Category Archives: Navy

Guided tours in Ramsgate Cemetery

There is still time this summer for anyone who wants to join one of the guided tours of the WW1 graves in Ramsgate Cemetery.

The next tour is on Wednesday 15th July meeting at 2pm by the cemetery chapel near the Cecilia Road entrance.

The final tours for 2015 are on Saturday August 22nd at 3pm and Thursday September 3rd at 2pm.

There is limited parking at the cemetery approach road. The Thanet Loop bus service stops nearby in Hereson Road and Dumpton Park station is a ten minute walk away. Tours take about an hour and it is possible for visitors with pushchairs and mobility scooters to visit most parts of the cemetery.

HM Auxiliary Ship Princess Irene

In May 1915 the loss through an explosion of HM Auxiliary Ship Princess Irene in Sheerness Harbour on Thursday brought grief, sudden and overwhelming, into many Ramsgate homes. Several shipwrights from the port who had left Ramsgate recently to undertake Government work were on board the vessel, which was undergoing re-fitting.
Telegrams received at their homes on Thursday prepared the families for the terrible news, advising them to travel to Sheerness at once, and the list of dead posted outside the dockyard gates at night confirmed the tragic facts. Continue reading HM Auxiliary Ship Princess Irene

Ramsgate Sailors and Fishermen

When the Admiralty ordered in December 1914 that there was to be no fishing between Cromer and Portland Bill many of Thanet’s fishermen relocated to Lowestoft, Hull and Brixham in Devon. Even here they were not safe, as in February 1915 the Ramsgate smack Rhodora, which was one of those working out of Brixham, was lost off the French coast along with the Erena, whose skipper was Mr Andrews from Belmont Street, Ramsgate. Many Ramsgate men were already experienced sailors, not forgetting the smack boys who stayed in the Smack Boys Home on the sea front when they were in port. It is not surprising, therefore, that many of the men joined the Royal Navy or the Mercantile Marine. Continue reading Ramsgate Sailors and Fishermen


On Saturday May 26th 1917 a terrific explosion shook the town of Ramsgate when HMTB No 4 torpedo boat blew up in the harbour. The explosion caused a fire to break out on the ship which later sank. Luckily before the fire reached the magazine sailors and firemen managed to remove most of the ammunition to the fish market on the harbour crosswall. Many houses and shops along the seafront were damaged, but without the quick action of the men who moved the ammunition, at considerable risk to themselves, the damage to the town could have been much worse. Unfortunately a month later, a Zeppelin bombed the fish market Continue reading HMTB4

New memorial to honour men lost on HMS Hampshire

The Orkney Heritage Society is raising funds to restore the Kitchener Memorial tower in Birsay, Orkney, which was erected in 1926, and to add a commemorative wall to the hundreds of crewmen who died aboard HMS Hampshire in 1916.
HMS Hampshire, a Royal Navy cruiser, was carrying Lord Kitchener on a diplomatic mission to Russia when it hit German mines off the coast of Birsay during gale-force conditions. Only 12 men survived the sinking, and the Orkney Heritage Society wants to ensure that those who lost their lives alongside the War Minister are remembered on the memorial.
There is some disagreement over exactly how many men were lost when the HMS Hampshire sank but it is currently believed to be about 735. The exact number may never be known. Local men lost included Ldg Stoker Fred Bean 24 mentioned on St Laurence war memorial, Ldg Telegraphist John Victor Bear 22 from Queen Bertha Road and Harry Maxted from St Peters. Lord Kitchener himself was also a local man as in 1911 he had bought Broome Park near Canterbury and was there on leave when he was called on to form Britain’s army in August 1914.
The memorial is due to be unveiled on the centenary of the sinking on the June 5th 2016.

Live Bait Squadron

The following Thanet men were lost when their ships were torpedoed in the North Sea on September 22nd 1914. They are commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial

Assiter A Chief Yeoman of Signals                   HMS Aboukir
Blackburn L Leading Seaman                          HMS Hogue
Brenchley George Charles Able Seaman        HMS Aboukir
Brenchley J C Seaman                                      HMS Aboukir
Brown H J Seaman RNR                                  HMS Aboukir
Castle John Shipwright 1st Class                    HMS Cressy
Howes Albert Edward Petty Officer              HMS Aboukir
Morris Stoker J 1st Class                                 HMS Hogue
Wheat George Alfred Signalman                    HMS Cressy or HMS Aboukir
White F 1st Class Petty Officer                      HMS Cressy

HMS Natal


The Thanet Advertiser January 8th 1916

During World War I HMS Natal was assigned to the 2nd Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet, but did not participate in any battles. The ship was sunk by an internal explosion near Cromarty Firth on 30 December 1915. Many Thanet men were serving on her. The commanding officer Captain Eric Back who died was the brother of Mrs Maud Hatfeild, a well-known Margate personality  who later became the first woman Mayor of Margate. Eric Back’s name is inscribed on the All Saints Church (Westbrook) War Memorial where his brother, Guy, was the Vicar.

Reported Missing

Ordinary Seaman Stanley James Attwell Drayson aged 18 of 53 Albion Street Broadstairs
Sick-berth steward J A W Jenkins of Shannonville, Dundonald Road, Broadstairs
Leading Seaman T W Jervis of 4 King Edward Road, Ramsgate.

Reported saved

Chief Petty Officer W F Chandler (formerly of Ramsgate, now of Sheerness)
Petty Officer C H Port of 31 Avenue Road Ramsgate
Shipwright 2nd Class A Harty of 57 Albion Street Broadstairs
Ordinary Seaman L C Pantony of 1 Camden Villas, Green Lane, St Peter’s
Ordinary Seaman E Stupple of 1 Calva Cottages, Vicarage Street, St Peter’s