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basiloxford

Death on the Gold Coast

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basiloxford

Hi everyone,

I know that this is primarily a military site, but the man that i'm trying to find information on died during the Great War, with his name later appearing on a local War Memorial.

I'm researching a memorial in the City of Oxford, and amongst the casualties listed for 1918 is a Rev. Thomas Parker George. C.F.

His exact origins are clouded in mystery, although it appears that he was born in Warwickshire in c.1871, but I'm really trying to find out about his death, which supposedly took place at Quittah Gold Coast Colony West Africa on 12 March 1918. I've discovered this information from Probate records, but I would like if possible, to find a cause of death, and also discover what he may have doing in Africa. Despite a search through the local newspapers of the day, and even national newspapers such as the Times; I've not been able to find any further details of his death.

Is there anyone on here who could give me a clue as to where to look next??

any help would be very much appreciated

Barry.

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centurion

The Blue Book for 1918 (published 1919) For the Gold coast Colony shows 56 deaths of Europeans for that year as follows

  • Officials 6
  • Merchants 19
  • Mining Companies 29
  • Missions 2

The only man of the cloth amongst the officials is Reverend J. E. Boggis, M.A (all officials who died are listed by name and your man is not amongst them and nor is he amongst the soldiers [of the Gold Coast Regiment] who died in the colony). This might suggest that he was one of the two missionaries or perhaps attached to a mining company ( to act as an industrial chaplain) but in either case one wonders why he is on a War Memorial. According to the Blue Book there was an outbreak of the Spanish Flu in the colony this and the ever present Yellow Fever seem to have accounted for the majority of deaths amongst Europeans (there are no figures for the indigenous population).

The Gold Coast Regiment was fighting in East Africa and did not return until September - could he have been a padre attached to them and actually died there?

Have you tried looking him up in a copy of Crockfords for the period?

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centurion

Quittah (now Keta) was at that time a major trading post and had a mission station (originally founded by German missionaries in the 19th century) and one of the first (only?) lodges of the Orange Order in West Africa being started by a Belfast trader. It was notorious for Yellow Fever

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centurion

The German Missionary society was the North German Missionary Society a Presbyterian society based on Bremen which sent missionaries to New Zealand and West Africa. The station at Quittah maintained good relations with the British authorities and established many sub stations throughout the Gold Coast. However in 1916 all German missionaries were interned and replacements sent from Scottish societies. The possibility that your man was one of these and one of the two deaths reported in the Blue Book is worth considering

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basiloxford

Hello Centurion,

thank you for the replies.

I think the reason he appears on the memorial is that he was the curate of the church for a number of years prior to the Great War, and at the time of his death was still supposedly living at a nearby address. His wife also remained living in Oxford after his death, and later died in 1941.

I should imagine that some form of missionary work would almost certainly be the reason he was in Africa, but it seems strange that no record of his death appears to show anywhere in the UK, apart from the already mentioned Probate entry.

I have found his entry in the 1908 Crockford's Clerical Directory, but so-far have not been able to find a directory much nearer to the time of his death.

Thanks again,

Barry.

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centurion

If he died in a British Colony it would be the responsibility of the colonial administration to issue a death certificate, they would have no responsibility to notify NOK in Britain or anywhere else (indeed they might have no information by which to do so) but so far as I can tell most would do their best to send details (they were after all ordinary human beings). Records would be held by the colonial administration. At some point (usually not long before the Union Flag was lowered for the last time) these records were microfilmed and the cassettes stuffed in some QM's pouch before he got on the Vickers Vanguard home. Most of them seem to have ended up with Microform Academic Publishers East Ardsley, Wakefield WF3 2AT, West Yorkshire, UK Tel +44 (())I924 825700 Fax +44 (0)1924 871005 Email info@microform CO uk www microfonn CO uk who appear to be a nicer (ie not American money sucking vultures) form of Ancestry. However if he worked for a missionary society I suspect that they would be better organised than HMG (difficult to imagine otherwise), so finding out which one might be the best route.

I am still puzzled why a curate turned missionary would be on a war memorial, however as I have discovered from researching some local ones the (often self appointed) committees responsible usually were a law unto themselves.

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basiloxford

I couldn't agree more.

A number of the men I've researched have the most tenuous links to the memorials on which they appear, So-much-so that I've even found a man who only appeared on a memorial because his uncle was the rector at the time of his death. I doubt very much if he even visited the parish.

Again thanks for the info.

Barry.

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bushfighter

Barry

Greetings

May I offer a suggestion?

There were various Volunteer Corps in the Gold Coast during the Great War.

It may be that Thomas Parker George had an affiliation as a Padre with a Volunteer Corps, even if he was not enlisted as a Volunteer soldier.

Harry

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centurion

The Blue Book covered the Gold Coast Volunteers and would have recorded his death in this case - it doesn't. According to the Blue Book there were three deaths of people with a "professional" religious status in the Colony that year - the Rev Boggis and two unamed missionaries. Given that where he died was a major missionary centre where German missionaries had recently been been replaced by ones sent out from the UK it would appear logical that he was one of these.

