Friday, April 22, 2011

Childhood Deaths - Edward Patrick (Neddy) Agnew

Edward Patrick (Neddy) Agnew (1906 - 1922)

Neddy is the next in a series of posts I have been writing about childhood deaths in my family.

Neddy Agnew was the 6th child of Adam John Agnew and his wife Bridget Josephine Murphy of Warren's Corner, Numeralla, east of Cooma, NSW. Living on a farm there were probably many dangers, none more so than riding a horse.

(From our Correspondent)

"We are very sorry to report the death of Edward P. Agnew, aged 13 years and 9 months. Deceased was riding home when, it is surmised his horse slipped on the wet road, throwing the lad on his head. The deceased lad, who was the youngest son of Mr and Mrs A.J. Agnew, of Warren's Corner, Numeralla, was well liked by everyone. He took great interest in all clean and manly sport and was a good horseman. He was a most trustworthy lad and of a very obliging nature and no matter what he promised to do he never broke his work."
Cooma Express, 6 January 1922, p. 3

An inquiry into Neddy's death was held on 26th December at his father Adam's house. Unfortunately I don't have the whole newspaper clipping and some of the inquiry is missing. On Boxing Day 1922, Neddy and his second cousin Gordon McDonald left his older brother Adam's house to go back to his father's house. They had only ridden a short distance when Gordon came racing back on his horse to let them know that Neddy had fallen. According to Gordon's evidence at the inquiry they had cantered as far as the crossing, and steadied their horses to go into the creek. Gordon was ahead and went to open a gate 200 yards from the crossing, he turned and noticed that Neddy wasn't there. (This is where the newspaper clipping ends.)

Neddy had obviously fallen from his horse and was carried to his brother's house and they sent for Mr Godfrey, the school teacher who held a First Aid Certificate. He advised them to send for the doctor as Neddy was unconscious and there was blood coming from his ear. He didn't regain consciousness and died the following day.

Cooma Express, 6 January 1922, p. 3

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Childhood Deaths - Elizabeth Flynn

Elizabeth Flynn (1855 - 1861)

I found this story several weeks ago by trawling Trove as I often do searching for random surnames in my database.

Elizabeth Flynn was the daughter of Jeremiah Flynn who lived at Count-a-Guinea, near Cooma, NSW.  My great great grandfather John Mylan was sent to live at Count-a-Guinea (now Countageny) to live with his godfather Jeremiah Flynn after the death of his father Thomas Mylan some time after 1838 when he was 5 years old.

John Mylan grew up with Jeremiah Flynn's son Jeremiah. Elizabeth, the 7th child of Jeremiah Flynn and his wife Margaret Roche, was born on 20th July 1855 at Count-a-Guinea. She had always been one of the people who I could not trace after birth. When I came across this story I realised that Elizabeth was the child lost in the bush.

A little girl about five years old, a daughter of Mr Jeremiah Flynn, of Count-a-Guinea, has been lost in the bush about three weeks, and although thirty horsemen have been out every day, no trace of her has been found. Her track was seen for seven miles, and a place where she had apparently laid down, but after that no trace could be followed. I am told that every foot of the bush and scrub about has been traversed on foot and on horseback, and as yet all efforts have been unsuccessful. - Cooma correspondent of Alpine Pioneer.
The Maitland Mercury & Hunter River General Advertiser (NSW: 1843 - 1893), Thursday 7 March 1861, p. 4.

My great great grandfather John Mylan would undoubtedly have been one of the horsemen to have searched for Elizabeth.

Unfortunately, I don't have access to Cooma papers, but the next time I am in Sydney or Canberra this will be my number one priority search. I hope I'll find out more about this mystery and what happened to Elizabeth Flynn.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

ANZAC DAY Blog Challenge - Alan Seabrook Mitchell (1917 - 1943)

Following the success of the Australia Day Blog Challenge and the Waitangi Day Challenge, a new blogging challenge has been set. This is a joint challenge for Aussies and New Zealanders.

Do you have an Australian or New Zealander in your family tree who was killed in military operations? If so, we'd like to hear about not only their sacrifice, but the way their loss shaped their family history.

This challenge is quite difficult for me because I'm not sure who to choose. In my close family no one went to war. Fortunately, my father and grandfathers were the wrong age, so we were spared the anguish of war. However, there are several young men in our extended family who were killed and now I have the task of choosing one.

This information is taken from my book Crossing the Seas to Build a Future with further information I have discovered since writing. Research is never completed is it?

