The Trowbridge to New Zealand Line

(including the line to Canada from Langley Burrell in Wiltshire)


This is the second of two sections of this family line


Updated November 2017




Fanny Harris Collett was born at Keevil during the third quarter of 1860, the first child of Joseph Collett and Susan Harris Collett.  She was the only child living at Keevil with her parents in 1861, when she was listed as being under one year old.  It was also at Keevil that she died during the last three months of 1861.  Her birth and her death were both recorded in nearby town of Westbury.






Edith Matilda Collett was born at Keevil during the third quarter of 1862 and was eight years old by the time of the Keevil census in 1871.  During the late 1870s, Edith and her family left Keevil when her father took over a farm in the village of Bowerhill immediately to the south of Melksham.  By the time of the census in 1881, Edith had left the family home and was living and working in London.  The census return for the Fulham & St Peter Hammersmith registration district recorded her as Edith Collett from Keevil in Wiltshire, who was 18 years of age and who was starting out in life as a nurse.




Over the next few years her work as a nurse took her to Hastings in Kent, where in 1891 she was living and working in the St Mary in the Castle area of the town.  Her next move was to the Isle of Wight, and it was there, in the centre of the island at Gatcombe, that she was living and working in 1901.  By that time in her life Edith Collett from Keevil was 38 and was a nurse caring for the sick.




During 1909 Edith’s father died, so she returned to the family home in Bowerhill to look after her elderly mother.  That was confirmed in the April census in 1911 when Edith Collett, age 48 and from Keevil, was living at Bowerhill with her elderly mother Susan Collett and her brother Percy Collett (below).  Edith Matilda Collett, a spinster, died on 6th February 1936 with her death recorded at Chippenham register office.






Frances Louisa Collett was born at Keevil during the second quarter of 1864 and was seven years old by the time of the Keevil census in 1871.  Sometime around the mid-to-late 1870s her family moved to a farm in Bowerhill where Francis L Collett from Keevil was living with her parents at the age of 17, and when she was described as a farmer’s daughter.  She was still living there with her parents and her brother Charles (below) ten years later, the census on that occasion listing her as Frances Louisa Collett, age 26 from Keevil.  By March 1901 she was still not married, and was once again living at Bowerhill with her parents when she was 36.




However, on that occasion, the Charles Collett living with Frances and her parents was not her brother Charles from Keevil, but her cousin Charles Henry Collett (above) from Chippenham, the son of Henry Collett and his first wife, the late Elizabeth Buckland.  It would appear that Frances never married, since by 1911 she was living in the Westbury area of Wiltshire where she was recorded as Francis Louisa Collett from Keevil who was 46.  On that occasion she was living with her Aunt Rosa Jane Hunt nee Collett (Ref. 62M13) who died just four days after the census day.




Like her sister Edith Matilda Collett (above), Frances Louisa Collett also lived the life of a spinster and she passed away on 16th August 1936 at Frome in Somerset.






Charles Edwin Collett was born at Keevil during the third quarter of 1867 and he was three years old by the time of the Keevil census in 1871.  By 1881 he and his family had left Keevil and were settled on a farm in Bowerhill near Melksham where the family lived for many years thereafter.  In 1881 Charles E Collett from Keevil was 13 and was still attending school.  At the age of 23, Charles Collett from Keevil was still living with his parents at Bowerhill, but it was eleven years later that he married Mary Louisa Ellis in Melksham on 16th April 1902.  She was born at Seend near Melksham during the last quarter of 1879, the second of the four children of farmer Richard Ellis from Keevil and his wife Susannah Fry Ellis from Steeple Ashton.




According to the census conducted one year earlier 1901 Charles Collett from Chippenham was 34 when he was living at Melksham where he was a bachelor described as living on his own means.  His much younger future (Mary) Louie Ellis from Seend was only 21 when she was working in domestic service in the Chippenham area in March 1901.  Over the following years Mary presented Charles with two children, although others may have been born to the couple after April 1911.  The census that month listed the family living at Bowerhill as Charles Collett, age 43 of Keevil, and his wife Mary who was 31 and from Seend, and with them their two children Edward Collett who was seven, and Joseph Collett who was one year old.  It was as Charles Edwin Collett, a farmer, that he was named as the sole executor of his mother’s Will in 1922, having also been one of the executors of his father’s Will in 1910.




Charles Edwin Collett died at Keevil on 29th September 1935, while his wife survived him by thirteen years when Mary Louisa Collett nee Ellis died in Wiltshire on 17th November 1948.  Probate of Charles’s Will on 11th November 1935 in Bristol stated that he was living at Keevil in Wiltshire when he died on 29th September and that deposal of his personal effects of £1,102 9 Shillings 10d was granted to Mary Louisa Collett, his widow, and Edward Collett, a farmer, who was mostly his eldest son.





Edward Collett

Born in 1903 at Bowerhill, Melksham



Joseph Charles Edwin Collett

Born in 1909 at Bowerhill, Melksham






Alice Eliza Collett was born at Keevil during the third quarter of 1869 and was one year old by the time of the Keevil census in 1871.  Ten years after that, she and her parents were living at Bowerhill, where Alice E Collett from Keevil was 11 years old and attending school.  Just prior to the next census in 1891 Alice Eliza Collett married Albert William Gale at Trinity Church in Paddington, London, on 12th February 1891.  Albert was a bachelor and a civil engineer living at Bishops Road in Paddington, the son of John Gale, a gentleman, while Alice was from Melksham in Wiltshire whose father was Joseph Collett, an auctioneer.  Just over one month later Albert W Gale aged 24 and a fitter and his wife Alice E Gale who was 22 and born at Keevil were lodging with the Knock family at 6 New Covenant Place in Rochester, Kent.  Samuel Knock was 51 and another fitter, his wife Betsy was 55 and their two older sons William 18 and Henry 16 were both apprentices, while son George Knock was 12 and still at school.  One other person was a lodger at that address, and he was Sidney E Dyche an engineer’s apprentice of 14.




Curiously three years later another record at Melksham states that the same couple were married there on 11th July 1894.  Could they have had two weddings, if so, perhaps they were conducted under different religious ceremonies.  It is also rather odd that no record of the couple has been found in either 1901 or 1911.  What is known is that Alice Eliza Gale nee Collett was residing at 2 Barrack Street in Bridport, Dorset, on died 26th December 1946.  Her Will was proved in London on 6th March 1947 when it was confirmed that “Alice Eliza Gale of East Street and 2 Barrack Street, both in Bridport, Dorsetshire, widow, died 26 Dec 1946 at 2 Barrack Street” when it was Lionel Ernest Bradley Gale, a solicitor, who was the executor of her personal effects of £2,561 16 Shillings 6d.  Lionel E B Gale, the son of Albert Edwin Gale and his wife Alice Louisa Gale, was born during 1882 at Bridport in Dorset and was 18 in the census of 1901 when he was an articled clerk.  Ten years later Lionel E B Gale was 28 and he and his brother Reginald were still living with their parents in Bridport.  It is therefore likely that Lionel may have been a cousin or a nephew of Albert William Gale.






Mary Florence Collett was born at Keevil in 1871 but after the day the census was conducted that year.  It is believed that she was the youngest daughter of Joseph and Susan Collett although she was not living with her family in either 1881 or 1891.  Instead in 1881 Mary F Collett from Keevil was eight years old when she was living with her maternal grandmother Maria Collett nee Harris (Ref. 62A/L1), a widow of 82, at Lowbourne Road in Melksham.  Her grandmother died in November 1889 when she was still living with her and her daughter Louisa Maria Collett. 




Fourteen months later Florence Mary Collett, age 18 from Keevil, was recorded in the census of 1891 as the niece and housekeeper for her maiden aunt Louisa Maria Collett (Ref. 62A/M1) and her widowed uncle Edward Collett (Ref. 62A/M4) on their farm in Bowerhill.  Assisting Mary was Annie Elizabeth Farmer who was 13 and a domestic servant.  On the same census return, and therefore living close by in Bowerhill, were Mary’s parents Joseph and Susan Collett on their farm.




By March 1901 Florence M Collett said she was 27 when she was a domestic servant living and working at the Rose & Crown Inn at 14 Market Street in Chippenham where the inn keeper was her cousin Roland Collett (Ref. 62N21) also 27 and from Chippenham.  It was later that same year that Florence Mary Collett, aka Mary Florence Collett from Keevil, became a married lady when she married her first cousin Roland Collett at Melksham on 4th September 1901.  On that occasion the records confirm that her father was Joseph Collett, although her place of birth was stated as being Trowbridge just a few miles west of Keevil, while Roland was the son of Henry Collett and Rosa Wright, the older brother of Mary’s father Joseph.




Further details of the continuation of this family line can be found under

Roland Collett Ref. 62N21)






Percy Harris Collett was born at Keevil during the first three months of 1873, just prior to his family’s move from Keevil to the village of Bowerhill to the south of Melksham.  He was the youngest child of Joseph Collett and Susan Harris Collett and was named after his maternal grandmother – see Appendix at the end of this section.  In the Bowerhill census of 1881 Percy H Collett from Keevil was seven years old.  At the age of 17 he was recorded as residing within the Devizes area of Wiltshire, when he was described as Percy H Collett from Keevil, in the 1891 Census.  During the next ten years he returned to his family, to work with his father on the farm at Bowerhill.




The census in 1901 gave his full name as Percy Harris Collett and the fact that he was born at Keevil.  At that time he was described as a farmer’s son, even though he was not actually with his father Joseph Collett on that occasion.  Joseph Collett was at Bowerhill, while Percy, age 27, was staying with his widowed aunt Rosa Collett at Frogwell House in the Chippenham.  However, his father died in 1909 and in 1911 Percy Collett, age 37 and of Keevil, was once again living with his mother Susan Collett at Bowerhill.  He was still a bachelor, and living there with him was his older sister and nurse, Edith Collett of Keevil (above), who was caring for their elderly mother, together with his maiden aunt Louisa Maria Collett (Ref. 62A/M1) his mother’s older sister.






William Collett was born at Biddestone in 1864 and was 17 in April 1881.  By then he had followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a journeyman baker, while he was still living at the family home in Church Street in Lacock just north of Melksham.  During the next decade William Collett married Emily Jane Bath who was born at Lacock in 1865, the daughter of John and Eliza Bath, whose birth was recorded at Melksham (Ref. 5a 121) during the first quarter of 1866.  The wedding took place at Lacock and was recorded at Chippenham (Ref. 5a 131) during the last three months of 1887.  It was also at Lacock where the couple settled, where their children were born and where the family was living in 1891.  That year’s census recorded the family at West Street in Lacock as William Collett, a baker who was 27, his wife Emily J Collett 25, and their two children as Maud who was two, and Clara who was not yet one-year old.




Ten years later the family living at Lacock comprised William Collett, age 37, who was a butcher, his wife Emily who was 35, and their three children, Maud who was 12, Clara who was 10, and Louie who was eight years old.  According to the Lacock census of 1911, William of Biddestone was 47, his wife Emily Jane who was 45 and assisting her husband in the family business.  Still living with them were their two daughters Maud 22 and Clara 20, and their son Louie who was 18, all of them confirmed as having been born at Lacock, like their mother.  The census return that year confirmed William and Emily had been married for twenty-two years.  Also living at the same address in the High Street at Lacock was William’s younger brother Harry Collett (below).





Maud M Collett

Born in 1888 at Lacock



Clara Collett

Born in 1890 at Lacock



Louie Collett

Born in 1892 at Lacock






Edwin Collett was born at Biddestone during 1869 the third child of Henry Collett and Mary Bird.  He was one year old in the Biddestone census of 1871 and was 11 years of age in 1881 by which time he and his family were residing in a dwelling on Church Street at Lacock, near Chippenham.  His family was still living in Lacock ten years later, although no record of Edwin has been found anywhere in Great Britain at the time of the census in 1891.  What is now established is that Edwin Collett was only 30 years old when he died, his death recorded at the Chippenham register office (Ref. 5a 48) during the final three months of 1899.




In addition to the information about his premature death, it is also now known that it was Edwin Collett who married Maria Yeoman at the Parish Church of St. Philips Lambeth on 13th May 1894, the event recorded at Lambeth in London (Ref. 1d 543).  The marriage record confirmed that Edwin was 24, a bachelor and a stoker, of 10 Brook Street in Lambeth, the son of butcher Henry Collett.  Maria was 21 and a spinster, also of 10 Brook Street whose father was Harry Yeoman, a horse-keeper.  Maria had been born at Lambeth in 1873 and once she was married her three children were all born in London.  It was the untimely death of her husband that prompted Maria to leave London and return to the Wiltshire village of her in-laws.  And so it was that the widow Maria Collett age 28 and from Lambeth was recorded at Lacock with her three children in the March census of 1901, by which time she was working as a laundress.  Her three children were listed as Winnifred (sic) who was five, William who was four, and Harry who was three years old, and all three of them had been born at Battersea.




According to the next census in April 1911 the family of four was still living in Lacock at Nethercote Hill.  Maria Collett was 37 and was a laundry worker, while her Battersea born children were Winfred (sic) Minnie Collett who was 15, William Edwin Collett who was 14, and Harry Collett who was 13.  Three years later Maria eldest son became involved in the First World War and after a further three years Maria Collett was named as the sole next-of-kin, when she was notified of the death of their son William during October 1917 at the Battle of Ypres Salient.  Her address at the time was the same as six years earlier, that being Nethercote Hill in Lacock, near Chippenham in Wiltshire.





Winifred Minnie Collett

Born in 1895 at Battersea



William Edwin Collett

Born in 1896 at Battersea



Harry Collett

Born in 1897 at Battersea






Harry Collett was born at Biddestone in 1872 and was aged eight years in the census of 1881 when he was living with his family in a cottage at Church Street in Lacock.  He was still living at Lacock with his parents in 1891 when he was 18.  After a further ten years Harry Collett from Biddestone was 28 and a house painter who was unmarried and still residing in Lacock.  He was still a bachelor at the time of the Lacock census in 1911 when house painter Harry was 38 and living with the family of his older brother William (above) at a dwelling on the High Street in Lacock.






Herbert Lewin Collett was born at Melksham in 1874.  He was six years old in 1881 when he was living at the family home in Church Street in Lacock, and was still there ten years later in 1891 when he was 16.  A few years later he secured a job with the Great Western Railway in Chippenham, where he met his future wife.  During the third quarter of 1897 Herbert Lewin Collett married Annie Smith, the event recorded at Chippenham register office (Ref. 5a 103).  Annie is known to have presented Herbert with at least four children and all of them were born whilst the couple was living at Chippenham.  In 1901 Herbert was 26 and was employed as a carpenter by the GWR, at their signal works in Chippenham.




His wife Annie of Chippenham was 26 and their first two children were Frederick aged two and Ethel who was not yet one year old.  The couple’s next two known children were born eight years apart, which may indicate that there might have been other children in between, who did not survive.  According to the next census in April 1911, the family of six was living within the Foghamshire district of the town of Chippenham, where Herbert was a carpenter of 36 from Melksham, living with his wife Annie also 36, and their four children Frederick 12, Ethel 10, Herbert who was eight years old, and baby Elsie who was ten months old.




Herbert Lewin Collett was living at 21 Foghamshire in Chippenham when he died on 23rd October 1928, while probate was awarded to his widow Annie on 10th December that same year for his personal effects of £742 12 Shillings 3d.





