Person:Charles Wilson (96)

Charles Bernard Wilson
m. 7 Aug 1917
m. 1930
Facts and Events
Name Charles Bernard Wilson
Gender Male
Birth[1][5] 14 Sep 1895 Cheadle, Cheshire, England
Census[3] 31 Mar 1901 Adlington, Cheshire, EnglandMarlfields
Census[4] 2 Apr 1911 Denstone, Staffordshire, EnglandDenstone College
Marriage 7 Aug 1917 Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, EnglandRegister Office
to Florence Timothy
Divorce 1928 from Florence Timothy
Marriage 1930 Surrey, Englandto May Bessie Clarke
Death[2][6] 22 Dec 1956 Paddington, London, England

Charles Bernard Wilson was born on 14th September 1895 at Cheadle in Cheshire, son of Ada Wilson, formerly Bryant, and her husband Robert Henry Wilson, a professor of music. Charles Bernard appears to have been known by his middle name as Bernard. He appears in the 1901 census living with his parents and siblings at a house called Marlfields in Adlington in Cheshire.

Bernard spent a couple of years at Manchester Grammar School between 1907 and 1909, then was sent to boarding school at Denstone College in Staffordshire from 1909 to 1912, appearing there in the 1911 census. On leaving school he worked as a clerk and probationer for the London and North Western Railway in Manchester between 1912 and 1914. He had a motorcycle, and newspaper reports from 1912 show how his driving it at night annoyed some of the locals in Adlington, whilst in 1914 he was prosecuted for speeding on it.

In September 1914, immediately after the outbreak of the First World War, Bernard joined the army, serving as a private in the Denbighshire Yeomanry from September 1914 to May 1917. He was then transferred to the Lancashire Fusiliers.

Whilst serving in the army, Bernard was married on 7th August 1917, aged 21, to Florence Timothy. They married at the Registry Office in Great Yarmouth, where she lived. The month after their marriage, Bernard was promoted to second lieutenant. The following year he was promoted to lieutenant and seconded to the newly-formed Royal Air Force. He seems to have spent the rest of the war in the RAF, and continued serving in the RAF for some years after the war too, achieving the rank of flying officer in 1923.

Bernard and Florence had two daughters together: one in 1918 in the Great Yarmouth area, and the other in 1920 in the Stockport area near where Bernard had grown up. Bernard and Florence separated in the mid-1920s. It appears that from at least 1924 onwards he lived and had children with a woman called May Bessie Clarke. In 1928 Florence initiated divorce proceedings against Bernard. After those went through, Bernard and May Bessie (who was also known by her middle name) were free to marry, which they did in 1930 in Surrey.

Electoral registers from the 1930s find Bernard and Bessie living in Beddington in Surrey for a couple of years around 1930 and 1931. Around this time Bernard worked for Press and General Air Services, based in Croydon, where London's main airport was at the time. In 1931 he was sued by Imperial Airways after causing one of their aeroplanes to stop at Abbeville in France to collect him and Bessie after they had been forced to land in their own aeroplane on the way back from Paris to London. Around 1933 Bernard and Bessie were living in the Paddington area of London.

By 1937 they had moved to Scotland. In March 1937 Bernard was called to give evidence at an inquest in Kirkcudbright following an air crash. He had not been involved in the accident, but it seems the inquest wanted to hear evidence from a pilot, and Bernard was described as an air pilot of Paisley to the inquest. Later that same year, he appears to have been in financial difficulties, with a sequestration meeting held in October 1937, presumably to claim his possessions to pay his debts. At this time he was living at 103 Greenock Road in Paisley.

Bernard and Bessie later returned to London, with their next sighting being in the 1956 electoral registers when they and one of their adult sons appear at 77 Warrington Crescent in Paddington. Bernard died in Paddington on 22nd December 1956, aged 61. Bessie survived him by nearly 39 years.

  1. Births index, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office).

    b. Charles Bernard WILSON, December Quarter 1895, Stockport Registration District, Volume 8a, page 98, mother's maiden name Bryant

  2. Deaths index, in General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration. (London: General Register Office).

    d. Charles Bernard WILSON, December Quarter 1956, Paddington Registration District, Volume 5d, page 190, aged 61 [1894/5]

  3. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). England and Wales. 1901 Census Schedules: also for the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG13; Piece 3304; Folio 101; Page 1, 31 Mar 1901.

