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ROBERT Russell

ROBERT Russell

Male 1882 - 1944  (61 years)

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  • Name ROBERT Russell  [1
    Born 9 Dec 1882  Dundee, Angus, Scot Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Christened 1 Mar 1944  360 3rd St, Powell River, BC Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 1 Mar 1944  Powell River, B.C., Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I224  My Genealogy
    Last Modified 26 Apr 2020 

    DNA Tests  1 person has linked a DNA test to ROBERT Russell 

    Father ROBERT Russell,   b. 7 Feb 1846, Dundee, Angus, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 Jul 1921, Main and Strathmartin, Forfarshire (Dundee) Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 75 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Mother JESSIE Smith,   b. 5 Jul 1843, Marykirk, Kincardineshire Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 5 Mar 1901, 4 South George, Dundee Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 57 years) 
    Relationship natural 
    Married 7 Dec 1869  Dundee, Angus, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F24  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family AGNES Effie Fortune "Ethel" Hunter,   b. 18 May 1884, Erskine, Renfrewshire. Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 7 Feb 1976, Vancouver, B.C. Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 91 years) 
    Married 12 Apr 1909  Dundee, Angus, Scotland Find all individuals with events at this location 
     1. Ronald Robert Russell,   b. 27 Nov 1910, Carshalton,Surrey,London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 8 May 1963, Powell River, British Columbia, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 52 years)  [natural]
     2. Winifred Joyce Russell,   b. 7 Apr 1913, 75 Bexhill Rd, Crofton Park (Lewisham), London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1 Nov 1950, Oakland, Alameda Co., California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 37 years)  [natural]
     3. Violet Joyce Russell,   b. 8 Aug 1922, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 24 Apr 1954, Santa Rosa, Sonoma Co., California Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 31 years)  [natural]
    Last Modified 26 Apr 2020 
    Family ID F4  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 12 Apr 1909 - Dundee, Angus, Scotland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsChristened - 1 Mar 1944 - 360 3rd St, Powell River, BC Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 1 Mar 1944 - Powell River, B.C., Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Photos
    M.S. Renee Rickmers
    M.S. Renee Rickmers
    Robert Russell, Jr. probably began his merchant marine sailing career aboard the M.S. Renee Rickmers (a German sailing vessel) around 1900. He may have boarded the ship in Hull or Dundee. We have not been able to find any record for the ship between Oct 12, 1900 and Aug 7, 1901. It left Nagasaki, Japan for Oregon on Aug 7, 1901 (The Call, San Francisco, Aug 13, 1901). He left the ship in Portland, Oregon, at the end of September or beginning of October, 1901 and boarded the Falls of Halladale.
    SS Gloamin
    SS Gloamin
    "This picture of the Gloamin' was painted by F. Corpuz in Antwerp in 1910 for Capt Robert Russell, who was the first mate of the Gloamin' out of Dundee Scotland. The Gloamin' made short commercial hauls between Scotland and the continent. Capt Russell had just received his Captain's license when he sailed on the Gloamin'. Someone (Daddy?) told me that the Capt was having breakfast in a cafe in Antwerp and drew pictures on the napkin to get bacon and eggs for breakfast. Mr. Corpuz approached him and offered to paint the Gloamin' for him." - Glenda Waugh
    Captain Robert Russell
    Captain Robert Russell
    Captain Robert Russell c. 1912
    Joy (Bunty), Bob, Ron, Ethel & Winnie, c 1942
    Joy (Bunty), Bob, Ron, Ethel & Winnie, c 1942
    Joy (Bunty), Bob, Ron, Ethel & Winnie, c 1942. Powell River, B.C. Canada.
    Robert & Ethel Russell, Nov. 1943
    Robert & Ethel Russell, Nov. 1943
    120 Third Street, Powell River, B.C., Canada

    Certificate of Competency as Master
    Certificate of Competency as Master
    Certificate of Competency as Master
    Sinking of the Deptford
    Sinking of the Deptford
    Two British Vessels Blown Up and Sunk. The Deptford Hit Without Warning Off Scarborough - Western Coast Lost in Channel.
    Authority to wear war medals
    Authority to wear war medals
    Authority to wear war medals for the mercantile marine by HM the King
    Report of a fire aboard the Maidenhead
    Report of a fire aboard the Maidenhead
    S.S. Maidenhead, Chief Officer Robert Russell, London, England
    Continuous Certificate of Discharge
    Continuous Certificate of Discharge
    Robert Russell's Mercantile Marine Continuous Certificate of Discharge

  • Notes 
    • Russell Y-DNA (based on Big-Y DNA test by grandson): R1b-U106-Y130596. Closest match is William Russell, b 1715 in Bothwell, Lanarkshire.

