Tag Archives: Military

A submariner in World War II – George Leonard Mason (1913-1943)

George served on the submarine HMS Turbulent during World War II and was declared dead after the submarine went missing while out on patrol in 1943. He was my third cousin 3 times removed and his grandmother Elizabeth Haw (1837-1902) was my first cousin 4 times removed.

George was the youngest son of Albert Mason (1870-1932) and Kate Adams (1876-1955). While his father Albert had been baptised in Monk Bar United Methodist Chapel on 14 February 1870, his mother Kate was a Roman Catholic. Kate’s parents had been born in Ireland and Albert and Kate married in St Wilfrid’s Roman Catholic Church, York on 14 September 1895. George was baptised in St Sampson’s Church, Church Street, York on 27 April 1913 when the family were living at 3 Wilmots Court, Swinegate (see the following map for Swinegate and St Sampson Church which is just nearby in Church Street and circled in red).

Extract from OS Map York 1910 CLXIVNW

By 1939 George had married Annie Upton (1912-1991) and they had had a son Leonard (1936-2003). The family were living at 44 Kyme Street, which is inside the city walls and part of the Bishophill area of the city of York. George gave his occupation as a “maintenance mechanic motor transport”.

By 1943 George was a submariner on HMS Turbulent where he was described as a “engine room artificer 4th class”. An artificer is a Royal Navy trade and they are skilled mechanics. Presumably George’s previous experience as a mechanic was being put to use here.

The following photograph shows HMS Turbulent on the outboard side, moored up with HMS Taiku on the inboard side, in Algiers in 1943.

HMS Turbulent – Royal Navy Official Photographer, Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons

HMS Turbulent is known to have left Algiers on 23 February 1943 for a patrol in the Tyrrhenian Sea, which is part of the Mediterranean, to the west of Italy. She did not return from her patrol duties and was declared overdue on 23 March 1943. It is likely that she was torpedoed and sunk in early March, but the precise details have not been conclusively confirmed, and her wreck has not been found. Members of George’s family continued to live and work in York and George’s death is commemorated on the Naval Memorial at Plymouth.  

I am interested in knowing more about all the people mentioned in this blog post. Do contact me if you have any further information which you are willing to share with me.

Note: the map used in this blog has been reproduced with the permission of the National Library of Scotland under the following creative commons licence https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/ and sourced from the NLS maps site https://maps.nls.uk/.

Bibliography

Commonwealth War Graves Commission. https://www.cwgc.org/find-records/find-war-dead/ : accessed October 2020.

HMS Turbulent. https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205147929 : accessed October 2020.

HMS Turbulent. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/HMSM_Turbulent_FL20300.jpg : accessed October 2020.

HMS Turbulent (N98). https://uboat.net/allies/warships/ship/3505.html : accessed October 2020.

OS Maps. https://maps.nls.uk/ : accessed October 2020.

Royal Navy Trades. https://www.forces-war-records.co.uk/blog/2016/01/15/royal-navy-rank-and-trades-explained : accessed October 2020.

Ancestors in Australia

So far in my family research I have found very few people who have emigrated to Australia from either my husband or my own part of our family tree. The most notable person was Thomas King, born about 1813, who was transported to Tasmania for stealing.

Recently I discovered some distant cousins, one of whom emigrated to Australia in 1928 and the other who joined him in 1949. The first to emigrate was Frederick William Ellis (1906-1957) who was born in Luton, Bedfordshire and by 1928 living in Cople in Bedfordshire. He left England for Australia on 13 October 1928 on the ship SS Orford where his occupation was given as farming. Information on the ship he travelled on is included on the Passengers in History website.

SSOrdfordfrompassengersinhistoryFrederick seems to have settled in Western Australia and so far I’ve been unable to determine if he received assistance for his passage. He wasn’t listed as a new settler arriving on the ship SS Orford in the list published in The Western Australian newspaper dated 10 November 1928.

 

Frederick was living in Northam, Western Australia when he enlisted in the Australian army in WWII. After the war his sister Helena (1904-1988) and brother-in-law Ashley Herbert Lansom (born 1906), my fifth cousin once removed, together with their two sons, emigrated to Australia on the ship SS Otranto. They left Tilbury Docks, London, England on 14 October 1949 bound for Freemantle in Western Australia. On the passenger list Ashley’s occupation was listed as a plumber and they gave their intended residence as c/o Ellis, 58 Hovea Crescent, Wundowie, Western Australia. The Lansom’s seem to have settled in a suburb of Perth called Dianella as they were recorded living there in The Government Gazette dated 31 August 1979.

A resource that I’ve found really helpful to add context to these two men is the National Library of Australia’s Trove website. It is free to use and is where I found copies of The Western Australia newspaper and The Government Gazette.

Note: the photo of SS Orford came from the Passengers in History website under their Creative Commons license. It has not been modified.

The unidentified John Sarginson

It was probably about a year ago when my brother Tim set me a family history challenge. He is interested in a specific name on the WW1 war memorial which resides in St Helen’s Churchyard in Escrick; the village we were born and brought up in. The man’s name was John Sarginson. Neither of my parents was able to shed any light on this man who shares the same surname as we do. Our uncle Taff, one of my father’s brothers, wasn’t able to help either when we asked him about him earlier this year. Mind you he didn’t know that one of his ancestors from a nearby village had served in World War One, survived and is included in one of the historical books about Riccall; the village which he lives in.

Anyway how hard can this be to identify someone who is currently unidentified I thought to myself. Well much harder than I’d anticipated is the short answer. I started with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website and found some John Sarginson’s who had not survived the war but, having carried out further research,  I don’t think it is any of them. Then I thought well perhaps he is in some of the other WW1 records: Ancestry, Imperial War Museum lives of the Great War, Findmypast and the National Archives at Kew. No luck there though.

Then I realised that there would probably have been some meetings to discuss the war memorial and discovered that some papers and meeting minutes had been lodged at the Hull history centre as part of the Forbes Adam collection. Perhaps this was going to be the eureka moment that we family historians crave. Yes you’ve guessed it, it wasn’t. A very interesting letter from Lady Wenlock written in 1921, just after the commemoration service for the war memorial, did reveal some of the local feeling around it and some of the the names which had been included on it. But no the papers didn’t provide any information about who was going to be included on the memorial. A separate sub-committee run by the Rector made those decisions; and so far it doesn’t look these papers still exist or are accessible.

So it was back to the drawing board. After extensive further research, including also looking at the other soldiers on the war memorial and who they served with, I am no further forward in identifying the unidentified John Sarginson. I am loathe to leave him as a mystery so have written to the local historian who wrote a book about Escrick to see if he can help.

If you know anything about this John then do please contact me. I have also posted this blog to my other genealogy website https://sarginsonfamily.com/.

Postscript: it looks like John may no longer be unidentified. He was probably Corporal John Sarginson of the West Yorkshire regiment. It would be good though to know more about his connection to Escrick as he wasn’t born there. If you have any further information do please get in touch.