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GREAT WAR ARTICLES

Deaths after the end of the Great War

In Remembrance of;
- Private James Percival Holliday
- Private Walter Travis
- Second Fisherman Frank Tindall
- Ship’s Cook Herbert Kipling


The crews of the Steam Trawlers "Strathord" and "Jack Johnson"
- Deck Hand Wilfred Allen
- Private Albert Williamson
- Deck Hand William Mollon

And so the Great War had ended. At precisely 11am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month the guns along the length of the Western Front had stopped firing. In an instant their gunners who had fed their veracious charges throughout the conflict had been out of a job. One would have expected the troops along the length and breadth of the front to have become delirious with excitement at the prospect of returning home alive, but as far as can be ascertained this had not happened. The British Official History has this to say about the effects of the Armistice and the aftermath of that ‘tumultuous’ happening:

When 11am came the troops took the occasion in their usual matter of fact way: there was no outburst of cheering, no wild scenes of rejoicing. Those who could lie down to sleep. The others went quietly about their duty with the strange feeling that all danger was absent. But after dark all gave way to rejoicing, searchlights wobbled in the sky, coloured lights of every description and S.O.S. signals illuminated the front lines, rockets went whizzing into the air, and field batteries fired their star shells. Some adventurous spirits lit bonfires, exploded small ammunition dumps and laid trails of guncotton and explosives which ran spluttering over the countryside like huge fiery serpents’… [1]

Gradually, the out of work British soldiers had returned to their homes having been fortunate to have survived a war that had killed [according to statistics supplied by ‘The Times’ newspaper] over eight hundred and fifty thousand, and wounded over two million of their comrades, whilst the remaining German troops had marched back into their fatherland having lost over one million dead, and four million wounded, whilst the French had suffered over a million killed and over two million wounded. Locally, by the time of the Armistice, Scarborough and its immediate district had lost 636 men killed in action, 756 wounded, and a further 68 men had been listed as ‘missing’. In addition, one hundred and fifty six men belonging to the district had been taken prisoner, and whilst the majority of these had survived their, sometimes-gruesome ordeals, a number had not survived to tell the tale. Amongst them had been;
17313 Private James Percival Holliday. The son of ‘joiner’s labourer’ Richard, and Elizabeth Holliday, although James had been born at Grimsby [during 1896], he had spent many years as a resident of Scarborough at No.9 St John’s Street [off Aberdeen Walk, the street is now named Aberdeen Street]. Before the war a barman at the Queen’s Hotel, situated at No.119 Queen’s Terrace, at the outbreak of war Holliday had reputedly been the first of Scarborough’ residents to enlist for war service during August 1914, and had eventually served on the Western Front with the Territorial Force 1ST/5TH Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. Yet another veteran of the Battalion’s ‘Baptism of fire’ during the Battle of St Julien [April 23RD 1915], James Holliday had survived this blood soaked episode in the battalion’s history to serve with the unit throughout the remainder of the war, until his capture, like so many of his comrades, whilst taking part in operations in the Aisne Sector, on the Chemin des Dames, where, during the 27TH of May 1918, the 1ST/5TH Yorkshire had ceased to exist as a coherent fighting unit.

Amongst the hundreds of Yorkshiremen that had been marched into captivity in Germany following this action, Holliday had spent the remainder of the war in various German P.O.W. Camps, including the huge and infamous camp in Prussian Saxony located near the town of Langensalza, where he had died, probably of starvation, shortly before the end of the war.

The news of Private Holliday’s demise had been included in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 24TH of January 1919:

‘Scarboro man’s death in Germany - First man recruited at Spa meeting in 1914 - Mrs. Holliday, 9 St John’s Street, has received information through the Red Cross Society that her son, Private James Percival Holliday, of the 5TH Yorks. Regiment, who has been a prisoner in Germany, had died in Germany sometime between the 9TH and 31ST of November. The news lacks official confirmation by the War Office. Although three months ago, a letter was received from Pte. Holliday, stating that he was short of food. Before joining up he was a barman at the Queen’s Hotel Vaults and it is interesting to recall that he was the first volunteer at the recruiting meeting of the Spa in 1914’…

Officially recorded as having died on the 26TH of October 1918, the remains of Private Holliday had initially been interred in Langensalza Prisoner of War Cemetery No.2, however, during the post war years they, along with those of two hundred and twenty four fellow prisoners that had died in the camp between 1915 and 1918, had been re-interred near the town of Kassel in Niederwehren Cemetery. Located some ten kilometres to the south of Kassel and two from the main road between that town and Marburg, Niederwehren Cemetery contains the graves of over one thousand seven hundred Prisoners of War, James Holliday’s is located in Section 6, Row H, Grave 12.

Apart from Scarborough’s Oliver’s Mount Memorial James Holliday’s name is not commemorated on any other of the town’s surviving war memorials.

A regular, and much read, feature in Scarborough’s press throughout the four years of war, the final ‘Scarboro Casualties’ listing had appeared in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 20TH of December 1918. On some tragic occasions containing the names of far too many local men that had fallen in the battles of Ypres and Loos of 1915, the Somme Offensive of 1916, the Battles of Arras and Passchendaele of 1917, and finally the recently ended Allied Offensive of 1918, by December 1918 the newspaper had resorted to reporting the death of a single soldier.

‘Scarboro Casualty - Died after Influenza - Mrs. Travis, 3 Clifton Street, Scarborough, has received official information that her husband, Private Walter Travis, A.S.C., died from pneumonia, following Influenza, in South Africa on December 13TH. He joined the army in March 1917, and he has seen service in East Africa up to his illness. He died in Durban. Deceased was 37 years of age…

Born in south Yorkshire on the edge of the Pennines in the small village of Thurgoland, M/302194 Private Walter Travis had been the eldest son of Ruth and ‘wire drawer’ Benjamin Travis. Although not a native of the town by the outbreak of war Walter and wife Alice Travis, had been residing in Scarborough at No.3 Clifton Street, where he manager of the ‘Mirror Window Cleaning Company’. Travis had eventually enlisted into the Army Service Corps during March 1917 where he had served at Aldershot on ‘Home Service’ with the A.S.C.’s 52ND Company until February 1918, when he had been posted to serve in the God forsaken German East African campaign as a driver with the Motor Transport Section of the 599TH Company, the A.S.C.’s Base Depot and Repair Unit located at Dar-es-Salam, before being sent into the bush to serve at an Advanced Motor Transport Depot at Handeni.
[Popularly known as ‘Ally Sloper’s Cavalry’ during late 1918 a Royal Warrant had announced the addition of ‘Royal’ to the title of the Army Service Corps in recognition of the magnificent and invaluable part played during the war by the officers and men of the A.S.C.]

In general, a forgotten theatre of the Great War that had become more notorious for the huge numbers of military personnel that had become casualties due to sickness rather than enemy action, the conditions faced by Private Travis during the operations in East Africa can be gauged from the despatches of Lieutenant General The Honourable J.C. Smuts, Commander in Chief of the East African Force:

…"The Mechanical Transport was in a seriously damaged condition in consequence of the strain of continuous work over appalling roads, or trackless country, and extensive repairs, for which there had been no time, were essential. The personnel of this Transport suffered, as did every other branch of the forces, from the same diseases as affected the fighting troops, and as men dropped out increasing strain was thrown on those able to keep going, until the loss of men threw scores of vehicles out of work. Anima diseases had wiped out horses, mules, and oxen by thousands, and it was necessary to replace this transport in some way or other before movement was possible. The strain upon all ranks of all units and services due to the steadily increasing effects of disease reached the limit which was endurable"… [2]

Amongst the thousands of servicemen to be affected during the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic, a seriously ill Walter Travis had duly been evacuated from Handeni to Durban in South Africa where he had been admitted into No 3 South African General Hospital. Whilst there he had expired on the 13TH of December 1918. Shortly after his death the remains of Private Travis had been interred in the lager communal burial ground on the outskirts of Durban known as Durban [Stellawood] Cemetery’. Located at the intersection of Stellawood Road and Umbilo Road, Stellawood Cemetery contains the graves of over one hundred and ninety casualties of the Great War, and over four hundred and ninety from the Second World War. Amongst two hundred and seventy men of the Army Service Corps who had died whilst on active service in East Africa, Walter Travis’s final resting place is to be found in Section F, Grave 110.

‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 20TH of December had also included the following in its ‘Births, Marriages, and Deaths’ column:

‘Travis—On December 13TH in South Africa from Pneumonia, Walter Travis, R.A.S.C., aged 37, husband of Mrs Alice Travis, 3 Clifton Street, Scarborough’…

Like Private Holliday, apart from Scarborough’s Oliver’s Mount Memorial, Walter Travis’s name is not included on any other of the town’s surviving ‘Great War’ memorials.

