Hugh McElroy's Transport Medal


It was remiss of me, when researching the medal roll, to overlook the fact that your gr-grand-Uncle (do I have the correct relationship), received the Transport Medal for his services on troop transports during the Boer War.

I note from the medal roll that he was presented his on 1 Dec. 1903 from the Director of Transport. This medal was only awarded to Pursers 'whose position and services were specially deserving' so he was obviously 'outstanding' but I don't need to tell you that.

In a book I am currently reading I note he was a witness to wedding which took place on the Majestic (I believe) in 1906. You are probably aware of this?

Regards Ernie

Your quite right in your facts. Hugh is mentioned in the “Boar War Transport Medal Roll” book, during the Boar War, while serving first on the “Cymric” and later the “Britannic”, he came to be awarded the “Transport Medal” with the South Africa clasp.

Ernie, I am very interested in the book your reading, what is the name and if any details Please. I was not aware of him actually being the witness.

Take care, and a Happy Christmas.

Firstly, I note that I got your relationship to Hugh McElroy wrong - as an amateur genealogist I should know better. As he was your Grandmother's brother, he was your Uncle plus a generation, i.e. Grand-Uncle or Great-Uncle, whichever you prefer.

The book I referred to was recommended to me by an ET member who responded to my request for any publication about the Boer War troop-transports.

The book, 'Hull Down', is written by Sir Bertram Hayes, one of Captain Smith's contemporaries - they both did the South Africa run - EJ on the Majestic and Bertram Hayes on the old Britannic.

There are a couple of chapters about the troop-transports - quite enlightening. One chapter is titled, 'Those Australians' but I had better not tell you what he writes - I don't want to upset Inger. Your gr-uncle is mentioned on pages 149, 157 and 158. Incredibly, although the book spans the period of the Titanic sinking, there is not a mention - a deliberate act of omission on the part of the author.

I would recommend this book to members of ET especially anyone with a particular interest in the Olympic. Capt. Hayes gives a lot of coverage to his command of the Olympic in WW1 including the ramming of the submarine U103. There are a lot of Titanic and related books around but the reminiscences of a Commodore of the White Star Line must be worth reading.

Happy Christmas to you and your family. Might even be a white one.
Hi Frank

Did you see the photograph of Titanic's Officers posted by Susan Alby under 'Titanic Art, photography and music' on Dec. 31st?

I believe that's your gr-Uncle, Hugh, in the back row wearing his medal?

Happy new year, Ernie

That book, “Hull Down”, is written by Sir Bertram Hayes, I have a copy, printed in April 1925. the bit we were discussing about Hugh being a witness to a wedding which took place on the S.S. Majestic, well I did some digging around on a site for New York Newspapers around the same time as that wedding (22nd October 1906) and it came up with The New York Times 1851-1906. I tried their archives and it came up with:

A Romantic Marriage of Swedish Immigrants on the Majestic

New York Times (1857 — Current file) New York, NY: printed on 25th October 1906 Pages 9. 1 pgs

Document Types - Marriage
ISSN / ISBN 03624331
Text Word Count 308

This also includes all the photos of the wedding. I am hoping to get a couple of copies of the document and give Phil a copy for ET.
Hi Frank

It will be interesting to see the newspaper report and photos of the Wedding.

I see that Capt. Hayes writes that the young lady in question was pregnant and would not have been allowed into the United States in that condition unless she was married. I wonder why? No means of support I suppose.

Regards Ernie

Firstly in reply, “No means of support” I fully agree with what you say, even in those early day’s people would not have been allowed into the United States if they could not support themselves.

There are a couple of items I’m a little confused about, in the New York Times their headlines, have the wedding couple as “Swedish”, but Capt. Hayes clearly states on page 148, “there was a couple of Norwegians in 3rd class…”.

Also who was the doctor on the S.S. Majestic at that time of the wedding, as Capt. Hayes states on page 150, “A photo of the wedding party was taken afterwards on the saloon deck by the doctor of the ship with my camera, and when I came to look for the film later I found he had abstracted it and sold it to some newspaper”, I dearly would like to know who the doctor was.

Take care,

It's been suggested to me that another reason why an unmarried pregnant lady would not be let in to the States may have been due to a prevailing puritanical attitude. Just a possibility.

Yes, I noticed the apparent discrepancy in the nationality of the couple married. From the entry in the ships log, which is not easy to read, it looks as if their last place of residence was an address in Sweden. I think it's a case of take your pick.

I don't believe the name of the Doctor is mentioned anywhere, but it was certainly sharp practice; tantamount to stealing.

Regards Ernie