Cuthbert Kean was born on 2nd October 1862, the eldest of four children to John and Jane Kean. John was a tailor from Manchester, who brought his young family up in the town of Crook, County Durham.
Cuthbert followed in his father’s footsteps and, by the time of the 1891 census – when he was 26 years old – was lodging in central Edinburgh, and was working as a tailor.
There is little more information available on Cuthbert’s early years. When war broke out, he enlisted in the Royal Navy, joining up on 26th October 1914. His papers show that he stood 5ft 2ins (1.57m) tall, had a fair complexion and grey eyes.
By 1917, having turned 55, he was transferred to the Royal Naval Reserve, and worked as a Trimmer – an alternative title for a Stoker. He had served on a number of vessels, joining HMS Firefly towards the end of the war.
Early in 1919, Trimmer Kean was admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital in Chatham, Kent, suffering from a sarcoma of the neck. Sadly, he was to succumb to this, and he passed away on 4th March 1919. He was 58 years old. His records give his next of kin as his sister Mary, who was living in Durham.
Cuthbert Kean was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent.