Brickwall 1 – George Richards (? – 1981) Cont

Since my original post about George Richards, I have been taken on a different tangent with him.  All of the evidence I have about Pop gives his date of birth as 11 March, it’s the year that varies.  He variously gave 1897, 1898 and 1900…but if his story that he lied about his age to enlist in World War 1 is correct, he had to have been born in 1901 or later.  He consistently gave his place of birth as Burwood Victoria.   Another key detail, again if the information can be believed, is that his parents names were Joshua Charles Arthur Richards and Mary Jane Williams.

The story that he always told was that he went to enlist in the war, was under age and his father went and took him back home, and that he then ran away to enlist again, this time under his mother’s maiden name, and never saw his family again.   He enlisted as George Williams.

I have found a birth record for a Victor Norman King, who was born on 11 March 1901 in Burwood Victoria.  So what I hear you ask.  Well, his parents names were Joshua Charles Arthur King and Annie Williams.  This got me wondering, what if Pop changed his name when he enlisted, to make sure his parents wouldn’t find him.  I started researching Victor King and his family.

Joshua Charles Arthur King was born 7 December 1863 in Little Brighton Victoria, the son of William Oliver King and Elizabeth Thompson.  He married Annie Williams on 21 August 1889 in Dandenong Victoria.  Annie was born 14 February 1869 in Rosedale Victoria, the daughter of Richard Williams and Ann Osbourne (McCaulay?).  Joshua and Annie had 8 children:

  • Alice Thomson King (1890 – 1890) n.m
  • Gordon King (1891 – 1891) n.m
  • Annie King (1892 – 1892) n.m
  • Lily Mary King (1894 – 1988)
  • Joshua Charles Arthur King (1896 – 1981) n.m
  • Alma Annie King (1899 – 1900) n.m
  • Victor Norman King (1901 – ?)
  • Albert Arthur King (1903 – 1912) n.m

Annie King died 9 August 1903, 3 weeks after the birth of Albert King.    Her death notice in the Melbourne Argus (11 August 1903) states that she died at her residence after childbirth.  The causes of death listed on her death certificate are:

For several years after Annie’s death, Joshua placed In Memoriam notices on the anniversary of her death…he also placed notices on the anniversary of his mother’s death.

Albert King died 3 December 1912 at the Children’s Hospital Melbourne.  His death notice states that his father, Joshua, was living in Kogan Queensland at the time.  I have not found where the children were living at this time, they may have stayed in Melbourne with an aunt or uncle…Albert’s death notices states that he was the dearly loved nephew of Mrs I Riley of Camberwell and John King of Dandenong.

Electoral Rolls show that Joshua Charles Arthur King was a grazier at Kogan in 1913, as was his brother, Joseph Robert Alexander King.  The electoral roll also lists Joshua King as a grazier at Kogan.  Joseph Robert Alexander King had a son, John Joshua A King, I have not yet been able to confirm if this is the same person.

By 1914, according to Electoral Rolls, Joshua Charles Arthur King was a grazier at Lancefield Victoria.  From newspaper articles of the time, the family was still in Lancefield in 1917.  In the Lancefield Mercury and West Bourke Agricultural Record (27 July 1917), Victor King is noted has having won a Euchre competition, a Miss King and Mr King are also mentioned, these could be Victor’s brother and sister or father and sister.

By 1918, the family had moved back to Box Hill.  The Camberwell and Hawthorn Adviser (1 March 1918) reported that a number of cadets were dealt with by the police magistrate for drill evasion, one included in the report was Victor Norman King.  His case was struck out as he had “gone to New South Wales”.

Victor returned home at some point, as the next mention of him is in the Victorian Police Gazette (24 October 1918), which reported that he was “missing from his home  at “Hurley”, Merton Street, Box Hill, since 4th ult.” (i.e. 4th September).  His description was given as “17 1/2 years, 5 ft. 7 in., 11 stone 5 lbs., very fair complexion, fair hair, grey eyes, wore a grey sac suit, grey felt hat with black band, and gabardine overcoat.”.  It was noted that ” He may go to New South Wales”.

This is the last that is known of Victor King.  His family placed notices in a Wagga newspaper asking for him to make contact with them.  I have made contact with the grand-daughter of Lily King (Victor’s sister), who advised that Victor “disappeared” during the war and no-one heard from him again, that her grandmother had searched for him but had no luck.

These details for Victor King seem to follow Pop’s story, the “gone to New South Wales” in March 1918 could be the first time Pop ran away to enlist.  George Williams enlisted in the Army on 6 September 1918 in Wagga, two days after Victor King went missing from home.  George’s description on enlistment was given as 18 years 6 months, 5 feet 6 1/4 inches, 144 lbs (10 stone 4 ponds ), complexion fair, eyes grey, and hair light brown.  This description is similar to his description when he was reported as missing.  When his family looked for Victor after the War, they looked in Wagga.

Lily King’s grand-daughter has provided me with a photo of Joshua Charles Arthur King (Senior and Junior), the father and brother of Victor King.  There is more than a passing resemblance between Joshua Charles Arthur King Senior and Pop.  Lily King was the only child who married and had descendants.

The search will continue until I can prove or refute this theory.