Andrew Whitworth McGowan

Name on Plaque

A. W. McGOWAN

Connection with Effingham

He was not native to Effingham and nor were his ancestors, but his parents were living at “Beconridge” in Beech Avenue during at least the period 1938-1946.

Genealogy

The surname is spelt variously as McGowan or MacGowan in the official sources.

Andrew’s great-great grandfather was John McGowan whose origins are unknown. John married at High Hoyland in Yorkshire on October 31st 1820 to Bathshua Elizabeth (née) Tinker [IGI: Batch M106551]. Her forename is a variant of Bathsheba and in some sources she appears under that form. She was born around 1793 in Kirkburton, Yorkshire. Their son John Tinker McGowan was baptised on December 9th 1824 at Cumberworth, Yorkshire [IGI: Batch C107871].

The 1841 Census finds Bathshua living with two children in Leeds, but with no sign of her husband or of her son John Tinker:

1841 Census
No. 35, Rockingham Street, Leeds, Yorkshire : PRO Ref: HO107 Piece 1349 Book 2 Folio 15 Page 23

Bathsheba McGowan : 40 [rounded] : independent : yes [born in Yorkshire]
Martha McGowan : 15 : — : yes
Alexander McGowan : 15 : — : yes
Sophia Kay : 15 : female servant : yes

John Tinker, who had become a chemist and druggist, married in 1848 to Ellen Whitworth [GRO Ref: Halifax 22 197, 1848 (Q3)]. Her father Charles Whitworth had been born to parents Charles and Sarah on May 6th 1781 and baptised on May 29th at the Cockey Moor Presbyterian Church in Ainsworth, Lancashire [IGI: Batch C086211].

In 1849 John Tinker’s first child Joseph Whitworth McGowan (Andrew’s grandfather) was born [GRO Ref: Leeds 23 455, 1849 (Q4)]. By 1851 he was living in Blundell Place, Leeds whilst his now-widowed mother was nearby in Springfield Place:

1851 Census
No. 1, Blundell Place, Leeds, Yorkshire : PRO Ref: HO107 Piece 2321 Folio 580 Page 42

John Tinker Macgowan [sic] : head : mar : 26 : chemist (employing 2 men) : Skelmanthorpe, Yorkshire
Ellen Macgowan : wife : mar : 28 : — : Manchester, Lancashire
Joseph Whitworth Macgowan : son : unm : 1 : — : Leeds, Yorkshire
Charles Whitworth : father-in-law : widower : 69 : annuitant : Cockymoor [sic], Lancashire
Eliza Goddard : sister-in-law : widow : 36 : annuitant : Heckmondwike, Yorkshire
Sarah Ellen Goddard : niece : unm : 7 : — : Manchester, Lancashire
and 1 servant

1851 Census
No. 27, Springfield Place, Leeds, Yorkshire : PRO Ref: HO107 Piece 2321 Folio 577 Page 37

B. E. [Bathshua Elizabeth] McGowan : — [head] : widow : 57 : no occupation : Kirkburton, Yorkshire
Wm. McGowan : son : unm : 26 : tea dealer : Hoyland, Yorkshire
Martha E. McGowan : dau : unm : 28 : at home : Hoyland, Yorkshire
Jane McGowan : dau : unm : 25 : at home : Hoyland, Yorkshire
and 1 visitor and 1 servant

Bathshua died later in 1851 [GRO Ref: Leeds 23 415, 1851 (Q4)].

In 1859 Ellen produced a son registered at birth as “Willie” [GRO Ref: Leeds 9b 415, 1859 (Q2)] who may have been born blind. The 1861 Census finds her living in Leeds with her children and her father, but her husband John Tinker was absent. Meanwhile, their son Joseph Whitworth was a pupil boarding at Bramham College:

1861 Census
No. 52, Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, Yorkshire : PRO Ref: RG9 Piece 3393 Folio 107 Page 8

Charles Whitworth : head : widower : 79 : retired Minister (independent) : Manchester, Lancashire
Ellen Macgowan [sic] : dau : mar : 30 : druggist’s wife : Manchester, Lancashire
Eliza Goddard : dau : widow : 35 [sic – 45?] : — : Yorkshire
Ellen Macgowan : grand-dau : unm : 9 : scholar : Leeds, Yorkshire
Eliza Macgowan : grand-dau : unm : 7 : scholar : Leeds, Yorkshire
Willie Macgowan : grandson : unm : 2 : — : Leeds, Yorkshire : blind
and 1 nurse and 2 servants

1861 Census
Brahham College “Boarding school for young gentlemen”,
Bramham cum Oglethorpe, Yorkshire : PRO Ref: RG9 Piece 3539 Folio 6 Page 5

among numerous other pupils:
Joseph W. Macgowan [sic] : pupil : unm : 11 : scholar : Leeds, Yorkshire

Bramham College had opened in the early 1840s to educate sons of the principal families in Yorkshire, enjoying a very high reputation. A tragic outbreak of cholera in 1869 killed several of its pupils, forcing its subsequent decline and closure.

Bramham College, Yorkshire : 19thC sketch.