Following close on the heels of the Armistice, one may have assumed that the people of Britain had begun to look forward to the first Christmas of world peace. However, with rationing in full swing and the country reeling from the tragic losses of war, along with the equally appalling effects of the ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic, there had seemed to be very little to celebrate. There had been even less to celebrate amongst the community of the ‘bottom end’ of Scarborough when, a few days prior to the eve of the meagre festivities that would be the Christmas of 1918, the fishing community had been shattered to learn of the loss of two of their menfolk with the 129 tons steam trawler ‘Grecian Prince’, which had been engulfed in a massive explosion during Sunday the 15TH of December 1918, reportedly after trawling up a mine whilst fishing off the coast of Northern Scotland some sixteen miles N.E. of Kinnaird Head .

Although registered in North Shields the trawler had been fishing out of Aberdeen for some time and had been carrying a crew of ten, predominantly Scottish, fishermen, and despite having sunk in less than five minutes, two of the Grecian Prince’s crew had miraculously been plucked from the freezing North Sea by another trawler that had been fishing in the vicinity of the lost trawler. However, of the other eight members of her crew, there had been no sign.

Amongst the missing had been thirty-four years old: Second Fisherman Frank Tindall. Born in Scarborough at No. 60 Longwestgate on Thursday the 5TH of January 1882, Frank had been the third son of Betsy and ‘fried fish shop keeper’ Benjamin Tindall. [3]

A pupil of St Thomas’s Board School, in Longwestgate, at the age of thirteen Frank had left formal education to begin work in Scarborough’s flourishing fishing industry and had worked in a number of the town’s fishing vessels until 1912, when he had moved to Aberdeen to work out of that port. Living at No.76 Victoria Road in the Torry district of Aberdeen by the outbreak of war in August 1914, by this time Frank had been the husband of Lilian Pickles, the Scarborough born [1888] eldest daughter of trawler fisherman Henry and Isabella Pickles.

Also living in Aberdeen at the outbreak of hostilities had been the Grecian Prince’s cook, and Frank Tindall’s brother in law; Herbert Kipling had been born in Leeds during 1882, and had been the son of City of Leeds labourer George, and Elizabeth Kipling.

Although born in the West Riding, ‘Bert’ Kipling had lived for much of his life in Scarborough, having arrived in the town at the turn of the century he had initially lodged with the Lenton family in Scarborough’s Mill Lane and had worked in Scarborough as a ‘general labourer’. Married at Scarborough’s St Mary’s Parish Church on Saturday the 27TH of September 1910 to Frank’s youngest sister [born 1885] Mary Elizabeth ‘Lizzie’ Tindall, after the ceremony the couple had lived for a while with the Tindall family at No. 14 Garibaldi Street, however, by 1912 the couple had moved to No.53 Jasmine Terrace in Aberdeen, where their daughter, Eva, had eventually been born.

A risky business at any time, during the war fishing had obviously become extremely perilous due to enemy mines and the activities of a very active German submarine force. Nevertheless, fishing had continued, and Tindall and Kipling had survived numerous close shaves with the enemy and bad weather during the war only to be killed, ironically, on the doorsteps of peace and during a calm night.

An incident that had taken place at a time when the world’s attention had been focused elsewhere, the sinking of the Grecian Prince had caused barely a ripple in the national press, and in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 20TH of December the loss of two local men had been covered in a single paragraph:

‘Two Scarborough men lost on a trawler - Two Scarborough men, Herbert Kipling and Frank Tindall, have lost their lives by the blowing up of the trawler Egyptian Prince by a mine’…

The same newspaper had also included the lost men’s names in its ‘Births, Death’s, and Marriages’ section:

‘Kipling---Lost at sea, on 15TH December, with S.T. Grecian Prince, through mine explosion. Herbert Kipling, dearly beloved husband of Lizzie Tindall---sadly missed and deeply mourned’…

‘Tindall--- Lost at sea, December 15TH,with the S.T. Grecian Prince, through mine explosion. Frank Tindall, dearly beloved son of Mrs. Tindall, late of 14 Garibaldi Street—Deeply mourned by mother, sisters, and brothers’…

Neither the bodies of Frank Tindall and Herbert Kipling, nor the other six casualties of the mining of the Grecian Princess had ever been recovered from the North Sea and the names of the eight fishermen had eventually been included on the Tower Hill Memorial in London. Situated on the city’s Tower Hill, this Memorial commemorates the names of over twelve thousand officers and seamen of the British Mercantile Marine and fishing fleet that had lost their lives during the Great War of 1914-1918 who possess no known graves but the sea [the attached World War Two Extension commemorates a further 24,000 casualties of that war].

Apart from the town’s Oliver’s Mount Memorial, in Scarborough, the names of Frank Tindall and Herbert Kipling are perpetuated in Dean Road Cemetery [Section F, Row 16, Grave 30] on a magnificently carved, albeit paint bespattered and weathered, gravestone which also bears the names of the remainder of the Tindall family including Frank’s youngest brother, Arthur Ernest, who had passed away at the age of one year and four months, on the 19TH of May 1892 and that of his father Benjamin Tindall, who had died at the age of forty six years, on the 22ND of June 1894.

The names of Frank Tindall and Herbert Kipling can be found on the reverse of this memorial along with those of brothers Benjamin Jnr., who had died at the age of forty-one years, on the 4TH of December 1913, Richard on the 29TH of October 1950, and William on the 23RD of April 1952. The memorial also contains the names of sister Eliza, who had died on the 10TH of June 1958. The memorial also bears the name of Margaret Tindall [born in Scarborough during 1875] but not the date of her demise.

Although recorded on the memorial as having passed away on the 30TH of December 1944, Herbert Kipling’s wife, Annie Elizabeth Kipling had in fact died in Scarborough two years earlier, during Thursday the 31ST of December 1942. Never to remarry following the demise of her husband ‘Lizzie’ Kipling’s funeral had taken place during the afternoon of Monday the 4TH of January 1943.

The final name recorded on the Tindall’s memorial is that of Franks’ mother, Betsy Tindall. Born in Scarborough during 1848, Betsy had been the daughter of George and Ann Cordukes and had passed away in the town on the 29TH of January 1924 at the age of seventy-four years. The memorial to one of Scarborough’s finest ‘bottom end’ families also contains the following dedication to a noble mother, Mrs. Betsy Tindall:

‘Gathered with her loved in Paradise - During 1919 thousands of out of work British servicemen, like my grandfather, former Royal Engineers Pioneer Charles Allen, had returned to their native country to find a land far removed from that supposedly ‘fit for heroes’ that had been promised by the newly re-elected David Lloyd George. Charlie had returned to Scarborough to marry nineteen years old sweetheart, Asenarth ‘Senie’ Thorpe who had already been heavily pregnant with their first child, and my mother, Dorothy Lillian. Unable to find work in Scarborough Charlie had shortly been forced from the town of his birth to move to Skinningrove where he had laboured in front of the furnaces of the town’s iron foundry.

Charlie Allen’s story had not been uncommon during those first tentative months of peace. Soldiers, sailors, and airmen had returned to their homeland to find their old jobs had been taken by the less active men who had not been accepted for war service, and most importantly by women, an indicator of the massive changes that had occurred whilst they had been at the front. In addition, with their country not only ravaged by the loss of thousands of people due to the ‘Spanish Flu’, accompanied with acute shortages of food stocks, the returning warrior had had very little to look forward to. More fortunate in their return to their homeland, had been the fishermen of Scarborough, many of whom had seen extensive war service in the minesweepers of the Royal Naval Reserve, and had more or less taken up their old jobs where they had left off. Amongst these men had been thirty four years old; Samuel Ward Normandale.

Born in Scarborough during 1886, Sam Normandale had been the son of fisherman Thomas and Annie Normandale [Thomas Normandale and Ann Elizabeth Ward had been married at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 25TH of March 1879]. Married to the twenty four years old Eliza Wright in St Mary’s Parish Church on the 28TH of October 1911, by the beginning of the Great War Sam and Eliza had been residing in Scarborough at No 1 Paradise Row, and before beginning war service in 1917 had been regarded as one of the top trawler skippers of the town.

Formally in command of the trawlers ‘Seal’ and ‘Scorpion’, it had been whilst fishing in the latter vessel some twenty miles north east of Whitby on the 25TH of September 1916 that eleven of Scarborough’ fishing fleet had been wiped out by a single German U’ Boat’. Although fishing with this group of vessels, Normandale had managed to evade destruction to bring the Scorpion safely back to Scarborough, which by this time had had a trawling fleet numbering just four vessels.

By 1917 the skipper of the brand new trawler ‘Catspaw’, Normandale had shortly been enrolled by the Admiralty, along with his ship and crew, into the Trawler Section of the Royal Naval Reserve, and had seen extensive service throughout the remainder of the war in this vessel. Demobbed during 1919 skipper Normandale had returned to Scarborough to continue to live with wife Eliza at No1 Paradise Row.

