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

Cousin Thomas and Comrade Tom

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou may have noticed another CHAPMAN on the Gristhorpe War Memorial (Thursday’s post). Thomas William is a first cousin to Robert, and you can find him on the Shared Tree.

Serving in different regiments, it is unlikely that they ever fought side by side, but it seems that both the 12th Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and the 6th Scottish Borderers were at Delville Wood in July 1916. Allied forces were tasked with taking the wood “at all costs” and from the 15th July into August the fighting was brutal, a satanic mix of close combat exchanges and intense artillery barrages. If the bodies of the fallen were found, many could not be identified. Thomas was killed on 23 July and, as one of the “missing”, is remembered on the Thiepval Memorial.

A comrade of Thomas in the 12th Battalion was Tom CHAPMAN, son of John William and Eliza née CAMMISH. He was not related by blood to Thomas William and Robert. Tom may well have been struck down on the same day as Thomas. He died on 27 July from wounds received during the battle for “Devil’s Wood”. He is buried at La Neuville British Cemetery at Corbie and is remembered at a family grave in St Oswald’s churchyard. Find him on the Shared Tree.

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Centenary

The War Memorial in Murray Street has been given a facelift for the hundredth Remembrance Day. I took a photo on the way home from the supermarket a couple of days ago.

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Mrs Annie CULLEY was given the honour at the Memorial’s unveiling ceremony in 1921. Two of her sons had died in the war.

BrightH_newThe bronze panels have been buffed and some of the blue-green patina has been replaced by brownish tones. Harry BRIGHT was not Filey-born but came to the town before the war and courted a local girl. When the war began he went back to his home area to enlist in the Hunts Cyclists – and the unit was posted to Filey. He has a page on the Wiki, to which I’ll add some of the information I’ve turned up this week.

Harry was already on the FamilySearch Tree but is still without his wife and son. One curious aspect of his brief service details on the CWGC website is the absence of any mention of parents or spouse. If you read the Wiki entry you’ll see that I’m not completely certain I have the right man. But Harry from Huntingdon came from a large family, and after his father died young his mother married a widower. At the 1911 census, Harry was in a household with five half and four full brothers and sisters.

Harry’s widow remarried too and had five children with John William HOLMES. She died aged 43 (or 44) and is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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Note: The link to the CWGC website is throwing up run-time errors, possibly a temporary glitch but I’ve removed it. If you are interested, search for Harry Bright 20702, Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

When Henry Robert Field CANHAM filled out the 1911 Census form in The Vicarage, Muston, he noted his marriage of 33 years and the production of 11 children with Emma Maria née JAMES, three of whom had died. Three unmarried daughters were resident at the Vicarage, Mary Lilian, 27, Maybell Beatrice Constance, 21, and Ellen Mary, 15.

Ten years earlier, Reverend Henry was away from home, enjoying a busman’s holiday at Hackthorn Vicarage in Lincolnshire, 45 miles from his responsibilities in Bourne, where 9 of his eleven children came into the world. Emma Maria headed the household in the Villa Brunne, in the company of son Ernest G, and daughters Lilian M, Mary B and Ellen M.

Mary B is clearly enumerated as a CANHAM but I can’t find a birth registration for her. She would be the twelfth child if born to the Vicar and his wife. As a result of her appearance in this Census, she has a place in the family on the FamilySearch Tree.

“Lilian Mary” is 7 at the 1891 Census but was registered at birth as Mary Lilian. She is Lilian Mary in the GRO Death Index and Mary Lilian on her headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard. It would appear that she lived most of her life with her dear sister, Ellen Mary – witness the touching “reunited” on the stone.

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The pedigree of “Mary B” remains a mystery. My guess is that she may have been a “waif and stray” taken into the Canham family, formally adopted perhaps and her birth surname changed.

At the time of his induction as Rector of Hatch Beauchamp in Somerset, Ernest Grey CANHAM, older brother of contrary Mary Lilian, told the gathering he could trace his family tree back to the time of Edward III. Contributors to FamilySearch haven’t managed to take the direct male line quite that far, but other branches lead to Welsh Lords and Ladies, and to 5th century Kings of the Franks and Burgundy.

I have found just one mark of the existence of the true Marys in Muston and Filey. From October 1917 to March 1919, Ellen worked 1,940 hours for a shilling a day in the kitchens of the British Red Cross VAD Hospital in Filey.

I think the hospital was located in Osborne House on The Crescent but have been unable to confirm this. Find more information about Voluntary Aid Detachment Hospitals here.

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Osborne House (left), The Crescent, Filey

Dying in Harness, Drowning in the Med

I have been doing more research into the three wives of William MOORE. In passing, I had noticed some references to a Nurse Catherine NICHOLSON who had served with some distinction in hospitals on the Western Front. I imagined William’s third wife undertaking those terrible duties. There seemed to be a couple of Nurse Catherines but they were, I think, Home Counties or Scots women.

