Friday, 16 November 2012

The Live Bait Squadron 1914 - survivors from Whitby

This photograph was printed in the All Our Yesteryears section of the Whitby Gazette on 31 August 2001.  It had been brought in by John Hartley of Hinderwell, who hoped to find out more about the men pictured.  I am posting it here because I don't think this report, or the photograph, are available online.

According to the Whitby Gazette:
On 2 August 1914, a great send-off was given to the men at Whitby and news that some of them were missing plunged the fishing community and the town into grief.
A number of Naval Reservists had left town to join the Navy and 28 were believed to be on the cruisers torpedoed by submarines.
James Hall was one local man saved from the Aboukir and other men rescued were brothers Thomas, George, Harry and James Murfield, William, George and Matthew Winspear, James Wood and Thomas Dryden. 
Four brothers from one family and three from another escaped the sinking.
Mr Hall said afterwards: "I saw a lot of the Whitby lads when I was in the water and they were all right.  We were floating for about six hours but I'm no worse and I thank God for it.  We will be ready for the Germans again shortly and they will get hit back."

The following week, All Our Yesteryears was able to publish the names of the men in the picture, identified by Syd Barnett, Whitby Museum's head librarian.
From left: back, TB White, JW Hill, G Walker, G Gash, J Murfield and JR Hind; middle, G Winspear, J Hall G Murfield, W Winspear, J Wood, S Eglon, W Dryden, T Murfield; front, J Elders, H Murfield, W Hodgson, R Ventris, H Harrison and W Hall.
Matthew Winspear, another survivor, was in hospital at the time of the photograph.
I understand that reservists, including some of the Whitby men, who were posted to Chatham at the outbreak of War were followed by their wives and families, who moved to the town to be able to see more of their men when they were not at sea.  The women were able to get well-paid (though dangerous) work in the munitions factories there - this was to prove of enormous value to those who found themselves widowed and struggling to bring up their families alone.

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