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Harry Duncan Collis Leading Signalman (Ch) J 14788

Updated: Jul 20, 2022

Harry was born in New Malden, Surrey on 7th February 1896 to parents Henry and Alice and baptised the following month on 29th March of the same year at Christ Church in the New Malden Parish.

He was aged five on the 1901 census, recorded living at 29 Wyndham Road, Kingston on Thames with his older sister Dorothy, aged 16 and mother (his father was not listed at the address).

Harry joined the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class from the training ship WARSPITE on 17th November 1911 and joined HMS IMPREGNABLE until 15th March 1912. During the 1911 census, Harry was recorded aboard WARSPITE on the River Thames near Greenhithe.

He transferred to HMS GANGES on 16th March 1912 to 14th February 1913, rising to Signal Boy on 11th June 1912 then moved to the shore establishment HMS PEMBROKE I on 15th February 1913 for a week. His next posting was to the pre dreadnought HMS QUEEN on 22nd February 1913 until 25th November 1913 before transferring to the dreadnought HMS VANGUARD on 26th November 1913. He rose to Ordinary Seaman on 2nd December 1913, Ordinary Signalman on 5th November 1914 (having been granted special advancement on 27th July 1914) and Leading Signalman on 24th February 1916, just before participating in the Battle of Jutland on the ship.

His pension and Star, Victory and British war medals were awarded to his mother following his death. He is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial as his body was never recovered.

(#302 - 180/843)


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

Surrey, England, Church of England Baptisms, 1813-1912 Surrey History Centre; Woking, Surrey, England; Surrey Church of England Parish Registers; Reference: 3965/1/1

1901 & 1911 England Census

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: 676

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: 007 (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 242/7; Scan Number: 0834

World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 542931

Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 99

Photo courtesy of Ian Stevens

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