World War 1 - Naval Ship research

matt_pellowe
15th July 2009, 22:25
Hi All

I am researching my Great Grandfathers life at sea for the Royal Navy and having recently obtained a copy of his service record from the National Archives I was looking for some assistance in understanding his last year of service and what significance some of the ships he (may) have served on

I have his full service record from 12 Oct 1898 for 12 years and again 12 Oct 1910 until ' service completed' and it is his life during the First World War that interests me most, most importantly as to how it may have led to his death as at present it remains a mystery;

Goliath 7 Aug 1914 to 16 Oct 1914
R H Depot Bromley 17 Oct 1914 to 7 Nov 1914
Vivid II 8 Nov 1914 to 30 Nov 1914
Hosfrsion (??) 9 Nov to 1914 undecipherable

It is this part (immediately above) where there is some wording;

"Coming home (unknown) (unknown) by / (unknown) cavemen passage"

What happen after this last entry is a mystery to us as he died in June 1915 with the "Late of HMS Goliath" which was last on his service records 9 months earlier

Can anyone shed any light on service record above as to where it was he was serving on these vessel and any pointers as to further information sources

Many, many thanks

Matt

benjidog
15th July 2009, 23:31
Matt,

Can you scan the relevant pages of his service record and post them in the Gallery so we can see it for ourselves and someone may be able to help. If we can dig out a bit more data it will make further enquiries easier.

Peter4447
15th July 2009, 23:36
Hi Matt
HMS Goliath was a Battleship that was sunk in the Dardenelles but not until after your Great Grandfather's death.
Have you checked the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website to see if your Great Grandfather is listed?
Peter4447

benjidog
15th July 2009, 23:59
Good point Peter!

You will find a link to the CWGC website HERE (http://www.shipsnostalgia.com/guides/Nautical_Websites).

Steve Woodward
16th July 2009, 00:06
Goliath was a Canopus class pre-Dreadnought battleship built by Chatham Dockyard in 1897 to 1900.
At the time of the Dardanelles campaign she was an elderly and not particularly useful ship having been superceded by post Dreadnought type battleships but she still mounted four 12" guns whose 850 lb shells could do serious damage in the shore bombardment role.
It was in this role that she was lost, on the 13th May 1915 she was anchored in Morto Bay, CLICK HERE (http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/2visiting/tourhelles7.html). when she was hit by three torpedoes from the Turkish torpedo boat Muavenet, although ostensibly a Turkish vessel she was manned by a German crew at the time.
The damage from the three hits caused the ship to heel over and sink very quickly, with approximately 600 out of the 800 crew going down with their ship, one of the great tragedies was the case-mate doors of the secondary batteries jamming shut trapping the men behind them. One of the problems in recuing the survivors was the strong currents sweeping them away before they could be picked up.
Steve

Roger Griffiths
16th July 2009, 16:39
Hello Matt,

My guess is your G/Grandfather was invalided out of the RN and his early demise could have been a direct result of the injury/ disease/illness he sustained when aboard HMS GOLIATH.
"Coming home (unknown) (unknown) by / (unknown) cavemen passage"
Some kind of code refering to his passage home. HMS GOLIATH was in the Middle East. A google search will give you dates on her movements. Her Logbooks for this period have been lost or destroyed.

R H Depot Bromley
http://www.kentvad.org/pages/military-kent.htm

VIVID II was an accounting base at Devonport. In all probability he was not physically in Devonport but assigned there for pay purposes whilst in hospital.

"Hosfrsion " some kind of shorthand for Hospital
What was the cause of his death?
As Brian said, could you post the page from his records?

