Finding my father Edward Keith Hawke THOMAS born 1924 in Reading, England.

I am trying to trace my father EDWARD KEITH HAWKE THOMAS born in 1924 (Reading, Berkshire) who was in the UK Royal Navy during WW2. He absented himself from HMS Golden Hind in Sydney Australia around September 1946.  He married my mother in July 1943 in Reading, Berkshire.  I was born in 1944.  I am not aware that he returned to this country but his mother and maybe other family may have still been here although I haven't been able to trace her. He may well be deceased now but could have married over in Australia and had more children.  My mother was divorced from him in December 1951.

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Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 6, 2017 at 18:37

Sylvia,  1963 was parts of WA via the Reverse marriage Index

Tasmania you can search up to 1930 for marriages & deaths on the Tasmanian Federation  CD (Digger)


Comment by Sylvia on September 6, 2017 at 22:13

Ahhhhh the reverse WA marriage index! .. I have had the link for years, but tend to forget about this wonderful private initiative. Too many available links, but too little brain matter to recall them :-)

Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 6, 2017 at 22:23

Pat,  This is all I have on Doreen Alexis FOSTER at the moment - worked out via info from Electoral Rolls/addresses at the time

8th January 1947 engagement notice - Trove  - this was for her 1st marriage

Notice was in the Cootamundra Herald -

The engagement is announced of Doreen, , daughter  of Mr. and Mrs H Foster, Crowley Street. Temora to Vincent, son of Mr and Mrs J Thompson Camperdown

Her parents were Henry (Harrie) Schofield FOSTER who married Alice Pearl McGARR in 1921 in Temora NSW

She was born c. 1927 going by her age on her death in 1995 in Queensland under THOMAS

I should not have assumed things & should know better regarding the marriage in 1947 - at least this lets your Father off the hook - it all seemed to fit so I went with it - apologies


Comment by Patrick Edward May on September 7, 2017 at 6:09


What great news.  My Dad may have been poor but not a bigamist!  He obviously didn't want to be conscripted as he 'ran' several times and was imprisoned within the Navy for it.  Just newly married with a baby so maybe that's why he was went to Australia. My sister (not his) thinks there was mention of a letter from a woman in Australia.  There is no information about him on the divorce papers which I have only had since my mother's death.  We both were surprised that he managed to get married within a year of jumping ship but with the likeness to the surname it was quite believable. If Doreen's children did not abandon her when she married my father then there may have been some wedding photographs.  Something must have prompted them to move to Brisbane so who knows.  We really can't thank you enough for all of this.  My wife only stumbled across this forum probably by mistake and had she not done so and had you not taken up my search, I would have been left never knowing.  We did think what rather unusual names for him to conjure up calling himself! He may never have met his father either.  When we first started searching in the 70's the information era had not really begun. What a difference in one generation. Thank you and also to Sylvia who has also contributed.  

Kind regards


Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 7, 2017 at 10:39

Pat,  I am really hoping that a member of Doreens family finds this message & may be able to fill in any gaps

We are assuming that the children noted on Vincents obituary are from this 1947 marriage to Doreen Alexis FOSTER

If it hadn't been for that death certificate you obtained we would have been able to get this far

Sometimes people move up to Brisbane because of the warmer climate


Comment by Patrick Edward May on September 9, 2017 at 7:11


Thinking that any climate in Australia is warmer than England and where we live in Devon it rains a lot!  

My only hope is for some contact maybe with a grandchild of Doreen.  We don't participate in the social media of today but maybe we should look into it.  I see the need for all the privacy until so many years have passed but it does make it much more difficult for someone like me.  At least I feel satisfied that there are probably no other children belonging to my father. He may have had half siblings in this country if his mother ever married but I have not been able to trace her or her parents.  So many 'if only' thoughts.

I shall always be grateful to you for all your help and if I ever come across anyone I shall be in touch.  How kind of you to help a complete stranger.  

Kindest regards

Pat & Sue

Comment by Elizabeth Allen on September 9, 2017 at 14:39

Pat & Sue,  You are very welcome & happy to be of assistance

You never know what may turn up in the future as the world is a much smaller place thanks to the internet


Comment by Sylvia on September 9, 2017 at 17:16


Does Edward's birth and/or marriage certificate mention his mum Caroline's age (and her place of birth)?

And was anything else mentioned about her when he gets married in 1943 e.g. was she still alive, her address, her occupation (still a nurse?) etc?


Comment by Patrick Edward May on September 9, 2017 at 21:29


Thanks for taking an interest in our search. Pat's father's birth cert. reads:

Reg Dist: Reading 1925 Sub district St Mary

29th December 1924 at 350 Oxford Rd., Reading  -Name: EDWARD KEITH HAWKE

Father-blank  Mother Catherine Thomas, Hospital Nurse, 34 The Broadway, Cricklewood, London NW

Occupation father- blank. Informant Catherine Thomas, Mother, 34 The Broadway etc. When: 22nd Jan 1925

So she was still living in London a month after he was born or at least giving that as her address.  Looks like a home birth in Reading but don't know why or with whom. When he married Pat's mother 19 years later he was living at "La Casa" Burghfield Hatch, Burghfield.  He was an Able Seaman then with a profession of (Haulage contractor)  all blanks for father and no mention of his mother at all.  In my searches I looked at the 1911 census and found a family that it could be, but it is all so vague and nothing concrete to go on. Who knows she may have been killed in the blitz. With a name like Thomas her family may have come from Wales!  As Elizabeth wrote the HAWKE name may well have something to do with his father but there are so many scenarios. We don't even know if she was a State Registered Nurse.  

Details on marriage cert are: 

At The Catholic Church of English Martys, Tilehurst Road , Reading.  

15 July 1943 Edward Keith Thomas 19 years Ordinary Seamnan RN (Haulage Contractor) and address "La Casa"  Burghfield Hatch, Burghfield Father name and prof - blank.

Don't know if any of this is any use. Pat's mother was not forthcoming and of course hindsight is a wonderful thing!




Comment by Sylvia on September 9, 2017 at 21:50


1 - I assume 34 is the road number and not Caroline's age?

2 - Do you happen to know whether Edward was brought up by his mother, or was he adopted and/or put into care? (trying to narrow down a possible death year)

3 - And, which 1911 family were you looking at ... I might be able to confirm whether they are a definite "no" or else - at least - a possibility.

4 - Have you ever tried getting hold of London nurse lists. I don't think that they are online, but I seem to recall seeing something about this topic a while ago. I think it might have been on the National Archives site or a more specific site .. I'll go through my many links later. 



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