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WATKINSONr_WW2Motor Launch 201 was one of eight such vessels in the 13th Flotilla of a Royal Navy Coastal Force based at Yarmouth during World War Two. On this day, 1941, one of its crew, Able Seaman, Robert WATKINSON, lost his life. One brief entry online records that he was “killed”. The marble block on the family grave in St Oswald’s churchyard says otherwise. I haven’t been able to determine what actually happened.

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Filey Genealogy & Connections reveals an extensive pedigree, showing Robert’s descent from several of the town’s fishing families. On his father’s side a 3rd great grandfather is George JENKINSON, and on his mother’s George’s brother, Robert JENKINSON – the sons of Robert (1756-1808) and Margaret TRUCKLES.

Robert’s pedigree on FamilySearch Tree is waiting for the scattered fragments to be linked together. I have made a start.

Birth, Marriage, Death, and Burial

1902_HAXBYjenkSIGNATURE.Jenkinson, the last of the ten children born to Richard  HAXBY and Hannah CAMMISH, arrived on this day, 1875. When he was 27, and four years married to Sarah Lizzie SCOTTER, he attended the wedding of older brother Robert and signed the register.

Robert was a 35-year-old bachelor when he married Eliza WATKINSON, (29, spinster). The couple would have three children, George William, born 1903, Richard (1905) and Elizabeth Watkinson (1907).

On the 23rd March 1911, Robert was drowned about eight miles north-east of Flamborough Head.

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Though described in this report as a motor coble, I suspect Annie was perhaps a yawl – to have carried a small boat. In the Deaths at Sea Register (from whence the eight miles distance comes), Robert is listed as “2nd Hand”. I don’t know who the boy Cammish may have been and Captain Syd’s database doesn’t offer a likely candidate for Annie. It does, however, indicate that James DOUGLAS, born 1885, had taken ownership of Contest a week before this sad event. Perhaps the other Filey fisherman James, born 1860 and Sexton at St Oswald’s in his twilight years, was the owner named above.

The funeral of Robert’s son, Richard, lost from Joan Margaret (Tuesday’s post), took place on the 23rd March 1941. A small headstone also remembers his parents and William WATKINSON, an uncle I think.

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In loving memory of RICHARD HAXBY, killed by enemy action, 20th March 1941, aged 36.

‘Love’s last gift’

Also of his parents, ROBERT, lost at sea, 23rd March 1911, aged 43.

ELIZA, died 29th July 1944, aged 72.

Also, WILLIAM WATKINSON, died 2nd Jan 1934, aged 85.

The loss of Robert is also recalled on a much grander stone.

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The “Memory” to Robert on FST has the inscription.

Wiles and Wailes

Researching family units occasionally throws up small surprises of particular types. Here are a couple from my recent efforts.

The married male head of a household in one census may have a wife with a different given name in the next. The ready assumption is that there has been a death in the family – and a second marriage.

In 1871, recently married Thomas WATKINSON is enumerated in Outhert’s Square, Filey, with wife Mary and first child Mary Jane. Ten years later this Watkinson family unit is living in Wenlock Place – Thomas, Mary and five children.

In 1891 Thomas and MARGARET are just around the corner from the previous address, with four of the five children, plus three more, and a lodger. But there hasn’t been a parent death or a second marriage.

In the record for Thomas in Filey Genealogy & Connections, Kath makes a note:

Haven’t yet worked out why his wife should be entered as Mary in familysearch.org when he married Margaret who lived until 1912.

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This scrap of the page image is clear enough. And so is the marriage record.

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“Mary’s” age is given as 29 in 1881 and Margaret is 39 in 1891. A search for birth records yielded nothing convincing for a plain Mary, one for Margaret WILES and another for Margaret WYLES. The first Margaret’s birth was registered in Driffield and the second in Bridlington. The Margaret of the 1891 and 1911 censuses gives her birthplace as North Burton, so Bridlington it is:

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Find Margaret on FamilySearch Treebut the parents are, as yet, childless. And the Mary Mystery has not been solved!

The second surprise type this week caused a gnashing of teeth. (Sorry, couldn’t resist.) Surgeon WHEELHOUSE and Agnes Caroline COWELL had four girls. One died in infancy and, I think, only first-born Caroline Agnes married. She had two sons with George Herbert ROWE. The younger, Claude Hamerton ROWE, was in his early twenties when his grandfather Claudius died but he married Marjorie Eteson WAILES two or three years after the Wheelhouse grandparents had departed for the better place.

Claude is also playing a waiting game on FamilySearch Tree. Marjorie’s grandfather, George, hasn’t brought her to the church yet, to give her away. Indeed, as I write this, she hasn’t been born to Frederic Hill WAILES and Annie Beatrice WAILES. I don’t know about you, but I always find it discombobulating when two people with the same family name marry. As happens in most such instances, this couple is not related by blood, but they make extending the pedigree back in time more awkward. I’m a dab hand at mixing up same name grandfathers.

