CWG: Stoker 1st Class John Green

Stoker 1st Class John Green

John Green was born in Putney, London, on 9th September 1895. He was one of eight children to cab driver Albert Green and his wife, Bridget. When he left school, John found work as an errand boy, but clearly wanted bigger and better things.

On 8th October 1913, he enlisted as a Stoker 2nd Class in the Royal Navy. His naval records confirm that he was 5ft 4ins (1.62m) tall, had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion. He was also noted as having a scar on the side of his right eye.

While John’s service records confirm his date of birth as that above, other documents suggest that his year of birth was 1897. This would have meant he would have been to young to enlist in the Royal Navy when he did, although it was not unusual for keen sailors to add a year or so to their age to ensure they were accepted.

Stoker 1st Class Green was initially sent to HMS Pembroke – the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – for training. He spent six months there, before being assigned to the dreadnought battleship HMS Vanguard. He spent three-and-a-half years on board her, and gained a promotion to Stoker 1st Class in the process.

In August 1917, John returned to Chatham Dockyard. HMS Pembroke was a busy and cramped place that particular summer, and he was billeted to temporary accommodation set up in Chatham Drill Hall.

On the night of 3rd September, the town came under attack from a German air raid, and the Drill Hall received a direct hit. Stoker Green was badly injured and admitted to the Chatham Naval Hospital; he succumbed to his injuries the following day, days short of (officially) his 22nd birthday.

John Green was laid to rest in the Woodlands Cemetery in Gillingham, Kent, alongside the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid.


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