(Introduction) | (1910) | (1911) | (1912) | (1913) | (1914) | (1915) | (1916) | (Epilogue) | (The Ship) | (Battle Cruiser) | (Design) | (Protection) | (Ordnance) | (Machinery) | (Miscellaneous) | (Sources)
While the various physical features that were to make up this particular battle-cruiser could be accepted as being involved and intricate, linking them all together into one entity was without doubt the single most complex and important component of all, her crew. I believe it is fitting that any tribute to this great vessel has to fully acknowledge and recognise this fundamental aspect of Queen Mary’s story.
Therefore my biography embarks upon this coverage by involving all the facts and details concerning her crew, and where possible their identities, that I have been able to come across in my research. Through this I hope to faithfully convey a human side to this story that will greatly enhance the readers appreciation and awareness into this all important and vital facet of this narrative.
In cold hard factual terms one can readily state that in her original design it was stipulated that this vessel should house 985 men, which in her loaded draught condition, was quoted as being 125t for crew and effects.
Her envisaged peace time numbers were to be composed of 300 from the military branch, 524 from engineering, along with 33 artisans, 2 medical personnel, 20 accountants/store-men, 16 domestics, 2 individuals from the chaplain’s branch, 82 Royal Marines, and finally 6 civilian canteen staff. It should be noted that with wartime additions, by the time of her last sortie in May 1916 Queen Mary’s wartime complement had increased substantially to a quoted figure of 1,286 officers and men present on her last sweep. Even though my research suggests perhaps another half a dozen men were actually present during this.
These basic cold facts can be said to constitute all that is popularly known about the composition and make-up of this ship’s crew through existing published works. But through my early reading into this subject I quickly discovered that here there was a telling gap in all the publications that I consulted, namely in the area of individual personalities and crew identity. This was an all to grey and obscure aspect of this ships history, but more than anything else this was part of her story that I endeavoured to uncover more than any other in my research. Therefore before I embark upon in-depth review of her service, I would like to relate exactly what has been discovered about her crew.
In this quest I have been fortunate enough to come across a small number of men who have received some identity. Through an all too brief description or mention in a contemporary book, diary, document or list, just sufficient for me to now draw some idea of their career and background, and sometimes personality from. They will be encountered throughout my work, inexorable entwined within the core fabric of the following manuscript, but before this review of her crew I would like to mention two flag officers who had a significant part to play in Queen Mary’s overall story.
Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty: This renowned individual was the youngest of his generation at 39 year, to achieve flag rank for more than a century. He had hoisted his flag in Lion on the 1 March 1913, taking over command of the Battle-cruiser Squadron (BCS) from Admiral Sir Lewis Bayley. Under Beatty’s guidance and tenacious drive the battle-cruisers of the Royal Navy were moulded into a very aggressive and powerful force, eventually to form the role of the fast vanguard of the Grand Fleet (GF). He was at the time considered the ideal commander for this appointment, the veritable cavalry of the fleet, being extremely offensive minded and dashing in the handling of his command: But with the gift of hindsight some commentators have stated that he was also somewhat impetuous at times. However his achievements and record are the epitome of daring, élan, and indeed success in battle. He had occasion to hoist his flag of the squadron on-board Queen Mary, for a brief spell between the 24 November to 3 December 1915, due to Lion entering dock for a refit.
Rear-Admiral Osmond de Beauvoir Brock: Was in overall command of the 1BCS, of which Queen Mary was to serve in throughout her career. He has been described as being a profound student, reader, a practical master of tactics and a loyal supporter of Beatty. As the commander of the 1BCS his designated flagship was the Princess Royal, but he flew his flag from Queen Mary for a brief spell commencing on the 7 December 1915, when his usual charge refitted.
These where the only two occasions where Queen Mary carried flag officers, she was destined to serve out the Majority of her career as a private ship, although she had been fully fitted out at her builder’s to act as a flagship if called upon.
