Brennand, Robert

Robert came to my attention when I entered “Saltney” into the Commonwealth War Graves Commission database, and as far as I know he is not on any memorial here, although according to the CWGC his wife was living in Saltney, he was a native of Liverpool.

CWGC additional information: Son of William Brennand, of 9, Selwyn St., Walton, Liverpool, England, and the late Ester Brennand; husband of Jemima Brennand, of Brook Lea, Stone Bridge, Saltney, Chester, England.

Robert appears for the first time on the 1881 census living at 90, Selwyn Street, Kirkdale, Liverpool. (St. Mary’s), the son of William & Esther BRENNAND (nee MERCER), who had married on 5 Feb 1860 at St Michael in the Hamlet Church, Aigburth, Lancashire, England.

William, 45, head of the household, was a Shipwright and all the family had been born in Liverpool.   Wife Esther was age 41.   Their children were William, 19, Single and a Carter, Elizabeth, 11, Robert, 9, John, 5, Anne, 3 and Mary 11 months.

1891 finds the family living at the same address, William, 55, still a Shipwright, Esther now 50,  their family  now was Elizabeth, 21, Robert, 19, a Butcher as was John, 15, Mary, 10, Sarah,8 and Henry made up the family.

I now believe that Robert started wandering abroad as there is a Robert BRENNAND aboard the Ship Britannia as Butcher’s Mate in 1892, age 20 years, his entry in the Crew lists were :-

R Brennand, Year of birth – 1872, 1st Voyage, Date and Place of signing this Agreement 9th April 1892, Month’s Wages £3., Advances made in the Uk of not more than one month’s wages, conditional on going to Sea.- £3. Date and place of leaving the ship – 6th June 1892, Valparaiso Balance of Wages on Discharge £2  1s 3d.

There is a Robert BRENNAND, age 20 as a Passenger, occupation – Labourer on the Ship Vancouver – Departure Date:   21 May 1896,Port of Departure: Liverpool, England. Destination Port: Montreal, Canada.

Again on the 23rd June 1909, age 35, he is shown on the Crew Lists of the Ship “Cretic” (ex. Hanoverian), Port of Registry: Liverpool, Lancashire, England.   His address was given as 90, Selwyn St., Liverpool, Last Ship and date – 1904 “Canpard?”

Robert’s brother John could have had the wanderlust as there is a John BRENNAND, in 1901, age 27 on the Ship “Majestic,” Port of Registry: Liverpool, Lancashire, England, his home address was given as 9, Selwyn Street, Liverpool.

However, at some time between his journeys to and fro from Canada, he married Jemima DODD in St. Mary’s Church, Broughton, in 1897 (Chester Vol. 8a, Page 625).  [Note this was a double wedding with Jemima’s younger sister, Mary who married Walter Hillyer]

Sadly in the June Quarter of 1910, I believe that Robert’s mother Esther died (W. Derby Vol. 8b Page 260)

Robert, may have settled in Canada, as he enlisted on the 16th February 1916 in the town of Medicine Hat*, his Attestion Papers tell us, he gave his address as “c/o Seven Persons,”**, he stated he had been in the  1st Lancashire Regt. for 1 year.   He was married and his description of Robert BRENNAND on Enlistment tells us –

Apparent Age – 37 years and 10 months

Height – 5 feet 9 and ½ inches

Chest Measurement – Girth when fully expanded – 38 inches, Range of Expansion – 2 inches.

Complexion – Medium

Eyes – Brown

Hair – Brown

C of E.

4 Vaccination marks to left arm.

Form signed on the 19th February 1916 in Medicine Hat

*Medicine Hat – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Medicine Hat is a city of 63,018 people in southeast Alberta, Canada. It is approximately 169 km (105 mi) east of Lethbridge and 295 km (183 mi) southeast of Calgary. This city and the adjacent Town of Redcliff to the northwest are surrounded by Cypress County.

**Seven Persons – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Seven Persons – Hamlet – Seven Persons is located in Alberta Seven Persons

Location of Seven Persons in Alberta – Seven Persons is a hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Cypress County.[2] It is located approximately 20 kilometres (12 mi) southwest of Medicine Hat on Highway 3 and has an elevation of 755 metres (2,477 ft).

Jemima came back home to her family in 1906 after the San Francisco earthquake. After Robert’s death, as can be seen on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Certificate, she is shown as living at Saltney.

Juliet George contacted on the 13th December 2016 and kindly offered to complete the family story.   Juliet told me that Robert’s son, her Grandfather, also named Robert had his father’s name added to the WW1 Roll of Honour at St. Oswald’s Church in Chester.   Her story follows:-

He married Jemima Dodd from Saltney at St Mary’s in Sept 1897; in August 1898 she boarded the Oropesa at Liverpool bound for Valparaiso in Chile. It is likely Robert would have been working on this ship. We have photos from their time in Chile. A year later my Grandpa, also Robert, was born in Valparaiso, and a sister and brother followed. By 1906 they were living in San Francisco (with Robert Sr. away for long periods on board ship) – the earthquake struck while mother and children were there alone, and their house was swallowed up into the ground. This triggered her return to England, departing from Valparaiso and travelling 3rd class (outward journey had been 1st class) with 3 small children. They landed at Liverpool in December, and my Grandpa remembers this was the first time he’d seen snow.

Robert Sr did not return or support the family – he had a wanderlust.  Jemima went to live with her parents and siblings in Saltney, and worked as an auxiliary nurse during the war. Times were very hard for them. Robert Sr enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Forces at Medicine Hat in 1916, creatively reducing his age to be eligible.   You have his army record.   He was invalided to Liverpool from France in Feb 1918.   Before being transferred to Canada he asked to see his family; Jemima went alone, and we believe he may have arranged for her to receive his pension if the worst happened.   We think this was the only time they met since 1906. Sadly he died of tongue cancer in Canada in Feb 1919 – his brother John signed his death certificate. He is buried in Calgary.  If assumptions are correct, his war pension saved his family’s future and Jemima and children were eventually able to buy a small house of their own.

Many thanks to Juliet for sharing and adding to Robert’s story.

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