Minnie was born 1891 Easington Lane, Hetton Le Hole District, Co. Durham. She married George Craggs, miner, (both 19 yrs and of Langdale Parish) on the 19 March 1910, fathers Francis Craggs and Frederick Shorthouse. Both miners, at St Paul’s Deaf Hill. Minnie died in Hartlepool winter of 1955.

The Craggs family lived in Old Hartlepool in a house behind the sea wall facing the harbour channel between St Hildas Church and the Middleton ferry. They occupied the lowest floor apartment, which was 3 or 4 steps down from street level. As children our mother Eveline Robinson took us for outings to the Fish Sands beach, about 100 yards from the Craggs apartment, she would always visit Aunty Minnie for a chat over a cup of tea. Believe that George (senior), when living in Hartlepool, worked in the shipyards and went through some hard times. Minnie was very close with other family members. They had seven children, Arthur, George, Joseph, Fred, Minnie, Frank and Edwin. Arthur was born and died in 1912.

Fred Craggs (Kell) is the son of Minnie’s sister Ellen Kell. Born, 22 July 1919, Baptised, 31 July 1919, mother Ellen of Commercial Street Trimdon Colliery (Wingate primitive Methodist Circuit Records). He died in the summer of 1990 in Lambeth, London. Fred was given to Nellie's sister Minnie Craggs and brought up as Fred Craggs. He did not find out who his real mother was until he was an adult (1954-54) and found a copy of his birth certificate in a St. Bruno tobacco tin.

In the mid 1960's he was a vagrant of no fixed abode, a "down and out" in London. Anton Wallich - Clifford, founder of the Simon Community, featured him in the Book “No Fixed Abode”.

Son George was quite tall and loved to walk, he would walk to and from Hartlepool to Trimdon (10 miles each way) to visit his cousin Eveline Robinson. He was in the merchant navy from 1939 to 1946 during WWII and was reportedly torpedoed twice in the Atlantic. After the war he worked as labourer in the shipyard. He had an excellent voice and sang many of the popular classical pieces. He mainly sang as an entertainer in pubs around Hartlepool.


Hartlepool Northen Dail Mail, September 13th 1943.


Craggs-Bovill, - On Sept. 9, at the Northgate Mission, Hartlepool. George (M.N.), eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Craggs, Hartlepool, to Margaret (Peggy), eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Bovill, of Hull, late of Hartlepool. – By licence.

Hartlepool Northen Dail Mail, September 9th 1943.

CRAGGS: - Congratulations to Peg and George for your wedding. Best wishes from Mr. and Mrs. Snowdon and Mr. and Mrs. Dear.


Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail Monday January 5 1942.  


Ship's Fireman Fined at North-East Court.

Magistrates at a North-East court today fined George Craggs  (28), the ship's fireman, £3 and ordered him also to pay one guinea costs, for absenting himself without leave from his ship.

Mr. R.C. Clements for the Ministry of Transport, told the Bench that the man was engaged as a member of the crew in July last. On December 18th, when the ship was in port, several of the crew, including the defendant, declared they would not go to sea unless a cash advance was made to them. This was done, and they went to show to post money home. All returned with the exception of the defendant, who stated when the advance was given to him that he was returning home. He knew perfectly well the ship was going to sail, and his failure to return cause delay.

Mr. Clements produced the log-book, in which the circumstances were detailed by the master.

“Before I went ashore”, declared the defendant, “I told the captain I could not possibly return home and be back in time for the ship sailing. I told him to get another man to take my place.”

“But you can’t do that,” said the Magistrate's Clerk. “You have no right to dictate to the captain as to what he shall do.”

“I maintain I was at liberty to leave the ship,” persisted the defendant. I had already worked seven days’ notice on the ship.”

The Magistrate's Clerk: But if you didn't get leave you are committing an offence.

Defendant said he signed for six months from the beginning of July last. Everybody had leave to go ashore. He was on board from  nine o’clock in the morning waiting for the captain. If the money had been forthcoming then, he would have been back on the ship.

The chairman: Whether the captain said that was there or not, you had no right to leave without Authority.

Defendant said they had been in port for seven days and had  not been paid any money. He went aboard for the sole reason of getting his money. If the captain had been there at the right time he would have been able to return. When a ship was in port they expected their money.

The defendant, who was allowed 14 days in which to pay the fine, said that there was still some money due to him from the ship.


Merchant Navy Record from Kew Records Office.


Discharge No. R204888

Born: Trimdon Colliery, 17/7/1913. Engaged as a Fireman.

Summary of Service

                                                         Engaged                         Discharge

Port Melbourne (132046)           7-11-39 (Cardiff)            11-6-40
(Victoria Docks)

SS Marquesa (140586)                5-7-40                              4-11-40
(Empire Bay   )                             21-11-40
Empire Bay  (160786)                                                           17-2-41

GH 10-4-41
Linwood                                         17-4-41                               5-5-41
Empire Brook (160793)               15-5-41

Received ribbon for 1939-43 Star medal also this man is a ‘V’ (Victory)
British Seamans Identity Card copied badly because it was green. Contains Photo, personal details, various official numbers and home address of Coal Exchange Flats , Hartlepool. Wife shown as Margaret Craggs.

Final Discharge on 28-1-46 , services no longer required

Footnote: The Empire Bay and Empire Brook were built by Sir William Gray and engines by Central Marine Engine Works at Hartlepool. Both steam ships of 2824 tons, ordered by Ministry of Shipping, launched 20 August 1941 and 10 April 1942.


Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail Monday August 16th 1943. 


PEERS-CRAGGS. On August 11 at Wesleyan Mission, Northgate. William (R.N.), eldest son of Mr. and Mrs. Peers of Warrington, Lancashire, to Minnie (W.A.A.F), only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Craggs, of Hartlepool.  By licence. 

John Shorthouse 

John the tenth child of Frederick born July/ August 1893, no record of baptism, burial record Deaf Hill Cum Langdale, 6 September 1893 age 6 weeks, resident Langdale.



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