Hit badly during the war by the action of U Boats and mines, Scarborough’s relatively large fishing fleet had sorely depleted in the years between 1914 and 1916, especially during the latter, when, on the 13TH of July the town had lost the Florence and Dalhousie, two trawlers that had been captured, and eventually sunk by German U-Boats approximately ten miles to the north east of Whitby. Mention has already been made of the episode two months later when eleven Scarborough vessels had been lost to enemy action, whilst in the same area six steam trawlers from other ports had met the same fate in almost the same area. Nevertheless, despite the hazards, an acute shortage of fish had meant high prices for the few that had been caught, and fishermen, being fishermen, had taken the risk and continued to ply their calling. Many stories circulate of fishermen being stopped by German submarine commanders who had asked for fish for his crew’s suppers, few had, obviously, refused the request.

At the end of the war the many Admiralty requisitioned fishing vessels had been returned to civilian hands. Amongst them had been the Strathord. Built at Aberdeen during 1906 by Hall, Russell & Co., for the Aberdeen Steam Trawling and Fishing Company, the 195 tons trawler had been requisitioned during August 1914 to be converted to a minesweeper. A veteran of the Gallipoli campaign the Strathord had served her country well by the time of the Armistice. However, shortly after the momentous event the Strathord had been returned to her Scottish owners who had shortly sold her to Mr A.F.G. McConkey, the Chairman of Scarborough’s ‘Raincliffe Steam Trawling Company’.

Re registered in Scarborough [S.H.125] the Strathord had been brought from Scotland and into Scarborough Harbour by Sam Normandale, her new skipper, the vessel shortly embarking for the fishing grounds to the north east of the town, well trodden waters she would ply until her death during the night of Monday the 23RD of February 1920 about thirty seven miles to the east north east of Scarborough’s Castle Hill.

The news of the loss of the Strathord had been borne into Scarborough by Sam Normandale’s elder brother. The skipper of the Spence Macdonald, William Normandale [born Scarborough 1882] had reportedly witnessed the disaster and during a subsequent interview that had been reported in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 27TH of February he had said that it had been at about ten minutes to ten on Monday evening when the Strathord had been mined. His vessel, being the nearest to the ill-fated ship, had been about to go alongside the trawler ‘to speak to her’ when the explosion took place. Normandale had continued:

…"We heard them knocking out the warps to haul, when there an explosion followed by another, which would be caused by the boilers exploding. Then down came a dense fog right on the job before we could do anything. I expect that he either got the mine in his trawl, or got it in the cod end and dropped it on deck. But I think it was underneath the vessel, in his trawl. In another three seconds we should have been alongside him"…

Bill Normandale had also said that following the two explosions he had hauled in his trawl and had laid stopped in the fog for over six hours in the hope of hearing anything, but no sounds had been heard. The Spence Macdonald had then trawled amongst the great quantity of floating wreckage to find the Strathord’s undamaged ship’s boat, and a lifebuoy bearing the stricken vessel’s name, following these discoveries the heavyhearted Bill Normandale had taken the Spence Macdonald back to Scarborough, knowing there had been nothing more he could do for his lost brother and his crew. [4]

The news of the Strathord’s loss had come as a bitter blow to Scarborough’s fishing fraternity, the tidings being included in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 27TH of February 1920:
‘Scarborough fishing disaster - Trawler mined and sunk - Loss of entire crew of ten - News that a Scarborough trawler, the Strathord, had been destroyed by a mine explosion at sea with the loss of the whole of its crew, which was made known at Scarborough by trawlers returning to port on Tuesday afternoon cast a deep gloom over the seafaring part of the town, and was received with consternation generally. The vessel carried a crew of ten. The last tragedy of this magnitude which occurred to a local vessel was the loss of the local trawler Condor early in the war [1915]. The Condor was mined somewhere about the same hour, ten o’clock, but its end was not actually witnessed from other vessels. The tragic loss of the Strathord is a further illustration that the mine peril which was so great during the war, has not been ended with the advent of peace’…

Nine Scarborough fishermen apart from Skipper Samuel Normandale had perished with the Strathord. The majority of them had been married men, each the father of at least one child. They had been:

Second Hand George Andrew Cowburn. Born at Morley in the West Riding of Yorkshire during 1872, George had been the eldest son of the late James and Priscilla Cowburn, who had lived for a number of years in Scarborough at No 84 Quay Street. Married in Scarborough during 1895, George had been the husband of Elizabeth Hannah Cowburn of No 32 Grange Avenue, Scarborough.

Third Hand Joseph Hope. Born at No5 Bird Yard in the village of Cloughton, on the 23RD of February 1881, Joe had been the son of Ann and ‘general labourer’ William Hope. By the turn of the century employed on Scarborough’s fish market as a ‘porter’, on the 17TH of October 1901 he had been married in St Mary’s Parish Church to Isabella Stockill, the eighteen years old daughter of Ann and Edward Stockill. The father of Joe, Ellen Ena [Nellie], and Eva Hope, the family had been residing at of No 12 Aberdeen Terrace, Scarborough by 1920.

Chief Engineer Edwin Coltas Cappleman. Aged thirty five years at the time of his death, Edwin Cappleman had been born in Scarborough during 1884, and had been the son of Samuel and Mary Hannah Cappleman of No19 Potter Lane, Scarborough. Married in St Mary’s Parish Church on the 23RD of April 1913, ‘Ted’ had been the husband of Elsie [formally Laybourne], and father of Winifred Maud Cappleman [Baptised at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 1ST of April 1918], of No22 Clark Street. [5]

Second Engineer John Warwick. Aged forty three by February 1920, Scarborough born ‘Jack’ Warwick had been the son of John and Mary Warwick. Married at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 3RD of July 1900, Jack had also been the husband of Annie Louisa [formally Smith] of No6 Clarkson’s Buildings, Longwestgate, Scarborough. Jack had been killed whilst making his first trip in the Strathord following his transfer from the Scarborough steam trawler ‘Ayanconera’, in place of the Strathord’s regular Second Engineer [a man named as ‘Cammish’], who had remained ashore due to injuries to his hands.

Deck Hand Alfred Hector Littlewood. Born in Scarborough during 1898, Alf had been the eldest son of Annie, and Scarborough Corporation gardener James Littlewood Aged twenty two at the time of his death, Alf had also been the husband of Gladys May [formally Bennett] of No 5 Long Greece Steps, Scarborough.

Trimmer John Flynn. Born at Scarborough during 1896, ‘Jack’ had been twenty three years old husband of Elizabeth Flynn and father of Elizabeth Evelyn Flynn, who had been born at No 30 ‘The Bolts’, during 1907 [Another of John’s daughters, Mary Jane Flynn, had died at the age of 7 years, shortly after her father, on the 27TH of September 1920].

Deck Hand/Trimmer James Henry Williamson. Born at Hull during 1900, James had been the son of fisherman Edward and Jane Williamson who had been living in Scarborough at No 88 Longwestgate during 1920. At the time that the Strathord had been lost Edward Williamson had been fishing nearby in the trawler ‘Tryphena’, and had been amongst the men who had heard the explosion that had killed his son. [5]

Ship’s Cook Thomas Henry Atkin. Born in Scarborough on the 25TH of December 1870, Tom had been the forty nine years old son of ‘joiner’ George, and Anne Atkin, who had lived for many years in Scarborough at No19 Oxford Street. Married at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 16TH of July 1900, Tom had been the husband of Ellen Cook Atkin [formally Bielby], the couple living for a number of years at No17 Chapel Yard in Cross Street. However, by the time of her husband’s death ‘Nellie’ Atkin had been residing at No 41 Quay Street. The father of five children, Tom Atkin, a former Scarborough shoe repairer, or ‘cobbler’ had been another ‘first tripper’, having taken the place of the Strathord’s previous cook [a man named Coulson] just before the ship had sailed on her last voyage.

The youngest member of the Strathord’s crew had been the sixteen years old:

Deckhand Walter Morley. The son of John Charles and Sarah Jane [John Charles Morley and Sarah Jane Normandale had been married in Scarborough during the September quarter of 1904] Morley, Walter had also been a native of Scarborough. A former pupil of Friarage Board School and the recently opened [1918] Graham Sea Training School, Walter had been the nephew of Samuel and William Normandale, with whom he had sailed on numerous occasions ‘for pleasure’ in the Spence Mcdonald. This had, however, been his first, and last, trip to sea as a paid member of a crew, having taken the place at the last minute of a sick crewmember of the Strathord named Bielby.

Nine wives had been made widows, and twenty four children had become fatherless with the loss of the Strathord and one can well imagine the hardship that had been caused by their loss. To help alleviate this at the beginning of March 1920 a subscription fund had been set up by the town’s ‘Fishing Vessel Owners Association’, which had subscribed to the tune of £50 per boat. Over one thousand pounds had eventually been collected for the missing men’s families, but as one can imagine a hundred pounds per family had not lasted for long.

Of the men themselves there had been no sign. No remains had ever been recovered and their names had eventually been included on the Tower Hill Memorial located on London’s Tower Hill that is dedicated to the almost twelve thousand Merchant seamen and fishermen who had lost their lives as a result of the Great War of 1914-1919, and who have no known graves but the sea.

