John Wilfred Butterworth RNVR (Po) Sussex 2/275 Engine Room Artificer 1st Class.


John was born on 9th August 1880 although all Naval paperwork states the year as 1886. An only child, he was born in Prestwich, Lancashire to parents John and Elizabeth (nee Duckworth) and first recorded on the 1881 census aged 8 months old. The small family lived at Beech Villa, Guest Road, Prestwich, with one domestic servant….at 26 years old John’s father worked as a cotton merchant and supported his family well at such a young age.

10 years later John was aged ten on the 1891 census. The family had moved to 17 Marsland Road, Sale in the county of Cheshire - his father was not mentioned on the census (likely away on business) but he continued to have a domestic servant within his household. By 1901 John was 20 and that census recorded him as a lodger at 288 Bury New Road, Broughton, Salford, working as a coal and mining engineer.



In 1903 John married Jessie Maria Cleave in Bury, Lancashire, their daughter Nora born the same year. The couple had two more children, Jessie and Frederick and on the 1911 census the family were all living together at 40 Brooker Street House, Brighton, Sussex - his occupation was described as a “sea going marine engineer” and he seemed to follow in his father’s footstep by employing a domestic servant within his household.

On the outbreak of war in 1914 John didn’t hesitate to join the Navy, putting his engineering expertise and experience to good use. He joined the RNVR at Portsmouth on 7th August 1914, noted as 5’9” tall with brown hair and eyes with a blue tattoo on his left forearm of a B and small anchor. He also had a scar on his inner right thigh. He remained at RNVR Headquarters for just 5 days, rated as an Able Seaman before being posted to his first and only ship, the dreadnought HMS VANGUARD, on 13th August. Six days later, on the 19th August his position was changed to ERA 1st Class and that is where he remained and served until the evening he died, in the ship’s explosion. He had previously been aboard during her participation in the battle of Jutland. His pension, Star, Victory and British war medals were awarded to his widow following his death.

He is remembered locally on the Hove war memorial and on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

(#11 - 136/843)

Sources:

England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 - FreeBMD

1881, 1891, 1901 & 1911 England Census

England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 - FreeBMD - Signature, Ancestry.com

Cheshire, England, Parish Registers, 1538-1909 Church of England. Record Office; Chester, England

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: 0613

UK, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve Service Records Index, 1903-1922 ADM 337/68/180

UK, Royal Naval Division Index, 1914-1919 ADM 339//2/275

World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 034/0144/BUT-BUT

Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 125

World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 034/0144/BUT-BUT

Vanguard Centenary Booklet, printed by The Orcadian





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