Livesey, James Trevor

James Trevor Livesey was the son of Walter Livesey and his wife, Emily Matilda, nee Freeman. He was born in 1884 in Chester, and baptised at All Saints Church, Hoole, Chester on March 16th the same year. His parents address was Holly House, Hoole, and his father’s occupation was a railway clerk.

In the 1881 Census for England, available on Ancestry, Walter and Emily lived at Hoole Park, Chester. Walter was a railway accountant, born at Chester. Emily Matilda was 24, and had been born at Rochester, Kent.

In the 3rd quarter of 1889, there is a record for the death of Walter, age 33.

By 1891, the family were living at Deva Terrace, Chester. Head of the family was Emily, who was 35, and had been born at Chatham, Kent, and her occupation was letting apartments. She was already widowed. Her large family were Evelyn, 9, Walter J, age 8, James T age 7, Alice H age 5, Percy G age 4, and baby Elsie who was 1. There was also a servant, Agnes Kilfoyle age 20, and two lodgers.

In 1901, the family were living at Newton-by-Chester. The head was Isabel Freeman, a widow age 69, born at Rochester. Her daughter Emily Livesey, herself a widow age  44, was described as an Inspector on the L and W Railway. The children at home were Eva 19, Heather 15, Percy 14, and Elsie who was 11.

In the second quarter of 1902, there is a record for the marriage of Emily Matilda Livesey to John Thomas Reddish, at Chester.

By 1911, John Thomas Reddish, a retired station master, age 65 and who had been “born at sea”, and his wife Emily Matilda, age 53, were living at Emscote, Marine Drive, Prestatyn. With them was Emily’s youngest daughter Elsie, age 21. This record is in the census for Wales. While in the census for England, her eldest daughter Eva, 29, was a nursing sister at the David Lewis Northern Hospital, Liverpool.

We find James Trevor, or Trevor as he is usually referred to even in official records, in the U.K. Naval Register of Seamen’s Services 1853 ­– 1928. He enlisted in the Navy at Devonport, and was given the service number 212542. His date and place of birth was given as 23rd February 1884, at Chester. His occupation was a “shop lad.”

On 23rd February 1902, his 18th birthday, he joined for 12 years, until 17th April 1913. His height was 5ft 3ins, his hair and eyes were brown and his complexion was dark. He had a sailor tattooed on his right arm, and a butterfly on his left arm.

He must have been in the Navy before this, as his first ship was the Northampton which he had joined on 20th December 1900 when he was 16, and would have been a boy sailor. His service record shows very many ships from his first posting, until the last one shown in this record, which was the Vivid, in April 1914.

These records also show that he passed educationally for Petty Officer on 3rd December 1907, and granted the educational certificate. He passed for Gunner (T) on 3rd February 1913 and gained the qualification for gunning on 17th April 1914.

This qualification is a direct equivalent of “gunner”, and means the sailor specialised in torpedo armament, equipment operations, maintenance and repair, and in addition was responsible for electrical distribution cards. (Naval History Website)

On the outbreak of the War, Trevor was either still actually serving, or had joined up immediately, as in September 1914 The Prestatyn Weekly records that Warrant Officer Trevor Livesey is on board a destroyer. He is mentioned often in the columns of this paper as also is his brother Sergeant Percy Livesey, who both wrote to their mother, Mrs Reddish, and their letters were frequently quoted.

An extract from a long letter to his mother in the Prestatyn Weekly of May 25th 1915:

We have been sweeping the Dardanelles for mines all day, but only got one which blew up.

The same paper for January 22nd 1916 contains the following report:

Marriage – Livesey – Marlow. On January 5th at St Paul’s Cathedral Church, Valetta, Malta, by the Rev. Canon Brock, James Trevor Livesey RN, son of the late Walter Livesey, and of Mrs Reddish, Prestatyn, to Estella Margaret, 4th daughter of Mr and Mrs J. J. Marlow, Of “Sunset” Prestatyn.

So Trevor had married a local Prestatyn girl in Malta.

We know from the records of the Malta Family History website, that at the time of his marriage to Estella, both were age 31, and that Trevor was serving on HMS Scourge.

The edition of 27th January 1917 records:

Warrant Officer Trevor Livesey RN is home on leave. W/O Livesey took part in all the most important naval engagements in the Aegean Sea during the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign.

