Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Trove Tuesday: Obituary for Admiral Mainwaring

Rowland Mainwaring (1783 - 1862) was my fourth great grandfather.  In 1840 his son Gordon (1817 - 1872) was sent from England to live in Australia.

Rowland Mainwaring in 1861 from The Mainwarings of Whitmore and Biddulph in the County of Stafford. An account of the family, and its connections by marriage and descent; with special reference to the Manor of Whitmore. J.G. Cavenagh-Mainwaring, about 1935.
Gordon was the third son, not expected to inherit the estate. Gordon Mainwaring had a problem with alcohol. He drank too much, and after a time in the army in India arrived in South Australia in January 1840, banished there by his family, who paid for him to stay away. He is known in the family as the remittance man. This term meant an emigrant, often sent to a British colony, supported or assisted by payments of money from his family.

The South Australian Register of 17 June 1862 reproduced a lengthy obituary of Gordon's father, Admiral Rowland Mainwaring,  first published in the Illustrated London News on 26 April 1862.  Gordon's older brothers had died and Gordon, to everyone's surprise, perhaps including his own, was now the heir to the Whitmore estate.

THE LATE ADMIRAL MAINWARING. (1862, June 17). South Australian Register (Adelaide, SA : 1839 - 1900), p. 3. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50172924
The original article from the Illustrated London News is slightly easier to read:

"Obituary of Eminent Persons." Illustrated London News [London, England] 26 Apr. 1862: 425. The Illustrated London News Historical Archive, 1842-2003. Retrieved through Gale News Vault via the National Library of Australia

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Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Remembering my grandfather at Tobruk

Yesterday my daughter gave me a coin commemorating Australia's role in withstanding the siege of Tobruk. I have previously written about Richard Geoffrey Champion de Crespigny known as Geoff de Crespigny (1907 - 1966), my grandfather, who served in the Australian Army as a doctor and was at Tobruk, during the North African campaign, from January to October 1941.

His diaries from the time he was in Tobruk have been transcribed by my father. Entries from May 1941 are from a period when my grandfather was supervising evacuation of the wounded by sea.

Australian troops about to embark in Vampire. Retrieved from http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-vampire-i

16 May
Went to the hospital for supplies and to HQ to see Cookie.1 Also had a hair-cut – long overdue. Later wrote to Kathleen, and went in again to arrange for embarkation tonight on a destroyer.
At 7, Jerry dropped bombs from an unprecedented height close to the San Marco water point. It seems to be our water he is trying for these days.2 We drove down just before dark, and quite by accident were made aware of a huge crater in the road made by one of the latest bombs and which would have been a death trap to our first ambulance. The Vampire was delayed3 – but berthed at 1 in the morning and we started. Cramming them in we got 109 stretchers and 98 walkers away. I found to my joy that Pat Reilly was the [p.91] MO. I was delighted to meet him again, and we were able to have a short yarn. She left at 3 – and after the usual signal parley we got to bed. But not undisturbed – for there were a series of lone but noisy raiders who were taken up by a long and loud artillery bombardment.
17 May (really continuing)
I seemed to get mighty little sleep. Stayed put after B in B [breakfast in bed] and got up and had a bathe about 11. After lunch went to the hospital and fixed the evening's arrangements, and I went to HQ later. While there about 30 planes came over and dive-bombed the other side of the harbour – without doing much, and so many people said afterwards that they had shot down a plane that it became [p.92] monotonous. Some were downed, however.
News from Egypt is rather heartening now. We have retaken Salum, and there are all sorts of rumours about Capuzzo.4
Went to the docks with the failing light. The ship turned up at 10, and we had her away by 11.30. Then fixed the signal, had a liqueur[?] with a charitable soul, and returned to bed. A pretty tricky drive in very complete darkness.
18 May
Almost a blank. Didn't go out, and neither side did any fighting.
19 May
A number of bombs dropped early this morning just "over the wall" from us.5 Went over to the beach hospital and had a long yarn with Eric Cooper which ended in my staying to lunch. A jolly good lunch too! Rest of the day quiet.
20 May
Once again bombs "over the wall." We hope they realise the importance of that wall as a boundary and don't encroach on our side!
Went to embark invalids onto Vampire, which came in at 2330. Found poor Pat [Reilly] in a state, as the intelligentsia at Alex had taken off all extra RAMC [Royal Army Medical Corps: British] personnel and all equipment. We had 61 stretchers and 98 walking wounded, and it was a great squeeze and a great shame. Also we lost all the stretchers and 200 blankets and have damn few left in Tobruk now. Pat was very well, but a bit harassed. Home about 0330.
Some of the 180 wounded that were evacuated from Tobruk by HMAS Vampire in May 1941. Retrieved from http://www.navy.gov.au/hmas-vampire-i

1Colonel T P Cook had been in charge of RGCdeC's unit in Egypt, and now commanded Lines of Communication [general civilian-style administration] in Tobruk.