Captain Reginald William Hall: Nicknamed ‘Blinker’ due to a facial twitch, was an individual who was to have an extremely close association with this ship throughout her life, and had a profound part to play in her overall story. From his attendance at her launch, serving as her first captain, and even after her sinking when both he and his wife set up a fund for the relatives of those lost in her. During his tenure he introduced a significant number of service innovations in running Queen Mary, also providing the ship with a number of improved facilities for her crew, including a much employed bookstall, cinematography equipment, and a fully fitted out chapel built at his own expense.
For internal organisation and administration, the ships’ company was arranged into a three-watch system, which was to be generally adopted by the service later, because he was convinced that a three-watch system was more suitable for wartime. He also abolished the ship’s police, relying instead on a self-governing system of internal supervision to see to the conduct of his men, convinced of the importance of raising the prestige of the petty officers, in his view the most important link in the chain of command, he had all their messes reconstructed in order to give them greater comfort. At the Admiralty's instigation he accepted the responsibility of commissioning without the customary staff of ship's police and trusting to the petty officers to undertake police duties.. By all surviving accounts, under Hall’s able command her company was evolved into a very efficient and happy one, with an excellent record in all departments, and a noted high moral within the squadron already renowned for its ‘Espirt de Corps’.
After he left the ship suddenly on the 12 October 1914 due to ill health, his obvious organisational abilities where soon channelled into an important shore appointment, when he became the head of ‘Room 40’ at the Admiralty, also known as 40 O.B. (Old Building), Naval Intelligence. From this period a revealing pen picture about Hall has emerged, with a contemporary of his in Intelligence, later writing that:
Never have I seen a man of such un-commanding size, convey such a commanding impression as did Admiral Hall. Almost bald, with a shrewd penetrating glance and a quick mode of speech entirely in keeping with his temperament, he produced an almost terrorising effect on suspects and culprits with whom he had to deal. Few could get past that challenging expression of his. (Hugh Cleland Hoy)
Among his colleagues and subordinates he was immensely popular, as are most people of strong personality. Admiral Hall’s keen powers of observation were directed towards every detail of his daily round, nothing escaped his alert eye and vivid mind, and his quick grasp of every situation thwarted the enemy plans time and again. He was adored by his men in the Navy, with whom his lightest word went further than the stern commands of many others. He always took a great interest in her personnel, and when the men went ashore he would ask them to enjoy themselves, but like decent fellows, not to take too much to drink, and the kindness of his request was for more effective than rigid discipline would have been. He could be a good friend or an implacable enemy.
This appointment to Naval Intelligence was afterwards recognised as an inspired one given his outstanding success in this office. One of his first tasks was to secure half a million pounds to run his new department, a sum readily agreed to by Prime Minister Asquith at a special cabinet meeting, and Winston Churchill at the Admiralty. From which he subsequently set up an impressive chain of wireless interception and tracking stations, organised a spy network, and embarked upon a hidden clandestine war against the enemy. He emerged from this espionage work as a figure of considerable authority and respect.
Captain Roger Keyes : Before Hall had been appointed, this officer, a friend of Vice-Admiral Beatty, had asked his influential flag colleague to bear him in mind for command of a battle-cruiser in his squadron in a conversation held during mid 1913, with the soon to be commissioned Queen Mary the understood choice. But this proposal was never advanced with for reasons not discovered and Keyes went on to other duties. He was to serve with distinction in the Great War, with the effective sealing off of the Dover Straits. Perhaps his participation in the epic attacks on Zeebrugge and later Ostend, as a Rear-Admiral in 1918, marked the pinnacle of his wartime career, he later became Admiral of the Fleet.
Captain Edward M. Philpotts: Was another possible commanding officer, when towards the end of the very successful 1914 Summer Cruise to Russia, there was some mention of Hall’s routine replacement. This would have been Captain Philpotts, but this particular appointment never took place, he later when on to command the 15 inch gunned Warspite, later masterly handling this capricious battleship at Jutland.
