Charles Aspinell WARNES [1871-????] | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

Charles Aspinell WARNES [1871-????]

Charles Aspinell
Birthplace (town, state): 
Lambeth, London
Birthplace (country): 


I believe Charles Aspinell Warnes was born the son of a London plasterer in 1872 or 1873, but I need to check that. As husband of Elizabeth Ann Olson, he was (half-) brother-in-law to my grandmother, Hannah Warren, and parent of Iris, Marjorie and Cyril Warnes. He first appears in the Jurors List in 1906 as a Sorter in the HK & Kowloon Wharf & Godown Co. Ltd. but then becomes an Assistant in Lane Crawford 1908-1914. After 1914 he vanishes, but, unlike Elizabeth, is not buried in Happy Valley. There seems to be no family memory of his fate.


Could I return to the charge with my query about the fate of Charles Aspinell Warnes post-1914, the last date he appears on the Jury Lists as an employee of Lane Crawford? To recap my previous post, he was the husband of Elizabeth Warnes, my grandmother’s half-sister, but has disappeared from family memory. The couple was married in St John’s in 1905 and, if Warnes had died in Hong Kong, he should have been buried, like Elizabeth in the Colonial Cemetery. Aged about 42 at the outbreak of WW1 and father of three children, he was probably on the old side to enlist. There was an Olson theory that he might have gone to Indonesia to work. It is true that Evert Melcher, husband of his wife’s sister, Nellie, joined the Dutch East India Company and worked in Indonesia, but there is no record of dates and that may have been later. Elizabeth died of cancer in 1917, leaving three children, Iris (10), Marjorie (9) and Cyril (4) to be cared for by her brother’s family.

Educated at the Italian Convent in Hong Kong, Iris and Marjorie have grandchildren and great-grandchildren living in Australia who have inherited no information about Charles Aspinell Warnes’s fate. My feeble efforts at the National Archive haven’t come up with anything. Perhaps someone else more efficient at searching Asian newspapers and passenger lists could come up with a clue. I’ve seen “Aspinell” misspelt as “Aspinall” and “Warnes” misspelt as “Warner” by Carl Smith.

There is a record of Charles Aspinall (sic) Warnes son of Charles Warnes engineer and Lauretta who was baptised at Holy Trinity Church Lambeth 27 November 1870.  Oddly there is another record of Charles Aspinall(sic) Warnes son off Charles Warnes engineer and Lauretta baptised Holy Trinity Church Lambeth 17 December 1871. 

In the Royal Navy Seamen's Register he is shown as Charles Aspinell (sic) Warnes  date of birth 15 October 1871 and date of entry into service 9 January 1888.

There is a record of a death of Charles Aspinell (sic) Warnes in the September Quarter 1871 age 0 so this suggests that the child born and baptised in 1870 died and then a second child was given the same name and baptised in 1871 in December.

The 1871 census taken March/April shows Charles A Warnes 5 months living at 11 Little Paris Street Lambeth with parents and sibling Robert Warnes. This would be the Charles who died.

London School Registers show Charles Aspinell (sic) Warnes born 15 October 1871 son of Charles Warnes admitted to Addington Street School 16 June 1879.

In 1946 there is a record of a  Charles A Warnes and Eva G Warnes are living at 121 Tranmere Road Wandsworth. She was Eva G Edwards and they married in Wandsworth in 1944. Could this be him?

He was a seaman and  on two dates in 1911 there are records of C Warnes age 40 born England crew member of a ship called Whangape based in New Zealand.

Ther was a


Thank you, annpake, for your terrific findings in tracing Charles and Cyril Warnes. The Lambeth background matches up with the records that I had previously found for Charles. I somehow doubt, though, that the Charles A. Warnes who married Eva Edwards in 1944 would be our man. He would have been 73. On the other hand, the Charles Aspinell Warnes on the Seamen's Register must be the same man - but can we reconcile the entries on the Hong Kong Jurors List, which consistently have him as an Assistant at Lane, Crawford's until 1914, with his voyages on the Whangpe in 1911? I've dated the single extant family portrait of the Warnes to 1911, judging by the ages of the children, but that doesn't of course exclude Charles going to sea. I wonder if he could have combined his position at Lane, Crawford with his seafaring activities. I had previously wondered if he had died at sea, but those records are on a ship by ship basis, aren't they? The seafaring could certainly account for his complete disappearance from the Hong Kong scene. Please let me know if you come across anything else about him. I'd be most grateful.

I found three of my ancestors via BHC and added them to a list to "claim" them and was able to track them. It's a pity that W does not yet appear in their alphabetical list  but there is always hope. I checked the UK Merchant Seamen's Deaths but he was not listed there.

I wonder if Cyril Warnes, as an orphan, qualified to travel to Canada with the British Home Children group, but was picked up by a family contact on arrival. There seems to have been quite a Hong Kong/Canada network. My own father, cousin to Cyril and the Olson children, was at a boarding school on Vancouver Island from the age of 8 to 10, without returning to Hong Kong for school holidays.

As to Charles Warnes, is there a separate Royal Navy Seamen's list of deaths, separate to that of the UK Merchant Seamen's list of deaths?

5. BT334 - Registers and Indexes of Births, Deaths and Marriages of Passengers and Seamen at Sea, 1891-1972

In an ideal situation, all these entries should appear in the GRO Marine Registers but in practice there are many omissions as records were not always forwarded. The GRO Marine Registers themselves began much earlier than the BT records mentioned above but again there are many omissions in the early years. In order to search for a record of an event at sea, it may be necessary to search all of the above sources.

Family Search - Catalog - Index to marine death returns (deaths at sea) 1837 - 1965







Many thanks for these links. It's good to know where to look.