Monday, 4 September 2017

Harry Nott - did he swim to Australia?

The last blogpost focused on the life of our grandfather, Harold Cooper (Harry) Nott. It noted that his arrival details in Australia had yet to be found..

I'm wondering if this may be resolved through some recent research.

We know that Harry was in England in December 1911 as he was a witness to the marriage of his brother, Stan. We also know that he was in Australia in October 1913 when he enlisted in the Royal Australian Navy and, at that time, he was in Western Australia.

We also know from the 1911 Census in England that Harry was listed as a Clerk in a Margarine Factory at the time the Census was taken.

I've recently found an interesting document on the National Archives of Australia website. It is the arrival of the ship "Gneisenau" from Bremen in Germany. It arrived in Fremantle on 14 August 1912.

The ship carried a Mr H. Nott in Third Class. He is described as English, aged 21 and a Clerk. 'Our' Harry fits that description exactly! His 'place of shipment' is listed as Antwerp.

So, could this be our grandfather? Did he ever mention that he had gone to Germany to catch a boat?

Questions that could easily be answered if this sort of family history investigation had started around 50 years ago!

If this isn't him, could he have swum to Australia?

Harry Nott living with his aunt and uncle in Hendon in the 1911 Census.

The passenger list of the 'Gneisenau'. Is this our grandfather?