Sunday’s Obituary -Josephine Irene Seale (nee Gooch) 1927-2006

Josephine Irene Gooch is my wife’s 5th cousin 1x removed. Their common ancestors are David Gostelow and Mary Dawson – my wife’s 5x great grandparents.
The following obituary is available on the Internet.

000324746_20061216_1Seale, Josephine Irene (nee Gooch), died on December 10, 2006, at the Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria, British Columbia with her two sons, Martin and David, by her side. Josephine was born on June 14, 1927, in Spalding, Lincolnshire, the youngest daughter of Harry and Irene Gooch. A local beauty, known for her lovely singing voice, Josephine left Spalding to be educated at Bedford and then the Guild Hall School of Music and Drama in London. She then embarked on a theatrical and cinematic career that was punctuated by her marriage to a dashing, young doctor, Guy Screech. Guy was enlisted in the SAS, a Special Forces unit of the British Army, and the couple was soon off to Malaya where Guy fought the communist insurgency, and Josephine worked as a clerk for military intelligence. Malaya was also where Josephine appeared in her last movie, “A Town Like Alice,” sharing the screen with Peter Finch and Virginia McKenna.
As Josephine frequently reminded Martin in later years, her route to cinematic stardom was cut short by his birth in 1956. By then the family was back in England, and planning to immigrate to Canada. After several years in West Vancouver, and the birth of her second son, David, the family headed back to Malaya. After two more glorious years in the tropics, a brief return to Vancouver, and the end of her first marriage, Josephine settled in Victoria with both of her sons.
Shortly after Josephine’s second marriage to Peter Seale, she moved to a magnificent old house at 1926 Crescent Rd in Victoria, and for many years the house became synonymous with Josephine’s hospitality, and, in particular, her magnificent Boxing Day parties. After she and Peter parted ways, Josephine went to work at the Emergency Department of the Jubilee Hospital, and she continued there until close to retirement age. In her spare time, she returned to her first love, the theatre, and appeared in numerous productions at the Langham Court Theatre. She also traveled back to England on an almost annual basis to spend time with family and friends, particularly her beloved friend Maggie.
In the 1970’s Josephine met the man who brought her substantial happiness in the latter half of her life. Harry Housser was a charming lawyer whose generosity of spirit and love of a good party, perfectly complemented Josephine’s glamour and outgoing personality. Although they were wise enough to maintain separate residences during their 20-year relationship, their bond was strong, and Josephine grieved deeply when Harry died in 1995.
Another challenge faced by Josephine was the loss of a substantial portion of her sight in the early 1990’s. Within a very short period of time Josephine went from somebody who could zip around in her Mini Minor (albeit, in a rather hazardous fashion) to somebody who was forced to listen to her books rather than read them. This resulted in a long-standing relationship with the talking books section of the public library (to whom she was grateful to the end), and a change in lifestyle that she absorbed with courage and grace.
In her early days Josephine was an actress by profession; later on it was by inclination. In combination with her natural eccentricity and personal charm, this made her a welcome, if sometimes controversial, addition to any social gathering. She was fond of casually outrageous opinions about affairs of the day delivered with a mock seriousness designed simultaneously to irritate and amuse. She was a strong and unusual personality that people naturally gravitated to. For all of this she was loved by her family and friends, and will be sorely missed.
Josephine is survived by her sons Martin and David Screech, David’s wife Jean and their children.

Sunday’s Obituary – Olive Mary Kitching (nee Atkin)1891-1956

Olive Mary Atkin is my wife’s 4th cousin 2x removed. Her parents are Edwin William Atkin and Ann Gostelow. Their common ancestors are David Gostelow and Mary Dawson – my wife’s 5x great grandparents.

Olive was born on 15 October 1891 in Friskney, Lincolnshire.

On 20 April 1920 Olive married Frank Kitching. They had three daughters over the next five years:-

Joyce Edith
Margaret Olive
Gwendoline May

Frank’s occupation was a “miller and baker”. In the 1939 Register (taken at the outbreak of WW2) the family were living at The Mill, Friskney, Lincolnshire.

All three daughters married between 1947-1951.

By the end of 1956 their lives would be changed by two tragedies.

