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Joseph Newton Bird

Click on pdf link below to see our family connection to Sir Isaac Newton


Joseph Newton Bird and Harley

Joseph Newton Bird and Harley
ML's lay doggo in secret chaung, got Jap barges

To stop water-borne supplies reaching the Japs, hard pressed by the Army at Myebon, two South African naval officers steamed up an unchartered chaung in MLs and "lay doggo" under the mangroves. Their vigil was rewarded.
Four heavily gunned, ladened Jap landing barges crept unsuspectingly well on the beam of the waiting MLs . Then the guns of the naval craft blew the Jap boats out of the water.
The two officers, Lieut-Comdr A G Milne, SANF, senior officer of the ML flotilla and Lieut R L J Williams, SANF, who have been awarded the DSC, are among five South African officers decorated or mentioned in despatches. They command the first Royal Navy motor launches to destroy Jap motor gun--boats, they "killed" eight in one engagement.
Menace of Snipers
Later two more MLs came up the chaung under the command of Lieut H H Brown, SANF and Lieut H J Bird, SANF who have been mentioned in despatches. The Japs sent down support craft to investigate the non-arrival of their comrades.
This time the Japs opened fire first at the spot where they suspected the MLs to be- to draw their fire. They were unsuccessful and a ding dong battle began but these four craft were sunk as well.
The ever present menace of snipers in these changes can be gauged by this incident described by Lieut Milne
"Out of the blue"
We were once patrolling one of the changes when all seemed quiet and serene. A bullet out of the blue suddenly smashed through the forward window of the wheelhouse, missing my quartermaster by a "hair's breadth".
I increased speed and brought all our guns to bear on the spot whence I thought the bullet had come. Other bullets followed puncturing the hull and exhaust pipe and slashing through cushions in the wardroom, the first lieutenant's suitcase conning his best uniform-suit and two of the crew's overcoats.
The snipers proved to be two machine gun nests. We let them have it with everything we had and knocked them out.

chaung = tidal river in Burma
ML = 120 foot in length motor gunboat somewhat larger than the MTB's used in the channel during WWII by the Royal Navy.

From a newspaper cutting provided by Patrick Bird


Joseph Newton Bird on the right

Joseph Newton Bird on the right

Namesake Joseph Newton Bloxholme

Namesake Joseph Newton  Bloxholme

Joseph Newton ( a different signature ) Sleaford

Joseph Newton ( a different signature ) Sleaford

From a book we have in the family, first published on 15 April 1755 and written by Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language, sometimes published as Johnson's Dictionary, is among the most influential dictionaries in the history of the English language.

(Images and text translation the late Spencer Childs)

"Praise the Lord oh yea people that he cometh
at a time when you getteth a man to walk at the
rate of a mile in ten minutes to walk 100 miles
xxx take him 16 hours and 10 minutes without
any hinderances and to walk 6000 at the same
rate it would take a man 6 weeks "


Bloxholme is a small village between Sleaford and Metheringham
The parish was in the Sleaford sub-district of the Sleaford Registration District. Joseph Newton our ancesator was born there in 1776

After the Poor Law reforms of 1834, the parish became part of the Sleaford Poor Law Union.
A Joseph Newton aged 90 appears on the 1841 Census in Carr's Hospital
Carr's Hospital was founded in 1636 by Sir Robert CARR. It was dedicated for the residence and maintenance of 12 poor men of the surrounding parishes. The hospital was built near the church. It functioned more as an almshouse than a modern hospital.

His signature may be one of the ones above


Via this site and initial interest from Canada we have been found by Joseph Newton Bird's
side of the family who emigrated to South Africa in the late 1800's , they have now moved around the world
We all have the same great great grandfather Thomas Bird 1807 - 1858
It's great to be in contact with them !

Welcome to the Bird family tree - Patrick , Dennis and their families !!!!!!
Also David Walker, grandson of Vera Bird - resident New Zealand.......

Did a relative of ours travel on a voyage from the UK ? Was he or she among the British billposters, blacksmiths, carpenters, clerks, domestic servants, engineers, farmers, fitters, maids, mechanics, miners, platelayers, plumbers and stone cutters who travelled upon the ships? Caught up in quite possibly the most momentous event of their lives, the first emigrants to South Africa ?

Joseph Newton Bird baptised 9.01.1853 in Sleaford was a Blacksmith his son Joseph Newton was a Plumber

Emigrants left England to promote trade or set up military outposts and way stations for merchant ships. Later free emigrants sought opportunities in a new land or fled poverty or oppression in England.

Assisted emigrants. From 1815 to 1900, qualified emigrants received passage money or land grants in the destination country as an alternative to receiving poor relief.

Passports were not mandatory for British travelers until 1914, after extensive research we are presuming that Joseph Newton, Lucy and Joseph Newton junior went on free passages to South Africa as no records are found for them in the UK after 1878.
However Nettie Susan Lee appeared on the 1891 census as a scholar in Somerset. Still being researched....


Our Great great grandfather Thomas Bird 1807 - 1858 married Mary Ann Newton aged 24
in Sleaford Lincs in June 1850. He was a Chelsea Pensioner and at the time of marriage
described himself as a Labourer. Mary Ann's father was described as a Brewer ( not deceased )
there was a difference in age of over 20 years. She had a brother Joseph Newton who was a Landscape Gardener in London.
Thomas died on 13.09.1858 aged 50 years - two days before the birth of his son Thomas.
His eldest son was Joseph Newton Bird born 1852
Cause of death " Suddenly from natural causes by the visitation of God"

This is when the name 'Newton' first entered our family.

Ann Newton - Mary Ann's mother was described as a " Pauper" Brewer's Widow
on the 1851 Census she was living with her daughter and son in law Thomas Bird
in Southgate Sleaford with baby Arthur.
In 1841 she was described as a 'wife' but no sign of John, perhaps he abandoned her ,
hence the "Pauper" ?
We have found a death of a John Newton in Sleaford in March 1845
On 1861 census together with Joseph Newton aged 8 and Thomas aged 2.
Arthur aged 11 was staying in London with Joseph Newton.


Following information from Joan Margaret, Edwin Bird's daughter

Joseph Newton Bird born Dec 1852 Quarrington New Sleaford

Joseph Newton Bird (grandson) born 1878

Do you know anything about Joseph Bird, born c 1853? My mother tells me he married twice
and emigrated to South Africa. His first wife was called Netty, and his second wife Catherine.
I believe he had family, but I don't know much more at this stage.
Joseph Bird had two sons, one of which was called Newton Bird to keep the family name going.
Mother thinks one son served in the SA Air Force, and one in the navy.
She's unsure if both survived the war. She has had no contact with anyone in SA
for many many years.
Maggie Edwin Bird's granddaughter

After researching we realise mother has her generations muddled, we still have to
ascertain whether Joseph Newton Senior emigrated, or just his son.

On the 1950 incoming passenger list from Durban Joseph Newton aged 72
wife Kathleen Mary aged 49 ( born 1901, 23 years his junior)

Joseph Newton snr did not appear on any Census after 1871
the year he married Lucy Struggles. Lucy was born in Heckington daughter
of William Struggles, her mother Eliza ( Faunt) died in 1863 and William in 1878
There were eight siblings
One brother Edward emigrated to the USA - he is on the 1900 US census
perhaps Lucy and Joseph followed him ?
They were certainly still in England in 1878 living in Deptford SE London
After contact with newly found family we now feel they might have emigrated to South Africa in the 1880's

..........Joseph Newton b 1878 Deptford first settled in Rondebosch Capetown...........

It appears Joseph Newton snr and Lucy Struggles emigrated to South Africa soon after Joseph Newton jnr was born in Deptford. The strange thing is a marriage has been found for JNB snr in Capetown which cannot be explained. he states he is a bachelor. The death of Lucy Bird (Struggles) is recorded in Capetown in 1899 twenty years later!

