BRITISH INDIA COMMODORE, CAPTAIN FRANCIS ROBERT CAMMACK.
In 1866 Francis Robert Cammack, my grandfather was born and in 1879 he became a boarder at Mount St Mary’s College, I believe this school was in Derbyshire. The family history records that, tired of life at the college F.R. Cammack ran away to sea in 1884 joining the barque, “Chaneral,” it is not known to what company this ship belonged. Francis then commenced his apprenticeship aboard the sailing ship “Sudan” in 1886 and it is known that he was in Calcutta in 1889. In 1897 Francis returned to the UK and joined a ship that was engaged in trooping duties down to South Africa during the Boer War and it was during one of these voyages that he met his wife to be, Mabel Martha Walsh, they were married the following year. In 1900 his ship carried troops to Taku in China during the Boxer Rebellion and it was in this year that his son, one Francis John Cammack was born, my father, and it was to be another five years before they were to meet for the first time. Francis senior, by now a captain for BI had arrived home from India to take command of R.M.S. ”Vita” whilst the vessel was still at her builders, Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd on the Tyne and on completion “Vita” sailed for Bombay as 1914 came to an end. Having completed few commercial voyages “Vita” was taken over as an Indian Expeditionary Force ship in the October of 1915 and converted, as her sisters in the May of the following year for use as a hospital ship, she remained under Government control until April of 1922. My Grandfather had a brief period on leave during 1918 and spent much of it at the family home in Berkhamstead and again he was in UK waters in 1920 when his ship visited Southampton. In 1925 my Grandfather finally retired from life at sea as the Commodore of the British India Steam Navigation Company Limited after forty-one years at sea and enjoyed his retirement until the 16th of November 1940 when he died.
The site is indebted to Robert for the following photos.
There follows some pictures of the family of the grandson of Commander taken whilst living in India.
21/12/30 My parents with servants at the house at Dishergarh. Man running behind bush is Dhobi wallah who was afraid of the camera's 'evil eye'
Long verandah at Dishergarh bungalow
May 1929 My mother with 'Ted' at the Butia Monastery Ghoom with young lamas.
5/1/30 My mother at the Parasnath bungalow. Parasnath Hill (4,500 ft) near Niamaghat, Bengal. One servant packing away the tea things in a basket while the chakidar looks on.
A pic-nic at Serberi (Shades of Passage to India)
Jan 1931 My motherwith my grandmother (Wife of Capt. Cammack) at Dishergarh colliery with two dancing girls and two drummer boys.