[The Tower Hill memorial also remembers 24,000 British Mercantile Marine casualties of the Second World War including Charlie Allen’s younger brother - Deck Hand Wilfred Allen. Born in Scarborough at No 8 Dog and Duck lane on the 18TH of February 1903, Wilf had been the youngest of two sons of fisherman James and Jane Elizabeth [formally Sheader] Allen, and had lost his life at the age of forty one years on the 5TH of July 1944 when the Steam Trawler Noreen Mary had been attacked without warning by the German U-247, and eventually sunk by machine gun fire whilst innocently fishing off Scotland’s Cape Wrath. The husband of Marjorie Allen [formally Ogle] and father of nine children, Wilf Allen is commemorated on Panel 127 of the Memorial].

Despite being casualties of the Great War and former members of the congregations of Scarborough’s St Thomas’s and St Mary’s Parish Churches, the men of the Strathord are not commemorated on either of the two commemorative tablets belonging to the former ‘Fishermen’s Church’, nor St Mary’s ‘Roll of Honour’ located on the north interior wall of St Mary’s Parish Church [The St Thomas’s memorials do, however, contain the name of Albert Williamson].

Amongst twenty nine Scarborough seamen that had lost their lives due to the First World War, all of the men of the Strathord are commemorated on the Oliver’s Mount Memorial. In addition a number are also commemorated in Scarborough’s Dean Road Cemetery. Skipper Samuel Ward Normandale’s name can be found in Section F, Border, Grave 49, on a gravestone that also bears the name of wife, Eliza Normandale. Born in Scarborough during 1887, Eliza had been the daughter of fisherman David, and Elizabeth Ann Wright, who had died at the age of sixty nine years on the 26TH of May 1956. This memorial also bears a fine engraving of the Strathord and the inscription:

‘Christ will link the broken chain closer when we meet again, Re-united’…

In Dean Road’s Section A, Border, Grave 41, another grave marker remembers the name of Third Hand Joseph Hope. A fine black marble memorial the stone also commemorates Joe’s wife Isabella Hope, who had died on the 2ND of March 1941 at the age of fifty six years, and daughter Ellen Ena, who had passed away on the 1ST of May 1994 at the age of eighty six years. This memorial also bears the inscription - ‘Sweet memories linger’…

The Strathord’s Chief Engineer, Edwin Coltas Cappleman, is commemorated in Scarborough’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section L, Row 10, Grave 26] on a gravestone which also includes the names of his parents: fisherman Samuel Cappleman, who had died at the age of 75 years on Saturday the 8TH of September 1923 at his home at No19 Potter Lane, and Mary Hannah Cappleman who had subsequently passed away at the age of 85 years during Friday the 10TH of January 1936.

The youngest member of the crew of the Strathord, fifteen years old Deck Hand Walter Morley is commemorated [‘Our loved one sadly missed’] on a fine marble memorial located in Dean Road’s Section E, Row 34, Grave 22, that also bears the names of his grandparents Ann E. Normandale, who had died at the age of sixty two years on the 26TH of March 1916, and Thomas Normandale who had passed away on the 18TH of January 1937 at the age of eighty three years. This memorial also contains the names of Tom and Lily, the son and daughter of Tom and Ann Normandale, who had died at the age of three and eight years on the 10TH of October 1887 and 19TH of September 1897 respectively.

Thousands upon thousands of mines had been laid by both sides in the coastal waters of Britain during the war and during the post war years the task of sweeping up these deadly objects had become a major problem for the minesweepers of the Royal Navy. One idea that had been thought up had been to use airships as minesweepers: however, as the almost perfect weather conditions needed for these operations had more often than not been unavailable, this notion had soon been dropped. Various contraptions had eventually been invented to help alleviate the obvious dangers to seafarers, in particular fisherman who had been issued with special ‘catching devices’ that had fitted to their trawl nets that had allowed fish into the net but had kept out mines. Another device had been concocted by the Admiralty which had allowed eight or ten swept mines to be scooped up by a ‘catcher’ that had allowed all the mines to be exploded on masse - the resulting massive explosion can only be imagined. Nevertheless, despite the ever-present legacies of war that had stalked the North Sea, and with fish bringing such high prices in the wake of the war, fishing had continued.

Just two months after the loss of the Strathord, during the early hours of Friday the ninth of April another of Scarborough’s fishing vessels had been destroyed by an exploding mine. On that occasion the victim had been the Steam Trawler ‘Tanaraki’. Built of steel during 1912 at Aberdeen, the 250tons trawler had also been a veteran of the war, having initially served from 1914 as a minesweeper and eventually as a decoy ‘Q Ship’, the vessel having taken part [in conjunction with the British submarine C 24] in the destruction of the German U-40 in the North Sea on the 23RD of June 1915. The first of only two U- Boat sinkings of this kind that had taken place during the war.

Returned to her owners [J.G. Smith of Fleetwood] at the end of hostilities, during 1920 the Tanaraki had been bought by Scarborough’s ‘Stepney Steam Fishing Company’. Skippered by veteran fisherman Charlie Wray, by the ninth of April she had been working some thirty five miles to the north east of Scarborough when a mine had picked up in her trawl. The consequences had been reported in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 9TH of April 1920 had reported:

‘Another Scarborough trawler disaster - News of another mine disaster to a Scarborough trawler, with the loss of one life, reached the town this morning when the local trawler Strathspey [a sister ship of the Strathord] arrived with nine survivors.

The ill fated vessel is the Taranaki, one of the largest vessels fishing out of the port and owned by the Stepney Steam Fishing Company. It carried a crew of ten including Skipper Chas. Wray.

It appears that the disaster occurred at about half past twelve, when the gear was being hauled. Amine was observed on the trawl-board and the crew commenced to lower the net back into the sea when the mine exploded killing one crewmember outright.

The crew made their escape in the small boat and were picked up by the Strathspey, the explosion being heard by those on board this trawler about an hour later…We gather as a result of the explosion the fore part of the boat was blown away, and the trawler quickly sank’…

Nine men had survived the sinking of the Tanaraki, apart from Skipper Charles Wray they had been Mate Samuel Smelly, Third Hand Charles Mansfield, Chief Engineer George Skelton, Second Engineer Thomas Raine, Fireman W. Lindsey, Deck Hand A. Wray, Spare Hand A. Fowler, and Cook W. Hollingsworth. The lone crewman who had lost his life had been seventeen years old: Deck Hand William Mollon.

Born in Scarborough during 1903, ‘Billy’ had been the son of Agnes and William Mollon, a butcher by trade, who had been residing at No 98 Longwestgate at the time of their son’s death. A former pupil of Scarborough’s Friarage Board School, Mollon had gone to sea as a ‘decky learner’ soon after leaving school at the age of fourteen. A veteran of three years of hard work in various steam trawlers, Billy had been making his first trip in the Tanaraki at the time of his demise.

Like those of the men of the Strathord, no remains of Billy Mollon had ever been recovered and is also commemorated on the Tower Hill Memorial in London.

Gradually the Admiralty had begun to re-open the previously restricted areas of water off the British coast [waters that many fishermen had worked throughout the war anyway], nevertheless, the Admiralty had warned all fishermen that the danger of picking up mines in their trawls had still existed and had strongly recommended that some ‘appropriate’ safety device be fitted to their nets to prevent the entry of extremely dangerous spheres that had still littered coastal waters. Despite the numerous warnings, during the early hours of Saturday the 4TH of September 1920 yet another Scarborough trawler had been lost with all hands due to the horned devils of the sea.

Built at Aberdeen by Hall, Russell & Co. Ltd for the Admiralty, the two hundred tons Steam Trawler ‘Charles Blight’ had been acquired soon after her completion during January 1919 by Scarborough trawler owner Mr James Johnson. Named after James Johnson’s son, the vessel, painted in a blue grey colour with a matching coloured funnel sporting a white band had duly arrived in Scarborough bearing the registration of ‘S.H. 46’ and the new name of ‘Jack Johnson’. Skippered by veteran fisherman, Mr James Walker, the Jack Johnson, at over one hundred feet in length, one of Scarborough’s largest fishing vessels, had soon set to work in the fishing grounds of the North Sea. Working alternately out of Scarborough and North Shields the Jack Johnson had been last seen at Scarborough as the trawler had put to sea during the afternoon of Friday the third of September after landing a large catch of fish two days earlier.