Frederick Collett

Born in 1898 at Chippenham



Ethel May Collett

Born in 1900 at Chippenham



Herbert Lewin Collett

Born in 1902 at Chippenham



Elsie Annie Collett

Born in 1910 at Chippenham






Paulina Victoria Elizabeth Collett was born at Melksham in 1856, the eldest child of William Collett and Harriet Austin.  As P V E Collett she was four years old in the Melksham census of 1861 when she was at home with just her father, while her mother was visiting Paulina’s maternal grandparents in Kington St Michael.  However, the family was altogether at Melksham in 1871 when Paulina was 14.  She was 21 years old when, as Paulina Victoria Elizabeth Collett, she married William Blake at Melksham during the second quarter of 1878, where William was also born during the first three months of 1852.  It was also at Melksham where the couple set up home and where their three children were all born.  William Henry Blake was born in 1879, Herbert Stanley Blake was born in 1886 and Evelyn Florence Blake was born during 1888.




On the day of the census in 1881 the couple was residing at Union Street in Melksham where William Blake was 28 and a painter, plumber and glazier employing one boy, Paulina V E Blake was 24 and with them was their first child William Henry Blake who was two years old.  Working as a general servant for the family was Kate Richards who was 13.




Over the following decade their family was completed with the birth of a further two children, as confirmed by the Melksham census of 1891 when the family was recorded at Bank Street in Melksham.  William Blake was 38 and still a plumber, painter and glazier, Paulina V E Blake was 34, William H Blake was 12, Herbert S Blake was five and Evelyn F Blake was two years old.  The family’s general domestic servant on the day of the census was general servant Esther Clifford aged 14.  Sometime after that William changed occupations when he became a dairy shop manager and, on the day of the next census in 1901, William was 48 when he and his family were recorded at 96 Northbrook Street in Newbury in Berkshire.  With him there was his wife Paulina V E Blake who was 44 and their daughter Evelyn F Blake who was 12.  The couple’s two sons were still living and working in Melksham but with other members of their extended Collett family when William Blake was 22 and Herbert Stanley Blake was 17.  




On that day in 1901 William Blake was living and working on the farm of his uncle, Albert Henry Collett (below) and his aunt Emily Collett at Melksham Without.  At that same time his brother Herbert Stanley Blake was living at Ark Terrace in Melksham the home of his elderly paternal grandmother Harriet Collett who was a retired farmer and her two unmarried children Charles L Collett and Florence E Collett, when Herbert was described as a manager’s assistant.  Seven years later, when she was 51, Paulina Victoria Elizabeth Blake nee Collett died at Newbury where her death was recorded during the second quarter of 1908.




In the 1911 census her widowed husband William Blake was 58 and still the manager of a dairy shop manager.  The census return also confirmed that during his married life he had fathered three children who were all still living.  His address that day was the same as ten years earlier, when 96 Northbrook Street was described as a four-roomed house.  His two youngest children were still living there with him, and they were Herbert Stanley Blake who was 25 and Evelyn Florence Blake who was 22, both of them assistants in the dairy shop.  His eldest son William H Blake had married Susan Mary Ferris during 1909 and the childless couple was living in Eastbourne in April 1911.  It was two years later that Herbert Stanley Blake married Jane I M Scott during 1913.






Albert Henry Collett was born at Melksham during 1858, the second child of William and Harriet Collett.  On the occasion of the census in 1861 Albert’s mother and his younger brother William (below) were visiting Albert’s maternal grandparents at Kington St Michael, while Albert was living at the family home in Bath Road, Melksham, with his butcher father and sister Paulina, where he was recorded in error as Robert H Collett who was three years of age.  However, at the start of the next decade Albert’s family was altogether and living in Melksham when Albert was 13.




A double tragedy struck the family during the next ten years when first Albert’s youngest brother Gilbert died when he was three years old in 1875 and, five years later, his father William died at Melksham during September 1880.  So, six months after that, the census in 1881 recorded the family, less their father, youngest son, and Albert’s older sister Paulina who was married by then.  That meant Albert H Collett, age 23, was the eldest child supporting his widowed mother Harriet with the running of Holbrook Farm, which comprised 58 acres on which she employed one labourer.




With Albert’s brother Charles (below) having left school by then, and being able to help support their mother with the farm, it was later that same year when Albert Henry Collett married Emily Ann Rison at Amesbury in Wiltshire during the final three months of 1881, Emily having been born at Trowbridge.  Once married the couple remained living in Melksham, not far from Albert’s mother, where they raised two children.  By 1891 their family was complete, with Albert H Collett aged 32, his wife Emily A Collett who was 33, and their two children, being Lillian Collett who was eight, and Albert E Collett who was three.




The Melksham census in March 1901 confirmed the family again as Albert Collett, a farmer aged 42, Emily Collett, who was also 42, Lilian Collett who was 18 and Albert Collett who was 13.  Staying with the family that day was Albert’s nephew William Blake, the eldest son of his married sister Paulina Blake (above), who was most likely working on the Collett’s farm.  Over the following years Albert and Emily moved to Hampshire where they were recorded as residing in the Romsey area in the census of 1911.  Albert Henry Collett from Melksham was 52, as was his wife Emily Anne Collett from Trowbridge.  Their two children had remained in Melksham where their daughter was either staying with, or just visiting, her paternal grandmother Harriet Collett at her home in April 1911, where she was simply listed as unmarried Lilian Collett age 28 from Melksham.  By that time their son Albert Edwin Collett, age 23, was also still living in Melksham, but not with any member of the Collett family.





Lillian Collett

Born in 1882 at Melksham



Albert Edwin Collett

Born in 1887 at Melksham






William James Collett was born at Melksham in 1860, the son of William and Harriet Collett.  On the day of the census in 1861 one-year old William Collett was with his mother visiting her Austin parents at Kington St Michael.  However, it was at the family home in Melksham that William was living in 1871 when he was 11.  On leaving school he took up the trade of his father and his grandfather Henry Collett, when he became a butcher.  In 1880 William’s father died and by the time of the census the following year William and his sister Ada were no longer living with their widowed mother in Melksham.  Instead the siblings were recorded as Bath Buildings in Melksham under entry 85 on the census return.  However, presumably through an enumerator error, they were not shown separately from entry 84 which was the adjacent Linden House, the home of London tailor John Hayter and his family.  William J Collett, age 21 and a butcher of Melksham, was labelled as the son of John Hayter, while his sister Ada J Collett, who was 18, was recorded as the daughter of John Hayter.




It was five years later at Westbury in Wiltshire that William married (1) Annie Maslen White during the third quarter of 1886 with whom he had two children who were both born at Melksham.  Annie was born at Bulkington in Wiltshire in 1860 and it is possible that in some way or other she may have been related to Joseph Maslen who married Marianne Collett (Ref. 62M11).  The birth of couple’s son and their eldest child was recorded at Melksham during the last three months of 1887.




In the Melksham census of 1891 butcher William T (sic) Collett was 31, as was his wife Annie M Collett, while their son Gilbert W Collett was three years old, when the family was living in premises on the High Street.  The couple’s daughter was born two years after that and in 1901 the family of four was still residing at the same premises on the High Street in Melksham, which presumably included a shop.  William Collett of Melksham was 41 and a butcher who was an employer working at home, his wife Annie N (sic) Collett from Bulkington, south-east of Melksham, was 41, while their two children were Gilbert W Collett who was 13, and Olive E Collett who was seven.  Supporting the family was general servant Margaret A Hanell from Melksham, age 17.




Sometime during the first decade of the new century William gave up the premises in Melksham and took his family to live in the Chippenham & Calne registration district, and it was there during the second quarter of 1908 that Annie Maslen Collett nee White died at the age of 48.  Around fifteen months later William married (2) Alice Maud Brown, the event being recorded during the third quarter of 1909.  According to the census conducted in April 1911 William James Collett from Melksham was 51 and a dairy farmer living at East Tytherton, while his new wife was Alice Maud Collett who was 42.  The census return also confirmed that Alice had been married to William for one and a half years and that she had not given birth to any children.  Living with the couple was William’s daughter Olive Ethel Collett who was 17, together with his unmarried sister-in-law visitor Emily Alexandra Brown who was 48 and a governess.  By that time in his life William’s son Gilbert William Collett from Melksham was 23 and a bachelor when he was living and working within the Croydon area of Surrey.




William Collett, a butcher, was named as one of the two joint executors in the Will of Edward Collett (Ref. 62A/M4) of Bowerhill near Melksham which was proved at Salisbury in May 1900.  It was almost twenty-six years later that William James Collett died at East Tytherton near Chippenham on 27th February 1927.  His Will was proved in London on 30th May 1927 when he was recorded as William James Collett of Bambridge, East Tytherton, Chippenham in Wiltshire.  Executors of the Will were named as Gilbert William Collett, a hosier, and Arthur Leopold Pocock, a farmer, while his personal effects were valued at £8,827 0 Shillings 3d.  His son Gilbert William Collett was 77 years old when he died in Wiltshire on 24th July 1964, although no further details about him or his life are known at this time.





Gilbert William Collett

Born in 1887 at Melksham



Olive Ethel Collett

Born in 1893 at Melksham






Ada Jane Collett was born at Melksham in 1862 the second of the three daughters of William and Harriet Collett.  She was eight years old in the Melksham census of 1871 but, following the death of first her younger brother Gilbert in 1875 and then her father in 1880, she had left the family’s Holbrook Farm in Melksham before April 1881.  On that occasion the census return, under Entry 85, included Ada and her brother William (above) who were staying at Bath Buildings in Melksham.  At the age of 18, Ada J Collett was not credited with an occupation, unlike her brother who was a butcher.




It may have been around four or five years after that when Ada Jane Collett married Walter Tilt Bigwood at Melksham, where the couple initially settled and where their first three children were born.  Walter had also been born at Melksham in 1862, while not far away in Devizes was another branch of the Bigwood family, whose daughter Mary Maud Bigwood, born in 1889, married Arthur Stephen Alan Collett (Ref. 2P8) in 1916.  By 1891 Ada had presented Walter with their first two children, as confirmed by the Melksham census that year.  Walter T Bigwood was 28, his wife Ada J Bigwood was 27, their son Reginald C Bigwood was three, and their daughter Dorothy Bigwood was one year old.




The young family was still living in Melksham later that same year when their third child was born.  However, by the middle of the 1890s the family had moved to Birmingham, where they were living in 1901.  It was at Balsall Heath where the family was listed as Walter T Bigwood, age 39 and a builder’s ironwork manufacturer, Ada J Bigwood, age 38, Reginald C Bigwood, age 13, Dorothy A Bigwood, age 11, Lillian F Bigwood, who was nine, Leonard W Bigwood, who was six, and Kathleen V Bigwood who was three, the last two children having been born in Birmingham.




The next census in 1911 revealed much more about the children of Ada and Walter, insofar as they carried forenames from the family’s past.  It was at the nine-roomed accommodation that was 69 Trafalgar Road in Moseley, to the south of Birmingham, where the family was living in April 1911.  Ada and Walter had been married for 29 years and had 5 children all still alive. Reginald was a traveller, Dorothy and Lillian were post office clerks, Leonard was a joiner and Kathleen a scholar. Living with the family was Violet Turner 17 a servant within the Kings Norton area of Birmingham that the family was living at that time when it comprised Walter Tilt Bigwood, who was 49, Ada Jane Bigwood, who was 48, Reginald Collett Bigwood, age 23, Dorothy Austin Bigwood, age 21, Lillian Florence Bigwood, age 19, Leonard Walter Bigwood, age 16, and Kathleen Violet Bigwood who was 13.






Charles Lewin Collett was born at Melksham in 1865, the youngest surviving son of William and Harriet Collett whose birth was recorded at Melksham (Ref. 5a 105) during the second quarter of that year.  As simply Charles Collett he was six years old in 1871 and, following the death of his father just over nine years later, he was named in the census as Charles S Collett who was 16.  On that occasion he was described as a farmer’s son, the farmer being his widowed mother at Holbrook Farm in Melksham, where his older brother Albert (above) was also working. 




One year later Charles Lewin Collett began worked with the Great Western Railway in the Passenger Department at Melksham Station.  Curiously though the GWR Records state that his date of birth was 27th October 1865, during the last quarter of the year instead of the second quarter as indicated above.  His salary from 27th February 1882 on a salary of £20 and received a pay raise in April 1883 which took his salary up to £30.  The record also stated that he resigned in December 1884, having received no salary since 10th September that year due to his absence with an illness.  In addition, he received £100 from GWR Fund No 6180 on 14th June 1883.




It was as Charles L Collett, age 27, that he was still living with his mother and sister Florence (below) at Melksham in 1891, while by 1901 he was described as a retired farmer, as was his mother, when he was included in error in the census return that year as Charles L Collett who was 29, instead of being 36.  That error was corrected in the census of 1911, when Charles Collett of Melksham was 46 and still living there with his mother and younger sister.  It therefore seems likely that Charles never married and stayed with his elderly mother until she passed away at Melksham in 1919, where she was buried with Charles’ father and Charles’ baby brother Gilbert.  Just over twenty years later the death of Charles L Collett, who was 75, was recorded at Trowbridge register office (Ref. 5a 460) during the first quarter of 1940.






Florence Emily Collett was born at Melksham in 1870, the penultimate child of William Collett by his wife Harriet Austin, her younger brother Gilbert sadly dying at Melksham where he was buried when he was only three years old.  Five years after that event, Florence’s father passed away during September 1880 and was buried at Melksham with his son.  Florence Collett was one year old in the Melksham census of 1871 and was 11 at the time of the next census in 1881 when she and her family were living at Holbrook Farm in Melksham.  It would appear that she may not have married since, she was still living with her widowed mother and older brother Charles (above) at Melksham in 1891, when she was 21, in 1901, when she was 31, and again in 1911, when she was a spinster at the age of 40.




Florence Emily Collett was 84 when she died on 10th March 1954.  At that time in her life she was residing at 35 Sandridge Road in Melksham, although it was as a patient at Melksham Hospital that she passed away.  Probate of her personal effects of £1,156 17 Shillings 2d was processed at Winchester on 31st May 1954 when her two nephews Albert Edwin Collett and Gilbert William Collett were named as the joint executors.  They were the sons of Florence’s older brothers Albert Henry and William James (above).






George Franklin Collett was born at Chase County in Kansas during 1867, the eldest child of Henry Collett and Carolina Eliza Houston.  According to the census in 1880 he was named with his family at Chase Township as Franklin Collett aged 13 years.  By the time of the census in 1900 Frank G Collett was 33 when he was residing at Diamond Creek Township in Chase County, when he confirmed he was the son of Henry and Carolina Collett.  George Franklin Collett married Blanche Pierce who was born in 1868 and who suffered a premature death in 1928.  It seems likely that he never remarried and in 1940 his living companion was his unmarried sister Elizabeth Collett (below).  George Frank Collett was 73 and living at Basehor, Fairmount Township in Leavenworth County, Kansas, while his sister was 66.  The death of George Frank Collett was recorded there seven years later in 1947.






Caroline (Carrie) Rosina Collett, who was known as Carrie, was born in Chase County, Kansas on 5th April 1870, the third child and eldest daughter of Henry and Carolina Collett.  It was as Rosina C Collett aged 10 years that she was living with her family at Chase Township in the Kansas census of 1880.  She later married Lewis C Umberger with whom she had six children.  Caroline Rosina Umberger nee Collett passed away at Halstead in Harvey County, Kansas on 17th September 1936.






Elizabeth E Collett was born in Chase County in 1874, another daughter of Henry and Carrie Collett, and was six years old in the Chase Township census of 1880.  She never married and at the age of 66 she was living with her widowed brother George (above) at Basehor, Fairmount Township in Leavenworth County, Kansas.  It may also there where she died in 1955.  During her life she was known as Lizzie E Collett.






