A Boy Named Spouse

I planned to re-post the story the Edith Cavell today but was side-tracked. One of the fishermen that came close to death on this day 103 years ago would, sometime later, work ashore as a builder’s labourer. He retained a connection to the sea by volunteering for the Scarborough Lifeboat and was one of the men lost in the 1954 disaster.

Four years after his encounter with UB21, the fishing boat’s “Big Lad”, John Harrison CAMMISH, married into the Scarborough SHEADER family. Their pedigree on the Shared Tree needs a lot of work. Rachel lacks an ID but the wrong father awaits and about half of her uncles and aunts are absent.

One of the missing uncles is Spouse Godfrey. He was not the first Sheader boy to be given this distracting name – it may have been handed down for generations. Perhaps surprisingly, only one census transcriber has been flummoxed by it, offering “Spence”. Every other source I have found so far is happy with Spouse.

One evening in 1919 he told the story of his life.


Lost from the Scarborough Lifeboat with John Harrison Cammish was the coxswain John Nicholas Sheader, a cousin of John’s wife Rachel (I think).

It is not yet apparent on the Shared Tree but Rachel’s mother, Betsy Hannah COWLING was a widow when she married George Godfrey. Her first marriage lasted just six weeks.


On this occasion, fate smiled on the Lifeboat coxswain.

I’ll do some more work and re-post the Edith Cavell story in a few days (or weeks). Meanwhile, please let Bill Lealman tell the tale.

Rock 22 · Red Cliffs


Cayton Bay

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