‘Happy Return’

Christopher LIGHTFOOT is one of many Filey fishermen whose date of final departure has been given as “before [year]” in the online trees I have looked at. This is a reasonable suggestion, as Jane WILLIS, the woman he married in 1850 is a childless widow when the census is taken in 1861. Sadly, the couple had been given only four years to start a family, not eleven.

I imagined the Dudgeon Light vessel to be at the mouth of the Humber but it was somewhat further away from Filey – about thirty miles north of Cromer. I don’t think the dangerous shoal needs a light these days because it now supports a wind farm.

Captain Syd gives 18 October as the date for this Happy Return’s sinking. (Six other vessels share the name in his database.) William SMITH built the vessel in Scarborough in 1840 and Richard CAMMISH was a part-owner. Abraham SANDERSON [MGZ3-WBR] is listed as skipper at the beginning of 1854 – but Richard Cammish, named “master” in the newspaper report, was his father in law and had presumably taken charge for this last voyage.

Filey’s loss of nine fishermen in this October storm has not been publicly memorialised. The window in St Oswald’s church remembers those who drowned from 1879 to 1896. Only one family stone in the churchyard recalls the event, and it agrees with Captain Syd on the date of the tragedy.

‘The water flowed on every side,

No friend was near to save.

At last he sank beneath the tide

And found a watery grave’

1346 Freeman D173

Another of today’s Anniversary People was unexpectedly and shockingly deprived of life. John KILLINGBECK was sixty-seven years old when he was hit by an express train. I wrote about him in Coincidences.

I haven’t put the three headstones on the Shared Tree yet, but here is the one remembering James CRAIK and his parents.

Sunrise 60 · Filey Bay