Alan March’s Family History

This site is a work-in-progress. There is a massive amount to cover. I have included both male and female lines, and some go back many generations. Keep coming back for more.
I have numbered the generations working backwards from Alan’s as (1)(1)

March Tree


 CHARLES HENRY MARCH was the son of the lorry driver James William March and the laundress Emma Roffey. He was born in Croydon on 25 June 1905.

He was the youngest of seven children, but two boys had died in infancy before Charles was born.

While Charles was still a young boy his father left the family. He had been making a regular run to Brighton delivering beer and developed a relationship with a woman there.

Charles was only two when his oldest brother William joined the navy.

He had a sister four years older than him who was profoundly deaf. Charles was probably only three when she went away to a residential school for the deaf in Margate.

In the 1911 census, Charles is 5-year-old schoolboy. He is living at 1 Alma Cottages, Magdala Road, Croydon, with  his mother, a laundress, and his 16-year-old brother Thomas, who is a milk boy. Also with him are his sister-in-law Clara and his 3-year-old nephew William. They are the wife and son of his oldest brother, William, who had joined the navy.

In the same census, Charles’s father is living in Brighton, 40 miles away, and driving a bus.

On the 26 Aug 1912, Charles March of 1 Magdala Road entered Brighton Road Junior School. For most children, the father’s name is entered in the column for parent or guardian. James’s name was given when his elder brothers and sister enrolled in this school. When Charles was enrolled, the entry read “Mother”.

Charles was too young to serve in the first World War of 1914-18.  The age limit for enlistment was 18 – 41. His 45-year-old father would have been too old. Charles’s second brother Thomas joined the Royal West Surrey Regiment. He was killed at the Battle of Arras in northern France in May1917. The War Graves Commission has him as the son of Mrs Emma March. There is no mention of his father.

When she reached 16, his deaf sister Emma returned to Croydon from her school in Margate and joined their mother in laundry work.

Charles went to work for a printer and became a compositor.

By the time of the 1921 census, Charles’s father is back living with the family at the house in Magdala Road, driving for a brewery. At 15, Charles has started work with the printing firm.

1921 Census. 1 Magdala Road, Croydon.
James March      Head         51y 7 m   Married  Croydon   Carman    Page & Overton Brewers
Surrey St, Croydon
Emma March      Wife         52y 9m     Married Chipstead,                 Surrey
Charles March    Son           15y 11m   Single     Croydon   Printing     Mr Hayward, George St                                                                                                              Croydon
Emma March       Daughter   20y 6m     Single     Croydon   Ironer       Mrs Campbell, Selsdon Rd

MABEL ANN COX was the daughter of the fisherman Charles John Payne Cox of Cromer in Norfolk and his wife Emma, the former Emma Newman from Cambridge.

Mabel was born on 6 March 1910, making her five years younger than Charles.

She grew up in the fishing port of Cromer on the Norfolk coast. As well as being a fisherman, Charlie Cox was a famous lifeboatman.

In the 1911 census Mabel is aged 1 and the youngest of four daughters. They are living with their parents at 2 Surrey Street, Cromer. Three years later, a brother was born.

Ten years later, the family are still living in Surrey St. Mabel is the middle of three children still at home and attending school.

1921 Census. 2 Crescent Cottage, Surrey St, Cromer.
Charles Cox   Head        45y 6m     Married    Cromer       Fisherman   Own account   At home
Emma Cox      Wife         44y 2m     Married    Cambridge  Household Duties               At home
Florence Cox   Daughter  13y 11m                   Cromer       Whole time Council School
Mabel Cox      Daughter  11y 3m                     Cromer       Whole time
Robert Cox      Son           6y 7m                       Cromer       Whole time

It would be interesting to know how Charlie from Croydon came to meet Mabel from Cromer. The seaside town became a tourist resort in the 19th century. Jane Austen and Elizabeth Gaskell write of their characters holidaying there.

The coming of the railway made it more accessible. It is possible that Charlie Cox went on holiday there and met Mabel and her friends on the seafront.


On 21 Apr 1930 Charles Henry March married Mabel Ann Cox at the church of St Peter and St Paul in Cromer.

They did not stay in Norfolk, but set up home in Croydon.

In the mid-19th century, Croydon had been a leisure resort and spa town outside London. It grew rapidly with the advent of the railway. The population increased 23-fold between 1801 and 1901. Mabel must have found it very different from the seaside town where she grew up.

They had two children.

Richard Charles March born 5 April 1931 in Croydon district.
Jean M March born in 1932

  1.   Mabel with Richard, Jean and her parents

 Shortley after this picture was taken, Mabel’s father was drowned when his crab boat overturned in heavy seas.

In the 1939 register the March family are at 51 Borough Hill, Croydon CB

Charles’s surname is initially recorded as March, but this had been replaced with Jerrey. It is hard to explain this.

His birth date is given as June 25 1905 and his occupation as Compositor Printers.

Mabel was born on March 6 1910 and is an Unpaid Domestic.

With them are 8 year-old Richard C March, who is at school, and another child whose details have been redacted. This must be Jean.


Charles was 34 when the Second World War broke out. He served as ground crew at an RAF base. His worst memory was of retrieving body parts from a crashed Lancaster.

After the war, Charles and Mabel, with their small family, remained in Croydon. In the electoral register for 1963 they are still living at 51 Borough Hill. Their grandson, Alan March, remembers Charles as a withdrawn man, who found it hard to communicate.

Mabel died in Croydon in the first quarter of 1980.

Charles died in the third quarter of 1987, also in Croydon.

After his death, their son Richard found £1000 under the mattress of Charles’s bed.





March Tree