The Murderer’s Brother

This post was intended to celebrate the birthday of John Appleby PRITCHARD, on this day 1827. Further research today revealed that this was actually the day he began his distinguished service with the Royal Navy, at the age of twelve.

If Filey Genealogy & Connections was misleading where the births of John and his father, John White Pritchard, are concerned, Kath provided an intriguing note about an explosive action in which the younger man took part. John junior was a senior officer on HMS Edinburgh at the Bombardment of Sveaborg, the most significant naval encounter of the Crimean War. It played out in this small patch of the Baltic Sea, just south of Helsinki.

1855_Sveaborg_GE

There is a detailed account of the clash between the Anglo-French Alliance and Russia here. It includes a useful plan of the disposition of the vessels involved that you can compare with the Google Earth image. I don’t know if the painter John Wilson CARMICHAEL witnessed the bombardment but his painting of it captures its incendiary nature with immediacy and power.

About seven years later, John Appleby died at sea while sailing home from Ceylon. He didn’t live to witness the shame his younger brother brought upon the family. You will find plenty of accounts of Edward William Pritchard’s crimes if you search for his name online – but maybe not the LaFredux post of 27 July 2017 – The Doctor’s Daughter.

The FamilySearch ‘system’ has put a lot of Pritchards on the World Tree but they are a mess of duplicates, waiting for a descendant or two to bring the generations together. A few erroneous dates notwithstanding, the family is more connected on FG&C.

John Appleby PRITCHARD  – on FG&Cand on FST.

A Naval Biographical Dictionary has entries for five of the seagoing family Pritchard. Start with John Appleby and then follow the forward arrows for the others.

The Baltic Connection

D447_WILLIAMSONfrans_20170604_fst

This is one of my favourite stones, with its dove flying from clouds on rays of light. And yet… It tells just a little of the sad story of this WILLIAMSON family. The inscription notes the father’s death in 1810 at 57, a reasonable “innings” in those days. But his youngest son died at 12 and the third of four children, John, drowned in the Baltic Sea, aged 19, in 1808.  Firstborn William drowned 10 years later, closer to home in South Bay, Scarborough. One of his sons would drown in Filey Bay in 1858, aged 50.

The only daughter of Francis and Ann CAMMISH, married “awd Marky” BAXTER and they brought six children into the world. She died aged 49 and Mark lived on for thirty more years.

But back to John. Filey Genealogy & Connections says he was a fisherman but the Baltic, as far as I’m aware, is beyond the normal range for a yawl, let alone a Filey coble. The war with France had a way to go and I’m wondering if John was pressed into the Royal Navy.

Last month I wrote about the Battle of Flamborough Head, which ended with Captain Pearson surrendering ignominiously to John Paul Jones,  but successfully ensuring the safety of the Baltic convoy under his protection. Roll on twenty years and the Royal Navy is in the Baltic Sea safeguarding its trade routes, thwarting Napoleon’s efforts to cut Britain off from the continent.

If you are not convinced by this scenario, I offer you another Filey fisherman, George Whiteley BOYNTON, who was given the byname “Baltic”. As a teenager, he sailed that sea when it was a theatre of the Crimean War.

I haven’t found “Baltic” on FamilySearch Tree but his parents are there, and his wife, Ann SAYERS.

This WILLIAMSON male line on Filey Genealogy & Connections ends with a grandfather going back in time but brother William leads the way to the mid-twentieth century. (William was baptized in 1779, four days before the Baltic fleet dodged Bonhomme Richard’s cannonballs.) The pedigree is not yet as extensive on FamilySearch Tree.