North Devon Men in the Great Naval Battle

In this second post to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Jutland  is a transcript taken from the North Devon Journal published the following week. In its report covering the battle the Journal published information about those who survived as well as those who did not…

North Devon MenIn the Great Naval battle on May 31st, Lieut. Robert C. Chichester, who was an officer on H.M.S. “Black Prince,” lost his life. The deceased was the third son of the late Rear-Admiral Sir Edward Chichester, Bart., of Youlston, and of Lady Chichester, Instow. An officer of great promise, he was 27 years of age. Lieut. Robert C. Chichester entered the “Britannia” in May, 1904, and joined the Fleet as midshipman in September, 1905, being promoted to Sub-Lieut. In 1909 and Lieutenant in 1911. He served, among other ships, in H.M.S. “Indefatigable” and torpedo-boat destroyers.

Official intimation reached Mr. and Mrs. H. Beer, of Bishopstawton, on Tuesday that their third son, Gunner W. L. Beer, of H.M.S. “Lion,” was killed in action. The deceased, who was 32 years of age, was unmarried. He was highly respected in the parish, where he was for several years a chorister at the Parish church. Previous to joining the Navy, he was employed as a parcel clerk on the L.S.W.R. at Barnstaple Junction Station. Gunner Beer had previously participated in two other engagements, but had escaped any injury. Much Sympathy is extended to Mr. and Mrs. Beer and family in their bereavement.

Mr. and Mrs. W. B. A. Cann, of Well-street Barnstaple, had a son, leading Stoker Wesley William Cann, aged 28, on board H.M.S. “Defence.” Stoker Cann’s wife resides at Cardiff, and so far neither she nor Mr. and Mrs. Cann have received information from the Admiralty. Another son of Mr. and Mrs. Cann, Sergt. Charles Cann, is now with the Devons; he served his apprenticeship as a printer in the “North Devon Journal” Office. Two other sons are employed in a dockyard, and a son-in-law, Seaman F. M. Bennett, is on H.M.S. “Exeter.”

Official intimation was received yesterday (Wednesday) morning by Mrs. A. Short (proprietress of the Politmore Arms, Boutport-street, Barnstaple) that her husband, Leading Stoker William Henry Short, who was about 50 years of age, had been drowned on H.M.S. “Defence.” Much sympathy is expressed with Mrs. Short, who is left with two children.

Mr. and Mrs. C. Lemon, of Vicarage-street, Barnstaple, received information from the Admiralty yesterday (Wednesday) morning expressing the fear that their son, Mr. H. Lemon, aged 25, an engine-room artificer, went down with the “Defence.” Mr. H. Lemon was formerly employed as a mechanic at Raleigh Cabinet Works and the Derby Lace Factory. Mr. and Mrs. Lemon have two other sons serving—one in the Royal Engineers and the other in the R.A.M.C.

Chief Petty Officer George Arthur Sayers (son-in-law of Mr. John Shaddick, of Green Lane, Barnstaple), was seriously wounded in the great naval battle, losing his right leg. He is in hospital at Portsmouth, and is progressing as favourably as can be expected.

The husband of Mrs. Branch, of Croyde, was a member of the crew of H.M.S. “Lion,” and she received a message from him on Friday informing her of his safety.

A Brauntonian, Mr. Routcliff, son of Mrs. Cousins, of Chapel-street, was on H.M.S. “Indefatigable” when she was sunk. No official information had been received by the relatives up to yesterday morning.

Mr. Stevens, of Braunton, who was on the “Warspite,” has sent a message to his relatives at Braunton to say that he is all right.—Mr. Lovering, of Saunton, was also on the Ship.

Mr. Ridge, proprietor of the Mariner’s Arms, South-street, Braunton, has a son who was a member of the crew of H.M.S. “Defence,” but was not on the ship when it was sunk. He was in barracks, having just completed a week’s leave.

Warrant Officer Stuckey, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stuckey, of South-street, Braunton, who was on H.M.S. “Warrior,” has “wired” to his parents stating he is quite safe.

According to the Landkey Roll of Honour, two parishioners appeared to be serving on two of the ships engaged in the recent naval battle. They are George Shapland, of H.M.S. “Indefatigable,” and Ernest Snell, of H.M.S. “Warspite.” The former, who is a son of Mr. F. Shapland, had, however been transferred to a submarine. Snell’s parents have recently left Landkey.

Cecil Harris (son of Mrs. Harris, of the Station Restaurant, Lynton), was on the “Warrior.” His mother has received a telegram announcing his safety. So far as is known no Lyntonian lost his life in the engagement.

Mr. and Mrs. Henderson, of Palace Lodge, Crediton, lost their younger son, Richard who was a midshipman on the “Invincible.”

New has been received that Surgeon Probationer F. W. Lemarchand, was not on H.M.S. “Fortune” at the time of the action. He was gazetted quite recently, and only left Barnstaple to join the “Fortune” on Monday in last week.

Seaman Ware, of Torrington, was on the “Defence,” and a son of Mr L. Palmer, of Torrington, was in the “Black Prince” as engine room artificer.

A cousin of Mr. Yeo, Surveyor to Lynton Urban Council, was serving on the “Indefatigable.”

Captain and Mrs. Bates, of Clovelly, have heard from their son, William Bates, H.M.S. “Warrior,” assuring them that he is quite safe.

Seaman Bert Austin, of H.M.S. “Navy,” is home with friends at Hiern’s Lane, Ilfracombe, for a few days’ furlough this week. He was in the North Sea Battle, and is of the opinion that the Germans suffered far more than the British.

Mrs. G. H. Ackland, of 35, Charles-street, Barnstaple, yesterday received a letter from her son, Sick Berth Attendant, Harold Ackland, who was on board one of H.M. ships which took part in the great battle. His ship was in thick of the fight, but there were no casualties among the crew whatever.

Archie Barrow, youngest son of the late Mr. Geo. M. Barrow and Mrs. Barrow, of Swansea, and late of Barnstaple, lost his life in the naval battle He was on H.M.S. “Indefatigable.” He was 22 years of age.

A Northam boy named Thomas Glover, son of Mr. and Mrs. John Glover, of Honey-street, Northam, was on H.M.S. “Indefatigable.”

In the weeks that followed the “Great Naval Battle” both the Journal and the Herald published the experiences of those involved and the reactions to the events both in North Devon and beyond.

This transcript was taken from the North Devon Journal 8th June 1916 page 4 column f and is just one of many articles about  North Devon’s experiences during World War One published in the local newspapers. For more visit our North Devon War Items Album on our Facebook Page…Barum Athena

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