All posts by ckponderings

CWG: Stoker 1st Class Thomas Haville

Stoker 1st Class Thomas Haville

Thomas Giles Lansley Haville was born on 16th June 1897, and was one of seven children. There is little concrete information about his early life, but his parents were Devon-born Francis Haville and his Newcastle-born wife, Jane.

Francis was an army man, who had moved his family from Aldershot to Scotland and Northumberland, finally settling in Newcastle shortly before Thomas’ birth. Francis died in 1908, when Thomas was just 11 years old, and it seems likely that Jane passed away around the same time.

Thomas himself had not been a well child – the 1901 census gives him as an inpatient at the Northumberland District Royal Infirmary, although it is not clear what condition he was suffering from.

When he left school, Thomas followed a trade common amongst young men of his age in the North East, that of a pit worker. He wanted bigger and better things, however, and, on 9th May 1916, eighteen months into the First World War, he enlisted in the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class.

His service records suggest that he volunteered, as he gave his year of birth as two years earlier than it actually was, in order to be accepted as being of legal age. The enlistment papers also confirm that Thomas was 5ft 4.5ins (1.64m) tall, had a fresh complexion, brown eyes and dark brown hair.

Stoker Haville’s first posting was HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham in Kent, a base to which he would return a couple of times. After his initial training, he was assigned to HMS Blonde, a cruiser-cum-mine layer, based out of Scapa Flow. In March 1917, he moved on to the battleship HMS Vanguard, which was also based in the North Sea.

The Vanguard was destroyed on 9th July 1917 when a number of magazines exploded on board – 843 of the 845 crew were killed. Thomas had had a lucky escape; just two weeks earlier he had been transferred back to Chatham. During his time on board, however, he had been promoted to Stoker 1st Class.

HMS Pembroke was a busy place that summer. The replacement crew for the Vanguard that would now not be needed were based there, and temporary accommodation was needed quickly. Chatham Drill Hall was brought into service, and Thomas found himself billeted there.

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; Stoker 1st Class Haville was among those killed instantly. He was just 20 years of age.

Thomas Giles Lansley Haville was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


CWG: Stoker 1st Class William Wakeford

Stoker 1st Class William Wakeford

William Edward Wakeford was born on 18th April 1885, the oldest of seven children to William and Theresa. William Sr had been born in East London and was a labourer for the engineering company Vickers. Theresa came from south of the Thames, in Greenwich, and it was in South East London that the Wakefords raised their family.

When he left school, William Jr found work as an assistant to a corn dealer. He was set on a better life and career, however, and, on 1st June 1906, at the age of 20, he enlisted in the Royal Navy with the rank of Stoker 2nd Class.

William learnt on the job; he was initially assigned to HMS Acheron and, during his initial five-year term of service, he served on five further vessels, rising to the rank of Stoker 1st Class as a result of his hard work. In between his voyages, however, he was based at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham, Kent.

When his contract came to an end in May 1911, Stoker Wakeford was assigned to the Royal Naval Reserve. With war looming, however, this did not turn out to be for long and, when hostilities begun in 1914, he was called back into action. He was assigned to the battleship HMS Cornwallis, and spent more than two years on board. During this time, the ship saw action in the Eastern Mediterranean, primarily the Dardanelles Campaign, and the fighting around Gallipoli.

By the start of 1917, Stoker Wakeford was back on dry land, and based at HMS Pembroke. For a variety of reasons, that was a particularly busy year at the dockyard, and temporary additional accommodation was set up at the Chatham Drill Hall nearby; this is where William 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; Stoker 1st Class Wakeford was among those killed instantly. He was 32 years of age.

William Edward Wakeford was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


William’s younger brother Cecil also fought in the Great War. Serving as a Private in the 2nd Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, he saw fighting on the Western Front. Caught up in the Battle of St Quentin in March 1918, he was killed as the regiment were cut off by German advances. He was just 22 years old. He was laid to rest in France, and is commemorated at the Pozières Memorial.


CWG: Ordinary Seaman Charles Goodsell

Ordinary Seaman Charles Goodsell

Charles Henry Goodsell – known as Harry – was born on 15th February 1897, the oldest of six children. His parents were Henry and Fanny Goodsell, who had been born in Sussex, but had moved to London in the late 1890s, presumably for work.