John Tinker McGowan died in 1865 [GRO Ref: Leeds 9b 349, 1865 (Q3)] and his father-in-law Charles Whitworth died aged “88” in 1870 [GRO Ref: Leeds 9b 328, 1870 (Q1)].

The 1871 Census finds Ellen widowed and living with three children in Ilkley, whilst her son Joseph Whitworth was working as an engineering manager in Lancashire together with a younger brother Charles (born in 1863) who has not been found in the preceding census and may have been with his father.

1871 Census
[no specific address] Ilkley, Yorkshire : PRO Ref: RG10 Piece 4302 Folio 85 Page 1

Ellen Macgowan [sic] : head : widow : 48 : retired chemist : Manchester, Lancashire
Ellen Macgowan : dau : unm : 19 : no occupation : Leeds, Yorkshire
Eliza Macgowan : dau : unm : 16 : no occupation : Leeds, Yorkshire
Willie Macgowan : son : unm : 11 : scholar : Leeds, Yorkshire : blind
Thomas Hardcastle : visitor : unm : 36 : chemist : Bolton, Lancashire

1871 Census
No. 15 [Lodging House], Wilton Street, Chorlton on Medlock, Lancashire : PRO Ref: RG10 Piece 3990 Folio 6 Page 4

among several other lodgers:
Joseph Macgowan [sic] : lodger : unm : 21 : sub-manager in engineering works : Leeds, Yorkshire
Charles Macgowan : lodger : unm : 18 : apprentice in engineering works : Leeds, Yorkshire

By 1881 (and ever afterwards) Ellen was calling herself “Helen Spear McGowan”. The reason is not yet known but “Spear” was probably the surname of a friend or partner she had acquired. The 1881 Census finds her with the same three children in the Headingley district of Leeds, whilst Joseph Whitworth was living with just a housekeeper in the Beswick district of Manchester:

1881 Census
Vesper Road, Headington cum Burley, Leeds, Yorkshire : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 4540 Folio 106 Page 34

Helen S. McGowan : head : widow : 48 : annuitant : Manchester, Lancashire
Ellen Macgowan : dau : unm : 29 : — : Leeds, Yorkshire
Eliza Macgowan : dau : unm : 26 : — : Leeds, Yorkshire
Willie Macgowan : son : unm : 21 : Licentiate in Theology Durham University : Leeds, Yorkshire : blind

1881 Census
No. 2, Albert Place, Beswick, Manchester, Lancashire : PRO Ref: RG11 Piece 4019 Folio 82 Page 26

Joseph Macgowan [sic] : head : unm : 31 : engineering correspondent [clerk] at loco works : Leeds, Yorkshire
Elizabeth Fern : servant : widow : 46 : housekeeper : Sheffield, Yorkshire

On August 14th 1883 Joseph Whitworth married Elizabeth (née) Alexander at St. Clement Danes in Westminster, London [IGI: Batch M041601; GRO Ref: Strand 1b 1001, 1883 (Q3)]. It is not known why they married in London.

Their first son Ivor Alexander Whitworth McGowan – the future father of Andrew – was born on September 26th 1885 and was registered in the following quarter [GRO Ref: Chorlton 8c 762, 1886 (Q1)]. Here is the family, including Ellen (“Helen”), in 1891:

1891 Census
“Roseneath”, Oxford Road, Birkdale, Lancashire : PRO Ref: RG12 Piece 3033 Folio 39 Page 21

Joseph W. MacGowan [sic] : head : mar : 41 : living on his own means : Leeds, Yorkshire
Elizabeth MacGowan : wife : mar : 38 : — : Leeds, Yorkshire
Clare MacGowan : dau : unm : 6 : scholar : Manchester, Lancashire
Ivor MacGowan : son : unm : 5 : — : Manchester, Lancashire
Helen S. MacGowan : mother : widow : 68 : living on own means : Manchester, Lancashire
and a governess and 2 servants

Joseph Whitworth and his wife and children have not been found in the 1901 Census despite extensive searching, but his mother Ellen (“Helen”) was by now living in Bournemouth:

1901 Census
“West Thorn”, Bodorgan Road, Bournemouth, Hampshire : PRO Ref: RG13 Piece 1039 Folio 111 Page 12

Helen S. McGowan : head : widow : 78 : living on own means : Manchester, Lancashire
Ellen McGowan : dau : unm : 49 : — : Leeds, Yorkshire
Elise [sic – Eliza?] Jenkins : dau : mar : 46 : — : Leeds, Yorkshire
and a visitor, a nurse and 2 servants

She died in the Bournemouth area in 1906 aged “83” [GRO Ref: Christchurch 2b 436, 1906 (Q4)], registered as “Helen Spear McGowan”. 

In 1904 Ivor obtained his Higher Certificate of Education at Dover College. He subsequently went up to Jesus College, University of Cambridge to read law. He was called to the Bar in 1909. In the third quarter of that same year he married in Ireland – in the Ballymoney district, Londonderry – to Agnes Caroline (née) Murphy. She had been born in Londonderry on November 12th 1877 to parents Andrew Charles and his wife Agnes Marshall (née Tillie) [IGI: Batch C018201]. By 1911 had moved to Surrey and become a father.

