Tag: South Africa

Michael Gibson GC

Michael Gibson (06/1906 – 18/10/1940) was awarded the George Cross for his actions on 17 October 1940 in Coventry.

He was 34 years old and serving in the Corps of Royal Engineers when he and Second Lieutenant Alexander “Sandy” Campbell GC were called in to deal with an unexploded bomb which had fallen on the Triumph Engineering Company’s works. War production in two factories had stopped because of it., and a large number of people living nearby had been evacuated. Campbell found the bomb was fitted with a delayed action fuse which it was impossible to remove, so he decided to transport it to a safe place. This was done by lorry. Campbell lay alongside the bomb so that he could hear if it started ticking and could warn Gibson, the driver, to stop and run for cover. Next the two men carried it a mile from Priory Street to Whitley Common, where they successfully made the bomb safe. They were both killed the following day while working on another unexploded bomb.

Following a funeral service at Coventry Cathedral on 25 October 1940, the squad were buried in a collective grave in Coventry’s London Road Cemetery. The squad comprised Second Lieutenant Alexander Fraser Campbell GC and Sappers William Gibson, Richard Gilchrest, Jack Plumb, Ronald William Skelton, Ernest Arthur Stote and Gibson.

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 17/03/2017. Images and information courtesy of Mark Green.

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:49

Worcestershire Anglo Boer War Memorial

The Memorial to the Men of Worcestershire who lost their lives in the Boer War stands outside Worcester Cathedral.

The Memorial  is a bronze depiction of a  soldier of the Worcester Regiment kneeling as he prepares to fire his last cartridge. A winged figure said to represent “Immortality” stands above him with a palm branch in one hand, and in the other hand a sheathed sword with laurel wreath on it. It was unveiled on 23 September 1908 by Lt. Gen. the Hon. Sir N. G. Lyttleton. The monument was restored in 2005. The sculptor was William Robert Colton and it is a grade II listed object.

There is an additional inscription on the base of the memorial that is not as legible.

Their bodies were buried in peace

but their name liveth forevermore 

Inside the Cathedral there is an additional Roll of Honour.

© DRW 2017-2018. Created 07/03/2017. 

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 20:39

John R.M. Chard VC

John Rouse Merriott Chard (21/12/1847 – 01/11/1897) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Anglo Zulu war at Rorke’s Drift in 1879.

The Citation reads:

“For gallant conduct at the Defence of Rorke’s Drift, 22nd and 23rd January 1879. The Lieutenant-General reports that had it not been for the example and excellent behaviour of Lieutenants Chard, Royal Engineers, and Bromhead, 24th Regiment, the defence of Rorke’s Drift would not have been conducted with the intelligence and tenacity which so eminently characterised it. The Lieutenant-General adds, that the success must in a great measure be attributable to the two young officers who exercised the chief command on the occasion in question.”

He is buried in St John the Baptist Churchyard, Hatch Beauchamp.


© DRW 2016-2018, created 31/10/2016. Images courtesy of Mark Green. 

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 07:53

The Ross and the Woltemade

When it comes to talking about salvage tugs two names really stand out: the John Ross and the Wolraad Woltemade. 

The John Ross was built in Durban in at the James Brown & Hamer yard in 1976 and was named after Charles Rawden Maclean. Her principle dimensions are: overall length of 94,60m, breadth: 15,80m, depth: 8,60m, draft: 7,50m. She is of 2.918 Tons GRT and 875 Tons NRT.

I was fortunate enough to see her in East London in 1990, and I was very impressed. Unfortunately I was limited in how many pics I could take of her.

She was renamed Smit Amandla (callsign ZTUG) from December 2003. 

The Wolraad Woltemade was built at the Henry Robb shipyards in Leith for Safmarine. She was handed over to her new owners in 1976 and was named after Wolraad Woltemade

Wolraad Woltemade

Wolraad Woltemade

I saw her in Cape Town in 1990, although the images I took were not great due to the ealy morning gloom. 

Sadly she was broken up in 2010. 

The Ross and Woltemade were the most powerful salvage tugs in the world when they were built and were involved in a number of marine casualties. They are true South African marine icons.

© DRW 2016-2018. Created 01/10/2016

Updated: 11/01/2018 — 07:55

Henry Lysons VC

Henry Lysons (30/07/1858 – 24/07/1907) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions during the Zulu War in 1879.

The citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Issue: 25093, Page: 1586,  reads:

“2nd Battalion, The Cameronians, Lieutenant Henry Lysons
[(Scottish Rifles) On 28 March 1879 at the Hlobane Mountain, South Africa, Lieutenant Lysons, with a captain and a private (Edmund John Fowler) dashed forward in advance of the party which had been ordered to dislodge the enemy from a commanding position in natural caves up the mountain. The path was so narrow that they had to advance in single file and the captain who arrived first at the mouth of the cave was instantly killed. Lieutenant Lysons and the private, undeterred by the death of their leader, immediately sprang forward and cleared the enemy out of their stronghold.

Lieutenant Lysons remained at the cave’s mouth for some minutes after the attack, during which time Captain Campbell’s body was carried down the slopes.” 

He is buried in St Peters’s Churchyard, Rodmartin, Gloucs

Henry Lysons VC 30/07/1858 - 24/07/1907 St Peters's Churchyard, Rodmartin, Gloucs

© DRW. 2016-2018 Created 17/04/2016. Image courtesy of Mark Green

Updated: 10/01/2018 — 20:38

Joseph John Farmer VC.

Joseph John Farmer (15/05/1854 – 30/06/1930) was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions in the First Boer War on 27 February 1881, on Majuba Hill in South Africa.

The Citation,Issue: 24973, Page: 2553, reads:

“Army Hospital Corps. Provisional Lance-Corporal Joseph John Farmer, For conspicuous bravery during the engagement with the Boers at the Majuba Mountain, on the 27th February, 1881, when he showed a spirit of self-abnegation and an example of cool courage which cannot be too highly commended.

While the Boers closed with the British troops near the wells, Corporal Farmer held a white flag over the wounded, and when the arm holding the flag was shot through, he called out that he had “another.” He then raised the flag with the other arm, and continued to do so until that also was pierced with a bullet.”

He is buried in Brompton Cemetery in London.

His headstone is made from a rock supposedly brought from Majuba and is inscribed to that effect (inscription recreated for clarity).

There is a commemorative plague erected at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire in his honour.

Brompton Cemetery, London

© DRW 2015 – 2018. Created 21/09/2015, edited 09/05/2017

Updated: 10/01/2018 — 07:42

The Arrival of Sally (5)

Aka: The Arrival of Sally and Lily Su

Early one Saturday morning, as I was on my way home from doing the morning shopping I spotted 2 Twinns by the side of the road. I pulled over and opened the door. “Hi girls, need a lift?”

“Good Morning”, Lily said, “yes please.”
“Could you please take us to the Tumbling Twinns? I have their address somewhere.” Sally added.
“Oh, that’s OK, I know where they stay, I was just on my way there now. Hop in and buckle up. We will be there in a jiffy.”

“Did you have a good flight?” I asked.
“It was Ok. I woke up half way and was very hungry. There was this box of fashion dolls next to us and they kept on jabbering on their cell phones and nattering about clothes. If I had had parachute I would have bailed out!” Sally explained.
“What about you Lily?”
“I slept through it all. I think Sally had too much chocolate before we took off, and the sugar kept her awake.”

We arrived at the home of Tumbling Twinns and the girls went upstairs to meet the gang. Like all Twinns they were apprehensive about fitting in with the existing ones. But, both were confident that they would be be met with open arms. “Good luck Sally,” Lily whispered.
“And you Lily, I think I have a tummy ache from fear.”
“It’s just your nerves, and all that chocolate. Don’t let the side down.”

Lily spotted Jennifer Mae concentrating very hard on her dingbat. “Drat, consarn it! how will I ever get this thing mastered in time for the tournament?” she muttered.

Lily touched Jennifer on the shoulder. “It’s easy…. all you need is total concentration. Let me show you how.”

Lily took the dingbat from Jennifer and was soon bouncing the ball up and down so rapidly that it seemed as if there were more than 1 ball.

Jennifer introduced herself. “I am Jennifer Mae, and up till now was the only Asian Twinn here.”
“My name is Lily Su, and I am honoured to meet you.”

“Lily, where did you learn to be so good at the dingbat?”
“It’s easy, I took a course at the factory, they said that anybody that could swat a fly could use a dingbat. It’s a very handy skill to have. I came top of my class in dingbat 101.”
“Will you teach me how to be an expert too?” Jennifer asked eagerly.
“Certainly, but only if you teach me how to write fortune cookie fortunes. Your reputation for wise fortune telling has spread far and wide in the Continuum. Rory says that sales have tripled since you started writing the fortunes.”
“That’s good news. But I do have a lot of help from my friends. In fact, I foresee that Brenda is going to have a surprise visitor.”