Captain Rudolf W. Bentinck: Was transferred from the Staff of Admiral Jellicoe as Queen Mary’s second captain, but he was destined to hold this post only very briefly due to a strange sequence of behind the scene manipulations. When Hall relinquished his command, Beatty wanted Queen Mary to be taken over by this officer, who was reportedly an individual of great charm, and high intelligence. It has been noted that he was also a personal friend of Beatty. Just before the outbreak of war Bentinck was with Admiral Jellicoe’s Staff on-board his flagship the Centurion, then the Second in Command of the Home Fleet. With Jellicoe’s accession to overall command of the GF, Captain Bentinck was transferred to head the Staff of Vice-Admiral Sir George Warrender of the 2BS, on-board the King George V. But he was not to hold this position for too long, since he was shortly afterwards granted his own command, Queen Mary. This move duly took place on the 12 October 1914, and he set out immediately upon a North Sea sweep with the rest of the 1BCS. It was confidently expect that this appointment would be confirmed, not only by Beatty but also by the officers on-board: However in a surprising move, very possibly under Admiral Fisher’s direct guidance, this was rejected. The following February with the reorganisation of the BCF, Beatty obtained the able services of Bentinck who became his valued Chief of Staff, later remarking about this fine officer:
Whose good judgement was of the greatest help. He was a tower of strength.
The politics behind this matter are now difficult to determine, but there was apparently a personality clash or desire to assert influence within the BCS involved in this appointment. It has been related in connection with this appointment that Beatty did not belong in the Fisher camp. However this did not effect this fine officers advancement, since it is noted that after Jutland Bentinck was appointed to command of the dreadnought Superb on 6 November. On 29 June 1916, Bentinck received a plum assignment, command of the battle-cruiser Tiger, and he ended his distinguished naval career as Admiral Sir Rudolf Walter Bentinck, K.C.B., K.C.M.G. He was placed on the Retired List at his own request on 9 October, 1929
Captain Cecil Irby Prowse: Took over command from Bentinck on the 30 October 1914, and held this post until Jutland. On-board the he appears to have successfully maintained his predecessor’s flare at producing a very happy and efficient ship, although with a marked degree of more spit and polish. Still one observer has summed him up in rather negative terms:
The new captain of Queen Mary is not quite the type of man required for a battle-cruiser, too slow in the brain, ponderous and I fear the ship will deteriorate in consequence. (Vice-Admiral Beatty in writing to his wife, 26.11.14)
During the Egyptian war of 1882 he had been awarded the Egyptian medal and the Khedive’s Bronze Star for his services during this campaign. Later as the first Lieutenant of the third class cruiser Racoon in 1895 he was awarded the General Africa medal for services on that Station. He was also present at the bombardment and capture of the Sultan of Zanzibar’s palace in August 1896.
Commander William M. James, later left an unflattering portrait of Prowse:
Prowse was a very different type to Hall or Bentinck. He was one of the old-fashioned, rigid type. In the seventeen months I served him as Commander, he never once unbent. He found himself in a strange atmosphere. Our numerous reforms did not arouse his interest, let alone his enthusiasm. I believe he disliked them all and that the general air of well-being and high state of discipline in some subtle way irritated him because he felt that our success should not have been possible using methods with which he had no sympathy. But we had been so long in commission that even had he been so minded he could not put the clock back, and his assumption of command made little difference to the ship's company.
The Prowse family suffered greatly in mid 1916, Cecil’s sibling, Brigadier-General Charles Bertie Prowse, C.B., D.S.O., was mortally wounded on the 1 July 1916 north of Beaumont Hamel, just a month after the death of his brother, he had decided to move his 11th Brigade headquarters into the captured German front line, and while assembling men of the Seaforth Highlanders in the British trenches he was shot in the back by machine gun fire.. It is telling to note here that all the brigade’s battalion commanders were also either to be killed or wounded in attacks on the Ridge Redoubt during the protracted Battle of The Somme.
Commander William M. James: Was the grandson of the artist Sir John Millais, and as a child he was the ‘Bubbles’ model for the famous Pears soap advertisement, this nickname haunted him throughout his service. Had been with Queen Mary since February l9l3 during her fitting-out. One noted duty on-board was his command of the secondary control position aft and overall command of its 4 inch battery, along with two lieutenants. He left the ship on the 15 March 1916 to join the 13.5 inch gunned super-dreadnought Benbow flagship of the 4BS, later being appointed to work under Captain Hall in Room 40. Following this he was director of Greenwich Staff College, captain of the Royal Sovereign, then Royal Oak, then assistant to the First Sea Lord: It has been related that he had lost a brother early in the war, but one happy event had occurred to him, his marriage in early February 1915, an event marked with him being presented with a gift by the wardroom. In 1932 after the ‘Invergordon Mutiny’, Rear-Admiral Sir William James at the age of 51 flew his flag from the famous Hood.
