Joseph Mack
12th July 1896 – 31st May 1916

An article in the May 2016 edition of the local - to Stratton - 'Chalk Stream’ benefice magazine questioned and left unresolved, why Acting Sub-Lieutenant Joseph MACK who died during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 was listed on Bradford Peverell War Memorial. He appeared to have no connection with the parish and researching his background produced details of two interesting families: MACK and WATSON.

Joseph MACK was born on 12th July 1896 in East St. Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; the eldest of the six children of Joseph Gardiner MACK and his wife Margaret Anne Rose MACK nee McCALLUM.

By the time of the 1911 UK census 14-year-old Joseph MACK was in England listed as a ‘cadet - pupil’ at The Incorporated Thames Nautical Training College, HMS Worcester, moored off Greenhithe, Kent.

The 1911 UK census also shows Joseph MACK’s mother, 37-year-old Margaret and three of her children, Kathleen Rose MACK (12 years), Ian McCallum MACK (10 years) and Donald Gardiner MACK (7 years) at a house named ‘Craddock’ on Balmoral Road, Parkstone, Poole. Margaret is shown as married and, whilst in the UK, being the head of the household. With them was 40-year-old spinster Florence E WATSON listed as a ‘visitor’, and Rosina LOCK aged 24, their domestic servant. The birthplace of Margaret, Ian, Donald and Florence was shown as Victoria, Australia. Kathleen was born in New South Wales, Australia, and Rosina in Poole, Dorset. Both Margaret and Florence were living by ‘private means’. The children were all shown as being at school.

Seven weeks after the census Margaret sailed alone from London bound for Australia.

On 31st May 1916 Joseph Mack was serving aboard HMS Defence, flag ship of the British First Cruiser Squadron, at the Battle of Jutland. As the ship attempted to engage a disabled German light cruiser, she was struck by two salvos that detonated her rear magazine. The fire from that explosion spread to the ship’s secondary magazines which also exploded. HMS Defence sank and all but one of the 779 ship’s complement perished.

Before we go on, here’s a little insight into the MACK family.

Joseph Gardiner MACK (Sub-Lieutenant MACK’s father) died on 3rd June 1934. The Camperdown Chronicle newspaper carried an obituary which read, “Great regret was felt when the news of the death of Mr Joseph Gardiner MACK was received, he passing away at the Lismore Nursing Hospital on Sunday last, after a very short illness. Mr Mack was a member of one of the oldest families in Western district of Victoria, and was the eldest son of Mr Joseph Mack, of Berry Bank Station, near Lismore, and he was educated at Toorak College, one of the earliest schools in Melbourne. Mr Mack had been engaged in pastoral pursuits [Farming} all his life. His eldest son, Lieutenant Joseph Mack, was killed in the battle of Jutland; his second son, Mr Ian Mack, was killed by natives in New Guinea last year. Mr Mack was in his 63rd year and leaves a widow, one son and three daughters and brothers and sisters to mourn their sad loss. A service was conducted by Rev. Higginbotham of Cressy, at the Berrybank Presbyterian church prior to funeral on Tuesday afternoon, people from all parts of the district attended to pay their last tribute to a member of such a respected family. The remains were interred in the family vault at the Lismore cemetery. . . . . .”

Ian McCallum MACK was born in 1900 at Jan Juc, Victoria. He became a Patrol Officer in New Guinea in 1926, stationed first at Kokopo and later Talasea. In 1931 he was transferred to the Morobe District. He compiled a collection of reports connected with his work striving to – as the New South Wales State Library put it – “bring the natives under government control”. His reports also dealt with native conditions, collecting Head Tax, census information, linguistic material, and observations on plantations, missions, roads and other aspects of village life. Ian died from arrow wounds.

Back to the UK 1911 census for Poole and the ‘visitor’ Florence E [Emily] WATSON in particular. She was born on 19th July 1871 in Sydney, Australia. Her father was John WATSON and her mother was Margaret WATSON nee DREW. And that’s about all there is. It’s now that you need to take a leap of faith and accept that Henry Airay/Avery (variously on different documents) WATSON, who according to the 1911 UK census for Bradford Peverell was the resident ‘Priest of the Established Church’, had some connection with Florence and that he (Henry) was sufficiently familiar with the MACK family - perhaps through his time in Australia between 1890 and 1905 - to have Joseph's name etched on to the Bradford Peverell memorial when it was erected after the war. I have to say here that, at present, I can’t find any conclusive documentation but as you'll see, Henry could well have known the MACK family, so read on . . . .

