CWG: Petty Officer William Dale

Petty Officer William Dale

William Edmund Dale was born in Worthing, West Sussex on 25th November 1886 and was the older of six children. His father, also called William, was a carman, and he and William’s mother, Eliza, brought the family up in the Sussex town.

William Jr seems to have had a number of jobs, working as a draper’s errand boy, a milkman’s assistant and a gardener. He found his true calling at the age of 12, however, when he enlisted in the Royal Navy.

Initially acting as a Boy 2nd Class, over his initial twelve years’ employ he served on eleven vessels, and rose through the ranks to Boy, Ordinary Seaman and Able Seaman.

It was while serving on HMS Blake in 1910, that he married Mary Williams. The couple went on to have two children, William, born in 1910, and Harry, born the following year. The family set up home in Portsmouth, where the sailor was based.

With his initial service complete in 1916, William’s term of duty was extended until the end of hostilities. A promotion to Leading Seaman followed, and he was assigned to HMS Attentive, part of the Dover Patrol guard.

In 1917, William was promoted again, this time to the role of Petty Officer, and was assigned to HMS Royal Sovereign, the Navy’s new battleship. He served on the vessel for the remainder of the way, and through into the summer of 1919.

It was in the last month of his service, that Petty Officer Dale fell ill. He was taken ashore, and sent to the Royal Naval Hospital in Chatham, Kent. He had contracted meningitis, and sadly succumbed to it within days of being admitted. He died on 4th August 1919, at the age of just 32 years old.

William Edmund Dale was brought back to the town of his birth; he lies at rest in a quiet corner of the Broadwater Cemetery in Worthing, West Sussex.


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