Henry was a compositor, setting type for printers, but his son’s first job after leaving school was as a van guard for the local Co-op. By the outbreak of the war, he had begun working in the store himself, but the hostilities soon put a stop to that.

In 1916, the call came, and, on 6th March, Harry joined the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman. He was initially sent to HMS Pembroke – the Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – where he completed his initial training. By May 1916, however, he was given his first posting, on board the battleship HMS Swiftsure, protecting the Atlantic convoys.

After nearly a year at sea, Ordinary Seaman Goodsell found himself back at HMS Pembroke. The Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and the large number of extra servicemen meant that Harry 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; Ordinary Seaman Goodsell was among those killed instantly. He was just 20 years old.

Charles Henry “Harry” Goodsell was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


Charles Henry Goodsell (Harry) 1897 - 1917
Ordinary Seaman Charles Goodsell
(from ancestry.co.uk)

CWG: Stoker 1st Class Albert Goddard

Stoker 1st Class Albert Goddard

Albert Alfred Goddard was born on 7th April 1891, and was the oldest of seven children. His parents were Suffolk born and bred Alfred and Ellen Goddard, and it was in the village of Saxtead where Alfred – and then Albert and his brothers – worked as farm labourers.

War was coming to Europe and, when the call came, Albert took his place amongst the many. He enlisted in the Royal Navy on 24th May 1916, joining as a Stoker 2nd Class. His service records confirm that the stood 5ft 5.5ins (1.66m) tall, had brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

Stoker Goddard was initially sent to HMS Pembroke – the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – for his training. After six months, he transferred to HMS Victory – the Portsmouth Naval Base – where he spent nearly a year, and gained promotion to Stoker 1st Class.

In August 1917, he was again assigned to HMS Pembroke. Chatham’s Dockyard was particularly busy that summer, and Albert was billeted in temporary accommodation in the base’s Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force scored a direct hit on the barracks and Drill Hall; Stoker 1st Class Goddard was killed instantly. He was just 26 years old.

The local newspaper reported that “the recent air raid at Chatham has brought grief to our locality. Mr and Mrs Alfred Goddard, of Saxtead, were officially notified that their sailor son was among those who were killed; they journeyed to London on Wednesday, and were present a their son’s funeral on the following day.” [Framlingham Weekly News: Saturday 8th September 1917]

Albert Alfred Goddard was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


CWG: Stoker 1st Class Sidney Macey

Stoker 1st Class Sidney Macey

Sidney Albert Macey was born in Clapham, South London on 16th March 1898. The fourth of seven children, his parents were William and Beatrice Macey. William worked as a groom and coachman for a dairy, but, intriguingly, he and Beatrice appear to have been living as a common-law couple, rather than being formally married.

Beatrice was born in Wiltshire, and had married George Hodges; they had a son, also called George, before she was widowed in 1891. The 1901 census lists mother and son as William’s visitors, but, by this time, he and Beatrice had gone on to have five children of their own, Sidney included.

When he left school, Sidney found work as a telegraph messenger, but by this point, war was on the horizon. His older brothers went off to war – the oldest, William, died in France in August 1916 – and Sidney seemed keen not to be left out of the action.

On 30th June 1916, he enlisted in the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class. His service records show that he stood 5ft 5.5ins (1.66m) tall, had brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion. He was initially dispatched to HMS Pembroke – the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – for training, before being assigned to the cruiser HMS Dartmouth, that October.

Stoker Macey spent nine months on board Dartmouth, and gained a promotion to Stoker 1st Class in the process. In July 1917, his assignment complete, he returned to Chatham. HMS Pembroke was particularly busy that summer, and he was billeted in temporary accommodation in the town’s Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force scored a direct hit on the barracks and Drill Hall; Stoker 1st Class Macey was killed instantly. He was just 19 years old.

Sidney Albert Macey was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham. He was the second of two brothers lost to the conflict.


