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Fanny Isabel Ross 1866-1929

Fanny was born in Armidale, New South Wales on the 10 April 1866 the eldest daughter of six children born to Scotish immigrant James Ross 1835-1892 and his wife Isabella, nee Mitchellhill 1839-1918.
James Ross was well-known in Armidale in the early days, having at one time occupied a seat in the Borough Council, and also contested an election for the mayoralty. He was for some time manager of Mr. Jackes' store, and after leaving Armidale he proceeded to Grafton, where he opened a large haberdashery business known as London House.

It was in Armidale that Fanny met and married William George Seabrook. William was the 4th. of six children born to William Seabrook 1835-1889 of Armidale, a member of the building firm of Seabrook and Brown and his wife Fanny, nee Slade 1833-1893.

On the 21st. April 1891, James Ross turned on a splendid wedding for Fanny and William at his beautiful home "Rosslyn" in Alice street, Grafton. The following year, on the 5 December 1892 James Ross inexplicably committed suicide. Isabella died at Fanny and William's home Linden Court, Five Dock on the 10 October 1918.

Between 1892 and 1908, Fanny and William had eight children, one, a daughter dying in infancy.
1.George Ross Seabrook 1892 1917 m. Winifred Millicent Kean 1892-1916 in Sydney in 1913
2.Theo Lesley Seabrook 1893 1917
3.Beatrice Isabel Seabrook 1895 1896
4.William Keith F Seabrook 1896 1917
5.Florence May Seabrook 1901 1980 m Alfred Leonard Lalor 1897-1969 in Sydney in 1917
6.Eric James Seabrook 1902 1977 m. Janet Kay in Sydney in 1927
7.Edward Clarence Seabrook 1906 1964 m. Emily Barton in Sydney in 1934
8.Jean Isabel Seabrook 1908 1977 m. Arthur Thomas Sheen 1903-1954 in Sydney in 1925

Fanny lost her three eldest boys in 1917.

They were known as The Seabrook Brothers All three killed at Passchendaele in the course of just two days. The oldest was only 23 years of age and all were in the 17th. battalion of infantry. The three left Sydney on the same day.
The elder two of the brothers, Private George Ross Seabrook and Private Theo. Leslie Seabrook, were killed in action, on 20 September. The former was a master painter, well known around Petersham and Bankstown, Sydney suburbs and the latter was a fireman with the loco, works at Eveleigh, and well known in Armidale. The youngest of the three, Lieutenant William (Keith) Seabrook, was 21 years of age, and was engaged as a telephonist at Ashfield. He died of wounds on September 21. For 12 months prior to leaving for the front he was a lieutenant at Casula, Liverpool, and Cootamundra, and being too young to hold a commission, he went away as a sergeant, receiving his commission as second-lieutenant in France.

The photograph I have below, kindly submitted by the Cooper Family is of Fanny.
It was found in her son William's breast pocket, at the 10th casualty clearing station,
after he died,
The photograph shows the hole made by the fatal bullet


2 comment(s), latest 1 year ago

S.S. Seang Choon 1891-1917

Built 1891 as a first class passenger ship, by Harland & Wolff, in Belfast for the Bibby Line and named the CHESHIRE and later used during the Boer War as a troopship. In 1910, the Cheshire was sold to Lim Chin Tsong, of Rangoon and renamed SEANG CHOON.

In 1915 the Seang Choon became a British army troopship, afterwards a hospital ship and took part in the Dardanelles campaign.

On the 10th July 1917, in Bantry Bay on the South Coast of Ireland, whilst on a voyage from Sydney to London, she was torpedoed and sunk by German submarine U-87.
Nineteen lives were lost.

On the 2 July 1915, two of the galley staff of the Seang Choon were at Fremantle on board the R.M.S. Malwa, passing through on their way to Sydney, where they expected to be called upon to prepare meals for more troops on the way to the front.
In conversation with a representative of the West Australian newspaper they told some of their experiences as non-combatants in the present struggle in Turkey.
This is their story:-

"To me the whole thing seemed magical. A huge transformation scene, or a tremendous drama, staged on the land and sea, with terrible guns roaring out realistic effects, and real wounded men, who went out in khaki, and returned in scarlet tunics, red with living blood! It was too realistic to be a dream, and yet too terrible to be true." Thus a cook off the transport Seang Choon, which had been engaged in performing emergency hospital work at the Dardanelles, described his reminiscences of a period of five weeks near Gallipoli.

"We went away from peaceful Australia early in the year with the 13th Battalion from Queensland, and after a calm, peaceful voyage. through the tropics by way of Torres Straits, Thursday Island, Colombo, and Aden, we found ourselves hurled into a whirlpool of struggling humanity; the opposing forces eager for each other's blood, and determined at all costs to wipe the other out, or be annihilated in the at tempt. And yet, amid all the pathos of strong men groaning in pain or falling dead in front of one, there was no lack of smiling faces, and those who seemed to be in most pain appeared to be filled with unlimited cheerfulness, and a desire for more fighting and more blood.

At times we laughed aloud and at other moments our eyes welled up with tears. Strong men cried to see the awfulness of man's inhumanity to man, and laughed when the practical joker told some story of the battlefield, that tasted of humour.
With shells falling in uncomfortable proximity to the ship, aeroplanes dropping bombs from above, and modern warships hurling tons of steel and lead into the lines and villages of the enemy, one was conscious of a paleness clouding one's face and of a desire for removal to a place of greater safety. We were anchored off the coast where the Australians landed, about two miles out. In front, on either side, were H.M.S. Triumph and H.M.S. Majestic. We had on board about 1,000 men of the 14th Battalion, and they were to be landed on the morning of April 26. On the previous evening, however, we commenced to take on board dozens of very seriously wounded men, who had been shot down during the first day's operations. The wounded were brought alongside in lighters and lifted on board on stretchers, hoisted by cranes. The next morning our reinforcements transhipped on to torpedo boats, and were taken close to the coast, where they were cast adhrift in smaller boats, and left to get on dry land as best they could.

The whole scene was bristling with incident. One fine young fellow, when saying good bye to me, said that it would be no South African picnic, but a glorious homecoming. He had been all through the South African campaign, and held the rank of quarter master-sergeant. That was at 4 a.m., and at 6.30 he was brought back by the torpedo boat, shot through the heart, without having landed.
On the night the wounded began to come aboard, all hands were kept busy preparing food and beef tea, which we handed down to the men in the lighters.

A strong north-easterly gale made the transference of the wounded a very difficult feat, and some time was required to successfully accomplish it. Most of the men suffered from shrapnel wounds, and those who fell dead were the victims of snipers. When day broke on the 26th we could see the operations on land quite distinctly, and it was a treat to see our fellows get into the fray. So heavy were the casualties and the loss of officers that our men simply took individual action, and each rushed ahead with a gleaming bayonet, regardless of his own safety or of united action. They simply saw red. Some of them got two miles inland before they looked round and found out that they were cut off from ammunition and reserves, and while a lot of them went down many ultimately regained the lines.

The Turks had been so well entrenched that they took some shifting but we have heard that the casualties were not so heavy as was anticipated in official circles.
On board our ship were a large number of army medical men, who did their best to relieve the pain and make the men comfortable until they arrived at Alexandria, which was 48 hours run from the scene of the fighting. We made three trips with wounded, and carried about 2000 men all told to the various hospitals. On each return trip we brought reinforcments, and there was a continual stream of ships doing similar business to ourselves.

There were numerous instances of bravery and courageous acts to be witnessed on all hands. One Australian chaplain declined to remain in safety, and rushed into the trenches, where they were captured, and there rendered first aid to our men. On one occasion he was trying to bring two wounded men, one on each of his arms, behind the lines when both were killed, although he himself was unharmed.

We heard of cases of Turkish treachery, but we saw none that we could vouch for. We can, however, testify to the consideration our Jack Tars showed toward the religion of the enemy.
The 'Majestic' and 'Triumph' were both engaged shelling two villages, and by the time they had thrown in about 300 rounds there was little left but the minarets, which were sacredly avoided and spaired destruction.

The Turkish papers made great capital out of an official declaration that the Turks had driven the Australians into the sea a statement, no doubt, which gained credence by reason of the Australians partaking of sea bathing along the shore.
Our fellows were really devils let loose, and they seemed to have no fear. Once into the firing line those chaps threw off their packs and went right into the enemy, and more than often got off scot free.

