William Harrison. was born in Harrietsham on the 11th June 1833, part of a large family with 7 brothers and 5 sisters. In 1850 at the age of 17 William entered the service of Messrs. R, Green & Co., of Blackwall as a mid-shipman and sailed from the East India dock on his first ship ‘Investigator’ on the 14th July bound for Hong Kong arriving there 5 months later on the 14th December. After discharging cargo and collecting stores and water the ship sailed to Singapore before proceeding to Burma where it collected rice for transporting to England arriving in October 1851. After two voyages William was promoted to Fourth Mate and stayed on the ‘Investigator’ for the next 4years until being promoted to Second Mate on the ship ‘Barham’ on his fifth voyage in June 1856. In 1863 he married a Miss Williams of Sydney N. S. W. whose father was the proprietor of the Commercial Hotel in Sydney. They had five children all boys, William John, born in Barnsbury, London in 1864, Edmund born at sea on board ship ‘Blackwall’ in 1866, James, born in Harrietsham in 1867, Leslie born at Parramatta N. S. W. in 1868 and Robert Lennox born in Harrietsham in 1870. William was Chief Mate on the ship ‘Anglesey’ on his eighth and ninth voyages before taking command of the ship ‘Blackwall’, on its journey to Adelaide in July 1861, which he captained for the next 5years. In 1867 he captained the ship ‘Highflyer’ on which his son Edmund was born. Williams final voyage at sea was still as Captain of the ‘Highflyer’ which left London on the 7th January 1871 bound for Melbourne arriving there on the 9th April. The ship then made voyages with cargo to Madras and Calcutta before travelling to Mauritius on its way back to Australia. On the 12th March 1872 the ‘Highflyer’ left Sydney bound for London. The last entry in Williams Captains log was made by himself on April 24th, 1872, giving the ships position as Lat. 44.25S and Long. 52.14W. That evening he was taken very ill with great pains in his chest passing away in the next morning on the 25th April at the age of 39yrs. William was buried at sea but there is a stone memorial in his memory in the Churchyard to the rear of the St. John the Baptist Church.


The above information was provided by Stuart Bligh a former resident of the village.