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Photo of Gertrude Nellie Cowley

Gertrude Nellie Cowley

Member of the Women’s Police Service
Birthplace London Marylebone Place of Death Surrey England Date of Birth: August 15, 1890


Research kindly shared by Nigel Crompton

Name: Gertrude Nellie Cowley
DoB: 15 August 1890
Place of birth: Marylebone, London
Parents: Lizzie Jane Cowley (married Alfred Kershaw in 1907)
Parental Home: 4 Wells Buildings, off Oxford Street, Marylebone
Siblings: No known siblings
Spouse: Alfred Henry Rye (PC Stoke on Trent Police, see notes)
Date of Wedding: Not applicable
Children : Gladys (1915-) Margaret Jeanne (1927-)
Marital home(s) : 117 Newlands Street, Stoke on Trent
Employment: Domestic servant – employed by Elizabeth Boutwood
1911 Census: 47 Cardiff Road, Luton, Bedfordshire
Date of death: 1966
Location: Surrey

Gretna details
Name: Gertrude Nellie Cowley
Clock No: N/K
Date joining: Not known
Date leaving: Not known
Addresses: Not known
Rank on start: PC
Promotion: None found
Career after: Stoke on Trent Police
1921 Census : Living at 106 Derwent Road, Palmers Green, N13, London. Employed as Domestic Servant by Leopold Steer

Addresses after Gretna
1924 – 63 Botteslow Street, Hanley, Stoke on Trent
1939 – 117 Newlands Street, Stoke on Trent
1960 – The Bungalow, Liverpool Victoria Sports Ground,
Carbery Avenue, Acton

Additional information
Gertrude was born in 1890, but does not appear on a census until 1901 when she was apparently living with a family Barnet, North London. It has yet to be discovered what her mother, Lizzie, did but it is possible she was a school teacher. Gertrude was born out of wed lock, her mother only marrying in 1907 but again we don’t know if this was Gertrude father from August 1890. By 1911 Gertrude was living and working (domestic service) in Luton, Bedfordshire which is possibly where her mother’s family lived. The only evidence we have of Gertrude’s time at Gretna is her signature on the petition to Churchill, Minister of Munitions and by 1921 she was back in domestic service but joined the Stoke on Trent police along with another ex Gretna colleague Lily Broadhead during the Autumn of 1921. During her service in Stoke on Trent, she and Lily saw many incidents and dealt with many accused persons.She also met and married Alfred Henry Rye, a fellow officer in Stoke but only after she had left the force in 1924. They lived in Stoke, having a family until Alfred’s death in 1954. In the late 1950’s, Gertrude moved to Acton, West London to live with her daughter Margaret and son in law, John Roberts, until her death in 1966.

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Related by County - London

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