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Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air ….

When I saw this week’s prompt I wasn’t sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under lockdown in varying degrees and fresh air is something of a commodity for many people at the moment. I’m lucky, I have a garden and as the weather has been mostly kind I have made the most of it. Although only a short drive to the beach we are obeying the rules and not driving there for a walk, neither are we driving the short distance to the nearby South Downs.

Comparisons have frequently been made between the conditions now and those in wartime and as Terry Waite, held captive for 5 years said, “Change your mindset, you’re not stuck at home, you’re safe at home.” Writing about fresh air suddenly seemed trivial to say the least.

Two people who made the decision to sign up to fly in wartime had very contrasting fortunes.

These pictures are from different eras – the right hand side picture is of my maternal grandfather who joined the Royal Flying Corp in 1916 and was discharged as medically unfit for duty in September the following year. I have been told that he had pneumonia and spent much of his time in and out of hospital before he was eventually discharged. His casualty card also says that he was “liable to be sent a statutory order on 21/9/18 requiring him to present himself for medical re-examination under the Military Service (Review of exceptions). He was clearly very lucky that he war was almost over by that time.

Looking at his Casualty Form is interesting – his date of enlistment shows that he was just shy of his 17th birthday (14th March) and his service wasn’t reckoned until the month after his 18th birthday. His occupation on joining was a farmer and  his Corps or Trade was given as a ?? aviator.

His younger brother was too young to join up, but he gained his Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates in September 1929 at the Phillips & Powis School of Flying; Reading and the certificate was taken on a D.H. Moth 60 h,p, Mark 1.

On the left is my paternal uncle Flying Officer Peter Lewcock.

He and his plane were presumed lost at sea on a mission between Fife and Norway in October 1944. He was 22, this was just two days before his first wedding anniversary and he left behind a pregnant wife – their daughter was born in the following June.

No. 547 Squadron

This squadron was formed in Coastal Command at Holmsley South on 21 October 1942. It was equipped with Wellingtons and was intended to operate in the anti-shipping role using both bombs and torpedoes. However in May 1943, it converted to the anti-submarine role by which time it was based at Davidstow Moor. A move to Thorney Island in October also brought re-equipment with Liberators, which it operated over the Bay of Biscay.

A further move occurred in September 1944, this time to Leuchars in Scotland, where it conducted anti-submarine patrols and anti-shipping strikes of the Scandinavian coast. It finally disbanded on 4 June 1945.

Liberator EW 299 of 547 Sqn (RAF) took off at 1604 hours on 27 October 1944 from (RAF) Station Leuchars, Fife, Scotland, to carry out an anti-submarine patrol close to the Norwegian coast from the Bergen area to the Skagerrak. The aircraft was due to return at 0345 hours on 28 October 1944 and failed to do so. No signals or messages were received from the aircraft. Assumed that aircraft and crew were lost at sea.                                                               

CREW MEMBERS

F/O Peter Frank Lewcock, RAFVR (55053) age 22, Pilot from New Malden, Surrey, England. 
P/O Thomas Keith Montgomery, RCAF (J35549) age 22 , 2nd Pilot from Lanark, Saskatchewan Canada.
F/O Robert Morse Cooper, RCAF (J17156) age 21, Navigator/Bomb aimer  from Montreal, Quebec Canada.  
WO Henry Charles White, RAFVR (1307039)  age 29, Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.                                         
P/O David Kenneth Caldwell, RAAF (422408) age 28, WO/AG from Goulburn, New South Wales, Australia.
WO Jack William Steed, RNZAF (40585) age 24, WO/AG from Mt. Albert, Auckland, New Zealand.
P/O Gordon Harries Tindall, RAFV (55920) age 25, Navigator/Bomb aimer from Liverpool, England.
F/O Robert McNaughton Buist, RAFVR (170647) age 30, Air Gunner from Rutherglen, Larkshire, England.       
F/S Peter Ashley Noel, RAFVR . (910694) age 24. Flight Engineer from Coventry, England.                           
WO1 Robert William Richard Shaw, RCAF (R110325) age 32 Wireless Operator/Air Gunner from Powell River, British Columbia, Canada.


British Royal Air Force, Airmen’s Service Records 1912-1939

Great Britain, Royal Aero Club Aviators’ Certificates, 1910-1950

Extract from: Powell River’s Unsung Heroes Of World War II

No. 547 Squadron RAF

No 541 – 598 Squadron Histories

This squadron was formed in Coastal Command at Holmsley South on 21 October 1942. It was equipped with Wellingtons and was intended to operate in the anti-shipping role using both bombs and torpedoes.

However in May 1943, it converted to the anti-submarine role by which time it was based at Davidstow Moor. A move to Thorney Island in October also brought re-equipment with Liberators, which it operated over the Bay of Biscay.

A further move occurred in September 1944, this time to Leuchars in Scotland, where it conducted anti-submarine patrols and anti-shipping strikes of the Scandinavian coast. It finally disbanded on 4 June 1945.