The following story is from the Skegness Standard of Wednesday 4 July 1956 (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

HUSBAND’S TRAGIC DISCOVERYSkegness Standard - 4 July 1956

THOGHT WIFE WAS IN BED: HE FOUND HER DEAD

FRISKNEY INQUEST VERDICT

A story of mental ill-health, aggravated by the tragic death of her daughter, was revealed at the inquest on Friday on Mrs. Olive Mary Kitching, aged 64, of the Mill, Friskney, who was found hanging from the foot of a bed at her home on the previous Tuesday night.

A verdict of “Suicide while the balance of her mind was disturbed” was recorded by the Spilsby Deputy Coroner (Mr. J.C. Walter), who heard how the husband, Mr. Frank Kitching, the local miller, returned home at 10.30pm, thinking his wife was in bed, and had his supper and undressed for bed before making the tragic discovery.

Evidence of identification was given by the husband, who said that when he left home at about 6.25pm on Tuesday his wife seemed all right and in her usual state of health. He retuned home at 10.30pm and saw the evening paper on the mat inside the door.
He read the paper whilst having his supper, his wife having apparently gone to bed.
At about 11.15pm he went upstairs to bed and did not bother to switch on the bedroom light, but got undressed first. Just before getting into bed he noticed that his wife was not in bed, so he looked in the other rooms for her.

“Was Very Upset”

Switching on the light in the back bedroom he saw his wife hanging from the foot of the bed by a scarf which was round her neck.
He lifted her up, untied the scarf and laid her on the floor. She was cold and stiff and he realised she was dead. He telephoned for a doctor and also for Mr. Clow, a neighbour.
Mr. Kitching told the Coroner his wife had had a mental illness some fifteen or twenty years ago. She got better but was very upset again last year when they lost a daughter in tragic circumstances.
She seemed to get over that but the previous Thursday she had told him “I believe I have got that depression coming again.”
She seemed to improve, however, and he thought it would be all right to leave her. She had no physical illness and was very active for her age.
She often went to bed early if he was going out and left him to get his own supper and he thought nothing of it when he returned home that night and found she had gone to bed.

Doctor’s Evidence

Dr. Mary Margaret Trayers, of Wrangle, said she was called to the house at 11.40pm and found Mrs. Kitching in the back bedroom, lying on the floor with a pink scarf round her neck. She formed the opinion that she had been dead about five hours.
In her mouth was a small green handkerchief, which she removed with P.C. Welch’s assistance. There was a mark round her neck caused by the body having been hanging from the bedpost.
Replying to the Coroner, Dr. Trayers said deceased’s feet were not on the floor. The body was almost in a stooping position with the knees bent.
The Coroner asked if one would lose consciousness quickly if there was anything round the neck, and the doctor replied “Yes, and the handkerchief would accelerate that.”

Sleeplessness

She said she had twice attended Mrs. Kitching for depression and sleeplessness. A year ago it was arranged that she should enter a mental hospital as a voluntary patient, but she improved so much that eventually she did not go.
The body bore no marks of violence except that round her neck, and death was due to asphyxiation.
Frank Bentley Clow, produce merchant, of Bentley House, Friskney, said he received a telephone call from Mr. Kitching and ‘phoned the police. He had known Mrs. Kitching for 40 years and she suffered from depression after he daughter’s death. He had never heard her threaten to take her own life.
Another neighbour, Sidney Brant, wheelwright and undertaker, of “Sunniholme.” Friskney, said he had known deceased for fifty years and she had at times suffered from depression and had recently withdrawn from public life.
P.C. Welch said the scarf round Mrs. Kitching’s neck had been knotted to form two loops. She appeared to have dropped back.
Although he searched the house he could find no note.
The Coroner said it was evident that deceased had taken her own life whilst the balance of her mind was disturbed.

So a very said story indeed – bit it left me with an unanswered question. What were the tragic events that lead to the death of Frank and Olive’s daughter?

Further research revealed that their daughter Margaret Olive had married Terence Rogers in 1947. I discovered the following article in the Cheshire Observer of Saturday 28 May 1955 (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

NO TRACE OF HANDBRIDGE WOMANCheshire Observer - 28 May 1955

Who Has Been Missing Since 10th May

There is still no trace of 32-years-old Mrs. Margaret Olive Rogers, of 19 Eaton Avenue, Handbridge, who has been missing from her home since 7.15am on Tuesday, May 10th.
Mrs. Rogers’s description is as follows: Height, 5ft. 3in.; slim build; pale complexion (looks ill); operation scars on front of throat; fair hair and blue eyes.
She was wearing a light green skirt and blouse, a black cardigan, a grey belted overcoat, nylon stockings, and red, flat-heeled shoes.

I couldn’t find any other newspaper reports about the disappearance.

Sadly I was able to find an entry in the National Probate Calendar which confirms that Margaret Olive was last seen alive on 10 May 1955 and her dead body was found on 31 May 1955 at Cheese Wharf, Sealand Road, Chester.

National Probate Calendar

A very sad story indeed for this Sunday Obituary post.

Wedding Wednesday – Roy Hugh Blackburn and Barbara Walmsley

Roy Hugh Blackburn is my 5th cousin. His parents are Arthur Blackburn and Mary Lizzie Dawson. Our common ancestors are John Dawson and Ann Watson – my 4x great grandparents.

Roy was born in Burnley, Lancashire on 12 July 1931. In the 1939 Register (taken at the outbreak of WW2) Roy was living with his parents at Church Street, Trawden, Lancashire.

On Saturday 29 November 1952 Roy married Barbara Walmsley at Trawden Parish Church. The wedding was announced in the Burnley Express on Wednesday 3 December 1952 (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Roy Hugh Blackburn & Barbara Walmsley - Burnley Express 3 December 1952.png

The wedding took place at Trawden Parish Church on Saturday of Mr. Roy Hugh Blackburn, only son of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Blackburn, of 4 Church Street, Trawden, and Miss Barbara Walmsley, of “Windsor House,” 59 Skipton Road, Colne, a stepdaughter of the late Mr. R. Williams. The Vicar of Trawden (Rev. G. H. Richards) officiated. The bride wore a gown of white silk net and lace embroidered with pearls. Her headdress was of white velvet in Tudor style, also stitched with pearls, and she carried a bouquet of lilies of the valley. Her uncle, Mr. W. Helliwell, gave her away. Miss Margaret Hartley was bridesmaid. Mr. John Alfred Fletcher was best man and Messrs. J. Thwaites and N. Storey groomsmen. Organist was Mr. W. Driver. A reception was held at the Crown Hotel, Colne, after which the bridal pair left for their honeymoon at Blackpool. They will reside at “Windsor House,” 59 Skipton Road, Colne.

Tombstone Tuesday – George Isaac Dawson and Constance Mabel Dawson (nee Austin)

This memorial plaque for George Isaac Dawson and Constance Mabel Dawson (nee Austin) is at the Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens and Lawn Cemetery, Worrigee, New South Wales, Australia. I took the photograph on a recent visit there.

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George Isaac Dawson is my grand uncle – a brother of my grandfather. He was born on 22 December 1900 in Keighley, West Yorkshire and baptised on 27 January 1901. His parents were James Dawson and Emma Buckley.

At the age of 22 George (or Ike as he was always known to me) emigrated to Australia on board the ship Orsova, sailing from London on 15 September 1923 bound for Fremantle.

Constance Mabel Austin was born in 1907 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia. Her parents were Thomas Edward Austin and May Annie Mezelia Boosey.

Within four years of arriving in Australia George married Connie and they went on to have four children. I previously wrote about their wedding here. I also recently discovered another photograph of their wedding day in my collection.

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George and Connie eventually settled in the town of Nowra, New South Wales – about 160km south west of Sydney.

When he emigrated to Australia George’s occupation was listed as “Assistant Engineer”. I have learnt from one of my cousins in Australia that George went out there because the company he worked for back in the UK was relocating to Australia.

In later life George took up painting – here he is with a couple of his watercolours.

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George passed away on 24 February 1990 and Connie died on 20 June 1993.

Wedding Wednesday – Wilfred Gawthrop and Alice Margaret Hacking

Wilfred Gawthrop is my 2nd cousin 2x removed. His parents are Joseph Gawthrop and Mary Ellen Snowden. Our common ancestors are Martin Gawthrop and Ann Kighley – my 3x great grandparents.

Wilfred was born on 1 July 1892 in Trawden, Lancashire.

