Henry George M Haggis

#35914, b. 18 May 1896, d. 7 July 1919

Details of the photos - Pictures of Jeannie Scroggs and Henry George Haggis who is buried on Thursday Island in the Torres Straits, north of Queensland and south of Papua New Guinea. The picture of them standing was taken in late1916 after they were married (notice the wedding ring, it may even have been their wedding photo) the picture of Henry George sitting was taken in January 1916,(they were married on April 16th 1916). From

Individual's Timeline

Birth18 May 1896Henry George M Haggis1
Birth RegSeptember 1896Henry George M Haggis2
Christening23 October 1901Henry George M Haggis1,3
Marriage16 April 1916Henry George M Haggis
Death7 July 1919Henry George M Haggis4

Primary events

Secondary circumstances

Census details

Some aspects of Henry George M Haggis's life. I believe that Henry George was on the King George VII when it was mined and sunk off Ireland. All except one man were rescued.

On 6 January 1916, King Edward VII — having transferred her flag temporarily – departed Scapa Flow at 07:12 on a voyage around the northern coast of Scotland to Belfast, where she was scheduled to undergo a refit. At 10:47, she struck a mine that had been laid by the German auxiliary cruiser SMS Möwe off Cape Wrath. The explosion occurred under the starboard engine room, and King Edward VII listed 8° to starboard. Her commanding officer – Captain Maclachlan – ordered her helm put over to starboard to close the coast and beach the ship if necessary, but the helm jammed hard to starboard and the engine rooms quickly flooded, stopping the engines. Counterflooding reduced her list to 5°.[11]

Signals to the passing collier Princess Melita induced her to close with King Edward VII and attempt to tow the battleship; soon, flotilla leader Kempfenfelt also arrived and joined the tow attempt. Towing began at 14:15, but King Edward VII settled deeper in the water and took on a 15° list in a rising sea and strong winds and proved unmanageable. Princess Melita?'?s towline parted at 14:40, after which Captain Maclachlan ordered Kempfenfelt to slip her tow as well.[11]
King Edward VII sinking off Cape Wrath on the afternoon of 6 January 1916.

With flooding continuing and darkness approaching, Captain Maclachlan ordered King Edward VII abandoned. The destroyer Musketeer came alongside at 14:45, and she and destroyers Fortune and Marne, took off the crew with the loss of only one life (a man fell between the battleship and one of the rescue vessels), the last man off being Captain Maclachlan, who boarded destroyer Nessus at 16:10. Fortune, Marne, and Musketeer departed to take the battleship's crew to port, while Nessus stayed on the scene until 17:20 with tugs that had arrived to assist. After Nessus departed, the tugs continued to stand by, and saw King Edward VII capsize at 20:10 and sink around nine hours after the explosion.[12]

At the time it was not clear whether King Edward VII had hit a naval mine or a been torpedoed. The presence of the minefield was determined from an examination of German records after the war.

Some aspects of Henry George M Haggis's life. A fellow researcher has contacted me with the following information - Henry George was part of a contingent that sailed submarines from the UK to Sydney in 1919. These subs were a contingent of J CLASS submarines, and one can be found in, of all places, the Sandringham Yacht Club in Melbourne. Utube as a video - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkAE-BlNerY If the link fails, just search for Sub J7.

Henry never made it past Thursday Island. He died of the flu, as it was pandemic around the world at the time. It is said that the flu killed many more people that WW1 at the time. He probably picked the flu up in Singapore while there for a stopover for a couple of days.

Henry's milliary career - In 1913, Henry joined the army reserve for 6 years, but deserted within the month. In 1916, when he married, he was a stoker in the Royal Navy The National Archives has a page that indicates his number was K23543

Brendan McHarg's article last month (this was sometime in 2007) re Stoker Haggis drew the following response from Tonu Vine. "I have found Stoker Haggis' File and yes he was an RN'er who was "Lent to the RAN" from April 1919 for J Boat and he died at TI from Influenza. I tapped into the Commonwealth War Graves indexes and it indicates that Stoker Haggis actually died on 7 July 1919, which means he probably was landed from J7 the week before when the submarine got to TI. I suggest the Tombstone is wrong. It is interesting because War Graves are normally pretty meticulous about these things, it’s possible that because it was erected by a service group they have not put in on their books. For those who are about to point out that the War was over, it actually wasn't considered to be for many more months and the CWG Commission take in deaths up to about 1920. Interesting he does not appear on the Australian war Memorial Database.

Haggis's number of 9536, an RN'er on loan to the RAN who signed on when the J Boats Commissioned in mid March 1919. If my memory is right, all the Poms had 9000 or 10000 numbers. That would explain why he was on the War Graves as Australian but not on the AWM list.

There is a Henry George Haggis file in the national archives but unfortunately, it is one of the few from that era that has not been converted to electronic format. I will ask that it be scanned and get back to you.

There is a file knocking around somewhere as this is on the submariner's web site http://www.upperiscope.com.au

Sid Patterson has sent me details of his postings in the Navy - also attached as an exhibit (but not on public view).

Sidney informed me of the following snippet - It is interesting to note that when these 6 J Class subs set sail from England after being commissioned into the RASN some of the crews were made up of a former Australian POWS who had been captured by the Turks during the Battle of the Dardanelles when they had been captured in their submarine. (note from Shirley - methinks this would make an interesting, fact based, novel)

Please see the attached wod doc for Sydney's story, with illustrations, in his own words.


  • 1919, He was a sailor who caught the Spanish Flu, and is buried on Thursday Island. A pdf file with the headston is attached as an exhibit. Click on the pdf symbol

Research Notes

  • Research note 01: Many items on this page have been supplied by Sid PATTERSON (thanks, mate).

Child of Henry George M Haggis and Jenny Scroggs


  1. Certificate or Original Parish Reg Entry, Extract from original records.
  2. Free UK BDM index from 1837, online http://freebmd.rootsweb.com, Henry George Haggis
    Year of Registration:      1896
    Quarter of Registration:      Jul-Aug-Sep
    District:      Romford
    County:      Essex
    Volume:      4a
    Page:      457.
  3. Certificate or Original Parish Reg Entry, Extract from original records, Henry George Haggis
    Record Type:      Baptism
    Estimated Birth Date:      abt 1901
    Baptism Date:      23 Oct 1901
    Father's name:      Henry George Haggis
    Mother's name:      Mary Ann Haggis
    Parish or Poor Law Union:      Hatcham Park All Saints
    Borough:      Lewisham.
  4. Cemeteries in Australia, Aust Cemetery Index 1808-2007, Henry George Haggis
    Death Date:      07 Jul 1919
    Death Place:      Queensland
    Registration Place:      Queensland
    Registration Number:      004560
    Page Number:      805.
  5. Sidney Patterson, "Sidney Patterson email," e-mail from e-mail address, various.