“The house named Cesterern was built in 1924 on a plot of land which was formally part of the orchard belonging to Elm Farm. It was built by Burnetts of Hickling for Percy and Beatrice Collishaw. Percy was born in 1893 and he was the son of James and Edith Collishaw of Elm Farm.
“During WWI Percy joined the army in 1915 and in 1917 he was sent to Eygpt in a troop ship named Cestrian and it was this ship after which the house was named, although spelt Cesterern.
“On the 24 June 1917 the Cestrian* was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine four miles southeast of Skyros Island in the Aegean sea (although we aren’t sure if Percy was onboard at the time*).
“The house was originally built as a 3 bedroomed 2 reception house. The construction was very up to date for its year of construction; one of the features being that from the foundations to window ledge height is of cavity wall construction.
“Just a little snippet from a neighbour; Percy wanted the garden paths to be able to take a pram along but, sadly, they had no children of their own.
“Percy Collishaw died in 1960 and his wife Beatrice died in 1969.
“Gillian and John Bloor have lived in Cesterern since 1970”
(Gill and John)
*The Cestrian was a British troop ship carrying troops and horses to Egypt. At the time of his posting, Percy Collishaw was listed as a driver.
(*copies of Percy Collishaw’s military records state that he was posted to Egypt on 20th June 1917 which seems to indicate that he might have been on board at the time the ship was sunk. However, records aren’t clear – on another form he is said to have been in Egypt from 25th April 1917 to 1st may 1918.)
- ‘Cestrian’ is the name given to people from the Cheshire/Chester area.
- The SS Cestrian was a passenger ship built by Harland & Wolff for F Leyland & Co; it was launched 21 September 1895.
- When the ship was torpedoed and foundered in June 1917 there were only 3 fatalities; the survival of so many of the crew and passengers has been attributed to the discipline of the troops on board.
- “On June 24th, 1917, the British troopship Cestrian, on a voyage from Salonica to Alexandria with 800 troops and horses, was sunk by the German submarine UB-42 (Kurt Schwarz), 4 miles SE of Skyros Island, Aegean Sea. 3 crew members were killed. Splendid discipline among the embarked troops was the sole reason that none were lost.”
- Captain Edward Thomas was awarded a silver medal having got ‘all his crew off safely except those killed in the explosion’ (an engineer and two firemen).
(In the Wadkin Archives, Beatrice is referred to by her middle name, Maud. This may be because there was another Beatrice Collishaw in Hickling; daughter of George Henry and Annie Lizzie Collishaw (born 1900) – although, she married Joseph Green in 1922 before Percy married Beatrice Maud Carr in 1924. The relationships between branches of the Collishaw family at this time are complicated but Beatrice (Collishaw) Green and Percy Collishaw weren’t closely related although they grew up as contemporaries in Hickling.)
From the Wadkin Archives: