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Roll of Honour

Hartlepool seafarers lost at sea

Austin, Thomas

27, Gainford Street, West Hartlepool

This was a complicated gentleman to trace !


Thomas Austin was born in Demerara, British West Indies around 1864.

He features on Liverpool Crew Lists on SS Cerigo 30th May 1891-4th July 1891 as Thomas Austin, Fireman born Demerara 1863 –his  previous vessel was SS Reindeer and also

Ship Cerigo 20th July 1891-10th November 1891.

It is possible that he is also entered as Thomas Austin born Brisbane on Liverpool Crew lists.

 Thomas married Elizabeth Watson,a widow nee Grasby, in  Hartlepool June qtr of 1900 at All Saints Stranton. 

1901 Census shows Thomas Austin and his wife Elizabeth at 17 Streatham Street, West Hartlepool . Thomas is aged 35 and a Fireman at the Iron Works, born British Guiana (British Subject). Elizabeth is aged 40 and born in Lincolnshire . Also in the house are step children Isabella Watson aged 21, Annie Watson aged 17, Elizabeth Watson aged 15, all born Scotland and John Watson aged 12 born West Hartlepool.


Thomas Austin’s wife Elizabeth. Elizabeth was born Elizabeth Grasby, about 1853 in Ulceby, Lincolnshire , and not 1861 as in the 1901 Census. John Watson ( Elizabeth ’s first husband) married Elizabeth Grasby 23rd April 1874 in Elloughton, Yorkshire .On the 1891 Census John Watson is living in the household of Thomas Grasby aged 34, born Goxhill, Lincolnshire at 6 Hope Street, West Hartlepool . John Watson is described as brother-in-law to Thomas Grasby, and born Scotland and a Labourer in the Ship Yard. John’s wife Elizabeth is described as Thomas’ sister aged 39 and born Brough, Yorkshire !! There are four Watson children, Bella 14, Annie 8 and Elizabeth 5, all born Scotland , then John Watson aged 2, born West Hartlepool .


The transcript for Scotland in 1881 at Main Road , Liberton, Midlothian , is what may be John Watson and his family. John Watson is a General Labourer, born Gilmerton, Midlothian, Elizabeth his wife born c1855, born England , a daughter Alice born c1876 Durham , England and a daughter Bella born c 1879, Gilmerton Midlothian , Scotland .

 The 1861 Census which shows the Grasby  family in Elloughton where Elizabeth married in 1874.

 Thomas Austin lost his life on the Stockton ship SS Taplow which was carrying copper ore to Port Talbot. His address on Tower Hill records is Gainford St West Hartlepool but the Deaths at Sea records give his address as 1 South St Middlesbrough.