Albert Manchester, R.N.R (1889-1935)
My grandfather Albert Manchester was born in Pwllheli in 1889 and raised in the Lleyn peninsular. He was a "Conway Boy" - a pupil/cadet on the naval training ship HMS Conway.
He joined the merchant navy and became a second officer. During the 1914-18 war he served as a Royal Naval Reserve officer in the Orvieto, an armed merchant cruiser.
He married my grand-mother, Drusilla Renshaw 1880-1969 in 1916 in Newcastle-u-Lyme, Staffordshire, in a ceremony which must have been overshadowed by the funeral of Thomas Lee Manchester (my great-grandfather), which had occurred only days previously.
He was evidently popular with his fellow-officers, since a wedding gift from them consisted of a large silver tray bearing the following inscription ..
Presented to Sub-Lieutenant and Mrs Manchester on the occasion of their Marriage. Dec 2nd 1916. By the Officers of H.M.S "Orvieto".
.. also inscribed are the actual signatures of 35 officers and mid-shipmen. Many of the more legible names inscribed can be clearly identified from the official Navy Lists of the period. The officers included two surgeons, two Lieutenant-Commanders, and several engineering officers.
See also RMS Orvieto for more information about the ship.
Albert and Drusilla had one child, a son, Thomas Lee Manchxester, born in 1918, and named after Albert's father. Later they separated, and Albert seems to have returned to his birth-place in Pwllheli, North Wales, where he is said to have lived in seclusion on his boat and taken up painting, although a neighbour of the Manchester family in Cardiff Road remembers him living in a row of cottages named Tai Cochion, near to Pwllheli.
Death of Albert Manchester, October 1935
Caernarvon & Denbigh Herald, Friday 1st November 1935, Caernarvon Record Office.
ALONE IN A BOAT
Fisherman found dead.
Mr Albert Manchester, son of the late Mr & Mrs T Manchester, Pwllheli, was found dead in a boat at Pwllheli Harbour on Sunday afternoon. Deceased had been living alone on a small fishing smack for several months.
Mr E. Robyns Owen, Coroner for South Caernarvonshire, held an inquest on Monday at the Poor Law Institution, Pwllheli.
Police Sergeant Thomas Jones stated he knew the deceased well. He was about 44 years of age and a seaman. He had not been following his occupation as a seaman for some time. He lived in a yacht known as 'Polly' which was at anchor in the Inner Harbour, Pwllheli. The yacht was the property of Mrs Clarke, Pwllheli. He received a telephone message on Sunday that Albert Manchester was found dead in the yacht. He went to the boat and entered the cabin through the hatchway. He saw the deceased lying on his back on the floor. He had only his trousers on. Under his shoulder was a frying pan and close to his head an oil stove. There was a small cut above the right eye and also above the ear. He was examined by Dr. J.H. Rhys and Dr. Charles Evans before he was moved to the mortuary. There was no sign of struggle. There were two lockers, but no bedclothes, only the clothes he was wearing , to keep him warm on cold nights. There was some food, butter and cigarettes in the locker.
John Ashbrook, fisherman, 16 New Street, Pwllheli, said he knew deceased and saw him last Thursday morning. He had his head through the hatch looking towards South Beach. He had no conversation with him. He last spoke to deceased on Monday. He looked wild and did not care to have any conversation with anyone.
Dr. J.H. Rhys, Delfryn, Pwllheli, said he was called to the deceased on Sunday afternoon and examined him in the boat in the company of Dr. Charles Evans. On Monday he conducted a Post Mortem examination on the body and found that the immediate cause of death was heart failure, accelerated by exposure and inflammatory disease of the kidneys.
A verdict of death from natural causes was returned.