuberculosis.

 

His death was announced in The Times. The notice mentioned that he had passed away ‘after a long illness, bravely borne’. The Citizen newspaper reported the tragic event:

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