Descendents of John (Jack) Gower + Alice Farrer
contact: John Davis
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        ||       |

/|\ Thomas

Ryde IOW

    /|\ John (Jack) Gower |
b.1889 |
Folkestone |

| Alice Farrer/|\
| b.1876

|       | |   | | |





b.? |

|Mary Maud


Vera Gower



  | |   | |        
Leslie| Godden|


Kirkby| |Moira

Norriss living









14 Bucklers Road, Harway, Gosport in 2005. Where Alice was living, presumably with her four children, when she married Jack. Below, the view across Portsmouth Harbour from the Jolly Roger pub, next to the house above. Whale Island, where Jack was based is directly opposite, there would have been a Naval ferry for a direct connection.

Mill Lane in 2005. No.6 was at the left end of the terrace (now re-numbered as Upper Mill Lane no longer exists). Below the view of the Marines Barracks (now part of St. Vincent's College) from the door of No.6


Maps of Portsmouth & Gosport locations






Name: Purser, Louisa Alice ; Record Type: Births ; Quarter: September ; Year: 1891; District: Fareham ; County: Hampshire ; Volume: 2b Page: 573 (apparently born in Swanwick)

Name: Seymour, Daisy May ; Record Type: Births ; Quarter: June ; Year: 1893 ; District: Alverstoke ; County: Hampshire ; Volume: 2b Page: 543

Births Sep 1898 - KING Henry S. Stoneham 2c 59
1898 Birth in the Sub-district of St. Mary Extra in the County of Southampton
Tenth July 1898, 9 Valkyrie Road, Pear Tree Green, Saint Mary Extra, U.D.
Henry, boy, William King, Alice King formerly Farrer, Clerk Corn Merchant
William King, father, 9 Valkyrie Road, Pear Tree Green, Saint Mary Extra, Twenty second August 1898, William Henry Goodridge, registrar
- Thomas William King, given just as William on this birth cert., but correct on the others below.

Births Dec 1905 - King Joseph S. Stoneham 2c 59 (born 24th August 1905)

Births Mar 1908 - King Dorothy Alice S. Stoneham 2c 46
1907 Birth in the Sub-district of Saint Mary Extra in the County of Southampton
Twenty First December 1907, Sholing Road, Soton?
Dorothy Alice, girl, Thomas William King, Alice King formerly Farrer,
Storekeeper/grains , Thomas W. King father, Sholing Road, Soton, Twenty Seventh January 1908. Alfred Edward Chandler Registrar.

Births 1911 Mary M. King South Stoneham March 2c 86 (born 8th February 1911)

1911 Census
Polruan Merry, Oak Rd. Itchen Southampton, Hampshire
Dist. South Stoneham, Sub.Dist. St. Mary Extra
Thomas William King, Head, Married, M, 41, Storekeeper, b. Ryde IOW
Alice King, Wife, married 14 years, F, 36, b. Heckmondwike, Yorks
Henry King, Son, M, 14 School, b. Itchen Hants
Joseph King, son, M, 6, b. Bitterne Hants
Dorothy King, daughter, F, 4, b. Itchen Hants
Mary Maud King, daughter, F 2 months, b. Itchen Hants
Martha Gower, Boarder, widow, F. 65, b. Newtown Hants

Marriage Certificate (click images for bigger versions)
1913 Marriage Solemnized at the Register Office in the District of Portsmouth in the County of Portsmouth CB.
Third October 1913
John Gower 25 years Bachelor Private R.M.L.I., H.M.S. Excellent Portsmouth, Arthur Thomas Gower, Florist
Alice Farrer, 29 years, Spinster, - , 14 Bucklers Road, Hardway, Gosport; Joseph Farrer, Commission agent.
Married in the Register Office by Certificate before me, Henry Cleverly, Registrar. R T Hoskins, Superintendent Registrar
This marriage was solemnized between us, J. Gower, Alice Farrer, in the presence of us, William Avery, George John Green.

On this marriage certificate :
- John gives his age as 25 when he was in fact 24.
- Alice gives her age as 29 when she was actually 37.
- In the 1901 census Alice gave herself as 'Alice King, married', similarly on the birth certificate above - but we now know that she never married Thomas King because he was already married, and she correctly described herself as 'spinster' when she married Jack.

On October 3rd, 1913, Jack Gower, age 24, married Alice King/Farrer, age 37 - 13 years his senior and mother of four children - Henry (aka Harry/Frank), Joseph, Dolly and Mary -all Kings. At some point they moved to 6 Edward Place, Upper Mill Lane, next to the Forton Barracks in Forton Road, Gosport. Dolly (5) and Mary (2) moved with their mother. Their older brothers Joseph (8) and Frank (15) apparently also moved with them but Joseph died in 1918 and Henry/Frank was called up for the 1st World War as he was 18 in 1916.

Alice had been living in Southampton with Thomas William King.There have always been family suspicions that Alice never married Mr. King and this is now confirmed. Apparently Mr. King died in the first world war, i.e. after Jack and Alice married. We have an earlier postcard from Jack addressed clearly to 'Dear Mr. and Mrs. King', so she was using that name.

The blacksmiths photo on the right was kept in England by Queenie Gower and shows Jack on the right. Nothing on the back, apart from an unused postcard, but printed bottom left is 'RMLI [Royal Marines Light Infantry] Battery. The armourer's shop staff.' Probably taken in Gosport where RMLI was based, and it appears to be from a similar time to the one below and suggests that Jack was in Gosport for a while at this time before going to sea. The arm badge in the photo below is a pair of pliers crossed with a hammer, meaning a tradesman, which the Marines Museum curator in Portsmouth suggested was probably a farrier in those days. That ties in with the group of blacksmiths on the right. (see: Jack in the Royal Marines)

Right: Queenie Gower, birth certificate:
Alverstoke (Gosport), in the County of Southampton, 1914
29 August, 1914; Queenie Lilian, girl; John Gower, Private RMLI; Alice Gower, formerly Farrer; informant: Alice Gower, mother, 6 Edward Place, Upper Mill Lane; 29 September 1914; Henry W. Wells, registrar.

Right - record of births (on the back 'Birth certificate King family):
Statement of particulars contained in three Entries of Births appearing in the Registers deposited at the General Register Office, Somerset House.
Name of Child Date of Birth
Joseph King 24th August 1905
Dorothy Alice King 21st December 1907
Mary Maud King 8th February 1911
General Register Office, Somerset House, London. 9th July 1915
- Henry is not included, presumably as he was over 16 and this was to do with Jack's dependents.

Photo right, sent from Australia, on the back: Copied from Ron Gower's photos [Jack's nephew in Australia]. Jack Gower, his wife Alice. I believe the child's name was Vera [corrected by Vera to 'Queenie'] born to Alice of a previous marriage I am told [all crossed out by Vera as incorrect]. The first husband also killed in the war.
Jack Gower, killed as a result of Battle of Jutland, 1916 [correct], is reported to have had 2 sets of teeth - one behind the other [also unconfirmed].

Queenie, in the photo, was born 29th August 1914, Vera was born 23 July 1916, so Jack must have been home 9 months earlier, October 1915, when Queenie would have been 1 year, 2 months. A copy of the photo sent to Australia says November 1915 on the back. Jack was 26 and Alice 39.

Birth 1916 - Vera Gower, Sep, Alverstoke 2b 928 mother Farrer
right: short versions of Vera's birth certificate, with a copy from 1950:
Certificate of Registry of Birth
Vera Gower, 23rd July, 1916; Registered: 30th August 1916, Alverstoke

Death 1918 - Joseph King, age 13, Dec. Alverstoke 2b 1316 (Joe was buried in the same grave as Jack at Anne's Hill Cemetery)

A view of Portsmouth, Gosport & the Isle of Wight from Portsdown Hill, 2005

Jack Gower, HMS Malaya, and the Battle of Jutland
May 31, 1916

Henry King birth certificate 1898

Dorothy King birth certificate 1907

Alice - we think about 1911/12, in which case the child would be Mary. The original seems to have been cut as the child was under the frame.

Jack & Alice marriage certificate 1913


Jack on the right, as a blacksmith at the Forton Rd. Barracks, Gosport.

Queenie Gower birth certificate, 1914

Record of King family births, issued July 1915.

Jack, Alice & Queenie, November 1915

Vera Gower - short version of the birth certificate from 1916, with a copy issued in 1950.



Looks like Alice and Queenie. Possibly August 29, 1916, Queenie's 2nd birthday.


Grove Road school, Gosport in 2005 - attended by all the girls between 1913-28

Photo kept by Vera in her purse, thought to be Alice in the 1920s.

