The Wildgoose Chase

I met Chelsea Pensioner Walter Wildgoose in 1977 when he was 87 and I was 26. Through a series of letters written over the last year of his life, he passed along his life story - the workhouse children's home, a life in the British Army witnessing the opening battles of World War I and life in India, a remarkable family surviving the bombs of World War II London. This blog will document my research and progress on the novel I'm writing about this amazing man.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Training Ship Clio

This picture from a website is dated 1905. Is Walter in it?

In September 1904, Walter and his older brother Bert were called into the office of the Superintendent of the Sheffield Children's Home (a Mr. Sykes) and told it was time they left the school. According to Walter's letters, two men showed up as "escorts" to ensure the boys reached the destinations that had been determined for them. Walter was taken to Bangor, North Wales and placed on the training ship Clio in the Menai Straits. Bert was taken to Hull and put aboard the training ship Southampton.

According to my research, training ships were for boys between the ages of 11 and 15+ years old who were orphaned or had gotten into trouble or were interested in training for the Royal Navy. They had a reputation as "naughty boy" ships. I can't imagine Walter as a delinquent, but I do know that he and Bert were mischief-makers who ran away from the Sheffield Homes a couple of times. Perhaps no one really knew what to do with them.

It was a tough life aboard the training ships and Walter was on the Clio from 1904-1907 (14-17 years old). I'm always on the look-out for more information on training ships in general, and the Clio and Southampton in particular.
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posted by MaryB @ 10:01 AM  


  • At 2:48 PM , Anonymous Tracey Whiting said...

    please contact me as my granfather Matthew Owen Davies was on bored the southamton during the early years in hull. Iam trying to find out why he was sent or choosen to be educated on the ship.chatliecharlieboycharlie

  • At 12:50 PM , Blogger Dean said...

    Hello Mary, hope you get this. Tried the email but it came back!
    I'm from Sheffield and have people here in Sheffield interested in the 'Wildgoose' name. How do i contact you ?


  • At 1:53 PM , Blogger MaryB said...

    Hi Dean. Guess I need to update the email address, huh? You can reach me at

  • At 11:44 AM , Anonymous kamagra said...

    I beg you pardon, you said 1905? how can is possible that a picture for that year still in perfect conditions, is really amazing.

  • At 6:28 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

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