How my family came to Grimsby


My great grandfather, Isaac Forward, was a tailor from Pitminster in Somerset.

He married there, and moved up through the country; first Weston-Super-Mare and ending up in Salford. Business was good for a while, but gradually the effects of industrialisation meant that there was very little work for him.

He set off for America, leaving his wife and children behind,

planning to bring them over when he had settled.

Unfortunately a giant wave swamped the ship, and he was drowned.



Warren Line

Built 1872 W. Simons & Co

2,397 tons; 320 ft x 36.5 ft x 28.7 ft

11 knots; compound inverted engines.

8th February 1883 On voyage from Liverpool to Boston, she set off in bad weather. At 1.20 am on the 14th she was struck by a tremendous wave. When she emerged, the foremast, bridge and the deck had been stripped. The main hatches were stove in and the engine room was flooded. The captain and seven men on deck at the time were swept overboard, one of these men was my great grandfather. Fortunately the weather moderated and the ship remained afloat.

On the 16th she was sighted by the steamship REPUBLIC which took off the remaining 44 survivors, just before the GLAMORGAN finally sank.


His wife, Hannah was left destitute, and two of her children were placed in the workhouse. One was my grandfather, Edward. He was an accomplished cornet player and played in the silver band for the opening of the Manchester Ship Canal. When the insurance settlement came for the death of Isaac, she took two of her sons to Kingston-on-Hull, leaving two daughters, now married, in Manchester. A younger son had died in Salford. She also left Edward behind, as he had run away from the workhouse, to take up work on ships. Edward worked all manner of ships, sail and steam, taking him from Liverpool to London and Hull, calling at Penzance, which he liked so much he stayed there, and he met and married my grandmother. Edward’s brothers were George and Charles Forward. George was a fisherman and lived in Sculcoates; Charles, also a fisherman, moved to Grimsby.


Edward was the only surviving male, as both George and Charles were killed in the First World War. I have no details of just how Great Uncle George died. Great Uncle Charles died on the THEBAN in 1919. Edward went on to become a Merchant Navy officer, receiving a commendation for his actions on convoy.

I have not yet discovered which ship or what convoy; but there was a framed inscribed brass plate with photographs of the ship and the convoy,

together with his potrtait as an officer.

When young, making notes of such things does not seem important.

But that is one thing that I wish I had written down.

My grandmother was so proud of it that she hung it,

in pride of place, over the fireplace wherever she lived.


Men of Grimsby : A Record of Their War Services 1914 - 1918

Forward, Charles - Back 37 Kent Street; Minesweeping




Mercantile Marine; Fourth Hand

Steam Trawler "Theban" (Grimsby)

Died: 14th November 1919

Son of the late Mr and Mrs. Forward;

Husband of Emily Wilkinson (formerly Forward, nee Rowan),

of Back 37, Kent Street, Grimsby.

Born at Manchester

(a bit of an insult to a Salford man –

a different place, so my father used to say).


Men of Grimsby : A Record of Their War Services 1914 - 1918

Forward, Walter (Son of Charles Forward)- Back 37 Kent Street.

22608DA - D.H. - HMT TRIBUNE


FORWARD, Charles (Son of Charles Forward) - Back 37 Kent Street

Trained HMS ACTAEON [Shore base]; 1240 D A (Deck. Hand)

He died in August 1918; HMS LYNX.

Charles Forward junior died as a result of

wounds sustained, three years previously,

when the Destroyer HMS LYNX sank

 when she struck a mine on the  9th August 1915.



Built 1912  London & Glasgow Shipbuilding Co

950 tons L-class Destroyer; oil engines; 31 knots

9th August 1915  The destroyer, under Cdr. J.F.H. Cole, was serving in North Scottish waters; She struck a mine, previously laid down by German raider METEOR, and sank off the Moray Firth.

73 officers and ratings, including Cdr. Cole, were drowned.

Four officers and 22 ratings survived.


HMS Lynx


Grimsby St James Church Memorial


Charles Forward (junior) on Roll 7


Roll of honour 1914-1918

Charles Forward (junior) on HMS Lynx; Calendar 81


Thanks to John Readman for taking the photographs.


For more on Grimsby trawlers visit …

There is also an excellent Grimsby thread on


Raymond Forward