M2/6.E Percy Augustus May, always called Jack, was born on 1st March 1908 at Rance in Belgium. He was only seventeen months old when his mother died and, like his sisters, he was left in the care of foster parents. He was with them when they stayed with Mrs Flyn, then in another home and after that with Mr. And Mrs. Wheeler. He, like his siblings, attended the London County Council School. When his father and step-mother fetched Girlie and Doris in June, 1920 and took them out to Livingstone, Jack was put in the care of a London policeman called Carpenter and his wife, to enable him to continue his schooling in England.
Doris wrote: "Jack was left with a London Policeman and his wife, name of Carpenter, illiterates. I still have a [very badly written] letter from him complaining that Jack had torn his trousers! No, Vic did not stay on with Mrs Wheeler [nor was he with the Carpenters] but I do not know where he lived??[and] I do not know where Vic worked in the U.K."
No information has come to hand concerning when or how Jack came out to Africa, probably once he finished his education, but he was in Livingstone by 1931, when he married, aged twenty-three. He joined the railways, but again it is unclear if this was in England prior to his departure or only after his arrival in Northern Rhodesia.
Percy Augustus May (Jack) was married in Livingstone on 21stApril 1931 to Elizabeth Maynard McDonough, who was born about 1913. Jack was posted to various towns in Northern Rhodesia but, sadly, he caught black water fever and died at the very young age of twenty-six, on 11th March 1934 at Zimba, Northern Rhodesia. They had two children:
M2/7.Ea Michael Percy Marcel May, born 7.4.1932 in Sakania, Northern Rhodesia, who married in Bulawayo Margaret Blackwood. Michael died on 21.12.1996, Alberton, Transvaal.
Michael's father, Jack, died young and his mother Maynard found it hard to settle, going to South Africa and then back north to Bulawayo where Desia Wood, as a child, met them and believes they had very little money. She is not sure if the man Maynard married, a Mr Marais, died or they were divorced but their son, Hugh, attended the same ballroom class as she did and Michael stayed with her parents, Victor and Biddy, for a few months 'as he had no other accommodation' At that time Maynard was with a Mr Thornton. All a pretty chequered time before she and her children migrated to Australia.
Extract from an email received 20th Jun 2008 from Bridget Carrancho:
My Dad, Michael Percy Marcel May, was married to Margaret Blackwood and they had one daughter (Patricia), although my Dad always said he had two daughters with Margaret, the other called Julia. We are not sure why this is. They divorced when Patricia was still very small and Margaret and Patricia went back to England. My Dad then married my Mom, Phyllis Dolly Nell (born on 31 March 1940 in Cape Town) in South Africa in October 1967 and had three daughters. Belinda was born on 7 March 1970 in Johannesburg, I was born on 11 August 1971 in Durban and my younger sister Bernadette was born on 26 July 1978, also in Durban.
I had a daughter (Jesse Bridget May) on 25 May 1989 in Germiston. Her father’s name was Willem Johannes “Sakkie” Strydom (born 16 September 1967), however we never married and I was a single mother. My Dad unfortunately died on 21 December 1996 at home in Alberton (close to Johannesburg). With the continued violence in South Africa, we all immigrated to Calgary Canada. My sister Belinda was the first to come over in June 1998, then my other sister Bernadette in October 1999. My Mom Phyllis joined them in September 2001. My fiancé at the time, my daughter Jesse and I were the last to come over in April 2003.
We have been here ever since and are still wondering if we will ever get used to this cold weather J. My husband Enoque Da Silva Carrancho (born 24 October 1974 in Johannesburg) and I married here in Calgary on 1 August 2003. He has been a wonderful father to my daughter Jesse. She had a son on 10 June 2006. His name is Alexander Anthony Dylan May-Frayn. Jesse is not married to Alexander’s father (Anthony Frayn) and kept her last name for her son, as he was the only boy in our family that could continue the May name.
My sister Bernadette married Joel Bosse on 16 September 1999 here in Calgary and are expecting their first child next month. My sister Belinda is also pregnant and is due in December of this year. She is engaged to Joe Thorwaldson (ancestry from Iceland).
Extract from an email received 21st Jun 2008 from Patricia Corlett (nee May):
My Mum, Margaret May, nee Blackwood (whose ancestors are from Scotland), was born on 05 October 1930. She went out to Rhodesia in 1952 with other workers from the Telephone Exchange where she worked to help set up a new one in Bulawayo. There were 14 of them I believe. She met Michael out there and married him in 1956, I think. I have no marriage certificate... Unfortunately, so I believe when I was 2 my father left us and went off with another woman. My Mum waited in Salisbury with Michael's parents (of whom I have some photos) until the divorce was granted and then she left South Africa and came back to Liverpool, England which is where she was born. I was born on 28 November 1956. I never knew my father as he and my mother never kept in touch. Whenever I asked my mother about Michael it was always a sore point so I didn't ask often. I wish I had traced him earlier, as he had already died when I did, but I waited until my mother had died on 25 December 1998 and found that my father had died two years earlier. I married on 25 March 1978 to Robert James Corlett (whose family come from the Isle of Man) and had two boys, Andrew James born on 09 December 1992 and Michael (named after my father) David on 12 November 1995. Sadly, Michael died on 7 August 2003 of cancer. He was 7.
As to the other child, Julia, I have no knowledge, but it is possible that between leaving my mother and marrying Phyllis, Michael had another relationship.
Extract from an email received 14th December 2014 from Sheila van Rooyen:
Michael Percy Marcel May and I married on 31/03/1965. Daughter Julia was born 16/02/1966. Michael and I were divorced in 1967. Julia is living in South Africa and is married to Ian Bennett.
M2/7.Ea Theresa Shirley May, born 1.9.1934 in Broken Hill, Northern Rhodesia, who married in Bulawayo John Rizzato and they had a son, Keith.
To quote Doris' letter of 14.11.1988: 'Jack was inclined to drink a bit but when he became engaged to her [Maynard] he gave up drink and bought a houseful of furniture, including a piano, from a firm in Johannesburg. When he died she married a man named Marais in South Africa [probably in East London, according to Victor] and had a son named Hugh. By the way, Jack had two children, Michael and Theresa, the latter was born after his death. Marais died, then Maynard married a Mr. Thornton and it was with this man she went to Australia and I have not heard of her since. Poor Jack had a very hard life both before and after marriage. I have a small photo of him.'
An extract from the Rhodesian Railways Bulletin No: 86 reads:
The Administration regrets to record the deaths of the following employees: -
Mr. P. A. May: CLERK, TRANSPORTATION DEPARTMENT, BROKEN HILL.
The death of Mr. May occurred at Zimba on 11th March 1934, at which point he had been relieving the Station Master. Mr. May, who was only 27[?] years of age at the time of his death, joined the Railway service as a Junior Clerk at Kafue, in May, 1924. During his service he was stationed at Kafue, Livingstone, Choma, Ndola, Broken Hill, Bwana, M'Kubwa and Sakania. He was re-transferred to Broken Hill in October, 1933, where he was stationed prior to temporarily relieving the Station Master at Zimba. ...The sympathy of the Administration is extended to all bereaved relatives and friends.