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Stepney - 1939 Register

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 7:45 pm
by MoVidger
I think my query may be a dead-end, but thought I would ask anyway. I have found a chap in the 1939 Register who could be someone on my family tree. His name and birthdate matches the fellow I've been trying to research for years:

William Kelly, born 16 February 1887 in Glasgow. He was a soldier with the Scottish Rifles from 1904 to c1923. I know details regarding his parents and 1911 marriage, but lose track of him after 1923 when he was discharged from the army. (I also have his service records).

My mum always had a hunch that our William Kelly ended up in the East End during the 1930s, and may have died during one of the German air raids. Remembering this hunch, I located a William Kelly (b 16/2/1887) living at 4 Blossom Street in Stepney with wife Margaret in 1939.

His occupation is listed as Police Constable (Met Police G Div). I contacted the Met Heritage Centre and they kindly confirmed a 'WW2 Special Constable William Kelly' who served with G-Division from 20 April 1939 to 30 May 1940. As WK would have been 52 in 1939, he would have been too old for the Met as a regular officer. Sadly, the MHC had no other details for their William Kelly.

If memory serves correct, William Kelly and wife (Peggy) turn up on the 1937 or 1938 Electoral Roll for Stepney, also living at Blossom Street. But I lose track of them after the 1939 Register.

Is there a way to confirm if WK was a fatality of the Blitz? I've searched in general for his name in the newspaper records on FMP, but no luck. It's difficult to confirm anything when the person chops and changes his occupation through the years. All I have to gone on is his birthdate.

Many thanks, in advance, for any pointers in the right direction...

Stepney - 1939 Register

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 9:10 pm
by brunes08
I've had a look on freebmd to see if an appropriate death register entry turned up for William in the Stepney area. There are a lot of William Kelly deaths during the war years but none match your William if he died in the Stepney area. The entries were either far too young or too old for him, unfortunately. Not sure what to suggest now other than that he moved away from the area and died elsewhere. Have you tried tracking them on Electoral Registers after 1940 to see if William is still on it or not? That might help.

Re: Stepney - 1939 Register

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:37 pm
by MoVidger
I couldn't find a suitable death entry on FreeBMD either. Nor can I find a much later death using his DoB on Ancestry, should he have lived to a ripe old age.

His wife Margaret/Peggy is unknown to me. I've no clue when or where they married. She must be his second wife, unless they were common-law.

I've tried looking for post-1939 Stepney Electoral Rolls, but can't seem to find them, unless they are right under my nose somewhere! With regards my mum's hunch about WK dying in the Blitz, it is a strong possibility, considering our William Kelly "disappeared" from my family's life sometime between 1940 to 1942.

So I'm wondering if there is an online list of Blitz fatalities that I could check, or other avenues to pursue regarding further Stepney searches.

Re: Stepney - 1939 Register

PostPosted: Thu Sep 08, 2016 11:53 pm
by AdrianB38
The CWGC site on is supposed to record the civilian war dead of WW2. I have no idea how complete the data is because collecting the data must have been tricky. It's supposed to be war dead, so far as I know, i.e. those dying as a result of enemy action, not those who died from other causes during the war. There must have been lots where it was not certain whether they were in scope or not. Or put another way, if your chap isn't in, he might still have died during WW2.

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Re: Stepney - 1939 Register

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 2:15 am
by MoVidger
Thanks for the CWGC website tip. I shall have a look tomorrow.

Also, I meant to say that I couldn't locate any 1940s Electoral Rolls for Stepney on Ancestry, unless I've missed them completely. (When I re-read my message, it sounded like I hadn't located William Kelly and wife in any post-1939 records. Apologies for any confusion).

Re: Stepney - 1939 Register

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 5:49 am
by Mick Loney
Regards looking for a death for WK. The East End was covered by quite a few Registration Districts, all within a few miles of each other, so just checking you looked at RD's other than Stepney. E.g. Whitechapel, Poplar, Hackney, Shoreditch etc, etc

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Re: Stepney - 1939 Register

PostPosted: Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:44 pm
by MoVidger
Thanks for the suggestion regarding registration districts, but I have checked for WK's death throughout all of London. There are a couple of 1940 deaths in Stepney, but the ages are out by about 10 years for each man. One of them could still be my WK, if someone (his wife?) thought he was a lot younger than he was. After all, his wife was 18 years younger than WK in the 1939 Register. Which is another reason I think they may have been common-law, plus the fact he never divorced his first wife.

His wife's DoB was 13 April 1905, according to the 1939 Register. I've tried searching for later deaths for any Margaret with that DoB, and there is one who died in Essex, if memory serves. But her surname wasn't Kelly, so a death cert wouldn't confirm anything if she remarried.

I'm still trying to locate the post-1939 Electoral Rolls for Stepney. So if anyone can point me in the right direction, I'd be very grateful. Also, I'm wondering why WK stopped being a Special Constable (G Division) after only one year's service. Perhaps it suggests he moved elsewhere...