 

 

 

Week 48: Gratitude

Week 48: Gratitude

Thank you very much .... The world of amateur genealogy would not be where it is without the selfless help of fellow genealogists. I learned enormous amounts from just reading other peoples' queries and the solutions. They gave me ideas of where to look and, more...

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Week 30: The Old Country

Week 30: The Old Country

Because we moved around a lot when I was small, it wasn't until I was about 7 years old that we settled in one place when my parents bought a new build bungalow in Rockdale Drive, Grayshott. Four years later they moved on to nearby Headley and then on to...

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Week 27: Solo – choice or circumstance?

Catherine Godfree, born in 1844, was the youngest child of George and Mary Ann Godfree of Great Rissington. She had three older brothers and seven older sisters. Five of the sisters married and had large families, two sisters married but had no children, while two of the brothers never married and the one that did had emigrated to Australia following the death of his father.

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Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

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Week 15: From Fire to Form

Week 15: From Fire to Form

A quick query of my family tree software shows me that of those who have an occupation entered, I have 32 smiths or related occupations of whom 8 are blacksmiths, 2 gunsmiths, 3 silversmiths, and 4 whitesmiths and also some charcoal burners.

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Week 24: Handed Down

Week 24: Handed Down

I have already got a post about my "hand-me-downs", so I have recycled that one this week. It traces the story of Suie Gillett, my maternal great grandmother and shows how easy it is to get things wrong when tracing your family history! The Gillett Spoons Since I...

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Week 6: Same Name

When I saw this prompt, I immediately thought of Jessie Ann Lewcock, who baptised and buried five babies, three of them called Seth, their father’s name. Only her two oldest children survived to adulthood, a daughter, Grace Agnes, and Lewis named for her brother. Her...

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Week 23: Wedding

Marrying the sister of a deceased wife was illegal in Victorian England. " ...under the Marriage Act of 1835, which had the support of the established Anglican church, it was prohibited for a widower to marry his wife’s sister on the grounds of a passage in Leviticus,...

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Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

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Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

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Week 12: Very “historical” fiction

While I am doing my research I am mentally visualising the people I am looking at in the census or on a certificate and trying to imagine what their life was like; their house, the street, what they were wearing and how they spent their time. Because I read, and still...

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Week 5: So far away … from “home”

Week 5: So far away … from “home”

........ a light hearted look at genetic heritage. Both my grandmothers were Essex girls, but that is nothing to do with why I support West Ham! The theme tune for Sports Report (right click for the appropriate background music) brings back memories of being...

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Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

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Week 8: Prosperity

Week 8: Prosperity

George Godfree was my great x2 uncle, the sixth child and second son of George and Mary Ann, nee Smith, Godfree of Great Rissington. His father died in 1850, leaving the farm to Mary, "if she wants it", and then to George's older brother. Like many other younger sons...

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Week 7: Favourite Discovery

Week 7: Favourite Discovery

I can't write in great detail about my favourite discovery as it involves living people, but it was very early on in my genealogy research days when I was one of the first members of Genes Connected as it then was. My family had lost touch with a paternal first cousin...

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Week 4: Close to Home

Week 4: Close to Home

​When I decided to take early retirement and come back to England after 32 years living and working in Belgium, I toyed with several places to live. I wanted to be nearish the coast, my parents were living near Ely at the time so investigated Norfolk and Suffolk but...

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Week 3: Long Line

Week 3: Long Line

I was wondering which ancestors to choose this week, but ​I have decided to interpret Long Line as Long List. As soon as you start your family history research, you start collecting bookmarks, favo(u)rites – whatever your browser of choice calls them. The list gets...

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Week 2: Favourite Photograph

This is a hard one. Should it be the picture of Sarah Jane Tompkins née Godfree, a maternal great x2 grandmother, which I see every day as it is hanging over my mantlepiece? She also appears at the top of every page of this website. Perhaps it could be the group one...

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Week 1: Fresh Start

Where to begin? I could write about my personal disappointment about the UK's fresh start tomorrow, or I could write about my own fresh start when I first took advantage of FOM in 1976 and moved to Belgium to work or when I came back to England in 2008. However, I...

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52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks

For some time, I had spotted references to Amy Johnson Crow's genealogical writing challenge, 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks, and often thought it would be a good idea but simply never got round to it. This year I saw another reference and as it was at the end of December, ...

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Schooldays

The de Fraine, Tompkins and Gillett families often sent both their sons and daughters away from home for a few years of education, and I have several times spotted familiar surnames on lists of pupils, which when I have tracked them through other census returns and through birth registrations have turned out to be related to the name I was originally looking for.

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Lewcocks (and Lucocks) who served in WW1

Lives of the First World War – WW1 Digital Memorial

Francis James Lewcock and his mother, Amy Elizabeth, are two of the Lewcocks who are remembered on this website.


Amy Elizabeth Lewcock


Lieutenant Francis James Lewcock


There are other Lewcocks and Lucocks who served during World War One and they are being gradually added to the Lewcock Community and their Life Stories are being filled out. If anyone who comes across this page would like to be involved in this undertaking, please let me know.