In the 1911 census Wilfred was working as a “shop assistant to butcher”. By the time of the 1939 Register, taken at the outbreak of WW2, Wilfred was a “master butcher”.

On 23 April 1935 Wilfred married Alice Margaret Hacking at St. Michael and All Angels’ Church, Foulridge, Lancashire. Details of the wedding were in the Nelson Leader on 26 April 1935 (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Wilfred Gawthrop and Alice Margaret Hacking - Nelson Leader 26 April 1935.png

A Pretty Wedding

On Tuesday last, a very pretty wedding was solemnized at St Michael and All Angels’ Church, Foulridge, by the Vicar (Rev J Gough MA), the contracting parties being Mr Wilfred Gawthrop, eldest son of the late Mr Gawthrop and Mrs Gawthrop, of 85, Keighley Road, Colne, and Miss Alice Margaret Hacking, eldest daughter of the late Mr C L Hacking and Mrs Hacking, of “Micklethorn,” Foulridge. The bride, who was given away by her uncle, Mr Giles Collinge, was most charmingly dressed in an ivory silk ninon gown with a Brussels net veil and wreath of orange blossom, with shoes to tone. She carried a wreath of Madonna lillies. The train bearers were Miss B Gawthrop and Miss E Gawthrop (nieces of the bridegroom). She was attended by her sister Miss F M Hacking, and Mrs T Bannister (Blackpool), matron of honour, cousin of the bride, who were attired in dresses of pastel shades of Brussels net, with hats and shoes to tone, and carried bouquets of tulips. Mr J Pickles (friend of the bridegroom) acted as best man, and Mr T Bannister (Blackpool), cousin of the bride, was groomsman.
The hymn “Gracious spirit, Holy Ghost,” was sung, and Mr C Spencer, officiating at the organ, played Mendelssohn’s Wedding March. Mr A Hargreaves, rang a peal on the bells. A reception was held at the Cross Keys, East Marton.
The happy couple were the recipients of many handsome and useful presents. Mr and Mrs Gawthrop later left for a tour of the South, where the honeymoon is being spent.

Wedding Wednesday – Ethel Constance Godwin and Philip Slack

Philip Slack is my wife’s 3rd cousin 1x removed. His parents are Arthur Earles Slack and Annie Dale. The link between my wife and Philip is from James Espley and Martha Silvester – my wife’s 3x great grandparents.

Philip was born on 24 March 1914 in Stockport, Cheshire.

On Monday 12 June 1939 Philip married Ethel Constance Godwin at St. Mark’s Church, Saltney, Chester. The Chester Chronicle carried a report of the wedding on 17 June 1939 (image from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Philip Slack & Ethel Godwin - Chester Chronicle 17 June 1939.png

CHESTER EXCISE OFFICER’S WEDDING

MR P SLACK AND MISS E C GODWIN

A large number of relatives and friends attended the wedding at St. Mark’s Church, Saltney, on Monday, of Miss Ethel Constance Godwin, youngest daughter of the late Mr W N Godwin and of Mrs Godwin, 31, Brook Lane, Chester, and Mr Philip Slack, only son of Mr and Mrs Slack, 48, Glan Aber Park, Hough Green. The bridegroom’s father is well known as the manager of the Chester Labour Exchange.
The ceremony was performed by the Vicar (the Rev. J Phillips), and Mrs C Hassall was at the organ and played for the hymn “O Father, all creating.” The bride, who was given away by her brother, Mr W N Godwin, wore a full length light blue net dress over a taffeta foundation, with veil, her coronet of natural roses matching the sheaf of roses she carried. Her gold wristlet watch was the gift of the bridegroom.
The bridesmaids – Miss Ruby Pym and Miss Marjory Slack (sister of the bridegroom) – wore dresses of cyclamen ninon net over pink crepe-de-chine. They also wore floral headdresses and carried bouquets of delphiniums. Mr Allan Slack was best man.
A reception was held at the Plane Tree Cafe, where the bride’s mother, wearing a navy blue two piece and hat to match, received a large number of guests. She was attended by the bridegroom’s mother, who chose a black silk two piece and hat to tone.
Among the guests were Mrs M C Godwin, Mr and Mrs A Godwin and Master Edward Godwin, Mr and Mrs J Greenhalgh (Wolverhampton), Mr and Mrs W M Godwin (Crewe), Mr and Mrs R W Pickmere (Nigeria), Miss Bertha Godwin, Mrs R J Fletcher (Barrow), Miss Nance Denson, Mr and Mrs J Johnson and Miss Winnie Johnson, Miss M Smith (Tarvin), Mrs Light, Mrs C Robinson, Mr and Mrs Snape (Leeds), Mr and Mrs Slack, Mr J W Slack (bridegroom’s grandfather, who had just returned from a world tour), Mr and Mrs Dale (Prestbury), Mr and Mrs A Slack (London), Miss Dale (Warwick), Mr and Mrs W Slack (Reading), Mr and Mrs Carlisle (Macclesfield), and Mr and Mrs B Goulden (Macclesfield).
Mr and Mrs Philip Slack left for Grange-over-Sands, and on their return they will live at King’s Crescent East, Stocks Lane. The bride wore a powder blue costume for the journey.
The colleagues of Mr Slack at the Customs and Excise Office, Chester, gave him a sliver salver as a wedding present. Messrs Walter Conway, Chester, gave the bride a cheque on leaving for her wedding, and her office colleagues gave her an electric iron.

