ID: CW7_RCA / Carol Wyatt

TitleRalph Mussett also known as Ralph Cutts Avis: a brief biography
Abstract'Intrigued by a reference to Ralph Mussett in John Pullen Appleby's lecture series on the History of Mersea, I was inspired to research the family and answer the question why was Ralph known by two surnames and why did 'Cutts Avis' seem to be both his wife's maiden name and married name.' 

Ralph Mussett (1880 to 1914) lost his life when H.M.S. CRESSY was sunk on 22 September 1914 having been torpedoed by the German Submarine U9.

'Not Just A Name' by Roger Bullen gives background and Service of Ralph and states that he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial as Ralph Cutts Avis and on the West Mersea War Memorial as Ralph Mussett.

The son of Hope Cutts Avis and Alfred "Swan" Mussett, Ralph was born on 15 May 1880; his parents married a month before his birth. 

His wife is mentioned as being "Ann Elizabeth (maiden name unknown)". However I have discovered that all references to their marriage state her name as Ann Elizabeth Cutts Avis.

Further investigation reveals that this was indeed her maiden name, and then also became her married name. Born on 6th July 1878 in West Mersea she was the daughter of George Cutts Avis and Eliza née Green.

Ann's father, George Cutts Avis, and Ralph's mother, Hope Cutts Avis, were brother and sister, their parents were Isaac Cutts Avis and Susannah Ann Digby

So Ann Elizabeth and Ralph were first cousins.

1891 census aged 12 yrs and 10 yrs they lived next door to each other in The Square.

1901 census Ann is 22, a Tailoress still living in The Square with her family,

1901 census Ralph is aboard HMS WILDFIRE in Sheerness as a Signalman.

Ann married Ralph in April 1907. 

In 1911 they are living in The Square in their own cottage and he is a Fisherman.

Ann's parents George and Eliza are living in St Peters Road.

Ralph loses his life onboard HMS CRESSY 22 Sept 1914.

Ann re-marries in the last quarter of 1915 aged 36 years to William Herbert Robins 1880 - 1967.

In 1927 Ann's mother Eliza dies, her probate cites Captains Road but no house name is given.

In 1939 census Ann, her husband William (a gardener) and her father George who is widowed are living at Cressyville, Captains Road.

Ann's father George dies in Dec 1939.

Ann died 7 August 1942, Probate is granted to Joseph Cooper a Bricklayer and his wife Hannah Cooper. Sum: £509 10s.

Carol Wyatt

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Ralph Cutts Avis killed 22 September 1914

AuthorCarol Wyatt
PublishedJune 2023
SourceMersea Museum