Children of Janet Ellen Williamson and John Fletcher Geddes.

Please note whereas I try to ensure that what I publish is correct, and to differentiate between what is supported by documentation etc, and what is, in my opinion, a reasonable assumption, everything should be treated with caution. If you have come across information that you believe is relevant to your own research please either verify it independently or drop me a line to confirm its validity. Equally if believe something is incorrect, or if you wish to add any details or discuss please get in touch using the Contact Form.

If you have come to this page via a browser, I hope you will find something of interest here or elsewhere in our other Hendry Family History Pages.

HH01580A.gif (1311 bytes)

Contact Form  Click here



Montgomery born in 1889 in Helensburgh (Row).

Montgomery was born in 1889 in Helensburgh (Row). Montgomery, initially an Insurance clerk with Scottish Temperance Assurance of 3 Cheapside, London.  In December 1915 in Edmonton he enlisted in the Army. He was described as 5' 8 1/4" in height weighing 120 lbs with a 33" chest fully expanded with a 3" expansion. He had blue eyes and wore glasses, and was marked fit for duty, although this description is hardly of a well built athletic type. He initially trained with the 15th Battalion London Regiment but his health seems to have let him down and he spent the majority of his service in the 29th Battalion London Regiment. Never saw active service overseas and was demobbed 25 November 1919 with the rank of acting corporal (Reg No. 782892). On his demob he seems to have made a claim for an army pension on the grounds that military service had left him in ill health. Certainly his original medical did classify him as A1, but, according to his submission within months he was being marked as unfit and given light duties due to what would seem to be nervous exhaustion. He stated - "Broke down while training with the Res. Battn 15th London Regt Winchester in 1916. Appeared before T.M.B. certified by Sir John Collie to be suffering from neurasthenia. Marked B11 and put on light duty. T.M.B. Clacton 1918 marked B111. No improvement. I am still very neurotic and suffer from severe headaches and shortness of breath on exertion. I claim this disability was caused by M(ilitary) S(ervice) as I was in good health before I joined the army and was passed A1." However the opinion of the Examining Army Medical Officer would suggest that his chances of getting a pension were slim - "Man says he suffers from headaches and stammers when upset by "anything". Pupils react normally, K.I. very sluggish. No tremor of hands, but some very slight ex???t of tongue. No neurasthenia. Nervous constitution. L. Vision 6/24 R. Vision 6/18. Wears glasses. Disability not caused by military service but aggravated.

It would seem that Montgomery remained single and living with his mother in the years after the war. Whether or not the stated  neurotic tendency was caused by his military service or not it may help explain his taking of his own life in 1939 as recorded in the letter written by his niece Agnes Shearer Williamson. "Monty, who was like his father, first the "perfect gentleman" in manner etc. but no good. He eventually got into money trouble and committed suicide by putting his head in the gas oven. His mother died of shock not long afterwards".). His death was recorded in the BMD indexes - Apr-Jun 1939 Geddes, Montgomery F(letcher) aged 49 Edmonton 3a 762.

Albert born in 1892, in Partick, (Glasgow), Lanarkshire.

Albert was born in 1892, in Partick, (Glasgow), Lanarkshire. Albert originally signed up with the Army Pay Corp in 1914 before transferring to the 14th Battalion London Regiment on 27 May 1916. He was described as 5' 4 7/8" in height with a 35 1/2" chest fully expanded with a 4 1/2" expansion. (No 8083 / 513949). He had hernia operation scars on both his left and right groin. Albert saw active service in France (21 Jun 1916 - 21 November 1916), Salonica (22 November 1916 - 2 August 1917), Egypt (13 August 1917 - 7 June 1918) and France (23 June 1918 - 27 February 1919). It would seem likely that although in different regiments Albert would have been involved in the same campaign to capture Jerusalem from the Turks which took the life of his brother Douglas on 27 December 1917.

fter the war Albert married a Jean Sheila Ross in Jan-Mar 1926 in Chelsea, London (Ref Vol 1a Page 640). Jean Shiela Ross was born Apr 1902 in Forrest Gate, London (Ref W. Ham Vol 4a Page 232). the daughter of John Alexander Ross (b 7 Dec 1869, Inverness) and Mary Neill Rose (b 22 Feb 1866, Port Glasgow, Renfrewshire) who were married in 1897 Lanarkshire).

On 11 March 1926, presumably almost immediately after their marriage, Albert Alexander Geddes (aged 33) and Jean Sheilah Geddes (aged 23) of 61 Fairview Road, London SW, sailed from London to Miri on the SS Kashgar 11 March 1926. Their "Country of Future Intended Permanent Residence" was Miri, Sarawak, and Albert was described in the manifest as "Office Assistant". I suspect he was going to work on the famous oil well site drilled and managed by Royal Dutch Shell. (The first oil well was drilled by Shell in 1910 - "the Grand Old Lady" ).

There are further records of Albert and Jean returning (and subsequently leaving) the UK over the next 14 years.

The couple's return to the UK from the Far East on 22 August 1939 was presumably in response to the death of his mother Helen on 6 July 1939 (and the death a few months earlier of his brother Montgomery). It would seem that having settled his mother's estate he and Jean then returned to the Far East on 5 January 1940.