      Robert's birth date is 1882. This was verified by viewing the original of his birth certificate. A certified copy (transcribed) ordered by Glenda Waugh has an incorrect date of 1881.

      Robert Russell was a ship captain when he lived in Scotland and England. His last employer in Canada was the pulp and paper mill where he was an oiler.

      Robert Russell emigrated from England in 1929 so that his son, Ron, could play semi-pro soccer in Powell River. Robert captained a merchant ship to Montreal where he met his family who had traveled by passenger liner, SS Montrain.

      Physical description: 5' 8 1/2 " tall. Blue eyes, light brown hair, fair complexion, scar on right wrist from cut.

      Robert and Ethel were married at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Dundee.

      Robert apprenticed in sailing ships when he was 17. He received his captain's certificate in 1910. His first ship was with the Cory Steamship Line. During WW1 he was in command of the Merchant Marine auxilliary to the Royal Navy. He was aboard the SS Deptford (possibly as first mate) when it was sunk by a torpedo in the North Sea on Feb. 24, 1911 census: Robert was enumerated on the SS Harbarton. Ethel (Agnes) and son, ROn were in Carshalton, England (near Croyden)
      1915. The ship went down in 3 minutes and Captain Russell spent several hours in a lifeboat before being rescued. He also served on ships carrying supplies to British warships in the Dardenelles.

      He was a member of the Triune Lodge # 81, and a life member of the Robertson Masonic Lodge in Scotland.

      The family emigrated 1929. Robert was the captain of the Fairview which sailed from Glasgow to Montreal. It was a new ship being delivered to the owners. Ethel, Winnie, and Joy travelled at the same time on the passenger ship, the Montrain, to Montreal. From there the family went to Powell River. Robert had already traveled to Powell River and had arranged housing. On the crew list for the crossing, he listed his address as Powell River. The family story says that they went to Canada so that Ron could play semi pro soccer. Ron had emigrated a year or so earlier.

      Robert died of stomach cancer in Powell River. Death certificate registration # 1944-09-641593.
      ************************************************************************** **************************************

      Article about sinking of the Deptford from The Times (London Times) February 26, 1915

      Two More Ships Sunk
      Crew Rescued in Snow
      (from our own correspondent)

      South Shields, Feb 25.

      The London steamer Deptford, laden with coal, which left Granton on Tuesday for Chatham, was sunk off Scarsborough at 3 o'clock on Wednesday morning, one life being lost. The London steamer Fulgent arrived in the Tyne at night with Captain Cheyne and 15 men of the Deptford.
      The crew of the wrecked steamer attribute the sinking to a torpedo, and one of the officers is stated to have called the attention of the captain to what he thought was a periscope of a submarine. The weather at the time was very bad - a north-easterly gale, a snowstorm, and heavy seas running.
      The Deptford was making about 10 knots when there was a terrific explosion amidships. The crew were summoned on deck and the starboard liftboat was launched, that on the port side having been smashed by the explosion. The Deptford at once began to go down by the stern. The captain was the last to leave the sinking ship after being told that everyone was in the lifeboat.
      As soon as the boat had swung around, it was found that the ship's carpenter, Theordore Nicholson, was missing. Strenuous efforts were made to go back to find the missing man, but in the heavy seas that were running it was impossible to get near the wreck again, and the man was drowned.
      About 4 o'clock the men saw the lights of a steamer, which approached in answer to their flares, but afterwards resumed her course. Two hours later it was decided to make for the short, about three miles off. The Fulgent then hove in sight, answering the flares burned by the men, and picked them up, landing them in Tyne at 8 o'clock last night.

