A Simpson Survivor

When widow Sophia Barbara SIMPSON filled out the 1911 census form she noted the seven children born to her, of whom six had died. Her son Fred, aged 26 and a fish merchant, was living with her at Yarmouth House in Church Street, with Susie SAYERS, 22, a servant.

Frederick William didn’t set eyes on his three older siblings. One of three brothers called David had lived for just eight hours. Two younger brothers died when Fred was no more than three, so perhaps he couldn’t remember either of them. His sister Charlotte Ann, known as Lottie, was born about fifteen months before Fred but died when he was seventeen.

Fred was over thirty when he married Florence ARMSTRONG in 1916. About a year later he joined the Royal Naval Air Service, entering as an Aircraftsman II and transferring to the RAF in April 1918. It isn’t clear from his rather sparse service record what his duties were, but the RNAS during the time of conflict was mainly involved with reconnaissance of the coast, searching for U-boats. He survived the war and wasn’t discharged until the end of April 1920. His record tells us he was 5 feet 7 inches tall, had brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. There was a small scar on his right eyebrow. Had he become a casualty, Florence would have received a telegram at Yarmouth House.

When the Second World War was about to begin, Fred and Florence were recorded in Scalby, just outside Scarborough. He was described as a retired herring curer but was only 54 years-old. He had almost 30 years ahead of him, and Florence a few months longer than that.

I have put them on the Shared Tree and added the stone remembering Fred’s father and sister Lottie as a memory.

Quite by chance, six years ago today I was walking near Scalby and photographed the Beck that flows to the sea a few hundred metres north of 360 Scalby Road, Fred and Florence’s home in 1939.

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Scalby Beck (Sea Cut): approximate viewpoint 54.304799, -0.410488

The Simpsons

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I am falling ever further behind with placing headstone photographs on FamilySearch and the Wiki. My weakness is finding a scent and following it. Way more interesting than the oakum picking of source collecting. Today I happened upon connections to four or five families who have folk ‘at rest’ in the churchyard. At least half of them require IDs if they are to have their stones put on the Shared Tree.

A rough calculation indicates that I need to do a stone a day for at least three years to come close to completing the project. I may not have that long. Brexit is sapping my will to live.

You will not be able to read Benjamin’s stone, but I have put it on FamilySearch so you can find what it says there. Benjamin was a fisherman turned fish merchant and I did not find him or his family having adventures that put them in the newspaper.

Today’s Image

2007 was a dark year for me. My partner of 28 years died in the summer. Before the leaves started falling, our daughter had decided that I was surplus to her requirements. That left just me and The Lad. (Sorry, cat lovers, they don’t count.) I was working on the computer in my bedroom at Cold Comfort Cottage, probably transcribing a Filey Oral History Project interview, when I glanced out of the window and saw a morning mist had descended. I roused Jude from his basket and made haste through Dale Coppice, to Lincoln Hill and the Rotunda. Glorious.

It took me another nine months to arrange the move to Filey, but Jude and I had five great years together here. He departed for the Big Kennel almost six years ago. I’m still in my daughter’s doghouse. What was it E.M. Forster wrote?

 

An Untrue Story

In the post ‘Baltic’ and ‘Noran’ nine days ago, I said I would attempt to recover a memory of an amusing story involving the latter fisherman. As chance would have it, I met a relative of ‘Dick Noran’ on my early morning walk towards the end of last week. I told him the story as I remembered it.

Richard Duke ROBINSON was a friend of Mary Elinor PLACE, the only daughter of George Thomas Brown Place, a curate for a while at St Oswald’s. Mary ran a Café on Filey Brigg. Perhaps it was this one.

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Postcard courtesy of Christine Hayes

There were several generations of café, each having a few years of life before they were wrecked in storms. But surely only one had a proprietress as eccentric and inventive as Mary. If she ran out of ice-cream she would take a large white sheet around the corner of the Naze and weigh it down with rocks on the cliff face. This was a signal to Dick Noran to buy a large tub from Baker’s Café on the Landing and row it out to the Brigg in his coble.

I said to Dickie’s first cousin twice removed, “Is this true?” and without hesitation, he replied, “No”.

Aw, shucks. Tom did concede that “some people around town” said that Dickie and Mary had a relationship – and left it at that.

Dick was 17 years older than Mary but had been a widower for a long time when their friendship began. Mary didn’t marry. He died in 1969 aged 79, she in 1985 aged 78.

I went up to the churchyard this afternoon to see if I could get a better photograph of the stone remembering Dick and his parents. There is work for Paul and his gang because it has broken away from its base. Propped up at an angle it is in the early stages of being overwhelmed by vegetation.

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Dick and wife Mary Ellen named their first son Richard Duke. He survived for just four months, so they tried again with their third son. This Richard Duke Robinson joined the Royal Army Medical Corps and died in North Africa during the Battle for Tunisia. (Montgomery and his Eighth Army versus Erwin Rommel’s German-Italian Panzer Army.) I have no supporting documents for my surmise that Richard should have been safe at one of the British Hospitals, probably No.31 General in Oued Athmenia because he was initially buried in the Military Cemetery in that town. He may have succumbed to malaria. His body was exhumed the following year and re-buried at La Reunion War Cemetery in Bejaia. I have given him an ID and put him on the Shared Tree.

Richard Duke Junior was seven years old when his grandmother Mary Ellen died at 66 Queen Street. His elder sister Margaret was living at 68 Queen Street when she died in 1959. I photographed the cottages this afternoon.

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