Name: Bird, Joseph Newton
Age: Full
Condition: Bachelor
Residence At Time Of Marriage: Breakwater Cottages
After Banns Or Licence: Licence
Date Of Marriage: 14 May 1879
Place Of Marriage: St George's Cathedral
Surname Of Bride: Van Leeve
First Name Of Bride: Rachel Helena Louise
Age Of Bride: Full
Condition Of Bride: Spinster
Residence At Time Of Marriage Of Bride: Caledon Street
Name Of Witness 1: Van Leeve, Wm J
Name Of Witness 2: Kriger, ECJ
Name Of Minister: T.F. Lightfoot
Church Register Of: St. Georges Cathedral Cape Town
Page Number: 193
Entry Number: 783
Image Name: 1343

Source: Anglican Church Archives Wits University
Collection Name: St. Georges Cathedral Cape Town Marriages

We have traced the Sleaford family back to 1561 and found the connection to Sir Isaac Newton born 1642 - see pdf above and the Newton section click to view

Mary Ann Newton married Thomas Bird 27 June 1850

Three sons: Arthur born 1851, Joseph Newton born 1852, Thomas born 1858

All three sons had moved to South London by the late 1880's
Thomas taking their mother Mary Ann Newton with him

Arthur - Stone Mason, Joseph Newton - Blacksmith. Thomas - Carpenter

Joseph Newton & Lucy Struggles Marriage 1871

Joseph Newton & Lucy Struggles Marriage 1871
The Struggles family are a very old Lincolnshire family having lived in Heckington and surrounding villages for over 300 years.

This is the oldest record we could find, but we have knowledge of William Struggles ( possibly Robert's father ) being born in 1655

Text: Robert Struggles, labourer, & Bridget Reinalds 30 Nov 1701
Book: Calendar of Wills Proved and of Administrations Granted in the Commissary Court of the Peculiar and Exempt Jurisdiction of Groby, 1580-1800.
Collection: Lincolnshire: - Register of Marriages, 1562-1837 (Marriage)


Birth Joseph Newton Bird 28.11.1852 Sleaford

 Birth Joseph Newton Bird 28.11.1852 Sleaford

Death of Ann Newton ( Dansby) 1866 Sleaford

Death of Ann Newton ( Dansby) 1866 Sleaford

Joseph Newton Bird born 1878 Deptford

Joseph Newton Bird born 1878 Deptford

Death Joseph Newton London 1906

Death Joseph Newton London 1906

Birth Certificate Cape

Birth Certificate Cape

Old photos of Deptford c 1900

Old photos of Deptford c 1900
London was a great port. In the 18th century ships tied up at wharves on the Thames but the river became overcrowded so more docks were built including Deptford.

London was also a great manufacturing centre. Food and drink were important industries. There were flourmills and sauce factories in Lambeth and sugar refineries in Whitehall and St Georges in the East. The first tinned foods were made in Bermondsey. There were also breweries all over London. Bermondsey and Southwark were famous for their leather industry and for hat making. Bethnal Green was noted for boot and shoe making. The clothing trade was also important. Chemicals were made in Silvertown and West Ham. Clocks and watches and jewellery were made in Clerkenwell. There were shipyards in Poplar, Deptford, Milwall and Blackwall. Other industries in London included furniture making, machine and tool making and the manufacture of horse drawn carriages.

Hence plenty of work for a Blacksmith such as Joseph Newton Bird !

From this to this - must have been like arriving in Paradise !



Joseph Newton's House Camps Bay 1950's

Joseph Newton's House Camps Bay 1950's

C Lee, Lil Walker , Nettie Bird (Lee) & J N Bird

C Lee, Lil Walker , Nettie Bird (Lee) & J N Bird

James & Louisa Lee - Nettie's Parents

James & Louisa Lee - Nettie's Parents

Minnie Kate Lee - Nettie's sister

Minnie Kate Lee - Nettie's sister

Joseph Newton Bird 1939

Joseph Newton Bird 1939

A family likeness on our side

A family likeness on our side

Kindly supplied by Dennis & Patrick Bird

Kindly supplied by Dennis & Patrick Bird


St Paul Church today

St Paul Church today
Joseph Newton Bird father Joseph Newton Bird Blacksmith mother Lucy Struggles
born 31 Hyde Street Deptford Greenwich 13.03.1878

These two Josephs were possibly named after Joseph Newton 20.02.1824 - 12.02.1906
Brother of Ann Newton (Dansby) and great uncle of Joseph Newton, Edwin, Harry and Jessie
See Newton pages for what we have researched so to view

To the best of my knowledge, he was director of Cos in his latter years, I think the Otis Lift Co was one of these, Iris was 'quite a lady' and master of the flat at no 10 Sandowne Mansions, Rondebosch.
Dennis Bird


