Tag Archives: Thomas

Naval Chief Bosun Thomas Rowe Tremethick 1858 – 1924: Smart, energetic and generally temperate

Thomas was the fourth of ten children of fisherman Thomas Tremethick and his wife Patience Daniel Rowe born 1858 and baptised in January 1859 at the local Paul Parish Church. He grew up in the fishing town of Newlyn, Cornwall, where they lived in the area called Street-an-Nowan.

Thomas must have preferred the idea of being a sailor to being a fisherman so he signed up for the Royal Navy.  By 1887 he was working as a seaman.

St Mary's Church, Penzance

St Mary’s Church, Penzance

Thomas met Newlyn fisherman’s daughter Mary Badcock, a domestic servant, and they married on Monday 16 May 1887.  For some reason he and Mary, both Newlyn folk, married in St Mary’s Church Penzance. It was quite unusual for my family not to marry in Paul Church or the new [1866] St Peter’s Church in Newlyn so I wonder why that was? His father had died before Thomas married and his younger sister Albania acted as a witness so at least one of his family members knew! Demands of the Navy, maybe or Mary’s day off from service.

By April 1891 he and Mary had moved to Devonport [now Plymouth, Devon] and they were living just round along Herbert Street from his married sister Grace and her husband James Richards.

In June and December 1892 Captains Brook and Chichester both recommended him as being “the stamp of man for Warrant Officer” and in July 1893 he was posted at Act Bos’n to the Himalaya under Captain Chichester, although was lent to the Conqueror for manoeuvres in his first month there. Captain Chichester noted after his time on the 3-mast Himalaya that he was  “VG [at] freehand drawing. A smart and energetic officer.”  Thomas was there until September 1894. The gospel according to Wikipedia tells me for HMS Himalaya that she was a former cruise ship purchased by the Navy:

The SS Himalaya was a 3,438 gross register ton iron steam screw passenger ship. When launched she was the largest ship in the P & O fleet and was not exceeded in size until the SS Australia of 1870

Photo of Malta

Malta, by Neil Howard on Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/neilsingapore/

And this World Naval Ships naval online forum post tells me that Thomas would have travelled extensively during those those months, round the Mediterranean, including Gibraltar, Malta and  and Capetown in 1893 and to Singapore in 1894,  So I’m very glad that back home in Devonport Mary would have had her sister-in-law handy just a few doors down!

Thomas served on various ships over the years, with a mostly good record, various captains noting him as diligent, smart, energetic, of excellent physique, hard working, could use a sextant and was a good officer. It was noted in 1901 by Comm. Hutchinson of the Lion that he was suspended from instructing as he didn’t have “that gift”, although “would no doubt perform his duties satisfactorily in a seagoing ship”.  At one point a captain did note he was “somewhat wanting in tact”!

The 1903 Naval lists indicates with an (S) that this ‘In the Seniority List denotes an officer who has passed in both Visual Signalling and Wireless Telegraphy.  In a ship, an officer qualified as above who is performing either or both of these duties.’

Photo of rum label

Photo of Rum label, Mary K Baird on MorgueFiles http://morguefile.com/creative/marykbaird

In 1908 on the Suffolk Thomas obviously didn’t have his finest posting, getting an usual bad report from Captain Eyre.  The next year he again blotted his copybook when he was discovered drunk on board the Mars, was court-marshalled off the ship and lost a year’s seniority. So that’s what you do with a drunken sailor! But he seems to have recovered form and his conduct was entirely to the satisfaction of Captain Besson of the Hull in September 1909.

Again in December 1911 Thomas’ drinking was commented on, by Cpt Halsay of the Donegal:  “Zealous and hard working. Although generally temperate, I am of opinion that he has on one or two occasions drunk more alcohol than is good for him and I have warned him accordingly. Physically VG. Rec’d for advancement.

Thomas was pensioned as a Chief Boatswain in 1912, he lived on until September 1924 when he died in Durban Road, Plymouth, aged 66. The April 1911 census records them as having no children born alive,

Mary lived on for another 15+ years until spring 1940, also dying in Plymouth.  In her will she left her effects to Seth Lemmon, the widower of Thomas’ sister Albania; Albania who had witnessed her wedding to Thomas in Penzance over 50 years before.

© Lynne Black, 6 December 2015
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2015/12/06/thomas-rowe-tremethick/

#52Ancestors #42: Thomas Halliday 1st of the 2nd Royal Manx Fencibles

Last week I wrote about Thomas Halliday 3rd, commercial traveller and soap agent. I’d planned to write this week about his father, Thomas Halliday 2nd, but when I had a look at his information I realised it was a virtually identical story.  So let’s skip a generation to Thomas Halliday 1st, my 4GGrandfather.

With Thomas Halliday 1st we’re standing at the edge of easily-accessed facts, with the mists of time lapping round him.

I came across this Thomas when trying to find information about his son’s date of birth.  An additional challenge seems to be that at this point in time the names Halliday and Holliday start to be used interchangeably.  I have two sources for Thomas’ marriage, one spelt each way and I’m confident I’ve found the right man.

Lt Col Charles Small's seal, from FindMyPast

Lt Col Charles Small’s seal, from FindMyPast

Thomas was born in Chester-Le-Street, Durham county, in England in 1778, in the reign of George III and grew up working as a labourer [information obtained via FindMyPast].  This was a time of wars and rebellions, and in 1795 Thomas enlisted in His Majesty’s 2nd Regiment of Royal Manx Fencibles [based on the Isle of Man] and ended up fighting in Ireland.  Royal Manx Fencibles?  Great title but meant nothing to me.  So these two websites

tell me it was a regiment based in Ireland between 1795 and 1802 under the immediate command of Lt Col Charles Small, with the regiment in the the overall command of Colonel Lord Henry Murray [nephew of the Duke of Atholl].  Their uniforms included blue facings and fur-crested round hats. [From Osprey’s Google book Armies of the Irish Rebellion 1798]

Thomas “served well and faithfully in the abovenamed Regiment for two years” before being discharged with “his pay arrears of pay, clothing and all other just demands whatsover, from the time of his enlisting into said Regiment till the day of his discharge”.

Two years?  Surely that’s quite a short time to serve?  Unfortunately yes.  The surgeon’s letter (John Nelson Scott was an officer and surgeon) explained more fully that Thomas had needed to have his right leg amputated after suffering from scrofula (TB) of the leg and ankle which gave him extreme pain.

The mark of Thomas Halliday 1st

The mark of Thomas Halliday 1st

After returning home from Lifford, Thomas married Hannah Smith in 1810.  I think they may have had 3 children together: Thomas 2nd, Sarah Mary, and possibly Francis, all in Chester-le-Street.  From the limited records available I believe his wife died in 1838, and in the 1841 census Thomas was found in the workhouse.  A Thomas Halliday died in Gateshead in 1843.

52 ancestors logoNow his son did pretty well for himself: in 1841 Thomas the 2nd was a clerk in nearby Gateshead and ended up very comfortably off with a well-educated Methodist family.  It’s a pretty big leap for the son of an illiterate one-legged labourer, but perhaps that’s exactly what drove him.  Maybe Thomas 1st was in need of comfort and hope, and Methodism provided that, and the opportunity for him to make a better life for his family.  But even if further evidence comes to light, possibly from a non-conformist source, and he turns out not to be my ancestor, I thought I would share the experiences of this Thomas Halliday 1st anyway, to acknowledge all he went through.

© Text copyright Lynne Black 15 October 2014
First published: https://starryblackness.wordpress.com/2014/10/14/thomas-halliday-1st/