Saturday, 17 May 2014

William Lidderdale Hutton

William Lidderdale Hutton was born in Torquay, Devon, England on 18 August 1865. He was the son of William Forbes Hutton and Eleonora Mackillop and was the ninth of eleven children - the fourth born of six sons. When the 1871 census was taken William was living at Hill House, Leckhampton, with his mother and seven of his brothers and sisters. His father was in India serving as an officer in the Army but was about to leave India for Australia to join his eldest son, George, who arrived in Victoria in 1869.

On 6 May 1874, William and the members of his family who were not already in Australia arrived in Melbourne aboard the ship, Northumberland. Initially the family lived in Kew in a large house named Blytheswood. In 1871 William Forbes Hutton had purchased Cooring Yering at Lilydale and the family lived in Kew while a large house was built on the new property and farming on the property was established. William was eight when he arrived in Australia and would have attended school in Melbourne. The family officially moved to Cooring Yering in 1883 when William was 18. The boys would certainly have spent some of the time prior to this helping on the property. Among other skills he would certainly have learned to ride and work with horses.

In 1884 at Farrell's Hotel, Yarra Flats, a meeting was held to discuss the formation of a local cavalry corps. The Victorian Mounted Rifles were formed in 1885 but there were more applications to join than places available so there was need for a restructure in February 1891 as noted in the Camperdown Chronicle 14 February 1891:

VICTORIAN MOUNTED RIFLES. The following order in connexion with the Victorian Mounted Rifles has been issued from headquarters:—" The Governor-in-Council has been pleased to approve of the following -Formation of companies into battalions in the Victorian Rifles, A, C, D, E, and F Companies to be designated Ist Battalion Victorian Mounted Rifles, with head quarters at Melbourne; B, G, H, and I Companies to be designated 2nd Battalion Victorian Mounted Rifles, with headquarters at Ballarat."

A Lilydale attachment was subsequently organised as part of 'A' Company of the 1st Battalion. At a meeting on 24 April 1891 at the Lilydale Athenaeum Hall sixteen men signed up and by the end of May there were 48 members. Infantry drills were held on Tuesday and Friday evenings and by July the members had completed a course in musketry and later also compulsory drills at Williamstown.

As well as supplying their own horses, an example of what was expected of members of the Victorian Mounted Rifles is outlined in this notice in the Alexander and Yea Standard 24 April 1891:

We have been requested to notify those gentlemen who recently applied to be admitted members of the Victorian Mounted Rifles that they have been taken on the strength of the regiment, and should attend the drill of the local detachment on this day fortnight, by which time it is hoped uniforms will be ready for them. All efficient members of the local detachment of the Mounted Rifles are expected to attend parade this afternoon, when the   musketry course must be completed. Any member failing to attend will be struck off the strength of the regiment, and will not be taken on again, in addition to which each man failing to complete the musketry course entails a loss of £3 on the company. Every member is requested to bring with him all articles of kit belonging to Government in his possession, so that all losses may be made good and each man's equipment made perfect.  

It is probably not surprising, with the military background of their family, that William Hutton and his brother, Maurice, were among the early members of Victorian Mounted Rifles at Lilydale.  Twenty-five men from Lilydale were chosen to be part of the Victorian Mounted Rifles escort of the Governor, the Earl of Hopetoun, from Government House to the opening of Parliament on Tuesday 23 June. William and Maurice were part of the contingent. Anthony J McAleer in his book, The Shire of Lillydale and its military history suggests that the men were 'chosen for the uniformity of their horses rather than any special ability' (p18). Later in the year men from Lilydale were also included in the escort of the Governor to the Melbourne Cup.

By the mid 1890s membership in the Victorian Mountain Rifles in the Lilydale area dwindled but a recruitment drive in 1897, including a Military Ball in the Athenaeum Hall, proved to be effective in attracting new members.

During the Boer War 1899-1902 a number of men from Lilydale, including William Lidderdale Hutton, left with the Victorian Mountain Rifles contingent for South Africa.

According to Forces War Records, William L Hutton (service number 1551) was a Corporal in the 5th Contingent Victorian Mounted Rifles. The website Desert Column (Australian Lighthorse Studies Centre) provides a nominal roll of those in the 5th Contingent Victorian Mounted Rifles as well as an outline of the formation and their service. The 5th Mounted Rifles Contingent enrolled on 1 February 1901 and preference was given to single men who were members of a Victorian military force, who weighed less than 12 stone and were capable of passing riding, shooting and physical tests. The men enlisted for a period of 12 months unless the war ended sooner. Each man was provided with a full kit including a uniform in kharki cloth consisting of pants puttees, hat and f s (foreign service) jacket and cap, greatcoat and boots. Rifles and bayonets were issued when they arrived in Cape Town though they received their cartridge belts in Victoria. Horses and necessary saddlery were also provided.