William’s Catherine was the fifth of ten children born to Edward NICHOLSON and Annie McCORMICK between 1870 and 1889. By the time the 1911 Census was taken, five of the children had died. About a year after she married William, Catherine’s younger brother lost his life while serving with the 1st/4th Bn, Cheshire Regiment. I was initially puzzled that he died at sea but a look down the list of fatalities on 4 May 1917 provided a partial answer.

85734 Private JOHN PERCY MULLINEUX      Royal Army Medical Corps

TF/202635 Private GEORGE NAYLOR MUMBY   4th Bn. Royal Sussex Regiment

55989 Private PATRICK MURPHY    Royal Army Medical Corps

M/273823 Private CHARLES WILLIAM MURRELL        906th M.T. Coy. Army Service Corps

Captain RICHARD OWEN NELSON     Army Service Corps

36336 Private JOHN HENRY NICHOLSON      1st/4th Bn. Cheshire Regiment  

63192 Private JOHN NISBET       Royal Army Medical Corps

Second Lieutenant CLAUD NORIE-MILLER    Army Service Corps

53628 Serjeant WILLIAM HENRY NORMAN     Royal Army Medical Corps

48050 Private CHRISTMAS GEORGE NORTHAM  1st/5th Bn. Welsh Regiment

70481 Private JOHN NOUTCH       Royal Army Medical Corps

 

There are 274 men who died this day and are remembered on the Savona Memorial in Italy. The bodies of a further 82 were recovered and are buried in the Savona Town Cemetery. They were not all fighting men. In the cemetery lies Barber THOMAS BONAR CHERRY of the S.S. Transylvania Mercantile Marine Reserve.

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They were bound for Salonika, or onward to Egypt, and their grand troopship was sunk by torpedo off the Italian coast near Genoa. About four hundred drowned but over 2,000 were rescued, the majority by two (allied) Japanese destroyers.

One of those rescued, Walter Edward WILLIAMS of Weston super Mare,, was interviewed many years later and he tells his story of the sinking on Reel 2 (of 5) here. Searching for SS Transylvania online will raise more accounts of this event.

From the Nicholsons, I moved on to the family of William’s first wife, Annie Elizabeth COWAN. Tracing the origins of her father proved to be an engaging and enjoyable challenge. Thomas Albert began his life as a COWIN in Lonan Parish on the Isle of Man but ended it as a COWAN in Dalton in Furness, Lancashire 74 or 75 years later.

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1911 Census Form

His record on FamilySearch Tree has a link to an obituary published in Manx Quarterly #20. Here is an extract: –

The Barrow Guardian of December 9th had the following reference to the death of Councillor Cowan:-“Died in harness! This expression was never more fully realised locally than by the passing away of Councillor Thomas Albert Cowan, of Dalton, a man full of years and honour. At the time he was attacked by a sudden illness he was on his way to Barrow to fulfil a promised preaching appointment for a minister who was ill. It is quite true and appropriate to repeat what a friend of Mr Cowan’s said to me on Sunday evening: ‘He was taken when doing his Master’s work.’ And he was never happier than when performing some religious duty; it was ingrained in him. He had spent over 50 years as a local preacher and religious teacher; then for more than 25 years he was associated with the local Board and Urban Council, for 21 years a member of the Gas Committee, some years on the Education Authority and Burial Board, and one of the trustees of the Billincoat Charity. Truly he was a marvellous man. If he could do a good turn to anybody he was only too willing to give his services. As a speaker he was fearless, impassioned and convincing, hence his success in the early days of Nonconformity in the Furness district, when he fought tenaciously for the rights and privileges of his fellow dissenting citizens. I repeat he was a wonderful character, and could turn his hand to many things besides mining, religious work and temperance work. Where he will be most missed, however, next to his own home, will be in the Primitive Methodist Church, for here he was ever first and foremost, and none will ever know what he did and what he gave to his loved Bethel. We mourn the loss to-day of one of God’s noblemen.”

Frederick II and Prince Eugene

William LORRIMAN and Sarah BUCKLE named their third son Frederick but the little chap only just reached his first birthday. So, four years later, they named their fifth son Frederick. At the turn of the century, Fred faced a portrait studio’s camera and sent a number of the resulting cartes-de-visite to relatives, of which at least one survives.

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Photographer unknown, courtesy Brenda Pritchard

As a young man, he seems to have chosen to become a career sailor in the Royal Navy, retiring, owing to ill-health, near the end of the First World War. One of the sources offering information about his service says he died “of disease”. There is no indication that he succumbed to the Influenza Pandemic, which didn’t really get a hold in continental Europe until shortly after his death. Fred is buried in Gillingham, not far from the family home in Chatham.

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Frederick’s final posting had been to HMS Prince Eugene, a Lord Clive Class Monitor launched in 1915.

Mary Rebecca married again about nine years after Fred’s death, when their daughter Ivy would have been 19, and died aged 72 in 1953.

Find Fred on FamilySearch Tree.