Fishing some forty-eight miles to the north east of the Tyne the Jack Johnson had last been sighted by the skipper of the North Shields trawler ‘Island Prince’ who had seen the vessel during the late afternoon of Friday the third steaming in an east by half south direction. The unnamed skipper had later reported…‘On or about 1am while trawling 48 miles from the Tyne I heard a sound as of a big gun in the distance, and about 2-15 on the 4th inst I was in the wheelhouse with the man on watch when one of the crew said that there were pieces of driftwood going by. It was very thick and raining at the time. I ordered the small boat to be got ready and we rowed and steamed about and never heard anything, and saw only small wreckage, but nothing to pick up’…

The explosion had also been heard by the men aboard the Scarborough owned trawler ‘Stratherrick’ [another sister ship of the ill fated Strathord] who, upon their return to their base at North Shields three days later, had enquired whether the Jack Johnson had returned to port. With no sign of the Jack Johnson and the report made by the North Shields skipper, rumours of the trawlers possible loss had eventually filtered through to Scarborough. ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 10TH of September 1920 had duly reported:

‘Anxiety for Scarborough Trawler - Rumours arising from North Shields report - Vessel not overdue - Great anxiety is felt in fishing circles for the safety of the trawler, Jack Johnson, skipper, Mr James Walker, one of the largest of the Scarborough owned fleet and her crew…On enquiry with the owners this [Friday] morning we were informed that no news has reached them. The fact was emphasised, however, that the vessel is not overdue. Under ordinary circumstances it is quite likely that the Jack Johnson, being a large vessel, would have remained at sea the whole of the week, possibly with a view to catching the Monday market. There is nothing unusual in its absence for several days, and it is hoped that the report made by the Stratherrick may have no connection with the vessel’s absence. As can be readily understood, however, the anxiety caused—it is to be hoped without foundation—is very great to those with relatives aboard the vessel…

By the beginning of the following week no good news regarding the missing Jack Johnson had been forthcoming the vessel having never returned to port as expected, the trawler and her crew had vanished from the face of the earth within the blink of an eye. It had been heavyhearted ‘Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 17TH of September 1920 that had duly reported the awful news loss of the Jack Johnson and her crew:

‘Scarboro trawler disaster - Jack Johnson mined with loss of crew - Forty one children left - Anxiety gave place to gloom in Scarborough fishing circles on Monday when it was made known by the owner, Mr James Johnson, of the local trawler Jack Johnson that the vessel is presumed to have been mined and the entire crew of ten lost about thirteen hours after it had left Scarborough on the afternoon of Friday, September 3RD.

The crew were nearly all married men, and no less than 41 children are left fatherless…As we reported on Friday the rumours which caused anxiety for the vessels fate emanated from North Shields where the skipper of a trawler reported having heard an explosion and expressed a belief that a trawler had been mined. The local trawler Stratherrick, which was at North Shields, caused enquiries to be made as to whether the Jack Johnson had landed fish at Scarborough. This naturally led to the deepest anxiety on the part of the relatives of the crew and owners, but although enquiries were made at North Shields the skipper who had made the report had gone to sea on another trawler and with only this information in their possession, and the fact that the Jack Johnson was not necessarily overdue until last Monday, the owners encouraged the hope that the rumours would prove incorrect… [6]

The missing crew of the Jack Johnson had been:
- Skipper James Walker. Born in Scarborough, on Wednesday the 26TH of March 1879 at No 1 Longwestgate, ‘Jimmy’ had been the third son of Esther and fisherman William Walker, who had also lived for a number of years in Scarborough at No 9 St Mary’s Street. Married in St Mary’s Parish Church on the 15TH of June 1901 to Scarborough born Mary Ellen Cox, the couple subsequently residing at No152 Longwestgate, where, during 1902, their son James William Walker who had been born. At the time of his father’s death Jim Walker Jar had been eighteen years of age and had been a fisherman in the Steam Trawler ‘Phalarope’, which had been skippered by his grandfather, Skipper William Cox, of No12 Whitehead Hill.

One of Scarborough’s better known and respected trawler skippers, Jim Walker had had plenty of experience of German ‘frightfulness’ during the war having t escaped from attacks by German submarine whilst the skipper of the Seal, and had also narrowly escaped death when a damaged and blazing Zeppelin that had almost landed on his trawler the 147 tons Merrie Islington, whilst she had been tied up in Hartlepool’s dock. Shortly after this episode, on the 6TH of May 1915, Walker had run out when he had been fishing some six miles north east of Whitby in the Merrie Islington when a German ‘U-Boot’ had surfaced nearby. Ordered to abandon his vessel, Walker and his crew of Scarborough fishermen had launched the trawler’s small boat and had watched as the crew of the submarine had planted explosives in the vessel that had eventually been detonated and sank her. Eventually landed at Whitby, ‘Jimmy’ Walker had continued fishing throughout the war and associated with James Johnson and the ‘Penguin Steam Fishing Company’ throughout the conflict, when, during 1918 at a dinner held at Scarborough’s Victoria Hotel, Johnson had presented Skipper Walker, then the skipper of the trawler ‘Ben Hope’, with a suitably engraved gold demi-hunter watch and chain in recognition of his ‘valuable services to the Company’.

Second Hand John Megginson. Born in Scarborough during 1881 John Megginson had been the eldest son of Lydia and Stephen Megginson, a ‘sail maker’, who had resided in Scarborough at No17 Castlegate at the time of their son’s death. Popularly known as ‘Tibbie’, Megginson had been married in Scarborough during 1906 to Jennie Morley, and by 1920 had fathered seven children who had all resided with their mother at No 41 Longwestgate at the time of his loss. Another of Scarborough’s fishermen that had seen extensive service in minesweepers during the war, ‘Tibbie’ had returned to the town following his demobilisation during 1919 to fatefully take up the post of Second Hand in the Jack Johnson.

[The second of John and Jennie Megginson’s sons, 4390282 Lance Corporal Walter Megginson, had lost his life at the age of twenty-seven years during the Second World War whilst serving with the 5TH Battalion of the Green Howards. Born in the bottom end of Scarborough and a former pupil of Friarage School, before the war Walter had been a part time soldier in the Territorial Force whilst also working as a plumber. A married man and father of one son, Walter Megginson had been killed in action on the 27TH of May 1940, and his remains are interred in Grave 3 in the 1939/45 Plot of Vlamertinghe Military Cemetery, in Belgium].

Third Hand Frederick Crosby. Also born at Scarborough, during 1884, Fred had been the youngest son of Sarah Elizabeth and Thomas Crosby. Married at St Mary’s Parish Church on Sunday the 28TH of July 1907 to Harriet Anne Green [born Scarborough 1888], the couple had subsequently lived for many years at No23 Durham Street. Along with Skipper James Walker, Crosby had served in the Royal Naval Reserve during the war and by the time of his death Fred had been the father of six children, Norah [born 1909], Frederick [1911], Thomas [1913], Harriet Anne [1915], Robert [1919], and James [1920]. [Another son named William Henry Crosby had died during infancy, on the 17TH of August 1908].

Chief Engineer George Henry Cappleman. Known by family and friends as ‘Troy’, George Cappleman had been born in Scarborough’s Quay Street on Monday the 12TH of October 1868 and had been the son of Annie and fisherman Francis Cappleman. Married at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 1ST of April 1893 to Emily Blanche Coulson, George had also been the father of a number of children, including a son who had also been named George Henry Cappleman, who had been baptised at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 1ST of July 1894. Living in Scarborough at No29 St Thomas Street by the outbreak of war in 1914 [at the time of her husband’s death Blanche Cappleman had, nonetheless, been living at No 9 Lancaster Street], during the following year ‘Troy’ had been amongst a large number of the town’s fishermen who had enrolled for service with the minesweepers of the Royal Naval Reserve and had served throughout the war until his ‘demob’ in 1919, when Troy had also joined the crew of the ill-fated trawler.

Second Engineer Isaac Taylor. Born at Hull during 1877, Isaac had, nonetheless, by 1898 been residing and working in Scarborough as a ‘shoe cobbler’. Married in the town’s St Mary’s Parish Church on the 19TH of September that year to widow Lucy Tasker, by the time of the 1901 Census the couple had been residing at No 1 Lower Hope Street with their three sons John William [Tasker], Tom, and Richard], however by 1920 Isaac and Lucy Taylor and had been residing at No 17 Providence Place, Scarborough.

Fireman Albert Nightingale. Baptised in Scarborough’s St Mary’s Church on the 17TH of November 1891, Albert had been the fourth of seven children of Annie Elizabeth, and ship’s fireman Jonathan Nightingale. A worker in Scarborough’s pre war fishing industry, during the recently ended war Albert had seen extensive service on the Western Front with 5TH Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment [Regimental Number15177] and finally the West Yorkshire Regiment [63250]. Wounded during December 1916, Albert had survived his injuries to continue to serve until his demob during 1919 when he had shortly returned to the family home at No 95a Longwestgate, before duly signing on the Jack Johnson’s crew list.

[Albert’s youngest brother, 24237 Private Christopher Malton Nightingale [born in Scarborough on the 29TH of March 1894] had lost his life at the age of twenty two on the 12TH of October 1916 whilst serving in the Somme Sector with the 2ND Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers. Possessing no known grave, Chris is commemorated in France on Pier and Face 3C and 3D of the Thiepval Memorial to the Missing].

Ship’s Cook John William Claybourne Pye: The eldest son of Ann Elizabeth, and fisherman William John Pye, John, popularly known as ‘Jack’, had been born in Scarborough in ‘The Bolts’ on the 31ST of March 1897 [parents William Pye and Ann E. Claybourne had been married at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 29TH of July 1890]. Another former pupil of Friarage Board School, John had lived all his life at nearby No 39 St Sepulchre Street. Aged twenty three at the time of his death, Jack Pye had been unmarried.

