James and Daisy Ross-Wilks

They look so peaceful after their dreadful ordeal. We don’t know their story from the 1953 floods but we have managed to find out a little about the couple and also that there must be another untold tale.

James was born James Andrew Benjamin Ross in Bethnal Green in 1870 to James Andrew Ross, an Optician.  Daisy was born Eleanor Sarah Daisy Puller in 1880 to Thomas Puller a Provisions Merchant. They were married in Bethnal Green in 1899 when Daisy was just 19. Their first born Daisy Grace died in her first year. Lily was born soon after. James worked as an engine driver and the family lived in the Hackney area of East London.

The couple came to Canvey around 1923 according to a newspaper report but they are not in the 1929 Electoral Roll.

The first paper trail we have found of the couple on Canvey is in the 1939 register where they are living at The Brownies, Laars Avenue. By this time they are known as James and Daisy Ross-Wilks. Why the name change we do not know there must be a story there. James is noted as being a gardener.

By 1953 the couple had been living on the island for 30 years. This photo shows them at the Benfleet Reception Centre on the 2nd Feb resting after their ordeal. James was then 83 and Daisy was 73.

James died in 1956 recorded as James AB Ross-Wilkes. Daisy apparently died in 1978 but this cannot be confirmed.

Comments about this page

  • In my copy of the Canvey 1939 register, the following people were living at the Brownies, Laars Avenue:
    WILKS James A.R.
    WILKS Daisy E.

    By Martin Lepley (05/05/2021)
  • Yes Martin as noted in the article.

    By Janet Penn (05/05/2021)
  • If I am not mistaken, your original article says “By this time they are known as James and Daisy Ross-Wilks.”

    I thought you meant they changed their surname to Ross-Wilks, which is in contradiction to my eyes.

    By Martin Lepley (05/05/2021)
  • I am not going to argue with you Martin. The name in the register is James A (Andrew) R (Ross) Wilks.

    By Janet Penn (05/05/2021)

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