Monday, 13 June 2011

Arthur Saddington 1909-1931

Arthur Saddington was born in Middlesbrough in the June quarter of 1909 (volume 9d, page 552), the eldest child of Penrith Saddington Taylor, commonly known as Penrith Saddington, and his wife, Emily May Roxby. Arthur was the eldest of thirteen children born over a period between 1909 and 1934.

In the 1911 census, Arthur, then nearly 2, and his parents were living at 17 Harewood Street, Middlesbrough, the home of Penrith’s parents, Arthur Charles Saddington and his wife, Hannah (nee Robinson). Also sharing the house were five of Penrith’s brothers and sisters ranging in age from 17 years to 1 year. Penrith was employed as a bricklayer while his father, Arthur, worked as a blast furnace man and the next eldest son at home, Nathan, aged 17, was a butcher.

As we must wait to see the 1921 census, I can only surmise what happened to Arthur over the next twenty years. He grew up in a large family, probably leaving school in his early teens in order to find a job and earn money to support the rest of the family. At some point he decided to become a sailor, a decision which eventually led to his tragic death.

I first learnt about Arthur’s death courtesy of the Gravestone Photographic Resource Project, an on-line international grave monument directory. When I was sent a photo of Arthur’s gravestone, I was intrigued by the inscription written on it. It said that the gravestone was:

“In Loving Memory of
Our Dear Son
Arthur Saddington
Who was accidentally killed
On the SS Dalwhinnie
Dec. 2nd 1931 aged 22 years
Someday we’ll understand.”

I googled the SS Dalwhinnie and discovered that it was a steamship built in Holland in 1919 to carry cargo up and down coastlines. It was originally called the SS Begonia, and was owned by a Norwegian. In 1922 it passed into the hands of T C Steven & Co of Leith and was renamed the SS Dalwhinnie. In 1938 it was sold to Comben Longstaff & Co – Williamstown Shipping of London, and renamed the SS Whintown. Unfortunately it was then sunk in a collision off Great Yarmouth on 7 December 1939.

Having got this far, I emailed my contact in this branch of the Saddington family, who knew about the gravestone but not what had happened to Arthur, and who agreed to do some further research for me.

A search of the local paper, the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, produced the following sad story reported on 3 December 1931.

Tragedy of the Tees
Boro’ Man Falls Into River

An unfortunate drowning tragedy occurred in the River Tees, off Messrs Gjers, Mills and Company’s wharf, about nine o’clock last night. The victim is Arthur Saddington, aged 22, of Palmer-street, Middlesbrough, an able seaman of the crew of the s.s. Dalwhinnie, which was berthed at the wharf.

It appears that Saddington was fixing the gangway from the vessel to the wharf when he overbalanced and fell into the river in the short space between the ship and the wharf. One of his mates on the crew immediately dived to his rescue, but Saddington had completely disappeared from view.

Grappling operations were carried on by members of the crew with the assistance of River Police officers, and after about 20 minutes, his body was recovered. Artificial respiration was tried for some time, but Dr. Hepplethwaite, who had been called to the scene, pronounced life extinct.

The body was conveyed by ambulance to the mortuary.

The member of the crew who showed so much gallantry in diving to his comrade’s rescue was Bo’sun Gatenby. After his futile efforts to trace Saddington he was hauled aboard by other members of the crew.

It is thought that Saddington may have struck his head on the boat or the wharf in his fall, and was rendered unconscious.

The Dalwhinnie have moved from Dent’s Wharf to Gjers’ Wharf at the time of the tragedy.

A tragic accident and a young life lost – no wonder Arthur’s parents had inscribed on his gravestone the words “Someday we’ll understand.”

If you are related to the Middlesbrough branch of the Saddingtons, or have any further information about the SS Dalwhinnie, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Gavin Rogers said...

Hi there I am researching Doris Robinson (nee Saddington) and am of the opinion she was a sister of Arthur Saddington. Do you happen to have a list of the children born to Penrith Saddington and his wife Emily May Roxby? If so could you add it to this post? Many thanks

Rowan Tanner said...

Hi Gavin

I think you might be right to believe that Doris Robinson (nee Saddington) was one of Arthur's sisters.

The list of Penrith and Emily's children is as follows:

Arthur born 1909 died 1931
Penry(?) born 1911
Charles born 1913 died 1956
Nathan born 1915
Doris born 1917
Ernest born 1919 died 2007
David born 1921
Olive born 1923
Edgar born 1925
Mildred born 1927
Edna born 1929
Leonard A born 1933
Doreen born 1934

I would be grateful for any further information that you could let me have regarding this family.

Rowan Tanner - Saddington One Name Study -