Second son of Henry Ough and Anna Bartholomew. Born 5 June 1875, Died 4 November 1934. Educated Kings College Scholl London, Cadet London Rifle Brigade.

Metallurgist. Employment in England - Clark, Bryan and Mays , Great Eastern Railway in Stratford and Woolwich Arsenal.

Sydney Ough crossed the Atlantic for Mexico in 1903 He was followed later by his sweetheart Florence Glanville in the SS William Cliff. They were married in Christ's Church Anglican Cathedral, Mexico City in the same year.

SWO first worked in the mill of the San Luis silver mining company at San Luis de la Paz in the Mexican State of Guanajuato. The first child was Henry Sydney born there 10 August 1905. Daughter Am Florence was born at Lynmouth in Dorset 29 April 1907. The second son, Walter Glanville, was born in Guanajuato City 1 October 1909

SWO was transferred to The Nayal Mill of the Mexican Milling and Transportation Company in Guanajuato, later to Pinguico Mines and El Cuto in Guanajuato and Sominil in the state of Sinaloa. He did consulting work at Timascaltepec in the State of Mexico and at El Oro. He became Mill Superintendent at the San Fransisco Mill of Cia Mineria y Beneficiadora de Maravillas y San Fransisco in Pachuca, capital of the state of Hidalgo. He and the family lived at the El Carmen Mine adjacent to the Cornish Pump House that was still working in 1914.

The outbreak of the Great War in Europe coincided more or less with the deterioration of the situation in Mexico wirh the start of the Revolution in the same year. Consequently SWO decided to return to England with his family.

Disruption of communications and irregular train times led to the family spending over a week on the platform f the Buena Vista Station in Mexico City, terminal of the British owned Mexican Railway, waiting for a train to Veracruz.. A freight train was finally assembled and permitted by the rebels to leave. But they decided to prevent any further departures by dynamiting the train behind this last one to Veracruz. Being a freight train the amenities on board were few, but the family was allowed to travel n the caboose.

The journey from Mexico City to Veracruz took 8 days when in normal times it could be done in within a day. The journey proved to be not too uncomfortable. Passenger trains usually took 12 hours for the journey to cross the Mexican plateau and descend the 6000 ft escarpment and to cross the coastal plain to the Gulf. Freight trains took a day and a night. But the SWO special took a week to do the 280 miles . The delays were caused principally by a derailment beyond Cordoba that compelled the crews to build a new section of rail around the obstruction.

Once in Veracruz accommodation was found by the British Consul, Mr Hogg After delays SWO obtained passage to New York on the Ward Liner “Moro Castle”.

The winter of 1914 was severe with high winds and blizzards. New York seemed a cold and unfriendly city. The SWO party stayed for nearly 2 months at the Cornish Arms Hotel managed by Mr Syd Blake. Passage to England was eventually obtained on the SS Lapland of the Belgium Red Star Line early in 1915. The voyage was rough and lifeboat drill a daily routine once in the Western Appoaches. The deck cargo of lorry chassis was evidence of war supplies being sent to Britain. The fear of U boat attacks was constant until the ship finally docked in Liverpool.

SWO took his family to Chelston near Torquay in South Devon to stay with his parents for a brief period. School was arranged for the three children. He then set about finding a job in wartime England. He expected to be called up for the army, but his poor eyesight precluded active service. So he found a post a Woolwich Arsenal and remained there for the duration of the war working with his brother in law Norman Gibson who was resident railway engineer.

The family moved to Barry Road in Dulwich,.Later, when the enemy bombing was causing mounting casualties in London, the family went to the village of Scrubwood near Wendover in Buckinghamshire whilst Sydney Ough continued to work at the Woolwich Arsenal..

When hostilities ended with the signing of the Armistice in 11 November1918, the demobilisation of servicemen resulted in a glut in the labour market in most of the allied countries. Swords were literally being beaten into ploughshares and as a result, work at the Woolwich Arsenal diminished. SWO was no longer need at the Arsenal and so decided to return to Mexico to resume his career in mining.

The move back to Mexico was encouraged by the political stability in the country as the early excesses of the War of revolution were spent. General Alvaro Obregon was now President following the assassination of his predecessor Venustiano Caranza. Obregon's government was also recognized by the US and the UK and other countries This gave a further promise of stability and a better future for Mexico.

Leaving his family in Torquay once again SWO took ship in 1920 on the SS Ortega from Liverpool. But did not go very far as the ship collided with floating wreckage in the Irish Sea that so damaged the hull that it was forced to go astern until it managed to limp into Fishguard. There it remained until it could be patched. Passengers disembarked and SWO returned to Torquay. The second attempt to leave a few weeks later was successful and he departed from Liverpool on the SS Celtic for New York. He reached that port via the notorious immigration centre on Ellis Island in the sweltering heat of mid summer.