We had many experienoes on board. On one occasion an enemy aeroplane hovered over us and dropped three bombs, all fortunately finding a resting place on the sea floor. A gun from the Triumph, however, soon brought the aircraft down, and put it completely out of action. On another occasion a huge, shell, thought to have come from the Goeben, dropped into the sea about ten yards astern of our ship. and I can tell you we were all glad when we upanchored and made off for Alexandria. It was, as things turned out, a very fortunate thing that we left when we did, as some two hours after we sailed, the Triumph was torpedoed, and a little later the Majestic suffered a similar fate.

On one of our trips to Egypt we took 60 Turkish prisoners, including one officer, and a German and a Syrian officer. We did learn that there were to have been 260 Turks, but somehow or other only 60 survived to make the journey with us. Some of them could speak a little English and they told us that the Turkish soldier was not at all fond of the fighting business, and very often officers had to jump into the trenches and hit some of the men with sticks to prevent them from turning tail. On the same journey we had several Gurkha wounded, and on the first evening at sea one of the Indians crept out of his bunk, and, seizing a knife, stole up behind the bunk of a Turk who was wounded. The latter was only saved from a sudden death through the timely action of an attendant, who had missed his patient. Needless to say, after that the Turks were all removed to quarters further away from the Indians.

A remarkable feature of our work was the entire absence of complaints, for, although the wounded suffered considerable inconvenience through the makeshifts which were provided, all bore their misfortunes with remarkable fortitude. It was pitiable in the extreme to see strong fellows who had left the ship to enter the` firing line, full of hope and ambition, come back absolutely helpless.
One poor, chap was assisted on board our ship by another wounded comrade. The former had lost both eyes and he was endeavouring to undo his belt, when he exclaimed with perfect resignation. 'Good heavens, I've lost all my fingers too.

Another officer came aboard with a terrible gash on his face, and when someone sympathised with him he replied: 'I wish that were all lad, but there are, three more inside.'
It was interesting to hear the officers speak of their men. The affection between them was remarkable and the men came back from the firing line loving them. The young officers acquitted themselves splendidly and with remarkable heroism and bravery. "

NOTES
Seang Choon SS was a 5,708 g.t., 445.5ft x 49.1ft, twin screw passenger ship, speed 14 knots, accommodation for 100-1st class passengers.
The chaplain mentioned, I believe is Father John Fahey 1883-1959
whose letters I will publish at a later date.

source: The West Australian
nsw.bd&m
The Ships List
Australian War Memorial
Transcribed and written by janilye, 2013


The portrait below is of Wireless Operator Angus Bartlett Clarence McGregor, 1894-1917, the son of Aeneas McGregor 1865-1937 and Adelaide Louise, nee Bartlett 1868-1959, who was aboard the Seang Choon and drowned when it was torpedoed.


"Digger" 1914-1918

Digger, a dark brown and white bulldog accompanied his owner, Sergeant James Harold Martin, during his service overseas and is said to have served three and a half years with the AIF.

Martin, an electrician from Hindmarsh in South Australia enlisted on 18 September 1914, at the age of 22.
Digger seems to have been a stray dog that attached himself to soldiers training at Broadmeadows and followed them down to the troopships.
Martin adopted him as a mascot and he and Digger sailed from Melbourne on 20 October 1914. Martin served initially with 1 Division Signal Company on Gallipoli, but transferred to 2 Division Signal Company in July 1915.
He remained with the company, attached to the Engineers, during his service on the Western Front in France and Belgium.
Martin returned to Australia on 12 May 1918, according to his medical records he suffered with Rheumatism and was discharged medically unfit.

Digger accompanied him as strict quarantine regulations relating to the arrival of dogs in Australia from overseas did not come into force until June 1918.

Digger had been wounded and gassed at Pozieres in 1916 and needed cod liver oil for his burns.
This was expensive so a picture postcard of Digger, wearing the inscribed silver collar made for him on his return to Australia, with patriotic red, white and blue ribbons attached to it, was produced and the money realised from its sale used to buy the oil.