The following year, in 1941, anticipating the Japanese invasion and in a move designed to deny the Japanese the Miri oil wells the wells and the Lutong refinery were shut and the equipment, skilled workers, and documents sent to Singapore. It is possible that Albert remained behind to help with the "denial" activities and if so he would probably have been in that last contingent evacuated to Singapore. It would seem likely that fearing for his wife's safety, Albert sent Jean on ahead, probably to Singapore with a view to getting passage to safer climes. Whatever the timing the couple were certainly separated. Jean made it to safety. Albert sadly was not so fortunate. From the timeline it would appear that he may have remained in Singapore right up to the last minute before escaping across the Singapore Strait to Sumatra and then to Padang, on the west coast, where he managed to get passage on the SS Rooseboom, a a 1,035 ton Dutch steam ship owned by the Royal Packet Navigation Co. of the Netherlands East Indies, commanded by Captain M.C.A.Boon. The Rooseboom sailed around the 25th February bound for Colombo in Ceylon carrying around 500 other passengers (mainly British military personnel and civilians)

On 1 March 1942 at 11.35pm the Rooseboom was steaming west of Sumatra when it was spotted by the Japanese submarine I-59 and torpedoed. It capsized and sank rapidly leaving one life boat (designed to hold 28) and 135 people in the water. 80 people ended up in the lifeboat whilst the rest clung to flotsam or floated in the sea. Two of these survivors were picked up nine days later by the Dutch freighter Palopo.

The story of the remaining survivors was told by Walter Gardiner Gibson (a soldier from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders) in the book "The Boat" published in 1952 and in a second book "Highland Laddie" published in 1954. As Walter died on 24 March 2005, and he was the only known witness of the events that would occur on the lifeboat over the next 26 days, his account is uncorroborated.

According to Gibson in and around the lifeboat were an estimated 135 survivors, many with injuries, including Gibson who himself was injured. In Gibson's account the ordeal that followed the sinking showed the worst of human nature under some of the most extreme conditions. On the first night many of those in the water drowned or gave up. Some twenty men built a raft from flotsam and towed it behind the boat. The raft slowly sank and all twenty perished three days later. In the first few days discipline collapsed men and women went mad with thirst, some drinking sea water which sent them into hallucinations. Many threw themselves overboard rather than face further suffering. A gang of five renegade soldiers positioned themselves in the bows and at night systematically pushed the weaker survivors overboard to make the meagre rations go further. Gibson claims to have organized an attack on the renegades with a group of others who rushed them and pushed them en masse into the sea. The Dutch captain was killed by one of his own engineers. Towards the end only seven survivors remained - Gibson, another white man, a Chinese girl named Doris Lin (who turned out to be a secret agent for the British) and four Javanese seamen.

On the 26th day having drifted for more than 1,000 miles, the lifeboat grounded on a coral reef on Sipora an island off Sumatra, less than 100 miles from Padang, Rooseboom's starting point. By this time there were only five survivors three Javanese seaman, Doris Lin and Walter Gibson. As the boat was swept ashore one of the remaining sailors was drowned in the surf . Once ashore the two survivors Javanese sailors disappeared into the jungle and were never found. Doris Lin and Walter Gibson, spent some time being treated by the local population before being discovered by a Japanese patrol. Gibson was returned to Padang as a POW while Lin was shot as a spy soon afterwards. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SS_Rooseboom

It can only be hoped that Albert's met his end during the initial sinking and was not subject to the terrible and terrifying ordeals of those who survived.

By 1949 Jean was recorded in the London Directory as "Jean S Geddes, Address: 10 Bramham Gdns London S.W.5" and there is one more record of Jean going on a voyage, this time to Madeira on 20 September 1952 on the SS Venus. I would assume this was a holiday trip.

Sadly the next record of Jean is her death on 29 October 1958 at the National Hospital , Queens Square, Holborn, London - Usual Address 10 Braham Gardens, Kensington, London. She was described as the widow of Albert Alexander Geddes, of 10 Branham Gardens, Kensington, London, a Labour Superintendent of an Oil Company, with the informant being her brother Ian A. Ross of "Branketre" Alderton Hill, Loughton, Essex. On her death a grant was issued to her brother Ian Alastair Ross and identifying Jean as "a widow without issue and parents". So as Albert and Jean had no children with her demise the story of this twig of this branch of the family tree came to an end.

Douglas John Martin Geddes born on 22 January 1895 in Brandon, Manitoba. 

Douglas John Martin Geddes born on 22 January 1895 in Brandon, Manitoba. His birth is recorded in the Manitoba Vital Statistics with only the forename Martin and his mother recorded as Helen Williamson. 

Sadly Douglas was killed on 27 December 1917. He was a private in the London Regiment (Prince of Wales' Own Civil Service Rifles) attached to the 2nd/15th Battalion and was.buried in the Jerusalem WW1 cemetery . He was recorded as aged 23 the son of John Geddes and Helen Geddes of 61 Fairview Road, Stamford Hill, London. (No 6093 / 533027). It would seem that Douglas and his Regiment were part of the campaign to capture Jerusalem from the Turks which started at the beginning of October 1917 under General Allenby. Jerusalem itself was eventually captured from the Turks on 11 December 1917, but on 27 December the Turks attacked on the road from Nablus in the north. The British counterattacked the Turkish flank and the fighting went on for 3 days. It would seem likely from the date of his death that Douglas was a casualty in the first day of this Allied counter offensive. As ever with WW1 the casualty figures were horrendous. From its commencement at start in October to the end of December losses were in the region of 30,000 from a total force of 97,000.