11 December 2015

#52Ancestors - Week 50 - Naughty

Week 50 (December 10-16) – Naughty. We all have an ancestor who probably received coal in their stocking.

I've blogged about "naughty" ancestors before, so it was a bit of a challenge trying to find yet another naughty one.
This week's ancestor probably didn't get coal in his stocking, because the family may not have been able to buy coal for a few weeks after he paid his fine.

But let's start at the beginning.

Meet Thomas Arnold Dobson, my 1st cousin 3 times removed. Thomas is the son of Mark Dobson and Laura Maria Wyatt. He was born in July 3, 1904 in Falmouth, Cornwall, England.

Thomas - who the family called Arnold was the youngest of 8 Dobson siblings:
Ellen Annie, Laura Gertrude, Nicholas George, Ernest Mark, Florence May, John Graham, William Henry and Thomas Arnold.


A lot of time goes by before we meet Arnold again - this time in the 1939 Register - a record of every civilian taken at the end of September 1939 by the British Government.

Arnold says he is single and living at home with his father and his step-mother (his mother, Laura, having passed away in 1910)

in 1939, Arnold is an Insurance Agent, but shortly afterwards he seems to have joined, or been seconded into, war service as a merchant seaman on the Rescue Tugs and was promoted during that time to a Temporary Sub-lieutenant:


Arnold married Marjorie Bubbings in 1948 - but from another 1939 register, it is likely they were considered a couple by at least 1939


Now, while that my have been "naughty", that is not what brought Arnold to my attention.

The incident that makes Arnold fit the bill as "naughty" happened in 1941 and was reported in the Sunderland Echo and Shipping Gazette on May 1st, 1941:




It seems Thomas, who had apparently shown some bravery earlier, was AWOL overnight from his ship on April 26, 1941 and was fined 40 shillings as he "should have shown a better example" (he was first mate of the unnamed vessel at the time)

While 40 shillings doesn't seem to be a lot, it was equal to 2 pounds in pre-decimal UK currency - and probably worth today's equivalent of 100 pounds. Enough to have his family putting coal in his stocking for Christmas that year.

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