Newsletter November 2004
Contents of this Newsletter:
Section 1 - Welcome
With the upcoming Christmas holidays, I decided to prepare the newsletter this month instead of next month. Thank you to the half dozen Bassetts worldwide that contributed last month to the DNA project. We raised enough money to fund four more tests.
I have recently purchased several Bassett items (postcards, pictures, etc.) on ebay and will feature some of these items and the history of their branch of the family in upcoming newsletters.
Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Section 2 - Featured Bassett: Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett
Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett descends from the #73B James Bassett of Kent, England.
James Bassett of Kent, England and wife Elizabeth
Cyril Royston Guyton Bassett, New Zealand
(Update Jun 2008, two new photos found. Cyril at age 80, and Frederick & Harriett Bassett with Cyril circa 1893)
Cyril Bassett was born at Auckland, New Zealand, on 3 January 1892. He enlisted in the 1st New Zealand Expeditionary Force on 10 August 1914 and sailed for Egypt in October as a sapper in the Divisional Signals of the NZ Engineers.
Bassett landed with the initial assault troops at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 where he won the Victoria Cross on 7 August 1915 on a ridge known as Chunuk Bair. His citation read, in part, as follows: "After the NZ Infantry Brigade had attacked and established itself on the ridge, Corporal Bassett, in full daylight and under a continous and heavy fire, succedded in laying a telephone line form the old position to the new one on Chunuk Bair. He has subsequently been brought to notice for further excellent and most gallant work connected with the repair of telephone lines both by day and by night under heavy fire." (London Gazette, 15 October 1915).
Bassett was evacuated from Galliopli due to illness in late August 1915. He rejoined his unit in France in mid-1916 and was commissioned in September 1917. He suffered wounds on two occasions, in October 1917 and again in March 1918. He was returned to New Zealand in December 1918 and left the service with the rank of Lieutenant. Following service with the Territorial Service between the wars, he was appointed to serve again in 1940. He left the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel in December 1943, when he held the position of Commander Northern District Signals.
Cyril Bassett died in Auckland, New Zealand, on 9 January 1983 and was cremated at the North Shore Cemetery.
Section 3 - Feature Bassett:
Sir Walter Thomas Bassett descends from #224B John Bassett of Rotherfield, Sussex, England as follows:
John Bassett and wife Elizabeth Baker
224B121.252.1. Walter Thomas Bassett, son of Thomas Bassett
Sir Walter Thomas Bassett, son of Thomas and Isabella (Gorringe) Bassett,
was born 21 Apr 1866 in Rotherfield, Sussex, England. He married Annie Crittall,
his cousin, daughter of Alfred and Abigail Crettall, on 23 Apr 1891 in Sydney,
New South Wales, Australia.
Walter Thomas Bassett
Walter Thomas Bassett was born in Rotherfield, a sub-district of Sussex, England on 21 Apr 1866, the son of Thomas Bassett and his wife Isabella Bassett formerly Gorringe.
In September 1883, he left Sussex to go to sea. He joined the sailing ship Cape Vincent as an apprentice for four years.
In 1884 he was elected to act in place of the 3rd officer who was one of seven crew members lost due to a cholera epidemic. He remained acting 3rd officer till the completion of his apprenticeship.
In November 1888 he arrived in Melbourne with a cargo of timber where he
left the Cape Vincent in December.
In April 1889 at Leichardt NSW he married Annie Crittal who sailed out from London on the P&O steamer Brittania in March 1891.
On July 31st 1900 he left in S.S. Salamis with the naval contingent for active service in China due to the Boxer uprising.
In Jun 1901 he arrived back at the Naval Barracks in Williamstown and was later made Yeoman of Signals. Walter Bassett served on until 1911, then transferred to the Navy Office in Melbourne until he retired on April 20th 1932.
Section 4 - Featured Bassett: Captain Charles Arthur Bassett II, United States Airforce, Astronaut
Charles Arthur Bassett descends from William Bassett of Plymouth (Fortune 1621) as follows:
William Bassett of Plymouth and wife Elizabeth
Charles A. Bassett II was born December 30, 1931 in Dayton, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio State University and Texas Technological College, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. Bassett and his wife, Jean, have two children, Karen and Peter.
Bassett was an Air Force Captain. He graduated from the Air Force Experimental Pilot School and the Aerospace Research Pilot School. Bassett was one of the third group of astronauts named by NASA in October 1963. On November 8, 1965 he was selected as a pilot of the Gemini 9 mission. Charles A. Bassett, II and Elliot M. See, Jr. the command pilot for the Gemini 9 flight, were killed on February 28, 1966 during an instrument landing approach at McDonnell Aircraft Corporation's St. Louis plant.
Arlington National Cemetery Website
Born at Dayton, Ohio, December 30, 1931, he attended Ohio State University from 1950-52 and graduated from Texas Tech at Lubbock with high honors in electrical engineering, getting his B.S. degree in 1960. He did graduate work at the University of Southern California and entered the United States Air Force in October 1952 as an Aviation Cadet.
He trained at Stallings Air Force Base, North Carolina, Bryan Air Force Base, Texas, and Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada, completing advanced work in April 1954. He went to the Pacific with the 8th Fighter Bomber Group and was promoted to First Lieutenant in May 1955. He returned for pilot duties at Suffolk County Air Force Base, New York, serving until April 1958 when he took the electrical engineering course at the U.S. Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio.
