Friends of the Somme - Mid Ulster Branch  
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Date Name Information
03/06/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes He began his career as a ship’s engineer on the Buckshall line of steamers in 1901. This was during the South African War, and his first voyage was to South Africa with stores for the troops, and before the end of the war he had made four similar voyages. Since then he has been with various steamship companies and has put into almost every port of the world, during which time he qualified and obtained his various certificates. He passed the Board of Trade’s examination for the Chief Engineer’s Certificate in 1905. Save the sinking of his ship Maple Branch by the Karlsruhe, his most exciting experience at sea was a fire which broke out in the coal bunkers of his ship. The chief engineer, on going down to ascertain the extent of the fire, was immediately suffocated and Mr Forbes, with his characteristic disregard for danger, at once went to his rescue without taking the precaution to ensure his own safe return by tying a rope around him. He had not reached his chief when he was overcome by the fumes and was only rescued when he was on the point of suffocation. Mr Forbes’ whole life has been one long chapter of adventures, nor has it been wanting in romance. It was while voyaging in New York to re-join his ship, then Miss Nedwell, who comes from a well-known South Derry family, long resident in Lisnamorrow. Miss Nedwell was also journeying to America on a visit to friends and the acquaintance begun on board and had its consummation in the Woods Parish Church five years ago when Miss Nedwell became Mrs Forbes. Two handsome children in the Lisnamorrow home, who are too young to understand international complications, express their unspoken thanks in every romp and frolic to the Karlsruhe, which as given them daddy to play much sooner than they expected him, and which has allowed him a much longer time to play than formerly.
03/06/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes Mr F W Forbes, whose interesting story of detention on a German prison ship appeared in our columns last week, is himself as interesting a personality as the incidents he there related. Born in North Shields, England, he graduated from school to an apprenticeship on the well-known engineering firm of Armstrong, Whitworth & Co. during the first years of his apprenticeship he attended evening classes and perfected himself in the theoretical and mathematical sides of his profession; and at an age when most young men are frittering away their leisure time in frivolous pleasure Mr Forbes unselfishly devoted himself to serious work of a hazardous character for the benefit of his country and of his fellow man. He became a member of the Volunteer Light Brigade of the Royal Submarine Mining Engineers of which body he was a non-commissioned officer when its duties were taken over by the Admiralty. Being an apprentice with a firm whose chief products were for the government, he had no difficulty in getting off for his fortnight’s training twice a year. At the time of naval manoeuvres his Tyne Division of R.S.M. Engineers were usually entrusted with the defences of the Tyne and of Portland Harbour at the later manoeuvres. The work of this body is now done by the navy, but just before being disbanded, the Tyne Volunteers laid the last submarine mine in Gosport Harbour. After disbandment the battalion was reformed under the title Tyne volunteer Electrical Engineers, every member of which was a practical mechanic, and of which Mr Forbes also became an important unit. As a member of the new body, he took part in all manoeuvres, his body being entrusted with the running of the engines, dynamos and searchlights in connection with harbour defences. His section was so trustworthy and efficient that it was sent all over the Kingdom, and one occasion upon which they were charged with the defence of the port of London, Mr Forbes and his colleagues were highly complimented by the Divisional Commander-in-chief. One would imagine that a young apprentice would have found such responsible work ample to employ his energies outside his ordinary occupation, but not so Mr Forbes. He was at the same time an active member of the Tynemouth Volunteer Life Brigade; and during his three or four years membership he took part in many thrilling rescues from ships which had come to grief at the (at that time) treacherous entrance to the Tyne. This purely voluntary corps of unselfish and brave men numbered one hundred and twenty and were divided into three sections. On the dark and stormy nights of winter when many a good ship ends her voyaging on the giant tees of our rock-bound coast, these volunteers took it in turn to keep watch and ward on their wind swept coast, so that, with line and lifebelt and oft times at the risk of their own lives, they might snatch from a watery grave any unfortunate mariners in danger of perishing through shipwreck. A hard day’s work in an engineering shop with frequent sleepless nights on a wave tossed shore left little time for reading, yet Mr Forbes contrived at the same time to study and obtain the certificate of the Royal Army Medical Corps, and the first, second and third certificates of St John’s Ambulance Association – the latter carrying with it the Association’s medallion. And in his spare time – think off it! – his spare time – he qualified for the freedom of the Newcastle swimming guild, played football and took part in cycling, running and other athletic contests. At least on two occasions he had reason to be thankful for his abilities as a swimmer. Mr Forbes had just come out from a bathe in Tynemouth Haven and when fully dressed observed one of a group of romping youngsters fall into the water. Without a moment’s hesitation he plunged in and though greatly impeded by his clothing, succeeded in bringing the child ashore, none the worse of its immersion. With a whimsical smile when relating the incident, Mr Forbes will add. ‘Fortunately none of the youngsters knew me and so nobody was able to make a fuss about it.’ The other occasion was when engaged in the work of mine-laying. He accidently fell overboard between the fast moving ship and the shore. Swimming quickly towards the piles of the jetty, he clung there for a few minutes and then turned and swam to meet the boat put off to rescue him.
03/06/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes 01012
03/06/2018 Chief Eng Frederick William Forbes From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 21st November 1914:
02/06/2018 Swrt George Christie Mr William Christie, teacher of the Sixtown School, Draperstown, has the right to take notable pride in the part his family is playing in the fighting forces of the Empire. His eldest son, Sergeant John Christie, of the Royal Army Medical Corps, was through the Battles of Mons and was missing for a day and a night, owing to getting detached from his company in a dense fog in a turnip field. He luckily regained his party, and is still at the front. Mr Christie’s second son, Bob, is a first class gunner in the Royal Navy, and is at present in Devonport, and his third son, Fred, who was also in the Senior Service, died at his post on the ill-fated Amphion. Another son, George, a private in the Inniskillings, is in Ebrington Barracks, Londonderry, awaiting orders for active service. Lance Corporal Blakeman, of the Worcesters, Mr Christie’s son-in-law, has been recommended for the Victoria Cross owing to his having captured a maxim gun from the enemy. Only Blakeman (who was severely wounded and was laid up with concussion of the brain and a knee injury) and another comrade returned from the expedition. Lance Corporal Blakeman has so far recovered.
02/06/2018 Swrt George Christie 01011
02/06/2018 Swrt George Christie From the Mid Ulster Mail dated 21st November 1914:
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