Jack's family had all emigrated to Australia by 1914 and his death left Alice and the children in considerable poverty. One view suggests that the family disowned Jack because they didn't approve of his marriage, but most of these photos are from Bertha's collection so he must have sent them to her, and we know Alice wrote to Jack's parent, Arthur and Elizabeth, after Jack died "with love" (below) - though it has been suggested that she was asking for financial help which was not forthcoming (Alice's mother had died when she was eight and her father would have been 67 by then). Jack also appears to have named his first daughter from his older sister's nickname, Queenie. If he had survived and taken the family to Australia then Queenie Gower would never have met Albert Davis, and the rest of this family tree would not exist . . .

The photo on the right was a postcard, but must have been sent in an envelope with others as it was not addressed in the normal way. The handwritten note reads:
"To Grandma & Grand Dad
Queenie 3 years Aug. 29.17 & Vera 1 year July 23 17
from Alice with love"

This came back from Australia so the grandparents must have been Arthur and Elizabeth Gower, Jack's parents. In 1917 they would have been aged 58 and 61 respectively.

In the early 1920s Alice's sister Jessie Farrer, who never married, came from Yorkshire to stay with Alice and her daughters for some time in Gosport. Their young brothers would be in their 20s by then and their father had probably died. Vera says Alice always kept her Yorkshire accent, just like 'Auntie Jessie'.

Meanwhile, the older brother, Henry Francis King (known as Harry or Frank) had married in Gosport:
1916 marriage: Henry King m. Daisy M. Seymour, Alverstoke, Dec. 2b 1261
Marriage certificate (right):
1916 Marriage solemnized at The Register Office in the Distict of Alvestoke in the County of Southampton.
Fourteenth October 1916
Henry King, 22 years, bachelor, Sapper ?? R.E. ??, 6 Upper Mill Lane, Forton; Thomas King (deceased), Sapper R.E.
Daisy May Seymour, 22 years, spinster, - , 6 Upper Mill Lane Forton, Henry Seymour, Printer?
Married in the Register Office by Certificate before me John F. Field? Registrar.
This marriage was solemnized between us, Henry King, Daisy may Seymour, in the presence of us, Kate Himoyer?, Rose E. White.
- yest another false age, Henry was actually 18, but Daisy was 22.

1920 birth: Margaret P.F.L. King (mother Seymour), Alverstoke, Jun 2b 1176
23/3/1920; 7 The Green, Gosport; Margaret Patricia Fernaundre Lilian;
Father:- Henry King; Mother:- Daisy May King (formerly Seymour)
Occupation Father:- Taxi Cab driver - ex Army
Informant - Henry King (father) - 21/4/1920

1922 Death: Daisy M. King, 29, Alverstoke, Dec. 2b 649

Apparently his first wife, Daisy, died of TB in 1922, their daughter, Margaret born 1920, went to live with Daisy's family - Margaret's uncle and aunt, Walter and Ethel Seymour, at 68 St Edwards Road, Gosport, where they lived until their deaths in the 1960s. Margaret married Leslie William Godden in 1940.

Henry then set up home with Louisa Alice Purser, who was calling herself Mrs. King but it seems they were not married. They had a daughter Doreen in 1924.

1924 birth - Doreen King, mother Purser, Alverstoke, Dec. 2b 803
Birth certificate (right)
1924 Birth in the sub-district of Alverstoke in the County of Southampton
First September 1924, 1 St. Ann's Crescent, Ann's Hill, UD
Doreen Esmé, Girl, Henry Francis King, Motor bus driver, Louisa Alice King formerly Purser
L.A. King, mother, 1 St. Ann's Crescent, Ann's Hill, Gosport, Ninth October 1924, Henry W. Wells registrar
- no marriage found for King/Purser

Death 1928, Sep, Alice Gower, 52, Alverstoke, 2b, 604
Death certificate (right)
1928 death in the Sub-district of Alverstoke in the County of Southampton
Twenty ninth July 1928, 6 Uppper Mill Lane, Forton, U.D.
Alice Gower, female, widow of John Gower a Private R.M.L.I.
1(a) Carcinoma of stomach - no P.M. certified by J. A. Tretton? R.E.J.S?
Dorothy A. King, daughter, present at the death, 6 Upper Mill Lane, Forton, Gosport, thirty first July 1928, Henry ?? registrar

Alice was 52 when she died. She was buried in the same grave as Jack (and her son Joe) at Ann's Hill cemetery in Gosport - Vera Gower says that special permission was needed for this as it was a military grave, but there is no official record of her burial there.




