CWG: Ordinary Seaman Donald Burgess

Ordinary Seaman Donald Burgess

Donald Burgess was born in 1901 in the village of Queen Camel in Somerset. His father, Frank Luther Burgess was the local schoolmaster, and he and his wife Frances has four children, all sons.

By the time of the 1911 census, Donald and his three brothers – Claud, Wilfred and William – were all at school, and Frank was, by now, the village headmaster.

Donald seems to have volunteered as soon as his age allowed. He joined the Royal Naval Voluntary Reserve in September 1918, and was stationed at HMS Victory in Crystal Palace. He was training to become a wireless operator, but his time there seems to have been cut cruelly short.

Able Seaman Burgess contracted pneumonia and was admitted to the 4th London General Hospital in nearby Camberwell. Sadly, he succumbed to the condition and passed away on 8th October 1918, after just a few weeks’ service. He was just 17 years of age.

Donald Burgess lies at rest in sight of his father’s school, in the graveyard of St Barnabas Church.


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