The People Behind a Mystery 6c Wilding Cover

An article appeared in the March-April 2020 edition of “Corgi Times”.1 The author, Ingo G. Nessel, wrote about “A 6¢ Wilding Cover and a Mystery", and an image of a registered cover was presented, which had been franked with 4 Canadian 6¢ Wilding issue definitive stamps.. The cover entered the Canadian postal system through the Post Office in Weston, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, on Monday 9 September 1957. It was addressed to Cyril Redford and J. D. Brown at the same delivery address as the return address that was written in  the upper left corner of the cover. The enclosure shown was a short affidavit concerning a conceptual idea, and was addressed “To Whom It May Concern”. It was signed by both Cyril Redford and Joseph D Brown. Redford's signature was witnessed on the affidavit by one Gordon J Stanley. Brown's signature was witnessed by someone whose full name is not readily deciperable - the surname, however, looks like Swayze.

The author stated that “Attempts to Google the two gentlemen did not reveal much, except that one of them, Mr. Cyril Redford seems to have been more active in the field of inventions. If anyone has more information on either Redford or Joseph D. Brown, or can answer any of the questions, your enlightenment will be appreciated.”

My investigations shed a bit of light on both Redford and Brown, and some general facts were forwarded to the author through the editor of the Newsletter by email on Sunday, 9 May 2020. At that time, I stated that “I may not be able to answer the fundamental questions about the cover, or it’s contents, but I may be able to shed a bit more light on the two men concerned.” Below is the text of my email (very slightly edited since that time).

 1      Corgi Times; Newsletter of The Elizabethan II Study Group, British North America Philatelic Society, Volume 28, No. 5, Whole No. 167, Pages 64 & 65; published 9 April 2020. 

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Cyril REDFORD appears to have been born in Penge, Surrey, England, in the last months of 1908. His birth appears to have been registered in the Croydon Registration District. But his name as registered was Cyril Fritz James BROAD. No mother’s maiden surname apparently figures in his birth registration, and he does not appear to have been baptised in a Church of England setting, at all.

By the 2nd of April, 1911 [the 2nd being Census Day in England], he was ensconced in the home of William Frederick and Annie Eliza REDFORD, in Gillingham, County of Kent, where he was described as ‘boarder’. William Frederick REDFORD was said at that time to be employed as a ‘boiler maker’s labourer’ in the Government Dock Yard in the Medway. Annie Eliza’s maiden surname was HEARN. William & Annie had 2 daughters of their own – Alice and Elsie. Alice was out in domestic service in 1911, in Gillingham, and married Percy WILKINS in 1915; and Elsie was at home in 1911, and married Robert LAKE in 1918.

William Frederick REDFORD appears to have died in the Medway District in the early months of 1916. No evidence of a Will in his name has been found in the Principal Probate Registry. Robert LAKE emigrated to Canada in mid-August of 1923, initially to work on the harvest out of Winnipeg. His wife Elsie followed in July, 1924, at which time Robert was living on Rusholme Rd in Toronto. Annie Eliza REDFORD also emigrated to Toronto in July, 1924, with young Cyril. At this time, though, his name was shown to be Cyril REDFORD rather than BROAD, and his birth place was shown to have been Gillingham, Kent County.

Percy and Alice Louisa WILKINS and a young daughter emigrated from England to Toronto in May of 1925. At that time Percy & Alice were bound for her mother’s home, on Annette St., in Toronto. Annie Eliza REDFORD died in Toronto in 1942.

Cyril REDFORD married in Toronto on 5 July 1933, to a girl named Kathleen Beryl COE. At the time Cyril identified his parents as Frederick REDFORD and Annie HEARN. Cyril declared that he was employed as a ‘Teller’, and that he had been born in Penge, Kent [sic]. When enumerated as a Voter for the national election in 1940, Cyril was shown to be employed as a ‘salesman’, and he and Kathleen were living at 29 Rosemont Blvd in Etobicoke Township, west of Toronto.

Commencement brochures published for the Toronto Bible College for 1950 and 1952, show that Cyril REDFORD was the Music Director there in those years.

When enumerated as a Voter for the national election of 1957, Cyril was said to be a ‘vice president’. He, his wife Kathleen, and their son Donald B (a student) were living at 233 Main St. in Weston.

