This true story concentrates on 3 Families linked together in great sadness. (The names in bold are the main Characters.)
The McArthur/ Fossett (or Fawcett)/ Ley/ Quigley Family Link!
John McArthur, Fisherman, then Harbourmaster, married Catherine Brown 12.12.1852 in Queensferry. They had 4 Daughters and 3 Sons, Agnes, Ann, Margaret, Jemima, John, Neth and William.
Son John McArthur married Emily Fossett (name spelling varies on different documents, Fawcett or Fossett) sister of Robert Fossett who married Catherine McArthur (see below), and they had 7 sons and 3 daughters. William died in WW1 in 1918, John, who served in the Royal Scots, died in 1923 of Tuberculosis, and James, who served in the Seaforth Highlanders and Colin, both died in 1923 of Tuberculosis. Margaret, who married Thomas Ley- Thomas and his brothers David and William all died as result of the War. John and Emily's other children were Elizabeth and Ellen, Peter, Robert and Alexander. Elizabeth married Michael Quigley in 1906, who died in France in 1917.
John's sister Jemima McArthur grew up in Queensferry and although she never married she had several children. In later years she was living with John McKinley an Irish Labourer ,and she is Mother to Catherine McArthur c1857 – who married Robert Fossett, Butcher (see above) and they had 3 sons and 2 daughters, John, Robert, David and Margaret, who married Henry Marshall. Robert and David both died in WW1.
Jemima's other children were John McArthur c1864, Mary McArthur, later named McKinley c1870 and Peter McKinley c1865. The surname differences are confusing, but they are as they appear in Census forms. Dates as always in Census forms are approximate, spellings are often phonetic.
Jemima McArthur died on 6.11.1913, aged 80, in Hill Square, Queensferry, of Bronchitis and Heart Failure, still a Spinster. Her Brother John McArthur, of Post Office Close, notified her death.
She effectively lost, during World War 1 -3 nephews, 1 brother in Law and his 2 brothers, and 2 Grandsons.
For her Brother John and his wife Emily Fawcett, the same loss was 3 Sons, a Son In Law and his 2 Brothers, also 2 Nephews.
Further research will show other members of these 3 Families dying at this time but not related to the War.
Although Margaret McArthur, Daughter of Jemima, married a Henry Marshall, there is no evidence so far to relate them to the Marshall's whose names are also on the Queensferry Memorial. Research on this is still ongoing.
Many other families were related through marriage and suffered multiple losses. Some examples are the Lapsleys and the Smiths. Elizabeth lapsley was married to John Smith, who died at home as a result of the War in 1917. Her brothers Robert and James both were killed in 1914 and 1916 respectively.
Quigley and McArthur, Michael Quigley who was killed in action on 1917 was married to Elizabeth McArthur. Elizabeth lost her brother William in 1918.
The names of the men who died are all commemorated on Queensferry's War Memorial.
There are seven cases of Brothers lost from Queensferry and one in Dalmeny, causing great grief to families. The men below (but 1) all served in WW1.
1. In Queensferry, Robert Lapsley (France- 1914) and James Lapsley (France- 1916). 2/2 Sons gone.
2. Peter Smith (France ) and John Smith (Greece) both killed in September 1916. 2/2 Sons gone.
3. Charles Sandercombe (France- 1916) and James Sandercombe (Belgium- 1918). 2/3 Sons gone.
5.Robert Fossett (Mesopotamia-1918) and David Fossett (India 1921). 2/2 Sons gone.
6. And sets of three brothers, David Ley -July 1916 at home due to Emphesema, William Ley - June 1917 in France, and Thomas Ley –December 1919 at home due to Tuberculosis. 3/5 Sons gone.
7. William McArthur (France- 1918), John McArthur (at home- 1921, Tuberculosis) and James (and Brother Colin McArthur (too young to serve) (both at home-1923, Tuberculosis). 4/6 Sons gone.
Also, in Dalmeny, William Wales –August-1917, Alexander-Wales – April-1917, and George Wales-March- 1918, although Alexander and George are not on the Dalmeny Memorial. 3/4 Sons gone.
© Queensferry History Group 2014