Tag Archives: Newfoundland

CWG: Seaman Albert Cluett

Seaman Albert Cluett

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.


Seaman Albert Cluett
(from ancestry.co.uk)

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.


CWG: Seaman Thomas Ginn

Seaman Thomas Ginn

Thomas Albert Ginn seems destined to remain one of those people whose lives are lost to time. He was born on 4th February 1895 in Cape Fogo on the island of Fogo in Newfoundland. His father was Walter Scott Ginn, but beyond that, no concrete information remains.

What is clear is that, when was broke out, Thomas joined the Newfoundland Royal Naval Reserve as a Seaman. Sent to Europe, he found himself based at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard, at Chatham, Kent.

He was billeted in the Drill Hall, which had been set up with temporary accommodation during 1917, when the barracks themselves became overcrowded.

On the 3rd September 1917, the German Air Force carried out one of its first night-time air raids on England: Chatham was heavily bombed and the Drill Hall received a direct hit. Seaman Ginn was badly injured and died of his wounds in hospital the following day. He was just 22 years of age.

Thomas Albert Ginn was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham.


Seaman Thomas Gunn
(from westernfrontassociation.com)

Another young man from Fogo, Seaman Albert Cluett, also died during the bombing raid; given the remoteness of the Newfoundland town, it seems very unlikely that he and Thomas did not know each other.


CWG: Seaman Francis Crocker

Seaman Francis Crocker

Francis Thomas Crocker was born on 5th February 1895 to Job and Irene Crocker. One of eleven children, the family were born and raised in the small Newfoundland town of Trout River.

Sadly, there is little documentation about Francis’ life. What is clear, however, is that, when war broke out, he volunteered for the Royal Naval Reserve.

By 1917, Seaman Crocker was based at HMS Pembroke, the Royal Naval Dockyard in Chatham, Kent. The base was overly busy that summer, and Frances 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; Seaman Crocker was killed instantly. He was just 21 years old.

Francis Thomas Crocker was laid to rest, along with the other victims of the Chatham Air Raid, in the Woodlands Cemetery, Gillingham, some 2500 miles (4000km) from his Canadian home.