James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
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Divorce & New Zealand

I was told that while they were in Malaya, John and Trixi separated, the children were sent to the UK to be educated and Trixi lived for a while with a sister of the Admiral of the Fleet, Viscount Andrew Browne Cunningham (1883-1963); at that time his sister, Elizabeth Cumming Cunningham, was probably living in Scotland with her husband, a physician, Edwin Bramwell, and their children. JRC sailed alone from London to Singapore aboard Atsuta Maru in May 1920. I have found no evidence that Trixi or her children returned to Malaya. In The Singapore Free Press and Mercantile Advertiser, 21 Dec 1933, at the end of a long report from its London correspondent* about a bill to change the grounds for divorce headed 'Divorce for Drunkenness, Insanity or Criminality' was a short paragraph: "In the Divorce Court this week, by the way, a decree nisi was pronounced for Mrs. Beatrice Marion Fitzgerald Day, of Little Milton, Oxford, against Mr. Robert Conway Fitzgerald Day, decribed as “a planter living for some years in the Malay States."" Trixi is thought to have received a portrait of John's early ancestor, Edward Day, painted by Godfrey Kneller (1646-1723), as part of her divorce settlement; she sold it at Sothebys in 1938.

[* This was the newspaper's first report to be sent by British air mail (by Heracles plane from London to Paris, by train across France and Italy to Brindisi, by Scipio flying-boat across the Med. to Cairo, by a huge Hannibal biplane to Karachi and finally by Atalantas aircraft to Malaya). Incidently, the reporter also wrote of the atrocious weather in Britain that winter with smog, severe frosts, a “howling gale blowing straight from the steppes of Siberia", snow drifts and winds of 50 mph.]

Beatrice with Claire & Noel Simms JRC remarried on 19 May 1935 at Liskeard Registry Office. His bride was a widow ten years his junior who had been the correspondent in the divorce proceedings and who, I am told, was his nurse. They were living at 'The Bungalow', Wayland Talland, Cornwall when they married but the following year were living at 90 Mount Gould Road, Plymouth, very near Mount Gould Hospital which is where when JRC died, aged 59, on 16 November 1936 from pulmonory TB. I am told he is buried in a pauper’s grave in Plymouth.

After her divorce Trixi maintained she was a widow. She emigrated to New Zealand to live with Claire and her family (right) on their farm. She died there on 12 September 1974 and was buried in St Saviours Churchyard, Kaitaia, the most northerly town in New Zealand.