Geoffrey, Lost at Sea

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BradleyG2There are 13 people born BRADLEY in Filey Genealogy & Connections but none are Samuel, Jack or Geoffrey. The family remembered in Filey churchyard is not yet represented on the FamilySearch Tree. Geoffrey’s name does, however, appear on the War Memorial in Murray Street – and on the Merchant Navy Memorial at Tower Hill in London.

The official record and the family headstone say he died on the 11th July but he lived for about two hours of the twelfth day. Two torpedoes from U-582 struck the SS Port Hunter at 01.47 hours, west-southwest of Madeira. Explosions ripped the vessel apart and she sank in a couple of minutes. Three men who were sleeping on deck were blown into the sea and rescued a few hours later. Sixty-eight crew members, 14 gunners and five passengers were lost “presumed drowned”. (Some would have been killed in the explosions.)

Geoffrey was an apprentice in the Merchant Navy, 17 years old. The master of Port Hunter was John Bentham BRADLEY. I have spent some time gathering Geoffrey’s forebears but, so far, haven’t discovered that they are related.

Geoffrey’s birth was registered in Scarborough but his father was a Lincolnshire lad. His mother, Hannah, was a SMITH and has so far evaded capture. She was Samuel’s second wife. He first married Lusianna ROBINSON in Boston, Lincolnshire, in 1888. I found eight children in Boston born to a Bradley/Robinson couple in the GRO Online Index but the 1911 transcription on Find My Past states they had 7 children in 23 years of marriage, one of whom had died.

Lusianna (various spellings) died in late 1917, aged 50. Samuel married Hannah Elizabeth SMITH in the summer of 1919, in Boston. Jack was born two years later and Geoffrey in the last quarter of 1925.

I have some information for about thirty of Geoffrey’s ancestors. FamilySearch has records for most of them but I have found just three on the World Tree thus far. It’s a start.

Men Overboard

On this night in 1925, Robert Haxby JOHNSON fell from the steam drifter G.E.S. and efforts by other crew to rescue him were unsuccessful. The fishing boat was 36 miles East by North of Scarborough.

Twenty-two years earlier, and about five miles from Scarborough, a sudden squall capsized the herring coble Wild Rose and it began to sink.

…Two of the crew, Thomas H. Cowling, the skipper, who is 70 years of age, and T. Holmes, had just time to scramble into their small boat before the Wild Rose went down. Jenkinson Cowling, another of the crew, swam alongside the coble, and the fourth man, John Willis, went down with the vessel. His more fortunate companions were of the opinion that he was thrown against the halyards by the lurching of the boat, and, being unable to clear himself in time, was dragged down with it…

Aberdeen Press and Journal, 4 February 1903

The three were rescued by the crew of another coble, Romeo and Juliet, which just made it into Scarborough harbour “in a sinking condition”.

Robert Haxby JOHNSON was 36 years old and is remembered on the gravestone of his maternal grandparents Richard HAXBY and Hannah née CAMMISH.

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In Loving Memory of ROBERT, the beloved husband of ELIZABETH JOHNSON, who was drowned Jan 29th 1925 aged 36 years.

Robert isn’t on FamilySearch Tree yet but his Filey Genealogy & Connections pedigree is extensive.

John married Ann Watkinson DAY in 1894 when he was 21 years old, and the couple had 5 children in their short time together. FamilySearch has three of the children but one, Harry, was fathered by Walter WILLIS, a textile worker in the West Riding. Again, FG&C is currently the more reliable source for this Willis branch pedigree.

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In Loving Memory of JOHN WILLIS, died Feb 26, 1919, aged 20 years.

Also JOHN WILLIS, father of the above, who was drowned at sea Jan 29, 1903, aged 30 years.

We shall meet again