University of Oxford
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7178: James Alfred Gawthorpe was my grandfather but who was Charles William Dovener?

online resource
posted on 2024-01-18, 10:42 authored by Lest We Forget Project Team

James Alfred Gawthorpe was my grandfather. He had a son called James Thomas who was my father. I have photographs of both of them. I believe my grandfather served in the First World War but I don't know where or in what capacity.

I have had passed down to me some medals. Some relate to the Second World War and some to the First World War. I also have an official document issued by the Board Trade which is authority for Charles William Dovener to wear the following medals and ribbons: British War Medal ribbon, Mercantile Marine Medal ribbon, British War Medal (and clasp) and Mercantile Marine Medal. One of the medals I have is the Mercantile Marine Medal so that is presumably his.

But who was Charles William Dovener? I had no idea. I have a photograph of him which can be identified as being him as it has his seaman's number on it; the same number is on the authorisation document for his medals. Bringing the objects to the digital collection day prompted an investigation to see if Charles William Dovener could be identified. It turns out he is one of my great grandfathers, being the father in law of James Alfred Gawthorpe. A report of the investigation has been added to the objects along with two partial family trees.


Name of contributor(s)


Subject of the story/individual the object(s) relate to

James Alfred Gawthorpe. Charles William Dovener. Mercantile Marine.

Date(s) the event(s) in the story took place


Location(s) where the event(s) in the story took place



1. Medals. 2 images. 2. Photograph of James Alfred Gawthorpe. 1 image. 3. Photograph of James T Gawthorpe. 1 image. 4. Authority to wear War Medals for the Mercantile Marine issued by the Board of Trade to Charles William Dovener. 1 image. 5. Letter about award of Defence Medal to Mr. J. A. Gawthorpe. 1 image. 6. Photograph of Charles William Dovener. 1 image. 7. Report into identifying Charles William Dovener. 4 page Pdf document. 8. Partial family trees constructed as part of the investigation into identifying Charles William Dovener. 2 single page pdf documents.

Community Collection Day

Gordon Highlanders Museum, Aberdeen (27/02/19)

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