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Albert Edwin Cramp (1890-1956)

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By definition Albert would have been called a Kentish Man as he was born at Greenhithe. This being situated to the NW of the River Medway, the all important dividing line of ancient Kent, was the reason for this description. Had he entered this world on the other side of the Medway he would have been a Man of Kent. Greenhithe is sited on the south bank of the mighty Thames not far from Dartford to the west and Gravesend to the east. Both places have strong connections with the sea as, of course, does Tilbury within sight on the other bank of the river. With this in mind it's hardly surprising that Albert elected to make his living on the sea as a sailor.
Another influence on Albert might have been the ship that became permanently moored off Greenhithe some years before he was born. She was the ex ship of the line HMS Worcester that served as the Thames Nautical Training College. The young men who trained in her wore the uniform of the R.N.R. and, no doubt, the more senior boys would have been a familiar sight in Greenhithe. However it is extremely doubtful if the thought of Albert attending was ever mentioned in the Cramp household. The annual school fees would almost certainly have exceeded the total amount his father earned.
It should be mentioned at this stage that there is some dispute over Albert's date of birth and, indeed, his full name. His 1920 ID card gives his birth date as being August 27th 1888 and four years later the Medal Index card quotes 1888. However on his Record of Service compiled in the arly part of the 39-45 War his date of birth appears as July 5th 1890 and his christian names as Albert Edward. Be that as it may his Discharge A. number of 815024 is the same on all three documents which would seem to confirm they all belong to the same man. The reason for the different birth date isn't clear unless he was under age when he first signed on a ship and told the truth at a later date.
Comparing his Dish.A. number with other seamen would seem to indicate he joined the Mercantile Marine in the early part of the Great War, by this time he was far from being too young. Sadly no further information is known concerning his service in the Great War. He certainly qualified for his two medals, namely the Mercantile Marine War Medal and the British War Medal. To earn the former the seaman had to complete at least one or more voyages through a designated war zone. For the latter a minimum of six months service at sea was required. Albert received these medals in February 1924 at which time he was living at 120 Grant Road, Battersea, S.W.11. - situated very near Clapham Junction railway station (not so very far from the later infamous Lavender Hill).
The World War II records for his service are very brief - from them it would appear he had served as an AB in the General Steam Navigation Company's ship m.v. Stork. On March 4th 1942 it is recorded that he was unfit for sea and was discharged from the M.N. Whether this was from war wounds, sickness or any other reason isn't made clear.
The Stork was a 787 tons gross short sea trader built in 1936 for the G.S.N.Co. of London. This very old company traded out of London mainly with Continental ports. On May 19th 1940, when she was anchored off Boulogne, she was attacked by a German aircraft. The ship's 12 pdr. gun's crew put up such a good fight that the German pilot was forced to bale out and they were credited with its destruction. A B.E.M. was awarded to the Gunlayer and two Commendations were given to the crew but Albert's name wasn't amongst them. To find any other details of his seagoing career it would be necessary to consult the Log Book and Crew Agreement for the Stork.
This may not exist as it was a relatively small ship and was sunk in August 1941 with only three survivors out of the 21 on board. Albert was not serving on her at this time.
NOTE: The expressions "Kentish Man" (people living to the N and W of the Medway) and "Man of Kent" (people living to the S and E f of the Medway) more than likely came about because of the ancient division of Kent into two tribal kingdoms. All very complicated and beyong my scope but it dates back to between 446 and 454 when the early Anglo-Saxon settlers first landed in Kent. It is said that Jutes were already living there - not sure if these came from Jutland or elsewhere on the continent.
Richard Cornish
Cramp(e) One Name Association
Newsletter No. 6 April 1996
ADD @N3242@
CENR @N3243@
Bridge Rd

Birth:
Date:1890
Location:at Greenhithe, Kent, England

Death:
Date:1956
Notes: aged 65


External linksEdit

wikipedia:Albert Edwin Cramp

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SourcesEdit

  1. 1891 Census Returns - UK
  2. Marion B Harper Cramp(e) One Name Association CD Rom Created in April 2002
    http://www.londonresearch.org.uk/cramp/ind_pag.html

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