Samuel Rubery Mottershead

“I look back on my childhood and thank the stars above, for everything you gave me, but mostly for your love.” ~ Wayne F. Winters

My father was the best father in the world. Isn’t that what every daughter thinks about her Daddy? Well, I’m not sure whether they really do or not, but for me, my father was the best father ever.

He was the strongest, kindest, most loyal, bravest man who ever existed. When Dad was with me, I was completely safe from all harm. Nothing could hurt me when Dad was there to protect me. When we were together I was indestructible and so was he.

Why didn’t I ever tell him that? He needed to know that nothing could ever harm him, that he could fight dragons with his bare hands and still survive.

Maybe if I had remembered to tell him that, he would still be here today …

There’s one thing I do know that he knew. He knew how much I loved him, just as I know he loved me too. And for that, I thank the stars above.  Jo. xxx

~ ~ ~

Samuel Rubery Mottershead, born Manchester, Lancashire, England.

March 29, 1920 ~ August 16, 1998.

Baby Sam at 13 months of age.

Samuel Rubery Mottershead (Sam) was the eldest son born to Samuel Mottershead and Florence Edith Thompson. As a youngster, he was the wild child, the one who ran away with his mates on an adventure, forgetting to mention to his mother where she could find him.

The day Sam was born, he was blessed with fearlessness, a quality that remained with him throughout his entire lifetime. Nothing worried him; he never panicked; he never cried. He remained calm, logical and composed in all situations. That was the Sam the outside world knew.

But there was another side of Sam that his close family knew. A compassionate, gentle man who loved cats and would do anything to protect an animal from harm. And an intellectual man, spending hours researching topics of interest, or helping his daughters with their homework.

Sam in kindergarten. He is in the second row from the back, the fifth boy from the right.

He enjoyed his school days, as school satisfied his thirst for knowledge. A highly intelligent and inquisitive man, his mind retained knowledge and detailed facts with a precision that others only dreamed about.

At only fifteen years of age, Sam met the girl he would spend the rest of his life with, Annie Mansfield. From the time they met they were together, and married four years later on October 27, 1939, in Stockport, Cheshire, England, just eight weeks after Britain and France declared war on Germany.

Sam & Annie, 1940.

Sam had initially wanted to join the navy, although his final choice was the army, in which he became a paratrooper. He was proud of the fact that he had flown in hundreds of aeroplanes, yet had never once landed in a plane!

The years of World War II were not easy for Sam. His compassionate side could not tolerate the cold-blooded taking of human life that he witnessed and on a few occasions he was known to go AWOL (absent without official leave). Ultimately, he suffered from a condition then known as “war neurosis”, (now post-traumatic stress disorder) and shortly after a six-month stay in the hospital, Sam was discharged from the army in 1945.

Between 1942 and 1946, Sam became the proud father of three girls and in 1951, the family of five emigrated from Cheshire in England, making their new home in Sydney, Australia.

At the migrant hostel.

Living in a migrant hostel when they first arrived in their new country may not have been an ideal situation, but it was a beginning. Before too long, the family had a home of their own, a motorbike for transport which was soon upgraded to a car, new furniture, the girls began their new schools and Sam was employed, working in his chosen trade as an engineer welder.

The family in Australia, 1955.

By the 1960s, Sam and his family, (now four daughters, as I had been born), moved to the Blue Mountains, to live in a family home that Sam helped to build. Sam could turn his hand to anything he set his mind to; building, structural gardening, painting, car repairs or welding. He was a man who could fix or make anything.

Sam & Annie at the wedding of their daughter, Anne.

Throughout the 1960s, Sam continued to work as an engineer welder and by the late 1960s he had accepted a position building pumps and working in the mines, just outside of Sydney. He saw his three eldest daughters all married and settled into lives of their own. Now, Sam was ready for a change.

A workmate had decided to move his family to the northern New South Wales area, to become self-employed in a general store and takeaway food business. This idea appealed to Sam and so the family, now with just one daughter at home, was on the move again.

Whilst living in a caravan at Ballina in northern New South Wales, Sam fell in love with an old general store, opposite a busy railway station and on the main Pacific Highway, in Murwillumbah, N.S.W. The old building appealed to his sense of history, and the projected income appealed to his pocket!

The family spent three years working seven days a week in the general store, much to the dismay of Annie, who was not impressed with either the long working hours or the old building they now called home. Sam’s instincts regarding the business being something of a “gold mine” proved to be accurate and after three years they were on the move again, this time just a few kilometres further north, to Tweed Heads, on the border of New South Wales and Queensland.

After another three years had passed, Sam had had enough of being self-employed and went back to working in his old trade.

Just before retiring age, the factory in which Sam worked closed down. Not satisfied with sitting at home with his feet up, Sam soon found further employment working in the kitchen at a local club.

In 1993, it came as a huge blow to Sam when he lost his wife of fifty-three years, Annie. They had celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in 1989, with a get together of their daughters, their daughter’s husbands, all the grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Photos of the celebration can be found here … A Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration.

Sam survived for five years on his own, staying active by teaching himself how to cook, joining Neighbourhood Watch, buying a bike for bike rides to the beach, going for long walks and regularly spending time with his family and friends.

It was very sad to see Sam in his final year or two, as the once brilliant mind gave way to slight dementia. He remained, however, living independently in his own home at Tweed Heads, up until his final day, when he joined Annie.

Sam and his wife, Annie Mansfield, leave a legacy of their four daughters ~

And twelve grandchildren ~ Jeffrey, Jenine, Troy, Steven, Scott, Mark, Andrew, Mathew, Ben, Hayley, Emma and Adam.

Twenty-one great-grandchildren and four great-great-grandchildren. ❤

Sam aged 17, with Annie, 16.

