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Bank robbery brick wall

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Bank robbery brick wall

Postby Jeanie D » Fri May 10, 2013 2:35 pm

Having just received the June 2013 WDYTYA I thought I might strike lucky in trying to prove a family rumour, but to no avail. My grandfather reputedly drove the getaway car in a failed bank robbery; the team were caught. I know very little else, except the following: he was a Londoner so it's highly likely that it was in London. His family owned a taxi hire company, possibly based in Islington, which is how he got involved. He took his wife's maiden name as his own sometime after the robbery. He was born in 1893 and married in 1916. Whether he served time is not proven through free websites. His name was Walter Henry Cowland, sometimes spelled Cowlard, and his adopted surname was King.

Two generations down the line, with no-one left in the generation above us to confirm, deny or give us further information, leaves us as his grandchildren wondering if this was really true. It's an intriguing skeleton to have in the cupboard. Many of the generation above were too ashamed to speak of it openly and now all that may have known about it have passed away.

Can anyone help?

Jeanette
Jeanie D
 
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Re: Bank robbery brick wall

Postby ritah » Fri May 10, 2013 3:38 pm

Hello Jeanette

This is certainly an interesting story. I think your first place to search would be the Newspapers On Line archive. You could search by both names you have, bank robbery and an approximate date and see what comes up! I don't have a sub to that so can't search for you but it is definitely worth a look. You could check the taxi company through the directories on Ancestry or other sites may have them to see if that stopped trading after a time when you think the robbery may have happened.

Your problem with no-one to ask is something we all moan about when doing our research so you're not alone!

Good luck

Rita
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Re: Bank robbery brick wall

Postby Jeanie D » Fri May 10, 2013 4:23 pm

Hi Rita

Thanks for that. I tried the newspaper online archive which let me search for free, using all three versions of grandad's surname, with no luck. I never knew the taxi company's name nor have any idea when this could have occured, which means it could be in a 50 year timespan. I put a timespan on the newspaper search from just after his birth without success.

Any other ideas from you or anyone else? His surname is so distinctive that I presume that somewhere along the line his surname would readily pop up, but with no luck yet.

Regards

Jeanette
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Re: Bank robbery brick wall

Postby junkers » Fri May 10, 2013 5:37 pm

Have you seen the entry in the London Gazette from 25 August 1944 (http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/issues/ ... 9/page.pdf), if you type his name and London Gazette into a search engine it comes up. It is slightly unclear if he or the child changed their name to King. This may offer a possible date.

There are Calendars of Prisoners at The National Archives (TNA) at Kew but they are closed for around 75 years, but you could apply to see them if you can be a bit more specific with a date. Have you considered contacting the Library in Islington or the London Metropolitan Archives as they may have some resources which would help. In theory you could try the ancestry website which have the London electoral rolls which might pin down his location and you could see if he is in the local directories or missing.
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Re: Bank robbery brick wall

Postby Jeanie D » Fri May 10, 2013 6:40 pm

Well, well, thankyou! No I haven't seen it before. It is much later in his family's life than I imagined, if indeed he was involved in a robbery at all. I assumed that it had been in younger, less responsible days pre children or just after the birth of the first two (1917 and 1920), the one listed on your link as a dependent being his third, my uncle (b.1928). If this does tie in with a robbery, he was 51 at the time of name change, presumably after he served time if this is all proven.

Thanks for the other two tips - I visit London occasionally so will enjoy visiting the LMA next time I'm there to check. And browse it online in the meantime. I'll register for Ancestry one of these days.

Many thanks again. The plot thickens!

Regards

Jeanette
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Joined: Fri May 10, 2013 2:19 pm


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