It is said that the dog was also presented with a free tram and rail pass so that he could accompany Martin.

Digger died, as an old dog, on Empire Day (24 May - year not known) when he was frightened by the celebratory fireworks.
Thinking he was under fire again he attempted to jump the fence but failed and fell back with a burst blood vessel.
Digger managed to crawl back into the house and died on Martin's bed. Martin was in the Prince of Wales Hospital at Randwick, NSW at the time, but he arranged through Mrs J A Little, a volunteer who visited the hospital twice a day to the help the soldiers there, to have Digger's hide tanned. After Martin's death the hide and collars were passed to Mrs Little. Her daughter recalled that the hide was displayed on the floor and that 'nobody put a foot on it.' His head was propped on a stool so that everyone could see him, he has been loved by all'.

Note that the postcard is signed by Sergeant Martin.

James Harold Martin the son of James Sampson MARTIN 1862-1921 and Ada Mary STEARNE 1862-1921, was born on the 21 August 1892 in Hindmarsh, South Australia and died at Daw Park in Adelaide on the 16 December 1963.

Whilst in UK during WW1, James and Digger stayed with a glass and china dealer James Henry LARKINS, his wife Sarah nee Clark and their family of five boys and two girls.

After the war James and digger returned to Australia, Frances Letitia LARKINS 1892-1975. followed on the next ship...

On the 11 June 1920 at Hindmarsh. James and Frances married.
The couple had two children James Ross MARTIN 1921 1997 and Marjorie Joan MARTIN 1926 1986

The Register (Adelaide, SA : 1901 - 1929) Saturday 28 December 1918

DIgger, THE DOG.

'Digger,' a bulldog that left Australia on board the Argyllshire in October, 1914, and is now the only surviving mascot of the original lst Division, has returned to Sydney.
If he could speak he could say that he has been over the top 16 times says the Sydney correspondent of The Melbourne Herald). He was in the landing on Gallipoli, went through Lone Pine, and was in the evacuation.
Afterwards he went to France with the boys, and at Pozieres was wounded and gassed.
He returned to the division again, and out in two winters with it, being gassed again in the Ypres battle.
Men who know him say that as soon as the gas alarm sounded Digger would rush up to, his nearest human comrade and make signs that he wanted his mask fitted.
But he was not a mere show dog. When a man was lying wounded out in front and no one could reach him, Digger would be sent out with artificial foods, and if it was possible for the man to write he would bring a message back.
He bears the marks of his wounds. A hole in the top of the lower jaw, three teeth gone, blind in the right eye, deaf in the left ear. He had to be put under chloroform to have the bullet extracted.

No one company or battalion can ever say that they owned Digger. He belongs to the 1st Division. Sometimes he would be with one battalion, next week with another. Then he would take up with a battery of artillery for a -while.
While convalescent in England he transferred to the flying corps. On one occasion he went up 8,000 ft. with the late Flight-Lieut. Gibba, and has, they say, flown all over England and Scotland. He always was a venturesome dog, but he was invalided home a couple of months ago, and now has to lead a more or less humdrum life.

However, so his present keeper says, he could not be kept in on the day of the news of the Armistice. He caught a train to Sydney to knock around with the boys and,' several days later, had to be bailed out of the Dogs' Home for half a crown. He had the reputation of being a hard drinker 'over the other side.'

His was a common face in the wet canteen and estaminets.

The 1st Division has allowed him to go into the custody of Sgt. J. H. Martin, also a returned Anzac, who since the war has lost a mother, father, two brothers, and a sister the last three on active service.
It was thought that the dog might be some consolation for him.


Sources;
National Archives/
Item details for: B2455, MARTIN J H
Australian War Memorial


9 comment(s), latest 2 years, 9 months ago

John SIMPSON KIRKPATRICK 1892-1915 - ANZAC

John 'Jack' Simpson KIRKPATRICK was born at South Shields, Durham, England on the 6 July 1892. He was the son of Robert KIRKPATRICK born 26 Nov. 1837 in South Leith Scotland and his wife Sarah SIMPSON born 14 September 1885 in Glasgow. As a child during his summer holidays he worked as a donkey-lad on the sands of South Shields.

After his father died on the 10 October 1909, Jack took on the role of bread winner for the family.

