South Shields Local History Group

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Blenkinsop, Joseph (B.E.M.)

Joseph Henry Blenkinsop was born on 18th May 1892 in South Shields.  He served with the Royal Navy in the First World War. 

In 1924 he started working for the South Metropolitan Gas Company as a donkeyman.  The donkeyman was the senior rating in the engine room. He was the overseer of the firemen and trimmers and assisted the engineer on watch. Did the oiling of the main engine and auxiliaries.  In port, he was on watch when the engineers were on day work and tended the engine room and boilers.

Camberwell 1924 (Kevin Blair)

The Camberwell was built in 1924 by the Tyne Iron Shipbuilding Co Ltd at Willington Quay for the South Metropolitan Gas Co, London and was broken up in 1958.

On 31st December 1943 Joseph was notified by letter at his home at 98 Stanhope Road by the Ministry of War Transport that he had been approved in the New Year’s Honour’s List for the British Empire Medal.

Blenkinsop Letter MOWT (David Jackson)
Blenkinsop 04 Letter S Met Gas Co (David Jackson)
Blenkinsop Letter MOWT 02 (David Jackson)
Blenkinsop 05 Letter King (David Jackson)

On the presentation day on 29th February 1944 at Buckingham Palace he attended with his wife Thelma, his daughters Joan and Dorothy. 

Joseph Henry Blenkinsop receiving the OBE 1944 Shields Daily Gazette
Blenkinsop 1944 Shields Daily Gazette

Unfortunately, you were only allowed one family unit per medal presentation but by a stroke of luck Joseph’s sister worked at Bucking Palace and managed to smuggle an extra family member in!

Joseph died in 1951.

David Jackson (grandson)
British Newspaper Archives

Camberwell, Kevin Blair

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