    Address: Marlfields, Adlington, Cheshire
    Rob[er]t H[enr]y Wilson, head, married, male, 45 [1855/6], Professor of Music, own account, b. Manchester, Lancashire
    Ada Wilson, wife, married, female, 38 [1862/3], b. Manchester, Lancashire
    Harold Wilson, son, single, male, 12 [1888/9], b. Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire
    Norah Wilson, daughter, single, female, 11 [1889/90], b. Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire
    Gordon Wilson, son, single, male, 8 [1892/3], b. Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire
    Bernard Wilson, son, single, male, 5 [1895/6], b. Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire
    Lawrance Wilson, son, male, 3 [1897/8], b. Poynton, Cheshire
    Nelly Parker, governess, single, female, 23 [1877/8], Governess, b. Handsworth, Staffordshire
    Elizabeth Hollad, servant, single, female, 25 [1875/6], House maid, b. Mow Cop, Cheshire
    Frances Pennington, servant, single, female, 24 [1876/7], Cook, b. Beeston Castle, Cheshire

  4. General Register Office. The National Archives (abbreviated TNA). 1911 Census Schedules for England and Wales, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. (Kew, Richmond, Greater London TW9 4DU, United Kingdom)
    Class RG14; Piece 16726, 2 Apr 1911.

    Address: Denstone College, Denstone, Staffordshire
    [Many students, including:]
    Charles Bernard Wilson, boarder, male, 15 [1895/6], single, Student, b. Cheadle Hulme, Cheshire

  5. British Royal Air Force, Officers' Service Records 1912-1920 (

    Summary of Information:
    Name: Charles Bernard Wilson
    Date of birth: 14 Sep 1895, Cheadle, Stockport, Chester
    Home address: Denbigh, Burlington Drive, Davenport, Stockport [crossed out and replaced with:]
    c/o London Joint City & Midland Bank Ltd, Westbourne Grove
    Wife: Florence Wilson
    Address: Denbigh, Burlington Drive, Davenport, Stockport [crossed out and replaced with:]
    Home Farm, Stanmer Park, near Lewes, Sussex
    Manchester Grammar School 1907-1909
    Denstone College, Denstone, Staffordshire: 1909-1912
    Prior Occupation: Aeroplane & Managing partner in aviation company
    Rugby, swimming, boxing, tennis, riding
    Previous service:
    Pte. Denbighshire Yeomanry Sep 1914 - May 1917
    Cadet 21st Cadet Bn. Crookham May 1917 - Aug 1917
    2 Lt. 6th Bn Lancs Fusiliers Sep 1917 - Jan 1918
    Lt. 6th Bn Lancs & RAF Jun 1918 - Nov 1919
    Married to Florence Timothy at Register Office, Yarmouth, Gt. Yarmouth 7.8.17
    Occupation in Civil Life: Railway probationer L. & N.W., Manchester 1912-1914
    Appointments and promotions:
    2/Lt. Fly 14.6.18
    Seconded for duty with R.A.F.
    Lt. Flying 26.3.19
    26.1.20 Lt. 8 Bn Lancs Fus remains seconded R.A.F.
    25.9.23 Flg. Offr.

  6. West London Crematorium, Kensal Green, Registers of Cremations (

    No. 9904
    Date of Cremation: 28 Dec 1956
    Name, Residence and Occupation of Deceased: Charles Bernard Wilson, 77 Warrington Cresc[ent], W.9, Works Inspector
    Age and Sex: 61 male
    Married or Single: Married
    Date of Death: 22 December 1956
    Name and Address of Person who applied for Cremation: Robert Ian Wilson, 77, Warrington Cresc., W.9
    Name and Addresses of Persons Signing Certificates: A. Gordon Davies, Deputy Coroner for County of London
    How Ashes were disposed of: Scattered

  7.   Electoral registers.

    1930 and 1931: 59 Sandy Lane South, Beddington, Surrey
    Wilson, Charles Bernard
    Wilson, May Bessie

    1933: 2 Orsett Terrace, Paddington, London
    Wilson, Charles Bernard
    Wilson, May Bessie

    1956 & 1957
    77 Warrington Crescent, Paddington, London
    Wilson, Bernard
    Wilson, Bessie
    Wilson, Robert
    [Wilsons not at 77 Warrington Crescent in 1954. Bessie and Robert also at 77 Warrington Crescent in 1958 and 1959 registers]