Lewcocks and Lucocks who served during WW1

Week 9: Disaster

William George Lewcock 1839-1887. St George's Churchyard, Hanworth. William George Lewcock died on the 3rd May 1887 leaving a wife and 8 children, three of whom were under twelve years old. If we have connected the twigs and branches correctly, he is a very distant...

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Week 11: Serendipity

Week 11: Serendipity

Researching our family history depends on careful research over time, but is often progressed by a large slice of luck! I have had two major ones - both when I was looking for something else, one for my paternal line and one on the maternal. Maternal lucky find My...

read more

Surname Research ~ Lewcock

  The intention has always been to see how and if the pockets of Lewcocks in Suffolk, Cornwall, Kent, Cumberland, Yorkshire, Surrey, Middlesex and Hampshire are connected to each other and where those in Australia, India and the USA fit in. There are many...

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Lewcock surname variants

LEEUCOCK LEUCOCK LEUCOK LEWCOCK LEWCOCKE LEWCOK LEWCOKE LEWKOC LOCKCOCK LOCKECOCK LOCOCK LOWCOCK LUCCOCKE UCKCOCK LUCKECUK LUCKKUCK LUCKOCK LUCKOCKE LUCKOKE LUCKUCK LUCKUCK LUCOCK LUCOCKE LUCOK LUCOKE LUCOOKE LUKKOCKE
and the occasional SEWCOCK

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Earliest references to Lewcock

These early references have been collected from extracted entries on the International Genealogical Index and other online sources. It is not definitive since not all registers have been transcribed.

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Lewcocks (and Lucocks) who served in WW1

  Lives of the First World War - WW1 Digital MemorialFrancis James Lewcock and his mother, Amy Elizabeth, are two of the Lewcocks who are remembered on this website.Amy Elizabeth LewcockLieutenant Francis James LewcockThere are other Lewcocks and Lucocks who...

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Bradley Gallery

These photographs all seem to have been taken at the same time. We can recognise Kate and William Bradley, Frank and Alma Bradley and Alice and Frank Lewcock. Who are the other people? Where were the pictures taken? What was the occasion?

We think it might have been the christening of Robert Bradley, which would make it around 1948.  

Week 10: Strong Woman

Week 10: Strong Woman

I have been fascinated by the story of my great x2 grandmother, Catherine Whitehill, born in Glasgow on the 31st May 1847. She had a tough life judging by where she lived, yet she raised 9 children to adulthood in 3 cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, at a time when infant mortality was high.

read more

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more

The Bradleys of Shropshire

  Bradley is far from an unusual surname and tracing them has been difficult, especially when births and marriages cannot be found!! This research follows the line back through certificates, census returns and parish registers. Neville Lewcock, grandson of...

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Lewcocks (and Lucocks) who served in WW1

  Lives of the First World War - WW1 Digital MemorialFrancis James Lewcock and his mother, Amy Elizabeth, are two of the Lewcocks who are remembered on this website.Amy Elizabeth LewcockLieutenant Francis James LewcockThere are other Lewcocks and Lucocks who...

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Alice Mary Bradley 1900-1993

  The paternal ancestry of Alice Mary Lewcock née Bradley. Carpet weavers, draymen and glassworkers from Shropshire to Walthamstow via Kidderminster and Camberwell. Alice Mary Bradley married Francis James Lewcock, son of James and Amy Lewcock. She was the...

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William Eli Bradley

William Eli Bradley and Catherine Simpson married on 5th June 1892 at St. Peter’s Church in Clerkenwell. They both gave their address 305 Bartholomew Buildings. William's occupation is glasscutter, Catherine's isn't stated, which was not unusual at that time....

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The Bradley Diamond Wedding 1952

  We do not know who most of the people are in this picture of the guests at their Diamond Wedding Anniversary celebration in 1952. Were Catherine's Simpson siblings or her Whitehill cousins there? Perhaps William's siblings were guests. 1. Irene Lewcock née...

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Kidderminster weavers

  Sarah Gamson, future wife of Joseph Bradley and grandmother of William Eli, was the daughter of Thomas Gamson and Sarah Nott. She was born in Kidderminster on the 3rd December 1837 and baptised on the 26th of December at St Mary’s, in Kidderminster. Thomas and...

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Bradley Gallery

  These photographs all seem to have been taken at the same time. We can recognise Kate and William Bradley, Frank and Alma Bradley and Alice and Frank Lewcock. Who are the other people? Where were the pictures taken? What was the occasion? We think it might have...

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Catherine Gray Simpson

Catherine Gray Simpson, future wife of William Eli Bradley, was born on the 6th September 1872 at 10 David Street in Bridgeton, Glasgow, the oldest child of James Rae Simpson and Catherine Gray Whitehill.

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The Whitehills of Rottenrow

  Catherine Gray Whitehill's parents as named on her marriage certificate were John Whitehill and Elizabeth Christie.  In the census returns after her marriage, her year of birth is consistently given as 1847, unfortunately just before official registration began...