CWG: Stoker 1st Class Frederick Hartnall

Stoker 1st Class Frederick Hartnall

Frederick George Hartnall was born in St John’s Wood, London, on 28th March 1892. He was the youngest of three children to Harry and Elizabeth Hartnall, although, tragically, his two older brothers had both passed away within their first year.

Harry worked as a compositor – type setting for a local printer – and this is a trade into which Frederick followed his father, when he left school. After his mother passed away in 1907, he realised that he wanted bigger and better things. On 19th April 1910, having just turned 18, he enlisted in the Royal Navy.

Frederick’s service records show that he stood 5ft 4ins (1.63m) tall, had brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion. He was sent to HMS Victory – the naval base in Portsmouth – for his training as a Stoker 2nd Class, and his naval career began.

Over the next four years, Frederick served on six different ships, rising to the rank of Stoker 1st Class in the process. In between his ocean trips, however, his time was spent at on-shore bases, both in Portsmouth and Chatham – the Royal Naval Dockyard known as HMS Pembroke.

When war was declared in 1914, Stoker Hartnall was on board the cruiser HMS Dido. The reality of his life may well have hit home; on two separate occasions during this particular assignment, he was confined to the brig. Sadly his misdemeanours are lost to time now, but they must have been significant: his first confinement lasted a week, while his second was for 42 days, and ended with his transfer to HMS Pembroke.

For most of the rest of his service, Stoker Hartnall was shore-based. By the summer of 1917, he was back at HMS Pembroke. The base was particularly busy that summer, and he was billeted in temporary accommodation in the town’s Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force scored a direct hit on the barracks and Drill Hall; Stoker Hartnall was among those killed instantly. He was just 25 years old.

Frederick George Hartnall was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


CWG: Stoker 1st Class John McGregor

Stoker 1st Class John McGregor

John McGregor was born Aberdeen in 1898, the son of James McGregor. Little specific information is available about John’s early life, but it is clear that James remarried at some point, Jane McGregor becoming John’s stepmother. The family moved south to Airdrie, living on one of the main thoroughfares, South Bridge Street.

At some point after the outbreak of war, John joined up, taking on the role of Stoker 2nd Class in the Royal Navy. During his time in the service, he was promoted to Stoker 1st Class. By 1917, he was assigned to the HMS Prince George, a battleship that patrolled the English Channel, and acted as support for the Dardanelles campaign in the Eastern Mediterranean.

In the summer of 1917, Stoker McGregor was transferred to HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. That point in the war was particularly busy for the base, and temporary accommodation was set up in the Drill Hall; this is where John found himself billeted.

By this point in the war, the German Air Force had suffered huge losses during the daylight bombing raids it had been undertaking. It was imperative for them to minimise these losses, and so a new tactic – night time raids – was employed.

The first trial of this approach was on the night of 3rd September 1917, and Chatham suddenly found itself in the firing line, startlingly unready and fundamentally unprotected. One of the German bombers landed a direct hit on the Drill Hall, and Stoker McGregor was amongst those to be instantly killed. He was just 19 years old.

Ninety-eight servicemen perished during the Chatham Air Raid that night. They were buried in a mass funeral at the Woodlands Cemetery in nearby Gillingham. This, too, is where John McGregor was laid to rest.

CWG: Stoker 1st Class William Smith

Stoker 1st Class William Smith

William Hardwick Smith was born in Slingsby, Yorkshire, on 12th April 1887, the oldest of four children to John and Sarah Smith. John was a house painter, but William had his sights set a seafaring career.

By the summer of 1909, he had enlisted in the Royal Navy. He gave his previous profession as seaman, and his place of birth as Manchester, but there is no documentation to confirm either his previous role, or to challenge his Yorkshire birth.

Joining the navy as a Stoker 2nd Class, his service records give his height as 5ft 8.5ins (1.74m) and show that he had auburn hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion. William had a number of tattoos as well, including a ship and anchor, clasped hands and heart, a woman’s head and bird and the words “True Love” and “W Smith” on his right forearm.

During his initial five years’ service, Stoker Smith served on six different vessels, attaining the rank of Stoker 1st Class in the process. His career was not entirely without problems, however, and his records show that he was detained for 28 days for being AWOL in 1911, and imprisoned again for a further twelve days two years later.