  8.   Leicester Daily Post, in United Kingdom. The British Newspaper Archive
    Page 7, 15 Aug 1912.

    A farm boy named Herbert Bailey, 14 years old, was summoned at the Macclesfield County Police Court yesterday for placing an obstruction on the highway to the danger of persons travelling at Adlington, on August 2.
    Charles Bernard Wilson, a clerk, residing at Adlington, said that about nine o'clock at night he was riding a motor cycle with a friend on the carrier, and when passing Riley's Farm he encountered an obstruction in the roadway. He stopped, and found two stone flags, about 18in. long and 6in. wide. Between the flags a pole was standing, and on the top was a coat. The obstruction was in the middle of the road, and at a dangerous corner. He took the pole and coat to the farm, where he saw the defendant in the house. He asked him if they were his property, and he said they were. He admitted placing them in the road. When asked why, he said, "I put them there to stop you riding your motor cycle at that time of night past the farm, as it wakens me up."
    Constable Clawley spoke to seeing defendant. He said, "I put them there to stop Bernard Wilson with his motor cycle, as he keeps us awake at night. He has been up the road three or four times to-night. I had been to bed once, and he woke my up."
    Mr. Yates: If Mr. Wilson had gone into the obstruction he would have been thrown off, and probably killed? - Witness: Yes.
    The boy repeated to the magistrates that he made the obstruction because Wilson woke him up at night. He did it, he said, for bit of a joke to frighten Wilson.
    The defendant's mother said there had been many complaints about Wilson and his motor cycle.
    The Chairman said the boy's parents would be fined 5s. and costs. If he had any grievance in future he must go to the police. If he had been older he would have been very severely dealt with.

  9.   Chester Chronicle, in United Kingdom. The British Newspaper Archive
    Page 5, 9 May 1914.

    Charles Bernard Wilson, Addlington, near Macclesfield, was summoned for driving a motor cycle at a speed dangerous to the public. - P.C. Barbour said on the 9th April he was opposite the Royal Oak Hotel, Kelsall, and saw defendant driving a motor bicycle round the bend at an excessive and dangerous speed. He was travelling at about 35 miles an hour. Defendant said to him "I am sorry constable, I am a stranger to the road. I did not know it was so dangerous; I admit I was going over the limit." - Defendant said there was nothing to warn him that the corner was dangerous. He was going at about 18 miles an hour. A fine of 5s. and costs was imposed.

  10.   Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail, in United Kingdom. The British Newspaper Archive
    Page 6, 21 Jan 1931.

    Charles Bernard Wilson, of the Press and General Air Services, Croydon, was sued at the Croydon Registrar's Court yesterday by Imperial Airways, Ltd., for £11 1s., being the fares with certain expenses incurred by his wife and himself in travelling by air from Abbeville to Croydon.
    It was stated that Wilson, when flying from Paris to London, was forced to descend at Abbeville. He communicated by wireless with the pilot of an Imperial Airways liner coming from Paris, and he and his wife were picked up and brought to Croydon. Wilson, it was stated, had paid six guineas into court and alleged that the charges were excessive.
    For Imperial Airways it was stated that the usual practice was to charge a far from the advertised starting-place to the advertised to the advertised place of landing. Wilson said that English aerodrome landing fees were the highest in Europe, and suggested that the appropriate charge for the Abbeville landing was 10s.
    The Registrar (Mr. Alleyne Brown) said that Wilson, in no danger and suffering no privation, stopped the aeroplane solely for his own convenience, and then wanted to pay only on the mileage basis. The Registrar awarded the company £1 in respect of the landing fee and allowed the rest of the claim, a total of £10 11s.

  11.   Gloucestershire Echo, in United Kingdom. The British Newspaper Archive
    Page 1, 17 Mar 1937.

    An air disaster in which four people were killed as described at a public inqury at Kirkcudbright as "an accident in the true sense of the word."
    Charles Bernard Wilson, an air pilot, of Paisley, said that the pilot might have been misled by a large sheet of water not marked on the map...
    [Report of inquest continues - apparent that Wilson had not been involved in the accident, but was giving evidence as an expert on the subject.]

  12.   The Scotsman, in United Kingdom. The British Newspaper Archive
    Page 4, 6 Oct 1937.

    CHARLES BERNARD WILSON, 103 Greenock Road, Paisley - Creditors will meet in the Board Room, George A. Clark Town Hall, Paisley, on October 11, at 12 noon. Macnair, Crawford, & Clyde, solicitors, 43 High Street, Paisley, agents.