Vera & Queenie 1917

Henry King and Daisy Seymour marriage cert. 1916

Margaret King, birth certificate 1920

Doreen King, birth certificate 1924

below: Margaret King and Ethel Seymour, probably about 1925.
above: appears to be Margaret on the same day.

Alice Gower death certificate, 1928

Dolly, 20, became substitute mother to Mary 17, Queenie 14 and Vera 12, and they moved to Somers Road, Southsea, to live with their older brother Henry (aka Harry/Frank, known at this time as Frank) and his 'wife' and child, their Auntie Jessie had already moved over to live with Frank and there were now eight of them in a 3 bedroom house. Frank shared the main bedroom with his common-law wife, Louisa, and four year old daughter, Doreen; the four girls shared the middle room and Jessie had the small bedroom. At this time Frank was apparently driving coaches between Portsmouth and London.

This arrangement soon broke down when Frank 'diappeared', apparently to London, where he had another job driving coaches between London and the north of England. He abandoned Louisa and Doreen who went to live with Louisa's sister.

At some point Louisa had demanded that the girls all be moved to Royal Marine's orphanage, even before Frank left, but Dolly would have none of that and the four girls found a room, literally one room with shared facilities, in Albert Rd., Southsea. Times were hard and Vera remembers being sent home from school for having dirty clothes. They all found work in service, Queenie for a Jewish family in Southsea while Mary and Vera became a cook and housemaid for another family in Craneswater Park, Southsea. Apparently Jack's sister, Bertha, had offered to raise Queenie and Vera in Australia, but not Dolly and Mary as they were not Jack's daughters. The girls refused to be separated.

Jessie found employment as a housekeeper for a man in the Fareham area. She married him in 1931 and inherited his house.

The photos right appear to have come back from Australia, on the back of both it says: "Vera Gower aged 18" (ie: 1934). On the back of the left picture is added: "The lady born 6 weeks after Jack's death. They were very poor. She had some leg trouble too."

Left is Queenie Gower, date unknown. Nothing on the back.

1940 Marriage - French, Leonard m.Mary M. King, 1940 Jun, Wandsworth, 1d 1384

By the late 1930s Mary had moved to London, married Len French, and they lived the rest of their lives in a very pleasant flat in Putney, complete with a baby-grand piano and tennis club across the road which they used regularly (see Mary & Len right). Quite a change of lifestyle.

During the war Queenie and Vera both worked at Priddy's Hard munitions depot (right, now a museum, photo 2005) in Gosport, Queenie on the shop floor and Vera in the office. After the war Queenie married Albert Davis (see next page) and became the only one of the four to have children. Vera worked for a while for the NAAFI in Wimbledon and seems to have moved around quite a lot, but then, by the 1950s, settled into a secretarial job with Gieves and Hawkes in Portsmouth where she remained until she retired, eventually being promoted to office manager. She never married.

Mary, Albert & Queenie, almost certainly on Putney Heath in the summer of 1945 before Queenie and Albert married. Probably taken on Albert's camera with the group shot by Len French.

The photo right is Mary (sitting) and Vera near the end of the war.

Dolly suffered a nervous breakdown and spent the war in St.James hospital, Portsmouth. Dolly then found work as a housekeeper for a retired bank manager, Mr. Sandecombe, in Twyford Avenue, Portsmouth. He died in 1967 leaving the house to his son but giving Dolly the right to live there for there rest of her life. Unfortunately for the son Dolly lived to 92, by which time he had died and the house went to the grandson. Vera shared the house with her from 1967, but managed to keep her council flat in Gosport by returning to it once a week for 33 years, eventually returning there when Dolly died in 2000.

left: Dolly (Dorothy King) in Queenie and Albert's back garden in the late 1950s, age about 50. This would have been on a Tuesday afternoon as that was always her afternoon off from her housekeeper job, and she always went out to visit Queenie.

right: Mary (nee King) and Len French on Putney Heath in the late 1950s. Mary would have been in her mid-late 40s.

See also: The Mysterious Mr. King - for Henry Francis King.