In 1910 he joined the crew of the SS Yeddo as a fireman and sailed for Newcastle, New South Wales, always sending money back home to his mother. (His mother passed away on the 9 March 1933 at South Shields).

On the 30 May 1910, When the Yeddo arrived in Newcastle, Jack deserted and for the next few years he worked a lot of different jobs. He tried coal mining in Newcastle, went cane cutting up in Queensland and drove cattle on the Liverpool Plains.

Sometime around the end of 1913 Jack joined the crew of the SS Yankalilla which was headed to Western Australia with a shipload of coal from Newcastle. Once it docked in Fremantle, on the 3 January 1914, Jack again took off. He managed to pick up plenty of odd jobs around the place.

On the 25 August 1914 at Blackboy Hill, 35 ks east of Perth in Western Australia Jack enlisted as John SIMPSON a ship's fireman, dropping the surname KIRKPATRICK, thinking they may not take too kindly to a merchant navy deserter and quite possibly would arrest him. He gave his mother as next of kin, calling her Sarah SIMPSON of 141 Bertram St, South Shields, Durham.

Jack was chosen as a stretcher bearer with the 3rd. Field Ambulance. This job was only given to strong men so it seems that his work as a fireman in the Merchant Navy had prepared him well for his exceptional place in history.

The strong, fair haired John SIMPSON became Australias most famous, and best-loved military hero without ever having to fire a shot.

On the 25th April 1915, he, along with the rest of the Australian and New Zealand contingent landed at the wrong beach on a piece of wild, impossible and savage terrain now known as Anzac Cove.

[Out of the 1500 men who landed in the first wave, only 755 remained in active service at the end of the day. The sheer number of casualties necessitated that stretcher bearing parties be reduced in the size from 6 to 2. Simpson then decided that he could operate better by acting alone. He spied a deserted donkey in the wild overgrown gullies and decided to use it to help carry a wounded man to the beach. From that time on, he and his donkey acted as an independent team. Instead of reporting to his unit, Simpson camped with the 21st Kohat Indian Mountain Artillery Battery - which had many mules and nicknamed Simpson "Bahadur" - the "bravest of the brave".]

From that day on Jack became a part of the scene at Gallipoli walking along next to his donkey, forever singing and whistling as he held on to his wounded passengers, seemingly completely fatalistic and scornful of the extreme danger.
He led a charmed life from 25th April 1915 until he was hit by a machine gun bullet in his back on 19th May 1915.


In just 24 days Jack rescued over 300 men down the notorious Shrapnel and Monash Valley. His prodigious, heroic feat was accomplished under constant and ferocious attack from artillery, field guns and sniper fire.

Quoted from some of his officers:

"Almost every digger knew about him. The question was often asked: "Has the bloke with the donk stopped one yet?"

"he was the most respected and admired of all the heroes at Anzac."

Captain C. Longmore, in 1933, remembered how the soldiers "watched him spellbound from the trenches... it was one of the most inspiring sights of those early Gallipoli days."

Colonel John Monash wrote "Private Simpson and his little beast earned the admiration of everyone at the upper end of the valley. They worked all day and night throughout the whole period since the landing, and the help rendered to the wounded was invaluable. Simpson knew no fear and moved unconcernedly amid shrapnel and rifle fire, steadily carrying out his self imposed task day by day, and he frequently earned the applause of the personnel for his many fearless rescues of wounded men from areas subject to rifle and shrapnel fire."

Every year on April the 25th, Australians and New Zealanders remember our ANZACS. A promise made in 1915 which we have passed on down to our children. And The Band Plays Waltzing Matilda as we reflect on the tragedy of war.

Not Only A Hero adapted from the book by Tom Curran is an illustrated life of Simpson, the Man with the Donkey, part of the Spirit of Anzac website.

The inscription on John SIMPSON's grave reads;

JOHN SIMPSON
KIRKPATRICK SERVED AS
202 PRIVATE
J SIMPSON,
AUST. ARMY MEDICAL CORPS,
19TH MAY 1915 AGE 22
HE GAVE HIS LIFE
THAT OTHERS MAY LIVE.




LEST WE FORGET


8 comment(s), latest 2 years, 4 months ago