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Dear Sir

Dear Sir

It used to be extremely disconcerting to walk into a bank in the early 70s and to be asked by the teller if you were related to “the Lewcock who wrote those books”, with the emphasis on those. At that time Francis James Lewcock’s books on banking were still required...

read more
Printer and entomologist

Printer and entomologist

George Albert Lewcock was born in 1841 in Farnham in Surrey, the son of James who was a baker and confectioner, continuing the family business started by his father Samuel.James died in 1848, leaving a young family and his wife, Jessamine remarried the following year...

read more
Skeleton by marriage?

Skeleton by marriage?

When I registered for the 1911 census, I was really only expecting to confirm what I already knew, to see if some of my ancestors were still alive to narrow down dates for searching for their deaths and perhaps bring some of the distant twigs up to date. What I didn’t...

read more

Dear Sir

Dear Sir

It used to be extremely disconcerting to walk into a bank in the early 70s and to be asked by the teller if you were related to “the Lewcock who wrote those books”, with the emphasis on those. At that time Francis James Lewcock’s books on banking were still required reading for banking exams. All I really knew about him was that he had written the books, but when I came across the Times Online, I found that there was far more to his life than that.

Francis James (Frank) was born on the 17th July 1897, the son of James Austin and Amy Lewcock née Reed. James was a clerk/accountant and was the eldest son of a printer. Presumably through the printing connections, Frank was educated at the Stationer’s Company School in Hornsey as was his father and then his own older sons. He was obviously bright, winning a school prize in 1907. Tucked inside the book which he won are copies of the examinations which he took – I can’t imagine even the brightest 10 year olds I have taught getting very far with them these days!  In 1911 the family were living in Stanhope Gardens, Haringey, and James was working as a municipal accountant for Tottenham Urban District Council. When Frank left school he went to work as a clerk for the London and Provincial Bank, which was later to become part of Barclays Bank.

Frank and Alice Lewcock

At the age of 17 years and three months, in November 1914, he enlisted as a private in the London Scottish (Reserve Battalion) of the 14th London Regiment; interestingly his Medical Inspection Report gives his ‘Apparent age’ as 19 years and three months. He was transferred for Officer Training to the Inns of Court Officers Training Corps in May 1915. He was discharged from there, on appointment to a commission as a 2ndLieutenant in the Royal Field Artillery with the 1st Northumbrian Brigade, in the following October. He was promoted to Lieutenant in June 1916 when he was sent to the front. When the war was over, he joined the Disposal Board of the Ministry of Munitions in Cologne. He was disembodied [sic] in May 1920 but continued to work for the Ministry as a civilian for a short time.

While in Cologne, he met his wife, Alice Bradley, who was working for the Ministry of Munitions as a secretary, and they were married late in 1920.

After his discharge from the army he returned to work for Barclays. In October 1920, the first reference to him appears in ‘The Times’ in a legal case entitled ‘The Extent Of A House Agent’s Authority’. There are also references in The Times Archives to him giving at least two radio broadcasts, a 20 minute talk on ‘Finance’ on LEEDS-BRADFORD in May, 1926 and in 1928 he gave two broadcasts to Secondary Schools: ‘How industry is financed’ and ‘How they raise permanent money’. He also lectured to the Institute of Bankers.

By 1926 he was working at a branch of Barclays Bank in Otley Road, Leeds. In February 1927 the first of many letters to The Times appears. He wrote on a variety of topics, not always financial, including the length of BBC programmes, who finances the British film industry, the dirge like manner of poetry recitations on the BBC, how to pay Customs and Excise the duty on celluloid dolls (that one is very funny), getting telephones installed, bank architecture and so on throughout the 1930s. There must be many more as there are replies and responses to his letters which don’t come up on the search. I wonder if he wrote to the newspaper continually and these are just a selection of what was published.

In 1930 he became a member of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries. In 1931, Frank published the first of those two books on banking, ‘The Securities Clerk in a Branch Bank’ and in 1934‘The organization and management of a branch bank’. They were both published by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons Limited and were in print in several editions for many years.

Frank was obviously not content with just being a bank clerk and had aspirations to be a writer. He started up several newsletters, not always successfully, which could well have been the cause of him being made bankrupt. In December 1933, The Gazette reports “That Banking Publications Limited … be voluntarily be wound by the Members; and that Mr F. R. Tufft …. be and is hereby appointed liquidator” F. Lewcock, Chairman. Francis filed for bankruptcy that month and the family, by then they had five children, moved back down south to the London area. The bankruptcy case must then have dragged on for a long time, as there are still references to it in The Gazette in 1937 with tiny payments of as little as a halfpenny still being demanded by the Official Receiver. He was editing ‘Branch Banking’ in 1936 and in 1939, the Gazette reports that The Watergate Publishing Company Ltd. was wound up in January 1939 by F. Lewcock, Chairman.

Later, he started publishing ‘Background’ a newsletter which he describes as “A private survey of industrial and financial affairs of political significance”. This newsletter was the cause of him being sued for libel, in 1946, by Brendan Bracken and the Financial Times, which was covered in The Times. He lost the case.