Roger

matt_pellowe
17th July 2009, 10:53
many, many thanks for your posts. they have been of great interest to both me and my father.

thank you for the information on HMS Goliath and the hospital. I must assume that he was injured prior to the demise of the this ships as he was in hospital both before and after and there is no mention of him serving anytime inbetween.

i have attached a copy of his service record as a pdf which some of you may be able to decipher(Thumb)

i look forward to reading some more of your excellent posts

many thanks (again)

Peter4447
17th July 2009, 13:46
Hi Matt
I'm going to stick my neck out here.
It looks like your Great Grandfather was serving in the cruiser HMS Highflyer in 1912 when he was taken ill and he was then admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar (near Southampton) which would account for him then being 'on the books' of HMS Victory. He was suffereing from 'Chronic Nephritis' which, I believe, is to do with the kidneys and their failure. (I have this recorded as the cause of death on my Great Grandmother's death certificate). Two possible things could then have happened (a) his service engagement then came to an end and he was transferred to the Reserve and presumably having recovered his health as a reservist he was then recalled at the start of the War or (b) If, however, he signed on to complete his 22 years then according to his record he must have spent between the 7th Nov 1912 and the 7th Aug 1914 in RN Hospital Haslar - that's nearly 2 years! However he was drafted to the Battleship HMS Goliath in August 1914 and would have gone out to the Indian Ocean/East Indies with her. I can then only assume that his Nephritis which had not been cured re-appeared and he was put ashore in India (RN Depot Bombay 17/Oct/1914 to 7/Nov/1914) for a passage back to the UK. The notation "Coming home draft from Bombay (sic) by first convenient (sic) passage" appears to refer to this. The final entries on his certificate then appear to relate to his sad demise. It seems he arrived in the UK still as an ill man and went firstly to the Hospital in Bromley and then to the Royal Naval Hospital at Plymouth as he was from the Devonport Division (having been born in Falmouth). I think the entry "Inv Plymouth" covers this, which I believe is 'Invalided Plymouth' and I assume that had he not have passed away he would probably have been medically discharged from the RN at Plymouth.
Hope this may give you a few pointers and this would explain why he is not recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves site as he was not injured as a result of war service but was actually taken ill (and which was to result in his death in 1915) prior to the start of the 1914-18 War. Like many things on these documents it is a case of trying to build a picture from the few facts recorded and the sequence of these events does seem to be the most logical although I must stress it is my own interpretation of these events.
Kind regards
Peter(Thumb)

matt_pellowe
17th July 2009, 18:53
Hi Matt
I'm going to stick my neck out here.
It looks like your Great Grandfather was serving in the cruiser HMS Highflyer in 1912 when he was taken ill and he was then admitted to the Royal Naval Hospital at Haslar (near Southampton) which would account for him then being 'on the books' of HMS Victory. He was suffereing from 'Chronic Nephritis' which, I believe, is to do with the kidneys and their failure. (I have this recorded as the cause of death on my Great Grandmother's death certificate). It seems he made a recovery and was then drafted to HMS Goliath but only for a few weeks and I can only assume that his Nephritis had not been cured and it re-appeared. From the final entries on his certificate these appear to relate to his sad demise. It seems when he was again taken ill he went firstly to the Hospital in Bromley and then to the Royal Naval Hospital at Plymouth as he looks to have been from the Devonport Division (having been born in Falmouth). I think the entry "Inv Plymouth" covers this, which I believe is 'Invalided Plymouth' and I also assume that had he not have passed away he would probably have been medically discharged from the RN at Plymouth.
Hope this may give you a few pointers and this would explain why he is not recorded on the Commonwealth War Graves site as he was not injured as a result of war service but was actually taken ill (and which was to result in his death in 1915) prior to the start of the 1914-18 War.
Kind regards
Peter(Thumb)


wow!! (EEK) now on the basis that i struggled to decipher most of that service records you could of course just made this up (Thumb)

but in all seriousness many thanks. we are taking a trip to the one of the war memorials in London in a couple of weeks as we have been tld that his name is included (so still a further mystery)

i'm going to have a further chat with the ol'man and can't wait to tell him what seems to have been written on his service record...

thank you once again

Peter4447
17th July 2009, 19:19
Thanks Matt
Please keep us informed about the War Memorial.
Regards
Peter

Roger Griffiths
17th July 2009, 19:31
Peter

After seeing a copy of the orginal service record, I would go along with your interpretation. Just a small point. RNH HASLAR was in Gosport.
What do you make of the comments in the bottom right hand corner.

