Claud Millar McIntyre was born on 3rd June 1895, and was the youngest of three children to Alexander and Margaret McIntyre. Both of Claud’s parents – and his two older siblings – were born in Scotland, but the family moved to London in the early 1890s, and it was in Plaistow that Claud was born.
Alexander worked as an engineer at the Thames docks, and, when Claud left school, he followed his father into the same line of work. War was coming to Europe, however, and Claud was very keen on playing his part.
On 22nd December 1914, he enlisted in the Royal Navy. His boiler work obviously stood him in good stead, as he was employed as an Engine Room Artificer (ERA) 4th Class. Claud’s service records confirm that he stood 5ft 8ins (1.72m) tall, had dark brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion. The document also gives his year of birth as 1893, which suggests that he may have lied about his age to get into the action.
The same record gives an indication of the harshness of the work Claud has been doing before joining up. Under Wounds, Scars or Marks, it was noted that he had a scar on the outside right thigh and on his right little finger. He also had lost the fingertip of his right hand.
ERA McIntyre’s training took place at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. He was soon given a posting, however, and served at HMS Acteon, the shore-based establishment in Sheerness, for just over a year.
In August 1916, after a brief return to HMS Pembroke, ERA McIntyre was given a second posting, this time on board Q12, one of a number of the war’s most closely guarded naval secrets. The Q-boats (a code name referring to their home port of Queenstown in Ireland) were vessels designed to look like an easy target, but which actually carried hidden armaments. Understandably, little is known about the ship on which Claud served, or his time aboard; all that is documented is that he was assigned to her from 28th August 1916 to 30th April 1917, at which point he returned to HMS Pembroke.
Chatham Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that Claud was billeted in temporary accommodation in Chatham Drill Hall.
On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force bombarded the town, and scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; ERA was injured that night, but died of his wounds the following day at the Fort Pitt Military Hospital. He was just 22 years of age.
Claud Millar McIntyre was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.