It was in the gloomy echoing caverns of the centre that immigrants were forced to undergo a degrading and searching examination by tough, unsympathetic immigration inspectors before being permitted to enter the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”.

Travelling as a transit passenger en route for Mexico SWO was annoyed at being routed via Ellis Island. His temper was not improved by an uncouth official shouting at him “Vos you spik Inglis?”. SWO is alleged to have replied “ Yes and a damn sight better thsan you do!”

Continuous travel by train for 8 days was required to travel the 3000+ miles to Mexico City where he re-established contact with the people he had known in the mining field.

After a foray into El Oro in the State of Mexico he rejoined his old company Maravillas y San Fransisco in Pachuca as Superintendent of the San Fransisco Mill once more. This mill treating silver ore common to all mines in the district, by the cyanidation process had been in the vanguard of progress in application of newly developed methods and equipment. It was notable in having been the first plant in America to avail itself of the columnar pneumatic pulp agitator invented in the South African gold fields by Brown. The company incorporated 8 of these 15' diameter x 60' high tanks in their “all slime cyanidisation flow sheet. The metallurgical benefits obtained resulted in the sudden popularity of this type of agitator which was installed far and wide as the “Pachuca Tank”.

A few months after his return to Pachuca, the Maravillas Company was faced with a major crisis when the masonry dam holding the mill water supply burst. This barrage across the creek below San Francisco Mill impounded a lake ½ mile long, had been raised some 3' during the war years to provide a larger reserve. But it was inadequately re-enforced so eventually gave way. The resulting torrent of water an mud rushed down he canyon causing the deaths of 21 people. SWO was in no way to blame for the catastrophe but was arrested anyway and thrown into the town gaol. He languished there for several weeks until his friends were able to convince the Mexican authorities that e was not responsible for the failure of the dam and he was released.

The Maravillas Company was never able to resume milling operations after the dam failure. It preferred to sell its ore to the Cia Real del Monte y Pachuca mill, and little by little all the plant and equipment was sold to other operators. SWO remained with the company as manager transferring his residence to the large house in the old mill of Progreso in Galicia Street in the town.

By the year 1924 the political situation in Mexico was much improved. The principal revolutionary leaders, Venistianao Carranza,Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa were all dead by assassination. Power was in the hands of Alvaro Obregon (to be assassinated himself in 1928), and Plutarcho Elias Calles. An attempted revolt by a local caudillo (Cavazos) easily quashed.

SWO was now in a buoyant position financially, and his children had finished school in England. So he decided to bring his wife and family to join him from England. They crossed directly from Southampton to Veracruz by the SS Valendam of the Holland America line.. The boat called at the usual Spanish ports as well as Havana Cuba.

In the next 10 years SWO's family remained with him, excepting his younger son Walter. Walter was adjudged too young to leave school and was sent back to England in August 1924 with his old friends Jack and Folly Halcomb who were retiring from mining and intending to find a home of their dreams in Cornwall. The boat was the SS Toledo of the Hamburg America line. Walter remained at school as a border until his return to Mexico in mid 1926.

During the last 8 years of his life SWO suffered a good deal from lung impairment caused by silicosis from long contact with dust in the mines and mills. The removal of his uvula whilst in England did not help matters. However he remained active in the affairs of the British Colony and the local Anglican Church of St George. He also greatly enjoyed his games of bridge and chess with family and friends.

Probably the heaviest cross he and his wife Florence had to bear was the crippling of their first born son - Henry Sydney.. He had contracted infantile paralysis (polio) and spinal meningitis at the age of 4 years in the town of Guanajuato. This left both his legs completely paralysed so that his only method of walking was to swing along on crutches. SWO and Florence took Sydney to every available doctor, specialist and physiotherapist seeking a cure, but to no avail, in Mexico and England. It was a great tragedy especially as HSO was much above average intelligence and acquired a profound knowledge through study of his favourite fields of electronics and photography.

During 1933 SWO and Florence decided to pay a visit to England to enjoy the hospitality of his relatives see old friends and tour the southern counties. He was hopeful that the sea voyage would also improve his health. He and Florence much enjoyed this holiday together the only one they ever had without children. They returned to Mexico in better spirits after several weeks at the much lower altitudes.

His grandson Martin was born to Walter and Margaret on 8 April 1934, but SWO did not live long to enjoy that. He contracted bronchial pneumonia late in October that year and expired on 4 November at home. Unfortunately Penicillin had not yet been discovered otherwise his life might have been saved.

SWO is buried in the British Cemetery a Real del Monte Hidalgo in Mexico at 10000 ft. He rests there now close to the ashes of his daughter Amy who lies in Cecil Rule's grave. Gordon Rule has also been laid to rest there as have several of his own antecedents.

© Copyright M.& M.M.O.Dealy
This page last modified on Thursday, July 10, 2014