Research Update

Additional information which has been supplied or come to light since the publication of the book is posted here.  

Brief details of information updated


Martin Gardner -In the last week of September 20 1914 men left Cellardyke headed for Portsmouth for naval service. Amongst them was a Martin Gardner, a name which can be traced back in local fishing records to the mid 17th century and was still prominent in the fishing community 250 years later. The extent to which this was so was told to me by his daughter,Agnes.
"My father grew up in the home of his grandparents at 44 James Street.  He lived there from the age of 2 after his parents returned from Australia and his mother died shortly afterwards.  This was the home of Martin Gardner and his wife Leebie Bett.  He was the second son of Alexander Gardner and Ann Sutherland;  following the strict naming rule of the day he was named after his maternal grandfather, one Martin Sutherland.   To our knowledge he was the first Martin Gardner.  He went on to have five sons who lived to adulthood, four of whom produced a son named Martin.   A daughter, married to a James Martin, even named her second son Martin Martin.  Such were the naming rigours of the day which accounted for so many family members having the same name."

Her father served  with the Flagship Queen Elizabeth at the Dardanelles then on a minesweeper at the end of the war.  He went on to be a successful skipper, and there being other Martins in the Gardner family, he was  known locally as "Acorn" Mairt; he was also a highly respected coxswain of the Anstruther Lifeboat service.

(Another Martin Gardner who features in The Democracy of War was the skipper of the Vanguard III, fined in March 1915 for fishing in a restricted area of the Firth of Forth. By May 1915 his drifter had been requisitioned by the Admiralty.)      

John C Wood, - a Seaforth Highlander, was killed in action in June 1916 having survived Mons and been mentioned in despatches. His nephew Alan Wood has provided his full name and date of birth- John Cunningham Given Wood , born 3 January 1886 in Earlsferry. 

Frederick Drury Blunsdon

Frederick Blunsdon was a 31 year old Regular Navy Petty Officer when he was killed - his submarine D5 hit a mine in the freezing waters of the North Sea in November 1914. He had already been badly injured when blown out of the conning tower of a submarine. I have now been provided with detailed family information by Stuart Woodward whose great grandfather William James Blunsdon was Fred's brother. Fred was born in 1883 in Wiltshire, the middle child of William Blunsdon and Jane Anderson. William was an old soldier who, despite hailing from Swindon, Wiltshire, served for over 20 years with the Royal Scots ,including 15 years in India without a break.  He ended his service at Glencorse Barracks in Midlothian and became a butler in Auchendinny House Lasswade where he met Jane Anderson, a cook. He was aged 41; Jane was 10 years younger.  They were soon married and moved to England where they worked as domestic servants in Surrey. However they gravitated back to Scotland and by the time of the 1901 Census were living at 2 Tolbooth Wynd where  William was described as a Golf Cleek Filer. The reason for this , and for being in Anstruther is that Jane's family were the famous Andersons of Anstruther whose golf clubs were in great demand. And so it was to Anstruther that news of Fred's death was sent and which is why he appears on the memorial here.


Andrew Henderson-  - Andrew Henderson died when the Jane was blown up by a mine which had caught in the fishing yawl's nets. This tragedy was the worst  single local event of the war - killing 5 men from Cellardyke including a father and two sons- one of which was Andrew Henderson. His grandson, Jim Hinde, has kindly provided a photograph of the young Andrew in naval uniform, and details of what happened to his daughter Elizabeth.

Robert Gardner - important new information. Robert Gardner  died when his ship SS Greynog was torpedoed in April 1918. His name is on the memorial and the account of his death is in the book with an accompanying photograph. However I have learnt that two Robert Gardners , Cellardyke schoolmates,  joined up at the same time. One was killed but the photograph in the book is of the Robert who survived . His son tells me that his father visited his namesake and childhood friend  in Granton Harbour the day before he set off in his fatal voyage on the Greynog.


Thomas Fleming - prior to the war Thomas Fleming (photograph on Update) worked as a net loom mechanic in Robert Watson's factory in George Street, Cellardyke.  During the war he served on HMS White Oak, a Fraserburgh drifter requisitioned by the Admiralty to be used as a depot ship in Poole, Dorset. Subsequently he was transferred to HMS Vigorous, another depot ship serving Larne harbour in Northern Ireland (which was prominent in anti submarine warfare.). Although these boats were not engaged by the enemy a remarkable number of crew died whilst in service. At least 6 men from Vigorous died - all in 1918/19 , which suggests they may have been victims of the flu epidemic; however one of the men from the White Oak died of drowning. Thomas Fleming survived the war and returned to Watson's factory , dying in 1943 aged only 51. 
    
