William Joseph Godwin

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Harold Godwin's third child and eldest son William Joseph worked in his father's company throughout, as an engineer and director, though unlike others, he lived for some time away from Quenington in Cheltenham. He made a number of long-distant sea-voyages, at least one of them, to the United States, reported locally as relating to the Godwin business interests.

He was born in Quenington in 1912 and attended the village school. He presumably remained in the village for he duly registered as a voter when he became of age in 1933. But only for one year. Later that year he was in Cheltenham to marry Gladys Smith (no further details known) and may have remained there for a while. He and Gladys were back in the village in 1937 and in 1939 they were living in one of the Godwin houses at Woodside, near the Godwin factory. William's occupation in 1939 was manufacturing engineer and director, presumably at the Godwin factory. He and Gladys divorced in the early 1940s and she died in Cheltenham in 1942.

After the war he made a visit to South Africa and intended to make another later the same year. The outward voyage on the first occasion was not identified but in March 1948 he arrived in Southampton from Cape Town with a certain Yolande Godwin. They gave an address in Swindon, Wiltshire, as their expected place of residence. Yolande seems to have been travelling as William's wife, but they were only married later, at the end of the year, see next paragraph.

They booked another voyage to South Africa, this time to East London, to leave on 23rd December 1948. However, they did not make the trip; their names were crossed through on the passener manifest. Instead, they were in Cheltenham that day, being married, by licence, at the town's Register Office. Here William is shown as a company director, divorced, aged 36, Yolande aged 33, a spinster and daughter of Robert John Harris, retired master butcher. She was curiously described as "Yolande Godwin otherwise Harris", perhaps reflecting the fact that, at least for a previous voyage and perhaps elsewhere, she was already known as Yolande Godwin (see above). She was born in 1916, her father a butcher trading on his own account in Shrivenham, Berkshire.

Perhaps an interesting fact relating to the planned voyage to South Africa, is that in the column of the documentation headed Place of Intended Residence (one year or more) the location was shown as South Africa.

The documentation relating to the booking for the voyage to South Africa shows an address in Pittville, Cheltenham, but on their wedding day they were both living at an address in Leckhampton in the same town. This would remain here until they moved back to Quenington in 1953.

In 1950 they sailed to New York, arriving on 5 November and giving as their address 677 5th Avenue in the city. No immediate return trip has been identified. However, a sailing from New York was made in early February the following year, with no outward trip identified. They may thus have been in the USA for three months. Perhaps this was the business trip, reported from other sources, that William made in connection with the Godwin business. William identified himself in the manifests as a director, Yolande as a housewife. William was presumably working for Godwin's albeit he lived, by the standards of the time, some way (27 miles along country roads) from Quenington.

By 1953 William had moved back to Quenington where he made his home at a house called The Mallards off Springfield Road, where other members of the family were living. A resident of the period remembers the house being built for him. That year he and Yolande crossed the Atlantic again to New York, this time via Quebec, absent for just over a month. His continuing association with the family firm comes from the local telephone directory, where he is listed in the 1950s and 1960s as an out-of-hours contact. In the 1950s he and Yolande made a number of probable holiday voyages, a couple to Madeira, one to Apapa in Nigeria, and it is from the passenger lists relating to such voyages that we derive much of what we know about him.

One perhaps interesting point is that from 1948, the first post-war information, to 1956 he gave his occupation as Director or Co[mpany] Director, but from 1957 as Engineer. On the one trip where we know that he and his father travelled together, his father is described as a director, he an engineer.

William died in a nursing home in Oxford in 1965 at the age of 52. His body was returned to Quenington, where it lies in the cemetery next to that of his first wife. His second wife Yolande did not remain in the village. By 1969 she was at an address in Henley, Berkshire, where she lived until her marriage there in 1978 to Denis A Senior, also of Henley. The two continued to live in Henley.