The contingent departed from Melbourne on 15 February 1901 aboard the Orient. Two other ships, the Argus and the City of Lincoln, carried horses and supplies. The men disembarked at Port Elizabeth before travelling to Pretoria where they mobilized between 24 March and 4 April. The Australians in South Africa were under the command of the British officers so on 10 April they travelled to Middelburg to join General Beatson's column. Some days later at Leeuwfontein they captured a convoy of 21 wagons and 16 prisoners. On 11 May the Regiment was divided into two wings and were involved in various engagements many of which are recorded in The Official War Records of the Australian Military Contingents to the War in South Africa by Lieutenant Colonel P L Murray. The section relating to the 5th Contingent Victorian Mounted Rifles is available online as a pdf. 

On 11 March 1902 members of the 5th Contingent arrived back in Cape Town and on 27 March two companies embarked on the St Andrew - 6 officers and 153 men - for Melbourne, via Albany, arriving on 25 April 1902. The remainder of the 5th Contingent - 23 officers and 460 men - embarked on the Montrose  for Durban where they transferred to the Custodian arriving in Melbourne, via Albany, on 26 April.

Records relating to Australia's involvement in the Boer War can be found on the National Archives Australia website including a publication, The Boer War: Australia and the War in South Africa which is available as a book or viewed online.
The Australian War Memorial website includes the nominal roll for Pre First World War Conflicts, including the Boer War.
Forums that may be useful in researching the Boer War include Anglo Boer War forum and Victorian Wars forum.

Queen Victoria died during the Boer War on 22 January 1901. The Queen's South Africa Medal (QSA) ‎was awarded to military personnel who served in the Boer War in South Africa between 11 October 1899 and 31 May 1902. William would therefore have been eligible to receive this medal.

After returning from the Boer War William lived on properties in Western Australia for many years. The first property was Moorarrie Station, on the Upper Murchison River, which advertised for sale in the middle of 1902. The Australian electoral rolls confirm that he was living there in 1903. The property was back on the market in November 1905 when William relocated to Jelcobine Estate, another sheep station near Brookton. This property was sold in December 1911 when William and his wife, Violet - who he married on 7 March 1905 - moved back to Victoria. The electoral rolls in 1914 show that they were farming at Arcadia, near Shepparton. They later moved to 104 Drummond Street, Ballarat where William died on 17 June 1929. William's will, dated on the day he married Violet, left all his possessions to his wife. The personal estate was valued at £1906 2/6. The major part of the estate was a share in the deceased estate of his cousin, Georgina Hutton who died in 1928 and was the widow of Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bruce Hutton.

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Norman McCallum Smith (part 2)

Since the first post on Norman McCallum Smith I have discovered additional information about Norman and his story including information disproving part of the family story that began this search. Lenore's comment posted on the first post and additional information in an email proved extremely useful.

The Royal Naval Reserve Service Records Index at the National Archives (UK) hold a record for Norman so within a few minutes I was able to purchase a copy of the record. I later found a link to his name on the this index in and also in a Google search for "Norman McCallum Smith". The service record  provided some useful information including his full date of birth so now we know that Norman was born on 30 May 1878. His description includes that he was 5 feet 8 inches tall, had a fair complexion, grey eyes and his chest measurement was 39 inches. He had a tattoo of an anchor on his left arm.

His enrolment in the Royal Navy Reserve was in Dover on 30 April 1915 but his address at the time of enrolment was given as 4 Gladys Avenue, West Dock Street, Hull. Reading through the two pages of the report Norman was demobilized on 4 June 1919 so he had not drowned during the war as at least one family member believed. Further details about Norman included his service number: Da 6509 and that he was a Deck Hand.  There was also a note on his card indicating that in 1922 his wife had contacted the Royal Navy requesting that any money owing should be forwarded directly to her as her husband was in the Willerby Asylum. This was the first that I knew of a wife.

Back to to search the British records for additional information about Norman. A record in the 1911 census shows that a Norman Smith, born in Sydney New South Wales, was living as a boarder at 20 Boynton Street, Boulevard Road, Hull and he was a fisherman. He was listed as being single. A search of the marriage records for Norman Smith after 1911 showed that Norman Mcc Smith had married Lily Denby in Hull in 1913. The Hull History Centre website includes information about the maritime history of the area including fishing crew lists from 1884 until 1914. Searching the lists showed that Norman was employed as either a third or fourth hand on at least four vessels between 1911 and 1913.

Back to Norman's Naval Reserve service card which stated that he was originally on the Seaward Ho (later Attentive III). From 15 May 1915 until 16 June 1915 he was on the Halcyon and from 17 June 1915 until 14 June 1919 he was on Attentive III. However this is not as straight forward as it appears on the surface. A search of the Ships Nostalgia forum and the Great War Forum provide a number of posts attempting to unravel the naming of ships operating from Dover during World War I. As discussed in the previous post about Norman McCallum Smith, trawlers from Hull and Grimsby and other parts of England had been purchased by the Royal Navy to act as mine sweepers and help patrol parts of the English coastline. Merchant Navy ships were also used by the navy. Men who had worked on the trawlers usually, like Norman, joined the Royal Navy Reserve. The men were attached to a Depot Ship which was responsible for a number of the trawlers operating from Dover. To complicate matters the names of ships were sometimes changed and the shore establishment also sometimes had the name of a ship. In the records Attentive III can refer to a specific ship or the shore establishment of the same name at Dover. The interchanging of names was meant to confuse the enemy but after reading the thread about Attentive III in Ships Nostalgia forum the name changes still confuse researchers today.