The entry for Cyril REDFORD as found in the 1957 Toronto City Directory shows that he was the vice president of Beacon Publishers Ltd, and that he and his son Donald were residing at 233 Main Street in Weston.

A note published in the “Kodak Magazine (Canada)” [Vol 2, No 1, January 1957, Page 2] reveals that Cyril REDFORD was the director of The Kodak Mixed Choir. Further in the text is the comment that “although Cyril is no longer connected with our organization, his ready acquiescence to the proposal that he again use his talents in the arranging and conducting of these musical programs was greatly appreciated.” which suggests that he may have worked for Kodak for some time prior to 1957.

Indeed, another edition of this magazine, published in March, 1947, shows that Cyril REDFORD did indeed have some kind of connection with the firm, even if it’s only publicized as affiliation with the choir.

A notice published in the Stouffville Tribune on 13 April 1961 [Page 13] suggests that Cyril REDFORD was to present music at the Stouffville & District Christian Men’s Fellowship ‘Lady’s Night’ on the 17th, at which time he would be directing the combined choirs of the Ambassador Male Choir of Toronto, and the Men’s Fellowship Choir.

In a 1963 List of Electors, Cyril was said to be employed at his ‘own business’, and he and Kathleen were living at 11 Braecrest Ave in Weston.

In 1965, at the same address, Cyril was again said to be a ‘vice president’.

By 1968, though, he was ‘unemployed’, but still living at the same address.

A September 1972 List of Electors found Cyril as an ‘office worker’, and living at the same address.

In 1974, he was again a ‘vice president’ and living with Kathleen at 801 Burnhamthorpe Road, probably with a sister of Kathleen’s also in residence.

A note found at canadajigsawpuzzle.tripod.com suggests that Cyril operated as “Cyril Redford & Associates”, and that a pision of this company produced children’s die cut jigsaw puzzles between 1976 and 1999.

Cyril F REDFORD is memorialized on a stone in the Riverside Cemetery, Etobicoke. His life dates were incised as 22 October 1908 to 10 August 1990. Kathleen apparently died in 1980.

The obituary published in the Toronto Star after Cyril died reads in part….”Fondly remembered for his work as Director of Ambassador Male Singers, Director of Ambassador Lady Singers, Presbyterian Men’s Chorus, Covenanters Singers and was a Choir Conductor for some years at Cooks Presbyterian Church with his wife as organist and at Dovercourt Baptist Church and at West Toronto Baptist Church”.

Tracking down Joseph B BROWN has been a bit more difficult.

There were 3 men so named, as their listings appear in the 1957 Might’s edition of the Toronto City Directory.

One – Joseph D. BROWN was a house decorator who lived on St Germain Ave.

Another, was Joseph D. BROWN, a welder, who roomed at 64 Boyd Ave in Weston.

The third was Joseph D. BROWN, a photographer, who lived with his wife at 127 Londsborough Ave in the City of Toronto, York South.

It’s been quite difficult to track these men – the sheer numbers of men named Joseph or Joseph D Brown cause all sorts of difficulties, when trying to track them through space and time.

I know that Joseph Daniel BROWN, the house decorator listed above, was married, that he lived later near Mount Pleasant Road in the central east end of Toronto, and that his daughters Doris and Phyllis married there in 1932. Overall, my ‘hunch’ is that this is not the Joseph D BROWN who signed the affidavit with Cyril REDFORD in 1957.

My ‘hunch’ is that it was the photographer who signed the Affidavit. A great deal of additional research would be required to begin to consider this ‘hunch’ conclusively, though.

As for the witnesses….

There are no listings in Toronto’s 1956 City Directory for a ‘Gordon J STANLEY’. The 1957 edition shows only one entry for this name – a clerk at Canadian Westinghouse Supply, rooming at Kencliffe Cres in Scarborough (east Toronto).

The other one - it looks like his last name was SWAYZE, but what were his first initials? There are 2 listings for SWAZEY and several for SWAYZE, in the 1957 edition. But none of the fornames and places of residence suggest anything in common with Cyril REDFORD, as things are currently understood.

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I hope this helps a bit, although the fundamental questions appear to remain unanswered.

You can see that I’ve not provided any of the standard archival documentation references with this note. I can, of course, provide detailed citations if they’re desired.

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.