Deck Hand Harry Trotter: Born in Scarborough at No 5 Ebenezer Place during 1896, Harry had been the son of Mary Jane, and ‘bricklayer’s labourer John Thomas Trotter, who had still been residing at the above address at the time of his son’s death. Another former soldier, Harry had served on the Western Front as a Gunner [Regimental Number 73717] in the Royal Field Artillery until he had been wounded during the latter stages of the war. Subsequently transferred to the Labour Corps [Reg No 499099] he had served with this unit until his ‘demob’ in 1919. [7]

Deck Hand Ernest Eves. The youngest of six children belonging to Mary, and fisherman Edmund Eves, ‘Ernie’ had been born in Scarborough at No 53 Quay Street during 1892. Married on the 22ND of March 1913 in St Mary’s Parish Church, Eves had been the husband of Norah Sheader, the fourth daughter of fisherman John Godfrey, and Esther Sheader, who had been born in Scarborough at No 9 Dog and Duck Lane on the 16TH of October 1891. Norah had been living with the couple’s only son Ernest [born in Scarborough 1ST February 1916] at No 2 Westsandgate at the time of her husband’s death. A fisherman for most of his working life, Ernie Eves had also served in minesweepers during the war. Once described as an ‘excellent swimmer’ the twenty eight years old had received a bronze medal and certificate in recognition of his bravery in rescuing a fellow minesweeper from the sea on the 14TH of May 1918.

Deck Hand Edmund Eves Matson. Named after his mother’s father, Edmund had been born in Scarborough at No 2 Overton Terrace during 1901 and had been the eldest son of Alice and Bricklayer Allan Matson, who at the time of their son’s death had been residing at No 45 Quay Street [Allan Matson and Alice Eves had been married in Scarborough’s Dean Street Register Office on Saturday the 21ST of May 1898]. The nephew of Ernie Eves, Edmund had been a former pupil of St Thomas’s School in Longwestgate, and the nearby Friarage Board School. A ‘deckie learner’ in the fishing industry since he had left formal education at the age of thirteen, Edmund had been making his first, and last trip in the Jack Johnson as a ‘qualified’ deck hand.

Like those set up following the loss of the loss of the Strathord, numerous ‘relief funds’ had also been established in the wake of the loss of the Jack Johnson in an attempt to alleviate some of the financial hardship that had been inflicted on the Jack Johnson’s seven widows and twenty one children under the age of sixteen who had been made orphans by the vessel’s loss. The town’s local newspaper, ‘The Scarborough Evening News’, had begun its own ‘Shilling Fund’ whilst the town’s ‘Fishing Vessel Owners Association had launched a ‘Jack Johnson Relief Fund’, no amount of money had, however, replaced the ten fishermen, and despite the trawler’s owner offering a reward of twenty pounds for the recovery of any of the bodies of the lost men, none had been seen again.

Nothing more had been heard about the loss of the Jack Johnson until the end of September 1920, when ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the 24TH of that month had reported that a lifebuoy containing the name of the lost trawler had been picked up on the 13TH of September by the Grimsby trawler ‘Nairana’ some 90 miles north east by north of Spurn Point. This buoy had eventually been landed in Grimsby where it had been handed to the port customs authorities, who had duly sent it to Scarborough. Alas, the fate of this final piece of wreckage belonging to the Jack Johnson is not known.

[During 2008 an article featuring the loss of the Jack Johnson had been included in ‘the Scarborough Mercury of Tuesday the 15TH of July. This article reports the lifebuoy had for many years been in the possession of the Johnson family. However, the lifebuoy had duly been presented by James Johnson’s great-grandson, Martin Johnson, to the trawler skipper’s great grand daughter, Mrs Jayne Harrison, who plans to donate the lifebuoy to Scarborough’s ‘Maritime Heritage Centre’ when it opens sometime in the near future].

Many stories regarding the loss of the Jack Johnson must have abounded at the time of her loss, however, by 2007 all have been lost in the clouds of time. Nevertheless, shortly before his death retired fisherman Sid Walker [no relation to Skipper James Walker] had told the author of a story he had heard of one of the men of the trawler putting to sea on what was to be his last voyage following a heated argument with his wife. Her last words, according to Sid, as the irate husband had made his way to the harbour and the Jack Johnson, had been on the lines of ‘bugger off to sea—and I hope you don’t come back’… one wonders what the wife’s thoughts had been when she had found that her wish had come to fruition.

The last major catastrophe linking Scarborough with the Great War, like the men of the Strathord, no permanent memorial had been erected in any of the town’s ‘bottom end’ churches to commemorate the names of the ten men that had been lost with the Jack Johnson, and many years after the event, they are now virtually forgotten. Nevertheless, their names are included on Scarborough’s Oliver’s Mount Memorial, and a number of her crew are included on memorials in the town’s Cemeteries.

Skipper James Walker’s name is included on a now forlorn looking monument in Dean Road Cemetery [Section F, Border, Grave 38], which also contains a fine engraving of his lost vessel and the name of his wife, Scarborough born Mary Ellen Walker, who had died at the age of fifty one soon after her husband on the 29TH of November 1921. The memorial also commemorates Jim’s son, James William Walker, who had died on the 19TH of April 1971, at the age of 69 years.

[This grave also contains the cremated remains of James William Walker’s wife, Jennie Varley Walker, who had passed away at the age of ninety one years on the 25TH of March 1992]. Skipper Walker’s Memorial also bears the inscription:

‘We cannot Lord thy purpose see but all is well that’s done by thee’…

Not far away from this memorial in Section H, Row 5, Grave 33, another grave marker, carved in black marble, commemorates the name of Deck Hand Edmund Eves Matson. The youngest of the Jack Johnson’s crew, the nineteen years old is remembered amongst the names of his grandparents: Edmund Eves, who had died at the age of 49 years on the 22ND of August 1899, and Mary Eves, who had subsequently passed away at the age of seventy four years, on the 26TH of November 1927. The memorial also contains the names of Edmunds parents, Alice Matson, who had died at the age of fifty five years on the 11TH of February 1932, and Allan Matson, who had died on the 6TH of November 1936 at the age of fifty nine years.

The Jack Johnson’s Second Hand, John Megginson, is commemorated on a now [2007] fallen and badly weathered gravestone in Dean Road’s Section D, Row 5, Grave 7, which also contains the names of younger sister Kate who had died at the age of 25 years on the 14TH of November 1915, and ‘Tibbie’s father, Stephen Megginson. He had passed away on the 26TH of March 1921 at the age of sixty three

[Although not commemorated, this grave also contains the remains of Megginson’s mother, Lydia Megginson, who had died at the age of seventy-six years on the 10TH of August 1937].

A memorial containing the name of Chief Engineer George Henry Cappleman can be found in Scarborough’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section V, Row 21, Grave 28], which also included the names of his wife Emily Blanche Cappleman who had died at her home at No 9 Lancaster Street on the 25TH of June 1936. The grave marker also contains the name of George’s sister Ellen Malabar Cappleman. The wife of Thomas Pickles [who had died at the age of 76 on the 3RD of April 1941], Ellen had passed away at the age of eighty-eight on the 17TH of December 1960.

Amongst the handful of ‘Great War’ casualties that are commemorated in Scarborough’s Woodlands Cemetery, a fine black marble memorial commemorating the name of thirty five years old Third Hand Frederick Crosby is to be found in Section J, Row 1, Grave 22, which also contains the names of Fred’s wife, Harriet Ann Crosby, who had died on the 20TH of December 1967, at the age of eighty years.

This Memorial also bears the name of Harriet and Fred’s third son, 1894050 Sapper Robert Crosby. Born in Scarborough during 1919, Bob had been killed in North Africa on the 5TH of May 1943 whilst serving with the 220TH Field Company of the Royal Engineers. Aged twenty four years at the time of his death, Bob’s remains are interred in Section 8, Row E, Grave 26, in Enfidaville War Cemetery, in Tunisia. The same memorial also bears the name of their eldest son, Frederick Crosby, who had passed away at the age of forty-seven years, on the 9TH of February 1959, and Mary Jane Green, the sister of Harriet Crosby who had passed away at the age of 89 years on the 20TH of February 1971.

[A smaller memorial contains the name of Fred’s second son. Born in Scarborough during 1913, Thomas ‘Tommy’ Crosby had died at the age of eighty-five years on the 15TH of April 1999. A plumber by trade ‘Tommy’ had been employed for many years by the Scarborough building firm of A.W. Sinclair & Sons, and his cremated remains had been scattered at this gravesite on the 22ND of April 1999. Also included on this memorial is the name of James Crosby’s wife, Ruby Blanche. Born in 1923, Ruby had been the mother of Martin and Jennifer and had passed away on the 19TH of July 2005. Another small memorial contains the name of Fred’s youngest daughter; Harriet. The wife of Harry Emms and mother of Peter and Rodney, and a ‘dear grandmother’, Harriet had died at the age of sixty-five years on Monday the 18TH of January 1981, at No11 St Joseph’s Close, Newby.

