One son is transferred overseas while the other sails the waters of the Caribbean

Reprinted from The Packet, June 22, 2018
by Lester Green

Seaman William Avery RNR 1074X (photo courtesy of Wilson Avery)

Eleazer and Emily(Reid) Avery had two sons that enlisted and served with the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve. William, the oldest son, enlisted on November 20, 1913 and spent 28 days training aboard the HMS Calypso at St. John’s. On October 15, 1914, he was ordered by Royal Proclamation to report to the HMS Calypso and was transferred overseas aboard the HMS Franconia. He was assigned to HMS Pembroke, Chatham where he remained for the next year.

William’s career overseas was served between the shore bases of President III and Pembroke I. His Certificate Book  indicates that he served on various Defensive Armed Merchant Ship (DAMS) but does not identify the names of the vessels. In an interview with the Packet in 2004, his wife relates how he served as a gunner on 13 ships and had two ships shot out from under him. He was transferred home to HMS Briton on May 30 and received demobilization on June 26, 1919.

Seaman Elias Avery RNR 1976X (photo courtesy of Bill Avery)

Elias signed his application on December 6, 1915 and was present when the HMS Calypso was renamed the HMS Briton at St. John’s in January 1916. He received orders of his transfer and sailed overseas on April 23, 1916 aboard the RMS Pretorian. Upon arrival, he reported to the HMS Vivid I at Devonport.

Seaman Elias Avery was assigned to the HMS Berwick after completing his naval training overseas. He first joined the ship at Birkenhead, England on June 22, 1916 and sailed down into the Caribbean as far as Grenada Islands.

During this time period the ship patrolled and enforced the embargo against any ship suspected of carrying contraband. His ship started its return to Bermuda by September 22, 1916. During its return trip it stopped at several ports spending days before moving to the its next destination. Ports visited included Barbados, Martinique, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Jamaica and the Bahamas. It left Bermuda on December 25 for Liverpool, making a temporary stop at Halifax and arrived at the dock in Liverpool by March 14, 1917.

Seaman Elias Avery’s RNR Certificate Book (photo courtesy of Bill Avery)

On February 22, 1918, Seaman Elias Avery was transferred from the HMS Berwick to the HMS Vivid III. He received orders that he was going home to HMS Briton on January 1, 1919 where he was  demobilized on April 8, 1919.

Elias returned home and married Edith, daughter of Alexander and Rosannah Churchill of Northern Bight on August 8, 1919. He moved his family to Corner Brook by 1928 and was employed in the Pulp and Paper mill as a conveyor and chipper man. Seaman Elias Avery retired from his job at Corner Brook and passed away on January 23, 1971. His wife, Edith, died 13 years later on April 28, 1984 Both are buried at Mount Patricia Cemetery, Corner Brook.

Seaman William Avery’s medals now in the possession of his son, Wilson Avery

William returned to Long Beach  and married Susanna, daughter of Jacob and Emma(Tucker) Smith of Island Cove, on March 26, 1925. William’s was employed at the pulp and paper mill in Corner Brook for a short period of time before returning to Long Beach. He continued to be employed in the Labrador schooner fishery which he had started at the age of 10 with his father, due to his mother’s passing in 1904. William, like many other young men from the Southwest Arm area, spent time in the lumberwoods.

William passed away on May 29, 1983. Susanna continued to live with her youngest son for another 25 years and died at the age 101 years on September 28, 2008. Both are buried at the Long Beach United Cemetery.

Seven men from Long Beach enlist with Royal Naval Reservist                                                                                                           

Long Beach, c1945

The community of Long Beach stretches along a continuous beach that nature interrupts with a brook and two smaller cliffs. The beach outlines the communities fertile gardens that run perpendicular to the to the water. 

Since the settlers first arrived in the 1860s, the beach as offered yearly schools of caplin that were used to fertilize subsistence gardens and to feed families. The surrounding land encompasses the beach and offers an abundance of wood that was harvested and processed in sawmills. The communities listed land owners in 1873 were Vey’s, Barfitt’s, and Avery’s.

When the Great War was declared in August 1914, Long Beach answered the call. The community sent eight men. Seven enlisted with the Royal Naval Reserve and one served with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment.

The enlisted Royal Naval Reservist included brothers Abraham, Robert, and Nicholas Avery; brothers Elias and William Avery; and brothers Eldred and Eleazer Gosse. The only young man to enlist with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment was Wilson Vey. Eldred Gosse made the supreme sacrifice when he lost his life returning home on leave aboard the ill-fated HMS Laurentic.