Henry was the fifth of nine children to Benjamin Lucas WATSON and his wife Annabella WATSON nee GRYLLS. Benjamin was born in Dominica, West Indies in 1815. Annabella was born in Hull, Yorkshire in 1825. Their first four children were all born in New South Wales between 1846 and 1853. Henry Airay WATSON was born in Rye, Sussex on 22nd June 1855. Their other four children were born in Croydon, Surrey (1857 & 1860), St Albans, Hertfordshire (1859) and Dorchester, Dorset in 1868.

The 1861 and 1871 UK census shows Benjamin Lucas WATSON as the Chaplin of the County Prison in Dorchester. He died in 1873 aged 58 years.

Side-tracking again for a moment; picture the WATSON household at Woolaston House, Charles Street, Dorchester in 1861.

Head of the household was 45-year-old Benjamin Lucas WATSON. His wife, Annabella (36 years) would be in charge of the day-to-day running of the house. Governess Elizabeth CRAMP, 23 years old, born in Gravesend, Kent would be supervising the children – and there were a lot of them. Not only were there the first eight of the WATSON’s nine children ranging in age from one to thirteen years (Lionel Arthur WATSON didn’t arrive until 1868) but there were also four of Benjamin’s nieces; Josephine Agusta D’ALMEIDA (12 years), Mary Eveline D’ALMEIDA 9 years), Augusta Eugenie D’ALMEIDA (8 years), and Lilian May D’ALMEIDA (5 years). All of the girls were born in Singapore except Mary who was born in Victoria Port Phillip, Melbourne, Australia. Add to this four boys shown as ‘pupils’: George HOLCROFT (9 years, born in Sevenoaks, Kent), Francis Carnac BARNES (9 years), Hubert C BARNES (8 years, and Robert Weston CRACROFT (4 years), all born in the East Indies. Assisting Annabella WATSON and Governess CRAMP and ‘living in’ were four young women; the Cook, Nurse, Under-Nurse and Housemaid.

Ten years later in 1871 there were even more people under the roof. Benjamin and Annabella had six of their children with them (now ranging from 2 to 21 years) and six D’ALMEIDA children (from 8 to 17 years). Annabella’s 72-year-old mother, Sarah GRYLLS was there. She was born in Devonport, Devon. A 2-year-old nephew, William Edward John GRYLLS (born in the East Indies) was there as well. And don’t forget the four ‘living in’ female staff members and seven boys (aged between 7 and 13 years) who were listed on the census as ‘pupils’. Twenty-seven people.

Remember Henry Airay WATSON? He matriculated as a non-collegiate student in 1874 and gained a BA degree in 1879. The UK 1881 census shows him as a schoolmaster at Newport Grammar School on the Isle of Wight. Between 1883 and 1887 he served as Assistant Curate in Tamworth, Staffordshire, and during 1887-1888 studied for the Naval Chaplaincy but failed. In 1888 he achieved his MA. At that time he was living on Birkbeck Road, Sidcup, Kent. He then became Assistant Curate at St. Giles, Manchester. Between 1890 and 1894 he was incumbent at Merriwa, Upper Hunter Shire, New South Wales. On 18th November 1890 he married Ada Caroline KEYS (born in England in 1863) in Muswellbrook, Upper Hunter Shire, NSW. In 1894 Henry became Vicar of Leeson, NSW, moving to Merivale, NSW in 1896. He stayed there until 1902. Henry and Ada had a son, John, who was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1902. In 1905 back in the UK, Henry became Assistant Curate at St. John’s, Bognor Regis, Sussex, and Rector of Bradford Peverell in 1909. He remained in that position until 1923 and died in Bradford Peverell on 8th January 1931. He was buried there four days later.

Most of Henry WATSON’s siblings led full and intriguing lives. Charles James Knight WATSON served on famine relief duties in Madras in 1877 and 1878. Helen Dorothea WATSON married Henry Graham Holroyd TAYLER, Deputy Commissioner of Blair Port on South Andaman Island. He retired from the Indian Civil Service aged 55 years and went to live in Lindfield, Sussex. Their son, Skipwith Edward TAYLER became Commanding Officer of 3rd Battalion 18th Royal Garhwal Rifles. Francis Edward WATSON served as a lieutenant in the Royal Marines. He married Fanny GILLES on 1st February 1888 in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand. Lionel Arthur WATSON became a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Indian Army. The facts and the locations go on and on.

Whether this account is sufficiently convincing as to why Joseph MACK has his name on the Bradford Peverell War Memorial is for you to decide. I shall keep looking for a definite link between Joseph and Henry WATSON. Perhaps you’ll find it before me. If you do, please let me know.