      ************************************************************************** **************************************
      Article about the sinkning of the Deptford from the New York Times: http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?_r=2&res=9405E3DC1238E633A25 755C2A9649C946496D6CF
      ****************************************************************************************************************Unique ID:

      BOT Wreck Report for 'Deptford', 1915
      Board of Trade
      Out of copyright
      SCC Libraries
      Partner ID:
      (No. 7693.)
      "DEPTFORD" (S.S.).
      In the matter of a Formal Investigation held at the Caxton Hall, Westminster, on the 22nd and 23rd July and the 4th and 5th August, 1915, before W. H. LEYCESTER, Esq., assisted by RearAdmiral E. J. FLEET, Lieut. LEFTWICH, R.N.R., and Captain BENTON, into the circumstances attending the loss of the British ship " DEPTFORD," off Scarborough, on the 24th of February last, and the loss of life which occurred.
      Report of Court.
      The Court having carefully inquired into the circumstances attending the above-mentioned shipping casualty, finds for the reasons stated in the Annex hereto, that the " DEPTFORD " was destroyed by the act of the enemy, on the 24th of February last, at about 2.55 a.m., at a spot about three miles off Scarborough; but is unable to determine whether the agent of destruction was a mine or a torpedo. One life was lost.
      The Court exonerates the master from blame.
      Dated this 5th day of August, 1915.
      W. H. LEYCESTER, Judge.
      We concur in the above Report:


