The couple were my great aunt, Florence “Florrie” Cox, and the Rev. Frank E. Paice, on the day they were married in Calcutta (now Kolkata) in December 1914.
When Frank and Olga’s scandalous affair became known, both were forced to resign. Florrie returned to Melbourne, but was a family embarrassment with the breakdown of her marriage a relentlessly taboo subject.
The Australian press – normally addicted to such juicy stories – was prevailed upon to look the other way when the divorce went through the Supreme Court and the judge ordered that the file be “closed for all time”.
Frank and Olga married on their return to Bengal where Frank took up an engineering management job.
When they returned to Australia some years later, they reinvented themselves as pillars of society, with Frank taking on a number of high-profile civic positions in Melbourne. No mention was ever made of Frank or Olga’s time in India or their six years as missionaries. Not even their only son and close friends knew of their missionary past.
Then I got lucky.
A very distant cousin showed me a photograph of two people he could not identify. I was stunned to see that it was Frank and Florrie after their wedding at the Circular Road Baptist Chapel, Calcutta.
My hunt was over thanks to a large dollop of luck, and the fact that the distant cousin's family had never been told about the scandal and didn't realise the photo's significance.