In 1937 he became a member of the Institute of Journalists and in 1938 he describes himself as a financial journalist. Also in 1937, The Times carried an announcement that Mr. Francis Lewcock had been appointed Secretary of the Unit Trusts Association. On the masthead of ‘The Background’ he also lists himself as holding the Silver Medal in Banking, The Royal Society of Arts and as being Prizeman in Stock Exchange Practice, London Chamber of Commerce.

From his letters one can get a very good idea of his political leanings. I am told that he was very much a supporter of Churchill and very definitely not a Socialist. In fact my brother has recently found him on Google Books, so he is planning a trip to The British Library to see if he is just quoted in the book, ‘Fellow travellers of the Right: British enthusiasts for Nazi Germany, 1933-9’ by Richard Griffiths, or has written an article.

The topics in the letters change slightly in the later 1930s and reflect what was going in politically and financially at the time e.g. ‘Farming Credit’, ‘Working-Class Savings’, ‘Firms And Slumps: The Downward Spiral’, ‘BBC Accounts’, ‘Standard Of Living In Germany: Working-Class Prosperity’ – this one generated some argument in the column. Then in August 1939, he wrote about ‘The Lost Apostrophe’ on a road sign. In September of that year he was complaining about The Great White Rabbit:Cost Of The Ministry Of Information’

In 1937, he took his wife and two oldest sons on a visit to Germany about which he duly wrote in the Letters column on their return. I have been contacted by somebody whose mother had found a postcard album. This eventually turned out to be one which Frank and Alice had sent to their youngest children while they were in Germany – I am looking forward to receiving that.

In his army records there is correspondence from 1936 about him offering to re-enlist in the Territorial Army suggesting that he could still do it, “even at thirty nine years old”. During the war he was part of the Home Guard, manning an anti aircraft battery in Hyde Park.

Francis died in January 1949 before I was born, so I never met him. I was always interested in what little I knew about him especially as I was often told I looked like him, although I always thought that was a bit odd as a small child, as he had no hair in the few pictures I saw around. Being able to follow much of his life through The Times Digital Archive has been fascinating and I have been able to discover a surprising amount about a fascinating person.

SOURCES

Family recollections and memorabilia

The National Archives for Army Officer Records

The Times Digital Archive (West Sussex Library Online Resources)

The London Gazette

Week 16: Air

Flying, civilian pilots and air crew, RAF & Fleet Air Arm, ornithologists, fresh air .... When I saw this week's prompt I wasn't sure I had anything to really write about and was intending to write about fresh air as most of the world including me are under...

read more

Magazine Articles

The Family Tree Forum Online Magazine was written and put together by the members of The Family Tree Forum. As one of the editors, I was able to twist some arms and  the following articles were originally written for the Family Tree Forum Online Magazine. A wide...

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Lewcocks (and Lucocks) who served in WW1

  Lives of the First World War - WW1 Digital MemorialFrancis James Lewcock and his mother, Amy Elizabeth, are two of the Lewcocks who are remembered on this website.Amy Elizabeth LewcockLieutenant Francis James LewcockThere are other Lewcocks and Lucocks who...

read more

Bradley Gallery

  These photographs all seem to have been taken at the same time. We can recognise Kate and William Bradley, Frank and Alma Bradley and Alice and Frank Lewcock. Who are the other people? Where were the pictures taken? What was the occasion? We think it might have...

read more
Dear Sir

Dear Sir

It used to be extremely disconcerting to walk into a bank in the early 70s and to be asked by the teller if you were related to “the Lewcock who wrote those books”, with the emphasis on those. At that time Francis James Lewcock’s books on banking were still required...

read more
Printer and entomologist

Printer and entomologist

George Albert Lewcock was born in 1841 in Farnham in Surrey, the son of James who was a baker and confectioner, continuing the family business started by his father Samuel.James died in 1848, leaving a young family and his wife, Jessamine remarried the following year...

read more
Skeleton by marriage?

Skeleton by marriage?

When I registered for the 1911 census, I was really only expecting to confirm what I already knew, to see if some of my ancestors were still alive to narrow down dates for searching for their deaths and perhaps bring some of the distant twigs up to date. What I didn’t...

read more
Of Sparrow Hawk and Ladybirds

Of Sparrow Hawk and Ladybirds

A cause of curiosity to all and horror to some, I have a battered glass case in my living room containing a stuffed sparrow hawk with her bullfinch prey.  This is a macabre memorial to the collecting activities of the Lewcocks.

read more

Printer and entomologist

Printer and entomologist

George Albert Lewcock was born in 1841 in Farnham in Surrey, the son of James who was a baker and confectioner, continuing the family business started by his father Samuel.