Sally had just found Brenda and the 2 Emmas shook hands.

“Welcome to Tumbling Twinns Sally. I am so pleased to finally meet you “in the vynil””. Brenda said, overcome with emotion.
“Its lovely to meet you too Brenda. I have read so many of your adventures already that I feel like I know you. I am glad that I can bring balance to the Continuum by being here.”
“We must hold our Annual General Meeting as soon as possible Sally.”
“What a great idea. I even brought refreshments. The Emmas sent along a packet of Hersheys Miniatures for us to nibble, but I woke up during the flight down here and got kind of hungry and I am afraid there aren’t too many left.”

Brenda just laughed, fully aware of Sally’s love of chocolates. “That’s OK, I am sure they will send us more. Come, you must tell me all the news, I have been waiting to hear about how the Cookies tried to take over.”
“Hmm, it’s a long story, lets grab a chair and I can tell you all about it.”

And so there were 2 new arrivals at Tumbling Twinns. Which meant stories to tell, clothes to swop and new adventures to come. Welcome Sally and Lily, we hope that you will be very happy here.

© DRW, JE Sturgis 2007-2018. Moved to blog 21/04/2015

Updated: 09/01/2018 — 19:56

Reginald Frederick Johnson Hayward VC, MC*

Captain Reginald Frederick Johnson Hayward VC was the son of stockbreeder Frederick and Gertrude Hayward. He was born on 17 June 1891 at the Beersheba Mission Station near Swartruggens, East Griqualand, and was educated at Hilton College Natal, Durban Business College and the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in the United Kingdom.
In May 1912 Reginald joined 6th Battalion Wiltshire Regiment and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant on 29 September 1914. During October 1916 he was involved in action at Stuff Redoubt, Thiepval, France and he was awarded the Military Cross, a bar was added to his MC during the battle of Messines in Belgium.

In March 1918, as the Germans advanced towards Bapaume, the 1st Battalion The Wiltshire Regiment was moved to the north of Fremicourt, a village east of Bapaume and just south of the Cambrai road. 4th Corps was trying to hold a line between Vaulx and Morchies to the north of the road. The surviving Wiltshires, three officers and 54 NCO’s and men, were gathered at Bihucourt, north-west of Bapaume, on 24 March. When the German offensive had opened on the 21st, 8th Battalion The Gloucestershire Regiment mounted an unsuccessful counter-attack at Doignies to try and contain the enemy advance south of the Cambrai-Bapaume road. They were then withdrawn west to Velu Wood. By the 23rd, the German advance had reached this point and the Glosters, together with the 10th Battalion The Royal Warwickshire Regiment was ordered to cover the further withdrawal of British forces. Bapaume itself was abandoned to the Germans.

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette for Supplement: 30648,  Page:4967, reads:

“For most conspicuous bravery in action. This officer, while in command of a company, displayed almost superhuman powers of endurance and consistent courage of the rarest nature. In spite of the fact that he was buried, wounded in the head, and rendered deaf on the first day of operations, and had his arm shattered two days later, he refused to leave his men (even though he received a third serious injury to his head), until he collapsed from sheer physical exhaustion.

Throughout the whole of this period the enemy was attacking his company front without cessation, but Captain Hayward continued to move across the open front from one trench to another with absolute disregard of his own personal safety, concentrating entirely on re-organising his defences and encouraging his men.

It was almost entirely due to the magnificent example of ceaseless energy of this officer that many determined attacks on his portion of the trench system failed entirely.

Reginald Hayward survived the war and continued to serve in the military in Dublin, Egypt and Palestine. In April 1935 he was transferred to the Reserves. During the Second World War he served as Commander of the Royal Army Service Corps Anti-Aircraft Command. He retired on 09 July 1947 as an Honorary Lieutenant Colonel.

Apart from his Victoria Cross and Military Cross with Bar he was awarded the 1914 – 1915 Star, British War Medal 1914 – 1920, Victory Medal 1914 – 1919, Defence Medal 1939 – 1945, Coronation Medal 1937, Coronation Medal 1953 and Territorial Efficiency decoration.
He died on 17 January 1970 in Chelsea, London and was cremated on 23 January 1970 at the Putney Vale Crematorium, London while his ashes are scattered in the Garden of Remembrance.

