George Arthur Saggers

George Arthur Saggers was my first cousin three times removed.  We are both descended from Henry John Mungham and Eliza Francis Ing who were my third great grandparents and George’s Grandparents.  Henry and Eliza were both born in Kent to families making their living in brick making. They married in 1871 when Henry was 24 and Eliza was 18. They lived at least the first 12 years of their married life in Kent where Henry also worked as a brick maker, and where they were living when their first five children were born, including my 2nd Great Grandfather, Harry, and George’s mother, Rosetta.

Sometime between 1883 and 1886, the family relocated to Essex, where Henry (as well as my 2nd great grandfather Harry) continued his trade in brick making.  Henry and Eliza went on to have 5 more children in Essex.

Born in 1877, Rosetta Mungham was the third child of Henry and Eliza.  She is not listed as living with her family at the time of the 1891 census, at which time she would have been 14, so it is possible that she had taken work as a servant in her youth.  In 1899 at the age of 22, she married Alfred George Saggers a general labourer from Essex, and their first child, George Arthur, was born the following year.

Being born in 1900, George was too young to join the war effort at its outset, but in the summer of 1917, 17 year old George enlisted in the Royal Navy for the duration of the war.  Hi occupation at the time was listed as an engine cleaner, and his rank was a stoker.  He trained at a shore establishment in Devonport (Plymouth), and on December 6, 1917, he was assigned to HMS Aurora, a fairly new Arethusa Class light cruiser.

HMS Aurora

HMS Aurora

Aurora had already see her fair share of significant action in the war, taking part in major battles and the sinking of some significant targets. In 1918, soon after George would have been assigned to her, she was reassigned to the 7th Light Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet.  HMS Aurora was one of the ships present at the surrender of the German High Seas Fleet, in November 1918.

The role of a stoker was one of the most difficult and thankless of the Navy.  As is outlined in a 2013 PhD thesis for the University of Exeter, stokers were regarded as the lowest class of men, yet without them, the great ships of the fleet would never have left port.

George served aboard Aurora until March of 1919, and there is little record of his life after the war.  He passed away in Essex in 1966 at the age of 65.

 

Albert George Mungham

Albert George Mungham was my 2nd Great Uncle, older brother to my Great Grandfather, James Charles Mungham. He was seven years old when his family arrived in Canada and eventually settled in Newdale, Manitoba to farm in 1908.

Albert volunteered in early 1916, and was sent to Winnipeg with the 190th Overseas Battalion in anticipation of sailing overseas.  Like many, he was not entirely honest about his age on his attestation papers.  He aged himself by three years, saying he was 18 years and 10 months old, when really, he was 15 years and 10 months old.  He was tall and strong, working as a farmer, so it is likely that he was not questioned.

His service record is very thin, with a mention of a brief hospitalization for a sore throat and then a transfer to a depot battalion, and then there are discharge papers signed in March 1917 in Winnipeg in which he discharged due to being medically unfit.  Whether this had anything to do with the fact that he still would have been not quite 17 at the time is hard to say.

Although Albert never left Manitoba, he still gave over a year of his life to military service, at least part of it thinking that he could go overseas and face very real dangers–dangers that would have been very clear to him based on his brother Henry’s service which we will explore further later in the year.  This is still a commitment I think is worth remembering.

He later married and had two children.  He lived in various places in Manitoba and British Columbia, and passed away in New Westminster, BC in 1983 at the age of 83.

 

 

Ernest Robert Mungham

Ernest Robert Mungham was my first cousin, four times removed.  He and I are both descended from Thomas Mungham and Elizabeth Sarah Wood who were my 4th great grandparents and his grandparents.  I wrote more about Thomas and Elizabeth in the post about Herbert George Hewlett, who was Ernest’s second cousin.  Where I am descended from Thomas and Elizabeth’s son Henry, and Herbert was descended from their first son, William, Ernest was the son of their son Alfred, born in 1845 in Milton, Kent.

As early as the age of 16, Alfred is listed in the census records as a labourer, later detailed in the 1871 census as a “brickfield moulder.” He married Elizabeth Maria Fagg in  1867 at the age of 22.  They went on to have eight children. Ernest, their 6th, was born in 1879.  Ernest followed in his father’s footsteps and was also a brickfield labourer.  He married Ada Louisa Wood in 1905 when he was 26, and they had three children between 1905 and 1911.  When war broke out in 1914, 35-year old Ernest was supporting his wife, two daughters, ages 9 and 6, and son, age 3.

Ernest’s service record is one of the many burnt records, so I do not have a precise timeline of when he attested and where he served.  From the honour roll and medal records, we can tell that he served with the Prince of Wales’ Leinster Regiment, with the 7th and 2nd battalions.  The 7th battalion was raised in October 1914, and it is likely that this is the unit to which Ernest volunteered.  This battalion was in France from December of 1915 until it was disbanded and troops were dispersed to various battalions.  Ernest was reassigned to the 2nd battalion, and was eventually discharged in August of 1918 as physically unfit.  Again, due to his record not being available, I do not know why he was considered unfit.

Sadly, just a month after his discharge, Ernest’s second daughter, Winnifred Florence, died at the age of 10.  Four years later, Ernest and Ada lost another daughter, Joan, at or just after birth.

Ernest lived the rest of his days in Kent, passing away in 1949 at the age of 70.

