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 JOHN PAYNE COX was born in Cromer on 2 Nov 1877.  He was baptised at the parish church of Cromer on 2 Dec. This was the year that Queen Victoria was proclaimed Empress of India.

Charles was the son of the fisherman George Cox and Ann Duffield. He was the second of five children and the eldest boy.

In the 1871 census he and his parents and elder sister Anna are living in Garden Street. Ten years later they have moved to his great-uncle William’s house at 16 Brook St. Anna has left home, but Charles now has three younger siblings. At the age of 13, Charles has already started the hard and dangerous work of a self-employed fisherman, like his father.


EMMA NEWMAN was born on 27 Aug 1878 in Cambridge. She was the daughter of Joseph Newman and Elizabeth Haynes. Her father was a gardener. It was a large family. Emma had at least seven older siblings and four younger ones. There may have been more.

In 1881 this large family are occupying two houses, 29 and 31Sturton St, in the parish of St Andrew the Less, Cambridge. Sturton St lies between the city centre and the railway line. There are nine children at home, of which Emma, aged 1, is the eighth.

In 1891 they were at 33 Fitzroy Street, Cambridge, also in the parish of St Andrew the Less. This is closer to the heart of the city, near the present Grafton Centre. Emma’s 23-year-old sister Mary, her brothers William (15) and Arthur (13) are all kept at home doing domestic work. Besides 11-year-old Emma there are also Charles (10), Maude (9) and Mabel (8 months). Four other older sisters were presumably married, out at work or had died.

Emma was married before the 1901 census, so we do not know what work she was doing as a teenager or what brought her to Cromer to meet Charles. There is a possible clue in the 1891 census. Alfred Newman, born in the parish of St Andrew the Less, Cambridge, is working at Watlington, Norfolk, as a railway signalman. Alfred was Emma’s cousin, the son of another gardener, Joshua Newman. Watlington is south of Kings Lynn and some distance from Cromer, but Alfred may have

heard of work for Emma in that area.


Charles and Emma were married in Cromer in the last quarter of 1899. Since weddings usually took place in the bride’s parish, we may assume that Emma had already moved there.


In the 1901 census they were living in Garden Street Yard. Garden Street ran straight from the town centre towards the pier. Garden Street Yard would have been a small close off Garden Street, probably with cheaper housing.

1901 Census. Cromer. Garden St Yard
Charles J P Cox Head    M    23   Fisherman  own account    Norfolk, Cromer
Emma           do   Wife    M    22                                             Cambridgeshire, Cambridge
As yet no children had been born.

Their first child was Emily Rose, born in the first quarter of 1905.

In 1906 Charlie Cox and his partner Jack Davies were photographed with an 11 ft shark they had  caught from their crab boat.


Emily was followed by Anna Elizabeth, born in the 3rd quarter of 1906. Anna lived only 7 months, and was buried in Cromer on 6 Feb 1907. The family were still living in Garden Street.

Another daughter was born later in 1907 and given her dead sister’s name.

She was followed in the third quarter of 1908 by Florence Maud.

Mabel Ann was born on 6 Mar 1910.

In the 1911 census they are at 2 Surrey Street with their four surviving daughters. Surrey Street lies to the east of the town centre.

1911 Census. 2 Surrey Street, Cromer.
Charles John Payne Cox  Head        33   Married  Fisherman                                    Own Account At Home                                           Cromer
Emma Cox                        Wife         32   Married                                                      Cambridge
Emily Rose Cox                 Daughter  5                  School                                         Cromer
Florence Maud Cox            Daughter  3                                                                      Cromer
Anna Elizabeth Cox           Daughter  4                                                                      Cromer
Mabel Ann Cox                 Daughter  1                                                                      Cromer

The couple say that they have had five children, of whom four are still alive.

Charlie Cox and Gilbert Mayes with the Peggy

 Fishermen unloading their crab catch. Charlie Cox third from left.

In 1917 Charles Cox was one of 12 lifeboatmen who were awarded a Bronze Medal of the RNLIaft, with a Gold Medal going to the Coxswain Henry Blogg, and silver medal to two others, in recognition of the seamanship, unwavering courage, tenacity and physical endurance displayed by them when the lifeboat went to the assistance of the Swedish steamer Fernebo after an explosion had broken the vessel in two in a strong north-easterly gale in the afternoon of 9 January 1917. The lifeboat, only just returned from a service to the Greek vessel Pyrin, and with a crew undaunted by their previous exertions, tried to launch once more with the assistance of hundreds of servicemen, many up to their necks in the water, but it was impossible to get past the heavy surf and she was driven back onto the beach. Several more unsuccessful attempts were made to launch and rocket apparatus was also tried, but just before midnight the lifeboat was successfully launched and rescued 11 survivors.

This was the first time Bronze medals were awarded.

1921 census finds them still in Surrey Street.

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


In 1928 the lifeboatmen of the H. F. Bailey were honoured for the rescue of the crew of SS Georgia on 30 January.  The tanker had gone aground on the Haisboro Sands. Onene half with the crew drifted away into the night, the empty half towards Cromer. The lifeboatmen first found the empty half and returned to Cromer, then went out to the Haisboro Sands where they found the crew and helped with their rescue. When they returned to Cromer next day they were welcomed by over 2000 people. £368 was raised by public subscription. A gold watch was presented to the coxswain, and silver watches to the crew members. The R.N.L.I also gave money for distribution to the crew, along with £50 from the ship’s owners. Charlie Cox is third from the right.


Charlie Cox in the 1930s, second from right




The Cromer lifeboat crew in 1933 after the rescue of the Sepoy. Charles Cox is on the extreme right and next to him is Bob “Skinback” Cox, who may be his son. The coxswain’s dog is Monte, who was rescued from the Monte Nevosa.



The family photograph was taken in July 1934. Charlie and Emma are shown with their daughter, Mabel March and grandchildren Richard and Jean. Within a week Charlie was dead, drowned with Gilbert Mayes when the White Heather capsized on 28 July. His funeral procession was half a mile long, with fishermen coming from all along the Norfolk coast

The Scotsman 28 July 1934
One Man Dead: Another missing

Hundreds of holidaymakers at Cromer yesterday saw a thrilling attempt to rescue two men in a crab boat during a sudden gale. The two men, Gilbert Mayle and Charles Cox, were crabbing about two miles off shore when their small boat capsized in a heavy sea.
The coastguard saw the boat in distress and the lifeboat was launched, but the lifeboatmen were unable to find Mayle, who is feared to be drowned.
Cox was found unconscious and floating face downwards next to  the overturned boat. He was picked up, and while the lifeboat raced back to the Cromer pier, artificial respiration was applied.
The boat was met by Dr Colvin-Smith at the pierhead and he continued artificial respiration and accompanied Cox the Cromer and District Hospital where, however, he died.
A coastguard at Cromer said to the reporter:- “The two men, both elderly, were out in their tiny boat when they were suddenly struck by a fierce squall. A terrific wind was blowing and heavy seas were running. We saw the boat was in serious difficulties and we summoned the lifeboat, which went to the rescue through mountainous waves. The little crab boat was tossing perilously, when it suddenly overturned. We could not see the men, but the lifeboat succeeded in picking up one of them. It searched over a wide area for the other man, but could not find him.”
Cox, who was aged 56, and Mayes 62, were brothers-in-law, and had been members of the lifeboat crew for many years. They had each received medals from the Royal Lifeboat Institution for gallantry in rescue at sea.


Yarmouth Independent 22 Sep 1934

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution has made grants of £50 each to the widows of Charles Cox and Gilbert Mayes who, when out in their own crab-boat on July 27th, in a heavy sea, were capsized a mile and a quarter from the shore. The motor lifeboat was launched at once, and the body of one man was found, but all efforts to revive him failed. Charles Cox had been a member of the lifeboat crew for 38 years, and had twice won the bronze medal of the Institution…. A local fund is being raised for the families of the two men.


In the 1939 Register, before the outbreak of war, we find Emma living at 6, Grove Road, Cromer.

Emma Cox          20 Aug 1878      Unpaid Domestic Duties                          Widowed
Charles R Cox      18 Nov 1914     Udc Council Public Works Labourer       Single

In the column headed “Instructions”, against Charles’s name is written: “ARP General Repair”.


At 61 Emma is able to live without needing a paid job. She was supported by her son’s wages and the money raised from the fund started when Charles died.

She died in the 4th quarter of 1946, aged 68.





March Tree