Posted by Ron Hume on 1/4/2019, 5:00 am, in reply to "Re: Hawker"
General Notes |
Matthew Jean Bourrett was in the Merchant Navy Reserve Pool at Glasgow, Scotland as a mess boy on 25 Feb 1942 and sailed on his first ship Empire Maiden on her maiden voyage on 18 March 1942 from Glasgow on a Home Trade voyage. His birth date was then given as 2 May 1924 on his Seaman's History Sheet (C.R.S.10). He was discharged from The Empire Maiden at Glasgow on 18 Mar 1942 and engaged on the ship Franconia the next day. After his discharge from the Franconia on 28 Apr 1942 it seems he may have commenced work with the Miss Jones Marine B construction Company on the wharfs.
On 12 Nov 1942 Matthew sailed as a passenger aboard the ship Miguel De Larrinaga bound for Capetown, South Africa but deserted ship at Baltimore, Maryland, USA on 18 Jan 1943. The final entry on his history sheet reads, "Man wanted by Miss Jones Marine B" followed by reference numbers and the name Mr. Harding.
Research shows that Matthew arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA on the Norwegian ship Rio Novo on 30 Jul 1943. The next day Matthew signed on the ship as crew and sailed to Progresso, Mexico. Rio Novo returned to New Orleans on 15 Aug 1943 where Matthew deserted ship. No further records have been found of Matthew's movements until his enlistment in the RAAF at Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
He enlisted in the RAAF at Melbourne, Victoria on 28 Dec 1943 and was discharged on 4 June 1945 as medically unfit for further duty. Records show he saw no action in the RAAF, his medical state possibly resulted from injuries sustained from an air attack at Glasgow. Evidence of shrapnel needles in Matthew's back was witnessed by Ron Hume.
According to information he provided on his RAAF service records, Matthew Jean Bourrett served first in the British Merchant Navy for ten years as Chief Steward with the Sir Robert Ropner Steamship Company. Next of kin: Sister Jeanette Bourrett of Kingwa, Quebec, Canada. Parents listed as French Canadian. Father: Piere Bourrett. Mother: Jeannette Pichot. However none of this information has proved to be true. Incorrect spelling of French names, several different birth dates, an impossible school record, no record of service with the Sir Robert Ropner Steamship Company, and a distinct English accent, seem to indicate that Mr. Bourrett is a figment of imagination.
The RAAF records show Matthew as single, height 5' 11 1/2" tall, hazel eyes, dark hair and of medium complexion. A British subject born 2 May 1919 at Kingwa, Quebec, Canada. Religion: Church of England. Address: 85 Kerford Street, East Malvern, Victoria. Friend of the same address: Mr. Graham.
There are discrepancies regarding the age of Matthew's education shown in his service records. Education from age 12 shows as 1922 to 1925 when he obtained a junior scholarship at Quebec (aged 6 years?). And 12 years of age from 1922 indicates a birth date of about 1909 not 1919.
Kingwa, now known as Akulivik, is in Inuit Territory 1850 km north of Montreal, Canada in Nunavik, Northern Quebec. (Village Nordique, census subdivision). School records in Canada are destroyed after 75 years preventing further research on this subject.
Matthew changed his name to Robert James Lethbridge after his discharge from the RAAF and before arriving at Tennant Creek, NT. The reason for the change remains a mystery to date. The distinctive backhand handwriting under both names is identical, proving that the two identities are one and the same person.
Note: Matthew Jean Bourrett and Robert James Lethbridge are one and the same person, proven by identical backhand handwriting under both names.
