View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 19 August 2010


William Scambler was a 30-year old trimmer / cook on board His Majesty's Trawler "THOMAS STRATTEN", when this ship hit a mine off the Butt of Lewis on 20 October 1917. William's remains were buried at Sandwick Cemetery near Stornoway. Today, I managed to track down records of his birth and his death, which paints the following picture.

William Scambler
Birth record
Date of birth: July 23rd, 1887, 5h AM
Place of birth: Glorat, Campsie, Stirlingshire
Name of father: James Scambler, assistant gamekeeper (present at registry office)
Name of mother: Elizabeth Harriet Scambler, nee Dryden
Place and date of their marriage: Edinburgh, 14 October 1886.

Death record
Name: SCAMBLER, William
Rating: Trimmer / Cook
Official no and port division: 712.T.C. (Po)
Branch of service: R.N.R.
Ship or unit: H.M. Trawler "THOMAS STRATTEN"
Date and place of birth: 23.7.1887, Lennoxtown, Stirling
Date of death: 20.10.1917
Name and address of cemetery: Civil Cemetery, Sandwick, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis, grave O. 1321.
Relatives notified and their address: Wife, Alice; Branxton, Innerwick, Berwick, Scotland

Among William's shipmates, none of whom were recovered were (further details courtesy CWGC)

BOWSER, Walter, Trimmer, RNR, TS 6310 (aged 18), Son of Thomas Frederick and Lilian Bowser, of 42, Beecroft St., St. George's Rd., Hull. Remembered on Chatham Naval Memorial panel 27

BROWN, Charles John, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 5540 (aged 24). Son of Alice Mary Brown, of Clare Cottage, Caister-on-Sea, Great Yarmouth, and the late Charles John Brown. Remembered on Chatham
Naval Memorial panel 26.

COLLINSON, James, Deck Hand, RNR, SD 3895 (aged 21). Son of George Collinson, of 158, High St., East End, Sunderland, and the late Catherine Collinson; husband of Catherine Millar (formerly Collinson), of 58, Loudoun Square, Cardiff. Remembered on Chatham Naval Memorial panel 26.

PARRISH, Charles, Ordinary Telegraphist, RNVR, Tyneside Z 10209 (aged 20). Son of Willie and Amanda Matilda Parrish, of 75, Carr House Rd., Shelf, Halifax. Remembered on Chatham Naval Memorial panel 27

PIRIE, James, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 3948. Remembered on Chatham Naval Memorial panel 28

PLAYFORD, John, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 10703 (aged 26). Son of Sarah Ann Playford, of Pockthorpe, Raveningham, Norwich. Remembered on Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 26.

POLLARD, Thomas Edward, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 12923. Son of Fanny Pollard, of Gorran Haven, Gorran, Cornwall. Remembered on Plymouth Naval Memorial, panel 24.


I am so fed up with the antics of TNT Post. Here I was, writing a letter of complaint to their offices in the UK and Holland, to advise them that it was taking a ridiculous amount of time for a letter to travel the 600 miles from Holland to Stornoway - if no priority rated stamps were affixed. Priority franked mail takes 2-3 days. Non-priority mail? Well, give it a week or 2-3. The UK office for TNT Post replied to me with some whacky story about the distribution of international mail, the Dutch office came back with a bog-standard reply "we'll do everything we can to maintain an acceptable standard of service". And this month alone, two letters, without priority stamps, have reached me from Holland - after two weeks in the system. I'm NOT pleased.

J-land's anniversary

On 21 August 2003, AOL opened a facility called "AOL Journals". Over the following months and years, several hundreds if not thousands of AOL subscribers around the world opened a blog and started writing in it. What about? Their daily lives, their personal opinions, their creations - anything. Soon, people discovered each other's blogs and started leaving comments. It quickly developed into a community, one that was eventually called J-land. Journals-land. The majority were based in the USA, but quite a few others in the United Kingdom as well - myself among the latter.

Over the following five years, the community spirit blossomed, with all its attending highs and lows. The rows, the drama - the support, the laughter. Sharing each other's highs and lows as well. And accompanying several of our community members on their final days, hopefully making them more bearable.

I joined the community proper at Easter 2006, with the death of Pamela Hilger (his1desire). I'd like to think I was among friends during the following 2½ years, and still am. It was a cruel blow when AOL closed down their journals service. I wouldn't like to dwell on that - I'd rather, with Donna, stick with the positive. Saturday 21 August 2010 would have been the 7th anniversary of J-land. On October 8th, it will be 6 years since I started blogging (as a diary). Things have changed since we moved to Blogger, Facebook, Twitter and whatever - many J-landers no longer keep a blog, or are socially active on the Internet. But here is to what we had.

With thanks to Donna (and all the other tag artists) for many of the tags.