John "Jack" Edward Solley. (Ch) 218962, Able Seaman.



John, known as Jack, was born on 6th December 1885, in Ramsgate, Kent to parents William and Mary.

Aged 5 during the recording of the 1891 England census, John lived at 24 Hibernia Street, Ramsgate with his parents and 5 siblings. His father and older brother William were both mariners and it wouldn’t be long before John followed in their footsteps with a life at sea.

10 years later John was working as a stonemason apprentice, now aged 15 and living with his parents and siblings, at Fairhill Cottage, Alpha Road, Ramsgate. 9 months later he had left his apprenticeship and had joined the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class, recorded as 5'3" tall with black hair and brown eyes.


He began his training at HMS Ganges on 8th January 1902, based on the Suffolk coastline in Shotley, rising to Boy 1st Class on 11/09/1903.



His service record follows:-

HMS MINOTAUR - 30/01/1903 - 31/07/1903

HMS AGINCOURT - 01/08/1903 - 04/11/1903

HMS DONEGAL - 05/11/1903 - 30/10/1905, rising to Ordinary Seaman on his 18th birthday and again to Able Seaman on 30/04/1905

HMS PEMBROKE - 31/10/1905 - 18/12/1905

HMS ENCOUNTER - 19/12/1905 - 31/12/1907. While stationed at this ship he was sentenced to 7 days in cells for an unknown offence.

HMS DIDO - 01/01/1908 - 18/02/1908

HMS PEMBROKE - 19/02/1908 - 07/08/1908

HMS ACTAEON - 08/08/1908 - 29/12/1908

HMS TRIUMPH - 30/12/1908 - 11/01/1911

HMS PEMBROKE I - 12/01/1911 - 07/02/1911

HMS ALBION - 08/02/1911 - 13/03/1912

HMS PEMBROKE I - 14/03/1912 - 09/04/1912


John’s final posting was to HMS Vanguard commencing on 10th April 1912 and was aboard the ship during the Battle of Jutland.

His medals, the Star, Victory and British as well as his pension were awarded to his mother after his death.


#172 - 702/843


Sources:

1891 & 1901 England Census

Ganges photo courtesy of Roy Youngs

The National Archives; Admiralty: Naval Casualties, ADM 242; 010

CWGC Register

Naval Medal and Award Rolls, Class: ADM 171/115

The National Archives Royal Navy Registers of Seamen's Services; ADM 188/ 384

Western Front Association; PRC Ledgers; Reference: 723/11PP

Photo - Thanet Times 20th July 1917/British Newspaper Archives



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