Desert Rat, Desert Fox

Libya

This satellite view of a small square of Libya, where rock and sand meet the Mediterranean Sea, is in the vicinity of El Agheila (Al Uqaylah). After Operation Compass routed the Italians in North Africa, the Allied Forces rested in this area – until Erwin Rommel’s infant Afrika Korps arrived to send them packing on this day 1941.

Cecil SIMPSON was born at Cayton and baptized at St Oswald’s, Filey, on 6th March 1918. He was, therefore, 21 years old when the Second World War began.  I don’t know how soon he joined the army but he was with the 1st Battalion Royal Northumberland Fusiliers when a force commanded by The Desert Fox ended his life.

Cecil is remembered on the Alamein Memorial in Egypt (located about 1,000 kilometers from where he died), on the Gristhorpe Memorial in Filey Parish, and on his parents’ headstone in St Oswald’s churchyard.

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The pedigree of this branch of the Simpsons is not extensive on Filey Genealogy & Connections – and I have struggled today to find forebears on FST to whom he can be readily linked.

 

Mr Hepton’s Fire

The briefest of notes in Francis HEPTON’s record in Filey Genealogy & Connections runs:-

Fire at Mr. Frank Hepton’s 4 Rutland Terrace.  Damage small, March 19th.

It reminded me of that famously dull headline attributed to Claud COCKBURN – Small Earthquake in Chile, Not Many Dead.

Kath doesn’t give the year of the fire and, not surprisingly, I can’t find a newspaper report about it. (Shades of Chile.) The Hepton’s were enumerated at Rutland Terrace in 1891 with three children, Esther the Second, John William, and Harry. There would be two boys named Francis and two named George Mainprize and they all joined Esther the First in early graves.

The second Esther saw to it that her husband Frederick WEBSTER, who died young, and her parents, are remembered in Filey churchyard. Before she married in 1903 she was running a lodging house at 3, The Parade (The Beach). She is in the 1902 Directory as “Etty”. Her HEPTON forebears, with several variant spellings, are well represented on FST.

G702_WEBSTERfredk_20120812_fst

Scottow · Scotter

Mark SCOTTOW was baptized this day, 1854, in Runton, Norfolk. In August 1917 Mark SCOTTER was “killed by enemy submarine”.

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The origins of surnames are often fancifully explained on websites that hope to sell you parchments but I found one today that suggested SCOTTOW derived from a village of that name in Mark’s birth county. It also pointed out that there was a village in Lincolnshire called SCOTTER.

Ancestry has re-designed the surname distribution maps it freely provides online.

1891_ScotterFamilies_Ancestry

Taken at face value, this map shows a Norfolk heartland and zero Scotters in Lincolnshire, so if one accepts the morphing of Mark’s surname in his lifetime, the Scottow theory looks good.

Mark was part of the Norfolk Scottow/Scotter diaspora to the Yorkshire coast and the above map doesn’t register the seven Scotter families in Filey in 1891. If you read the small print, though, you will see that Yorkshire has 42% of Scotter families in England and Wales in that census year. We need a more accurate map.

SCOTTOW is ranked =206 in Filey surnames with 23 males and 6 females.

SCOTTER is ranked =25 with 93 males and 85 females.

These are “unique individuals” in Kath’s Filey Genealogy & Connections database, not people counted several times in census returns.

I counted the birth registrations in the districts containing Scottow, Norfolk and Scotter, Lincolnshire in three decades, 1851-60, 1871-80 and 1901-1910, and in Scarborough Registration District.

There were no Scottows or Scotters registered in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire over those 30 years.

Thirteen Scottow births were registered in Erpingham, Norfolk in the first decade and none in the last.  There was one Scottow birth in Scarborough between 1851 and 1860 and three in the last decade.

For Scotter the count for the three decades in Erpingham was 5, 8 and 4.

For Scarborough, it was 4, 23 and 22.

This is a rather sketchy statistical analysis but it seems to confirm the growing acceptance of Scotter over the “original” Scottow – and the migration of Norfolk fisher families to the Yorkshire coast.

In 2011, David Scotter wrote three articles about the diaspora for Looking at Filey. You can learn more about Mark here.

Mark on FST.

Private Abbott

AbbottGAThe first name on the Filey War Memorial seems to be a mistake. A search on the CWGC website brings a George Alfred, Manchester Regiment, and a gunner with the initials G A who served in the South African Field Artillery. I think the initials should be ‘E A’.

Private Ernest Alfred ABBOTT enlisted in the Huntingdonshire Cyclists when the battalion was formed. Posted to Filey early in 1915, he courted local girl Mary Ann STORK and the couple married on 11th December 1915 at St Oswald’s.

When the Hunts Cyclists were disbanded in 1916 he was transferred to the 683rd Agricultural Company, Army Labour Corps (Service No. 434613). He died in Cambridge Easton General Hospital on 18th November 1918, a week after the Armistice. The exact cause of his death is not known. He is buried in St Oswald’s churchyard.

Dan Eaton, In Flanders Fields…The men of Filey who fought and died during the Great War for Civilization (1914 – 1919)

His birth registration, though, gives his name as Arthur Ernest, and for some records of his short life he omitted the middle name and just answered to Ernest.

When I looked him up on Lives of the First World War, two people were remembering him. A photograph of his headstone has been added but there isn’t much detail about his life.

Filey Genealogy & Connections has very little about Ernest’s origins, and Mary Ann was illegitimate so her pedigree is difficult to research. FamilySearch Tree was more helpful, providing a start with his birth family – a father and eight siblings. The mother was given as “Ann M. ABBOTT” but the GRO quickly supplied her birth name – GAVINS – and four more children. Ernest was the youngest, then, of thirteen. Ernest’s father and eldest brother had the middle name “FAVELL” and it was no surprise that this proved to be the maiden surname of his paternal grandmother.

Most of these Abbotts and their spouses were landed peasantry from a small area of Huntingdonshire. Initially, I had the notion that it had taken a war to push Ernest out of his family heartland but research unearthed an earlier migration of some Abbotts to Yorkshire. Ernest’s Aunt Rebecca married agricultural labourer Joseph ROBINSON in Alconbury cum Weston in the mid-1850s,  and the childless couple moved to the Howden area of East Yorkshire sometime between 1871 and 1881. They both died in 1910 before Ernest was sent to Filey with the Hunts Cyclists. Rebecca departed first, in July, and was buried in Howden. Joseph, in his mid-seventies, had no family to care for him and was dispatched to the workhouse where he died before the year was out.

After Ernest’s death, Mary Ann didn’t fare well. Their only child was two years old and another boy was born in late 1919. Life must have been a great struggle for her and she died in the North Riding Asylum in York in 1924. The Borthwick Institute in York probably has details of her last weeks or months there, and maybe a photograph. I hope she wasn’t certified as a lunatic – and that the Abbott boys did well after their difficult start in life.