James died in 1848, leaving a young family and his wife, Jessamine remarried the following year and continued the business. Her second husband, who was 18 years her junior, died in 1853. Jessamine was still a confectioner in Farnham in 1861 but by 1871 had retired and moved to Kingston Upon Thames with her three younger children. None of her children seemed to have followed her into the business, indeed the two oldest boys vanish altogether by 1861. In 1861, George is living in the house of Richard Taylor, a printer, in Chatham, Kent and is one of two apprentice compositors living in the household. He married Lucy Usher in 1864 in Islington and gives his profession as a compositor. I had no idea who he might have worked for following his apprenticeship until I came across a newspaper report earlier this year:

THE SPOTTISWOODE INSTITUTE. – A conversazione at the Holborn Town-hall last evening under the auspices of the Spottiswoode Institute brought into more extended notice than the fact has hitherto received the existence of a pleasant literary and social institution among the employés [sic] of the Queen’s printers (Eyre and Spottiswoode) and the allied firm of Spottiswoode and Co. The Messrs. Spottiswoode are patrons of the institution; and last evening contributed materials for the scientific and artistic demonstrations of the evening. Mr. Austin Leigh showed old needlework which had been done by Jane Austen, the novelist; Mr. Crouch and Mr. Browning lent microscopes and spetroscopes, and Mr. Lewcock and Mr. H. Cripps displayed an interesting collection of British insects…… ….

Daily News (London, England), Thursday, November 24, 1881; Issue 11110

Although no initials are given I was fairly sure that this had to be George. ‘Googling’ his surname throws up many many references to George and his interest in insects and beetles in particular (this interest may well form the basis of an article later on as my brother has been doing extensive research into this area of his life). I came across another reference in my newspaper searches to George playing Draughts for the Spottiswoode Institute where his initials were given.

A more important find, on Google Books, were a partial listing in the “Entomologist’s Annual For 1855” and another in the “Entomologist’s Weekly Intelligencer for 1856”, both of which gave his address:

“Page 23
 which I should be glad to exchange for C. Davus, T. Pruni, T. W-album or L.
Sibylla.— G. LEWCOCK, 69, High Street, Chatham”

(NOTE: these appear to be species of butterflies)

The address is the same as in the census for 1861 and when he would have been aged 14 years old. It looks as though he will have served his seven year apprenticeship in Chatham and then moved to London. Why he didn’t go into the baking business and why he went to Chatham to serve his apprenticeship, we will probably never know. I need to visit the Archives and Library at Stationer’s Hall to see if there are any records of his apprenticeship held there.

Thus far I haven’t been able to follow George’s career as a working printer but I have recently discovered that the papers for Spottiswoode Ballantyne, are now held in the Essex Record Office, so following this up may well give me more information or at least leads to follow.

It was a casual comment during our weekly Skype call with my parents that led me to the Stationer’s School in Hornsey and from that, finding out about the importance of the Stationer’s Company to the world of printing. My grandfather, his two eldest sons and his father and uncles all attended the school and on the schools’ website I can see that PF Lewcock of 1.(Alpha) received a Special prize at the School Prizegiving in December 1935 at Stationer’s Hall, Ludgate Hill, when the prizes were presented by H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, Master of the Company.

Only one of George’s direct descendants followed him into printing although his grandson Francis was involved in publishing. His eldest great grandson was a compositor for many years with The Evening Standard. He had begun his apprenticeship just before WWII and following his enlistment immediately war was declared, he served throughout the war, but still had to complete his seven years, so strict were the rules.

Magazine Articles

The Family Tree Forum Online Magazine was written and put together by the members of The Family Tree Forum. As one of the editors, I was able to twist some arms and  the following articles were originally written for the Family Tree Forum Online Magazine. A wide...

read more
Dear Sir

Dear Sir

It used to be extremely disconcerting to walk into a bank in the early 70s and to be asked by the teller if you were related to “the Lewcock who wrote those books”, with the emphasis on those. At that time Francis James Lewcock’s books on banking were still required...

read more
Printer and entomologist

Printer and entomologist

George Albert Lewcock was born in 1841 in Farnham in Surrey, the son of James who was a baker and confectioner, continuing the family business started by his father Samuel.James died in 1848, leaving a young family and his wife, Jessamine remarried the following year...

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Skeleton by marriage?

Skeleton by marriage?

When I registered for the 1911 census, I was really only expecting to confirm what I already knew, to see if some of my ancestors were still alive to narrow down dates for searching for their deaths and perhaps bring some of the distant twigs up to date. What I didn’t...

read more
Of Sparrow Hawk and Ladybirds

Of Sparrow Hawk and Ladybirds

A cause of curiosity to all and horror to some, I have a battered glass case in my living room containing a stuffed sparrow hawk with her bullfinch prey.  This is a macabre memorial to the collecting activities of the Lewcocks.

read more

Skeleton by marriage?

Skeleton by marriage?

When I registered for the 1911 census, I was really only expecting to confirm what I already knew, to see if some of my ancestors were still alive to narrow down dates for searching for their deaths and perhaps bring some of the distant twigs up to date. What I didn’t expect was an intriguing puzzle.

As my great great grandmother Lucy Lewcock née Usher had died in 1905, I expected to find her husband George Lewcock in 1911 living alone, or perhaps staying with one of his children, but imagine my surprise when I found that he had acquired a second wife and a twelve year old stepson.

George Albert Lewcock, born in Farnham, Surrey in 1842, occupation printer and compositor, was living at 54 Solon Road, Brixton.  Location of Solon Road.  His new wife was Annie Norrish Lewcock aged 51, born in Kennington Park Road. (Newington).  Her son was named Albert Edward Withyman aged 12 and had been born in Weiner, Texas, U.S.A.