Having already lost two of his trawlers, the Florence Johnson in Icelandic waters during 1919, and the Jack Johnson in 1920, Scarborough trawler owner James Johnson had lost another of his vessels, the Mary Ann Johnson, whilst she had also been fishing off Iceland. Manned by sixteen Hull fishermen the vessel had foundered in appalling weather conditions, nevertheless, despite being adrift in an open boat for over eighty hours, much to Mr Johnson’s relief, all of these men had been picked up safely by a Fleetwood trawler, albeit suffering ‘considerably’ from exposure and exhaustion. Perhaps because of losing so many of his fishing, James Johnson had eventually ventured into the pleasure steamer business, and for many years had been the owner of Scarborough’s largest, and most beautiful pleasure ship; the ‘Coronia’. A wonderful vessel, which the author recalls, having taken many an enjoyable ‘trip’ in during the 1950’s.

Having lost seven hundred and eighty seven of its population during the Great War Scarborough had obviously warranted a fitting, and lasting memorial to its lost citizens. Soon after it had begun to become clear that the war was nearly at an end the town’s council had begun to consider what form this memorial should take. Many, often heated, meeting had eventually taken place to try to arrive upon a suitable design, and indeed, a place to put the proposed war memorial. One idea that had been mulled over for some time had called for the erection of a monument in the grounds of the Town Hall, but after pondering for some time over the possibility of a monument slipping into the sea due to subsidence in future years, this notion had eventually been dropped.

Another idea that had been considered had been to place a memorial in the gardens in Alma Square, another had been considered for St Nicholas Cliff Gardens, and yet another to be placed in ‘The Valley’. All these ideas had eventually been kicked out in favour of the plan that had been put forward by Harry Smith the town’s well respected ‘Borough Engineer’ who had made a suggestion of perhaps building a monument on a then deserted knoll some five hundred feet above sea level that over looks Scarborough known as ‘Oliver’s Mount.

But what form should the monument take? had been the next stumbling block that had occupied Scarborough Council until well into the 1920’s. Some had suggested that that an obelisk had been a pagan monument, whilst others had demonstrated that a large enough cross could not be constructed out of one piece of stone, that in time would inevitably disintegrate and therefore require large amounts of money for its upkeep. Nevertheless, despite all the ‘argi-bargy’, during a meeting that had been convened by Scarborough’s Mayor [Councillor George Whitfield] in the town’s Municipal School during the evening of Wednesday the 29TH of March 1923, it had finally been decided to adopt Mr Smith’s design for an obelisk shaped monument to be constructed on Oliver’s Mount. The cost of building the monument had been estimated at five thousand one hundred and three pounds one shilling and threepence, most of which, over the next few months had been raised by public subscription.

The task of building the monument had been given to the local building firm of John Bastiman & Sons, who had assigned just three men to erect the memorial stone by stone, Mr’s W. Kent, M. Potter, and C. Agar. The laying of the memorial’s foundation stone had taken place during the afternoon of Saturday the 16TH of September 1922, the task being carried out by ex Alderman Christopher Colbourne Graham, the Deputy Chairman of Scarborough’s ‘War Memorial Committee’, the former Mayor of Scarborough throughout the war, and father of war casualty, Lieutenant Hugh Colborne Graham. In addition, the ceremony had been attended by the senior members of Scarborough Council including Aldermen Ascough, Tindall, and Malton, Councillors Bielby, Whitehead, Maynard, Snowball, and Gibson, along with the town’s Mayor and Mayoress, and the town’s renowned Borough Engineer, Harry W. Smith.

Gradually, over the ensuing months the monument had begun to take shape until almost exactly a year later the fine memorial had been almost completed. Standing at seventy five feet in height, and with a width of fifteen feet three inches at its base tapering to four feet six inches at its summit, and constructed of hard Yorkshire stone from the Crosland Moor Quarries, the memorial had presented a magnificent sight, one that could, and still can, be viewed from almost anyplace in the town. The unveiling of Mr Smith’s masterpiece had taken place during the afternoon of Wednesday the 26TH of September 1923.

Thousands of silent people had lined the route to be taken by the local dignataries who were to unveil the monument, and throngs of people had crowded the crest of Oliver’s mount eagerly awaiting the unveiling of their memorial to their fallen fellow townsmen. Flanked on its four corners by soldiers and sailors with bowed heads and bearing reversed rifles, the memorial’s as yet unseen twelve bronze tablets [the work of Messrs. Broad, Salmon & Co of London] containing the names of Scarborough’s fallen had been shrouded with union flags, awaiting their unveiling in the fine afternoon’s sun.

Decked out in their official robes Scarborough’s Mayor and the remainder of the town’s Council had finally taken their appointed places at the base of the monument and the ceremony of unveiling had duly begun with the singing of the Hymn ‘O God, our help in ages past’, the band of the 5TH Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment providing the accompaniment. Following the communal singing, there had been a reading of ‘appropriate passages of the Scripture’ by the Reverend John Strachen, the Secretary of the Scarborough Free Church Council. This had been shortly been followed by a pre unveiling speech made by Scarborough’s Deputy Mayor, Councillor William Boyes, which had included the words…

‘This memorial is erected to those who willingly sacrificed their lives because they felt their country was in danger. That the homes and hearth of wives and mothers and fathers were in danger, and none of us today can realise what that sacrifice meant. We know a little, but we but we don’t know altogether what it meant. We had our comfortable times at home—comparatively speaking, but they were going through those terrible days knowing full well at any moment their lives would have to be sacrificed, and they died quite willingly, and the least we can do is erect this memorial to their memory. That we have done, and we are very glad it has seen completion. We revere the memory of our fallen. The great majority of them were not soldiers in the ordinary acceptance of the term. They hated the slaughter of human life, but it was forced upon them, and now that they have done their duty we must not forget them. As one of the tablets on the memorial says: ‘They were a wall of defence unto us by night and by day’, and we are grateful to them. We revere their memory, and we trust that the young life of today will think of the sacrifices that their fathers and their brothers have made’…

Scarborough’s War Memorial had then been unveiled by Councillor William Boyes, the Chairman of the War Memorial Committee. At this point the assembled Guard of Honour had presented arms, and the still silent crows had witnessed the unveiling of the memorial’s twelve commemorative plaques each being unveiled separately by a representative of the Royal Navy, Paymaster Lieutenant George Glenton Royal Naval Reserve, the Army, veteran of the war, Private Harry Merryweather, the Royal Air Force, Lieutenant A.E. Thompson, and a representative of the town’s widows and wives, Mrs Janet Walters of No 33 St Mary’s Walk, who had lost three of her sons to the war.

Following its unveiling, the Oliver’s Mount Memorial had officially been handed over to Scarborough’s Mayor for safe keeping by ex Councillor Christopher Colbourne Graham. In his speech the town’s much loved and well-respected former Mayor had said…

‘I have the honour to make over this memorial to you Mr. Mayor, as representative of the Corporation of Scarborough. Henceforth, this memorial is the property of the Corporation in trust for the people of Scarborough. We must all regard the occasion today as an important and solemn one. Some of us regard this memorial as a Cenotaph, and it may be some solace and some satisfaction to know that there is recorded thereon the name of one whose memory is dear to us. But this can only be a passing phase. There is a bigger meaning beyond it. Mercifully time softens sorrow, and even to us who remain, time helps to bear our loss, and in a few short years there will be no sense of personal loss or grief attached to this memorial. But it will stand as it does today, as a reminder of service devoted and faithful until death, and we hope an incentive to us, and those who follow us, to look to the example, the splendid example, of those men and women whose names are here recorded. Their memory will live; their deeds will be regarded as amongst the chief deeds in our history. In the words engraved above us.

‘They shall not grow old as we that are left grow old,
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn,
At the going down of the, and in the morning,
We shall remember them’…

Scarborough’s Mayor, Councillor Whitfield had then made a short speech of acceptance on behalf of the town before buglers belonging to the 5TH Green Howards had sounded ‘The Last Post’, and ‘Reveille’. A wreath had then been laid at the foot of the memorial on behalf of the Inhabitants, whilst representatives of the three services had also laid wreaths to their fallen comrades.

With the official ceremonies almost at an end it had been the turn of Scarborough’s children to pay homage to the town’s fallen. All of Scarborough’s schools had been represented at the unveiling ceremony, and hundreds of youngsters had filed passed the names inscribed on the monuments commemorative tablets. Many of the those children had lost members of their family to the war, amongst them had been Joyce, Lillian, and John Henry McBean [born 1914, 1915, and 1916 respectively] who had not only lost their father, Lance Corporal John Robert McBean, Military Medal, but also four uncles, John Robert’s younger brother Harry, and the three sons of Mrs Walters; Albert Victor, Allan James, and John Gerrard Walters.

The unveiling had ended with the singing of the first verse of the National Anthem, at the end of this many floral tributes to lost husbands, sons, brothers, and indeed sisters, had been laid at the foot of the memorial by countless members of the public, until it had seemed that the whole memorial had been floating in a sea of flowers. With the ending of the ceremony the hordes of people who had attended the service had begun to melt away back down the hill into town.

