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Thomas Secombe 1809-1863
Hello. I am new to this forum after finally having DNA proof that my GG Grandfather who we knew as William McClellan was in fact William McClelland Secombe. He was posted to the Ajax in 1860 and apparently all his brothers and his father were also in the Coastguard.
Research by others has his father Thomas Secombe death at Roddens Stn ,Donaghadee on 24th March 1862 however I havent been able to source proof of this info myself as yet.
I have records from British Archives Discovery for William and for his brothers Lewis, Mark and Andrew however I have not found any for Thomas nor for the other son Alexander.
The record for William is very basic and is for his first Entry but doesnt state what vessels he was on later nor when he discharged ( though we know it must have been before 1873 when he arrived in New Zealand) .

As I live in New Zealand I am limited to what I can find online .
I would love some advice as to where I could look for records for Thomas and Alexander and also for any further documents on William

Here is the info I have to date
Thomas Secombe born c 1809 Polruan, Cornwall d 24 March 1863 Donghadee, Ireland
Married Isabella McClelland at Stranraer, Wigtown Scotland 9 Nov 1932 ( Thomas was on the HMS Diligence at the time according to the church document)
Children : William McClelland Secombe born 1833 Isle of Whithorn Scotland,
Signed up to the Coastgard (No 13434) 1st Nov 1860
Arrived New Zealand on board "FairyQueen" shipwrecked 1873 - name change to William McClellan
Married Elizabeth Brodie Lennie 1877
Died Woodville New Zealand 1894

Alexander Secombe born c 1840 Whithorn, Wigtown Scotland
Arrives Australia before 1860
Died 1885 Australia

Mark Secombe born c 1841 Whithorn Wigtown Scotland
First Entry to Coastgard 15 Dec 1859 reengaged 1870
Died Suffolk 1889
Andrew Secombe born 1846 Portaferry Co Down Ireland
First Entry to Coastguard 6 June 1861 - extended from 1874
Died Suffolk 1884

JOHN SECOMBE, b. 1 April 1851, Roddens Coastguard Station Ballywalter,Co.Down Ireland. ( all info from other research - no other info known

Lewis Secombe born 1852 Rodders coastgaurd station Ballywater Co Down
First Entry to Coastguard 15 Oct 1867 ( Letter from mother attached to records stating father and all brothers had been in Coastguard)
Death Unknown.

I have PDFs from Archives Discovery for William, Mark, Andrew and Lewis.
Any further help or directions on where to look would be much appreciated
Hi and welcome to the Forum.

A good source of early coastguard documents are the ADM 175 series of records available as free downloads from the National Archives website. From these it is possible to trace a man's career and movements. For Thomas I would start with ADM 175/19 pdf401, this confirms his death in March 1862. An excellent aid when using these records is the ADM index on this site, it will save you a good deal of work.

From my own research I can tell you that Thomas was recalled to the Navy during the Crimean War, serving on HMS Calcutta in the Baltic, for which he received the Baltic Medal. Additionally he was issued with a merchant seamen's ticket (No.204080) that can be found on the pay to view site Find my Past. As a general rule these include a physical description, where and when born and when first went to sea.

Hope this helps

Thanks Martin. I'll download those records and really enjoy researching them. I also am a member of and did have the merchant seaman ticket but found it interesting it said he hadn't been in the royal navy.

Merged on 25/09/2016 21:41:55:
Ive downloaded that file and found the reference to Thomas's death and that he came from Tara at Strangford and it had the reference for that in the file as well which said he had come from Bangor - it had a notation that there was a report on the death at 354/14 - but this file only goes to 317 - can you advise me where I might find that report ?
Edited by LaurenBavin on 25/09/2016 21:41
The reference is to an Admiralty file, which if it still exists is likely to be in ADM 1. Apart from being devilishly difficult to navigate, a substantial amount of the general correspondence has been 'weeded' - one final difficulty is that these files can only be viewed in person at the National Archives, Kew.

Having now found he was stationed at Bangor you should use the ADM 175 files to trace his time back to his original nomination to the CG Service.


Merged on 26/09/2016 15:53:23:
Out of interest I looked at the Establishment Book for Bangor CGS and noted that he was nominated to the CG Service from the Revenue Cruiser Diligence, which would explain why on his Ticket he said he had not been in the navy.

It is possible to trace a man using the Muster Books for the revenue cruisers in ADM 119, but again this can only be done in person at the NA.

Edited by crimea1854 on 26/09/2016 15:53
Thanks again. I did find the reference to the Diligence as well. So it's likely he signed on originally with the Revenue service as a boy aged about 15 according to the merchant Navy ticket . I looked for a file that might have those records. Downloaded one file which looked promising but no joy.
I did in the process of much googling find his father Mark was on the HMS Tonnant in the battle of Trafalgar, so that was a bonus find.
Without actually physically going to Kew can I find out more about his Son William McClelland Secombe. I have one record for his volunteering for 10 years in 1860 where he is placed on the HMS Ajax but nothing further except the family story he was rescued from a lifeboat during the storm at Kingstown harbour where Captain Boyd drowned . ( I did research that event via newspaper reports but no mention of William was found). I also have a mention in a New Zeeland newspaper of a William McClellan (the name he changed his name to) marching in a Jubilee parade that stated he was ex the Excellence and had also served on the HMS Rainbow, Stork and Foam. (Of course this may refer to another William McClellan but I suspect it's our man.
Thanks once again Martin for your invaluable assistance.
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