Allan Seabrook Mitchell (1917 - 1943)

Alan, the second of three sons of William Charles Mitchell and his wife Ruby Vera Gladys Seabrook of Melbourne was born on 25th September 1917. On 12th September 1941 he joined the RAAF and became part of the 460 Squadron.

The 460 Squadron was formed on 15th November 1941, and commenced bombing operations on 12th March 1942, flying 538 Wellington sorties from Breighton, Yorkshire. Conversion to four-engined bombers commenced in October 1942 and bombing re-commenced with Lancasters, in November 1942. The squadron moved to Bimbrook, Lincolnshire in May 1943, and operated from there until hostilities ceased.

P. Firkins has written a book titled Strike and return: The unit history of No. 460 R.A.A.F. Heavy Bomber Command in World War Two. This fantastic book describes each of the bombing raids conduced by the 460 Squadron. This means I could find out exactly what happened the night Alan Seabrook Mitchell died.

October opened with a series of heavy attacks in support of Bomber Command's continued devastation of the German war industry....The following night (2/10/43) Munich was again attacked and damage to railway communications and the I.G. Farben instrument factory made the raid worth while, although it was far from being the perfect operation.
Two new tactical innovations were introduced on this raid in an effort to increase the bombing accuracy of the crews. The first was for Pathfinders to drop flares over the Wurm Lake so that the aircraft could make a timed run to the centre of Munich and the second was to assist the bombers escape the heavy, almost crippling losses being inflicted by night fighters. This was done by an angle interposed in the bombers' withdrawal route, so that the Germans, already airborne and ready to attack, would assemble in incorrect positions. This tactic was adopted from the navy's 'diversionary routing,' which had been employed successfully in the Atlantic to escape U-boats known to be massing for attack. As a result of the second of these tactics being used the losses were reduced very considerable, only seven of the total force of 273 being lost, but ironically two were from the squadron. (Firkins 2000, p. 88-89)

Nelmes and Jenkin's book G-for-George A Memorial to RAAF Bomber Crews 1939 - 1945 also describes the night of 2 October 1943.

Time up 1851, time down 0255. Bomb load 1 x 4000lb HC, 48 x 30lb incendiaries, 600 x 4lb incendiaries, 30 x 4lb incendiaries "X" filled. Attacked at 2238 hours from 19 000 feet. No cloud, visibility good. Target seen with the aid of red, yellow and green and built up areas, also DR run from lake - bombed centre of reds. Many glowing fires and smoke concentrated around markers. Boozer servicable. "We should not have to go back again as it was a very good prang. many aircraft had navigation lights on half way across the English Channel", said the pilot on his return.

Of the 296 (not difference from above) 8 planes were lost. Of the 18, 460 Squadron planes,  two -  JA856 C for Charlie and W4301 H for Harry were lost. (Nelmes 2010, p. 124)

Unfortunately, one of the two losses from the squadron was the Lancaster JA856 being flown by Flight Sergeant Frank Leathley Robinson Lloyd. Pilot Officer Alan Seabrook Mitchell, a Bomb Aimer, was on his first bombing raid that night.  Alan and Frank were killed along with Sergeant R Hurrell (Navigator), Sergeant R E Woodford, (Wireless Operator), Sergeant G Douglas (Engineer), Sergeant A Sim, and Flight Sergeant F Sheehan (Upper and Read Gunners).

The Bomber command accounted for less than 2% of Australians who enlisted in WW2, yet they accounted for almost 20% of all combat deaths. (Alan Stephens) It seemed their survival odds were not high.

Alan Seabrook Mitchell is buried at the Durnbach War Cemetery (Plot 9 Row B Grave 2) in Germany. Durnback is a village 16km east of Bad Tolz, which is 48km from Munich. The majority of the 2 934 burials are those of airmen. Alan's name can be found on memorial panel 108 at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. His details are also on the Roll of Honour database.

Mitchell, A.S.  (409567) Memorial Panel 108 Australian War Memorial
The following are details of the other airmen killed with Alan Mitchell that night.

Lloyd, Frank Leathley Robinson, 29, son of Clarence and Amy Lloyd of Normanhurst, NSW. Royal Australian Air Force. Buried 9.B.1
Hurrell, Raymond, 22, son of Mr and Mrs S.E. Hurrell, of West Bromwich, Staffordshire. Royal Air Force Reserve. Buried 9.B.4  
Woodford, Reginald Edgar, 20, son of Edgar and Elsie Woodford, Leicester. Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve. Buried 9.B.5
Douglas, George, Royal Airforce Volunteer Reserve. 9.B.6 (No details about age and next of kin)
Sim, Leslie Alexander, Royal Airforce Volunteer Reserve. 9.B.3 (No details about age and next of kin)
Sheehan, Francis, Royal Canadian Air Force 9.B.7-11. (No details about his age or next of kin)

It is comforting to know that they are buried together.
After the war it was determined that the plane crashed at Deisenhofen, 13 miles SSE of the centre of Munich. AWM

The following obituary appeared in The Argus and his parents and family placed In Memorium notices in the paper for many years.

The Argus Friday 17 December 1943, p. 5.

Childhood Deaths - William Henry Allsop

William Henry Allsop (1873 - 1875)

William Henry Allsop is another child in my family who drowned unnecessarily. This time in a bucket of water. William was the second child of my great great grandparents, William Henry Allsop and Mary Ellen McInerney of Alberton, Victoria.

The inquest into his death was held the day after he died. It must have been so difficult for family members to give evidence so soon after his death. His mother and grandmother tried in vain to save his life.

Mary Alsop on her oath. I am the wife of William Henry Alsop and reside at Alberton. The deceased William Henry Alsop was my child. He was two years and nine months old. About 12 o'clock yesterday I was at my mother's house with the child. I last saw him alive about 12 o'clock yesterday, when he was sitting at the table in my mother's house. A few minutes afterwards I missed him and went to look for him, and in about ten minutes I found him in a water cask, which was sunk level with the gound at the corner of my mothers house. There was about one foot of water in the cask. The deceased was head downwards in the cask, the head under the water and his feet just above the top of the cask. 
I and my mother took deceased out of the cask, and bathed him with hot water for some time, holding him face down on my knees while doing so. There was no appearance of life in the deceased when we found him, but he was missed so short a time, that I scarcely thought he could be dead. 
After bathing deceased we laid him down, and kept rubbing him for a long time, but saw no signs of returning life. 
About two o'clock pm my husband went to give notice of the death to the police. The butcher was at my mothers house at the time I missed deceased  and when the body was found. The butcher had the meat cart with him. I think it likely that the deceased might have left the house to look at the butchers cart but I do not know.
I did not notice any cover on the cask lately.

PRO VIC VPRS 24 UNIT 331 FILE 980/1875.

William Henry Allsop was one of the older brothers of my great grandmother Rose Allsop (Merchant).

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Childhood Deaths - Rupert Dawson

Rupert Dawson (1887 - 1898)

Rupert Charles Dawson was the second son of William Henry Dawson and his wife Bridget Mylan. He was born at Callan Park Hospital in 1887. His father was an attendant at the hospital and the family lived in one of the houses in the Hospital grounds. In September 1898 a lot of construction work was going on at the hospital. Rupert and his friends were playing a game and jumping over an open sewer in the course of construction. He missed jumping over the gap and fell in the sewer.  An inquest was held on 5th September, 1898 at Callan Park.


Yesterday an inquest was held at the Callan Park Hospital by the Acting City Coroner (Mr Bowden) touching the death of Rupert Charles Dawson, aged 12 years, a son of one of the attendants of the hospital. Dr. Flashman, who saw the deceased shortly after he fell down the sewer shaft at the rear of the institution, said deceased had his skull fractured, but the immediate cause of death was asphyxia from drowning in the crater at the bottom of the shaft. A verdict of accidental death was returned, the jurors adding that they thought a little more care should have been exercised in protecting the opening of the shaft.

Sydney Morning Herald, 6 September, 1898, p. 4.

Rupert's death certificate (NSW BDM 9882/1898) states that his place of death was in a sewer in course of construction at Callan Park. The cause - found drowned but how he got into the water there is no evidence to show.

The Register of Coroner's Inquests (AO Reel 2225) indicated that here was further investigation into his death on 29 September 1898 and the 14 October 1898. However, what they uncovered was not revealed.

Rupert was buried on 6th September, 1898 at  Rookwood, Mortuary 1, Area N, Grave 474.

Rupert was one of my grandfather's older brothers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Where are you Marion?

Where are you Marion? or Why haven't I checked message boards for years?

At the moment I am kicking myself. Years ago (and I mean many years ago) I would often post on or search message boards. I now wish I hadn't stopped the habit. Last week I came across this message from Marion dated 2004.

