Friday, 18 February 2011

Bill Hudson - a new discovery

When I wrote a post a few weeks ago, giving the biography of my grandfather John William Hudson, I said that I didn't know what he was doing between leaving the army after World War One and going to Hong Kong in 1925. A chance discovery this week has answered that question.

I uploaded my family tree to Ancestry and began to investigate the "shaking leaves" that indicate Ancestry hints. Most of these were either links to records I already have, or links to trees which contained no new information. However, a few have turned out to be good new information.

The first of these was a link to the "Canada, Ocean Arrivals (Form 30A), 1919-1924" collection, which includes a landing form filled out by Bill himself, recording his arrival in Canada in 1921. According to the form, he was bound for Hong Kong, with his passage paid by the British Colonial Service - presumably to take up a job working in the prison service in Hong Kong, a job he would do for the next twenty years.

This changes Bill's story a bit: it doesn't look likely that he was ever a coal miner, as he must have returned to the shipyards after the War (he gave his profession as Boilermaker on the immigration form). It does explain why he was visiting his young cousin in the summer of 1925 - in retrospect it seems unlikely that a working man would take the time to visit a young cousin away from home on his day off, but it's much more likely that someone enjoying an extended leave would do that.

Which leaves one question: why on earth would you choose to sail from England to China via Canada?

1 comment:

  1. My guess is that it was easier, safer, cheaper and maybe faster to sail from England to Canada, cross Canada on a train and then sail to China from Vancouver.

    The "other way" was to sail around South Africa, then to India, through the Indies to China. This may have entailed landing in several (many) countries, changing boats, etc.