As might be expected William died a rich man, his assets of 131,470 being the equivalent of over 2m today (2013). Probate was granted to a bank and a solicitor's.

datesourceplaceage or
source codes: cert=certificate; er=electoral registers; gro=central record of births,marriages,deaths; prob=probate; sch=school records; ship=passenger lists; tel=telephone directories; Can=Canadian source;
1912gro,ship,39(Quenington)   born 2 May, birth registered Cirencester 1st quarter
1916schQuenington 2/5/1912 2 May, enrolled at village school, address Quenington, father contractor
1924schQuenington   1 August, left village school
1933erQuenington    registered as non-householder voter
1933groCheltenham  marriage to Gladys M Smith registered 3rd quarter
1936erQuenington    to at least 1937, registered as householder voter with wife Gladys
1939erQuenington  manufacturing engineer, directorat Woodside, probably house number 1, with wife Gladys;born 2nd May 1912
 cert   divorce from wife Gladys. Information from second marriage certificate, see 1948 below
1942groCheltenham   death of wife Gladys registered first quarter, age 44
1948shipSouthampton35director 19 March, arr from Cape Town on ss Capetown Castle with Yolande, proposed UK address 72 Victoria St, Swindon
1948shipLondon36director23 December, booked to sail as Mr W J and Mrs Y Godwin on Landovery Castle to East London, South Africa, but names deleted from list of those who sailed. Address at time of booking Strathdown, Pittville Circus Road, Cheltenham. Country of intended future residence (for one year or more) South Africa
23 December, marriage in town registry office to Yolande Harris, see footnote 1
telCheltenham  address 62 Leckhampton Rd, Cheltenham, tel Chelt 4921
1950shipLiverpool 38director23 October, en route New York on ss Parthia with wife Yolande, address 62 Leckhampton Rd, Cheltenham
1951shipLiverpool  director5 February, arr from New York on ss Franconia, with Yolande, address 62 Leckhampton Rd, Cheltenham
1953shipSouthampton42director 11 December, arr from Las Palmas on ss Carnarvon Castle, with Yolande, address 62 Leckhampton Rd, Cheltenham
1954shipLiverpool 41co director 21 May, en route Montreal on ss Empress Australia, with Yolande, address The Mallards, Quenington
?1954CanCanada  presumably related: undated reports from Canadian emigration of a William J Godwin and a Yolande Godwin, presumably at the same time, and who had travelled from England to Quebec, crossing into The United Staes
1954shipSouthampton42co director26 June, arr from New York on Queen Elizabeth, with Yollande, address The Mallards, Quenington
telQuenington    out-of hours contact for H R Godwin Ltd on Coln St Aldwyns 271
1956shipSouthampton co director27 May, due to sail on round trip on ss Colombie. On passenger list but names struck out. See 22 June below for probable reschedule. address The Mallards, Quenington
1956shipPlymouth 2/5/12 co director22 June, arr Plymouth on a cruise from Southampton, with Yolande, address The Mallards, Quenington
1957shipLiverpool 2/5/12 engineer3 June, arr Liverpool from Apapa, on ss Accra, with Yolande. address The Mallards, Quenington
1957shipSouthampton2/5/12engineer18 December, dep for Madeira on ss Venus, with Yolande and father Harold, address The Mallards, Quenington
1958shipSouthampton2/5/12engineer10 January, arr from Madeira on ss Venus, with Yolande. Address The Mallards, Quenington
1959shipSouthampton2/5/12engineer31 December, arr from Funchal on ss Arkadia, with Yolande, address The Mallards, Quenington
1965gro,probOxford  12 April died at Acland Nursing home, Oxford (see footnote 2). Death registered 2nd quarter
(1965)cemQuenington52 buried in the village cemetery
1. Marriage details 1948. At Cheltenham Register Office by licence, age 36, company director, divorced husband of Gladys Marjorie Godwin, formerly Smith, spinster; father Harold Joynes Godwin, company director; to Yolande Godwin otherwise Harris, 33, spinster, father Robert John Harris, master butcher (retired); address of both 62 Leckhampton Rd, Cheltenham; witnesses J V Halliday and G B Bayley
2. Probate details (Gloucester 21 May). William Joseph Godwin of Mallards Quenington near Cirencester died 12 April 1965 at Acland Nursing Home, Banbury Rd, Oxford. Probate to Lloyds Bank Ltd and Ormand Arthur Logic solicitor. Effects 131470.
additionally for widow Yolande:
telHenley,Berks  Mrs Y Godwin living at 8 Barons Mead, tel 4939
1978gro,telHenley, Berks  marriage of Yolande Godwin registered 3rd quarter to Denis A Senior of 47 Thames House, Phyllis Ct Dr, tel 4995

4th February 2020