Lt. Philip Ray -  Philip Ray, son of the Rev Robert Ray of Cellardyke, was a university student when he joined up as a private soldier. After fighting in the trenches with the Cameronians he was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant with the Black Watch before joining the Royal Flying Corps. He was an observer in the infamous R.E.8 aircraft photographing enemy lines when he was shot down and killed over Arras on April 13 1917. He was 23 years old. Most historical accounts say that all six planes of Ray's 59 Squadron were attacked and shot down by Manfred von Richthofen's Jasta 11 Squadron , which shortly thereafter became part of his famous Flying Circus. But an examination of the record of that squadron shows that only five R.E.8s were shot down by them that morning  - and the plane not accounted for was that in which Philip Ray was flying, piloted by another Scot, Philip Bentinck Boyd.What had happened to it? In fact a lone pilot of another German squadron, Jasta 4, had joined the dogfight and shot down Philip Ray's plane at 8.56 am on 13 April. The German pilot was Oberleutnant Hans Klein, a 26 year old German ace from Stettin who shot down a total of 22 British aircaft and went on to become a Major General in the Luftwaffe before his death in 1944.


L/Cpl William Tosh - Lance Corporal William Tosh had grown up on farm between Anstruther and Crail, and emigrated to Australia to take up sheep farming. He enlisted in the Australian Light Horse and was killed in Gallipoli on 7 August 1915. Information from the files released by the Australian military archives gives details of his joining up and the arrangements  made after his death - with an unexpected twist, as the files contain a letter from a woman in Scotland looking for her husband of the same name. 

His Attestation Papers, which were completed when he signed up on 15 February 1915 shows that he was born in the parish of Crail, was aged 30 years and 5 months , unmarried  and his next of kin was his mother living at 'Mansefield' Anstruther. His Active Service Casualty form is stamped 'Killed in Action' and shows that he had set off from Australia to Egypt only 3 months after  signing up and was killed in action at Gallipoli less than three months after that. The Australian executor of his will Fred Walter spotted his name in the 'Argus ' newspaper on 4 September and that same day wrote to the authorities in Melbourne asking for details. He then contacted William's mother who also wrote to the authorities asking that the personal effects of her 'beloved son' should be sent on to her at once. In the meantime the Anstruther solicitors A and D Cook set the wheels in motion to cash in a life insurance policy which would go to his mother as  the sole legatee. So far so sad. But then the twist - the file also contains a letter from a Mrs W Tosh 55 Victoria Road Dundee, which asks the Australian authorities ' if you have such a man as William Tosh in any of the Australian regiments. My husband left Dundee about six years ago and I never got any word from him...people have told me he is in the soldiers." She continues "I am in bad health and has a little girl to keep and I am in very poor circumstances." This letter was received 25 June 1917  and the Australian authorities replied promptly,  telling her matter of factly that there was only one William Tosh who served in their forces and that he had been killed in Gallipoli and was buried there . Without comment they provided the details which were on his attestation record -  that he was single,a farmer, and that his next of kin was his mother in Fife.

 Poor Mrs Tosh- but should we jump to conclusions?  I think not. Circumstantially it would seem unlikely that L/Cpl Tosh was her missing husband. We can trace William's progress from the time  he grew up at 'Thirdpart' farm. He came from a relatively well to do family, had been educated at Clifton Bank School in St Andrews and then trained in business with a firm of solicitors in Anstruther. He then moved to  Kelso to learn sheep farming prior to emigrating to Australia.  It seems unlikely that he would have secretly married and set up a home in Dundee. Further research does not suggest otherwise. William was 30 when he was killed so the earliest he could have married was 1900 and according to Mrs Tosh writing from  Dundee in 1917 he had left there 6 years previously. Researching the marriage records for the period 1900-1912 shows that nine men named William Tosh were married in Scotland between those dates; none in Fife and only 3 in Dundee. The first was  a wood turner who was 28 when he married in 1903; the next was a 53 year old dockworker, married in 1906.   Finally there was a domestic groom who was 27 when he married in 1910. Perhaps it was he who disappeared the following year?