Charles John Willard (Ch) 294634 Stoker Petty Officer


Born on the 14th January 1881 in Cobham, Kent to parents John and Hannah, Charles was the second child to the couple and first mentioned aged 3 months old on the 1881 census. The family lived at Garden Row, Shorne and John worked as a stock dealer to support his family.


9 years later, aged just 39, Charles’ father died, leaving Hannah to support her children as a dressmaker, the family then living at The Ridgeway in Strood - Charles was 10 years old.


He can’t be found on the 1901 census, but by then he had joined the Navy, beginning his training as a Stoker 2nd Class at HMS PEMBROKE II on 22nd January 1900. He was recorded as 5’8” tall with brown hair, blue eyes and had several tattoos - one of a chinese lady with a fan on his right forearm, a rose on his left wrist and a snake on his left forearm. He signed up for an initial 12 years service, but continued this for another 5 years after, until his death.


HIs service history follows:


HMS PEMBROKE II - 22/01/1900 - 31/12/1900, rising to Stoker on 21/08/1900

HMS BLENHEIM - 01/01/1901 - 20/07/1904

HMS PEMBROKE - 21/07/1914 - 06/02/1904

HMS JASON - 07/02/1904 - 17/11/1905

HMS DRYAD - 18/11/1905 - 29/01/1906

HMS PEMBROKE II - 30/01/1906 - 04/06/1906

HMS ARGONAUT - 05/06/1906 - 31/07/1906, rising to Stoker 1st Class on 01/07/1906

HMS CADMUS - 01/08/1906 - 23/09/1908

HMS CRESCENT - 24/09/1908 - 11/12/1908, rising to Acting Leading Stoker on 24/09/1908

HMS PEMBROKE II - 12/12/1908 - 19/01/1909

HMS TENEDOS - 20/01/1909 - 21/05/1909

HMS PEMBROKE II - 22/05/1909 - 02/06/1909, rising to Leading Stoker on 22/05/1909

HMS BLENHEIM - 03/06/1909 - 30/06/1910

HMS BLAKE - 01/07/1910 - 17/08/1910

HMS PEMBROKE II - 18/08/1910 - 09/10/1910

HMS BERWICK - 10/10/1910 - 25/03/1913, rising to Stoker Petty Officer on 01/11/1910 and aboard the cruiser anchored in Gibraltar on the night of the 1911 census.

HMS PEMBROKE II - 26/03/1913 - 18/04/1915

HMS ST GEORGE - 19/04/1915 - 05/11/1915, marrying Elizabeth Goddard in the autumn of 1915 in Strood, Kent.

HMS WELLINGTON - 06/11/1915 - 08/01/1917

HMS PEMBROKE II - 09/01/1917 - 20/01/1917

HMS VANGUARD - 21/01/1917 - 09/07/1917


Charles’ pension was awarded to his widow following his death, to support his two young daughters, Hilda and Elsie and was awarded the Star, Victory and British war medals.


#45 - 816/843


Sources:


England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 - Free BMD

1881, 1891 and 1911 England Census

England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 - Free BMD

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: 475

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths

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:

010 (1914 - 1919)

British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Admiralty and predecessors: Office of the Director General of the Medical Department of the Navy and predecessors: Service Registers and Registers of Deaths and Injuries. Registers of Reports of Deaths

CWGC Register

Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/10; Scan Number: 1050

Photo source - shorneparishchurch.co.uk

Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 119


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