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basiloxford

Again thank you both for the replies.

To add to the confusion over Thomas's status in Africa, I've been looking at what the C. F. abbreviation may refer too, and the most appropriate would appear to be Chaplain to the Forces.

If that was the case, would he have been entitled to receive service medals???

Barry.

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centurion

In which case my point in post two is relevant

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Robindad

Another death .... Our man is Captain Findlay Fraser Hird a master mariner who appears to be in Addah for Elder Dempster from March 1915 until his death in February 1916. His death in Addah is recorded on in Bikenhead (his wife's grave) and in Arbroath newspapers where his father was well respected businessman.

Would welcome any advice on how to find out more about his position in Addah and his death.

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centurion

He was a former 1st Officer on Elder Dempster Ships at the begining of the century but then drops from view (possibly moved to another line to become a ships master). He travelled out to West Africa as a passenger on SS Nigeria in Feb 1915. Addah was one of the ports served by Elder Dempster and they would have had offices there to deal with both freight and passenger bookings. He does not appear an the Merseyside role of honour which has many Elder Dempster seamen on it including members of the crew of SS Addah torpedoed in 1917. I would suspect that he was employed in the office and not as a sailor

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Robindad

He was a former 1st Officer on Elder Dempster Ships at the begining of the century but then drops from view (possibly moved to another line to become a ships master). He travelled out to West Africa as a passenger on SS Nigeria in Feb 1915. Addah was one of the ports served by Elder Dempster and they would have had offices there to deal with both freight and passenger bookings. He does not appear an the Merseyside role of honour which has many Elder Dempster seamen on it including members of the crew of SS Addah torpedoed in 1917. I would suspect that he was employed in the office and not as a sailor

Thanks for your input

We have the obtained his record card from the Guldhall London and this shows he was Captain of several Elder Dempster ships until 1911/12 when he captained the SS Onitsha for Elder Dempster from Liverpool to West Africa over the turn of the year and departed again on Onitsha on 1 March 1912. We also have a copy of the crew agreement with him as captian. His wife died while he was on this last voyage.

Agree he was more likely in a shore post in 1915/16. Have seen the Admon indexed for grant to his sister in July 1916 which has 'died 21 January 1916' and 'of Addah Gold Coast Colony West Africa'. This implies she ahd a death certificate of some sort but not found a death record indexed.

So wondering how to find out more.

Edited by Robindad

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centurion

The Gold Coast Colony Administration produced an annual report giving all sorts of statistics including the names and some details of UK citizens resident in the Colony who died there that year TNA might have a copy of the 1916 report.

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Robindad

Thanks ..... Yes TNA do have copies indexed. I'll see about getting a look at them. Do you know how many pages long they are? Roughly

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corisande

O ye of little faith

1. Thomas Parker George married Maude Jesse Sanderson in Kent in 1896

2. They have a number of children in Jamaica . He is on birth certs as "clerk in holy orders"

https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-159385-684055-73?cc=1538386

3. THE WEST INDIES "THE WESTERN HEPTARCHY" By the Most Rev. E. NUTTALL, D.D., Bishop of Jamaica and Archbishop of the West Indies, and the Rev. THOMAS PARKER GEORGE. PREFATORY NOTE WHEN I was asked by the Editors to furnish an article on the West Indies for this book I felt that I could not properly refuse, but in reporting my willingness I stated that the time at my disposal would not allow me to do the work entirely myself. I secured the services of the Rev. -T. P. George, then Curate of the Parish Church, Kingston, Jamaica, who has performed much the greater part of the work in this article.

4. 16th Sep 1914 appointed 4th class Chaplin to the forces

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/28922/page/7810

5. ARMY CHAPLAIN S DEPARTMENT . The Reverend Thomas Parker George , temporary Chaplain to the Forces, 4th Class, relinquishes his commission . Dated 6th November , 1915 .

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/29353/page/10917

6. 26 Jun 1917 sailed from UK to Lome, British West Africa - he is down as a Traders Agent. Variously as Thomas P George and TP George - my assumption would be that was him. To prove it would take longer, linking an Oxford Address to him

Found the link in his probate, it is the right man

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basiloxford

Hello Corisande

Thank you very much for the info; this is certainly the correct man.

At the time of his death, his wife was still supposedly living at 25 Polstead-road in Oxford. I'm not sure what a 'Traders Agent' was, but it would appear that after serving as a clergyman for approximately twenty years, that he may have followed a totally different career path in moving to Africa. I'm assuming that he probably died of some form of illness or disease, but I would really love to know for sure what he was (1) doing in Africa; and (2) what he died of.

Many thanks again,

Barry.

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corisande

He appears to have gone to the USA to live after Jamaica. You can see him crossing the Atlantic in a couple of times before going to Africa.

You might get another clue from plumbing the shipping records, sometimes there is a bit more into on them or on USA immigration arrivals which will give more info that he had to give USA government on arrival

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