John Clarke💕Joan Wilks

Falmouth marriage January 1939

While we were away in Cornwall in January we came across a fantastic house clearance place in Camborne with 3 buildings full of everything secondhand including Old Photos and a tea shop! At the desk, we met and had a chat with Mark who was really kind to explain a little more about the photos he had. Do visit Domestic Resales in Camborne if you are passing that way: Domestic Resales

It’s good to find a couple of old photos when we go away but I found a few more than a couple that day to add to my collection here and some had names.

That evening I wrote down a few details and was surprised when I saw that this small group of photos belonged to a couple who had married in Falmouth not far from where we were staying, so the following day, a Sunday, we went to visit the Church where they married. The morning service had just finished so I was able to take a few photos of the inside of the Church as well as the doorway in the super Wedding photo below.

I have about 1,000 Wedding photos in my collection and it’s not too often that I can get the chance to actually visit where the weddings took place, so this was really nice to do.

It’s a wonderful Church and so obviously well loved and cared for it had a lovely friendly atmosphere and I was so glad we visited, Falmouth Parish Church, King Charles the Martyr.

Great photos of Joan above and her son Stephen John Clarke born in 1947. What is the significance of the brooch? Does anyone know? The photo has a note on the back especially asking for her brooch to stand out.

Looking at the couple’s family history their first record together after their marriage in the first quarter of 1939 was the 1939 register. They lived at 33 Tresauls Road, Truro, Cornwall. As you can see below John (Frederick John Clarke) was a Butcher Shopkeeper and Joan (Joan L Wilks) was a lady’s hairdresser.

This is the earliest photo below on google of the house they lived in back then, dated 2009.

A good sized semi detached on the A390

Here’s a quick screenshot of the family tree of Stephen John Clarke. Stephen’s father Frederick John Clarke, known as John was a Butcher as was his father Frederick William Clarke who had trained at a Butcher’s in Pilton East, Barnstaple, Devon.

On the Wilks side, Joan’s father Frederick Charles Wilks was an Engine Driver working at the Docks, and his father Thomas was a Labourer, one time in his younger days working on the Railway, he was born in Gloucestershire. On Joan’s mother, Annie’s side of the family her father William John was a Quarryman, working with Stone.

The next photo below is of one of Joan’s siblings Aubrey Wilks 1918-1988. She had 4 sisters and 6 brothers that I have found so far.

Her father Frederick Charles Wilks, I was interested to see had also been in the Territorial army. I found records of his Military career with the Duke of Cornwall’s Royal Garrison Artillery for one year on 3 June 1908 and again for a year in 1910. Then also on 22 July 1921 to December 1922 for 133 days after WW1 was over. My Dad was in the Duke of Cornwall Light Infantry and it’s nice when I come across others who served with them through my research.

 Below next we have ‘Auntie Millie’, who was born Amelia Friend (1 Mar 1883-Apr 1955) sister to Caroline Friend (9 Aug 1881-1972)who married Frederick William Clarke in 1912. The two sisters had a brother James who emigrated to Canada after WW1 and married and had a family there, James died in Canada in 1967.

Elizabeth Jane (Rendle)their Mother died in Torrington in 1942, she had been born on 7 Oct 1856 in St Helliers, Jersey, Channel Islands. Their father John Newcombe Friend born in Dolton in Devon was a Carpenter.

In the 1911 census, Aunt Millie was living at 6 Crowstone Road, North Westcliff On Sea, Westcliff, Southend On Sea. She was a Servant. By the time of the 1939 register she was living back with her Mother Elizabeth who was ‘Incapacitated’. They lived in Torrington, Devon. Aunt Millie never married and died in Barnstaple, Devon in 1955.

I was really pleased to see a photo of Caroline below, but as you can see what was written on the back was a little confusing as it could have been interpreted as ‘a friend’ of ‘mother’ ‘John’s Grandmother’ It wasn’t until I compiled the family tree I realised ‘Friend’ was the family’s Surname!

Unfortunately, I have no idea who the lovely gent with his dog is….

What a super little collection. I can’t confirm any details of what happened to the couple’s son Stephen as there are several possible marriages and even deaths I have come across, but cannot confirm anything without certificates. But if you are descended from the family or know more please do contact me. Here’s a link to the family tree I have compiled on Ancestry for them:

Till next time then……


    • Oh thanks Simon! That’s great & very likely as I wondered if her husband John served in WW2 but I couldn’t find anything. Still a Butcher in 1939 reg but he maybe joined up after that. Great to know xxxx


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