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Remembered Today:

2nd Hand James Frederick Martin RNR, drowned 1919


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2nd Hand James Frederick Martin was, according to his record, drowned in Ireland in March 1919.

I have his RNR record on this link - click. It gives little of his life from 1915 to 1919

I think he has been economical with the truth about either/both his date of birth (Apr 1879 on his record) and/or place of birth (City of London on his record). I cannot get him in the censuses.

"2nd Hand" is a new term to me, I understand that it is a RNR trawler equivalent of Petty Officer - please correct me if I am wrong.

He was buried in Aberdeen. Would it be logical to assume that he might have been working on trawlers there? He appears to have been working on minesweeping when he drowned. I cannot get a newspaper report of his drowning

His original cert. of competence as a 2nd Hand was in 1907, so I assume he was in RNR then, but his WW1 record only gives his cert as 2nd Hand, but does not give any earlier service

Any help to get me beyond his 1915/1919 service would be appreciated.

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His trawlers, TROPHY and BRACONDENE were not Aberdeen-based. HMS IDAHO was the Aux Patrol parent ship at Milford Haven and HMS BOADICEA II was parent ship for Dublin- and Holyhead-based boats.

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Second Hand was the RNR equivalent to Mate and started to be show in Grimsby trawler crew lists circa 1911 for men who had signed up with the RNR and achived that qualification. On achieving Mate, a Mate would have to complete two years sea time to go for a Skipper's ticket.


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Just a side detail, re his presence on HMS Royal Arthur in Australia for the 1901 Census, the Royal Arthur was the flagship of the Australian squadron (with Commander-in-Chief Admiral Beaumont on board) at the time of the royal visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York for the opening of the first Australian federal parliament in Melbourne in 1901. A list of naval escorts involved in the royal visit are in this newspaper article at the time:



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Thanks for the replies

Readers of the Naval sub-forum are probably aware that I struggle more with RNR research on the odd occasions that I come across an RNR man, than most other branches of the Services

Mark Hifle has sent me a lead which may explain who if was (if this is indeed him in 1891 census)

1891 census This could be him, which would explain why I cannot find his birth and his later career. There is a 12 year old called James Martin on the 1891 Census 'Under legal detention to the age of 16 years according to the Industrial Schools Act of 1866' 'Under Training' Sea. A Nautical Training Ship Shaftesbury , at off Grays, Essex. His place of birth is given as Norwood, Surrey

The Shaftesbury was certified 31st July 1878 by the London School Board, the second set up by this Board. To give it its full name "London Industrial School Ship Shaftesbury". It had been the NUBIA, an ex Peninsular and Oriental Company ship, made of iron. It was 300ft long, with a 40 ft beam. It was certified for 350 boys Apparently unmanageable boys were sent here. This was usually done by a magistrate in London, who would send them to a training ship, a police officer or an officer of the board would take the boy and hand him over to the ship’s Petty Officer. On-board ship they were taught skills they could use legitimately, such as carpentry, tailoring, shoemaking and sail making as well as seamanship.

I suspect from lack of information in census of 1881 means that he was illegitimate, and to have been found wandering the streets by 1891and then go on to the navy and trawlers would fit.

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