Reginald Hayward VC Memorial Stone National Memorial Arboretum

Reginald Hayward VC

Memorial Stone

National Memorial Arboretum

(Based off an extract published in The VC and the GC, The Complete History, by Methuen and The VC and GC Association in 2013.

© DRW 2015-2018. Created 08/03/2015, edited 17/05/2017

Updated: 09/01/2018 — 07:36

Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor VC, MC*, DFC, DSO

Andrew Frederick Weatherby Beauchamp-Proctor (04/09/1894 – 21/06/1921), was awarded the Victoria Cross for his  actions between 8 August 1918, and 8 October 1918 while serving with the Royal Flying Corps.  

The Citation, recorded in the London Gazette of Supplement: 31042, Page: 14204, reads:

Lieut. (A./Capt.) Andrew Weatherby Beauchamp-Proctor, D.S.O., M.C., D.F.C., No. 84 Sqn., E.A. Force.

Between August 8th, 1918, and October 8th, 1918, this officer proved himself victor in twenty-six decisive combats, destroying twelve enemy kite balloons, ten enemy aircraft, and driving down four other enemy aircraft completely out of control.

Between October 1st, 1918, and October 5th, 1918, he destroyed two enemy scouts, burnt three enemy kite balloons, and drove down one enemy scout completely out of control.

On October 1st, 1918, in a general engagement with about twenty-eight machines, he crashed one Fokker biplane near Fontaine and a second near Ramicourt; on October 2nd he burnt a hostile balloon near Selvjgny; on October 3rd he drove down, completely out of control, an enemy scout near Mont d’Origny, and burnt a hostile balloon; on October 5th, the third hostile balloon near Bohain.

On October 8th, 1918, while flying home at a low altitude, after destroying an enemy two-seater near Maretz, he was painfully wounded in the arm by machine-gun fire, but, continuing, he landed safely at his-aerodrome, and after making his report was admitted to hospital.

In all he has proved himself conqueror over fifty-four foes, destroying twenty-two enemy machines, sixteen enemy kite balloons, and driving down sixteen enemy aircraft completely out of control.

Captain Beauchamp-Proctor’s work in attacking enemy troops on the ground and in reconnaissance during the withdrawal following on the Battle of St. Quentin from March 21st, 1918, and during the victorious advance of our Armies commencing on August 8th, has been almost unsurpassed in its Brilliancy, and as such has made an impression on those serving in his squadron and those around him that will not be easily forgotten.

Capt. Beauchamp-Proctor was awarded Military Cross on 22nd June, 1918; D.F. Cross on 2nd July, 1918; Bar to M.C. on 16th September, 1918; and Distinguished Service Order on 2nd November, 1918.”

He was killed on 21 June 1921 in a training accident in preparation for an air show at RAF Hendon. His aircraft went into a spin after performing a slow loop, and he was killed in the ensuing crash. He was originally buried at Upavon, Wiltshire, but in August 1921 his body was returned to South Africa where he was given a state funeral and buried in Mafikeng Cemetery.  

The grave of Capt. Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor VC

The grave of Capt. Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor VC

Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor was born 4 September 1894 in Mossel Bay,  South Africa.  He served with  The Duke of Edinburgh’s Own Rifles as a signalman in the GSWA Campaign, and later enlisted in the Royal Flying Corps in March 1917 . 

Inscription on the grave

Inscription on the grave

Memorial Stone at the National Memorial Arboretum.

Memorial Stone at the National Memorial Arboretum.

© DRW 2004-2018. Created 01/11/2014, updated 05/04/2015. Edited 15/05/2017. The images of the grave of  Flight Lieutenant  Andrew Beauchamp-Proctor VC, DSO, MC, and Bar, DFC was photographed by Terry Cawood and is used with his permission.

Updated: 08/01/2018 — 07:56

South African Connections to the Titanic

The recent on-line access to the Titanic’s passenger list has revived interest in this tragic event. Some of the Titanic’s passengers had connections to South Africa. The following are a few of them. There may be other passengers with South African connections, as yet undiscovered. This list is reproduced with permission, and special thanks must go to Anne Lehmkuhl for permission to use it.