Commander Sir Charles Rodney Blane: This officer had succeeded his uncle as the fourth Baronet in l9ll. He had been awarded the Italian Order of St. Maurice and St. Lazarus for distinguished service at the time of the Messina earthquake of December 1908. It is regrettable to mention that as with his captain, the telling casualties of the Great War were to be visited upon his own family very heavily; since both of his two younger brothers had already been killed in Army service in France before his death at Jutland.
In this it should be borne in mind that by the end of the first mobile phase of the Great War in late 1914, no less than 86,000 men of the 110,000 strong British Expeditionary Force (BEF) had been either killed, wounded, or taken prisoner. While it has been recorded that the active strength of a typical front line battalion originally composing of 1,000 men and 40 officers, was after this first phase of the war then just 1 officer and 40 men. From these horrendous statistics one can readily appreciate how the influence of the Western Front must have visited itself upon the crew of Queen Mary in a very personal fashion as family and friends served at the Front.
One other interesting fact discovered about this officer is that a 9,820 feet high mountain in the Opal range of the Canadian Rockies in the Province of Alberta, was named Mount Blane during 1922 in honour of this individual. George Dawson named eight of the eleven peaks in this range after individuals or ships associated with the Battle of Jutland, four being named after flag officers. Exactly why Commander Blane was chosen in this nomenclature over Captain Prowse is not clear, but since Mount Blane is acknowledged as the most spectacular in this range, Dawson’s decision has to reflect some further appreciation of Blane that I have been unable to discover.
Commander Harry Lewin Lee Pennell: Aged 34 at the time of his loss at Jutland, and he came from Minchinhampton in Gloucestershire. Educated at Exeter School he joined the Navy as a cadet in 1898, assisting in the British Antarctic Expedition commanding the Terra Nova during 1910-13 under the late Captain Scott. During this he was noted as being an able amateur naturalist, and assisted others in their studies of birds, whales, and magnetic work. On 22 February he made the first sighting of Oates Land: Following his polar travels he had been specially promoted to Commander in June 1913, and was appointed to Queen Mary on the 30 November 1915 as her Navigator.
Commander Robert Harman Llewelyn: Promoted to that rank on the 1 January 1916, was Queen Mary’s Gunnery Officer, aged 31 at the time of Jutland in which he was to die, is noted that he was the only surviving son of Sir Robert Llewelyn. This particular officer has been mentioned in a number of sources, and it appears that he was a very knowledgeable individual not only in his chosen profession, but in such diverse subjects as aeroplanes and Greek sculpture. He was a well-respected and liked member of the wardroom and by his contemporaries on-board: He had earlier served in the old pre-dreadnought Ramillies, the flagship of Lord Charles Beresford in the Mediterranean, then the Hindustan during l9ll, and later the St.Vincent during l9l2 as her Gunnery Lieutenant, before being appointed to Queen Mary on the 19 December 1913.
The Commander Llewelyn Prize was founded in 1917 to honour his memory. The interest on a sum of money presented by his relations being employed to provide a prize which was awarded, at the discretion of the Captain Excellent, to the seaman who passed the best examinations in gunnery subjects when qualifying for Gunnery Instructor. This prize was based upon the sum of £400 Government Stock presented by his family and held in trust by the Admiralty, as a lasting memorial to Robert.
Lieutenant Commander Ralph Lyall Clayton: The Torpedo Officer, being assigned to the ship in February 1913 while she was fitting-out. It was customary for the senior Lieutenant Commander on-board to be responsible for the midshipmen’s instruction, the Snotties’ nurse.
Lieutenant Commander George Campbell Street: Selected to join the ship during August 1915. He is remembered at the memorial present at Holy Trinity Church, Bramley, Surrey.
