Thursday, 28 July 2011

J S House

James Strout House
Born 9 March 1885 in Newquay  Died 20 February 1917 Off coast of Algeria
First Mate, SS Rosalie, Mercantile Marine

James was the eldest son of Nicholas House and Agnes Strout.  Nicholas was a master mariner and Agnes was the daughter of a seafaring family from Port Isaac.  The couple lived in East End, Newquay, for some years, being next door neighbours to the Kernick family, also mariners, who lost their son Frederick in WW1.

The House family was quite large.  Nicholas and Agnes' children were Cilicia Mary (b 1881), Agnes Jenefer (b c 1882), James, Kathleen Adele (31 October 1886), Archibald Noel (16 October 1889) and Agnes Lenore (c 1900).  It seems unusual to have to daughters named Agnes; both were alive in 1901, so it wasn't as if the younger one "replaced" the elder one.  In 1891 Nicholas' mother, Jane House, lived a few doors away with her adult children.  Her two daughters worked as a milliner and dressmaker.  Some of James' sisters would, in time, follow their aunts' occupation.

James married Harriet Wilmot Kneebone in 1916.  Harriet's father farmed at Manuel's Farm, which still exists today, on the outskirts of Newquay.  When Joseph Kneebone died, his widow moved her family into Newquay and set up a boarding house, although the 1901 Census return shows the house full of Mrs Kneebone's unmarried siblings and aged father, as well as 15 year old Wilmot and her brother.

James was first mate aboard the SS Rosalie, when she was torpedoed 8 miles east of Jidjelli, Algeria, without warning by U31.  Although the  ship was defensively armed she had no chance and 21 lives, including James', were lost.  U31 was at that time commanded by Walter Forstmann, who ended the war with the dubious honour of being the second highest scoring submarine commander of the war, having sunk almost 400,000 tonnes of shipping.

In his will James left around £200, probate being granted to Joseph Kneebone, Harriet's brother.  I can't find any record of Harriet and James having had any children.  Harriet did not remarry and died in 1947 at the age of 59.

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