As mentioned in my previous Brighton Calling post, I’ve trying to find out more about my great aunt Valda Mary Kirby for Simon Godley who contacted me as a result of a post I made about his father (Simon Godley – son of Lt Col Sandy Godley). Valda was Sandy Godley’s first wife and she died in a Japanese POW camp in the last war. Sandy remarried later and Simon is one of two children from this marriage. Like me, he knows little about his father’s previous marriage to Valda.
We have a family friend that was also interned during the war. His mother was one of my great aunt Valda’s closest friends, and his mother-in-law is my sister’s godmother. I’m hoping to catch-up with him soon to delve deeper. In the meantime, I’ve found out that Sandy (Alexander Shepstone Godley) was related to John Arthur Godley, 1st Baron Kilbracken, who are both mentioned on The Peerage site. I’ve also managed to join the dots as follows (with a little help from an extract of a family tree provided by Simon):
There’s a wiki entry for John Arthur Godley, 1st Baron Kilbracken). It mentions that he was the only son of John Robert Godley, a colonial reformer, considered to be the founder of Canterbury, New Zealand. He married Charlotte Griffith Wynne, daughter of, Charles Wynne Griffith Wynne (also mentioned on The Peerage site], grandson of the third Earl of Aylesford.
John Robert Godley was the eldest son of John Godley and Katherine Daly. Their youngest son was William Alexander Godley (1832 – 1880), a captain in the British Army. He married Laura Greaves Bird, daughter of Godfrey Bird (1796 – 1879) and Sarah Jane Edwardes (1814 – 1854). William Alexander Godley and Laura Greaves Bird had 4 children.
The oldest was General Sir Alexander John Godley GCB, KCMG (1867-1957) a First World War general, best known for his role as commander of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force and XXII Corps. He married Louisa Marion Fowler.
The middle son was Godfrey Archibald Godley C.B.E. (1871-1934). He married Ruth Mary Shepstone (her family tree can be found on Thomas Stobie’s Genealogy Pages). Godfrey Archibald Godley and Ruth Mary Shepstone had one child, Simon’s father (Lt.-Col.) Alexander Shepstone Godley aka Sandy. He was married to my great aunt Valda Mary Kirby, and after she died he later married Simon’s mother Margaret Kathleen Connell.
I’ve only scratched the surface in this post of how much I’ve found out when I was trying to join the dots and the various parties involved in sharing information here, including the current (4th) Baron Kilbracken. Still haven’t found out much about Valda and Sandy, but hopefully our family friend can shed some light on them both. Nonetheless, it’s been a fascinating journey finding out about a very interesting and distinguished family, and one that I’m distantly connected to.