Engineer-Commander William Rattey: Born 2 October 1871, the son of William Rattey, at Old Oak Cottage, Action, Middlesex; married in 1907 top Josephine Hose. He was on-board between1913-1915; present at the Heligoland Bight action. Became Engineer-Rear-Admiral in 1922; retired 1928, and died 8 October 1939.
Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Johns: Served on-board from before her commissioning, but he left under a cloud on the 2 October 1914, being replaced by the officer below.
Engineer Lieutenant-Commander John Matthew Murray: While at the R.N. College he was an instructor to the then Prince of Wales. He joined the ship on the 3 October 1914 in circumstances outlined in the historical section of this work, and he was to be missed by more than is family, with the English Cricket Board entry for John Matthew Murray:
Born 23 June 1873, Aberdeen, Scotland died 31 May 1916 aboard Queen Mary at the Battle of Jutland - Major Teams, Royal Navy. Known as: John Murray. Batting style, right hand bat. Bowling style, right arm fast.
Lieutenant John Maltby Bergin Hanly: Arrived on-board in August 1913 and in the first months of the war he was delegated to be one of the ship’s boarding officers. It has been noted that he was wounded sometime in 1914, but he had recovered sufficiently to attend his brother’s wedding as best man early in l9l5. Regarding this wounding, although no specific details have emerged concerning this, it is a possibility that this might have been received in Flanders. Unlikely as it sounds it was practised within the GF to send detachments of officers and senior ratings to visit the Western Front. These ‘Trench Parties’ as they were termed, actually entered the front line positions and upon their return would then give lectures to their colleagues about their experiences.
The only definite confirmation of this practice on-board Queen Mary that I have come across is that one non-commissioned officer, Shipwright 1st Class Edward Valentine Lambert had been mentioned in despatches for helping troops when visiting the trenches, being subsequently amongst those lost at Jutland. Although it is not confirmed in any other source, the fact that Queen Mary had not received any casualties in her service prior to Jutland: And with only one death brought about through illness, being Petty Officer H.J. McLoughlin (Service No.192051 (PO), after an operation on-board on the 4 November 1914. Leads one to consider that Hanly’s wound might very well have been received during one such ‘Trench Party’ visit.
Lieutenant Victor Alexander Ewart: From Hythe in Hampshire, joined the ship in October 1913, having been just promoted to that rank two months before, and during late 1914 he was responsible for a battery of four 4 inch guns. Through his mother he was a nephew of Lord Ancaster, and he was only 25 years old when he died at the time of Jutland: A special mention of this, ‘Smart young officer’ in command of ‘X’ 13.5 inch turret has been made. This relates that once the ship seemed doomed and after the turret had been cleared by all whom could manage it, Lieutenant Ewart returned to the gun-house to very possibly to assist Midshipman Thomas Mostyn Field, in the working chamber, and died in the attempt.
Lieutenant Cowan served as the captain of ‘X’ turret at the time of the Battle of Heligoland, and also as a boarding officer, but he left the ship before Jutland.
Lieutenant Inston was involved in the ships’ gunnery in some unspecified capacity, perhaps serving in a main gun-house, leaving the ship prior to May 1916.
Lieutenant O’Manny, mentioned during late 1914, were he participated in the ‘Battle of Cromarty’ that October, left the ship before Jutland.
Lieutenant Johannes Marais Scholtz RNR. This officer’s family came from Scholtzenhof, Cape Province, South Africa, but he and his wife lived in Southampton. He joined the ship during the immediate pre-war period in July 1914. He is noted as being in charge of a battery of 4 inch guns late in 1914, he was 38 at the time of his death at Jutland.
