East Anglian Ancestors

Norfolk & Suffolk genealogy

Sydney Leonard Bird – Steward New Zealand Shipping Line


1897 – 1938

My grandfather Sydney Leonard Bird was born in Homerton in 1897. He served in the Royal Artillery during World War I and married my grandmother Lily Fairweather in 1928. He worked in the Merchant Navy until his death in 1938.

We know for sure that he served as a steward aboard New Zealand Shipping Company vessels RMS Remeura and MV Rangitata. He may have also served aboard the Rangitki. However, the hat badge in the above photograph does not look like the NZSC hat badge.

Our family album contains postcards of two MacIver line ships, the Lombardy and the Sicily. This line went into liquidation in 1931/1932 and the two vessels were transferred to the Royal Mail Line. We don’t know whether he served aboard these vessels – perhaps the hat badge relates to those lines?

If anyone reading this article is able to identify the hat badge, it would be fascinating to know more. Maritime genealogy is most definitely not my strong point so perhaps someone more experienced in this field would know if it’s easy (or even possible) to obtain crew lists for the Remeura and Rangitata?

Author: Jacqui Beard

Wife, mother, & property/finance professional having an obsession with genealogy bordering on the unhealthy. I live just north of Cheltenham with my family, a grumpy border terrier and four plump, friendly chickens. When not "playing with dead people," as my husband so charmingly puts it, I can be found pottering around the garden or writing.

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