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Fredrick William Winder (1817-1912) - An Old Thames Postman.

Browsing through old newspaper cuttings, seeking interesting stories on Brockley and Ladywell Cemeteries, I struck gold with this interesting article on the life of Frederick William Winder, an old Thames Postman. 

Postman’s Adventurous life. 

The Funeral took place at Lewisham Cemetery on Saturday of Mr. Frederick William Winder, who has terminated a remarkable career at the age of 95 years. He was an old Thames Postman, and handled the Crimean mails. In the terrible winter of 1855, which stands out as one of most awful memories of the Crimean campaign, he carried the bags of letters over the Thames ice to the troopships lying opposite the old Deptford Victualling yard. 

The story of his career is a romantic one. He was the son of an army surgeon who went through the battle of Waterloo, serving in the 36th Regiment, who as the results of the terrible sights he witnessed, lost his reason. Only a short time before his death. Mr Winder chatted upon his remarkable experience with a representative of the Press. “I was named Frederick after Blucher,” he said. “I was been at Harwich, and when I was quite a kid I ran away to sea. I was always fond of the sea, when I was still a youngster I remember being frozen up for four months off Newfoundland. I went to Australia, and used to see the chained gangs of transported convicts hard at work on the land. It was in 1840 – the year the penny post came in that I first become a Thames Postman. My predecessor was on the river for 42 years. For about 30 years I used to deliver the letters to the ships lying between Limehouse and East Greenwich. They were all timber built ships in those days, and it was a wonderful sight to see them all on the water. I have counted as many as 300 “sail of ships” between Deptford Creek and Deadmans Dock. When the Crimean War was on, the Thames used to look like a forest with all the transport vessels and there big masts lying of the Deptford Victualling Yard” 

Clipping from the Aberdeen Press and Journal, 9th April 1912

The family grave of Frank William Winders Lies to the side of the Columbarium in Brockley Cemetery, Frank passed away on the 31st March 1912, his address at the time of his death, 106 Albacore Crescent, also interred with him, his first wife Hannah, and their infant sons and daughters, Hannah, Elizabeth, Samuel and Joseph. Sadly I can find very little of his parents. 

 Put together by FoBLC member Phill Barnes Warden