The abysmal luck of Alice Mary Ashlee

This unfortunate woman was born on 18th February 1895 at the beachside town of Margate, Kent in Southern England. I assume her parents, William Henry Ashlee and Mary Ann were a poorly resourced couple as were most working people in those days; though if anyone knows the contrary I’d be pleased to hear from them. Alice Mary seems to have been an only child and I have no idea if she ever experienced caring for other babies before she had her own in quite sad circumstances.

The tiny trawler, Sarah Alice, sunk by a German torpedo from a U-boat 26 September 1916

Sarah Alice trawler

When Alice Mary married a second cousin of mine, Frederick Norman Cadby, in mid 1916, she immediately fell pregnant and Fred went off to sea to work. As the previous post revealed, Fred’s boat was torpedoed on Tuesday September 26th by a German U-boat and he never returned to his wife and new son. The boat was merely the trawler Sarah Alice, commissioned by the Royal Navy as a mine-sweeper. Fred and his mates went down in 15 seconds. Fred Junior arrived on November 2nd. Poor Alice.

Now the plot thickens. Alice reared the young Frederick Norman William Cadby with help from her family until she married a Charles Cox in 1921. It sounds as though Mr Cox was rather a con-man as he already had a wife named Mabel Florence Cuckow whom he had married as Victor Cox in 1918. Evidently he became dissatisfied after their first baby, Walter, was stillborn and the poor girl was probably quite upset at the time. Never mind, his solution was to insinuate himself into Alice’s home, change his name slightly and marry again, bigamously.

James Charles Victor Cox and Alice had 4 children, Ernest Victor Cox b. 1922; James L Cox, b.1923; Edward G Cox b 1925 and Winifred b.1929. In the 1940s, the Cox boys somehow discovered they were the result of a bigamous union so two of them decided to revert their surname back to their mother’s at the time of their birth. They were so angry at what their biological father had done that they had their births re-registered as Cadbys! A child of Winifred Cox contacted me and explained all this after seeing my Family Tree on the American “A” site. What an intriguing story!

Here is the re-registration of Edward Cox’s Birth:

“Births Mar 1949   (>99%)
CADBY Edward C [mother’s surname] Ashlee; Folkestone Vol. 5b  page 925

The above transcription represents what is in the GRO index but it is referred to by the following entry :

Births 1925 Mar: Cadby,Edward G,Cadby,Folkestone,5b,See M49

After separating from Charles/Victor, later in life Alice married a man oddly named Lewis Fright, dying as Mrs Fright. My apologies if a reader shares this surname, but I find it a bit scary!

On a slightly happier note to end this saga: JCV Cox’s first wife Mabel Florence Cox (nee Cuckow) met a much nicer fellow, Percy Mabb, married, and had a daughter named Estella. I also had a letter from Estella’s grand-daughter recently, telling me that her part of the family seemed to be quite stable and content these days.

#52Ancestors #genealogy #Cadby #Cox #Cuckow #Mabb #Ashlee #Fright

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