The trawler, Seaward Ho, appears to have been renamed Attentive III probably in April or May 1918. The trawler had been requisitioned by the Royal Navy early in 1915. On the document for Norman the name Seaward Ho has been crossed out and replaced by Attentive III. A page from the Attentive III logbook for 14 October, 1918, held at National Archives (UK), confirms that the ship was an operational vessel carrying out patrols in the Dover area. On the logbook page the S in HMS before the name of the ship has been changed to a T making it HMT Attentive III which meant hired military transport. To further confuse matters the Seaward Ho may also been named the Guy Thorpe at one time.
Attentive III
The name of the other ship mentioned on Norman's service record card was HMS Halcyon which probably refers to the gunship launched on 6 April 1894 and became a Depot Ship in 1915.
The website, Old Ship Picture Galleries, is a good place to look for images of ships.

Norman left the Royal Naval Reserve on 4 June 1919 and appears to have returned to Hull. The next we hear of him is the note, written on the service card in 1922 that he is in the Willerby Asylum which later became the De La Pole Hospital. The National Archives (UK) website lists the records available for this institution. The Hull City Archives holds records for the time Norman was there. It is possible that he may have been admitted to the asylum due to the effects of his experiences during the war.

A search in Ancestry located the UK Naval Medal and Award Rolls 1793-1972. There are a number of Norman Smiths in the list but as Naval Reserve record for Norman provided his military number it was relatively easy to identify his name in the list. He received the 1914-15 Star, British War Medal and Victory Star and his Naval Reserve record shows that he would also have received the Royal Navy Reserve Medal.

In Ancestry I located a record for the death of Norman M Smith, aged 47, at Sculcoates (Hull) in Yorkshire in 1925. More research needs to be done to confirm that this is the Norman in this story and also to located further details about his life after the war. 

Monday, 5 May 2014

Norman McCallum Smith

Family history research can lead you down many unexpected paths. My great, great grandfather, Charles Septimus Smith (1833-1912) was born in England but came to Australia some time in the mid 1850s and married Sarah McCallum, originally from Glasgow, in 1859. Charles and Sarah had twelve children, the youngest son being Norman McCallum Smith who was born in 1878. The only information that I have about Norman exists in notes given to my father by a cousin stating that 'Norman was an officer on trawler, Hull, England. He died at sea in World War I.'

A search in for information about one of Norman's older brothers shows that Robert Dugald Smith had returned to England where he obtained his 2nd Mate's certificate in the Merchant Navy in 1889 and a Master of Foreign Going Ships certificate in Merchant Navy in 1895. By 1903 Robert was back in Australia as the captain of a ship carrying coal between Wollongong and Sydney.

One can only suppose that some years later, Norman also decided to try his luck in England and ended up working on trawlers out of Hull. Hull was an important port for fishing and by the outbreak of the First World War many steam trawlers were stationed at the port. A Google search 'Hull trawlers' and similar headings provided articles relating to the trawlers and the fishing industry.

Trawlers at War - World War One provides the following information:

During 1907 Admiral Lord Charles Beresford recommended that steam trawlers be used in the role of minesweepers in the event of war. This would free up warships for other, more appropriate, duties. With the outbreak of WW1 in 1914, many of Hull's trawlers were requisitioned for minesweeping and anti-submarine duties. Around 800 trawlers from the Hull and Grimsby fishing fleets and a new rank, Skipper Royal Navy Reserve, introduced for trawler skippers who, quite naturally, had no regard for regular Navy discipline.

Only around one quarter of the Hull fleet remained on fishing duties and the North Sea fisheries placed out of bounds due to the dangers of enemy action. Fleeting was suspended and the 'boxer fleets' of Helyers and Great Northern were put to single-boat fishing. Although the overall effect was that the supply of fish dropped nationally, Hull's share of the British catch actually increased as the Barents and Icelandic fishing grounds remained open.

By the end of the war, over 200 British trawlers had been lost along with 50% of their crews. The surviving ex-Navy trawlers were offered for sale and refitted for a return to fishing.

A Google search for 'Skipper Royal Navy Reserve' also leads to web pages providing additional information:

Lists of the trawlers from Hull that have been sunk or wrecked are available online but I have not yet located information about Norman. For some sites it is necessary to know the year or name of the vessel and I have not yet had time to undertake such a search.

We may never know what really happened to Norman McCallum Smith but the search has led to locating another aspect of the history of World War I.