Quite a few of the Wailes departed are resting in St Mary’s churchyardBirdforth. I’m envious. You can read about some of them here.

A Coincidence Chain

I wrote about Robert Jenkinson WATKINSON  back in August, on the anniversary of his death in 1917 on the Western Front. Eight months before his birth, his father had been lost at sea off St Abbs Head, about 140 miles north of Filey. That family tragedy happened 126 years ago today.

Looking more closely into the event this morning, I soon discovered that Robert Jenkinson senior had not drowned from a fishing boat but from the SS Bear, Master J. HAWRIE. The cargo ship was carrying pig iron from Middlesbrough to Grangemouth and sank after a collision with SS Britannia. Twelve of her crew of 14 drowned. (Sources: Canmore and Wreck Site.)

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I wondered…

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Reverend Thomas was the incumbent at Filey for 42 years (1831-1873). He has a memorial window in St Oswald’s but the sources readily to hand only reveal him making a speech now and again and “solemnly dedicating” the first Hollon lifeboat. He perhaps wasn’t a hard act for Reverend Basil K. WOODD to follow.

Basil, remarkably, had something in common with Mrs. NORFOLK – they shared the middle name Kilvington. It isn’t immediately apparent that the two were related. Sarah’s maiden name was BARSTOW and she was born in Acomb, about 16 miles from Basil’s birthplace, Aldborough. (Although The Driffield Times notice says the Reverend JACKSON was “of Acomb” he appears to have been a native of Beverley.)

KILVINGTON, as a family name, is surely derived from a geographical location. It is very much a Yorkshire name but there is only South Kilvington in the county. Nottinghamshire has Kilvington – but not many people bearing the name in the 19th century.

Whatever, this coincidence seems to beg further investigation.

FamilySearch is, perhaps for the first time in my experience, rather unhelpful. The Reverend Thomas has several PIDs but only this one gives a reasonable starting point. Others give him the “wrong” spouse and somebody else’s children. The system seems to be culpable, rather than human contributors to the World Tree, but it is still a mess to be cleared up.

I promised in August to “expand” Robert Jenkinson WATKINSON the Younger’s family on FST but seem to have done next to nothing since then. There are not enough hours in the day!

If It Wasn’t for Bad Luck…

In the space of just over a year (1889/90) Robert Jenkinson WATKINSON saw his first three children die. A few months after burying the third his fishing boat was involved in a collision off St. Abbs Head and he drowned. He may or may not have known that his wife, Annie Elizabeth, was pregnant with their fourth child. Not surprisingly, she called the boy Robert Jenkinson.

In 1901 Annie and her son were living in Queen Street, with her father Jonah RICKABY and brother Denton. Ten years later the widow was an inmate at the Scarborough Workhouse in Dean Road, 46 years old, her occupation given as Domestic Servant. Robert was still living in Queen Street with Jonah and Denton, following his grandfather’s trade of Bootmaker/Dealer.

At the beginning of 1912 Jonah died – and at the end of the year Annie Elizabeth was released from her life of sadness and loss.

Her surviving son’s last job before he went to war was Verger at St. John’s Church in Filey. A hundred years ago he was with the 10th Battalion, The Queen’s (Royal West Surrey) Regiment. He was killed by a bomb, dropped at night from an aero plane on the unlit camp at Thieushouk, north-east France.

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This satellite view shows the farm on which the bomb fell. It is now the Vannobel Jean Horse Riding School. Less than a mile to the north is the Bertenacre Military Cemetery where Robert lies with the 37 comrades who died with him in the explosion. Their names are listed here.

The War Diary of the 10th Battalion is available online and reveals the relative worth of human life and grass.

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Robert Jenkinson is remembered in Filey Churchyard with his grandparents William WATKINSON and Mary nee JENKINSON.

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The East Yorkshire Family History Society transcription (entry 826) reads:-

In loving memory of WILLIAM WATKINSON, the beloved husband of MARY WATKINSON, died April 6th 1911, aged 71 years. “His end was peace.” Also of the above MARY WATKINSON, died Jan 1st 1926 aged 80 years. At rest. Also ROBERT J. WATKINSON, his grandson, Verger of St John’s Church of this town. Died in his country’s cause, Aug. 18th 1917 aged 26 years.

Robert Jenkinson WATKINSON senior is represented on FamilySearch Tree (minimally) but you will have to look on Genealogies to see Robert junior in the context of several generations. I have created a LaF Wiki page for the soldier and over the next day or two I’ll expand his family on FST.