Charles O Collett was born in Chase County on 23rd March 1876, one of the six children of Henry Collett from Kington St Michael in Wiltshire and his American born wife Carrie E Collett.  Tragically he was almost one year when he died there on 20th March 1877.






Adine Collett was born at Dalston in Hackney on 9th December 1853, the eldest of the three children of Charles Collett by his second wife Martha Yates.  Adine was 19 when she was living at 3 Stoke Place in West Green, Tottenham, when she died of phthisis on 2nd January 1873.  Following the death of her father in 1860, her mother had married for a third time, and it was her stepfather, George William Smith, a commercial traveller in stationery, who was present at the time of her death.






Herrman Collett was born at Dalston in Hackney on 3rd February 1855, the only son of Charles and Martha Collett.  He was only 14 when he died on 1st May 1869 of advanced phthisis, from which he had apparently suffered for four years.  At that time he was a patient under treatment at the Hospital for Diseases of the Chest at Bethnal Green in London.  His death entry records his occupation as schoolboy.  He was buried on 8th May 1869 at Abney Park Cemetery, where his father and younger sister were buried, and where his older sister was buried less than four years later.






Edith Collett was born at Hackney on 11th December 1859, the youngest of the three children of Charles and Martha Collett.  She was only seven months old when she died on 19th July 1860 at 26 Oxford Road in Halliford Street, Islington in Middlesex.  The cause of death was noted in her death entry as being marasmus, while she was named as the daughter of Charles Collett, deceased, clerk with the GPO.  Edith Collett was buried with her father at Abney Park Cemetery on 24th July 1860.






HORACE EDWIN COLLETT was born at Lambeth on 20th January 1848, the eldest child of Edwin Collett and his wife Mary Cook.  He was three years old in 1851 when he and his family were living within the West Ham & Leyton registration district of London.  Ten years later he and his family were living in Hackney where he was 13 in 1861 and where he was 23 in 1871.  Three years later he sailed out of Gravesend on 23rd November 1874, when he emigrated to New Zealand.  The Auckland Star newspaper in Putanga reported on 9th March 1875 that the barque Ada had arrived at the North Head yesterday evening from Gravesend after encountering severe weather conditions on the journey.  Included on the ship’s passenger list was the name of Horace Collett.




When he arrived in New Zealand has not been determined, but it was there on 4th September 1882 that he married Alice Marguerite Radford.  The wedding took place at a private residence in Marlboroughtown which today is Spring Creek in the Marlborough region of New Zealand’s South Island.  Alice had been born on 21st November 1860 at Shoreditch and was the daughter of Samuel Radford and his wife Sarah Anne Helena Benham.  How or when she sailed to New Zealand has also not been discovered, but there is a possibility that she met Horace during the sea voyage.




At the time of the birth of the couple’s second son at Blenheim within the Marlborough district, the child’s birth record stated that his father Horace Collett was from Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty to the south of Auckland on the north island of New Zealand.  And certainly, Horace was living on the North Island of New Zealand when he died at the age of 54 on Saturday 20th December 1902 at Grafton Road in Auckland, where he was buried the following day at Purewa Cemetery at Meadowbank in Auckland.  The Bay of Plenty Times published the following article in the newspaper on 22nd December 1902.




Death of Captain Collett – Auckland.  This day, Horace Collett, Stock Inspector for Bay of Plenty District, and Captain of the Tauranga Mounted Rifles, died in Auckland early on Saturday morning. The deceased came to town recently for the purpose of undergoing a military examination, and on account of ill-health.  He was suffering from an internal complaint and an operation was performed on Tuesday and he appeared to be progressing favourably, but on Friday evening alarming symptoms set in and he died shortly after midnight.  The funeral took place yesterday at Purewa Cemetery, with military honours.  A firing party was furnished by the Mounted Rifles, under Captain Wynyard and Lieutenant P. Salmon, whilst the senior officers acted as pall-bearers.  A gun carriage and detachment was provided by the A Battery under Captain Bosworth.




There would however appear to have been a complication with his estate, since his Will was not proved until 1st November 1924 when it was passed through probate system in London.  By that time his estate was valued at £233 11 Shillings 1d and, rather being given to his wife, it was given to the Honorable Sir James Allen KCB, High Commissioner for New Zealand, and the Attorney of Public Trustee of New Zealand.




His widow Alice Marguerite Collett nee Radford survived him by almost thirty years when she later died at Epsom (near Meadowbank) in Auckland on 18th August 1931, following which she was buried with Horace at Purewa Cemetery in Meadowbank the day after she had died.  During the time of the First World War Mrs A M Collett, the mother of Clive Franklyn, was residing at Manukau Road in Parnell, although by then she had married for a second time.  It was during 1907 that she married Alfred Washer and during the following year her grandson Kenneth Paul Collett was born to her eldest son Horace Claude.  When he was but a few years old, Kenneth went to live with Alice and Alfred where he received his primary education, only returning to his family in Wellington when he was 13 years old to complete his education there.




This was also confirmed in the New Zealand newspaper the Bay of Plenty Times on Friday 4th February 1916 with the following article.  “The many friends in this district of Flight Lieutenant Clive Collett, will be pleased to hear that he has made a good recovery from the serious accident which he met with some time ago.  In a letter to his mother [Mrs Collett-Washer, of Parnell, Auckland], dated 15th November he said he was shortly rejoining his aviation squadron on active service at La Bassee, in France.”





Horace Claude Collett

Born in 1883



Clive Franklyn Collett

Born in 1886



Norman Edwin Collett

Born in 1888



Spencer Huia Collett

Born in 1892






Mary Louise Collett was born at Lambeth on 15th March 1849 and was two years old in the West Ham & Leyton census of 1851.  She was around 11 years old when she died on 1st November 1860 at Hackney and was buried at Abney Park Cemetery on 6th November 1860, as confirmed by her absence from the family in the Hackney census of 1861.






William Edwin Collett was born at Leytonstone on 30th September 1850 and was six months old in the West Ham & Leyton census of 1851.  Over the following years his family settled in Hackney, where he was living in 1861, age 10 years, and again in 1871 when he was 20.  Having seen his older brother Horace (above) sail off to a new life in New Zealand, it seems likely that it may have influenced William to emigrate to South Africa. 




Once in South Africa William met and later married Anna Susanna Basson during 1879, Anna having been born at Uitenhage in South Africa in 1860.  Their marriage produced five children for William and Anna and that may have happened after the couple were established in the family home which was Cadles in the Van Stadens River Valley just west of Port Elizabeth.  The children were educated by a private tutor and at some time in their life William and Anna set up the Honeymoon Hotel in Van Stadens river Valley.




William Edwin Collett died at Moor Park in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, on 21st November 1902 at the age of 53, the cause of death being blood poisoning following a bite.  His widow Anna lived on at Port Elizabeth for another forty-three years, before she died on 17th July 1945 at Port Elizabeth.  However, following the death of her husband Anna married for a second time to become Anna Susan McGragh and that was how she was addressed as the widow of William Collett when his Will finally passed through probate in London over twenty years after his death on 7th October 1924.  The attorney representing his widow was Eugenie Collett, William’s younger unmarried sister (below).  The estate of William Collett of Strandfontein in Uitenhage, Cape of Good Hope, was valued at £138 15 Shillings.





Constance Louise Beatrice Collett

Born in 1881 at Port Elizabeth



William Edwin Collett

Born circa 1884 at Port Elizabeth



Horace Owen Collett

Born circa 1888 at Port Elizabeth



Reginald Harry Collett

Born circa 1890 at Port Elizabeth



Neville Collett

Born circa 1892 at Port Elizabeth






Clara Collett was born at Leytonstone on 3rd April 1852 but it would appear that she too, like her sister Mary (above), also suffered a childhood death as no further record of her has ever been found.  Certainly she was not listed with her family at Hackney in 1871.






Julia Collett was born at Leytonstone on 30th December 1853.  Around 1857 he parents took the family to living in Hackney, where they were recorded in 1861 and 1871, when Julia Collett was seven years old and 17 years old respectively.  She later married Henry Astill Geake at All Hallows Church in Tottenham on 13th April 1882.  Henry was born at Mayfair in 1855 and both of their children, Harry Blake Geake and Frances Constance Geake, were born at Southwark in 1883 and 1885.  When Frances was baptised on 29th April 1885 the family was living at 43 Borough High Street in Southwark and it was her father Henry Geake who performed the baptism as the curate of the Church of St George the Martyr in Southwark.




In 1901 Julia and Henry were still living within the St Saviours area of Southwark.  Julia was listed as being 47 and born at Leyton in Essex, while Henry was 45 and of St Georges Hanover Square in Mayfair.  His occupation was described as being a clerk in holy orders with the Church of England.  Still living with them was their son Harry B Geake who was 17 years old and working as a bank clerk.  His place of birth was confirmed as having been at Southwark.  The couple’s daughter Frances C Geake was 15 and was undertaking her education at Devonport in Plymouth. 




According to the next census in 1911 Henry Astill Geake was 55 and a clerk in holy orders for the establishment church who had been married to Julia for thirty years.  Julia Geake was 57 and had given birth to three children, of which only two were still alive.  Still living with the couple at their ten-roomed home at 113 Blackfriars Road in Southwark was their unmarried daughter Frances Constance Geake who was 25 and a clerk.  The couple’s other surviving child, Harry Blake Geake, was a bank clerk who was a lodger/boarder at the home of the widow Marian Mace aged 75 at Tenterden in Kent.




Henry Geake died at Croydon in Surrey on 1st November 1915 and was followed six years later by his wife Julia Geake nee Collett who died on 7th January 1921.  For the earlier Will of her husband, which was proved in London on 13th February 1916, the following was recorded.  The sole executor of the Will of the Reverend Henry Astill Geake of 113 Blackfriars Road in Croydon, a clerk on holy orders, whose personal effects were valued at £1,148 15 Shillings 1d, was named as Charles Beckham Geake, a solicitor.  He was very likely Henry’s brother.  The Will of Julia Geake was proved in London on 19th February 1921 and confirmed that she was a widow when she died at 117 Central Hill in Upper Norwood, Surrey, when administration of her personal effects worth £224 9 Shillings 10d was granted to her son Harry Blake Geake, a bank cashier.






Eugenie Collett was born at Leytonstone on 4th April 1856 and was baptised at Leyton in Essex six months later on 19th October 1856, the daughter of Edwin and Mary Collett.  During the following year the family moved to Hackney where they were living in 1861 and 1871.  At the time of the Hackney census in 1861 ‘Eugene’ Collett was five years old and by April 1871 she was 14, when she was still living at Hackney with her family.  No record of Eugenie or her family has been found in the census of 1881. 




According to the census of 1891, Eugenie Collett, age 35, was living in the Wandsworth area of London with her elderly parents, not long after which her father died.  So by March 1901, Eugenie was 44 when she was living with her widowed mother in Croydon.  In April 1911 unmarried Eugenie Collett was living in the Lambeth area of London at the age of 54, which would seem to indicate that she remained a spinster all of her life.  The only other detail known about her is that Eugenie Collett died at Croydon on 8th April 1935.




Her older brother William Collett (above) died in South Africa in 1902 and, although he was married and his wife only died in 1945, it was spinster Eugenie Collett who was the attorney acting for William’s widow Anna Susan McGragh formerly Collett nee Basson when his Will was proved in London over twenty years later on 7th October 1924.  The delay may have been caused by his wife remarrying and her contesting of the Will.  In the end Eugenie’s brother estate amounted to £138 15 Shillings.  Eugenie was also named as the sole beneficiary of her spinster sister Flora Emily Collett (below) following her death on 7th December 1892.  However, her Will was only proved thirty years later in London on 20th July 1922 when Eugenie received £138 15 Shillings, coincidentally for the same amount as her brother’s estate which was settled two years later.






Flora Emily Collett was born at Hackney on 19th December 1858 and was two years of age and 12 years old at the time of the Hackney censuses in 1861 and 1871 when she was still living with her parents on both occasions.  With apparently no record of any member of her family in England on the day of the census in 1881, it was after a further ten years that Flora was one of two daughters still living with her elderly parents in the Wandsworth & Streatham area of London, when she was recorded as Flora E Collett, a spinster of 32.  Not long after that Flora Emily Collett died while at Guys Hospital in Southwark, London on 7th December 1892.  Probate of her Will confirmed that she was a spinster and that her place of residence was 43 High Street in Southwark, when administration of her estate of £138 15 Shillings was granted in London on 20th July 1922 to her spinster sister Eugenie Collett (above).






Lily Collett was born at Hackney on 26th July 1860 and was 10 in 1871 when she living at Hackney with her family.  It seems very likely that she may have emigrated to South Africa with her older brother William (above) but that happened after she was married and after her four children had been born in London.




She married William Thomas Hooker on 8th August 1883 at All Hallows Church in Tottenham.  William was the son of William Thomas Hooker and Sophia Elizabeth Newman and was born at Bethnal Green in 1853.  The first two of their four children, Cecily and Violet Louisa, were born at Stoke Newington in 1884 and 1886, while their third child, William Edwin, and their fourth child, Henry Charles, were born after the family had moved to Stamford Hill in 1887 and 1889 respectively.  It was sometime after 1890 that the whole family emigrated to South Africa, where they settled at Pinetown in Natal.  William died when his youngest child was around twelve years of age leaving Lily to bring up her children single-handedly.




William Thomas Hooker died at Pinetown on 18th January 1902 and was buried there in the St John’s Church Cemetery.  Lily lived a widow’s life for the next forty-two years, before she too died at Pinetown on 2nd September 1944, after which she was buried with her husband in St John’s Church Cemetery.  It is believed, although not confirmed, that their two sons William Edwin Hooker and Henry Charles Hooker died in 1912 and 1959 respectively, and both of them while they were still living in South Africa.






Elvena Mary Collett was born at South Hackney the last known child born to Edwin and Mary Collett.  At the time of her birth, and that of her baptism over three years later, her name was written Elvena Mary Collett.  She was baptised on 4th November 1866 at the Church of St. Michael & All Angels on Lamb Lane, to the east of London Fields in Hackney, which was only consecrated in 1864.  And it was her baptism record that confirmed she was born on 8th March 1863, the daughter of post office clerk Edwin Collett of 22 Mare Street in hackney.  It was as Elvina Collett aged eight years that she was listed with her family in the Hackney census of 1871.  It seems unlikely that she ever married but it would appear that she joined her sister Lily (above) when she and her family emigrated to South Africa.  Elvena Mary Collett died at Pinetown in Natal on 9th August 1931 and, like her brother-in-law and her sister Lily, she too was buried in the cemetery of St John’s Church in Pinetown.






Charles Frederick Collett was born at Shoreditch on 25th September 1857 and, at the time his parents registered the birth, the family was living at 18 Weymouth Terrace in Shoreditch.  No record of Charles or his parents has been found in 1861, but by 1871 Charles F Collett was 13 and was living with his mother Lydia F Collet at Hoxton New Town in London.  It is possible that it was his father’s work which caused him to be absent from the family home.  Charles was a gold chain maker and eight years later in 1879 he married (1) Louisa Grist who was born at Chelsea in 1857.  The couple started out their married life at Shoreditch, where their first child was born.




By the time of the census in 1881 Charles and Louisa were living at 115 Shaftsbury Street in Shoreditch.  Charles and Louisa were both 24 and their places of birth were stated respectively as Shoreditch and Chelsea.  Living with them was their one-year old daughter Florence, together with a lodger, the widow Mary Ann Thompson who was a mantle maker of 41 from Whitechapel.  Shortly after the census day Louisa presented her husband with their second child.




