Petty Officer

In the Royal Navy, the rate of petty officer comes above that of leading rating and below that of chief petty officer. It is the equivalent of sergeant in the Royal Marines, British Army and Royal Air Force. Petty officer is the lowest of the senior rating grades. Petty officers, like all senior rates, wear "fore and aft" rig.

Petty Officer Francis Harold Armitage

Petty Office Stoker Francis Harold Armitage, RN (K16328), was a Luton man lost when HMS Vanguard sank following an internal explosion while at anchor at Scapa Flow on July 9th, 1917. His body was never recovered for burial.

A son of Thomas and Elizabeth Armitage, of 43 Tennyson Road, Luton, the 26-year-old had recently been promoted from Leading Seaman and was second in charge of the engine room. He had served on Vanguard during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 and come through unscathed.

Petty Officer William Wallace Gadsby


Petty Officer Stoker William Wallace Gadsby, Royal Navy, was the second son of William and Isabella Gadsby to die within six weeks in 1916. He was at the time serving on submarine E4, which, on August 15th, 1916, was sunk in a collision with sister submarine E41 during exercises off Harwich. Both vessels went down, and all hands on E4 were lost.

Younger brother Arthur Edward was killed in action on the Somme on July 5th while serving with the Hampshire Regiment.

Petty Officer Charles Dimmock

First-class Petty Officer Charles Dimmock, 192556, an old boy of Queen Square School, Luton, was one of the crew of HMS Good Hope missing with all hands following the Pacific naval battle of Coronel, off the Chilean coast.

He was 33 years old and was brought up by his grandparents, the late Mr and Mrs George Dimmock, of 42 Albert Road, Luton. He joined the Navy as a boy and had 16 years service to his credit. For rescue work at the Messina earthquake disaster in Italy in 1908 he received a medal, and had recently received a long service medal.

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