On the whole a splendid story to end the tale of Scarborough in the Great war, it is ironical that the unveiling of the town’s War Memorial had itself inflicted a casualty on the community of the town with the death of forty two years old Mrs Ada Brooks. The wife of painter and decorator Walter Charles Brooks of No37 Commercial Street, Ada had been climbing the steep sided Oliver’s Mount to view the unveiling of the Memorial with her nine years old daughter. However, shortly before the pair had arrived at the summit Mrs Brooks had suddenly collapsed. Although attended to almost at once Ada Brooks had died due to heart failure, before an ambulance had reached her.

True to ex -Councillor Graham’s words, the people of Scarborough had never forgotten the citizens of the town who had laid down their lives during the Great War of 1914-1919, and throughout the post war years at 11am on the eleventh day of the eleventh month crowds of people would gather to pay their respects to the towns fallen. However, by the mid 1930’s there had been rumblings of trouble to come in Europe, especially in Germany, where a demonic former corporal in the German army had begun to ignite the sparks that would lead the world into another ‘Great War’ that would last for five terrifying years that, by its end in 1945, would cause the loss of another four hundred and one citizens of Scarborough, many the relatives of casualties of the 1914-18 war---but theirs is another story, yet to be told.

[1] P558 Military Operations France and Belgium; Volume 5; Edmonds and Maxwell-Hyslop; H.M.S.O; 1947.

[2] Extracted from Smuts’s ‘’Third East African Despatch’’, courtesy of Chris Baker’s ‘’Long long trail’’ website; Milverton Associates Limited.

[3] Married at Scarborough’s St Mary’s Parish Church on the 26TH of December 1869 the forty six years old Ben and Betsy [formally Cordukes] Tindall had still been residing at this address at the time of the 1891 Census. Their family had also consisted of Benjamin, 18 years of age, employed as a fisherman, Margaret, 16 years, Eliza, 14 years, William, 12 years, Frank, 10 years, Elizabeth 7 years, and Arthur, aged three months. All had been born at Scarborough.

[4] Built during 1911 at Aberdeen by Hall Russell for Richard Irvin & Sons Ltd, the 195tons Spence Mcdonald had bee requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1914to serve throughout the war as a minesweeper. Returned to owners during 1919, she had subsequently been sold during the following year to Scarborough’s ‘Gamecock Steam Trawler Company’. Registered in the port as S.H.146, by 1926 she had been sold to T.H. Scales of Leith and renamed ‘May Island’ [L.H.194], the former Scarborough trawler had eventually been wrecked during February 1936.

[5] No strangers to the loss of loved ones, in addition to James Henry, during the ‘Great War’ the Williamson’s had suffered the loss of son; 32/905 Private Albert Williamson. Born at Hull during 1890, Albert had died at the age of twenty nine on the 23RD of November 1916 whilst serving ‘at home’ with the 32ND [Reserve] Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers. The husband of Charlotte Williamson of No 3 Percy Cottages, Mayfield Street, Spring Bank, Hull, Albert’s remains are interred in Plot 39-43 of Hull’s Northern Cemetery. Another son, twelve years old John had been lost during August 1919 after falling down the cliffs near Scarborough Castle whilst playing with brother Walter and friends. Sadly, a year later 15 years old Walter had also died, due to the effects of Tuberculosis in Scarborough’s Sanatorium on the 4TH of March 1920.

[5] Elsie Cappleman had continued to reside at this address for many years following the death of her husband. Remarried during the mid 1930’s to Albert Moor, Elsie had resided in this house with her husband and daughter, Winifred Maud Capleman.

[6] As a result of the war John and Mary Trotter had also lost two other sons; 8136 Private William Trotter Born in Scarborough during 1884, Bill had been the eldest son of John and Mary Trotter and had been a pre war regular army soldier in the 1ST Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment. Killed in action at the age of thirty one on the 8TH of June 1915 whist serving in the Ypres Sector of Flanders, Bill Trotter’s remains are interred in Section B, Grave 3 of Potijize Chateau Wood Cemetery, Belgium. Another brother; 7659 Private Edward Trotter [born Scarborough 1886] had been a pre war regular army soldier who had seen extensive service in India with the 2ND Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment. A reservist at the outbreak of war, and residing in Scarborough at No69 Longwestgate, like brother Bill, Edward had duly been recalled to the colours to eventually serve on the Western Front throughout the war. Badly wounded during 1915, by the latter stages of the conflict ‘Ted’ had been drafted into the Labour Corps [Reg No334380] and had served with this unit until the Armistice. A victim of the post war ‘Spanish Flu’ pandemic, the already weakened soldier had died at Leeds at the age of thirty-four years during 1920.

Acknowledgements

Completed at 22:52 on Monday the 18TH of June 2007, my search for many of Scarborough’s casualties of the Great War of 1914-1919 is at an end. The journey from Scarborough to the hell of the Western Front of Flanders and France, the cold North Sea, and the inferno of the deserts of Mesopotamia has taken over nine years and during that period I have met many fine people who have opened the gateway to reams of priceless information, that on my own I may otherwise never have found. I am eternally grateful to those people, they are;

Carol and Malcolm Appleby, who have contributed so much of their time and effort to the project, especially, Malcolm, who had also made the journey to the Western Front in search of his grandfather, Private Joseph Harrison Marsay, whom I am glad to say he had found. Ian and Barbara Hollingsworth, who had provided me with much local information and allowed me to borrow, on innumerable occasions, their copy of ‘The West Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War’. Mr Bill Parker, who had lent me, also on many occasions, his copy of the C D Rom ‘Soldiers died in the Great War, which I promise I will return-honest! The late Sid Walker for his information regarding the Jack Johnson. The author also wishes to acknowledge the assistance of Mrs Marie Mead Clarke for her marvellous contribution in finding Edward Trotter, and John Henry McBean. Although a latecomer to the project, Marie’s contributions have been great. Another person who has been of great assistance is Mr Rod Emms, who graciously supplied information regarding his mother, Harriet Emms [formally Crosby], and the remainder of the Crosby family. I am especially grateful to my dear friend Mrs Ray Buxton for the marvellous horde of information regarding her brother, Flying Officer William Hugh Coverley. Who had lost his life during operations in the Battle of Britain. Without her assistance the full story of the circumstances surrounding Hugh’s death could never have been told.

My research had begun in the Reference section of Scarborough’ magnificent Library. An unknown commodity at the outset, over the ensuing few years I have been guided through the Library’s wonderful local archives until, nine years later I know every nook and cranny of the local Electoral Rolls, Baptismal and Marriage records belonging to Scarborough’s St Mary’s Parish Church, and inevitably, the various issues of ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ relating to the war years, that quite frankly, had been the backbone of my research which would have made my task almost impossible without their assistance. Guiding me to these invaluable gems had initially been the incomparable Mr Bryan Berryman, along with library assistants Julie, Angela, Allison, Heather, Marion, Sue, and Pat, to name but a few, who have help me along the way. Latterly the Library has been joined by Librarian Jon Webster, who has also contributed greatly to the later stages my project.

Having visited on innumerable occasion the various Registers of Burials kept at Scarborough’s Crematorium, I have come into contact with the indomitable countenance of Mr Martin Naylor who, along with his gallant staff, Gill, Lorraine, and Chris, have opened their doors and files to me with humour, which at some dark stages of my research had been of immense value, Thanks to you all, you all deserve a medal.

From out of town I have also made contact with a number of people, especially Mr Peter Etches, of Huddersfield, who had provided so much information regarding the Etches family, especially his father Bede Etches, one of Scarborough’s sons who had fought in the war and had been fortunate to survive the experience, and Mr John Masters of Sittingbourne in Kent, who had willingly opened his personal files to allow me to access his files regarding the 3RD Battalion of the Grenadier Guards and the vicious fighting for the village of Fontaine Notre Dame during November 1917, that had caused the death of Scarborough born Private John Wright [Lancaster].

My special thanks also go to the wonderful Mrs. Ray Gough of Buxton who had supplied me with such a wealth of invaluable information regarding the life and demise of her brother Flying Officer William Hugh Coverley. God bless you Ray.

Inevitably, my greatest thanks must go to my wife Carole, and children Rachel, Lucy, and Amy, who have endured the good and bad times of the writing of this book. Often in ‘grumpy’ mood because I had been unable to locate some snippet of information regarding ‘my’ casualties, they had more often that not borne the brunt of my bad behaviour. For this I must apologise with all my heart, and hope that this book stands as a testament to their unbending loyalty and tolerance of their very own ‘Grumpy old git’ of an author. Bless you all.

Dedicated to the memory of Privates William Trotter and George Thomas Thorpe, relatives of the author, and casualties of the Great War who like so many of their fellow Scarborians posses No Known Graves.

They were indeed ‘a wall of defence unto us by night and by day’.

GREAT WAR ARTICLES