John was born on 7th April 1895 in Woolwich to parents George and Melinda.
John lived at 27 West Street, Charlton, Woolwich during 1901 with his parents and 5 siblings George, Alice, Edmund, Elizabeth and Mary. During the 10 years between census' the family had moved to 40 West Street, Charlton, his parents also sadly having to endure the devastation of losing 5 other children, all under a year old. In 1911 George Snr worked at an electrical engineering firm, as did his three eldest children, the youngest three still attending school.
John joined the Navy following the outbreak of war for the duration of hostilities, signing on 22nd April 1915. He was 5'6" tall with brown hair and eyes, beginning his training at PEMBROKE II as a Stoker 2nd Class. He attended for almost 3 months before embarking to HMS VANGUARD on 9th July 1915. He rose to Stoker 1st Class on 23rd March 1916 and although he didn't see any of the battle between the British and German Fleets at Jutland, he participated below deck, working hard along with his shipmates.
Exactly two years after his posting John was killed in the explosion, aged 22.
Following the news of the disaster, John's brother Edmund was granted 10 days leave on 10th July, to return home to his parents. Edmund, John's youngest brother, was a Sergeant with the 1st Btn Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) who a year earlier had received two gunshot wounds to his back and head in April and July 1916. Still serving in 1917, his visit to mourn the loss of his brother with his 3 sisters and parents was to be the last time he saw them as he was killed in action on 26th October 1917, just 3 months after John. Edmund's body was never found, his name recorded for eternity at Tyne Cot Memorial.
For George and Melinda the First World War ended on 2nd December 1917 when they lost their eldest and last living son to wounds received. George Edmund Tumber, eldest brother to John and Edmund served with the 19th Btn London Regiment and died aged 25, never seeing his baby son born shortly before his death. He was buried at Etaples Military Cemetery.
#261 - 767/843
England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 - FreeBMD
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: 918
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)
Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/10; Scan Number: 0788
British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960
Photo courtesy of Guy Tarrant