He was promoted to Captain in January 1960 while on duty at Edwards Air Force Base, California, as an electrical engineer. In November 1960 he went to Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, to attend Squadron Officer School and returned to Edwards as an experimental test pilot in the Fighter Projects Office. He had about 2,800 hours flying time in jets. He reported to NASA's Manned Spaceflight Center in Houston, Texas, January 7, 1964 and subsequently became a Gemini 9 Astronaut.
He died with fellow Astronaut, Elliott M. See, Jr., when their T-38 jet crashed on approach to St. Louis, Missouri, on February 28, 1966. One bright winter morning, the last day of February 1966, the Gemini IX foursome checked into Ellington Air Force Base, Texas, for flight clearance to St. Louis in two dual-seat T-38 jet aircraft. They planned to spend several days practicing on the rendezvous simulator at the McDonnel plant.
At Ellington, the four fliers learned that weather in St. Louis was gloomy: 180-meter overcast, visibility 3 kilometers, rain, and fog, with little change expected. Instrument flight rules would be required. See called the St. Louis air traffic controllers, saying he would see them in a couple of hours. He and Cernan discussed the different runways at Lambert Field in St. Louis. See then climbed into the front seat of one T-38, with Bassett easing into the back seat. Stafford and Cernan got into the other plane. They took off from Ellington at 7:35 a.m. See and Bassett led, with Stafford and Cernan flying wing position.
Reaching St. Louis just before 9 o'clock, See radioed the Lambert Field control tower and learned that the overcast had lifted to 240 meters since his earlier call, but the visibility had dropped to 2.4 kilometers. Light snow flurries now mixed with the rain and fog. As the aircraft descended through the overcast, the pilots found themselves too far down the runway to land. See elected to keep the field in sight and he circled to the left underneath the cloud cover. Stafford followed a missed approach procedure and climbed straight ahead into the soup to 600 meters, intending to make another instrument approach. He landed safely on his next attempt.
Meanwhile, See had continued his left turn. The aircraft angled toward McDonnell Building 101, where technicians were working on the very spacecraft See and Bassett were scheduled to fly. Apparently recognizing that his sink rate was too high, See cut in his afterburners and attempted a sharp right turn; but it was too late. The aircraft struck the roof of the building and crashed into a courtyard. Both pilots were killed.
NASA named a seven-man board to investigate the accident. Led by Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr., the board looked into all aspects of the tragedy - aircraft maintenance, pilot experience, medical histories, and weather conditions. Shepard's group listened to testimony from everyone who had anything to say, sifted the wreckage for clues, and drew conclusions. They found nothing wrong with the aircraft; it had functioned properly to the moment of impact. Within the past six months, See and Bassett had renewed their instrument flying certificates. Before and during the flight, both men had been in good physical and mental condition, as attested by medical examinations and by reported pre- and in-flight conversations.
Furthermore, See was reputed to be an excellent test pilot. Careful, judicious, and technically competent, he should never have crashed at all. Weather appeared to have been the major contributing cause, and pilot error prompted by a desire not to lose sight of the field had carried them too low.
On Wednesday, 2 March 1966, Spacecraft No. 9, on its way to the flight dock for shipment to Cape Kennedy, passed an American flag flying at half-mast at the McDonnell plant. The next day, Elliot See and Charles Bassett, attended by their fellow astronauts, were buried in Arlington National Cemetery across the Potomac from the Nation's capital.
NASA assigned the Gemini IX prime crew positions to Stafford and Cernan, marking the first time in the agency's manned space flight history that a backup crew had taken over a mission. On 21 March James Lovell and Edwin Aldrin were given the backup duties. There would be no delay in the launch schedule.
Section 5 - New family lines combined or added since the last newsletter
The following family lines have been combined/eliminated since the last newsletter.
233B. Thomas Bassett of Rotherfield, Sussex, England combined
with #224B. John Bassett of Rotherfield, Sussex
Section 5 - DNA project update.
For those new to the newsletter, the Bassett y-chromosome DNA project is being used to show relationships between the different Bassett family lines worldwide.
Two interesting test results came back during the previous month.
The family of #31B Elias/Elisha Bassett who settled in what later became Wetzel County, West Virginia, matches descendants of William Bassett of Plymouth (Fortune 1621). We have not yet found his connection, but we now know where to look to connect up this family.
We currently have the #22B Bassetts of Ashwater traced back the late 1600's, and parish records for Bassetts take this family back into the mid 1500's located in Ashwater. We have had our first branch outside of Devon match this family. They are Bassetts that first appear in St. Stephen by Launceston, Cornwall and later moved to Stratton and Bude, Cornwall. In addition, we have one test participant from the #22B (Pennsylvania branch) that does not match the others. We have three new participants from this line that have agreed to take part and their test results should be known in the next several months.
If you belong to one of the Cornwall Bassett lines that has not yet participated in the DNA project, please consider joining.
We currently have 13 outstanding DNA test kits. It only takes a few minutes to complete your kit. Please take a few minutes and complete the testing process and return your kit as soon as possible to the testing lab.
General Fund Scholarship total as of 11/21/04 = $309.00
Donations of any amount can be made to the Bassett DNA project by clicking on the link below. Any funds donated will be used to fund select Bassett DNA tests that will further our project as a whole and benefit all Bassetts worldwide.
This is just a reminder that the DNA website can be found at:
A current spreadsheet of results can be found at:
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