In the mid 1880s Charles moved out of the family home in Shoreditch, leaving Louisa to look after her two daughters alone.  A divorce for the couple may have followed, since Charles later married or simply lived with (2) Mary Ellen Carter.  Mary was the daughter of Peter Carter and Emma Gee and was born at Poulton near Fairford in Gloucestershire in 1855.  Certainly on the birth certificate for the couple’s first child, their names as the parents were recorded as being Charles Collett – the father, and Mary Collett – the mother.  The same birth certificate, which was for their son Frederick, gave their address at that time as 85 St John Street Road in Holborn.




By the turn of the century Charles F Collett, age 43, was working as a commercial coachman while living at Clerkenwell with his wife Mary E Collett, who was 46 and from Fairford, and their three youngest children, all of whom were listed as having been born at Clerkenwell.  They were Charles Collett, who was nine, and the twins May Collett and Rose Collett who were six. 




Also at that time Charles’ first wife Louisa and her two daughters were living in Shoreditch.  The census of 1901 recorded the three of them as Louisa Collett 41 who was born at Knightsbridge, Florence Collett aged 21 and born at Hoxton, and Eleanor Collett 19 who was also born at Hoxton.  All three ladies were employed at that time by the shirt manufacturer Lee & Scorf as all three were listed as being shirt makers for the company.  It is unsure exactly what happened to Louisa and her daughters after that time as no record of any of them has been found in the census of 1911. 




On the other hand, in 1911, Charles and Mary Collett were listed in the Islington area census of London with just three of their four children.  Charles was 54, Mary was 56, their son Charles was 18 and the twins were both 16.  Their son Frederick was married by then and was also living nearby in the Islington district of London.





Florence Louisa Collett

Born in 1880



Eleanor G Collett

Born in 1881


The following are the children of Charles Collett by his second wife Mary Ellen Carter:



Fredrick Charles Philip Collett

Born in 1887



Charles Collett

Born in 1892



May Collett       twin

Born in 1894



Rose Collett     twin

Born in 1894






Gertrude Annie Collett was born at Small Heath in Birmingham in 1875 and was baptised on 2nd January 1876 at the Parish Church of St Thomas in Birmingham when her parents were confirmed as Richard and Sarah Ann Pook, her father being an artist in stained glass who was residing at Myrtle Road in Evington to the east of Leicester, to where the family had moved from Small Heath.  It was around that time when her father, who had been born as Richard Pook, adopted his mother’s maiden name to become Richard Pook Collett.  By the time of the census in 1881 the Collett family was living at 61 Myrtle Road, when Gertrude was five years old.  Myrtle Road in Evington lies within the ancient parish of Leicester St Margaret, approximately one mile east of the main line railway station and is still there today, just off Evington Road.  The 1891 Census recorded the family as still living at East Leicester, where Gertrude was 15.  With her father dying in 1900, Gertrude was supporting her widowed mother at the time of the census in 1901, when she was helping her look after the family, while her mother carried on the family glass business.




Sometime later in her life, Gertrude eventually married Emile Paul Victor Foucard.  He was born in London in 1869 and it was with him that she had three children.  It would appear that once they were married, the couple emigrated to Australia.  And it was in Brisbane that Emile died in 1946, followed by Gertrude, who died in Sydney during 1959.  One of their three children was Jeanne Rose Foucard who was born in 1919, who was still living in Australia in 2007.  She was the mother of Don Cameron of Belmont in New South Wales, who kindly provided the details of his family back to William Henry Collett of Slaughterford.






Herbert Frank Collett was born at Evington on the eastern outskirts of Leicester in 1877.  By 1881 he was three years old when he was living with his family at 6 Myrtle Road in Leicester, from where his father ran a successful glass making business, which Herbert joined on leaving school.  He was 13 in 1891 and in the next census in 1901 he was a worker in leaded glass at the age of 23.  At that time he was living with his mother and his four sisters in Leicester, his mother having taken over the family business following the death of Herbert’s father during the previous year, when Herbert Frank Collett, a leaded glass worker, was named as the sole executor of his estate.




Herbert Frank Collett was still a bachelor in April 1911, when he was living with his widowed mother and two younger sisters at 26 Mayfield Road in Leicester.  At that time in his life he was 33, his place of birth was confirmed as Evington, and for his occupation he was described as an employee in the manufacturer of lead lights who was working at home.  With for his father in 1900, it was again Herbert Frank Collett, an engineer, who was named as a joint executor of his mother’s Will following her death in 1919.






Edith Mary Collett was born at Evington to the east of Leicester in September 1880, and six months later she was recorded as living with her family at 6 Myrtle Road in Leicester.  She was 10 years old in 1891 and was still living in Leicester with her family, as she was ten years later.  At the age of 20, in the census of 1901, she was living with her widowed mother Sarah Ann Collett and rather oddly she gave her occupation as being ‘act needles fancy’ (?).  Edith Mary Collett was still living with her mother, her brother Herbert (above) and sister Mabel (below) at 26 Mayfield Road in Leicester in April 1911 when she was unmarried at 29 and described as an ecclesiastical employee working at home.






Beatrice Emily Collett was born at 61 Myrtle Road in Leicester in 1883 and was living there in 1891 at the age of seven.  Ten years later in 1901 she had left school and was working as a pupil teacher at the age of 17, while she was still living in the family home in Leicester with her widowed mother and her siblings Herbert and Edith (above) and Mabel (below).  After a further ten years Beatrice Emily Collett from Leicester was 27 when she was teaching at a school in Wells in Somerset.






Mabel Eveline Collett was born at 61 Myrtle Road in Leicester in 1885.  She was five and fifteen in the Leicester censuses of 1891 and 1901 and in the latter, she was living with his mother and may have been hoping to work with her sister Beatrice (above) as she was described as a candidate for pupil teacher.  Ten years later in 1911 Mabel Eveline Collett was 25 and a teacher at a nearby elementary school when she was still living with her mother Sarah Ann Collett at 26 Mayfield Road in Leicester, with her two older unmarried siblings Herbert and Edith (above).






Richard Ernest Collett was born at 61 Myrtle Road in the Evington area of Leicester the youngest of the six children of Richard Pook Collett and Sarah Ann Hulin, whose birth record was recorded at Leicester (Ref. 7a 195) during the first three months of 1888.  He and his family were still living at 61 Myrtle Road in 1891 when the census that year confirmed he was three years old.  His father passed away in 1900 leaving Richard Ernest Collett aged 13 years still living with his widowed mother Sarah in March 1901, together with his five siblings.




No obvious record of Richard Ernest Collett has been found within the Great Britain census of 1911, by which time he may have already emigrated to Australia.  It was then three years later on 4th June 1914 that he married Margaret Emily Melvin in Adelaide, South Australia (Ref. 259 864).  For Margaret it was her second marriage, having been born on 31st July 1871 at The Brooks in Macclesfield, South Australia, the daughter of Thomas Henry Ellis and his wife Helen Campbell Ward, whose birth was recorded at Strathalbyn (Ref. 99 305).  On his wedding day the father of Richard Ernest Collett was confirmed as Richard Pook Collett, while he was married to Margaret for fifty-one years when Richard Ernest Collett died on 13th June 1965 in South Australia where his death was recorded (Ref. 992 3611).






Patience Emily Collett was born at Marylebone in London during the summer of 1887, the eldest of the two daughters of Henry Edwin Collett and his wife Emily.  The two sisters were baptised together in a joint ceremony on 14th May 1899 at Holy Trinity Church in the Selhurst area of Croydon when their birth dates were recorded as 14th July 1887 for Patience and 10th January 1891 for Dorothy (below) and when their parents were living at Northern Road.  By 1891, when she was three years old, Patience and her family were living within the St Olave Southwark district of London, while within the next census of 1901 Patience was 13 when she and her family were living at Avenue Road in the Acton area of London.




After a further ten years, according to the census of 1911, it was at Brentford that Patience Emily Collett from Marylebone was 23 when she was still living with her family.  Patience Emily Collett never married and was recorded as a spinster at the time of her death on 22nd October 1954 when her home address was 24 North Drive at Hounslow in Middlesex.  Her Will was proved in London on 22nd January 1955 when her unmarried sister Dorothy Martha Collett was named as the executor of her considerable personal effects of £3,700 0 Shillings 1d.






Dorothy Martha Collett was born at Southwark in London on 10th January 1891, the younger of the two daughters of Henry and Emily Collett, and was baptised with her older sister Patience at Holy Trinity Church on 14th May 1899.  It was at St Olave Southwark that she was recorded with her family in 1891 when, as Dorothy M Collett, she was still under one year old, while ten years later, when she was 10, she and her family were living at Avenue Road in the Acton area of North London.  Another moved saw the family end up in Brentford in 1911 where Dorothy Martha Collett was 20.




Just like her older sister Patience (above), Dorothy never married and was very likely living at 24 North Drive in Hounslow with her sister when Patience died in 1954.  Upon the proving of her sister’s Will at London in January 1955 Dorothy Martha Collett, spinster, was named as the sole executor.  Dorothy survived her sister by sixteen years when the death of spinster Dorothy Martha Collett was recorded at Honiton register office in Devon (Ref. 7a 1155) during the third quarter of 1970.






Ernest Edwin Collett was born at Acton in 1877, the eldest child and only son of Robert William Collett and Christine Louisa Grove.  No trace of him or his parents and younger sister Florence has been found in 1881, but by 1891 he and his family were living at 67 Manor Street within the Battersea and Clapham area of London.  On that occasion Ernest was 13 years old, and ten years later in 1901 he was 23 when he was working as an ironmonger’s assistant, while living with his family at The Two Brewers Inn at 76 Perry Hill in Lewisham, where his father was the pub manager.




It was just over two years later that Ernest married Ellen Hocknell, their marriage was registered at Lewisham register office (Ref. 1d 2161) during the third quarter of 1903.  By the time of the next census in April 1911 the marriage had provided the couple with two children.  That year’s census return placed the family living in the Lewisham area of London when Ernest Collett from Acton was 33, his wife Ellen was 29, and their two children were Doris Collett who was six and Ernest who was two years old.  In 1922 it was Ernest Edwin Collett, a licenced victualler of The Fox and Hounds public house in Romford, who administered the personal effects of his mother Christine.




Thirty years after that Ernest Edwin Collett was landlord of The White Horse Inn on King Street in Maidenhead, Berkshire, when he died on 3rd March 1941.  His Will was proved at Llandudno on 9th September 1941 which left his personal effects valued at £2,625 9 Shillings to his widow Ellen Collett.





Doris Evelyn Collett

Born in 1904 in London



Ernest Leonard Collett

Born in 1909 in London






Cecil Henry Collett was born at Banwell near Weston-super-Mare in Somerset during 1891, but after 5th April.  He was the eldest of the two sons of Frank Walter Collett and his wife Lucie Elizabeth Rich.  In the middle of that decade the family left Banwell and by 1901 they were residing at 44 Peasecod Street in New Windsor, Berkshire, when Cecil was nine years old.  He was only eighteen years old when he emigrated to Canada and arrived in Quebec on 30th September 1901 on board the ship Tunisian.  The passenger list for the vessel, sailing out of Liverpool, stated that the destination for Cecil Collett, age 19, was Ontario where he intended to take up farming. 




Prior to the outbreak of war in 1914 Cecil was a member of the 106th Militia Regiment and it was on 4th June 1915 that Cecil Henry Collett enlisted with the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force at Winnipeg, Manitoba.  On entry he named his father and next-of-kin as Frank Collett of Broadfields, East Tytherton in Chippenham, England.  At that time in his life he was unmarried and had the occupation of a butcher.  Cecil eventually saw action in the First World War when he served as a member of 27th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force.




Having survived the war Cecil was later in trouble with the law when The Lethbridge (Alberta, Canada) Daily Herald newspaper printed on 25th May 1925 ran a story from Winnipeg which read as follows: “Four men were committed on charges of conspiring to defraud the Canadian National Railway by means of forged meal checks.  In the City Police Court Cecil H Collett, H Davie, Jean C Demaisseau and Otaire Sauve were committed for trial and Norman Geffen, former dining car waiter, was dismissed”.  However, it is not known if he was found to be guilty of the charges or discharged and found to be an innocent party.




After a further eleven years, when Cecil was a waiter, he was listed among the incoming passengers on board the Cunard White Star ship Ascania, which arrived at the Port of London on 28th July 1936 from Montreal.  The reason for his visit was noted as the Vimy Pilgrimage.  Historical Note:  King Edward VIII had unveiled the Canadian National Vimy Memorial at Vimy Ridge in France just two days earlier.  The memorial was dedicated to the memory of the Canadian Expeditionary Force members killed during the First World War, so it seems highly likely that Cecil had lost some comrades during the Great War.




In 1949 and 1953 Cecil Henry Collett was named on the list of the Canadian Voters in the Electoral District of Nanaimo, Rural Polling Division No. 10, Ganges, address RR 2, Nanaimo, British Columbia.  He was the only Collett living at that address and under occupation his status was recorded as retired.  So it would appear that he was never married and, in addition to which, it is understood that he never made any contact with any other members of the Collett family from England who had settled in Canada.




Two years after the latter list was prepared Cecil Henry Collett died at Saanich in British Columbia on 24th March 1955, following which he was buried at St Marks Anglican Cemetery on Salt Springs Island, British Columbia.  The headstone on his grave bears the inscription “Cecil H Collett – Private - 27 Battalion C E F - 24 Mar 1955 – age 63”.






Francis Austin Collett was born at Banwell during the last three months of 1893, the youngest son of Frank and Lucie Collett.  He was named in the 1901 Census when he was living with his parents and older brother Cecil at 44 Peasecod Street in New Windsor.  After that his family returned to their roots in Wiltshire since by April 1911 Francis and his parents were residing at Broadfields in East Tytherton, Chippenham.  Francis Austin Collett was 17 and an apprentice to the corn trade.  What happened to him after 1911 is not known even though he was 72 years old when Francis Austin Collett died on 16th March 1966 at Chippenham District Hospital.  His Will was proved in London on 10th May that same year when his personal effects of £39,299 were handled by Lloyds Bank Limited.  He was buried with his parents at the London Road Cemetery in Chippenham, all of which perhaps suggests that he never married or had any children of his own.






Herbert Neville Collett, who was known as Neville, was born at Grenfell in the North-West Territories of Canada on 27th August 1904, the eldest of the five children of Herbert James Collett and Florence Mary Hextall. 


Neville was listed in the census of 1906 for the Western Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan & Alberta as Herbert N Collett, aged one year, when he was living at Grenfell, in the Qu’Appelle District with his parents Herbert J and Florence M Collett and his sister Phyllis.  In 1911 the census that year described him Neville Collett aged six years, when he was living with his mother and his three siblings at Saskatchewan, Qu’Appelle District 22 Township 17 in Range 6.  Where his father was on that day is not known.

Photograph courtesy of Gerri Hopkins




The whole family was together again in 1916 when their address was the same as in 1911 except that it was Range 7 instead of Range 6, while living nearby were his Hextall cousins, Thomas, Frederick, Dorothy, and Gwen.  On leaving school Herbert Neville Collett worked in the dairy industry in Regina, Saskatchewan and later in the towns of Trail and Nelson in British Columbia, before running his own dairy at Grand Forks in British Columbia, which was known as the Sunshine Valley Dairy.