 

 

 

John Edward Hewlett

One more brief post to get us back on schedule:  John Edward Hewlett was the son of Joseph Hewlett from his first marriage.  Although not related to me, he was half brother to Herbert Hewlett, and step son to Elizabeth Mungham.

John was five years old when his father married my cousin. His father was a rail engine driver, and as the family grew from three to seven children between 1890 and 1896, he followed in his father’s footsteps.  It is clear that he was a Sapper with the Royal Engineers, but beyond that, his service record is nearly illegible, so I cannot tell where he served or even with what units.

He was married before the war, and he and his wife had seven children between 1910 and 1921.  I do not have a date of death for John.

 

Herbert George Hewlett

Herbert George Hewlett was my 2nd cousin three times removed.  We are both descended from Thomas Mungham, an agricultural labourer, and Elizabeth Sarah Wood who were my 4th Great Grandparents, and Herbert’s Great Grandparents.  They were born in Kent, England in 1809 and 1921 respectively.  They were married in June of 1841, but their son, William Mungham was already 7 years old at the time, which would have made his mother 13 at the time of his birth.  Whether this was indeed the case or William was a child from another union, he was certainly claimed by both as their son.  Herbert was descended from William, while I am descended from Thomas and Elizabeth’s third son, Henry.  In all the census data, William is listed as a labourer, sometimes agricultural and sometimes industrial such as on the railway.  He married Sarah Elizabeth Johnson in 1858, and they had six children together, including Herbert’s mother, Elizabeth Ann who was born in Kent in 1861.  In 1889, she married widower Joseph Hewlett who had three children from his first marriage, aged 8, 5 and 4.  Joseph and Elizabeth went on to have four more children together, the youngest of whom, Herbert, was born in 1896.

Hewlett

Abbreviated family tree of Herbert Hewlett

In the 1911 census, Herbert is listed as 15 years old, living with his parents and three of his older siblings, and working as a newspaper boy in Dover, Kent.  He joined the Royal Navy in May of 1915 when he was 19 years old as a stoker, being trained at Pembroke II in Chatham. He then served aboard the HMS Jupiter and HMS Blenheim.

He was aboard HMS Jupiter at a time where she was assigned to the Medeterranean sea to the Suez Canal Patrol, then to the Red Sea, then back to the Suez Canal with a home port in Port Said, Egypt.  This must have been an extraordinary experience for a newspaper boy from Dover. HMS Jupiter returned to England in November 1916, at which time Herbert spent some more time at Pembroke II, close to his family in Kent, before being assigned to HMS Blenheim in February of 1917.  This ship was a depot ship to the destroyer fleet throughout the rest of the war.

Herbert married three times in his life, and I found no indication that he ever had children.  He died in 1985 at the age of 89.

Frederick Arthur Baldock

Turning to a more distant relative, Frederick Arthur Baldock was my 4th cousin twice removed on my mother’s side.  We are both descended from William Mungham and Sarah Robinson who were my 5th Great Grandparents, and Frederick’s 3rd Great Grandparents. As a genealogical aside, William Mungham (1771-1848) of Doddington, Kent is as far back as I have traced my maternal grandmother’s maiden name.  Frederick is descended from William and Sarah’s daughter Sarah Ann, while my family is descended from their son, Thomas.

Sarah Ann Mungham, born in approximately 1795, married John Butler in 1815, and went on to have at least 14 children.  Their second son, John, born in 1822 in Newnham, Kent and his wife, Mary Strover had 8 children, the oldest of whom, Eliza Butler, born in 1842 in Newnham, was Frederick’s grandmother.  She married James Edward Baldock in 1865 in Faversham, Kent.  James Baldock is listed in the 1871 to 1911 census records as “farm servant indoor,” a “farm bailiff,” (he would have been employed by the land owner to ensure that tenant farmers were taking care of the farms and paying the rent on time, a “yardman” and “shepherd,” so his was an agricultural life.  James and Eliza’s first son, Alfred, was born in 1867, and was raised in this agricultural life.  As late as the 1891 census, he was still living with his parents, and in 1894, he married Rebecca Goldup in East Ashford, Kent, also working in the agricultural trade, then later as a maltster’s labourer for a brewer. Their first child, Frederick Arthur, was born in 1896. In the 1911 census, three years before the outbreak of the war, Frederick was 15, and listed as a school boy.

In the spring of 1914, two months before the formal beginning of the war, Frederick joined the Royal Navy training at Pembroke I (a shore establishment in Chatham, Kent) as an ordinary seaman. He had already served on HMS Queen, but was back at Pembroke I when war broke out in August of 1914.  By August 29, he was onboard HMS Undaunted, where he was promoted to Able Seaman, and where he served until the end of July 1917. In December 1914, HMS Undaunted provided support to the Cuxhaven Raid, a combined sea and airstrike with the goal of bombing the dirigible sheds housing German zeppelins.  The National Archive has an account of the raid from one of the pilots here. As the blog post points out, weather and the general riskiness of the operation meant that “the raid had not been a success in terms of achieving its target, since none of the seven aircraft was able to find the Zeppelin shed, but it was a milestone in the development of aircraft-carrier based operations.”

WW1Memoir-SmithGC1914CuxhavenRaid(1)

Contemporary postcard showing the Royal Navy surface force at the Cuxhaven Raid.

Frederick served throughout the rest of the war at a variety of shore establishments and ships, and was discharged in 1923.

He married Eva Ethel Law in 1922, and lived in Kent for the rest of his life, passing away in 1964 at the age of 68.