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Another visit to my great-uncles' birthplace

Last weekend I took another trip back to Scarborough, hoping to deepen my understanding of the family history by visiting some more sites.

One building I had overlooked previously was 95 Westborough. This was where Lillie Bell, the wife-to-be of my great-uncle Fred Cowling was living before she got married, according to the wedding certificate I had ordered a copy of.

And this photo is of the building, with a shop on the ground level. It is actually little more than a stone's throw away from the train station. So Lillie Bell was living here up until when she got married. The wedding took place on 27th January 1909.

Having located this building I went up to St. Mary's Church, near the castle. It had been completely closed up during my previous visit, earlier in the year, so this time I hoped to be there after a Sunday service and therefore catch the church building open. My calculations were correct - a service was just ending and the church was open.

Inside I found what I had hoped to see, a memorial to the WW1 dead with William Cammish's name on it. This had come from St. Thomas's church, since closed down, and so presumably featured men who had been associated with that particular church.

I hadn't however expected to see the names on a stone tablet, imagining instead that they would be presented on a wooden panel.

And there was another surprise - alongside it was another tablet which had both my great-uncles' names on it. So there were two.

From there I went down to the lifeboat house and this building too was open, unlike on my previous visit. Once inside I explained to staff that my great-grandfather had served on the lifeboats and as a shore signalman for a total of 48 years (he was Richard, the father of Fred Cowling, the soldier who died in France in 1918), and they readily let me into the main part of the building where the lifeboat is kept and where numerous old wooden panels commemorate the rescues which took place since way back to 1888.

I hadn't considered that there have been many vessels over the years and each had its name, so my great-grandfather would have served on a number of different boats. I now had photographs of all the panels.

And then I said my goodbyes and was out of the building and on to the beach. There I collected a jar of sand. I hope to take this to France with me later this month, to leave some at Fred Cowling's grave, a small piece of his hometown.

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