And in December 22nd the same year:

Warrant officer Trevor Livesey RN has been mentioned in despatches for his gallant action during the recent Skirmish in the North Sea. His sister, Miss Eva Livesey, last week received the first class decoration of the Red Cross.

In the website of the British Journal of Nursing for 27th February 1915, under the heading “a visit to Woburn Abbey Base Hospital,” the sister in charge, Miss Evelyn E. Livesey, is quoted as being pleased with the facilities at the hospital, which was part of the home of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford, and was also under their patronage. Many of the country homes of the gentry and aristocracy were used for this purpose during the War.

Miss Evelyn E. Livesey is also named in the lists of the Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nurses Corps (QARANCS)

There was national rejoicing and a great sense of relief after the Armistice, but not for everyone. Although the ceasefire held on the Western Front, fighting continued in the former Russian and Ottoman empires, and our sailor Trevor was involved in what became known as “The North Russia Intervention.”

The North Russia Intervention, also known as The Northern Russian Expedition and The Archangel Campaign, was part of the Allied intervention in Russia after the October Revolution. This brought about the involvement of foreign troops in the Russian Civil War, on behalf of the White movement. While the movement was ultimately defeated, Allied forces fought notable defensive actions against the Bolsheviks, allowing them to withdraw from Russia in good order. The campaign lasted from the final months of the War in late 1918, until 1920.

The Prestatyn Weekly for July 12th, 1919, carried this report:

We very much regret to hear of the death of Warrant Officer James Trevor Livesey R.N, son of Mrs Reddish of Emscote, Prestatyn. A wire has just been received from the Admiralty notifying his death, but giving no particulars as to the cause. Universal sympathy has been expressed for the bereaved mother, and also for the young wife, (known in the past years as Miss Marlow,) whose helpmeet (sic) has been taken with such tragic suddenness.

The next edition carried a notice from Mrs Trevor Livesey, thanking all friends and relatives for their expressions of support and sympathy.

In the first quarter of 1920 in the birth records for St Asaph district, we find the birth of Trevor John Livesey, mother’s maiden name Marlow, born 9th January 1920. This is six months after his father’s death. In the parish records of Prestatyn parish church, there is a baptismal record for  Melita Estella Livesey , daughter of James Trevor RN and Estella Margaret Livesey, on January 7th, 1917. On March 28th 1920, Trevor John was baptised, the son of the late James Trevor and Estella Margaret. The Vicar has added a note that the father died “when his ship was mined in Russian waters.”

In the website UK Army and Navy BMD records 1730-1960 there is an entry in the deaths of Naval Officer casualties for JT Livesey (T) .He died on 3rd July 1919, the place of death was the White Sea, and the cause of death was “loss of HMS Fandango” (mined).

HMs Fandango was a Dance-class minesweeper. These were originally designed as a shallow draft twin-screw tunnel, and were used to sweep coastal areas of Northern Russia. Fandango was laid down and launched in April 1919 (World Naval Ships Directory).

There is a card for Trevor in the Roll of Honour in the Flintshire Archives, which sums up his wartime career. His period of service was given as 20 years, and his unit was “the Sea.” He served with the Mediterranean fleet in the Dardanelles, then Suvla Bay, the with the North Sea fleet from 1916 until the Armistice was signed, was ordered to Russia in April 1919, and was killed during minesweeping operations in the River Dvina, July 3rd , 1919. It was written and signed by his step-father, Mr JT Reddish, on September 17th, 1919.

From the website Royal Navy Officers Medal Roll, we see that James Trevor Livesey RN was awarded the 1914-5 Star, the British War Medal, and the Victory Medal.

Probate for his will was granted at St Asaph  on April 16th, 1920. His effects totalled £119 11s 0d, which was left to his widow, Estella Margaret.

Trevor John Livesey, the son born six months after his father’s death, went on to serve his country himself in WW2.

The website of the 1st British Airborne Division, Arnhem September 1944 (Officers) gives the information that Lieutenant T.J. Livesey, Royal Engineers, no 222702, was awarded the Military Cross for his action in North Africa, (Tunisia) in 1943. He had previously served in Algeria, and later was a prisoner of war in German captivity, in Oflag 79, Brunswick, Lower Saxony until 1945.

Sadly, he died at the early age of 39, in 1959.

This family certainly played their part in the defence of their country.

James Trevor (RN) is also commemorated in the Roll of Honour in the Temple of Peace, at Cathay’s Park Cardiff, which records officers, men and women of Welsh parentage, who gave their lives in the Great War.

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