Gooseberry Cove sailor spends five years on foreign soil

Reprinted from The Packet, June 5, 2019
by Lester Green

(Click on images to enlarge)

Patrick Seaward. (Photo courtesy of Seaward family.)

When Seaman Patrick Seaward boarded the SS Franconia on November 06, 1914, he would not step on his native Newfoundland soil until the war ended. Most of his naval career was spent at the port of Alexandria, Egypt, assigned to HMS Rossano.

Patrick was the youngest son of Patrick and Lavinia (Pitcher) Seaward of Gooseberry Cove born on June 7, 1893. He had three other siblings that were also raised at Gooseberry Cove.

He travelled to St. John’s in the company of Levi Smith where both enlisted in early February 1913 with the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve. He started his training aboard the HMS Calypso and completed 56 days of training before the Great War was declared.

In August 1914, he received orders by Royal Proclamation that he was to report to HMS Calypso and continue his naval training.

Naval records indicate that he, along with 33 other sailors from the Southwest Arm region, left St. John’s bound for England. Upon arrival he was assigned to Vivid I, a naval barracks at Devonport, and received further training.

Ship’s ledger for Royal Naval Reserve. Source TRPAD_ GN 182.4

Seaman Seaward spent the next few years being assigned to a number of ships and shore-based structures for short periods of time, usually less than a month. These included HMS Halcyon, minesweeper; transferred to stone frigate, HMS Colleen at Queenstown, Ireland; drafted to HMS Valiant II, a hired yacht for a two months period; deployed to HMS Hermione, a guardship located at Southampton for two months during summer of 1915; and in July 25 he was transferred to HMS Manco, a squadron supply ship at Stornaway.

While at Stornaway, he was drafted to the HMS Rossano. Records indicate that for remainder of the war, his service would be on the HMS Rossano but at different depots.

He continued sailing on the SS Rossano until he received orders to report to the HMS Vivid III where he was notified of his transfers home.

A letter to the editor of the Evening Advocate that appeared on December 30, 1918 notes: “one young man gone from here, Patrick Seaward, who hasn’t been home since the war started.” Confirmation of this statement was confirmed by a close examination of his naval records. The records do not indicate that he returned home for leave during his entire naval career. 

Patrick and his wife Winifred. (Photo courtesy of Seaward family.)

He arrived at St. John’s somewhere around the middle of January 1919 and was demobilized on April 3, 1919. When he finally arrived at Gooseberry Cove, it would be his first-time seeing home for nearly five years.

In 1920, he appeared on a ship list for the Rosalind departing St. John’s for Halifax to work in the ship yard at Quebec.

He married Winifred Ryan sometime before 1921 and likely while working in Trois River, Quebec. He returned home again after the completion of this work.

On January 22, 1927 he sailed from St. John’s aboard the Newfoundland heading for the Boston where he is listed as an ironworker and accompanied by his wife, Winifred.

Patrick, his wife, Winifred, and with their son, Joseph. (Photo courtesy of Seaward family.)

His family, which included his wife and four children, are recorded In the 1935 Gooseberry Cove census. However, he is not recorded in the any of the 1945 Newfoundland census. It is believed that he moved his family to the Boston States where he passed away.