Isabel Regina Baty and her family

Isabel Regina Baty born May 1917, the same year as her Grandmother, Jane Hedley and her 17 year old sister, Winifred died, neither of them meeting the newest addition to the Baty Osborne Family.

Whilst her Birth Certificate shows, Isabel, it appears her name should have been ISOBEL, for much of her life and certainly her brothers and sister used Isobel.

To her son, she was Isabel, born and raised in Birtley Village her mother, Emma died in 1926 at the age of 52, she told of being brought up by Lilian and George Fairbrother, along with their own four children.

She was Aunt to Thompson Fairbrother at the tender age of 4 !

Isabel 1930's

Early 1930’s in the front garden of her home in Birtley Village, behind the trees is The Percy Arms to the left and the home of The Baty Spinsters to the right.

Isabel 1934



Isabel in 1934 aged 17

George Fairbrother died in 1934 and her father Matthew Baty at the end of 1938, her brother Isaac, who was 21 years older, signed as witness at her wedding in 1939 to Neil MacDonald, a resident of Birtley Village, his family lived opposite The Percy Arms.

Isobel & Neil Marriage Cert

Marriage Certificate of Neil MacDonald and Isabel Baty 1939

Soon after their marriage, the newly weds moved to Weston, Micheldever, Winchester, Hampshire, Neil had found a job as a shepherd, this apparently didn’t work out, in the 1939 Register he declares his job to be a gardener, handyman, later they moved from the countryside into town where Isabel took a job at the local Woolworths.

Of course, the Second World War was now in full swing, she told her son she’d been involved with the ‘Défense Passive’, in English it would be ‘Civil Defence’, in what capacity is a mystery.

At some point Isabel and Neil separated then divorced, he went on to marry in 1945, Chichester, Sussex to Olave Jupe. They had 5 children, Heather, Margaret, Catherine, Neil and Ian. Neil died in 1983, London City, Olave in 2003.

Isabel married in November 1946, when her son Paul was a few weeks from his second birthday.

In August 1946, Isabel, Lilian, Paul and Kleber attended the wedding of Lilian’s daughter May in Birtley.

Kleber + Isabel Wedding 1946

Isabel and Kleber met at a dance near the Bir Hakeim Barracks in Emsworth, Hampshire. The vessels were docked in Portsmouth. He had already served aboard ships during the Norway Campaign and Expedition Menace to Africa. By August 1942 his time aboard vessels had come to an end, at the Caserne Bir Hakeim he was responsable for equipping the ships that continued to serve in the battles at sea.

Kleber’s war record, thanks to Alamer website:

Kleber Desgris – War Record



Before joining the Free French Naval Forces in July 1940, he’d been involved in the evacuation at Dunkerque, on a Belgian fishing trawler (Ortolli Flotilla from Brest).

As a result of his service in the Britsh Navy and Free French Navy, he was awarded medals from both countries, which is quite a rare event.

Paul was born, November 1944, at a Maternity Home in Emsworth, as Isabel was a Mrs MacDonald in the records his birth was recorded as Paul MacDonald, this was later changed to Degris, later still to the correct spelling of Desgris.

Possibly just before her marriage to Kleber Desgris, the family spent some time in Birtley with Lilian and later Kleber took a room at The Percy Arms, they moved to Paris in early 1947.


At the end of the war, Kleber was in charge of decommissioning Merchant Vessels at the French Embassy in London, often accompanying them back to French Ports, as an Alien he had to have his Visa stamped regularly by presenting himself to a Police Station.


Life changed dramatically for Isabel in Paris, Kleber returned to his old job, Manager of the Mimi Pinson Dancing on the Champs Elysée, Isabel helped with the accounts and sometimes with the cash desk.

Isobel & Paul Vibert

She reinvented herself, became glamour personified, she met and danced with some very famous men. Their appartment was just off L’Etoile (Arc de Triomphe) and soon Paul was put to a boarding school in Versailles.A

Isabel dancing with Commandant Paul Vibert at a FNFL Ball.

Kleber’s origins were in the Poitou Charente region of France, his father died in 1940, his mother spent her time between the family farm in Maisonneuve and at her daughter’s home in Paris.