Newton Walker
October 2010

Vera Louise Bird born 1901 daughter of Joseph Newton Bird and Nettie Lee
married Alfred Walker born 1894, their son Henry Newton Walker was a
famous rugby player and played internationally for the Springboks

Alfred is interesting. He and his brother Will were both Springbok rugby also.
Alfred played against the New Zealand All Blacks in a tour of New Zealand
in the famous "House of Pain". The All blacks won.
Newton played on the same ground against the All Blacks and they won again.
The South Africans had never beaten the All Blacks on that ground until last year
when they finally won.
Will Walker was my maternal grandfather. He played for the Springboks
against England. ...Patrick

"Harry Newton Walker, Springbok prop of the Fifties, died in Potchefstroom
on Wednesday morning, a month after his 80th birthday. His father and his uncle
also played for South Africa.

Harry's father, Alf Walker, played for South Africa from 1921 to 1924 - in six Tests altogether,
the only six Tests in those years. Uncle Henry played in three Tests in 1910,
the only three Tests that year. Harry, whose name was really Henry, played in four Tests.
He replaced Chris Koch in the front row against Australia at Kingsmead, when the
Springboks won 18-8. On the Australasian tour of 1956 he played in the second
Test against the Wallabies in Brisbane (won 9-0) and in the first Test against the
All Blacks (lost 10-6 and the fourth Test (lost 11-5). He had to compete for a place
in the front row with the great Chris Koch.

Uncle Henry and father Alf, like Harry, were forwards. The surname really is Walker.
Harry is the only one with Newton in his name and of his sons only David has Newton
in his name. His mother was a Bird whose brother had married Uncle Henry's daughter.
Uncle Henry was nine years older than father Alf.

Harry Newton Walker was born in Durban on 1 July 1928. He was educated at
Kearsney College and played for Natal Schools in 1944 and 1945. While he was at
Kearsney, his dad started a match which still exists - the Old Crocks vs Kearsney.
Father Alf played against son Harry, as son Harry would later play against two of his sons
After that Harry wandered before settling in Potchefstroom. He played his first provincial
rugby for Natal two years after leaving school when he was playing for Berea Rivers.
Then, when he was at Odendaalsrushe played 15 times for Orange Free State and
then he settled in Potchefstroom, playing for Potchefstroom Town, the oldest club
in what used to be the Transvaal, and for Western Transvaal.

Newton Walker, an accountant by profession with the firm Arthur Young, remained loyal to Potchefstroom Town RFC and to Western Transvaal (Leopards) rugby and was
a keen Rotarian and was involved in Potchefstroom Boys' High, whose 1st XV he coached
and on whose Board of Governors he served, and his church, the Anglican church
of St Mary's where his funeral will take place on Monday morning.

Henry Newton Walker died in Potchefstroom on 6 August, survived by his wife Di
and their son David. Their two younger sons died earlier - Michael in 1977
at the age of 21 of muscular dystrophy and Peter in a motor accident in 1982."

The MD Association founded by Mrs Newton to view

Will Walker in his Springbok blazer

Will Walker in his Springbok blazer
Farewell Friends

In Memory of Harry Newton Walker
1 July 1928 - 6 August 2008

Harry Newton Walker was a well known resident of Potchefstroom and a former Springbok rugby player. He passed away on 6 August 2008, having turned 80 on 1 July this year. Uncle Harry, as he was better known, had experienced bad health in recent months and been admitted to hospital more than once. He and his wife Diane had been married for 55 years. Uncle Harry was for many years an auditor of the town and trained many young accountants, several of whom also became auditors. Many stories are told of the strict Uncle Harry by those who started their careers with him.
Harry was a member of the Potchefstroom Rotary Club and never missed a meeting in 35 years. According to his co-members, he was a legend at the Rotary Club.
The Herald newspapers sports writer, Piet de Jager, has compiled an overview of Harry Walkers rugby career, which includes the following details. He played provincial rugby for Natal from 1944 until 1952. In 1953, when he was in the Free State, Harry became a Springbok and played in one test in the same year against the Wallabies. In 1954 he moved to Potchefstroom and was again chosen for the Springboks for the tour to New Zealand. He was one of three mealie farmers in the team. The other two were the captain Basie Viviers and Johan Claassen. While touring in New Zealand he was praised in publications for his scrum strength and supporting play in the lineouts. He was also involved for a very long time with the Potch Town Club and wore their maroon rugby jersey until 1958. He then became part of management. As a Springbok, Harry walked in the footsteps of his father, Alf Walker, who in 1921 also played in the green and gold. He and his father were the first father and son couple to play for the Springboks! He was always proud to play for South Africa and wear the green and gold colours.