        J. L. LEFTWICh Assessors.Â

        C. J. BENTON Â
      In this case Dr. Stubbs appeared for the Board of Trade, and Mr. Nelson for the master, who was cited as a party, and for the owners, who became parties by leave of the court.
      The "Deptford," official number 132663, was a steel screw steamship, owned by W. Cory & Son, Ltd., of London. Particulars of her value and of the insurances effected upon her appear in the answer to the first question put to the court by the Board of Trade.
      She was built by the Blyth Shipbuilding and Dry Docks Company, Ltd., at Blyth, in 1912. Her length was 230 feet, breadth 35-3 feet, and depth 14-45 feet. Her gross tonnage was 1,207·79 tons, and registered tonnage 703 16 tons. She was fitted with one direct acting surface condensing tri-compound engine, and one multi-tubular steel boiler with a working pressure of 180 pounds; both engine and boiler were by George Clark, Ltd., of Sunderland, and were designed to give her a speed of nine and a half knots. She was classed Al. She seems to have been well found in every way.
      She had two lifeboats and a jolly boat, and had a proper supply of lifebuoys and life-jackets. The court observed with satisfaction that in the lifeboat which was used all gear was to hand when wanted, sea-anchor, oars, and a supply of self-igniting red lights as required by the Life Saving Appliances Rules.
      On the voyage which formed the subject of this enquiry the "Deptford " was commanded by Captain J. C. Cheyne, who held a master's certificate (foreigngoing steamships). She carried also two mates, who each had a similar certificate, a chief and second engineer, and a crew consisting of fifteen hands all told. Unfortunately both the engine room and deck departments were each short of one hand, a fact to be accounted for by the special circumstances of the present time. No steps appear however to have been taken by the master or agents to complete the complement at Granton.
      The ship left Granton on the 23rd of February, at 8 a.m., with a cargo of 1,650 tons of coal, bound for Chatham. Her draught aft was 16 feet 5 inches, and forward 14 feet 1 inch. She was therefore over 2 feet by the stern. The master was on the bridge in charge of the navigation until about mid-day, and thereafter was, to use his own words, "up and down on the bridge all day." At 9 p.m. he retired to the chart room and lay down, dressed, on the settee, leaving the chief officer in charge, with instructions to report, to him when he went off watch. At 11.10 p.m., the ship being then on a course of S.E. by standard compass (which had a deviation of about 4° W. on that course), the chief officer got a four-point bearing of the glowing slag heaps at Skinningrove, which he had abeam at 11.50 p.m. He made the distance off the land to be about six miles. He altered the course to S.S.E. by standard compass, and was satisfied that she would make a course of S.S.E. magnetic, as she was being set in by wind and sea, which were from the N.N.E. The chief officer reported the change of course to the master. Together they laid it off on the chart, and the master approved of its being steered. The chief officer instructed the second officer, who had now come on watch, to steer the course of S.S.E. by standard compass, and it was so steered until the ship was struck.
      In this dangerous vicinity the master should himself have been on deck in charge of the ship, and, to carry out the specific instructions given in the daily voyage notices, should have slowed down so as not to have entered the danger zone off Scarborough until daylight. Acting under the misapprehension mentioned in answer No. 2, he kept his course and speed. This misapprehension also to some extent accounts for his not being on deck.
      About 2.55 a.m. on the 24th of February, the ship being then about three miles off Scarborough, a violent explosion occurred. The ship at once listed heavily to port and began to settle down by the stern. It is probable therefore that she was struck abatt of amidships on the port side. The court in its judgment has declined to express an opinion whether the explosion was caused by mine or torpedo. The position of the ship and the danger from mines known to exist in the locality render the former more likely, but there is some positive evidence pointing to the latter. A seaman named Moffatt, who was on deck, not at the moment on look-out, says he saw white foam approaching the port side of the ship, and he accepted from counsel the words "white streak" as describing this appearance. Others assert that they saw, after the event; the flash of a searchlight, and the chief engineer is positive that, when in the boat, he saw the conning tower of, and the break of the sea over, a submarine. It is certain that all in the ship are of opinion that she was torpedoed, but the night was dark and rough, and the court hesitates to accept as conclusive the evidence of men who were busy saving their lives, whose minds had previously run very much on torpedoes and submarines, and whose observations were made under great difficulties. On the whole it does not seem profitable to examine the probabilities too nicely. A torpedo, as Major Hawkins, of the Admiralty War Sta??, said, " is a mine in motion, and the effect of either depends on the strength of its explosive charge and the part of the ship affected." The conclusion at which the court does arrive, without any doubt whatever, is that the "Deptford " was sunk by the act of the enemy. The question whether the master's conduct of his ship conduced to the loss is fully dealt with in the answers to the Board of Trade questions.
      It was immediately apparent to all on board that the ship would not live long; the engines were stopped and the lifeboats, which were carried swung out, were at once lowered. That on the port side, directly it was released, swung out, was struck by a sea, and swamped. Those of the crew who had been engaged in getting her lowered, went across to the starboard side, and all hands except the carpenter got into the starboard lifeboat, which was successfully, though with difficulty owing to the heavy list, got into the water. The chief officer and the master were the last to enter her. They slid down the falls. Before doing so the master called out: "Are you all there ? " and several voices replied: "Yes, sir, we are all here." A statement of that kind by a number of men in the dark is only by chance likely to be accurate, especially as one or two were quite new hands, but that this consideration did not occur to the master is quite natural in the hurry of the mornent. In fact, the carpenter was not in the boat, his absence being only discovered when she had drifted about fifty yards away and when return against wind and sea was impossible. Every effort was made to get the boat back, and the ship was hailed, with no result. Finally she disappeared from sight, and the unfortunate man must have perished with her. It is not known why he failed to put in an appearance at the boat. The explosion was very violent, and men were thrown down and out of their bunks. The master was partly stunned and felt the effects for some days. The chief officer too is under the impression that he must have received a blow on the head. It seems possible therefore that the carpenter was too stunned to save himself, and either lay unconscious till he was drowned, or came to too late to get away. His berth opened into the firemen's quarters, and one of the firemen, who was himself thrown violently from his bunk on to the floor, told the captain he saw the carpenter's door swinging open and thought he had left the forecastle. It is not likely the carpenter had left the forecastle, although the chief engineer had a fleeting impression of seeing him on deck. However it may be, the carpenter was left behind, a fact much regretted by the master, who assured the court that had he known the man was missing he would not have left the ship without making a search for him. At the time the master left, the vessel had a heavy list to port, and her, stern was under the water, which was lapping even over the starboard rail.
      Several ships' lights were sighted during the hours of darkness, throughout most of which the boat rode to a sea anchor, the sea being rough and the weather squally. Red lights were shown. At about 7 a.m. the company were picked up by the steamship " Fulgens " and taken to Newcastle-on-Tyne.
      The court desires to invite attention to the possibility of other shipmasters being misled by the paragraph of the general confidential instructions which says that all previous orders on this subject are cancelled.
      1. What was the cost of the steamship " Deptford " to her owners ? What was her value when she left on her last voyage ? What insurances were effected upon and in connection with the ship ?
      2. At or previous to the vessel leaving Granton on the 23rd of February last had the master received specific Admiralty instructions which applied to the navigation of the vessel on the voyage to the port to which she was bound, or a portion or portions of such voyage ?
      3. Was the master responsible for the courses in fact set and steered and the general navigation of the ship on the voyage in question ?
      4. Were the courses set and steered on the night in question safe and proper courses in the circumstances and did the master strictly carry out the Admiralty instructions which he had received with regard to the navigation of the ship on the night in question ?
      5. Was a good and proper look-out kept ?
      6. What was the cause of the loss of the steamship " Deptford" and the loss of life ? Was every possible effort made to save the life of the carpenter ?
      7. Was the vessel in the circumstances navigated with proper and seamanlike care ?
      8. Was the loss of the steamship " Deptford " and/or the loss of life caused by the wrongful act or default of the master, Captain Joseph Coutts Cheyne ?
      1. The " Deptford " was purchased by her owners, new, in 1912, for £18,000. Her value when she left port on her last voyage was stated by them to be £26,946; and the court, in view of the recent enhanced value of tonnage, accepts this figure as approximately correct.
      The insurances upon and in connection with the ship were :—
      On hull and machinery, total loss only, ordinary marine risks £20,000

