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so much to sea

Henry Henderson, 1869

The man in this photograph is my great-grandfather.  His name was Henry Henderson and he was born at Hammer of Norwick, Unst on 19th September, 1869; he died on 25th November, 1964 at Spragatup in Haroldswick, Unst.  He is pictured with his wife – Williamina Smith, (17 Jan 1872 – 27 Aug 1928) they married on 14 December 1899.

His father (my great-great-grandfather) – also Henry Henderson and a fisherman - was lost at sea off Skaw in Unst on 13 May, 1869 aged 31.  A copy of an excerpt from the relevant register of deaths states: “drowned by the upsetting of an open boat in a squall of wind.”

This left his wife, Ann Gray, with four children to raise and provide for, and a fifth – my great-grandfather – soon to be born, four months following the death of her husband.

It makes me very sad to think about the adversity which these members of my own family undoubtedly faced, particularly when I examine my life and acknowledge the wonderful upbringing, and opportunities which I have enjoyed in my 51 years.