I am just working on our current Headmaster’s biography. He (Elwyn van den Aardweg) first went to primary school at Potchefstroom Central School where, co-incidentally, the son of Kearsney’s first Rugby Springbok, Harry Newton Walker, was a fellow pupil. He remembered the school community raising funds to send him (Michael) to Israel to take the healing waters of the Pool of Siloam, near Jerusalem, where Jesus restored the sight of a blind man. Van den Aardweg made the connection forty years later when he met Harry Newton Walker at Kearsney.

David Goldhawk: Centenary History Project Kearsney College

Ada Walker (Bird) Willie Walker and Lily Walker

Ada Walker (Bird) Willie Walker and Lily Walker

Barbara Mary

Barbara Mary

JNB pictured far right with the crew
of the Lancaster bomber
Photo donated by Dennis Bird

Joseph Newton Bird born 27.12.1907 was in Active Service during WW2 , he was shot down by a German night fighter on 10.04.1943 over Holland and killed in active service.
He was the third Joseph Newton Bird in the family.

The Protestant Cemetery at Oudewater contains the graves of seven British & Commonwealth Graves.

On the night of 9-10 April 1943, a Lancaster III Bomber, ED502 WS-V (nicknamed Barbara Mary) of No 9 Squadron, took off at 2048 hrs from RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, England. It was shot down on the way home by Hptm Hans-Dieter Frank of 2./NJG 1 (his 21st victory) based at Venlo. It crashed at 2345 hrs at Snelrewaard (Utrecht) 3 km north east of Oudewater, Holland.

These men were taking part in the Duisburg raid of 9/10 April 1943, on which 5 Mosquitos and 104 Lancasters were dispatched, but thick cloud again caused a scattered attack. 8 Lancasters were lost in total during this operation.

The names of the seven airmen are:-

Warrant Officer Arthur White, 23 years old from Wiakato in New Zealand. Pilot.
Sergeant William Barker, 32 years old from Cromer, Norfolk. Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.
Flying Officer Hector Robertson, 25 years old from Aberdeen, Scotland. Navigator.
Sergeant William Jakeway, 19 years old from Barnet in Hents. Air Gunner.
Sergeant Norman Tutt, 22 years old from Ashford in Kent. Flight Engineer.
Flying Officer Graham Gibbins, 20 years old from Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia. Bomb Aimer.
Flying Officer Newton Bird, age unknown from Camps Bay in South Africa. Tail Gunner.

The names of the airmen buried here are also engraved on a small Dutch memorial erected on the opposite side of the road.
Thanks to Peter Bird

Other descendants now live in Durban SA, Zimbabwe , Canada, New Zealand and the UK

Newton Brian Bird runs a Crocodile Farm in Kariba Zimbabwe

click for link

My father ( Harley ) was in the Royal Navy during WW2. He saw action initially in the naval battles against the Germans in the South Atlantic off Argentina and Uruguay. See Graf Spee German pocket battleship on the internet 1939. After that he was promoted and sent to officer training school in England. During that time, he spent some time with a relative who had a farm in the Somerset area. There are some photos somewhere. I assume that this could have been a sibling of Nettie's. Apparently they were very good to him.

Thanks to Patrick

I'm David, eldest son of Diane and Henry Newton Walker (often referred to as
Harry or Newton). Mum and dad had 3 sons. David Newton (me), Michael John
(born 6 Aug 1956 - died in 1977 from muscular dystrophy) and Peter Neale
(died in 1982 - motor car accident). Dad (born 1 July 1928) had a younger
brother Michael William Walker (born 25 July 1935 - died 1994) who married
Marita Walker (nee Maritz). Dad and Michael were the sons of Alfred and Vera Walker.