Now you would hope that this was a very happy time for Philip and Ethel. However the Chester Chronicle of 1 July 1939 – just over two weeks after the marriage reported that Philip was seriously ill.

Philip Slack - Chester Chronicle 1 July 1939.png

MR PHILIP SLACK

Mr Philip Slack, who has been lying seriously ill at his home in King’s Crescent, Chester, was today (Friday) stated to have passed a good night. Mr Slack is the son of Mr A E Slack, head of the Chester Labour Exchange.

I am happy to report that Philip presumably made a good recovery and lived until 1984. Ethel Constance died on 21 December 1991.

The couple had one son and one daughter.

Wedding Wednesday – Marjorie Fletcher and James Henry Edmondson

Marjorie Fletcher is my 2nd cousin 1x removed. Her parents are Walter Fletcher and Jane Musgrove. Our common ancestors are Harrison Musgrove and Jane Rooking – my 2x great grandparents.

Marjorie was born in Clitheroe, Lancashire – her birth is registered in the June quarter of 1920.

On 29 May 1944 Marjorie married James Henry Edmondson at Low Moor Church, Clitheroe. A report of the ceremony was published in the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times on 2 June 1944 (image taken from http://www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk).

Marjorie Fletcher & James Henry Edmondson - CAT 2 June 1944.png

EDMONDSON – FLETCHER

Low Moor Church was decorated with flowers gathered by scholars of Ribblesdale Senior School for the marriage, on Monday, of Miss Marjorie Fletcher, youngest daughter of Mr and Mrs W Fletcher, Chester Avenue, Clitheroe, and Mr James Henry Edmondson, eldest son of Mr and Mrs H Edmondson, Bolton-by-Bowland. The bride has been a member of the Ribblesdale School staff for several years, and the bridegroom was also a teacher at that School until a few months ago, when he received an appointment as headmaster at Barnoldswick.
Given away by her father, the bride was gowned in ivory satin and her tulle veil was surmounted by a wreath of orange blossom. She had a bouquet of pink roses. The matron of honour was Mrs J H Turner, sister of the bride, whose dress was of turquoise ninon, with headdress of flowers. Her bouquet was composed of roses. Mr Jack Wolfenden was best man, and the ushers were Mrs P Mitchell and Miss I Dugdale, cousins of the bride.
The ceremony was performed by the Vicar (Rev. I Pugh) and the organist was Mr Alan Crossley, cousin of the bride, who discoursed bridal music and played for the hymns, “The Voice that breathed o’er Eden” and “O Perfect Love.”
After the ceremony, a reception was held at the Pendle Hotel, Chatburn, and the honeymoon is being spent at Blackpool.
The bridegroom’s gift to the bride consisted of pearls, and he gave a silver bracelet to the bridesmaid, receiving gold cuff-links from the bride. Among the gifts was a cheque from members of the Royal Observer Corps, of which the bridegroom is a member; a cheque from Ribblesdale Senior School, scholars of which also sent presents and gave the bride a silver horse-shoe and a half sovereign as she left the Church.