Dad certainly had one fact about his mysterious father correct - Henry (Harry) Eden Crout was indeed a Musician, a Clarionet player, in the British Army. It seems unlikely, however, that he knew that many of his father’s Ancestors were Seamen, and Mariners of some note, for no doubt he would have regaled us endlessly with delightful tales of amazing adventures on “the High Seas”. I dedicate this “Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge” to my dad, Harry Scarborough Crout and his paternal Ancestors, those “Mysterious Musicians and Mariners”.
Dad came to Australia, a sixteen year old lad, as part of the “Dreadnought Scheme”. He came for adventure, and to make his fortune “to take home to mam”, but events overtook him and he remained in Australia. Whilst he talked a lot about his mum, her family and growing up in Shipley, Yorkshire, he had litte information to share about his dad. He seemed reluctant to talk about his father saying he hardly knew him because he was away a lot with the Army. I also remember dad saying that the family’s, of both his mother and father, never “got along”.
My search for this “Mysterious Musician”, my Grandfather, began with a copy of the Marriage Certificate which both confirmed and confused. The best clue was the recording of his profession as “Private 2nd Dragoon Guards”. It didn’t take long to discover that the Regimental Band of the 2nd Dragoon Guards was stationed at Fulford, York, Yorkshire, England in 1899 which is the same year that he met and married my Grandmother, Marie Ogilvie a Yorkshire lass, in York. Henry (Harry) Eden Moody, whose name and his mother’s was changed to Crout on the 1891 Census, was born in Battersea, London, England on 21 March 1880.
How excited I was to see on-line, and to be able to purchase, a photo of the Band, taken that same year, despite knowing that none of the band members are named. However, I do have a description of Henry (Harry) Eden Crout taken from his “Attestation Papers” when he joined the “Canadian Expeditionary Force” on 20 July 1915. I keep trying to pick which of these strapping young blokes is my Grand-father, my “Mysterious Musician” but no luck. Maybe you can help? He is 19 years old in the photo and described, 15 years later, as:
“A Clarionet player, 5ft 7ins tall, dark complexion, brown eyes, black hair, girth when fully extended 36 ins (rate of expansion 2 1/2 inches). Three vaccination scars on left arm and 3 scars on right shoulder. A tattoo of a Heart and Arrow on left forearm and, on right forearm, a Cross and Anchor.”
Below is a picture of his son, Harry Scarborough Crout, at about same age.
The Mysterious Mariners
Reading that my Grandfather had a Cross and Anchor tattoo, which I later discovered is a “Maritime Cross”, flipped me right back to that Marriage Certificate. Not only does he incorrectly name himself, and his father as Harry Edward Crout when both were Henry Eden Crout but also wrongly claimed his father to be a “Retired Seaman”. What is going on here?… thinks I. Many hours, days, weeks, months and now years of research are finally bringing the answers. He used his Grandfather’s name for himself and his dad, when marrying, and also his Grandfather’s profession. It is his Grandfather who is Henry Edward Crout (1814 – 1875) and he was indeed a Seaman, first going to sea at the age of 16.
The possible reasons my Grandfather gave mis-leading information is another story, for another day. Suffice to say their daughter, my dad’s sister Annie Ruby Crout, was born 22 Dec 1899 and just one month after they married. Soon after, he went off to the Boer War and I understand that the 2nd Dragoon Guards remained in South Africa for a further 8 years, as part of the occupying force. He was simply a Private. As I understand it, the Army would not accept responsibility for re-locating his wife, and child, because the Commanding Officer had not given permission for the marriage.
After answering a lot of questions, rattling round in my head, it was soon time to focus attention on the “Mysterious Mariners” … and what a revelation that’s been. The numbers keep growing almost daily but, to date, I’ve located the following Seamen/ Mariners to be amongst my dad’s Ancestors.
Henry Edward Crout (1814-1875) Seaman, Merchant Navy (Great Grandfather)
John Thomas Crout (1772-1841) Master, Navy (Great Great Grandfather)
John Thomas Crout (1810-1859) Master, Navy (Great Uncle)
Frederick Orlando Crout (1822-1902) Master Mariner (Great Uncle)
Henry Edward Crout (1842-1912) Seaman, Navy (2nd cousin?)
Frederick Orlando Crout (1847-1930) Seaman living/working Wales (2nd cousin?)
So there you have it. A few of the discoveries I’ve made, so far, about my “Mysterious Musicians and Mariners”. When telling my daughter about this aspect of her Ancestry, her comment was “No wonder Grandad was such an Adventurer, mum”.
If you have any thoughts on which of those likely young lads may be my Grandfather, I’d be delighted to hear them.
Copyright © 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family”