Thanks to David

 The grave at Oudewater

Vera Louise Bird was baptised in St Francis Church Simon's Town in 1901
Simon’s Town is one of the most delightful little villages in Cape Town. Situated about 40 km outside of the city, en route to the Cape Point Nature Reserve, this quaint town is the residence of the South African navy and steeped in nautical history . Simon’s Town’s historical mile, St George’s Street, has 21 buildings over 150 years’ old and includes a local museum, the navy museum and a toy museum. This stretch also includes the Church of St Francis, said to be the oldest Anglican Church in the country.

In December 1903 'Mr & Mrs Bird and 2 children' sailed from Capetwon to Southampton
he described himself as a Storekeeper - ship Braemar Castle

Return to Cape Town on 13th February 1904 - ship Tintagel Castle
They took Harley Lee back with them , both men described as Plumbers.

Mr JN Bird - Plumber aged 25
Mrs Bird - aged 25
Miss I Bird aged 1
Miss V Bird aged 2
Mr Harley J Lee 16 Plumber (Nettie's brother)

The journey took 65 days.

Sailings found to the UK from Capetown to Southampton - Joseph Newton Bird b 1878

Nothing throughout the First World War years

1921 - Director - came with family see below

1934 - Engineer - Alone gave Nettie's address in Somerset
28.09.1934 - Director - return to Cape Town on the Carnavon Castle

A death has been recorded for Nettie Bird (Lee) in 1936 in the Cape Town Archives.

1936 - Director - Alone to Edwin's
Return to Cape Town
24.4.1936 on the Balmoral Castle - alone

Nothing throughout the 2nd WW years

1950 - Director of Companies - 1st class cabin aged 72 years
With wife Kathleen Mary aged 49 years Housewife

In 1936 and 1950 he gave 44 Chatsworth Ave Merton Surrey as his address in the UK this was the address of his cousin Edwin Bird

Tintagel Castle built 1896

Tintagel Castle built 1896

Chatsworth Avenue today

Chatsworth Avenue today

Joseph Newton Bird jnr sailed from Capetown 1921

Joseph Newton Bird  jnr sailed from Capetown 1921
Family - Nettie Bird, Newton Bird 13 and Harley Bird 3
Vera Louise Bird 20, Iris Lucy Bird 19

Address given in the UK
c/o Mrs J Lee Woodbine Cottage Highbridge Somerset

This would have been Nettie's mother, she was born Nettie Susan Lee 1878
Father - James Lee 1854 and mother Louisa Puddy 1853 - married 1876
1891 Census transcribed as Nellie, scholar aged 12 yrs living at home
No trace during the next ten years when she must have met Joseph Newton
1901 Census showing children Harley John Lee 13 yrs and Margaret B Lee 8 yrs
There were 3 other sisters Minnie K born 1881 Florence S born 1883 Mable A born 1886

George Puddy, Louisa's brother was living next door as the village postman in 1891
The Puddy family can be traced back to 1645 in Mark Somerset

Mark Somerset today

Mark Somerset today

Alfred Walker and Family 1939 address Woodbine Cottage

Alfred Walker and Family 1939 address Woodbine Cottage

Alfred Walker

Alfred Walker

Vera and Alf's House in the 1930's

Vera and Alf's House in the 1930's

Anne Jolly, born Phillips, and her children

Anne Jolly, born Phillips, and her children

Harley, Joseph Newton Bird ,with Ann granddaughter, (Joseph) Newton
and Allan Phillips (Iris Bird's husband) around 1931
Reading from left to right--Harley Bird,J.N.B,Iris (Bird) Phillips,I think Norma (Dennison) Bird,could
the elderly lady be Nettie Lee? The man next to her is not too clear, Vera (Bird) Walker with Henry
Newton. The 3 little ones are not too clear but could be Michael Walker,my sister Dulcie (2 years older
than me) and myself.Ann Phillips would have been the same age as Henry Newton.
- Dennis -

Family Group

Family Group
From left to right: May be Dennis Bird, may be Newton Bird, definitely is Ada (Walker) Bird, Vera (Bird) Walker, Michael Walker, Harley Bird. Think it must be about 1939 because Harley is in enlisted ranks uniform not officers uniform

Many thanks to Patrick and Dennis for the images

Henry ( William) Walker's arrival in the UK 1939

Henry ( William)  Walker's arrival in the UK 1939
Ada Bird as a young woman, Will Walker (her dad) and behind his left shoulder Lily her mother