A quick search of UK Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 brought up their arrival in the U.K. George Withyman, a labourer, aged 52, together with his wife Annie aged 40, and son Albert aged 3, travelled from New York on the ‘Carthaginian’ arriving in Glasgow on the 29th April 1902.

So far I thought that this was just interesting and decided that I would send for the marriage certificate and leave it at that. Luckily Lewcock is a fairly unusual name so I found the reference on FreeBMD easily but then found another surprise – she was married as Annie Norrish Stone and not as Withyman.

Feeling 99% certain that this was going to be the correct marriage, while I waited for the marriage certificate to arrive I decided to see if I could find a death for George Withyman and/or Unknown Stone – I found nothing for either of them in England so had a look around to see whether George Withyman had gone back to the U.S.A. and died there.

I came across a Geo Withyman of the same age travelling back to the U.S.A. in January 1903 on New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957. All looked normal until I scrolled right across the page. In the right hand column was stated:  In charge of Detective McCarthy.

Geo Withyman was listed as a married labourer aged 55 on the passenger manifest for the ‘Lucania’. Able to read and write, he was British and his last residence was Texas. His final destination was to be Chicago. His passage was paid by ‘U.S. Detective’ and he had no money. He had previously been in Chicago from 1893 to 1902.

This was intriguing so off I went to Google to search for George Withyman and had yet another surprise!

From The New York Times of January 18 1903:

Alleged Murderer Brought Back

George Stone, alias George Withyman, after having been a fugitive from justice for nine years, will land at New York this morning from the Cunarder, Lucania and be taken to face a charge of murder committed in 1893. He is alleged to have killed a negro [sic].  He was located in England a few months ago. His extradition was granted in the Bow Street Police Court Dec 20 last. He is in charge of Police Sergeant McCarthy of Chicago

The following day, The New York Times carried a report of the ship’s arrival in New York:

The liner brought over George Stone, who was on the second cabin passenger list as George Withyman. He is under indictment for the murder of a negro in Chicago nine years ago. Detective Sergeant Arthur McCarthy of Chicago went to London with extradition papers and returned with him. He took his prisoner to Police Headquarters and will start for Chicago today.
Other happenings listed in the article for what must have been an eventful crossing included that a steward was washed overboard, an Armenian had stowed away and among the passengers was the explorer, Henry de Windt, who advocated a Paris-New York railroad via a bridge.

In the 20th February 1903, The New York Times reported briefly on the court case:
PRISONER PRAYS IN COURT

George Stone, Being Tried for Murder in Chicago, asks for Divine Aid.

CHICAGO, Feb 19. – “I am relying for justice on the One above,” said George Stone to-day, who is on trial for murder in Judge Horton’s court, and with tears streaming down his cheeks, he dropped on his knees, bowed his head, and prayed for five minutes. When he had ended his prayer he resumed his seat with his head in his hands, and cried.

Stone is on trial for the murder of Robert Nelson who was a colored chef at the Turner Hotel, and who, it is charged was shot and killed by Stone about ten years ago. Stone escaped, and was but recently arrested in London. He is a British subject, and the Royal Society of St. George is interested in his defense.

Exploring a little more, I found the case recorded in the Chicago Police Department Homicide Record Index, 1870–1930:

NAME OF DECEASED: NELSON, ROBERT
VOLUME: 1
PAGE:   116A 
EVENT DATE:  7/6/1893      
OTHER PERSONS INVOLVED: STONE, GEORGE
The online database Homicide In Chicago 1870-1930 gives more detail about the case. On the 6th July 1893, Robert Nelson, aged 30 years old, was shot dead at Turner House located on the junction of 33rd Street and Wabash Avenue.  Death occurred at the crime scene. The type of death was homicide and the type of homicide was intentional murder. George Stone, alias Withyman was arrested in London, England and brought to Chicago on January 21st 1903, and turned over to the Sheriff under indictment. He was sentenced by Judge Horton on the 20th February 1903 to thirty five years in Joliet Penitentiary.  The database also records that the crime was related to Prohibition and that there were no allegations of police corruption.

To see if I can find out more detail about his arrest and extradition, I really should take a look at the Extradition Records of the Bow Street Magistrates Court, which are held at the London Metropolitan Archives. The Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group are in the process of transcribing the Convict Registers for Joliet Penitentiary which hold a lot of data about the prisoners and I shall be keeping an eye on their progress to find out when George died and from that to hopefully find out more about his family.

While double checking my research for this article, I came across another newspaper report from the Chicago Tribune, on www.footnote.com which gives a little more detail. It reads as follows:-

HELD FOR MURDER IN CHICAGO

Negro Arrested in London Accused of Killing Man in this City During 1893.

[BY CABLE TO THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE]

London: Nov. 22 – George Stone was arrested this afternoon on the nominal charge of murdering a negro in Chicago in 1893. It is believed Stone’s real name is George Withyman and it is understood that he is suspected of having been connected with several murders in Texas.

