AB George Lewis

The headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard that remembers George LEWIS ( 1846 – 1918) and his wife Mary Jane née COWLING also asks us to think of…

…their beloved grandson, drowned in Falmouth Harbour while serving his King and Country, March 10 1918, aged 20 years.


Another seaman, Deckhand William CUTHBERTSON, drowned with young George but I have been unable to determine exactly how they died. The Lewis family headstone gives the wrong year for whatever accident befell them. The war was over; it was 1919.

One report says they were found floating in Falmouth Harbour, having fallen from their ship, HMT Emmanuel Camelaire, or perhaps from the dockside.

Emmanuel Camelaire
Photographer unknown, no date, Imperial War Museum

George was a “Trimmer Cook” – two clearly separate jobs. The first required him to get his hands dirty in the boiler room, and the second to keep them reasonably clean in the galley. I don’t know how long he had served in the Royal Naval Reserve but Lives of the First World War gives his birth date as 14 October 1896. His birth was registered in Scarborough, December Quarter 1898, so perhaps he was too young to join the service and lied about his age. He was fifteen when the war began.

He left a widow at their home in Grimsby, Christiana, four months pregnant with their first child. Annie LEWIS was born on the 9th of August and I photographed her stone in the churchyard this morning.


The LEWIS family is a work in progress on FST.


SD ‘Research’

This was a fishing vessel that may have been just about worthy on a mill pond, but in heavy seas whipped by gale force winds, it put the crew of nine in the greatest danger, this day 1925. Had it pushed through the storm to Bridlington in deep water it might have survived but it grounded on Smithwick Sands and was overwhelmed by the waves. None of the crew survived and their bodies were never found.

Eight of the men were from Filey, five of them from one family. The ninth was James SOUTHERN, the boat’s engineer. Kath has a note in Filey Genealogy & Connections to the effect that James took the berth because he had six children and it was coming up to Christmas.

The tragedy is well described in Allen and Todd’s book, Filey – a Yorkshire Fishing Town, and you can read the extract at the Scarborough Maritime Heritage Centre website.

A plaque on the wall of St Oswald’s Church remembers all Filey fishermen who “perished at sea & whose bodies were never found” between 1901 and 1848. A quarter of their number was lost from Research. The eight have memorials in the churchyard – on four headstones. Jane Baxter CRIMLISK née JENKINSON asks us to think of her father, husband, two brothers and a cousin. (A third brother, James Henry Newby JENKINSON drowned in another place at another time.)


In loving memory of JANE B. CRIMLISK, born 1885, died Sep 20th 1931. Also of her husband GEORGE J. CRIMLISK, born 1885, and her father and brothers JOHN R. JENKINSON, born 1862, ROBERT JENKINSON, born 1890, GEORGE F. B. JENKINSON born 1897, WILLIAM C. CAMMISH, born 1895. All drowned in the RESEARCH disaster.

The brothers Edwin Chapman and George JENKINSON, cousins to ‘Jack Sled’, are on a stone by the church, and Joseph Edward COLLEY with his parents and a sister, Amelia. William Cappleman CAMMISH has a second mention on another family stone.

I couldn’t find Ted and George on the FamilySearch Tree but the other lost Jenkinsons are gathered here.

The rustbucket on which they perished is recalled on Filey Promenade and you can see where she went down on a ‘thumbnail’ chart at Wreck Site.

Polygon Wood


Before the Great War began the wood may have had this exact shape – but probably a different mix of tree species. It was fought over in October 1914 by, amongst other regiments, the 2nd Worcesters. When they returned in September 1917 –

…the aspect of the scene at dawn was very different from what it had been three years before. The open fields had been beaten into a desolate expanse of boggy shell-holes. Such trees as still stood had been stripped and broken. On the skyline to the left, a mere stubble of bare tree trunks marked the site of Polygon Wood.

The Battle for the Wood “raged” throughout the day of the 26th and in the hours of dark the area was subject to an intense bombardment.

…as dawn broke at 5am the artillery of both sides suddenly ceased their fire. For some minutes all remained under cover, then, as the guns did not recommence, men
ventured cautiously from their defenses and gazed around in wonder. The intense bombardment of two days and nights had beaten the whole area into a different
appearance. Such landmarks as had existed beforehand had disappeared. The surface of the ground from Stirling Castle to Gheluvelt had been churned up afresh, the whole
landscape was even more desolate and repulsive than before.


The battle for Polygon Wood was effectively over. “Intermittent sniping alone
continued throughout the day of Thursday the 27th of September.”

Perhaps it was a sniper’s bullet that ended the life of Private Harold CRIMLISK of Filey, fighting with the 6th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment.

Harold is buried at Cement House Cemetery, about 12 kilometers distant from where he fell. There is a small cemetery at Polygon Wood and this source offers a gallery of 14 photographs showing the difference a hundred years make.

Harold and some of his forebears may be found in Filey Genealogy & Connections and on the FamilySearch Tree.  He also has a page on the Looking at Filey Wiki.