Thomas William Solomon Brown

Thomas William Solomon Brown (60), his wife Elizabeth Catherine (née Ford) and their daughter, Edith Eileen, were from Worcester. Thomas was the son of Thomas William Brown and was baptised in Cape Town on the 25th August 1851. Thomas registered various mortgage bonds at the Cape between 1884 and 1904, while Elizabeth registered one in 1904. Thomas was a successful hotel owner but business had declined, so he decided to start again in Seattle, USA, where Elizabeth’s sister, Josephine, lived with her husband Edward Acton. Elizabeth was much younger than Thomas, and was his second wife. His first wife, Isabella Gracilla/Greceilda (née Willoughby) died at the Cape in 1889. Elizabeth was born in 1872 at the Cape. Thomas’s first marriage produced 4 children – Lilian Henrietta (later married to Woolf), Harriet (later married to Bosman), Thomas Ralph and Ernest. The second marriage produced two daughters, but one, Dorothy Beatrice, died at the age of eight, from diphtheria. Edith was born on the 27th October 1896.

The family were 2nd Class passengers. Elizabeth and Edith were rescued by the Carpathia. They stayed in New York for a few days before going to stay with Josephine in Seattle. Soon afterwards, mother and daughter returned to South Africa. Elizabeth married a Mr Parrott and moved to Rhodesia, where she died on the 29th June 1925.

Edith married Frederick Thankful Haisman, an architectural engineer, in South Africa on the 30th June 1917. They had 10 children, including Dorothy (married to Mr. Kendall) and David. David later served as a lookout on the White Star Lines and wrote a book, I’ll See You in New York: Titanic – the Courage of a Survivor. Edith was an honorary member of the Titanic Society of South Africa and the oldest Titanic survivor until her death on the 20th January 1997 at the age of 100 at a nursing home in Southampton. She appeared in the 1994 TV movie, Titanic: The Legend Lives On, as herself, as well as in Titanic: Secrets Revealed (1998). In 1993 Edith was presented with the gold watch that her father was wearing when the ship went down. RMS Titanic Inc of New York City, a salvaging company, found the blackened watch. Her life story was published as A lifetime on the Titanic – the biography of Edith Haisman.

Charles Henry Chapman

Charles Henry Chapman was born in Cape Town. He was the son of James Chapman (explorer) and Catherine Cecelia Roome (daughter of Capt. William Roome and Catherine Cecelia Bushnell). Catherine was born in Virginia, USA, and her father was a sea captain who settled in Nova Scotia, Canada. Charles was an exporter and lived in the Bronx, New York. He was 52 years old when he died on the Titanic, as a 2nd Class passenger. He had the Bushnell family Bible with him. His body was recovered and in his suit pockets, the following were found: silver cigarette case, garnet tie-pin, garnet ring, papers, gold mounted cuff-links, $200, gold studs, fountain pen, knife and pipe. JJ Griffin of New York City claimed his body. Charles was buried at the Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx.

Nathan Goldsmith

Nathan Goldsmith was a boot maker in Cape Town (possibly also Johannesburg) before the Anglo-Boer War. He was originally from Russia. After the war, he moved to Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, USA. He was married and had two children. Nathan was 41 years old and a 3rd Class passenger when he died on the Titanic. At the time of his death, his family was living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sydney Samuel Jacobsohn

In 1902 Sydney Samuel Jacobsohn was an attorney in Cape Town, living at 16 Wale Street. He registered mortgage bonds in 1898 and 1906. He later moved to London. He married Amy Frances Christy Cohen on 6th September 1910. She was born in London. They boarded the Titanic as 2nd Class passengers, on their way to Montreal, Canada. Sydney (42) did not survive. Amy (24) was rescued by the Carpathia. She returned to England onboard the Megantic.

Samuel Beard Risien

Samuel Beard Risien and his wife Emma, from Texas, USA, were on their way home, after spending about 14 months in Durban, visiting relatives. They were 3rd Class passengers and did not survive. After the death of his first wife, Mary Louise Lellyet, Samuel married her sister Emma, of Durban, South Africa. There were no children of the second marriage.

Austin Blyler van Billiard

Austin Blyler van Billiard (35) and his sons, James William (10) and Walter John (9), were 3rd Class passengers on their way to South Wales, Pennsylvania, USA. None survived. Austin was a part owner of a diamond mine. He left Cape Town for England, with his wife Maude and children – James William (born 20th Aug 1901 in France), Walter John (born 28 Feb 1903 in France), Dorothy Jane and Donald. He had several diamonds cut in Amsterdam and decided to go to New York where he might get a better price. His father and brother, Monroe, lived in South Wales, Pennsylvania. Maude became ill and it was decided that she remain in England with the youngest children, until she was well enough to travel. Austin’s body (found with 12 diamonds in the pockets) and Walter’s body were found and buried at Union Cemetery, Zion Lutheran Church, Flourtown, Pennsylvania.

