Francis GRINWAY – Fog Signal Driver of “Outer Gabbard” light vessel (LV50) 1911


Francis Joseph was born Dec 1871, 3rd child of John (1843- ?) and Jane GRUNSALL (1842-1878) in Alton, Hampshire.

He joined the Trinity Service between 1901 and 1911 and stayed in their employment until retirement, eventually becoming Master. He moved from Harwich to Great Yarmouth between 1911 and 1919 and remained there for the rest of his life.

His father John was a plumber born in Wiltshire, who married Jane GRUNSALL, who already had a son Robert, in 1866 Alton, Hampshire. They had 4 sons together: George (1867 -) John (1859 -) Francis (1871 -1952), Henry (1874 -) After Jane died in 1878 he married Louise the following year, and had another son Henry John (1880-1881) who died in infancy. Louise died a month after that and John married a third time in 1888 in Farnham, Surrey where he died in 1894. The family seemed to move around based on the places of birth of the children ( Hampshire, Middlesex, Kent, Surrey).

Francis Joseph was with his father, step mother and siblings at 1 Barwick Cottages, St. Peters, Thanet in 1881. He married Eliza WIGLEY (1872-1960) in 1893 in Thanet district.

He appears on the 1901 census as Frank with wife Eliza and 2 children, William & Lillian living 17 Princes Street, Ramsgate. He is employed as a General Labourer, but the industry not given. His children are all born in Thanet district of Kent between 1895 and 1908.

By 1911 he is serving on Outer Gabbard light vessel as fog horn driver. His wife and 5 children at 4 Alexander Street, Bathside, Harwich.

By 1919 the family have moved to Great Yarmouth, the Mercantile Marine Ribbon issued for Trinity House Service in 1919 giving address as 81 St Nicholas Road Great Yarmouth, also listed on 1920 electoral register and 1939 Register.

1939 Register has only Francis – Lightship Master (ret’d) and wife Eliza.

He died April 1952, aged 80. Residence 15 Tyrolean Square, Great Yarmouth and buried 3 May at Gorleston Old Cemetery.

Eliza died 1960 in Great Yarmouth.

Of his children:

Francis Henry b. Thanet (1895-1897)

William George b. Thanet (1896 – 1980) m. Elsie 1924. 1939: Police Officer, Staines station (Met) 4 children.

Edith Eliza b. Thanet (1898 – 1899)

Lilian Rose b. Thanet (1900-1979) m. Augustus WILSON 1924 (I child) . d. 1979 Great Yarmouth.

Winifred Mary b. Thanet (1903 – ) m. Samuel SHARMAN 1926 ( 2 children) d. 1994 Portsmouth.

Maggie Violet b. Thanet (1906 – 1990) m. William TUBBY 1932 (1 child) d. 1990 Surbiton

Ernest Harold b. Thanet (1908 – ) m. Winifred CROSS 1933 1939 Meal Shop Assistant, Great Yarmouth. (1 child ) d. 2000 Great Yarmouth.

Contact with descendants:

No certain identification of living relatives, apart from his grandson John, son of Ernest Harold. He became a vicar and is still in Great Yarmouth. Emailed him Feb 2020 – unfortunately no recollections.

“Thank you for your enquiry regarding Joseph Greenway my grandfather, the information you have researched is very interesting, much of what you have discovered is not known to us but we are grateful to you for passing these facts to us, my brothers and myself. Detailed information of granddad’s time with Trinity House has not been passed down to us this is partly due to WW2 and my own earliest recollections of him was in about 1944 when I would have been 10years old. So thank you for the information you have, some of which we can confirm and some is new to us.

I wish you further success in your project, and regret that I could not provide further information.


Following our post on the crew of LV50 one of great Francis Greenway’s (Grinway) great grandsons has been in contact with up.

I don’t have any pics of my great grandfather Francis Joseph Greenway. I believe he stayed in the Trinity service and rose to the rank of master before he retired. He was born 1871 in Alton Hampshire and died in 1952 in Great Yarmouth. 

My Grandfather William George Greenway, we think, only served (with Trinity House) for a few years maybe 1919 to 1922. Then he joined the Metropolitan Police. 

He was born 1896 in Ramsgate Kent, died 1980 in Staines Middlesex.

William Greenway in 1913

His WW1 record is quite unusual, I think. He joined the East Kent Regiment (Buffs) in 1913 and when war was declared he transferred to 4th East Kent Battalion, Company “A”. They were then shipped off to India but stopped in S Aden on the way where the battalion saw a little action against the Turks. They eventually arrived in India and were stationed in Mhow in central India. Sometime in 1917 my grandfather volunteered for a composite battalion and so went off to fight the Turks, eventually arriving in Baghdad. Arriving back home in early 1919 after 6 years off he was demobbed and paid for 4 weeks leave! That’s when he re-joined his family and did a stint on the light ships. Whilst onboard and, I guess, with some time to kill he taught himself to play banjo and eventually played for the Metropolitan Police dance band.

Serjeant William Greenway at the end of the First World War, before joining Trinity House.