2On water supply, see Walker, Middle East, p.199.

3HMAS Vampire, an Australian ship, was one of flotilla of destroyers operating in the Mediterranean: Jane's Fighting Ships, p.107. There were five, the Stuart, Vampire, Vendetta, Voyager and Waterhen. Built during the First World War, and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy in 1932, they were derided by German propaganda as the "Scrap Iron Flotilla," a title later borne as proudly as that of the Rats of Tobruk. One of their main tasks at this time was to maintain the "Tobruk ferry," which brought new troops and supplies in from Alexandria and took the sick and wounded out.
Vampire was later among the escort of the Repulse and the Prince of Wales when they were sunk by Japanese aircraft off the coast of Malaya in December 1941. In April 1942 she was escort to the light carrier HMS Hermes when they were caught by Japanese planes in the Indian Ocean near Ceylon; both ships were sunk.

4This was a British attempt to relive Tobruk. Fort Capuzzo was close to Salum; both places were taken, but could not be held.

5Since being bombed out on 19 April, RGCdeC and his colleague Saxby had camped in Snake Gully. The "wall" was presumably a ridge along the top of the gully on one side. Lieutenant-Colonel NHW Saxby, from Sydney, was DADMS in charge of local medical administration in Tobruk town. RGCdeC was initially Deputy Assistant Director of Hygiene [DADH].

A night photograph showing an air raid over the harbour. Bomb bursts and searchlights can be seen.Retrieved from the Australian War Memorial image 020592

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Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Trove Tuesday: Melbourne Cup 1901

One of the elegant ladies on the lawn at Flemington watching the Melbourne Cup in 1901 was Mrs Crespigny née Sophia Beggs (1870-1936), second wife of my great great grandfather, Philip Champion de Crespigny (1850-1927).

In its description of the dresses of several hundred women at Flemington, the Age reported that Mrs Crespigny wore a pink foulard costume trimmed with white lace and black velvet.

Foulard is a lightweight silk, sometimes woven with cotton. It usually has a small multi-coloured printed pattern.

The Adelaide Observer of 24 August 1901 included a column from a "London Correspondent" about Illustrated Fashions.
ILLUSTRATED FASHIONS. (1901, August 24). Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904), p. 41. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article161778360
The columnist wrote:
Foulard is a material very much en evidence at present, and has much to be said in favour of its popularity. Its glossy surface is satin-like in appearance, while the fact that it is not satin renders it suitable for wear on occasions when satin would be out of place, and by young people to whom the richer fabric would be quite unsuitable. Among the most distinguished foulards are those with a creamy background with a gleaming satiny surface, patterned all over with a light lacelike or scroll design. I saw an exceedingly smart,gown of this description worn at a fashionable race meeting by one of the best dressed leaders of fashionable society. The minute details cannot be shown very well in the accompanying sketch, but the general outlines are the same. The hem of the skirt consisted in the approved style of a flowing flounce made of accordion-pleated chiffon ruched at the edge over silk and veiled by lace encrusted with a scroll-like applique of black velvet.

The Deseret Evening News of 15 June 1901 has a photograph of a foulard costume.

retrieved from Google News
The Sydney Freeman's Journal of 21 September 1901 also has an illustration of a costume in foulard.

FASHIONS UP TO DATE. (1901, September 21). Freeman's Journal (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1932), p. 25. Retrieved from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111085037

In 1901, the Cup was won by Revenue, a 5 year-old gelding, the favourite at 6 to 4 against.

1901 Melbourne Cup: the first three horses placed in winning order - Revenue, San Fran and Khaki - retrieved from http://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/items/1721435

Revenue, the winner of the Melbourne Cup in 1901, painted by Frederick Woodhouse junior (1847-1927) retrieved from http://www.artrecord.com


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