As his term of service came to an end, the storm clouds of war were knocking on England’s shores, and William volunteered for a further seven years. During this time, he was primarily based at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard at Chatham, Kent, although he was also assigned to the depot ship HMS Dido. Again, his time on board saw him spend two further periods in the brig, although his exact misdemeanours are lost to time.

Back at HMS Pembroke in the summer of 1917, William found himself in an overly packed base. He was billeted in the Chatham Drill Hall, which was being used as temporary accommodation.

On the 3rd September 1917, the German Air Force carried out its first night-time air raid. They scored a direct hit on the Drill Hall; Stoker 1st Class Smith was amongst those killed instantly. He was 30 years old.

William Hardwick Smith was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


CWG: Stoker 1st Class Arthur Charlton

Stoker 1st Class Arthur Charlton

Arthur Charlton was born in St Pancras, London, on 21st November 1891. His parents were Arthur and Bridget Charlton, but little further information on Arthur Jr’s early life remains.

When he left school, he found work as a butcher, but it seems he was after a life of adventure and travel. On 6th November 1913, he enlisted in the Royal Navy, initially for a period of twelve years as a Stoker 2nd Class. Arthur’s service records show that he stood 5ft 6.5ins (1.69m) tall, had brown hair, blue eyes and a fair complexion.

Stoker Charlton was initially posted to HMS Pembroke – the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – and this is where he did his training. He was then sent to the battleship HMS Vanguard, on board which he served for nearly three-and-a-half years. Arthur was assigned to Vanguard in the summer of 1917, when the vessel was sunk following a series of internal explosions in Scapa Flow, Scotland, with the loss of more than 800 souls. It seems, however, that he was not on board at the time, which likely saved his life.

Brought back to HMS Pembroke that summer, and with the Vanguard destroyed, Arthur found himself in an overly packed dockyard. He was billeted in the Chatham Drill Hall, which was being used as temporary accommodation.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force scored a direct hit on the barracks and Drill Hall; Stoker 1st Class Charlton was killed instantly. He was just 25 years old.

Arthur Charlton was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


Arthur’s pension record gives a Mrs Amelia Ward as his next of kin. No details of a marriage between them are evident, and, as there is no record of his early life, it is not possible to identify whether Amelia was his sister. A mystery left unsolved.


CWG: Leading Stoker Percy Moore

Leading Stoker Percy Moore

Percy Edwin Moore was born on 14th April 1889, one of nine children to farrier Charles Moore and his wife, Eliza. Both of Percy’s parents were from West London, and the family was raised on the border between Kensington and Hammersmith.

When Percy left school he found work as a builder’s labourer, but he was drawn to bigger things and, in 1909, he joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class. His service records show that he stood 5ft 6ins (1.68m) tall, had light brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion. He had a scar above his right eye, and a tattoo on each arm.

Percy’s sense of adventure seemed to have been kindled in his earlier years; the tattoo on his right arm was a depiction of Buffalo Bill Cody, the American showman who brought the Wild West to England in the early 1900s. Young Percy’s interest was obviously piqued early on.

Stoker Moore’s first posting was on board HMS Acheron. In the years leading up to the war, he served on six further vessels, returning to HMS Pembroke – the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent – in between voyages. During this time, he was promoted to Stoker 1st Class for his work.

It was during one of these pauses, in August 1913, that he married Annie Eliza Wells, a labourer’s daughter from Kensington. There honeymoon was brief – just five days after they married, Percy was back at sea.

When war was declared, Stoker Moore was assigned to the battleship HMS Triumph. She served in the Mediterranean, seeing action early on in the Gallipoli campaign. After a short spell back in Chatham, he transferred to HMS Tyne, a depot ship, and received a promotion to Acting Leading Stoker.

By the summer of 1917, Percy was back at HMS Pembroke. The base was overly busy that summer, and he was billeted in temporary accommodation in the town’s Drill Hall.

On the 3rd September 1917, the first night air raid carried out by the German Air Force scored a direct hit on the barracks and Drill Hall; Acting Leading Stoker Moore was killed instantly. He was just 28 years old.

Percy Edwin Moore was laid to rest, along the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.