Mark Bald­win (Bedford)

The Daily Telegraph - Saturday - - Cover Story -

Re­search into the Bald­win fam­ily fo­cused on William John Pil­grim, the great-grand­fa­ther of Mark (be­low), 17, who had al­ways wanted to know if the fam­ily story that William had sur­vived a tor­pedo at­tack that sank his ship was true or not. A sec­ond tale he wanted to look into was that an­other great-grand­fa­ther, Norman Wat­son, played foot­ball for New­cas­tle United in the 1920s.

Bar­ratt and his team un­earthed the of­fi­cial re­port of the board of in­quiry into the sink­ing of HMS Ot­way. She was a 12,000-ton liner be­long­ing to the Ori­ent Steam Nav­i­ga­tion Com­pany, drummed into ser­vice by the Royal Navy, armed with four seven-inch guns and made part of the North­ern Pa­trol. Her peace­time role, for which she was built, was as a pas­sen­ger liner and mail ship be­tween Bri­tain and Aus­tralia, as well as other parts of the Em­pire.

William Pil­grim was one of 376 men on board when she was tor­pe­doed and sunk by a U-boat in the North At­lantic on July 22, 1917. Ten men were killed by the ini­tial ex­plo­sion, but there were no fur­ther ca­su­al­ties. The in­quiry found the of­fi­cers and men be­haved in ex­em­plary fash­ion.

Un­for­tu­nately for Mark, no­body called Norman H Wat­son played foot­ball for the Mag­pies.

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