Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The wreck resurfaces

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 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.


Peter said...


First time to your site. Sorry so slow.

Superb story. Magic to have such a model.

We have a ship in a glass case, made about 1911, by a bloke who later was in the RN at Gallipoli, and gave it to us about 1965 when I was a kid.

Curiously also, last night I finished typing up the faint pencil notes from my mother's uncle's WW1 western front dairy, for 1918. The one who took the "bad company" photo on Pool in 1904 or 05. And this afternoon, a friend told me a long yarn about his granddad, also at Gallipoli, in the British Army, aged 15, youngest of the lot, it seems. Taken prisoner, came out OK, because put under Germans building the railway tunnels in Turkey.

No connection between all that lot. No anything about WW1 for decades. Must be some cyclic time wave going past.

Can't work out what this war stuff is all about. And, the neglect of the damaged after gets repeated time after time and is still happening now. The louder they yell about heroism, the less they do.


WWW said...

Hey Peter,
Thanks for your interest, sorry I didn't see your comment earlier but I haven't been using this blog much. I intend to update and maintain this site more regularly from now on.
Your comments on WW1 are of interest to me and I hope to hear more from you here.