It was also at Grand Forks that he married Janet Marie Bonthron on 25th June 1930.  Janet was born on 28th December 1908, the daughter of William Logie Bonthron and Stella Maude Davidson.  Their marriage produced just the one son for Neville and Janet who was born at Regina.  Neville and Janet were both documented in the Canadian Voters list as living at 1418 Queen Street in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1945 where Neville was a milk salesman.  Four years later the voters in 1949 gave their address as 301 Second Street in Nelson, British Columbia, by which time Neville was simply a salesman.




Herbert Neville Collett died at 121 Sixth Street West in Grand Forks on 9th December 1971 at the age of 67.  Nearly twenty-two years after the death of her husband Janet also died while she was living at Grand Forks, when she passed away on 26th July 1983 at the age of 74.  They were both buried at Grand Forks.





Wayne Neville Collett

Born at Regina, Saskatchewan






Phyllis Mary Collett was born at Grenfell in Saskatchewan on 19th March 1906, the eldest of the three daughters of Herbert and Florence Collett.


Phyllis was recorded in the 1906, and 1911, and 1916 Census Reports for Saskatchewan and, prior to being married, she worked as a legal secretary.


It was on 17th July 1937 that she married Lewis Aytoun McCombie at St. Andrews Ceylon Church, near Grenfell.  Lewis was born on 1st August 1901 at Troon in Scotland.

Photograph courtesy of Gerri Hopkins


Two years earlier the 1935 Voters List of Canada recorded Phyllis M Collett as a stenographer living at 2134 Hamilton Street in Regina, Saskatchewan and had her brother Eric Leslie Collett (below) living there with her.  After she was married both Phyllis and Lewis McCombie were documented in several Voters Lists as living in Winnipeg, where Lewis was a dental technician.  Their various addresses over the years were Valour Road and Mullvey Avenue in Winnipeg, while after the death of her husband Phyllis was residing at the Lutheran Sunset Home in Saskatoon.




Lewis A McCombie died at Winnipeg in Manitoba on 20th February 1991, aged 90, and was survived by his wife by nearly seventeen years.  The marriage produced two children for Phyllis and Lewis, and they were Sylvia Joan McCombie, who was born at Winnipeg on 12th December 1938, who died there on 23rd February 1989, and Ronald Lewis McCombie who married Jacqueline Verna Robertson at Nipawin in Saskatchewan on 14th May 1966, with whom he has two children, Katherine Zoe McCombie and Lewis John McCombie.




Sylvia Joan McCombie married (1) Allen Ross Pallen during May 1961, with whom she had three children, Gregory Ross Pallen, David Stuart Pallen, and Valdene Joan Pallen, before they were divorced.  She later married (2) Bruce Cairns, and her son David eventually adopted the name David Stuart Cairns.




After the death of her husband, Phyllis left Winnipeg and moved to Saskatoon in Saskatchewan where she celebrated her 100th birthday with many of her immediate and extended family travelling to Saskatoon on 19th March 2006.  Phyllis Mary McCombie nee Collett died at Saskatoon just under two years later, when she passed away on 15th January 2008.  Both Phyllis and Lewis were buried at Green Acres Memorial Gardens in Winnipeg, Manitoba.






Doris Mabel Collett was born at Grenfell on 2nd November 1907, the daughter of Herbert and Florence Collett.  Doris, who was named after her Aunt Mabel Collett, her father’s sister in England, was three years old in 1911 and was nine years old in the Grenfell census of 1916, when she was living there with her family.


On 5th July 1941 she married James Francis Alexander Magee who was born on 22nd December 1907 at Wolseley in Saskatchewan, the son of Richard Magee and Eva Porter.  Doris was a schoolteacher in Saskatchewan and Sandy Magee, as he was known, was a butcher and owned Magee’s Meat Market in Regina.


Photograph courtesy of Gerri Hopkins


During their life together they lived in Regina at various addresses including, Smith Street, Osler Avenue, and Dewdney Avenue.  The Canadian Voter’s Lists for 1957 and 1963 confirm that Doris and Sandy were residing at 2340 Osler Avenue in Regina and that Sandy’s occupation was that of a butcher.  They also owned a cottage at Sandy Beach, Lake Katepwa in Saskatchewan, which their family and extended families enjoyed. 




Upon the death of both Doris and James, the cottage was passed onto their children, and they were Sandra Joyce Magee, Trevor Brooke Magee, and Murray Kenneth Magee.  James (Sandy) Magee died on 1st June 1989, at the age of 82, while the couple were living at Regina in Saskatchewan, where Doris Mabel Magee died just a few years later on 31st March 1993 at 85.  Both Doris and Sandy were buried in the Magee Family plot at Wolseley Cemetery in Saskatchewan.  Their son Trevor Brooke Magee was born on 5th July 1946 at Regina and died on 20th August 2010 at Winnipeg. On 9th October 1971 Trevor married Doreen Suzanne Ellert in Assiniboia, Saskatchewan with whom he had three children.






Eric Leslie Collett, who was only ever known as Les, was born at Grenfell on 25th June 1909, the youngest son and fourth children of Herbert and Florence Collett.  In the 1911 Census, Les Collett was two years old when he was living in the town of Grenfell with his mother and his three older siblings (above).  Where his father was at that time is not known.  By 1935 he was a dairyman living with his sister Phyllis Collett at 2134 Hamilton Street in Regina.  Two years later Les married Vera Helene Medforth at St Chads Chapel in Regina, Saskatchewan on 18th September 1937.  Vera was born on 19th December 1909 at Toronto in Ontario, the daughter of Charles Nelson Elsworth Medforth and Catherine Jane Ostrom.


Photograph courtesy of Gerri Hopkins


Les was still a dairyman ten years later in 1945 when he and Vera were living at 1156 Angus Street in Regina.  However, in 1949 he and his brother-in-law Bill Elder (below) the husband of Les’ sister Evelyn, had started their own business ‘Modern Insulators’.  Four years later Les was described as an insulator who was still at 1156 Angus Street with his wife Vera, as they were again in 1953.  By 1957 the business had expanded to included roofing and insulation when he was recorded as a roofer and insulator living at 1327 Royal Street with Vera.  In 1963, 1965 and 1968 he and Vera were still living on Royal Street when his occupation was given as a roofing and insulator contractor manager.  The record for 1965 stated that their daughter Geraldine Leslie Collett, a student, was living there with them.




During their married life Vera presented Les with three daughters, who were all born in Regina and who are all still living in 2010, so their personal details have been withheld.  The family home on Royal Street in Regina was built by Les, and he also built a cottage on Pasqua (Qu’Appelle) Lake, in Saskatchewan.  Eric Leslie Collett died at Regina, Saskatchewan on 22nd May 1974.  It was over twenty-five years later that Vera died at Regina on 15th July 1999.  Les and Vera are both buried in Riverside Memorial Park in Regina.




Just prior to his death the electoral lists in 1972 and 1974 described Les and Vera as retired while they were still living on 1327 Royal Street in Regina, but were also listed on the roll for Fort Qu’Appelle, Saskatchewan where they had their summer cottage.  Also living two doors away from Les and Vera Collett were Emma Jane Elder and George Gabriel Elder, the parents of his business partner and brother-in-law Bill Elder.  It may be of interest that residing at 1345 Forget Street in Regina, the street behind Royal Street, was an Albert E Collett with his wife Dorothy Collett, who was employed by the Regina Fire Department.  So far they have no known relationship to this line of the Collett family.





Roberta Frances Collett

Born at Regina; date of birth withheld



Geraldine Leslie Collett

Born at Regina; date of birth withheld



Dianne Mae Collett

Born at Regina; date of birth withheld






Florence Evelyne Collett was born at Grenfell on 28th May 1919, and was the youngest of the five children of Herbert James Collett and Florence Mary Hextall. 


She married William James Elder at Regina, Saskatchewan on 17th July 1943.  James was known as Bill Elder and was born on 21st July 1913 at Kipling in Saskatchewan, the son of George Gabriel Elder and Emma Jane White.


During their married life Evelyne, as she was known, presented Bill with two daughters, Gaylene Florence Elder, and Joyce Evelyn Elder.


Photograph courtesy of Gerri Hopkins


Bill Elder and his brother-in-law, Les Collett (Eric Leslie Collett above) were business partners in Regina, where they owned and operated Modern Insulators, a roofing and insulation company.  Bill was also an active member of the Regina Home Builders Association.  Over the years, Evelyn and Bill resided at Eighth Avenue and Horace Street in Regina, and the couple spent many happy years trailering through Western Canada.  Bill Elder died at Regina on 21st April 2003 at the age of 90 while, in 2010 his widow Evelyne was living in Regina at the age of 91.






Stanley Beaconsfield Collett was born at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada during 1921, the only child of Godfrey (Joe) Collett from England and Maria Eidem nee Chatten.  Stanley was married and divorced three times.  His first wife was (1) Florence Helen Salmon who was the mother of Stanley’s two daughters.  Sadly, Stanley never had much contact with the girls after his divorce. His second wife was (2) Ada and his third wife was (3) Ida.  His daughters are still living in Vancouver, British Columbia. Stanley was documented on the Voters Rolls for Canada in 1957, 1962, 1965, 1968, and 1972 when he was living at 7028 132nd Street in Surrey, British Columbia.  His occupation was that of a bus driver. Florence H Collett was also documented at that address and in 1972 she was employed as an IBM Programmer.  The Canadian Phone Directory 1995 – 2002 listed a Stanley B Collett as living at 15875 20th Avenue, Suite 84 in Surrey, while it was on 21st December 2000 that he died in Surrey, BC.





Sylvia Collett

Date of birth unknown



Joyce Collett

Date of birth unknown






William Edwin Collett was born at Battersea in 1896 and was the son of Edwin Collett of Biddestone in Wiltshire and his wife Maria Collett of Lambeth in London.  Following the early death of his father during the last quarter in 1899 he and his two siblings travelled with their mother to Lacock where his father’s immediate family was living.  The young family settled in the village of Lacock, just south of Chippenham where in 1901 as simply William Collett from Battersea he was four years old.  After a further ten years the family was still together when they were living at Nethercote Hill in Lacock where William Edwin Collett was 14 in the census of 1911.




William later enlisted with the army and eventually became Corporal 48324 William Edwin Collett with C Battery of the 82nd Brigade Royal Field Artillery.  He saw front line action in Belgium at the Ypres Salient, during the Third Battle of Ypres, which was also referred to as the Battle of Passchendaele.  Tragically he was killed on 27th October 1917 at just 21 years of age, and his name appears on the Tyne Cot Memorial for those missing in action.  He was posthumously awarded the Military Medal.  At the time of his death his next-of-kin was named as his mother Maria Collett who was still living on Nethercote Hill in Lacock.






Frederick Collett was born at Chippenham during 1898, the eldest child of Herbert Lewin Collett and his wife Annie.  He was two years old in 1901 and was 12 in 1911 when he and his family were living within the Foghamshire district of Chippenham.  It is possible that he lived in Chippenham all his life, and it may even have been there that he married Annie.  If so, when Annie died on 15th April 1948 the pair of them were living at 6 Clift Avenue in Chippenham.  In her Will, proved at Winchester on 25th May that year her husband Frederick was described as an engineering costs clerk and her estate was valued at £1,293 3 Shillings 3d.






Herbert Lewin Collett was born at Chippenham on 26th May 1902, the son of Herbert and Annie Collett.  The census in 1911 placed Herbert, aged eight years, and his family living within the Foghamshire area of Chippenham.  Herbert was twenty-six when he married Florence May Smith who was born at Chippenham on 5th May 1907.  Their wedding was recorded at Chippenham register office (Ref. 5a 147) during the third quarter of 1928.  Nothing more is known about their life together, but it was as Herbert Lewin junior that his death was recorded at Chippenham register office (Ref. 23 1848) during the last three months of 1976 when he was 74.  His widow Florence May Collett nee Smith was still living in Chippenham when she passed away during December 2000.






Elsie Annie Collett was born at Chippenham on 14th May 1910, the youngest child of Herbert Lewin Collett and his wife Annie, who was ten months old in the Foghamshire, Chippenham census of 1911.  The marriage of Elsie A Collett and William J Harrison was recorded at Cheltenham register office during the fourth quarter of 1931 and it was as Elsie Annie Harrison that she died in 1988, her passing at the age of 78 was recorded at Trowbridge register office (Ref. 23 2453) in the final three months of that year.






Albert Edwin Collett was born at Melksham in 1887, the son and second child of Albert Henry and Emily A Collett.  He was three years old in the Melksham census of 1891 and was still living there with his parents ten years later in 1901.  When his parents eventually settled in the Romsey area of Hampshire, Albert and his older sister Lillian continued to live in Melksham but were not together in the census of 1911 when Albert Edwin Collett was 23.




What happened to Albert after 1911 is not known at this time, and the only record of him so far found was in 1954 following the death of his aunt Florence Emily Collett, his father’s unmarried sister.  Albert Edwin Collett was described as a retired butcher during the probate process for her Will when he was named as one of the executors with his cousin Gilbert William Collett (below).






Gilbert William Collett was born at Melksham in 1887, the eldest child and only son of William James Collett and Annie Maslen White.  His father had a butcher’s shop on the High Street in Melksham above which the family was living in 1891 when Gilbert was three years of age.  It was at that same address that he was still living with his family in 1901 at the age of 13, but on leaving school Gilbert took up work within the Croydon area of Surrey where he was residing in 1911 when he was recorded in the census that year under his full name aged 23.




Upon the death of his father in 1927 and at the proving of his Will in London that same year it was his son Gilbert William Collett, a hosier, who was named as one of the two executors of his personal effects valued at £8,827 0 Shillings 3d.  In 1954 Gilbert was again named as a joint executor with his cousin Albert Edwin Collett (above) following the death of their aunt Florence Emily Collett when, at that time in his life Gilbert was described as a retired outfitter. 




Ten years later Gilbert William Collett was 77 years old when he died in Wiltshire on 24th July 1964.  His Will was proved at Winchester on 17th September 1964 and the supporting probated statement revealed that at the time of his death Gilbert was living at 174 Sheldon Road in Chippenham but had died in Chippenham District Hospital.  His considerable personal effects, amounting to £134,944, were awarded jointly to executors Thomas Gerald Collett, a transport manager, and Alfred Routledge, a solicitor’s manager.  This raises the question that Gilbert may have been married and that Thomas Gerald Collett may have been his son.






Horace Claude Collett was born on 23rd September 1883 at Blenheim in the district of Marlborough on New Zealand’s South Island.  He later moved across to live on the north island and settled in Wellington. 


It was in the Petone district of Wellington that Horace married Elizabeth Farr on 24th May 1905.  Elizabeth was born on 3rd April 1882 at Waverley in the Taranaki district of the north island of New Zealand and was the daughter of Frederick Farr and his wife Ellen McConagy.  And it was also while the couple were living at Petone that all of their children were born. 


This caricature was drawn by a courtroom artist in 1913 – see details below.




In 1913 Horace was working in Wellington at the shop of Spencer George Radford where he was the manager.  During the period from 26th December 1912 to 13th January 1913 they had been a number of night-time burglaries in the town, including a break-in at Radford’s Shop.  The culprit was eventually arrested and appeared before the Wellington Senior Magistrates Court on Wednesday 5th February.




The proceedings from the court case were reported in the New Zealand Truth newspaper on Saturday 8th February 1913 under the headline “A Burglarious Bobby – Constable Remmer’s Remarkable Raids”.  It was reported that Alfred Charles Remmer, an imported English Police Constable, owed money in England and carried out numerous raids on a least five different shops while he was on night duty.  His haul included clothes, jewellery, cigars, cigarettes, razors, cutlery, etc.  The newspaper article included the above drawing of Horace Collett, who was described as the head shop-man at Radford’s, who identified the items stolen from his shop.