regards
Roger

Seems he died in West Ham in the third quarter of 1915

matt_pellowe
17th July 2009, 20:12
Peter

After seeing a copy of the orginal service record, I would go along with your interpretation. Just a small point. RNH HASLAR was in Gosport.
What do you make of the comments in the bottom right hand corner.

regards
Roger

Seems he died in West Ham in the third quarter of 1915


Hi Roger

This was of further interest to us due to some of the words we believe we could make out;


"Man cautioned for tampering (something) certificate"

and the last few words of

"of death unknown"

We have a very old picture of his headstone of which reads;

IN LOVING MEMORY OF
My Dearly Beloved Husband
PERCY AUGUSTUS PELLOWE
Late (undecipherable) of H.M.S. Goliath
who passed away 17 Sept 1915
aged 36 years
Eternal Father Strong to Save
Whose Arm Dost Bind the Restless Wave
R.I.P.

I appreciate that this is away from the topic of "shipping nostalgia" but thank you once again

Certainly we are having great fun researching the ships he served on and where he travelled to

matt_pellowe
17th July 2009, 20:14
Sorry, I should have added that his name is included on the War Memorial in Central Park East Ham and my father has in his possession a Certificate of Commendation issed by the Navy on his death stating HMS Goliath as his serving ship.

benjidog
17th July 2009, 20:33
Having magnified the pdf file, I think your mysterious bit of writing can be interpreted thus:

"Coming home suffr. (suffering) from Beri Beri by first convenient passage".

Hugh MacLean
17th July 2009, 20:33
Looking at the text could it be
"Attributable to service but place of death unknown"
Regards

Peter4447
17th July 2009, 20:55
Thanks for that Roger - For some unknown reason I got muddled up with the location of Netley and put near Southampton as I was trying to point out where it was for Matt. I have duly slapped my wrist!
Matt - I did note the remark but hesitated to comment on it as it appears to have been made early in 1915. It seems to say "War Graves Commission inquiries initiated attributable to service but place of death unknown" even though the CWGC did not come into existance until 1917 by Royal Charter (unless they were actually in operation rather earlier) and I am wondering if this was an attempt (if indeed he was suffering from Beri Beri as Benjidog has pointed out) to have his name recorded by the CWGC as a casualty of war. I don't think any of us will ever be able to provide a satisfactory answer to that part of the record.
Peter

benjidog
17th July 2009, 21:24
A further thought regarding Nephritis:

The BBC website give the following summary of the current treatment of this condition:

Treatment and recovery
The treatment of nephritis depends on the type and cause of the condition. The aim is to reduce inflammation, limit the damage to the kidneys and support the body until kidney function is back to normal. Restriction of sodium (salt), potassium, protein and fluids in the diet may be necessary. Sometimes bed rest is advised. Steroids, or more powerful immunosuppressant drugs, may be given to reduce the inflammation. Antibiotics may be needed too, although in many cases the infection that initially triggered the nephritis has long since gone. Medication may also be needed to control blood pressure.
In severe cases, renal dialysis may be necessary, although this may only be a temporary measure.


Now consider which of those treatments were available in 1915 - the answer is NONE!

I would think there is a fair chance that the poor chap would be totally reliant on whatever response his natural immune system could provide and may well have been left weakened to pick up other infections.

If I am right about him having Beriberi (and that depends on both my interpretation of what is written - and even if that interpretation is correct that the diagnosis was) - this was even at that time known to be a disease caused by dietary deficiency.

I have tried to check statistics of diseases in WW1 but have not come up with anything suggesting this was a common complaint for servicemen.

matt_pellowe
23rd July 2009, 23:04
good evening contributors.

a thank you once again for assisting in deciphering my great grandfathers service record.

i haven't managed to get down south to check the war memorial yet but our next plan is to check the old historical records for RN Plymouth

Thats another Story
4th August 2009, 12:39
Lads I Am Looking For Any Imfo On The S.s Palmella. A Member Of My Family Who Died Age 22 On 22.8.1918. Remembered With Honour. Tower Hill Memorial. His Name Henry Pruden { Trimmer} Any History At All. Thanks John.