CWG: Able Seaman Robert Peters

Robert Peters was born on 27th May 1893 in Dundee. Little information remains documented about his early life, but he was one of at least four children to John and Agnes Peters, and had two sisters, one called Mary, and an older brother. The family lived in towards the west of the city centre, in the now-spartan Annfield Road.

The bulk of the information about Robert comes from one document – his Royal Navy Service Records. He enlisted as an Ordinary Seaman on 4th April 1912, but, because of his work as an iron turner, he seems to have been put on reserve until hostilities broke out two years later.

While on reserve, he received the training that all reservists would have done, which meant that, when he was formally called into action in June 1916, he did so at the rank of Able Seaman. Robert’s service records also show that he was 5ft 5ins (1.65m) tall, had dark hair and brown eyes.

Able Seaman Peters first posting was at HMS Victory – the Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth. After a couple of months’ additional training, he was assigned to HMS Wallington, a depot ship based on the Humber Estuary.

After a year on board, Robert transferred to HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. The base was a busy place that summer, and temporary accommodation was set up at the Dockyard’s Drill Hall. This is where Robert found himself billeted.

On the 3rd September 1917, the German Air Force carried out its first night air raid: Chatham was heavily bombed and the Drill Hall received a direct hit; Able Seaman Peters was among those killed instantly. He was just 24 years of age.

Robert Peters was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham. His parents had passed away before the war, and so his sister Mary was confirmed as his next of kin.


Able Seaman Robert Peters (from findagrave.com)

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