Albert John Netley was born on 30 October 1882 (Old Kent Road) Walworth, London, to parents Able and Emma (Smith) although his birthday is recorded on his service record and ADM 242 Naval Casualties Index as 30th Oct 1880. He also isn't mentioned on the 1881 census, only his older brother William Henry, who was six months old at the time.
Leaving his civilian job as a scullery man Albert joined the Royal Navy as a Stoker 2nd Class on 23 October 1899. He was recorded on his service papers as almost 5' 8" tall, with dark brown hair, brown eyes and a mole on his left cheek. He had two tattoos on his left forearm; one of a crown with crossed flags and a half picture of a Japanese woman in traditional dress.
He began training aboard the steam/sail ship HMS Duke of Wellington II on 23/10/1899 - 27/06/1900
His navy service follows:-
RESOLUTION - 28/06/1900 - 09/10/1901, rising to Stoker on 28/02/1901. He was recorded on the 1901 census aboard HMS ORLANDO which was anchored at Wusung, China at midnight on the 31st March 1901.
DUKE OF WELLINGTON - 10/10/1901 - 14/01/1902
VICTORY - 15/01/1902 - 30/04/1902
DUKE OF WELLINGTON - 01/05/1902 - 10/11/1902
GOOD HOPE - 11/11/1902 - 16/09/1904
FIREQUEEN - 17/09/1904 - 30/09/1904
FORMIDABLE - 01/10/1904 - 01/10/1906, rising to Stoker 1st Class on 01/07/1906
VICTORY - 02/10/1906 - 31/12/1906
HECLA - 01/01/1907 - 04/03/1907
SAPPHIRE II - 05/03/1907 - 30/04/1907
BLENHEIM - 01/05/1907 - 28/01/1908, rising to Leading Stoker on 15/11/1907
HECLA - 29/01/1908 - 09/10/1908
FISGARD - 10/10/1908 - 29/01/1909, rising to Acting Stoker Petty Officer on 22/01/1909
VICTORY II - 30/01/1909 - 19/02/1909
ROYAL ARTHUR - 20/02/1909 - 26/03/1909
LAPWING - 27/03/1909 - 24/06/1910, rising to Stoker Petty Officer on 22/01/1910
SPHINX - 25/06/1910 - 19/11/1910. It was while serving aboard HMS SPHINX that he was recorded to receive the Naval General Service Medal, with Persian Gulf clasp, number 5399. It was delivered to him while aboard HMS VANGUARD in 1915.
VICTORY V - 20/11/1910 - 01/01/1911
PEMBROKE II - 02/01/1911 - 06/02/1913, rising to Acting Mechanician on 01/01/1913. While stationed at Pembroke, Albert had shore leave giving him time to marry Lilian Hutchinson on 19th February 1911. He was aged 28 (correct age given!) and Lilian was 21. They married in Greenwich Parish Church, Albert's younger brother Charles being a witness.
FISGARD - 07/02/1913 - 14/03/1913
PRINCESS ROYAL - 15/03/1913 - 09/02/1914, rising to Mechanician on 01/04/1914
VICTORY - 10/02/1914 - 11/02/1914
BULWARK - 12/02/1914 - 20/03/1914, he was transferred off the ill fated ship 8 months before it was lost in another internal explosion, losing many friends he had served with.
PEMBROKE II - 21/03/1914 - 02/04/1914
VANGUARD - 03/04/1914 - 09/07/1917, serving aboard the dreadnought during the Battle of Jutland.
He died aged 34, leaving a wife and young son John. Albert and Lilian’s daughter, also named Lilian, aged 5, had tragically died a month before the Vanguard loss. He had been granted 32 hours leave to attend the funeral. He was also due two weeks leave at the beginning of August, but never got to go home.
He is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
(#9 - 573/841)
General Register Office
1891, 1901 & 1911 England Census
England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 Free BMD
London, England, Church of England Marriages and Banns, 1754-1921 London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; Reference Number: p78/ctc/019
London, England, Church of England Births and Baptisms, 1813-1906 London Metropolitan Archives; London, England; London Church of England Parish Registers; Reference Number: P74/CTC/010
UK, Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services, 1848-1939 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; Class: ADM 188; Piece: 474
UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 62
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, Indexes, War Grave Rolls and Statistics Book, First World War.; Class: ADM 242; Piece: Piece 009; Piece Description: Piece 009 (1914 - 1919)
UK, Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 111
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/9; Scan Number: 0666
World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 139/0684/NEL-NEW
Main photo courtesy of Vanguard Centenary Booklet, published by The Orcadian.