4 Aug 1909 Robert James Lethbridge born Ottery, Devon, England (per BDM UK V 5b P 54)
1912 Robert James Lethbridge baptised 1912 Ide, Devon, England
6 Jan 1919 Robert James Lethbridge born at Kingwa, Quebec, Canada (per Marriage Certificate)
2 May 1919 Matthew Jean Bourrett born at Kingwa, Quebec, Canada (per RAAF records)
25 Feb 1942 Merchant Navy Reserve Pool, standby until required as M.R. Boy at Glasgow, Scotland
18 Mar 1942 Sailed on his first ship Empire Maiden from Glasgow, Scotland on a Home Trade Voyage
18 Mar 1942 Discharged from Empire Maiden at Glasgow. Standby until required as M.R. Boy
19 Mar 1942 Engaged on ship Franconia
28 Apr 1942 Discharged from Franconia, destination Durban. Standby
Possibly began work with Miss Jones Marine B Construction on wharves
12 Nov 1942 Passage on board ship Miguel de Larrinaga, not as crew, destination Capetown, South Africa
18 Jun 1943 Deserted ship at Baltimore, Maryland, USA, not as crew
30 Jul 1943 Arrived in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA aboard ship Rio Novo
31 Jul 1943 Sailed to Progreso, Mexico as crew aboard ship Rio Novo
15 Aug 1943 Arrived in New Orleans from Progreso, Mexico aboard ship Rio Novo where he deserted ship
24 Dec 1943 Enlisted in the RAAF at Melbourne, Victoria
4 Jun 1945 Discharged from RAAF as medically unfit for further service
The above suggests to me that Matthew deserted from the Navy Pool while working for the Construction Company, and was therefore unable to work as crew on British ships and sailed as a passenger until he deserted at Baltimore. Then he crewed (for money) on a Norwegian ship to New Orleans, and thence to Australia.
I imagine that desertion would be a serious offence during wartime and possibly the reason for his migration.
9 Aug 1946 Robert James Lethbridge mining lease application in Tennant Creek, Northern Territory
19 Nov 1946 Married Kathleen Dorothy Hume in Tennant Creek (my sister)
5 May 1948 Birth of daughter Sharyn Kay Lethbridge in Adelaide SA to K D Lethbridge
2 Dec 1948 Mining lease application in Tennant Creek, NT
20 May 1949 Attended party at Perry’s in TC
27 May 1949 At Tennant Creek Ball
3 Nov 1949 Birth of son William Robert Lethbridge in Tennant Creek, NT to K D Lethbridge
24 Mar 1950 Attended St. Patrick’s ball in TC, acted as voting officer
26 Jan 1951 Deserted K D Lethbridge and his two children from South Tce, Adelaide, SA
13 Feb 1951 Notice in Adelaide News newspaper re missing person
28 Sep 1951 Mrs K D Lethbridge won prettiest frock prize at ball in Tennant Creek, NT
23 Feb 1954 Robert James Lethbridge married Devon, England Spouse Doris E Jarrett BDM V 7A P 965
1954 Robert James Lethbridge Birth of son? Devon, England
1976 Robert James Lethbridge death Exeter, Devon, England BDM V 21 P 943
Is the R J Lethbridge in Devon, England the same person as the one of that name in Tennant Creek?
The only link I can think of is that of handwriting, but on which documents is that likely to appear?
Matthew Jean Bourrett
There is no record of a baptism for Matthew in the Drouin collection of births for Quebec.
No records found to date of Matthew's arrival in Australia by ship.
No marriage or death for Matthew registered in Victoria, New South Wales or Western Australia.
No Bourrett in 1911 UK census or 1921 Canada census. 1921 Canada census has 100 Bourret but no Piere, Matthew or Jeanette.
Canada 1916 census has no Bourrett, 3 Bourret but none relevant.
1921 UK census not released until 2022.
Robert J Lethbridge
No record of army service for Robert Lethbridge in Western Australia.
Two gold mining lease applications in Tennant Creek, NT associated with Robert Lethbridge. Big Ben on 3/71946 and Maple Leaf on 26/11/1948.
A positive link between these two identities was found with "Matthew's" distinctive backhand handwriting on his RAAF Service records, and on NT mining lease applications signed by Robert J Lethbridge.
1916 Canada census: 14 Lethbridge, none relevant, but in Devon, England we find...
Robert James Lethbridge
Born: 4 Aug 1909 Ottery, Devon, England BDM V 5b P 54
Mother: Winifred Lethbridge, domestic servant of Whiddon Cottage, Ide, Devon, England
Father: None stated
Baptised: 1912 Saint Ida Church, Ide, Devon, England (Register not found)
Marriage: 23 Feb 1954 Devon, England BDM V 7A P 965
Spouse: Doris E Jarrett nee Hawker
Father: John Henry Lethbridge (deceased)
Son?: 1954 Devon, England
Death: 1976 Exeter, Devon, England BDM V 21 P 943
The above birth and marriage certificates are obtained.