1911 Census
“Elgin Lodge”, Weybridge, Surrey : PRO Ref: RG14 Piece 2991 Schedule 27

Ivor McGowan : head : mar : 25 : barrister-at-law : Fairfield [in Manchester], Lancashire
Agnes McGowan : wife : mar : 33 : — : Londonderry, Co. Derry
Agnes Elisabeth McGowan : dau : mar : 8 months : — : Weybridge, Surrey
Agnes Murphy : mother-in-law : widow : 58 : — : Londonderry, Co. Derry
added schedule note: Ivor and Agnes married for 1 year

The London Telephone Directory for this period indicates that Ivor was practising at 7, New Square in London [BT Archives, British Phone Books 1880-1894]. 

Ivor’s first child Andrew Whitworth McGowan was born in Weybridge on September 4th 1912 [GRO Ref: Chertsey 2a 79, 1912 (Q4)]. 

In the 1914-18 War Ivor served in the Territorial Force’s Royal Field Artillery, 5th London Brigade. On May 9th 1915 he was promoted from lieutenant to temporary captain, as reported on August 20th 1915 in The London Gazette [Issue 29269, Page 8297]. On December 22nd 1916 his second son Alexander Ivor McGowan was born and was registered in the following quarter [GRO Ref: Chistchurch 2b 1009, 1917 (Q1)]. On November 30th 1917 he relinquished the rank of acting captain “on alteration of posting”, according to a Supplement to The London Gazette published the following year on August 17th 1918 [Issue 30847, Page 9645]. A Supplement to the Edinburgh Gazette reported on April 3rd 1919 that “Lt. (A./Capt.) Ivor Alexander Whitworth McGowan, R.F.A., T.F., attd. 119th Bty., 27th Bde., R.F.A.” had been awarded the Military Cross [Issue 13428, Page 1372], whilst another such Supplement reported on December 11th 1919 that he had been awarded the Distinguished Service Order [Issue 13536, Page 3984], with this citation:

“For conspicuous gallantry and ability in command of his battery during the operations in the Forest of Mormal from 3rd to 9th November 1918. He handled his battery with great skill and carried out several difficult reconnaissances, obtaining information of great value. On 5th November, after making a daring reconnaissance, he returned and brought his battery into action, and supported the infantry with great success, engaging several machine guns that were holding up the advance. Throughout he showed great energy and resource.”

Ivor (foreground, right-most) in France during the war.

Ivor applied for his medals on September 21st 1921 and gave his address then as 28a, Sinclair Road in West Kensington, W14. His Medal Roll card in the National Archives notes that he had served in the France theatre of war from June 2nd 1916.

In 1929 Ivor’s blind uncle Willie died aged “70” [GRO Ref: Bournemouth 2b 907, 1929 (Q2)] and in 1936 his father Joseph Whitworth died aged “86” [GRO Ref: Devon Central 5b 56, 1936 (Q3)].

The McGowans appear to have arrived in Effingham in the mid-1930s. In 1935 Ivor, his wife, Andrew and others were living at “Beconridge” on Beech Avenue [Electoral Register]. Andrew had attended the Charterhouse School from 1926 to 1930 and had then gone into law, like his father, except that he became a solicitor rather than a barrister. After a spell serving with the Sherwood Foresters he joined the Royal Indian Army Service Corps. He died in a Bombay hospital on April 18th 1943 and was buried at the Kirkee cemetery near Khadki in Poona. The record of his death held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission states that he had acquired Indian nationality. A newspaper report on April 30th published this brief obituary [Andrews Newspapers Index Cards, 1790-1976]:

McGOWAN.–On April 18, 1943, in hospital, at Bombay, CAPTAIN ANDREW WHITWORTH (“DAN”) McGOWAN, R.I.A.S.C., elder son of Mr. and Mrs. Ivor McGowan, of Beconridge, Effingham, Surrey, aged 30.

Ivor, his wife and his son Alexander Ivor were still living at “Beconridge” after the war, according to the 1946 Electoral Register. In that same year Alexander (“Sandy”) Ivor married, to Alba (née) Diana [GRO Ref: Surrey S.W. 2a 1459, 1946 (Q2)].

Left: the marriage of Alexander and Alba in 1946; at the rear are his parents and (right-most) his former nanny “Mimi”.

Right: Ivor in his garden at “Beconridge” in Beech Avenue, Effingham.

Ivor died in 1969 [GRO Ref: Worthing 5h 1762, 1969 (Q3)] and his widow Agnes Caroline died three years later [GRO Ref: Worthing 5h 2231, 1972 (Q4)]. Their son Alexander Ivor died aged “80” in 1997 [GRO Ref: Surrey Northern Reg. No. NSB2 Entry 147, 1997 (April)].

Military Records

1. Service Record – not yet available

2. Commonwealth War Graves Commission Record

Name
Rank
Regiment
Age
Date of Death
Service No.
Additional info.
Grave/Memorial Ref.
Cemetery

McGOWAN, ANDREW WHITWORTH
Captain
Royal Indian Army Service Corps.
30
18/04/1943
not cited
none
12. A. 9.
KIRKEE WAR CEMETERY