Austin was born on the 9th February 1877, the only son of James V van Billiard, a successful marble merchant. He moved to England where he met Maude Ellen Murray and married her on the 3rd November 1900. The family spent 10 years in South Africa. In 1906, Austin applied for letters of patent at the Cape, for his invention – a mechanical suspension conveyancer. In 1912, he decided to return to the USA. Maude eventually moved to South Wales, Pennsylvania, with her two remaining children. She never remarried and died in a nursing home on the 17 January 1968, aged 94.

Henry Sutehall

Henry (aka Harry) Sutehall was born on the 23rd July 1883 in England. He started a round-the-world trip on the 1st January 1910 and purposefully waited to return home to the USA on the Titanic’s maiden voyage. His family had immigrated to the USA in 1895 where they settled in Buffalo, New York. Henry became a trimmer, installing and repairing upholstery in carriages and early cars. He met Howard Irwin at work and they decided to do a world tour, while working wherever they could find employment. During 1910, they travelled all over the USA. In mid-1911, they left for Australia. While in Sydney, Henry won a sweepstakes that helped fund the rest of their trip. The two friends wanted to visit different places and at this stage, they each went their own way. They met up again in Durban and made plans to meet in England early in 1912 to conclude the voyage home together. While in Durban, they entered a talent contest and won a trip. Henry played the violin and Howard played the clarinet. Howard most likely used the prize to fund his travels, arriving in England a week before Henry.

On the day of their departure from Southampton, Howard did not show up. Henry already had put Howard’s steamer trunk onboard the ship, but Howard never showed up. Henry did not survive the voyage. In 1993, during recovery efforts at the wreck site by RMS Titanic, Inc. Howard’s steamer trunk was found. Among the contents was a diary that Howard kept for 1910. The diary and several of Howard’s possessions can be seen in museums in St. Petersburg and Boston. Howard Irwin died in 1953.

Henry Forbes Julian

Henry Forbes Julian was born on the 9th May 1861 in Cork, Co Cork, Ireland. He became a metallurgical engineer and in October 1886 travelled to Natal. He became a consulting engineer and mine manager in Natal, Barberton, Johannesburg and Kimberley. Henry stayed in South Africa for seven years, during which time he invented and patented an extracting apparatus for the mines. In 1893 he moved to Germany. By 1902, he was living in Torquay. He was booked to travel to the USA on another ship but because of the coal strike he was transferred to the Titanic. Henry was to attend a meeting in San Francisco. His wife, Hester Pengally, stayed home as she had influenza. He did not survive.

Herbert Gifford Harvey

Herbert Gifford Harvey was born on the 3rd February 1878 in Belfast, Ireland. He volunteered to serve in the Anglo-Boer War and joined the 46th Company Imperial Yeomanry. He earned the Queen’s Medal with three clasps and the King’s Medal with one clasp. After his return, he joined Harland & Wolff and later went to sea as an engineer with Lowther, Latta & Co before leaving to join the White Star Line. He lived in Southampton. Junior Assistant Second Engineer Harvey did not survive.

William Jeffery Ware

William Jeffery Ware was born in 1889 in Gunnislake, Cornwall, to Samuel Ware and Ann / Annie Louisa (formerly Witheridge). Samuel was a blacksmith at one of the copper mines near Gunnislake. William became a blacksmith and married Cecilia. Six weeks prior to sailing on the Titanic, he had been in South Africa visiting his father. He was a 2nd Class passenger on his way to Butte, Montana, but did not survive.

Francesco Celotti

Francesco Celotti was a sailor from Cape Town. He was a 3rd Class passenger and did not survive. He applied for a passport at the Cape and was granted one on the 16th February 1911. He was originally from Italy and was age 24 when he boarded the Titanic at Southampton.

Robert Hichens

Robert Hichens (possibly also spelt as Hitchens) was born in Newlyn, Cownwall, on the 16th September 1882, son of Philip Hichens and Rebecca Wood. On the 23rd October 1906, he married Florence Mortimore in Manaton, Devon. He worked aboard mail boats and liners of the Union Castle line. Prior to sailing on the Titanic, he was living in Southampton with his wife and two children. He was one of six Quartermasters on the ship. Robert was at the wheel when the warning came from the lookout that an iceberg had been spotted ahead. He swung the wheel as far as possible. Later that night he was relieved by another Quartermaster and he was put in charge of Lifeboat 6. He testified at the US inquiry into the accident. Afterwards, he returned to England and testified in the English inquiry.

