Royal Navy

Stoker 1st Class Horace Stanley Sharp

Stoker First Class Horace Stanley Sharp, K17954, Royal Navy, was killed instantly by a bomb dropped on Chatham Dockyard by a German aircraft carrying out a raid on Kent on the bright moonlit night of September 3rd, 1917. Six enemy aircraft had flown up the Thames Estuary to attack Sheerness, Thanet and Chatham, killing 107 Naval ratings and wounding 86 others.

Able Seaman Charles Johnson

Able Seaman Charles Johnson, RN (J/9150), was a man with family living in Luton who was 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.

Born in Stretton on Fosse, Warwickshire, in 1894, he joined the Navy in July 1910 as a boy sailor, probably before parents George and Marjorie Johnson moved to Luton. They were living at 24 Ash Road at the time of his death.

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.

Signalman James Baird Stewart


Signalman James Baird Stewart RN, J/29093, was drowned in a collision in the North Sea in which the minesweeper HMS Q20 sank. The body of the 19-year-old was never recovered.

Mother Mrs Jessie Stewart, of 25 John Street, Luton, was officially told of his death on the following Monday. The family had moved to Luton from Scotland some years earlier, and James had served in the Navy for three years. Prior to enlistment he had worked at the Diamond Foundry in Dallow Road, Luton.

R.N. Arthur George Swain


Boy 1st Class Arthur George Swain, J/48192, Royal Navy, was still just 16 when he went down in the Atlantic with HMS Genista, torpedoed by German submarine U-57, on October 23rd, 1916.

He was the second son of Arthur and Jane Swain, of 30 Arthur Street, Luton. He left his trade as a baker with Mr Shuter, of Tennyson Road, and joined the Navy about 12 months before his death. His body was not recovered.

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.

Able Seaman Henry Shedrick Joseph Hill


Seaman Henry Shedrick Joseph Hill, 19, son of Henry and Mary Ann Hill, of 94 Cobden Street, Luton, was reported lost in the Battle of Jutland while serving on HMS Turbulent (sunk).

Naval records reveal, however, that he was wounded and taken as a prisoner of war before being repatriated in 1918 and invalided from the service. He married Gertrude Currie in Luton in 1919.

Leading Stoker Frederick Neville


Leading Stoker Frederick Neville was lost with the sinking of the battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary during the Battle of Jutland on May 31st, 1916. He was 28 years of age.

Born in Luton and a former pupil of Dunstable Road Schools, he had served in the Navy for five years before returning to work at Luton Gas Works for about a year. He then rejoined the Navy about four years before his death.

R.N. John McLennan Hine


Engineer-Lieut John McLennan Hine was died or was killed as a result on enemy action during the Battle of Jutland on May 31st, 1916, while serving on board the battlecruiser HMS Invincible, which was sunk.

Born in Maryport, Cumberland, in 1872, he and his family had lived in Rothesay Road, Luton, for two or three years prior to 1910. He had married Lydia Emma Booth in Suffolk on May 5th, 1901. They had four children - Alfred, Lydia Margaret, Joan McLennan and Nancy Mary McLennan. Nancy was born in Luton.

Signaller Frederick George Darby


Signal Boy Frederick George Darby was a month short of his 17th birthday when he was drowned when HMS Black Prince was sunk during the Battle of Jutland on May 31st, 1916. His body was not found for burial.

The former Beech Hill pupil had been in the Navy for 18 months at the time of his death. Prior to going to sea he was a straw worker employed by Mrs Kerridge of Bute Street. He served with HMS Powerful and HMS Ganges before joining HMS Black Prince.

Signaller Arthur Olney


Signal Boy Arthur Olney, 16, drowned when HMS Queen Mary was sunk in the Battle of Jutland on May 31st, 1916. His body was not found for burial.

Confirmation of his death came in an official intimation from the War Office to his widowed mother Susan at her home, 32 Hibbert Street, Luton.

Educated at Queen Square School, Luton, Arthur Olney served on the Great Northern Railway for 12 months before joining the Navy in which he served for 16 months, 11 months on the Queen Mary.

Stoker 1st Class Charles Higgs


Stoker First Class Charles Higgs, K/7429, was lost when the armed boarding steamer HMS Fauvette hit two mines laid by a German submarine and sank in the Thames estuary, off North Foreland, Kent, on March 9th, 1916. He was aged 25 and one of 14 crew reported missing, believed dead.

The son of James and Elizabeth Higgs, of 230 Wellington Street, Luton, the former labourer joined the Royal Navy on July 21st, 1910. He had served in the Dardanelles from the beginning of naval operations there, serving on HMS Lord Nelson until transferred to the Fauvette.

R.N. Joseph Smith


Writer Third Class Joseph Smith, M/8543, RN, was lost when the cruiser HMS Natal sank as the result of an internal explosion while in harbour in the Firth of Cromerty, on the north-eastern coast of Scotland, on December 30th, 1915. No enemy action was found to be involved, and Joseph Smith's body was not recovered for burial.


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