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Robert John Gamble (Ch) 201664, Able Seaman


Robert was born on 23rd April 1880 in Faversham, Kent.

The 1881 census was taken on 3rd April and stated that Robert was aged one, living with his parents Charles and Mary and sister Alice, in Union Road, Faversham. He was baptised 2 days after his birth, in 1880 - although all Naval records state his year of birth as 1881.

In 1891 Robert then had 2 further siblings and the whole family resided at Wallers Row, Faversham.


He joined the Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on 28th October 1898, beginning his training on HMS NORTHAMPTON, a previous Nelson class armoured cruiser, converted to a training ship in 1894.


He left the ship on 10th February 1899 ranking as a Boy 1st Class, transferring to :-

HMS CURACOA 11/02/1899 - 10/07/1899, rising to Ordinary Seaman.

PEMBROKE - 11/07/1899 - 05/09/1899

JUPITER - 06/09/1899 - 08/11/1899

HANNIBAL - 09/11/1899 - 10/12/1899

JUPITER - 11/12/1899 - 14/01/1901

?? (unreadable) - 15/01/1901 - 12/05/1904, rising to Able Seaman

PEMBROKE I - 13/05/1904 - 02/01/1905

SPEEDY - 03/01/1905 - 06/06/1905

PEMBROKE - 07/06/1905 - 11/08/1905

AMPHITRITE - 12/058/1905 - 20/02/1907

COCHRANE - 21/02/1907 - 17/02/1908

BACCHANTE - 18/02/1908 - 02/58/1910 *serving 12 years

PEMBROKE - 03/05/1910 - 08/12/1910

ACTAEON - 09/12/1910 - 25/01/1911

CIRCE - 26/01/1911 - 31/03/1911

ACTAEON - 01/04/1911 - 18/05/1911

CIRCE - 19/05/1911 - 23/10/1911

ACTAEON - 24/10/1911 - 17/03/1912

SPEEDWELL - 18/03/1912 - 31/07/1912

ACTAEON - 01/08/1912 - 06/09/1912

PEMBROKE - 07/09/1912 - 17/09/1912

ST GEORGE - 18/09/1912 - 18/07/1913

PEMBROKE I - 19/07/1913 - 29/09/1913

ABOUKIR - 30/09/1913 - 06/11/1913

DIAMOND - 07/11/1913 - 07/11/1913

PEMBROKE I - 08/11/1913 - 02/12/1913

VANGUARD - 03/12/1913 - 09/07/1917, serving aboard during the Battle of Jutland. Sometime after June 1914 he received his Good Conduct Medal, number 44227.

Robert was 5'5" tall with light brown hair, blue eyes, a dot and "RG" tattoos on his left forearm.


Perhaps it was the tattoo of his initials that helped identify him, but Robert was one of the very few crew members who were laid to rest in Lyness Cemetery. He lies with one of his unidentified crew mates on the island of Hoy, Orkney. In an earlier photo of the cemetery Robert Gamble’s plot can be seen prior to the headstone being placed. As with the headstones at the rear of the photo, these were Imperial War Graves Commission, the previous name for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The headstones would have been changed after 1960.




His Star, Victory and British war medals were issued to his father following his death, along with his pension. He is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial and locally in the Faversham Memorial Garden.


#242 - 309/843

Sources:


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

England, Select Births and Christenings, 1538-1975

1881 & 1891 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: 350

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: 008 (1914 - 1919)

Naval Medal and Award Rolls, 1793-1972 Class: ADM 171; Piece: 102

Navy Lists, 1888-1970

Royal Navy and Royal Marine War Graves Roll, 1914-1919 TNA Series: ADM 242/8; Scan Number: 0493

World War I Pension Ledgers and Index Cards, 1914-1923 Western Front Association; London, England; WWI Pension Record Cards and Ledgers; Reference: 076/0347/Gal-Gam

Photos courtesy of Naval Occasions, Brian Budge and Jason Madams








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