It is claimed that he became a harbour master in Cape Town, according to one Henry Blum in a letter to a Thomas Garvey. Henry was an acquaintance of Robert, and was a Quartermaster on a British ship that docked in Cape Town in 1914. According to him, the harbour master who met the ship was Robert Hichens. Henry claimed that he and Robert had a talk in which he was told that Robert had been set up in South Africa in return for his secrecy regarding the Titanic. So far, no research has found this part of the story to be true. His family members stated that he did spend some time in Durban and Johannesburg.

Robert’s brother, William, lived in Johannesburg in 1915. William returned to England in 1918 and married Penelope Rouffignac Cotton in Newlyn. They had 2 children, Penelope and William, in South Africa. Penelope died in Johannesburg in 1959.

Robert served in the Royal Naval Reserve in the First World War In 1919 he was working as a Third Officer on a small vessel out of Hull. In the late 1920s, he was living in Torquay, Devon, where he did boat chartering. In 1931, the family moved to Southampton. Robert had a run-in with the law and was released from prison in 1937. His wife lived in Southampton until her death in the early 1960s. The couple had six children – Edna Florence, Frances, Phyllis May, Robert, Ivy Doreen and Fred. He is buried Trinity Cemetery in Aberdeen after dying of heart failure on the English Trader vessel near Aberdeen on 23rd September 1940.

Samuel Emest Hemming

Lamp trimmer Samuel Ernest Hemming lived in Southampton. He was married to Elizabeth Emily Browning on the 4th June 1903, and they had several children. He was picked up by Lifeboat 4. He died in Southampton on 12 April 1928, age 59, at the Blighmont Nursing Home, of cancer. Two or three of Samuel’s brothers had immigrated to South Africa, where they started a law firm.

Mary Griffin

Mary Griffin (née Webber) is buried at Braamfontein Cemetery in Johannesburg. She was from Kea, Cornwall. Mary was 33 years old when she married the widower, James Griffin on the 5th November 1863. They moved to South Africa. Mary died on the 17th June 1897 in Johannesburg. Her brother, James was on the Titanic on his way back to his home in San Francisco, to the USA. He was 62 years old and did not survive. In 1914 a Mr J Griffin of Kenwyn Cottage in Port Elizabeth purchased the private rights to Mary’s grave and a stone was erected commemorating Mary and James. James’ estate was left to Harriet Julian, wife of Edmund Julian.

William Bull

Margaret Charlesworth of Lyndhurst, Johannesburg, found that her grandfather, William Bull (37), worked in the Titanic’s kitchens. He did not survive. William was born in Hampshire. He married Margaret’s grandmother, Edith, and is commemorated on her grave stone. Edith later married a Mr Skeats. She died in 1937. In 1912, William was living in Southampton.

The following South African connections have not been proven:

A man, who became the Bishop of George circa 1950s/1960s, spent his honeymoon on the Titanic. Different lifeboats picked up the newly-wed couple and they were separated for three weeks, neither knowing that the other was alive.

WH Welch was an assistant cook on the Titanic. He had a brother who settled in South Africa.

According to Frans van Wyk, author of Riversdal 150 Jaar, a resident of the town was on the Titanic and did not survive.

Reginald Hardwick,  Husband of Elsie S. Cobb (formerly Hardwick), of 22, Railway Avenue, Creswell. Born Pietermaritzburg, Natal, South Africa. Survived the sinking of The Titanic. Served as a kitchen porter on The Titanic. Hardwick was rescued (possibly in lifeboat 13). This may however be a case of an assumed identity as there are a number of contradictions in this case.

National Archives of South Africa
Titanic Society of South Africa
Official list of Titanic passengers and crew:
http://hometown.aol.co.uk/houghian/myhomepage/brown.html (no longer active)

Anne Lehmkuhl was born on the island of Madeira, and immigrated to South Africa at the age of two years. In the early 1980s, she started tracing her family history. In later years she has been the editor and/or publisher of family history newsletters and has written two e-books on South African genealogy. She has been a professional genealogist since the 1990s, specialising in South African genealogical and historical research.

Updated: 07/01/2015 — 14:09
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