A Golden Wedding Anniversary Celebration

On October 27, 1989, the family of Samuel Rubery Mottershead and Annie Mansfield joined together to celebrate Sam and Annie’s 50th Wedding Anniversary, at the home of their daughter, Vivien, in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia.

Their marriage took place on October 27, 1939, in Stockport, Cheshire, England.

The following photos tell the story of the day ~

Sam, Annie, their daughters and two youngest grandchildren, Ben & Hayley.

Sam, Annie and their four daughters. I wonder what was so funny?

Daughters Annette and Christine.

Sam & Annies Grandaughter Jenine, holding her son. Mathew. Jenine’s mother Annette is holding Sam & Annies youngest grandaughter, Hayley.

Sam’s brother Bill Mottershead, his wife Fay, Annie and Sam.

All of Sam & Annies grandchildren in 1989 ~ Troy, Jenine, Andrew, Jeffrey, Mark, Scott, Steven, Mathew. At the front, Hayley and Ben.

Sam & Annie cutting the cake. Annie said she was so happy!

Brothers Sam & Bill Mottershead.

Uncle David tickles his neice, Hayley, while big brother Ben looks on.

The whole family ~ Maria, Christine, Jo, Allan, Adrian, David, Troy, Brett, Jeffrey, Andrew, Annie holding granddaughter Hayley, Sam holding grandson Ben, Annette, Vivien, Jenni, Mathew, Scott, Steven, Jenine holding Mathew, and Mark.

Grandaughter Jenine holds her son, Mathew, and her neice, Hayley. The two babies were often refered to as the twins, as they were born one day apart, yet Hayley is the generation above Mathew.

Sam and Annie…So many presents to open!

Sam & Annies four daughters ~ Annette, Christine, Vivien and Jo.

Annie with her eldest grandchild, Jeffrey.

Cousins Troy and Hayley at play.

Annie…”Anyone for cake?”

Chatting with the girls outside in the Bar-b-que area.

Sam and Annie were married just after the outbreak of World War II, and a Sam was joining the army, they didn’t spend very much time preparing for their wedding day and there were no photos taken. They were married at the registry office in Stockport, with Sam’s parents as their witnesses.

After their wedding, they bought fish and chips, which they ate at home. Fish and chips remained a favourite meal throughout their married lives.

The next photo is Annie, wearing the dress she was married in. Annie said an artist added colour and definition to the original photo taken, and the gold coloured bow on her dress was a brooch.

Joanne Mottershead

I will begin the story of my family with an introduction to myself.

During the latter years of the Baby Boomers, I was born into a family of English migrants in New South Wales, Australia. My three elder sisters were all verging on adulthood when I was born and by the time I had reached the age of my earliest memories, they all had boyfriends and were preparing for marriage.

The three men my sisters married are as much a part of my childhood family as my sisters, I can’t remember a time when they weren’t in my life.

And so it came to pass that I spent most of my childhood years as virtually an only child, surrounded by a family of eight adults. Looking back, I feel that I enjoyed an idyllic childhood.

We lived in the Blue Mountains, about fifty miles west of Sydney in what was then a remote area, with a gravel road leading to our home. There were no children to play with in the street, so with the isolation and living with a family who all spoke with strong English accents, I grew up speaking with a broad northern England accent myself. My mother preferred to call me a ‘Pozzie’ –  a cross between a Pommy and an Aussie.

With Dad – 18 months

Once my three sisters were all married and with families of their own to care for, Dad and Mum decided the three of us would move to a warmer climate, so our house was sold, along with all of our furniture, and we headed north in search of a warmer climate.

For Mum and Dad to uproot the three of us and move north must have been the simplest of ideas – they barely batted an eyelid and off we went. I can imagine after transporting themselves and their three young daughters by ship to the other side of the world, a move north, taking them a mere six-hundred-and-fifty miles would seem easy.

At sixteen.

For me though, it wasn’t easy. I struggled to come to terms with leaving my sisters, brothers and their children, only accepting the idea of moving because I had to. It helped though to know we would make regular trips back to the Blue Mountains.

At age nineteen I met the man who became my husband and father of our four children. Allan was born and raised in a small town in far northern New South Wales. After finishing school, he had accepted a position in Sydney with Telecom Australia, so I moved to Sydney to be with him.

We were married at St. Philip Neri Church in Northbridge, Sydney, in 1979 and have two sons and two daughters.

Me and Allan with our firstborn

We spent the first fifteen years of our marriage in Sydney, the city I still call home. In 1992 however, and seven months pregnant with my third child, I made the same move I had made many years earlier with my parents – we moved back north.

There was a purpose for the move, however traumatic it seemed at the time. My mother had taken seriously ill and I didn’t know how much longer I would have her.

By August 1993 my mother was gone and over the next five years, it gave me the opportunity to really get to know my Dad. (Mum always said that every cloud has a silver lining!) Dad and I became very close during the years he lived alone and it hit me incredibly hard when one day, without a word of warning, he had joined my mother. ‘Dead’ is such a permanent word so I will not refer to any of my family in that way. They are no longer with me in physical form, but they are still with me.

With my second baby

Starting this website has been a dream of mine for many years now. It has taken a while to get my head around the planning and layout and what I wish to achieve, so I sincerely hope that eventually, many people will have the opportunity to be enlightened on aspects of their own branch of the family by visiting this website.

With baby number three

As new relatives are added to the site and I build on the information I have already found, it is my hope that you will find here more than just the branches of a tree, with names, dates and places. For as many relatives as possible, I will also include photos, personal stories and any information I have about their lives.

Baby number four

I’m sure I will continue to add to this site for many years, and it will never reach a stage of completion, as my search for ancestors continues.