Stone was arrested in a low cook shop in Blackwall called the “Tunnel coffee house”, where he has been employed. He has been in London since last March. The police believe that there will be sensational developments through Stone’s arrest, as it is thought he has been connected with several murders in the United States, especially in Galveston, Tex., where he worked on the railroad.

When Stone was arrested by inspector Froest of Scotland yard on the charge of murder he asked: “Is it for a nigger or a white man?”
When the inspector told him it was for the murder of a negro he appeared to be relieved. He said the negro referred to had reviled him. Then the negro drew a knife and Stone ran upstairs for his “gun.” The negro followed, and then, Stone says, he shot him.

Stone is a middle aged man, muscular and well developed. He has fair hair and a mustache. He wears a medal of the Perax [sic] expedition [see sources] which shows he has been in the British Navy.

The TNA does not have him listed as George Withyman in the Registers of Seamen’s Services, but of course it may not have been his own medal or he had enlisted under a different name (there are several George Stones from Kent listed).

The Ancestry database of U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 not only enabled me to discover more about Albert and what he knew, or had been told, about his parents and their background, it also gave me details of his marriage to a French woman. This reminded me that about five years ago, I was contacted by somebody on Genes Connected, as it was then, who was looking for an Albert Lewcock who had connections with France. At the time, I couldn’t help her but she was still in my contacts list and it looked as though I may finally have found a connection after so long!!

I have been in touch with this contact and since our original correspondence, she had been successful in finding more about Albert and his descendants. She now knows that she is the daughter of Albert’s second wife’s second husband so it is a very distant connection but it is satisfying that we have managed to join the dots after so long. There is far more to this part of the story than I can retell here as other descendants of Albert, who seems to be just as mysterious as his father, are still alive.

There is a great deal more to follow up in this puzzle of name changes and aliases. Annie married George Lewcock as Annie Norrish Stone in 1906.The marriage certificate for George and Annie gives her father’s name as George Nix, baker. I think I have found her in 1861 and 1881 at home in England with her parents.  I think I have her with son Albert in 1900 in Texas as Annie Withyman, listed as married for 20 years, but no sign of George. The article in the Chicago Tribune says he had been working in Galveston on the railways. This fits with her location in 1900, and Albert’s birthplace in 1899.

She stated in 1900 that she was born in Ireland but if this is her, this is not borne out in 1911. An Ann Nix married a George Stone in London in the last quarter of 1881 – was this them or a first marriage for her? Did she actually marry George Withyman? Did he take the identity of her first husband? She states in 1900 that she arrived in the USA in 1884 so where were they in 1890? In his passport applications, Albert states that his father was born in Sydenham, Kent and a George Withyman was indeed born there at about the right time to fit the age as given on their arrival at Glasgow in 1902. A George Stone of about the right age appears in the 1910 US Federal Census in Joliet Penitentiary – did she commit bigamy?

I have been able to track down many references as I currently have full subscriptions to Ancestry and findmypast, but this is a case of buying certificates, letter writing and visiting archives to get any sort of definitive proof as to whether my great great grandfather married the wife of a murderer.   

It may well be that in fact George Withyman aka Stone is actually nothing to do with my great grandfather’s second wife, but even if he isn’t, I had fun following the trail, and will carry on my detective work to find out one way or the other not only for my own satisfaction but also for Albert’s descendants.


SOURCES and FURTHER READING

SOURCES:

 

FURTHER READING:

JOLIET PENITENTIARY

The Ghosts of Joliet

The Joliet Prison Post 1914

Library Catalogue of Illinois State Penitentiary 1902

Limestone Quarry near Joliet Penitentiary

Joliet State Prison: Joliet, Illinois

USA PRISON RECORDS

Illinois Genealogy Trails History Group: Convict Registers

Genealogical Prison Records & Jail Records

Magazine Articles

The Family Tree Forum Online Magazine was written and put together by the members of The Family Tree Forum. As one of the editors, I was able to twist some arms and  the following articles were originally written for the Family Tree Forum Online Magazine. A wide...

read more
Dear Sir

Dear Sir

It used to be extremely disconcerting to walk into a bank in the early 70s and to be asked by the teller if you were related to “the Lewcock who wrote those books”, with the emphasis on those. At that time Francis James Lewcock’s books on banking were still required...

read more
Printer and entomologist

Printer and entomologist

George Albert Lewcock was born in 1841 in Farnham in Surrey, the son of James who was a baker and confectioner, continuing the family business started by his father Samuel.James died in 1848, leaving a young family and his wife, Jessamine remarried the following year...

read more
Skeleton by marriage?

Skeleton by marriage?

When I registered for the 1911 census, I was really only expecting to confirm what I already knew, to see if some of my ancestors were still alive to narrow down dates for searching for their deaths and perhaps bring some of the distant twigs up to date. What I didn’t...

read more
Of Sparrow Hawk and Ladybirds

Of Sparrow Hawk and Ladybirds

A cause of curiosity to all and horror to some, I have a battered glass case in my living room containing a stuffed sparrow hawk with her bullfinch prey.  This is a macabre memorial to the collecting activities of the Lewcocks.

read more