Elizabeth Collett nee Farr died on 22nd March 1938 while she and Horace were still living at Wellington and was it was there that she was buried in Karori Cemetery.  Horace must have moved north from Wellington to Auckland after the death of Elizabeth as he died while a patient at Auckland Public Hospital.  Horace Claude Collett passed away on 29th March 1952 and was buried at Waikumete Cemetery in the Henderson South district of Auckland on 1st April 1952.





David Horace Collett

Born in 1905



Claude Frederick Collett

Born in 1907



Kenneth Paul Collett

Born in 1908



Desmond Bruce Collett

Born in 1910



Clement Joseph Collett

Born in 1912



Clive Emmett Collett

Born in 1915



Joy Mary Collett

Born in 1917



Philip Edwin Collett

Born in 1919



John Anthony Collett

Born in 1920






Clive Franklyn Collett was born on 28th August 1886 at Spring Creek, just north of Blenheim within the Marlborough district of the South Island of New Zealand.  He was the second child born to Horace Edwin Collett from Lambeth in London and his wife Alice Marguerite Radford from Shoreditch in London, even though they met and were married in New Zealand.


It may be of interest to note that, within the register of electors for Blenheim, which was first established in 1894, there was no record of any Collett living there.  However, within the birth record for Clive Franklyn Collett, his father Horace Edwin Collett was recorded as being from Tauranga, which is on the north island, at the Bay of Plenty to the south of Auckland.




He was educated at Queens College in Tauranga and, on the early death of his father at Auckland in 1902, Clive took an engineering course with William Cables at Wellington, following which he was employed by Turnbull & Jones Ltd. in Christchurch, promoting electrical machinery.  At some time in his young life he also worked as a Stock Inspector for the Bay of Plenty district, was a member of the Mounted Tauranga Rifles, and a promoter of the Marlborough Hussars with whom he was a Lieutenant.  Following the outbreak of hostilities in Europe he travelled to England on board the S S Limerick and arrived in London on 23rd December 1914.  While in London he lodged at the home of spinster Harriet Martha Collett (Ref. 62N12), a distant maiden aunt.




On arrival in England he enrolled at the London and Provincial Aviation Company at Hendon.  It was throughout all of January 1915 that he received his training, and on Friday 29th January he has awarded his pilot’s licence [RAeC No. 1058].  On 17th February 1915, he reported to Brooklands military aerodrome and eventually joined the Royal Flying Corps as a pilot in March 1915.  He was granted a commission as a Second Lieutenant on probation in the RFC Special Reserve on 25th March 1915 and after three months at Brooklands he left for Netheravon on Salisbury Plain, where he joined No. 11 Squadron and flew the Vickers FB. 5 'Gunbus'.




It was during his time in the London area that he met Margaret Cumming, with whom he subsequently had a daughter.  Margaret had been born at Lambeth in London on 23rd May 1899, and was in her mid-to-late teenage years when they met, but it was his very busy schedule at the height of the conflict that meant they never had the opportunity to become a married couple.  Sadly, at the time of his death, during a flying accident in 1917, he was still a bachelor, even though by then he was the father of a nine-month-old girl.




That tragic accident happened when he crashed into the Firth of Forth on 23rd December 1917, while flying a captured German Albatros fighter plane that he was testing.  His body was buried at the Comely Cemetery in Edinburgh, grave reference number K903, where the headstone to the right marks his grave.  The inscription reads: Captain C F Collett, MC Royal Flying Corps 23rd December 1917 age 31 – The Lord Hath Called Him To Peace.


Nine months earlier his only child Marion Collett was born at Lambeth, just across the River Thames from the Houses of Parliament in London, where the girl’s mother Margaret had also been born.


More details of his military career can be found in the website folder entitled Clive Franklyn Collett.




Six weeks prior to his death, the following report was provided by James McCudden, who recorded:

“On November 5th I went to Hendon with Capt. Clive Collett to fly a V-strutter Albatros which he had for demonstration purposes, and I had a nice ride in it, but I could not think how the German pilots could manoeuvre them so well, for they were certainly not easy to handle.  It was of course just a few weeks later that Capt. Collett was killed flying this same Albatros over the Firth of Forth, apparently when a portion of the exhaust manifold came loose from the engine and struck him and stunned him, resulting in a straight dive into the water."




Following his death his Royal Air Force service record dated 13th August 1918 included the name of Miss Harriet M Collett as the person to be informed of any casualty.  In that document she was referred to as ‘aunt’ and her contact address was given as 117 Central Hill at Upper Norwood in London.  That information would have been recorded at the start of his military service and so before he had formed a relationship with Margaret Cumming, the mother of his daughter.  Furthermore, the fact that there was no reference at all to him leaving a wife and child may once again confirm that he was never married. 




The Will of Clive Franklyn Collett of Pentone, Auckland in New Zealand, temporarily of 117 Central Hill in Upper Norwood, Surrey, Captain RFC drowned 23rd December 1917 in the River Forth was proved in London on 11th April 1918 when settlement of his personal effects valued as £262 11 Shillings 2d was granted to Charles Henry Wilham Osborn, a solicitor.  What is of particular interest, is the fact that living at 46 Central Hill in Upper Norwood in 1911 was Clive’s paternal grandmother Mary Collett, the 88-year-old widow of his grandfather Edwin Collett.




Nearly ninety years after he was killed, Clive’s grand-daughter was living in Australia.  This was Mandy Perry nee Wade and she was interviewed on New Zealand radio in 2005 about her grandfather when she was one of the guests of honour at the Omaka “Wings over New Zealand” festival, this being a display of military and commercial aircraft.  See extra items below, including a detailed account of the interview, together with other items regarding the life of Capt C F Collett.




It may be of interest to know that in 2011, David Provan of Christchurch in New Zealand, was building a model of the Albatros in which Capt Clive Franklyn Collett died all those years ago.  Also Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame, is the proud owner of a Camel aircraft which flies in the same colours as those flown by Captain Collett.





Marion Renee Collett Cumming

Born on 16.03.1917 at Lambeth




Below are the two citations written at the time of his awards,

together with an extract from a letter written by Clive to his brother Horace (above).




Citation for Military Cross (MC): "Lt. (T/Capt.) Clive Franklyn Collett, R.F.C. Spec. Res. For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty as a leader of offensive patrols during a period of three weeks.  He has on numerous occasions attacked large formations of enemy aircraft single-handed, destroyed some, and driven others down out of control.  He has led his formation with great skill, and has on several occasions extricated them from the most difficult positions, and in every engagement his gallantry and dash have been most marked."  [Source: London Gazette, issue 30466, published on 8th January 1918.]




Citation for Bar to Military Cross (MC): "Lt. (T/Capt.) Clive Franklyn Collett, M.C., R.F.C., Spec. Res. & Gen. List.  For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty in leading offensive patrols against enemy aircraft. Within a period of three weeks he successfully engaged and destroyed five enemy machines (three of them in one day), attacking them from low altitudes with the greatest dash and determination. His brilliant example was a continual source of inspiration to the squadron in which he served. [Source: London Gazette, issue 30561, published on 5th March 1918.]




In a letter written from his farm billet behind the lines in early 1916 to his elder brother, Mr Horace Claude Collett, he reports the following "On offensive patrols over the hottest patch opposing our First Army, getting vital photographs.  Total weight about 2000 lbs including machine gun and ammunition, Observer, camera and plates, wireless gear to report to our gunners, up to 11 000 feet to avoid some accurate Archie fire.  A burst under our machine sent us out of control, but managed to level out at a low altitude with burst engine valve and gun stoppage in face of very heavy ground fire, riddling our plane.  The photos of this special mission caused the cancellation of a planned offensive which, had it proceeded, would have been a disastrous exercise for our troops, with heavy casualties."  It was for this that Captain Collett was awarded his first Military Cross.




The following are newspaper articles relating Captain Clive Franklyn Collett




This first article appeared in the Wellington Evening Post on 1st February 2001.




“Lord Of The Rings director Peter Jackson has set his sights on recreating the heroic acts of a Blenheim man for this year's Classic Fighters Marlborough Airshow.  Mr Jackson owns an authentically-finished replica of a First World War Sopwith Camel, which will fly for the first time at the Easter air show.  While the Camel is best known as the machine flown by cartoon character Snoopy in his fantasies, Mr Jackson's plane will not play on that theme.  When the biplane battles with a Fokker Triplane, it will be in the livery of Marlborough First World War flying ace Clive Collett, who clocked up 12 kills before dying at the age of 31.  Captain Collett, who was born in Spring Creek, went to war with the Royal Flying Corps.  He crash-landed and died in Scotland in 1917, while flying a captured Albatros, the type of aircraft he had shot down at least eight times.”






The second article, written by Robert Smith, was published in the Malborough Express on 28th March 2005.  The grand-daughter mentioned in the article was Mandy Wade, the daughter of Marion Renee Collett Wade nee Cumming (Ref. 62P18). 




“The grand-daughter of Blenheim-born pilot Clive Collett, the first ace to score a victory in a Sopwith Camel in World War 1, was on hand to see the replica of her grandfather’s plane soar above the crowd at the air show over the weekend.  For Australian woman Mandy Perry, seeing the replica aircraft with the same colours and number as Captain Collett’s was a dream come true.  Mrs Perry’s mother was born out of wedlock when Captain Collett was based in the UK, with marriage plans tragically cut short with Collett’s death in a crash in 1917.  Mrs Perry said her grandmother was working in a music hall when she met Captain Collett in 1916.  The two had planned to marry after the war, with Collett illegally sending her one of his silk parachutes to turn into a wedding dress.  Collett, who was born in Spring Creek in 1886, was killed while flying a captured German fighter in Scotland on December 23, 1917.  Mrs Perry’s mother married an Australian airman in World War Two and while Mrs Perry was always aware of her connection to Collett, she only recently met members of her extended family in New Zealand.  When she attended the Wanaka air show last year, she saw the replica of Collett’s plane on display there, but it was only a static display and she decided to return to the Omaka show to see it in flight.  Returning to New Zealand to see the Camel fly also gave her the chance to see her grandfather’s place of birth.  ‘It was a bit of a double whammy.  I’ve already visited his grave in Edinburgh and now I’ve been to his place of birth as well as seeing his plane.’  Mrs Perry said it was ‘just magic’ to see her grandfather’s plane flying.  ‘It was just so easy to imagine that it was him up there in the fields over France.  It felt like a crossover between reality and unreality. I certainly never expected to ever see it flying.”  Before his death, Collett was a pioneer in many areas, including parachuting, for which he put on a display for the royal family.”






This third article was written by journalist Geoff Collett (Ref. 62R8) and was printed in the Nelson Mail on 18th April 2011, in the lead up to Anzac Day.




“In the lead-up to Anzac Day, Nelson Mail journalists are sharing their family war stories. Today, Geoff Collett writes about a World War I flying ace”.


“My great, great uncle Clive killed Germans in the war.  He lined them up in his sights and shot them, mostly using a couple of Vickers machine guns attached to his Sopwith Camel biplane, high above the hell holes of the European battlefields of the Great War.  Sometimes, they nearly killed him.  A couple of times he nearly killed himself.  And once – that's all it takes, of course – he did, accidentally but inexplicably.  I've never been one for family history and always been ambivalent about war stories. I was vaguely aware of the various feats which had made Captain Clive Collett world-famous in the Collett family, but when I started reading through my father's Clive Collett file, I have to say awe was the over-riding feeling.  His was a war fought at the very edges of technology and risk.  He was a flying ace, downing 12 German aircraft in combat within the space of about six weeks – three of them in one 45-minute burst. He had the dash, the daring and the big balls that made the fly boys of that war, the stuff of so much legend.”

Clive Collett



WAR HERO: Captain Clive Collett pictured here with his Sopwith Camel.




“His story is filled with scrapes and near things, various accounts of his flimsy biplane coming to one form of grief or another – perhaps shredded and crippled by Hun shells, or blowing a valve after he overdid an attacking dive on enemy aircraft, usually forcing him to nurse it back to safety and an emergency landing.  One of his combat reports tells of how he and his foe were so close that they nearly collided as he emptied his Vickers into its fuselage.  Another recounts following a stricken German plane until it landed; Clive finished it off with a long burst until it exploded into flames.  Then he fled home with a badly injured hand, keeping to 30 feet above the trees of Houtholst Forest to prevent the other pursuing Germans getting a fix on him with their guns.  Sometimes he didn't quite make it.  He smashed his face up badly in one crash, removing him from combat duties for most of a year.  Instead, he did experimental stuff, including becoming the first man under British command to jump from a plane with a parachute.  The story of that tells how he drolly noted the presence of ambulance and fire tender on the airfield below just before he jumped, pointing out what a fat lot of use they would be if things didn't work out.”




“He got a medal – the Military Cross, and then its Bar.  His citation talked of gallantry, devotion and dash, and his habit of single-handedly taking on large formations of enemy aircraft.  In a weird way it seems almost inevitable that he died pointlessly, miles from the nearest enemy gun.  He was flying a captured German Albatros off the coast of Scotland a few days before Christmas 1917 when for no known reason the plane crashed into the water.  Some speculate a part broke loose and hit him, knocking him out or worse. He was 31.  He left a young widow (although the record is contradictory as to whether they had ever married) and a baby daughter.  I've never known anything of his offspring. We're a big and widely-scattered family. My great uncle, also a Clive, accumulated plenty of material on him, however, and made sure the legend lived on in our branch of the family tree.  Clive Franklyn Collett's grave is somewhere in Edinburgh; a memorial plaque stood for some time in his hometown of Tauranga.  He has a section devoted to him in the website on Collett genealogy.  Someone has given him a Wikipedia page.  My brother, also a military man, advises that the RNZAF museum holds material on him.  I read somewhere that Peter Jackson, the film-maker, modelled his replica Sopwith Camel on Clive's.  Such are the ways we remember our war dead.”






In addition to the above articles, the following item was published in Flight Magazine on 14th February 1918.  It read:




“Captain Clive Franklyn Collett, MC, RFC, was accidentally killed on December 23rd while flying in Scotland.  Born in 1887, he was the second son of Mr Horace Edwin Collett, of Tauranga, Auckland, New Zealand, and came over shortly after the outbreak of war and joined the RFC in March 1915.  In the same year he saw several months of active service in France, but a serious accident which occurred while he was bringing a machine to England prevented his flying for a long period and caused him injuries from which he was always troubled afterwards.  In spite of this, he insisted on flying again, and in August 1916, was given command of a flight.  For the rest of that year and for the greater part of 1917 he was engaged in experimental work, for which his experience and ability as an engineer (his profession before the war) and his great skill as a pilot made him especially useful.  In September 1917 he again went to France, and of this short period his late commanding officer writes ‘Captain Collett served under my command in France for some months.  During this time, he himself accounted for fifteen enemy machines, all of which were confirmed.  His devotion to duty was officially recognised during this period by the reward of the Military Cross and Bar’.






The next item is an extract from the book entitled “Observer – Memoirs of the RFC 1915-1918” by Jack Insall.  Jack flew with Captain Collett as his observer and recalls:




“He was a big man who joined us at Netheravon just a few weeks before we were to be fully equipped with the Vickers Fighters, Capt C F Collett already experienced in handling these new planes.   Not long after, I travelled with him on a flight to Brooklands.  The flight was without incident, except that we had to land near Basingstoke on our return, with plug trouble.  This gave me the first opportunity of starting up the Monosoupape engine.” 




