William James Clough came out from England as a Salvation Army Officer to work in the Wonthaggi Mines of Victoria, sometime before the First World War, and as far as I know, brought this very boat with him or made it on the long trip out here. He was my grandfather on my mother’s side and the HMS Victory has been lost from my family since his demise.
I never knew the man; he died a long time before I was bourn. Even my mother only had vague memories and a story of how he died in a motor cycle accident. This kind of endeared me to him, for as I grew up, I began a long love affair with the deadly two wheeled beasts. So I find it amazing and appropriate that I end up with, what I assume, was his prize possession.
When he died, he left my mother an orphan to be raised by older step children whom inherited all he left. As time would have it, they all did quite well in this Australian life, except my mother who suffered from a bad case of the “Cinderella’s”. So when the wreck of the Victory finally resurfaced this year and made its way into my possession, it represented all we ever inherited and an appropriate representation it is.
On the other side of the world, while William was beginning his stinted attempts at a dynasty, Thomas Scholfield my paternal grandfather was leaving a wife and a profitable business as a Cooper, to fight for his county in the trenches of France. He returned a broken man after receiving three doses of mustard gas for his trouble and spent the remainder of his day’s unsuccessfully partitioning for adequate compensation.
Eventually World War Two broke out, my father signed up to do his patriotic duty with the British Navy and ended up in Australia after serving in every theatre of war the second had to offer, including being one the first set of allied feet on Japan’s freshly radiated soil. With boundless energy he went about doing all the dirty job’s Aussies didn’t want and he didn’t stop till Cancer stopped him, all without any recognition from the British and no repat pension from the good old Aussie Services.
Not to worry, it’s all good here in the lucky country as I, being the only surviving male heir in Australia to both my Fathers clan and Williams are here to attest. The point of telling this little tale is two fold; one to inform those that don’t know that the original wreck of the Victory has been found and is looking like being the biggest find of English Maritime treasures with heaps of brass cannons and four ton of gold coins. Here’s the link http://www.shipwreck.net/hmsvictory.php and for those that are interested, after my fathers estate was settled I had another interesting item to go on the mantelpiece with Granddads model ship; a lovely original pigskin wallet, empty of course.