Mm is for – Mysterious Musicians and Mariners

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge

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.

Harry Scarborough Crout, riding pillion, aged 17 – 1929 (c) C.Crout-Habel

Harry Scarborough Crout aged 29years. (c) C.Crout-Habel

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.

Cheers, Catherine


Copyright © 2012. C.A.Crout-Habel. “Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family”

29 thoughts on “Mm is for – Mysterious Musicians and Mariners

  1. As always a great post Catherine and very interesting! My strategy would be to put an X through all the ones you know he’s not, the ones with other instruments. I’m no clarinet expert but they look like the 3 guys on the left in the middle row and possibly the 3 on the right in the back two rows (two of whom would be too young I think). Does that help? How old was he at the time? Do let us all know what the outcome is.

    • Thanks Pauleen… have now added some birth info about Grandfather. He was 19years old at the time of the photo, was an only child and, I would imagine, very much adored… maybe even a little spoilt? 🙂 … no doubt his parents would have been shocked when he arrived home with a wife and child… both falsified their ages. Am using your strategy & deleted about 20 cos of age/height/mus.instrument… but still puzzling… will let you know how it goes. Cheers.

    • Indeed Pauleen… was before Grandfather’s time and they were also acclaimed for their battlefield accomplishments during the Boer War when my Grandfather was with them. I’m trying to remember… which of Mr Cassmob’s rellies was at Lucknow? … his great Uncle? …

    • Thanks Alona… puff puff puff… I really am sick of peering through a magnifying glass but can’t give up, eh? 🙂 … Kerryn’s comment made me think to add some more photos to help folks help me…

  2. Another interesting story Catherine. Have you any family photos that may show family resemblance to any from the photo that are on the short-list now?

    • Great tip, Kerryn… I’ve now added some photos of dad for a comparison. The only clarionetists (with instruments, that is) who are about right age and size seem to be: Third Row from top – from the right, lst, 3rd, 5th, 6th and Fourth Row down – 2nd from right who might be holding a bass clarionet? None seem to resemble dad? … No 5. maybe looks a little bit like my eldest brother when young but??? … maybe someone else can see what I can’t. Thanks Kerryn 🙂

  3. My clarinet-playing best friend had a look at this for me. Her thinking (based on instruments alone) is as follows: “The only one that I can see with some degree of certainty is 3rd row from the top and 4th from the left. That being so it’s that the one on his left is also a clarinet but I can’t see what he has”. She subsequently had another look with it zoomed and still thinks he’s the likeliest and that the bloke beside him has a clarinet. Her thought was 2 clarinets would be about right for a group this size. I think she means the young shortish bloke looking straight ahead. As she has a bass clarinet I’d expect her to have recognised that. Can you tell the diff between that & a sax? I can’t. Hope this helps rather than confuses.

    Have you thought of sending it to a military band online and asking for advice? Or maybe even a university Dept of Music?

    • Great info Pauleen. If your friend didn’t pick that instrument as a Bass Clarionet then I’d say it’d probably is a Sax… I know nothing about the instrument. Thanks for the tip.., I’ll have a go at getting back to “The Bays” Band itself and asking for help.

    • #5 only looks vaguely like my bro did, when he was a child, but is the only fellow that seems to bear any resemblance at all. Age???… mmmhhh. He was not a tall man, only 5ft7ins at age 35 so maybe he hadn’t finished growing at age 19 🙂 ??? …

  4. Okay, further thought -though given my muddled first hypothesis, why should you listen? Can’t imagine why I nominated that lot as some plainly have brass instruments…go figure.

    In addition to eliminating by instrument I’d try eliminating by rank/service chevrons. It seems to me that the back row have mostly (all?) got stripes. The 2nd row behind the young lads ditto. Some have chevrons on the right arm, facing up, some on the left facing down. One lot seems likely to be rank and the other to be service, both of which your grandfather, as a young lad of 19 is likely to be eliminated from. Also one guy in the back row has crossed swords plus crown above his and another in row 2 has medals on his chest. Can’t quite figure out which is service/good conduct vs rank.

    I guess you’ve seen the 1895 photo of the 2DG band at Might be helpful for elimination?

    Have a look and see what you think.

    • HA HA HA… that made me laugh my head off Pauleen. I’m just SO SO SO greatful for all your suggestions. Had another big laugh the other day re: assumptions which I MUST stop making. i.e. maybe my Grandfather was “off sick” that day and not in the photo at all. 😀 😀 😀

  5. Not sure which I enjoyed more, your article or the banter between you and Pauleen, especially after a couple of glasses of wine… her words, not mine… 🙂 Perhaps you could write as a duet!!!

      • Now there’s a thought Chris 😀 … I can’t hold a tune either Pauleen so you’re in good company 🙂 … It was Pauleen who “fessed up” to “sucking the wine bottle”… Me??? … my throat was “as dry as the bottom of a cocky’s cage!!!”, on that occasion 😀 … HA HA HA

  6. Well, my dear Geneablogging friends… the answer to the question may soon be upon us. How can I begin to describe my excitement in recently having made contact with a family member, in Canada, who may well be able to help identify which of these “likely lads” actually is my Grandfather. I LUV the internet and especially LUV the gentle souls who march to the same beat as me… xxx

  7. Woohoo! That will be exciting for all of us…which fellow will it turn out to be I wonder. Great that’s you’ve met up with a family member. The internet really is a wonder for these sort of things. Otherwise we’d all be working away in isolation apart from anything else 😉

    • Oh Pauleen… I’d like to say that I was oh so clever in finding this precious/ special family member, but not at all. I just went with my “gut instinct” and some months ago did some “googling”, left a message on a website in Canada with little expectation of a response. Checked a few times and nothing and then BINGO!!! a few days ago found that there had been a response about a month ago. I’ve tried not to overwhelm Jeanne with my information and excitement… but I am just about “busting out all over” 🙂 Happens that her daughter is living/ working in Melbourne right now!!! Would you believe that? … and lots of other amazing stuff. Colour me HAPPY 😀

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