On another occasion Jack recalled having to accompany Capt Collett on a flight to Bournemouth, when again they landed mid-journey to clean the plugs.  Unfortunately, the chosen meadow near Ringwood proved to be a water-meadow, so the resulting take-off was rather swift, much to the disappointment of the approaching locals.  They eventually touched down on the outskirts of Bournemouth to sort out the plug problem, where the plane was soon surrounded by a large crowd of some hundred or more people.  They were then offered a lift by one of the locals who drove the two of them in his car to the nearest Post Office to make a telephone call back to base.  Upon their return, the crowd had grown even more and, by the time the pair were airborne once again, it was a good job that it was a trouble-free take-off, because there would have been no room to land again, such was the size of the crowd.  Instead Capt Collett flew back over the field, to the flutter of hands and handkerchiefs, dipping the bows of the plane as they passed.






Norman Edwin Collett was born at Blenheim in the Marlborough district of South Island New Zealand on 15th January 1888.  By the time his father died in 1902 the family had moved to Auckland on the north island.  He later married (1) Kathleen Emily Tuthill on 3rd September 1911 at Greerton near Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty where she was born in 1895.  Her parents were Robert Tuthill and Alice Jane Litchfield.  Sometime after the birth of the couple’s fourth child and last known child Norman appears to have left the family home and that absence was the grounds for divorce as later filed by his wife Kathleen.




A report in the New Zealand Herald, published on 27th November 1936 under the heading ‘Divorce Actions’ was the following: Petitions were granted as follows on the ground that the parties had been separated for three years and over, Kathleen Emily Collett against Norman Edwin Collett.  Ten years later Norman Edwin Collett married (2) Viola Alla Elizabeth Soar in 1946, with whom he spent the last twenty years of his life.  It was at Glen Eden on the western outskirts of Auckland that Norman Edwin Collett died on 2nd April 1966, following which he was buried at the Waikumete Cemetery in nearby Henderson South on 5th April 1966.





Edwin Robert Chateauneuf Collett

Born on 31.03.1912



Eric Franklin Collett

Born in 1913



Eileen Alice Ethel Collett

Born on 29.12.1917



Kathleen Ruth Collett

Born on 24.02.1919






Spencer Huia Collett was born at Blenheim in the Marlborough district of South Island New Zealand on 6th November 1892.  By the time he was ten years old he and his parents were living at Auckland on the north island where Spencer’s father Horace died just six weeks after his tenth birthday.




After the Great War in which his brother Clive was killed, Spencer later married Charlotte Sarah Minnie Archer at Auckland in 1920.  Charlotte was the daughter of Edmund Archer and Mary Neild and was born at Auckland in 1877.  It would appear that Spencer and his wife lived at Epsom where Spencer’s widowed mother also lived, and it is possible that they lived at the same address.




Although fifteen years younger than his wife, it was Spencer Huia Collett who died relatively young on 15th July 1937 at Auckland Infirmary in Epsom.  Two days later he was buried at Purewa Cemetery on 17th July 1937 where his mother Alice had been buried with her husband almost exactly six years earlier.




Spencer’s wife survived her husband by over thirty-two years and sometime after his death she moved to the Grey Lynn district of Auckland not far from the city centre.  And it was while at Grey Lynn that Charlotte Sarah Minnie Collett nee Archer passed away on 1st November 1969.  Like her husband and his parents, Charlotte was also buried at Purewa Cemetery at Meadowbank in Auckland on 3rd November 1969.






Constance Louise Beatrice Collett was born at Uitenhage near Port Elizabeth on 17th April 1881, the eldest child of William and Anna Collett.  She and her siblings were all educated by a private tutor and it was when she was twenty-two that she married James Percy Frederick Grose on 27th May 1903.  The marriage produced a single child for the couple when Constance Maud Owen Grose was born nine months later on 8th March 1904 at Port Elizabeth.  Constance Louise Beatrice Grose nee Collett died at Port Elizabeth on 6th June 1965, while her daughter Constance was living at Lecanto in Florida when she died on 5th December 1999.






William Edwin Collett was the eldest son of William Edwin Collett (1850-1902) of Leytonstone in London and Port Elizabeth in South Africa and his wife Anna Susanna Basson (1860-1945) of Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth.  It seems likely that William was born at Port Elizabeth around 1884, although the date and place are not confirmed.  What is known is that William and his family lived in a property called Cadles in the Van Stadens River Valley near Port Elizabeth.  The only known fact about him is that he died in 1957.






Horace Owen Collett was the second son of William and Anna Collett of Port Elizabeth where he was probably born around 1888.  He later married Lillian J Norton, but no further information about him or his wife, or whether they had any children, has been discovered at this time.






Reginald Harry Collett was the third son of William and Anna Collett of Port Elizabeth in South Africa. It is possible that he was also born at Port Elizabeth around 1890, but it has been confirmed that he died in died 1961.






Florence Louisa Collett was born at Hoxton in 1880 and was one year old in the 1881 Census when she was living with her parents at 115 Shaftesbury Street in Shoreditch.  Shortly after the census day her family was enlarged with the birth of a sister for Florence.  For whatever reason, a couple of years later Florence’s father Charles Collett walked out on his family leaving Florence’s mother Louisa to care for her and her sister Eleanor (below).  Although unusual at that time, her parents may or may not have been divorced when Florence’s father took up with his second ‘wife’.




Curiously by 1891 Florence was not listed with her mother and her sister whose whereabouts has still to be discovered.  Instead Florence at the age of eleven was living at Mile End Old Town.  However, ten years later at 21 Florence was back living with her mother and sister Eleanor (below) at Shoreditch, where all three of them were working as shirt makers for the company of Lee & Scorf.






Eleanor G Collett was born at Hoxton after 3rd April 1881.  At the turn of the century she was aged 19 and was working with her mother and older sister Florence (above) as a shirt maker for Lee & Scorf while living at Shoreditch.






Fredrick Charles Philip Collett was born at 85 St John Street Road in Holborn on 31st December 1887.  According to the census of 1901, Frederick C Collett was 13 and was living with his family in Clerkenwell.  Furthermore his place of birth was recorded as being Clerkenwell.  St John Street is a long road that starts at Finsbury in the north and runs south through Clerkenwell to Holborn, so it is possible that the family’s address in 1901 was the same as thirteen years earlier.




Seven years later when Frederick twenty years old he married (1) Alice Emily Webb on 12th July 1908 at St Thomas’ Church in Islington.  Alice was the daughter of Harry Webb and his wife Elizabeth Moore and was born at Islington in 1888.  Frederick’s occupation at the time of his wedding was that of a carman, as confirmed on the marriage certificate.  Three years after they were married the couple were living within the Islington registration district of London, where Fred of Clerkenwell was 23 and Alice of Islington was 22.  Listed with them was their daughter Ada who was just seven months old and born at Islington.




At the outbreak of the First World War Frederick initially joined the Rifle Brigade but later transferred to the Royal Engineers.  He reached the rank of sergeant and saw active service during the campaign.  He is seen in the photo on the right in uniform and with the medals he received after the war.


Sadly a few years after the war Alice Emily Collett nee Webb died at the age of 33, following a cerebral apoplexy which caused her to collapse in the street on 19th July 1921.


That happened just six months after she gave birth to her last child who was born while the family was living at 29 London Road in Islington.




The year after losing his wife Frederick married (2) Louisa Prestage and he and the family moved away from London Road.  Tragically that marriage was also short lived for Frederick, when he died at Hammersmith on 4th October 1928 after being with Louisa for just six years.  Following his passing he was buried at Mortlake Cemetery.  At the time of his death he and Louisa were living at Duncane House in Duncane Road in Hammersmith and his occupation as stated on the death certificate was that of a (horse) mail driver.  The cause of death was given as a tubercular abscessed lung.  Frederick’s occupation around the time of the birth of his youngest child in Islington was that of a coal carman, as confirmed by the birth certificate for his son James.





Ada May Collett

Born in 1910



Lily Collett

Born in 1912



Henry Collett

Born in 1915



James Charles Collett

Born in 1921






Charles Collett was born at Clerkenwell in 1892 according to the 1901 Census in which he was nine years old and living with his family at Clerkenwell.  Ten years later he was 18 and was still living with his parents but within the Islington area of London.






May Collett, who was one half of a set of twins, was born at Clerkenwell in London in 1894.  In both the 1901 and 1911 census records May was listed as being six and 16 respectively, living with her parents at first in the Clerkenwell area and then within the Islington registration district.






Rose Collett, who was one half of a set of twins, was born at Clerkenwell in London in 1894.  She was six years old in the Clerkenwell census of 1901 and was 16 years old in April 1911 when she was still living with her family who were then living in the Islington area of London.






Doris Evelyn Collett was born in London in 1904, her birth recorded at Lewisham register office during the third quarter of that year, when her parents were confirmed as Ernest Edwin Collett and Ellen Hocknell.  It was also in the Lewisham area of London that Doris was six years of age in the census of 1911.






Ernest Leonard Collett was born at Lewisham in London on 27th March 1909, the son of Ernest and Ellen Collett who, in the Lewisham census of 1911 was two years old.  Nothing further is known about him at this time except that Ernest Leonard Collett died during July 1986, his death recorded at Canterbury register office (Ref. 16 266).






Wayne Neville Collett was born after 1931 at Regina in Saskatchewan, the only child of Herbert Neville Collett and Janet Marie Bonthron.  He married Catherine Kimberley Elizabeth MacLachlan on 10th November 1966 at Chilliwack in British Columbia.  Catherine was the daughter of John Murdock MacLachlan and Ann Oliver MacClure.





Elizabeth Annamarie Collett

Date of birth not disclosed



Meghan Catherine Collett

Date of birth not disclosed






Roberta Frances Collett, whose date of birth is not known, was the eldest daughter of Les and Vera Collett, and was born at Regina.  She married Anthony Roy Theaker on 4th August 1962 at St. Peters Anglican Church in Regina.  Tony was born on 19th June 1938 at Sacramento in California, USA, the son of James Arthur Theaker and Ila Faye Welliver.  Roberta was a teacher in Calgary, Vancouver, and Regina, while Tony was an insurance agent and farmer at Wilcox Saskatchewan.  Their marriage produced a son for the couple, Trent Peter Theaker.  Tony Theaker died at Calgary in Alberta on 22nd November 2000, while Roberta was still living in 2010.






Geraldine Leslie Collett, whose date of birth is not known, was the second of three daughters of Eric Leslie (Les) Collett and Vera Helene Medforth, and born at Regina.  Geraldine married Reginald William Hopkins on 4th August 1975 at St. Georges-on-the-Hill Anglican Church in Islington, Ontario.  Reginald was the only son of William Rowland Hopkins and Norah Carolyn Erson.  Over the years, Gerri presented her husband with two children, Shawn Michael Hopkins, and Daren Andrew Hopkins.  And it is to Gerri that we are indebted for the tremendous amount of information that she kindly supplied during 2010, to enable a major update of this family line to be completed.






Dianne Mae Collett, whose date of birth is not known, was the youngest daughter of Les and Vera Collett, and was born at Regina.  She married David Bruce Melville Ness at Calgary on 30th June 1973.  David was the son of Thomas Robertson Melville-Ness and Alice Isabelle Richards.  Dianne Mae Collett is Dave’s second wife and they have no children.






David Horace Collett was born on 16th November 1905 at Petone near Lower Hutt in the Wellington district of the north island of New Zealand.  He later married Mabel Whaler on 6th January 1933.  Tragically Mabel died only six years after the marriage on 17th July 1939, while David Horace Collett never remarried and died on 7th April 1983 and was buried at Karori Cemetery in Wellington.





John David Collett

Born in 1933



Pauline Elizabeth Collett

Born on 06.07.1935






Claude Frederick Collett was born on 22nd May 1907 at Petone near Lower Hutt in Wellington.  He later married Eileen Frances Mary Abbott on St Valentine’s Day 1936 at Basilica in Wellington. Eileen was born on 4th November 1912 at Wellington and was the daughter of Oliver Power Abbott and his wife Catherine Mary Patterson.  Claude Frederick Collett died on 27th October 1961 at the Home of Compassion in Wellington and was buried on 30th October 1961 at Pauatahanui about fifteen miles north of Wellington.





Kevin Michael Collett

Born in 1938



Roger Oliver Collett

Born in 1939



Catherine Frances Collett

Born in 1942



Juliet Elizabeth Collett

Born in 1944



Christopher Edwin Collett

Born in 1950






Kenneth Paul Collett was born at Petone near Lower Hutt in Wellington on 26th August 1908, the son of Horace Claude Collett and Elizabeth Farr.  For what every reason, the most likely being overcrowding in the family home with him having six younger siblings, Kenneth went to live with his grandmother Alice Marguerite Washer, formerly Collett nee Radford, in Auckland when he was still quite young, and while he was there his received his primary education.  However, he was 13 years old when he returned to the family home from where he attended St Patrick’s College in Wellington during 1922 and 1923.




After leaving school he initially worked for the Wellington-based company of J O'Brien, an import-export firm, after which he spent some time employed by Hope Gibbons, another Wellington company.  With the coming of the Second World War Kenneth joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1942 and eventually reached the rank of warrant officer.  That same year he did his basic training at Rotorua before sailing to Canada on the 'Bloemfontein' during August 1942, where he completed further training.  By early 1943 he was with Bomber Command in the United Kingdom, attached to 460 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force.




It was at 22.54 hours on 22nd April 1944 that he took off from RAF Binbrook in Lincolnshire, flying an Avro Lancaster Mark III Bomber with 460 Squadron, and headed for Dusseldorf on a bombing mission.  During the mission the Lancaster was intercepted by a night fighter and shot down from 21,000 feet, crashing at Sythen, four kilometres north-east of Haltern in the North Rhine area of Germany killing Flight Sergeant Russell Allen of the RAAF.  The records show that Kenneth Collett parachuted to safety but was captured three days later, together with the other five surviving members of the crew.  On 26th April 1944 the men were taken to Stalag Luft 3 when Kenneth was assigned the prisoner number 4183.




However, before he was imprisoned in Stalag Luft 3 he was first taken to hospital because of wounds he had sustained during the crash.  During the previous month Stalag Luft 3 - either Sagan or Belaria – was the site of the mass escape of officers which took place in late March 1944, after which many of those who were recaptured were handed over to the Gestapo and executed on the direct orders of Adolf Hitler.  Kenneth’s Collett's administrative abilities led to him being given the role of Administrative Officer by his fellow prisoners.  He was also involved in the infamous 'Death March', during which he fashioned a sled made from a chair.  He also managed to obtain eight food parcels which he shared amongst his fellow prisoners.




After being freed by the liberating American armed forces he was flown back to England where he spent time in hospital before being repatriated.  On his later return to New Zealand he resumed his customs import-export work by helping out a friend, Paddy O'Callaghan.  He was recommended to and was subsequently employed by Reid & Reid, a Wellington-based liquor merchant firm, where he stayed for the next five years.  Through a close association with the Williamson family, he became the South Pacific Manager for the Shantung Shipping Line and was later Managing Secretary for Miss Liana Williamson, a position requiring extensive world travel.  Upon the death of Liana Williamson in 1969, Ken Collett retired at the age of 61. 




According to his military record Kenneth Paul Collett was a Roman Catholic, whilst there is no mention of him ever being married or having children.  The final twenty-five years of his life was spent in Wellington, where he died on 30th September 1994 when he was 86, following which he buried in Karori Cemetery on 4th October 1994.  In 2017 his great nephew Phillip John Collett (Ref. 62R1) provided some additional family details, including that Kenneth P Collett was also a member of the crew on board the famous Lancaster bomber G for George.  This aircraft survived over ninety missions and ended up in the Canberra War Memorial Museum, where it remains to this day.






