The Lamberts of Fox Harbour Serve King and Country

Reprinted from The Packet, July 19, 20018
by Lester Green

Seaman Thomas Lambert and his brother, Private John Lambert. (Photo courtesy of Gordon Lambert)

There were three Lamberts who served from Fox Harbour during the Great War. Thomas and John were sons of Samuel and Rebecca Lambert. Eucleus, the youngest son of William Henry and Sarah Ann (Baker), joined the Royal Naval Reserve on March 1, 1913 at the age of 20 years old.

Naval records indicate that Thomas enlisted in 1905. An article entitled “The Boys Who Circumnavigate the Atlantic North and South” that appeared in the Evening Telegram during this time, list Thomas Lambert as one of the Royal Naval Reservists onboard the HMS Scylla. John decided to join the Royal Newfoundland Regiment on July 27, 1915 but contracted yellow fever shortly after his arrival in France. He was admitted to the Heathfield Hospital at Prestwick, Scotland on April 6, 1916 and died the following day.

Seaman Thomas Lambert. (Photo courtesy of Baxter Smith)

After receiving orders by Royal Proclamation in August, 1914, Thomas reported to the HMS Calypso, St. John’s and was discharged to the HMS Niobe on September 5. Unlike other sailors from the Southwest Arm area who were travelled overseas aboard HMS Franconia, Thomas and four others sailors from the area spent 11 months patrolling the waters off eastern Canada and the Boston States. When the HMCS Niobe’s boilers gave trouble and were beyond repairs in August 1915, she was docked in Halifax and became a depot ship.

Thomas was assigned overseas on December 8, 1915 and arrived at HMS Victory I, a shore-base naval facility that served as an accounting base and holding barracks for the fleet sailing out of Portsmouth. He spent one month before being transferred to HMS Excellent, a shore-base establishment at Whale Island near Portsmouth that was used primarily as a Royal Navy Gunnery school. After completing two months training, he was assigned to HMS President III where he spent the next two years serving on various patrol vessels. His final naval assignments were HMS Excellent, then returned to HMS President III and the HMS Vivid III where he awaited final orders for his transfer back to HMS Briton. He returned to Newfoundland on March 29, 1919 and was demobilized on May 12, 1919. He settled with his wife, Elizabeth Sarah Stringer, on the eastside of St. John’s and raised his children there until his death in the 1950s.

Seaman Eucleus Lambert. (Photo courtesy of Edith Lambert)

Seaman Eucleus Lambert was first cousin to Thomas and John and all were grandchildren of James and Elizabeth (Martin) Lambert. He travelled with Josiah Avery and Timothy Smith to St. John’s and signed his application for training on the HMS Calypso on March 1, 1913 completing 28 days of training. The following year he completed another 28 days. He then returned to Fox Harbour.

When war was declared by Great Britain against Germany, Seaman Eucleus Lambert received notice by Royal Proclamation to report to St. John’s on August 4. He continued training until November 10, at which time he was assigned to duty with the HMS Calypso. He remained at St. John’s and patrolled the waters around Atlantic Canada. A complete naval record could not be located at this time but an article published in the Evening Telegram on April 23, 1919 indicates that he returned home from Halifax to HMS Briton where he was demobilized.

Royal Naval Reserve. Source Evening Telegram 1905-11-04

He returned home to Southport and continued with the fishery. On May 8, 1916 he married Leticia, daughter of Robert and Sarah Martha (Benson) Miller, of St. Jones Within. Together they raised eight children at Southport. He passed away in 1979, three years after his wife, Leticia. Both are buried at the old United Church cemetery, Southport.





Southport, 1994. (Packet file photo)

The community of Fox Harbour, now known as Southport, was among one the earliest settlements to have residents stay year around in the Random region. Records indicate that by 1830 people were staying year round at this primarily inshore fishing community. The community was involved in the construction of a number of schooners and harvested the wood resource in the area, especially Deer Cove on Random Island. Most of the men were skilled sailors and were at ease sailing the waters of the region.

The community contributed greatly to British conflict overseas during the Great War. Eight of their young boys would step forward to sail with the Royal Newfoundland Naval Reserve from this fishing outport.  John Lambert spent a short period with the Royal Naval Reserve in 1906 but choose to enlist with the Royal Newfoundland Regiment during the Great War. He lost his life shortly after arriving overseas because of Scarlet Fever. All were 1st cousins and related through the Smith’s ancestral line and one through the Lambert’s bloodline.