Albert Cluett was born on 2nd August 1896, one of three children to fisherman Richard Cluett and his wife, Johanna. The couple were third generation immigrants to North America, and had made their home on the remote Fogo Island, to the north of Newfoundland.
There is little concrete information about Albert’s life; given his father’s occupation, it seems likely that he would have had a good working knowledge of seafaring, and this led him to enrol in the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve when war broke out.
Details of Seaman Cluett’s military life are scant. All that we know is that, by the summer of 1917, he was based at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. He was billeted in the Drill Hall, which had been set up with temporary accommodation because the barracks themselves had become overcrowded.
On the night of the 3rd September 1917, the German Air Force carried out an air raids on Chatham. The town was heavily bombed and the Drill Hall received a direct hit. Seaman Cluett was badly injured and died of his wounds in hospital the following day. He had just celebrated his 21st birthday.
Albert Cluett was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.
Another young man from Fogo, Seaman Thomas Ginn, also died during the bombing raid; given the remoteness of the Newfoundland town, it seems very unlikely that he and Albert did not know each other.