Desmond Bruce Collett was born at Petone near Lower Hutt in Wellington on 27th March 1910.  Much later in his life, when he was forty-one, he married Betty Ellingham in 1951 with whom he had one son.  His wife Betty was born on 24th August 1911.  Desmond Bruce Collett died on 23rd August 1981 at Hastings near Napier in the Hawkes Bay district of the north island of New Zealand.





Jonathan Desmond Collett

Born in 1953






Clement Joseph Collett was born at Petone near Lower Hutt in Wellington on 9th October 1912 and he later married Joyce Rownall in 1936, Joyce having been born on 8th October 1916.  Clement Joseph Collett died on 30th October 1978 and was buried at Waikumete Cemetery in Henderson to the west of Auckland on 1st November 1978.  At some time in his later life he resided at 5 Tawa Road in Te Atatu North and lived near to Mrs Anne Stent, whose young son Richard was paid by Clement to tend to his garden.  The Stent family also provided Clem with odd meals and even took him into their home at Christmas time.  Below are some of the recollections that Richard Stent has of his neighbour Clem Collett during the years from 1961 to 1979.




“I lived as a neighbour to Clem at 11 Tawa Road with my three sisters.  Clem to me, as a young boy, was always an old man.  He had no TV, no letterbox and no car and walked everywhere in his long grey overcoat.  To me he was a retired bachelor and he never had visitors.  He drank a lot and gambled on the horses.  He never told me he had any family, and he never ever mentioned his wife or any of their children.  He was an enigma to me and I often think about him and why was he living alone in a small two-roomed shack the way he did.  His shack was there since 1954 from photos I have of it, which was around the same time that my parents built their home there in July 1954.  The shack had no power or sewerage and he did not have a flush toilet.  Clem had no letterbox, no driveway and no car.




I was 13 or 14 in 1974 when I worked for him.  It was slave labour; a whole day, normally Sunday, for just $5.  I chopped weeds and mowed the lawns with a Flymo hover mower, the only one in the street.  Clem had a ¾ acre plot with a huge garden.  Often he would send me up some tree to trim back the branches.  He was a real green thumb – his flowers and bulbs were legendary around Tawa Road.  During the spring each year the yellow daffodils and other colours were a picture.  [Somewhere my Dad has photos of these in bloom].  One day my eldest sister and myself were in deep trouble because of this floral display.  She told me that Clem’s flowers were in bloom and we should get some.  We snuck over hoping nobody could see, but we were wrong.  Another neighbour dobbed us in and told our father – we were told off, sent to bed without dinner and had to apologise to Clem in person for the theft.




I would work most summers on his property and also would go shopping for him.  We knew he drank and sometimes he would be heavily hung-over from his Saturday night drinking sessions.  Clem would scribble his shopping list on the back of a used TAB ticket, and I would drag my trolley up to the nearest dairy (milkbar) where he had a tab.  He used old style things; chicory coffee in a bottle and HP sauce are two items I recall.  Condensed milk was also popular with him.  I suppose now that he did not have a fridge, so his shopping had to match that.  He was always courteous to me – we had a common passion working with his garden and watching things grow and bloom.  He would be away from time to time, off gambling on the horses I suppose.  Sometimes he would listen to his battery radio to some race or another.  If it was hot, he sometimes had lemonade for me.  I did not know then what Wingatui or Trentham were, which he would travel to by train, later to discover they were racecourses.




As a family we would have Clem over for dinner periodically.  He was always on his best behaviour whenever in our home, a real gentleman with his thankfulness.  My mother’s cooking was probably a treat for him.  He was with us at 11 Tawa Road for Christmas Day in 1974.  Our extended family and grandfather was also there – over 30 people.  He was fairly quiet but I learnt many years later that my Dad had bailed him out of jail, he having spent that Christmas Eve locked up for drunkenness.  I did not attend his funeral in 1978 – my final year at school in the 7th Form, but I worked out it was around my final exams when my father attended; I regret not going myself now.  The final thing my Dad said about Clem is that he was very sick in hospital during October 1978.  Dad tried to cheer him up and told him that he would be back soon to see his lovely spring flowers, to which Clem responded ‘No I’m not, I won’t be leaving here’ (meaning the hospital).  Sadly, he was right and he never went back to his home at 5 Tawa Road.




Postscript:  His shack was eventually bulldozed, along with his garden and trees, and now has a block of flats built on the plot.  I often wonder if any of his bulbs survived and sprout there now.  I learnt a lot of things from Clem.  He was kind and generous to me as a young man and he also gave me a lot of stamps, as that was another of his hobbies and, on another day, he gave me a pair of Polaroid sunglasses, which was most unexpected.”





Evan Collett

Born in 1936



Maxine Collett

Born in 1938



Neil Collett

Born in 1940



Ronald Collett

Born in 1942



Ireala Collett

Born in 1944



Brian Collett

Born on 29.05.1956






Clive Emmett Collett was born at Petone near Lower Hutt in Wellington on 29th December 1915, one of the sons of Horace Claude Collett and his wife Elizabeth Farr.  He later married Joyce Marie Thomas on 6th April 1940, following which the marriage produced two sons for Clive and Joyce.  During the Second World War, Clive served as an infantryman in the 3rd New Zealand Division and saw active service in the Solomon Islands campaign.  While Clive Emmett Collett died at Nelson on New Zealand’s South Island on 3rd October 2003, he was buried six days later on 9th October 2003 at St Peter Chanel Catholic Church in Motueka, which lies about thirty miles north of Nelson.  It was Clive Emmett who gathered much of the information regarding his uncle, and the younger brother of his father, Clive Franklyn Collett. 





Paul Clive Collett

Born in 1945



Glenn Allen Collett

Born in 1948






Joy Mary Collett was born at Petone near Lower Hutt in Wellington on 1st March 1917.  In 1938 she married Cyril Balmforth who was born in 1917.  It would appear that Joy and Cyril lived all of their life together at Wellington as it was there that Joy Mary Balmforth nee Collett died on 5th October 1951 and was buried at the Karori Cemetery.  Cyril lived the next thirty years as a widower before he passed away on 30th December 1982.





Colleen A Balmforth

Born on 05.01.1939



Thomas Ed Balmforth

Born in 1941






Philip Edwin Collett was born at Petone near Lower Hutt in Wellington on 26th May 1919.  There is currently no record to suggest that he ever married.  What is known is that he died at Hutt Hospital in Lower Hutt on 18th November 1987 and was buried in Taita Lawn Cemetery at Lower Hutt on 20th November 1987.






John Anthony Collett was born at Petone near Lower Hutt in Wellington on 9th July 1920.  He later married Dorrell Jean Sprange on 8th March 1947 at Knox Church in Christchurch on New Zealand’s South Island.  John Anthony Collett, who was known as Tony, died on 21st January 2000 (Ref/ 2000/2147) at Hillsborough Hospital in Auckland and was buried there on 25th January 2000 at the Waikumete Lawn Cemetery.  His widow survived him by over seventeen years, when Dorrell Jean Collett nee Sprange passed away on 6th November 2017.  Her obituary was published in The New Zealand Herald on 8th November, as follows:  “Collett, Dorrell Jean.  Passed away peacefully at Sunset Retirement Village on 6th November, 2017, aged 94 years.  Dearly loved wife of the late John Anthony (Tony), much loved mother and mother-in-law to Sandra and Dave and Lorena (deceased).  Loving grandma and great granny to Jen, Cheryl, Steven and their families.  She will be greatly missed by all.  A service will be held in the Garden Chapel of the Morrison Funeral Home, 220 Universal Drive, Henderson on Friday 10th November, 2017 at 1.30 p.m., the funeral then leaving for the Waikumete Cemetery.”





Sandra Elizabeth Collett

Born on 07.07.1948



Lorena Dorrell Collett

Born on 13.08.1951






Marion Renee Collett Cumming was born at Lambeth in London on 16th March 1917, the only child of Clive Franklyn Collett and Margaret Cumming, her birth recorded at Lambeth register office (Ref. 1d 627) during the second quarter of 1917.  Marion was just nine months when her father died in a flying accident during December of that same year.  It is now believed that her father was never married to her mother, possibly due to his very busy schedule as a fighter pilot during the Great War.  New information received from Justin Wade in New Zealand in May 2010 also confirms, that following the death of her father, Marion and her mother Margaret remained living in England after the war and that they were both still living there during the Second World War.




It was during that time in her life, when she was in her mid-twenties, that she met Ronald Lindsay Wade.  He was from Adelaide in South Australia and was attached to the Royal Air Force as a bomber pilot.  At the end of the war in 1945, Ronald returned to Australia from where he wrote to Marion asking her to join him there, so that they could be married.  And so it was that Marion Renee Collett Cumming left England for Australia, where she married Ronald Lindsay Wade.  No actual details of the wedding are known at this time, although it is hoped further information will be received in due course regarding this and her life down under.




What is known at this time is that Marion presented Ronald with a daughter Mandy Wade who was born in Australia.  In 2005 Mrs Mandy Perry, nee Wade, was the guest of honour at the “Wings Over New Zealand” festival of military and commercial aircraft at Omaka, when she was interviewed on New Zealand radio about her grandfather Captain Clive Franklyn Collett, the First World War fighter pilot. 




During the interview she commented that she was currently living in Australia at that time.  It is also possible that she was not the only child of Marion Collett and Ronald Wade, and it is again hoped that further details will follow.  See Clive Franklyn Collett for details of the interview published in the Malborough Post.  The only other known fact about Marion Wade nee Collett Cumming, is that she died in Australia on 3rd September 1984.  The father of Justin Wade, who kindly supplied this information, was the brother of Ronald Wade.






Eric Franklin Collett was born in New Zealand on 25th October 1913.  It is not known if he was ever married but he died on 6th April 1993 at Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty where he was buried on 10th April 1993.






Ada May Collett was born at Islington in London on 24th August 1910.  By the time of the national census for Islington in April 1911 she was simply listed as Ada Collett aged seven months, the daughter of Fred and Alice Collett.  She later married Solomon Smith in Coventry during 1935 with whom she had two children.  Solomon was born at Coventry in 1911 and he was the son of John William Smith and his wife Sarah Ann Tolley. 




Their son Cyril James Smith was born on 9th November 1936 and their daughter Doreen was born twelve years later in December 1948.  Later in their lives Ada and Solomon moved to Gloucester to be close to where their daughter Doreen was living at Cinderford in the Forest of Dean.  And it was at Gloucester that Solomon died in 1999, closely followed by Ada in 2000.






Lily Collett was born in 1912 and was known to have been married, but seemed to disappear during the years of the Second World War.






Henry Collett was born in 1915 and died only a few months after he was born.






James Charles Collett was born at 29 London Road in Islington on 4th January 1921.


Whilst still in his teenage years James was conscripted into the Royal Artillery but after just forty days he was discharged on medical grounds.


He then spent the war years in London working at the Royal Navy stores in Harrods.  He also worked as a fire watcher and volunteer fireman.


This photograph of James was taken during 2001.




He married Peggy June Battersby on 4th April 1953 at Christchurch near Bournemouth in Hampshire.  Peggy was born on 23rd September 1931 and was the daughter of Thomas H Battersby and Eva Coote Johnston.  Sadly Peggy died when she was only 52 years of age on 14th January 1984, while James Charles Collett died at Bournemouth on 15th June 2002 aged 81.





Shirley Ann Collett

Date of birth not revealed



David John Collett

Date of birth not revealed






John David Collett was born at Christchurch on 25th August 1933, the eldest son of David Horace Collett and his wife Mabel Whaler.  John later married Pauline Mary Blogg on 12th May 1962 with whom he had six sons.  It was his third son, Geoff, who provided new family details in 2011, following publication of an article about his great great uncle Clive Franklyn Collett in the Nelson Mail in April 2011.  It was during the subsequent exchange of emails that Geoff said his father was still living in New Zealand, where he died in 2016, either sometime during the evening of 12th September, or the early hours of 13th September.  John spent most of his working life as a surveyor with the Lands and Survey Department.  He also had a passion for gardening, which seems a common theme among many of the members of this and other Collett family lines.





Phillip John Collett

Born on 05.04.1963



Paul David Collett

Born on 10.12.1964



Geoffrey Peter Collett

Born on 09.11.1966



Michael Anthony Collett

Born on 18.03.1968



Dean Joseph Collett

Born on 15.07.1970



Brent Patrick Collett

Born on 26.08.1971






Kevin Michael Collett was born on 17th May 1938 at Wellington in New Zealand.






Roger Oliver Collett was born on 21st October 1939 at Wellington in New Zealand where he later married Catherine Barbara Ellerm on 30th January 1965 at the Church of the Holy Cross in Mirmar.  Catherine was born also at Wellington on 13th May 1942 and she was the daughter of Percy Ellerm and his wife Gwendoline Letitia Wilson.





Martin Roger Collett

Born in 1965



Michelle Frances Collett

Born in 1967



Antony Gerard Collett

Born in 1975






Catherine Frances Collett was born on 31st January 1942 at Wellington in New Zealand where she later married Gerald Bernard Wagg on 9th May 1964.  Gerald was born on 23rd September 1941 at Lower Hutt in Wellington and was the son of Terence and Rachel Wagg nee Fitzgerald.  The couple’s first child was born at Wellington, while the other three children were all born at Taupo in the Waikato district of the north island of New Zealand overlooking Lake Taupo.





Michael Damian Wagg

Born on 08.04.1965



Bernard Mark Wagg

Born on 02.02.1967



Claudine Mary Wagg

Born on 23.10.1970



Rebecca Therese Wagg

Born on 15.05.1975






Juliet Elizabeth Collett was born on 12th March 1944 at Wellington where she later married Raymond Jones on 3rd June 1967.





Vanessa Jones

Date of birth unknown



Gregory Jones

Date of birth unknown






Christopher Edwin Collett was born at Wellington on 8th May 1950.  His work may have taken him to Germany where, in his late twenties, he met Ingrid Reiger whom he married on 28th September 1978.  It has not been established whether the marriage produced any children for Edwin and Ingrid.






Jonathan Desmond Collett was born in New Zealand on 28th May 1953 and he later married Donna Gibbons with whom he had a son who was born in Australia.





Adam Desmond Alister Collett

Born in 1987 in Australia






Evan Collett was born in New Zealand on 24th October 1936 and he later married Ann Parker on 20th August 1960.





Elizabeth Collett

Born in 1961



Lyall Collett

Born on 04.11.1962



Ronald Collett

Born on 22.11.1965



Janine Collett

Born on 08.04.1970






Maxine Collett was born in New Zealand on 22nd May 1938 and she later married (1) Trevor Burney on 8th June 1960.  Tragically Trevor died relatively young on 8th January 1986 but not before the marriage had produced three children for the couple.  Following Trevor’s death, Maxine then married (2) James McGindey on 26th March 1988.





Mark Burney

Born in 1962



Angela Burney

Born in 1965



Lorena Burney

Born in 1972






Neil Collett was born in New Zealand on 12th December 1940 and he later married Pauline Harris on 7th June 1962.





Donna Maria Collett

Born in 1964



Dean Anthony Collett

Born on 24.07.1965



Tina Michelle Collett

Born on 16.09.1966



Shane Joseph Collett

Born in 1968



Cindy Ann Collett

Born on 07.11.1970



Gwendoline Rose Collett

Born on 06.07.1974



Belinda Jane Collett

Born on 12.01.1976