Isabel Newspaper article




This article from 1954 is a romanticised version of life and should be taken with a big pinch of salt !









Kleber, Isabel and Paul became regular visitors to the family farm during school vacations.

In the mid 1960’s, life changed again, leaving the Mimi Pinson in 1958 when it was sold, Kleber became Manager of the Matignon Restaurant, near the Prime Ministers official residence, his life in Paris came to an end, he took a job in Corsica, somewhere Isabel had no interest in moving to.

As a result she left France and picked up life in England for a while, during this time her son married and she became a Grandmother.

Both Isabel and Kleber returned to France and the appartment in Paris, at this time Kleber became Manager of the Café du Roy and Secretary to two Deputies (Members of Parliament) with an office in the ‘Assemblée Nationale’.

Altogether they had spent 45 years in Paris.


Isabel, Chloé, Paul, Anne-Laure, Marie and José, 1993

To her grandchildren she was known as ‘Marnie’.

Towards the end of their lives, they moved to Boulogne sur Mer, where Kleber, who was 11 years Isabel’s senior died in 1992 and she in 1995.

Her son

Paul Desgris


Paul born in Emsworth, Hampshire late 1944, was unaware of the circumstances surrounding his birth until he was 21 years old and about to marry Marie-France Lorec, who would be the mother of his children. At 16 his mother told him she’d been married before, he wasn’t bothered at all by the revelation. This was the same time as he was about to join the Merchant Navy as a ‘ships boy’.

Paul 1961 aged 16 Navy School















Paul at Navy School, 1961


At boarding school in Versailles, run by men of the Church, things didn’t go so well, his mother wanted to remove him from the school, eventually she found a place where he could learn English again, The English School of Paris, set up by Mrs Mary Cousins.


A really special school in the Château Monte Cristo, the home Alexandre Dumas had built for himself. Paul slept there as a boarder, his dormitory being the Château d’If, a folly opposite the main building where Dumas did his writing.


The building today is a museum: Chateau Monte Cristo

Paul knew Uncles Isaac, Thom, Matt and Aunt Lily, he enjoyed visits to their homes with his mother, he remembers cousins, John, Fay and May, vaguely recalls meeting a daughter of Uncle Thom.

His command of the English Language became a springboard for his professional life, although he started married life as a Sales Rep for RICARD.


Mariage 1966



Paul’s wedding to Marie-France Lorec, Le Havre, 1966

From the left, Kleber, Isabel and Paul


He had three children, Anne-Laure Desgris born 1966, Stéphane Desgris born 1969, in 1979 tragedy struck. Stéphane was at a ‘Colonie de Vacances’ he climbed a tree, about 9 feet up and fell hitting his head which killed him. This was a very sad time for all the family.

Stéphane & Lilians dog


1976, Stéphane with Ben, Aunt Lily’s neighbours Border Collie.






In 1981, José came along, unfortunately the Desgris-Lorec marriage didn’t last, Paul and Marie-France separated, divorcing in 1985.

Paul’s professional life was at it’s peak, in the field of International Logistics, he looked after his aging Dad as much as he could, travelling between Boulogne sur Mer and Paris, nevertheless taking time for exotic holidays, and fast cars……

On a trip to the UK, March 1996, onboard a ferry from Calais, midway across the Channel Paul tipped his mothers ashes into the sea, keeping back a little which was interred in the family tomb in Boulogne sur Mer.

A few days after this Paul met the woman who became his second wife, they married in Boulogne sur mer, 2000.

Wedding 2000 (2)

Her grandchildren

imageportrait-anne-laure (1)

Anne-Laure Desgris born 1966 has become a successful Manager helping people set up co-operatives in France.



Photo taken in Cardiff, February 2018

José Desgris achieving a Masters Degree at the Ecole de Mines de Douai in Lille.

Her Great Grandchildren

Chloé Jaillard born 1990

Marie Jaillard, born 1991, completed her Masters Degree, works in the field of Renewable Energy,  married Matthieu Seffals in 2017

DSCF5020 (2)

Monsieur et Madame Seffals July 2017

Léa Gaillet born in 1996, attending University in Montpellier, hoping to gain entry to the Sorbonne in Paris to complete a Masters Degree.