      On hull and machinery, war risks, under the Government scheme 16,560

      supplemental 4,698

      On cargo 1,020

      The total sum recoverable on ship and cargo was therefore 22,548
      2. Previous to the vessel leaving Granton on the 23rd of February the master had, in London, received specific Admiralty instructions which applied to the navigation of the ship on the voyage in question He received no specific instructions at Granton, but he was supplied there with general confidential instructions with reference to navigation in order to avoid enemy submarines, which, from the wording, he wrongly, but perhaps excusably, considered as superseding the specific instructions previously given him.
      The evidence upon which the court has arrived at this conclusion was, in the public interest, given in camera. To discuss it in a document intended for publication would defeat the object of so hearing it, and the court will therefore make no use of it in its report. It is only necessary to say that, while acquitting the collector of customs at Granton, and his subordinate, Mr. Duncan, of the slightest desire to give other than truthful and accurate evidence, the court is satisfied that the master was not at Granton during the day upon which the collector asserts that the master received the specific instructions. Had the collector of customs read to the master the specific instructions relating to the voyage about to be undertaken his mind would have been eleared of the unfortunate misapprehension under which he laboured.
      3. The master was responsible for the courses set and steered and the general navigation of the ship on her last voyage.
      4. Owing to the misapprehension referred to in the answer to question 2 the courses set and steered on the night of the loss were not safe and proper, and the master in setting them was not carrying out the Admiralty instructions.
      5. A proper look-out was not kept, inasmuch as, through the ship being shorthanded, no look-out man was stationed on the forecastle head. The look-out from the bridge was good. While the absence of a man on the fore part of the ship may not have conducted to her loss, the court declines to accept the master's view that he is not personally responsjble for making every possible effort to complete his crew.
      6. The ship foundered as the result of damage below the waterline caused by the explosion of either a mine or a torpedo; upon the evidence the court is not prepared to say which.
      The master, relying on the reports from the boat that all were there, believed that he was the last to leave the ship, and it was not discovered that the carpenter was absent until shortly after the boat had got away. Then every possible effort was made to save him.
      7. Subject to the qualification of answer answers 2 and 4 the vessel was navigated with proper and seamanlike care.
      8. Neither the loss of the slip nor the loss of life was due to the wrongful act or default of the master.
      W. H. LEYCESTER, Judge.
      We concur in the above Repor


        J. L. LEFTWICH Assessors.Â

        C. J. BENTON Â
      (4600) Wt.13694. 50. 9.15. B.&F.,Ltd. Gp.13/12.

  • Sources 
    1. [S74] London, England, Electoral Registers, 1832-1965, Ancestry.com, (Name: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.; Location: Provo, UT, USA; Date: 2010;).