I am searching for my great grandfather James Agnew born derry ireland. abt 1827 died in Australia 1907. He married Elizabeth Jane Bone in 1888 in Melbourne Australia. He also married Bridget Cahill in 1854, Ann McCartney in 1858, and Harriett Meadows in 1859.

I have this James Agnew as a possible but highly probable member of my family. Ellen (Alice) Agnew arrived in Australia from Castledawson, Londonderry aboard the Waverley in 1847 with her four children to join her husband James in Cooma, NSW. Much research which can be found on the internet, only mentions 3 Agnew children, John, Rosanna and Matilda. James, the eldest seems to have moved from Cooma very early on. Research my aunt conducted in the 1970s suggests that one of his descendants visited Cooma from Victoria at some stage. 

Now what evidence do I have to suggest that Marion's James Agnew is possibly my James Agnew? The James Agnew who married Harriett Meadows was a native of Londonderry. The other evidence I have is in John (brother of James) Agnew's obituary dated June 1910.
He has only one brother, namely Mr. James Agnew, who resides at Sandhurst, Victoria, and two sisters, Mrs Mylan and Mrs Flynn, residents of this district.

Marion's great grandfather James died in 1907. Therefore, this obituary provides evidence that James is not the correct James Agnew. However, John's sister Rosanna Flynn had died in 1902 and his other sister Matilda Mylan had died in 1905. Thus it seems that the tense of the sentence was incorrect. If both his sisters were already dead, I don't think I can automatically assume that his brother is still alive. So perhaps I am still on the right track.

If you are out there Marion, please contact me. 

Childhood Deaths - Tommy Scheikowski

I was fortunate last weekend to spend several hours at Dixson Library at the University of New England. Although I love using Trove, it only covers major newspapers up until 1954. Dixson Library has an almost perfect collection of newspapers from the north of NSW. While searching for family information I continually came across the deaths of small children. This has got me thinking this morning about children who have died unnecessarily in my family. This week my posts will be in their memory.

Tommy Scheikowski (c1946 - 1955)
A nine years old boy was found drowned in a shallow waterhole beside a causeway in Rouse-Street North on Tuesday morning, after police had made a search for the boy throughout Monday night.
The boy, Tommy Scheikowski, of George-street, had been missing from his home since Monday afternoon.
Mrs Scheikowski told police that she first noticed her son was missing at about 3 p.m., but did not take any notice, as the boy usually wandered away from home.
She said she became anxious after 5 p.m., after the boy had failed to return home, and she contacted the police.
Sgt. L.F. Grogan organised a search party comprising Consts. C.M McHardy and J.K. Britt and local residents, and after searching for they boy, they found a bucket he had taken in a waterhole near his home.
Consts. McHardy and Britt waded through several waterholes, searching for the boy.
Early on Tuesday morning, Mr. Colin Kline, of Rouse-street North, found the boy floating face upwards in a waterhole, 30 inches deep, beside a causeway in Rouse-street North.
This waterhole was half a mile from the boy's home, and from where the police had conducted their search. The waterholes form a creek after heavy rain, but no water was running between the waterholes during the week.
Mr. Kline then contacted Sgt. Grogan, who with Const. McHardy, recovered the boy's body from the waterhole.
The Coroner, Mr N.H.E. Jennings, will hold an inquiry at a date to be fixed.
The funeral was held yesterday afternoon after a service in christ Church of England, conducted by the Vicar, Rev. W.V. Rymer. Mr J.P. Cooper had charge of the arrangements.

The Tenterfield Star, 29 September 1955, p. 1

Thomas Albert Scheikowski, the son of George Scheikowski and Constance Brauer and grandson of Roland Brauer and Rosalina Vaubel is buried in the Church of England section of the Tenterfield Cemetery in Row R, Lot 31.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Tree of Me website

The holidays have arrived for me and I have set myself a mammoth task. I've finally decided to put my genealogy data and family information on the net. Following the lead of Geniaus and Twigs of Yore who both use The Next Generation of Genealogy Sitebuilding (TNG) written by Darren Lythgoe, I decided to bite the bullet and get myself organised. My new website can be found at The Tree of Me.

Now for some advice please. Am I being silly? I have not uploaded a Gedcom file as I started using PAF back in the 1980s. I later switched to Reunion for Macintosh. My reason is that I want clean data, with well organised sources. Should I upload a file? However, it could only be for one section of my family as I have three files for my side and one for my husband. I think I will reduce this to a tree for me and a tree for him.

My next task for today it to try and get the map feature working as this is one of the features that I really like.