Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Captain Walter Masterman Carter

Walter Masterman Carter was born in Robin Hood's Bay, North Yorkshire in 1892.
He joined the merchant navy around 1911, and by the following year was serving as a 3rd mate.  By the time the 1st world war broke out he was serving as a 2nd mate.

Captain Walter Masterman Carter

He lived in Brook Cottage, Thorpe.

By 1915 he was serving as a temporary Sub Lt. in the Royal Naval Reserve.

On the  9th August 1916, he was appointed to  commence duty as the Navigating Officer on board HMS Moth.

An account of the action he took part in on board HMS Moth can be found here:-
WW1Battle1408Mesopotamia.htm.  Suffice to say that  whilst his ship and some others were proceeding up the river that they were fired on by the Turkish army.  During this action the ship, a small gunboat, was hit 9 times and was badly damaged.  3 crew were killed.

Following this action he lost all his possessions and only had the binoculars he carried around his neck.  I have these.

His binoculars from HMS Moth.  According to my grandmother these were his only possessions from the ship. The rest were destroyed in the action.


I have a letter from the Admiralty dated 8th May 1918 expressing their appreciation , "be conveyed to Lt. Walter M Carter of HMS Mistletoe, who was in charge of Lighter 171 for the good seamanship he displayed in bring his vessel safely into Peterhead".

I have his Continuous Certificate of Discharge (Discharge Book), from the merchant navy, several original admiralty documents and his Master Mariner Certificate, issued  12th May 1919 after he left the RNR where he returned to the merchant navy.

He died in 1929 on board his ship at Hartlepool after swallowing laudanum  to help him sleep.  His wife, my grandmother, Winifred (nee, Wedgwood) was with him at the time.

Read the .press cutting published following his death.

He is buried at St Stephen's Church Robin Hood's Bay, Yorkshire.

He had two children.  My mother Jeanne Carter, (Later Perry) and  Freda Carter b 19.03.1922 & William (Bill) George Carter b 17 April 1919..

W E Wedgwood Chief Officer of the SS Copeswood

On the 22 December 1916 the brother of Capt. JR Wedgwood;  my Great Grandfather, W E Wedgwood, also a master mariner, was the Chief Officer on board the SS Copeswood in the North Sea when they sighted a Barque, dismasted and flying distress flags in horrendous seas. Unable to rescue the crew, they stood by during the night and eventually the next morning rescued the crew with exceptional difficulty. Both the captain (Albert Perrin) and WE Wedgwood received silver medals from His Majesty King Haakon of Norway. Bill Wedgwood has the medal and for some reason I have the citation. 

Captain William Edward Wedgwood  b. 1873 sept 23rd- died 1954 Hare & Hounds Inn, Hawsker.  Brother of Captain John Robert Wedgwood

The citation given to Captain W E Wedgwood for his part in the rescue of the barque, Lovspring of Sandefjord
The wording is similar to that given to Captain A H  Perrin.

The Captain of the SS Copeswood was Captain Albert Hawkins Perrin and he was awarded this silver cup by King Haakon of Norway.  My grandfather was awarded a medal and certificate which I have.  He died in 1954 and lived at the Hare & Hounds Inn, Hawsker.

My maternal great-grandfather Albert Hawkins Perrin was born on 17 May 1884 at Frant, Sussex. He married Frances Lucy Jones on 19th August 1908 at which time he was employed in the Mercantile Mar...EUROPEANA1914-1918.EU




Captain John R. Wedgwood & the Prinz Eitel Friedrich



On the 20 Feb 1915,  My Great Uncle, Capt, John Robert Wedgwood  of Whitby, was master of the SS Willerby  off the coast of Brazil when his ship was approached by the Prinz Eitel Friedrich, a German auxillary cruiser which ordered the SS Willerby to stop. Capt Wedgwood ignored the order and tried to escape but eventually stopped when he realised the German ship was in a position to ram him. As the German passed astern of the  SS Willerby, Capt Wedgwood realised he had to chance to ram the German!, Ordering the engines reversed at full speed he shouted to the engineer, "Giver her hell", "Give her hell as hard as we can go it!" 

To find out what happened next , here is the link to the New York "Times, March 12th 1915:-

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Water Mills

Over the years I must have passed hundreds, and hundreds of buildings like this and never thought about their origins. Just buildings with few, if any clues as to their original purpose.  Then I bought " Eight Centuries of Milling in North East Yorkshire by John K. Harrison. There are over 150 recorded water mills in North East Yorkshire, and some were working until the 1970,s.  Many have been demolished or turned into homes.  But there are mills which still have all their machinery and are kept hidden and closed to the public.  There is only one working mill open to the public in North East Yorkshire -  Tockett's mill near Guisborough.

 Unlike the windmills in North Yorkshire which are in exposed places and pretty obvious what they are, or were, water mills can be extremely well hidden, small and with no obvious signs of their purpose when viewed from outside.  A few miles west of Northallerton this is Crayke Mill, and it still works and is sometimes open to the public.  (crakehallwatermill.co.uk) There are no working windmills in North Yorkshire.  But there are just over ten  watermills which still have all their original equipment.  


Inside, the machinery still turns, mill stones serve their real purpose and not used to fix village signs or farm house names.  Alas for many they have no future.  Too small to operate commercially, or their source of power - water - has been diverted or they are too small to be kept open as a tourist attraction.