John was born in Mortlake, Surrey to John and Elizabeth () on 4th August 1875 (although later Naval records state 1876) and baptised on 6th February 1876 in the same parish.
On the 1881 census the family were recorded at 35 Purcell Street, Fulham, London - he was the eldest of three children and attended school aged 5. 10 years later, on the 1891 census, the expanded family (there were now another six children) had moved and were noted living at Black Houses in the parish of Droxford, Hampshire. John was a gardener’s assistant, possibly helping his father who was also a gardener.
John signed up to the Royal Navy for 12 years service, joining HMS AUSTRALIA as a Domestic 3rd Class on 3rd May 1896 until 19th May 1896. He transferred to HMS VICTORY I on 20th May, rated as Acting Cook’s Mate 2nd Class, until 2nd July 1898 when he rose to Cook’s Mate 2nd Class. He remained at the shore establishment until 8th September 1898 then transferred to HMS PEMBROKE I until 2nd October 1898. The remainder of his service follows:
HMS WILDFIRE I - 03/10/1898 - 09/03/1900, rising to Cooks’ Mate on 01/12/1898
HMS PEMBROKE III - 10/03/1900 - 25/03/1901
HMS PEMBROKE I - 26/03/1901 - 01/04/1901, recorded at the shore base during the 1901 census
HMS DUKE OF WELLINGTON - 02/04/1901 - 04/09/1901
HMS RAMILLIES - 05/09/1901 - 31/03/1902
HMS ORION - 01/04/1902 - 26/12/1903
HMS PEMBROKE I - 27/12/1903 - 02/01/1905, rising to Ship’s Cook 2nd Class on 01/06/1904
HMS PIONEER - 03/01/1905 - 22/08/1907
HMS CRESCENT - 23/08/1907 - 05/10/1907
HMS PEMBROKE I - 06/10/1907 - 24/08/1908, rising to Ship’s Cook on 22/01/1908
HMS VICTORIOUS - 25/08/1908 - 12/03/1909
HMS PEMBROKE I - 13/03/1909 - 19/04/1909
HMS VICTORIOUS - 20/04/1909 - 21/03/1910, having served his 12 years John signed on again on 3rd February 1910.
HMS RUSSELL - 22/03/1910 - 12/08/1912, rising to Chief Ship’s Cook on 20/10/1910, recorded aboard the battleship during the 1911 census, anchored at the time in Malta harbour
HMS PEMBROKE I - 13/08/1912 - 11/10/1912
HMS GANGES - 12/10/1912 - 17/03/1914 - while based in Suffolk at the shore establishment John married Minnie Taylor in the Autumn of 1913
HMS PEMBROKE I - 18/03/1914 - 29/03/1914
HMS VANGUARD - 30/03/1914 - 09/07/1917
John was 5’8” tall at full age with dark brown hair and grey eyes. He was awarded 3 Good Conduct Badges and his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in May 1911 (King George V). Following his death his Star, Victory and British war medals were claimed by his widow as was his pension. They had one daughter, Stella Ellen, who was born in 1916.
He is remembered locally on a brass plaque within All Saints Church, Denmead, where he lived with Minnie. He is remembered in perpetuity on the Chatham Naval Memorial.
After his death Minnie moved to Suffolk where her address was recorded as Scotland Place, Scotland Street, on the outskirts of Stoke by Nayland near the Essex/Suffolk border.
Minnie went into nursing and was noted living/working as a Staff Nurse at the Nayland Sanitorium on the 1939 register which was situated on the outskirts of Colchester. Further reading on the sanitorium can be found in the the links.
#282 - 429/843
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: 2397/1/7
1881, 1891, 1901 & 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: 536
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 008; Piece Description: Piece 008 (1914 - 1919)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/8; Scan Number: 1086
Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 106
WWI Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 616/11W
Photos - Copyright britainfromabove.org/image/eaw002877 - Historic England and Tracey-Helen White.