Fleet Surgeon Francis Frederick Lobb was appointed in July 1915, aged 43 at the time of his death at Jutland, came from Portsmouth: He had previously served in the Thrush during the Delagoa Bay blockade, and in the Gambia River Expedition in 1901, were he had received the General African medal with Aro clasp. Under him at various times he had the following officers in his department, Staff Surgeon Francis Gowans MB, from September 1913, had left the ship before Jutland: Temporary Surgeon Charles Williams Lewis MB on-board from May 1915, was aged 36 and he is noted as coming from Cape Town, South Africa. Temporary Surgeon Maurice Henry de Jersey Harper MB on-board from March 1916, both where to be lost at Jutland. Surgeon Mason was one other individual from this medical department who has been mentioned, he had been transferred from the Oxfordshire on the 8 August 1914 at Scapa Flow, but he had left the ship before her last sweep
The Reverend William Beech Masefield, the ship’s first Chaplain, joining just after her commissioning in September 1913, remaining in this post until the 10 August 1915. The Reverend George Stanley Kewney BA, as the second Chaplain he was destined to be one of the eight members of his calling in the GF who perished at Jutland: Both of these officers also performed the duties of Naval Instructors to the midshipmen, being supported in this duty by Schoolmaster George McNamee, listed from January 1916. In a conversation Midshipman Lloyd-Owen had with Petty Offices Francis after Jutland, the presence of the Chaplain and a ‘Doctor’ in the lower levels of ‘X’ mounting during the action was noted.
Fleet Paymaster Charles Russell Harvey was with the ship since her fitting-out, with his early appointment in March l9l3 an indication of the important administration duties he would have performed along with the Commander and other essential personnel at this time. Assistant Paymaster John Churchward Hart, noted from August 1913, with one of his duties involved the updating of the ships confidential books. Assistant Paymaster William Thomson RNR came on-board in January 1915, while Assistant Paymaster William Graham Macgilp RNR replaced Thomson in February 1916. At Jutland Macgilp was seen in the water after the sinking but he was not amongst those rescued.
Sub Lieutenant John Aitchison, noted from February l9l4 but he left before Jutland: Upon leaving the ship he was replaced by the promoted Midshipman Geoffrey Gordon Kitchin RNR, then Sub Lieutenant (acting) who was lost at Jutland.
Sub Lieutenant William R. Slayer, from September l9l3, but this individual left on the 23 March 1916 for service on the sloop Pansy. He was a friend of Bagot mentioned below, eventually being transferred with him on the same date prior to Jutland.
Sub Lieutenant Clifford Heath Rider replaced Slayer on the 12 April 1916 when his acting post was confirmed, and was subsequently lost at Jutland.
Sub Lieutenant Algernon William Percy RNR was the son of Lord Algernon Percy and nephew of the Duke of Northumberland, and he had joined the ship in late March 1915. Midshipman Deardon recollects seeing Percy in the water after Queen Mary sank, but he was not rescued. There is a possible Royal connection with this junior officer, through none other than Prince Albert serving on-board the dreadnought Collingwood, known to his messmates as plain Mr. Johnstone, in a letter to a friend after Jutland he wrote:
I used to see a good deal of poor old Percy when he was in London in last April. It was very sad his going down in Queen Mary.
Algernon’s body was subsequently washed ashore in Norway, and was interned at the Fredrikstad Military Cemetery, along with at least one other named individual, Stoker Arthur Jones.
Sub Lieutenant (Acting) Neville Seymour according to one account excelled in sport, from which he had received numerous cups and other prizes. He had joined the ship in September 1913 as a midshipman, and sat his Sub’s exam on the 16 March 1916, he was still listed as a midshipman on the ship’s books on the 18 May 1916.
Midshipman Arthur G.D. Bagot served on-board since commissioning until just before her loss, he can be said to have experienced the life of Queen Mary to the full, keeping a detailed journal of his time on-board, from the outbreak of war until his transfer. Serving initially as an RNR officer, before subsequently entering RN service. He had suffered a case of Rubella in June/July 1915 and had to be sent ashore to recover, and during his absence his friend Seymour maintained his journal, with a number of interesting entries. His 20th birthday was on the 5 November that same year. Just prior Jutland on the 23 March 1916, Bagot was posted to the sloop Pantranion for service in the Mediterranean. Later he was to see action in the new destroyers Tirade in home waters, being present at the sinking of UC.55 off the Shetlands in 1917. He later served in the Royal Navy between the wars and saw service during the Second World War, primarily in Ceylon. After this he undertook various tasks, such as participating in the Palk Strait oil transhipment scheme between 1945-46, and acting as an observer in the Greek elections of 1946. He finished off his long and distinguished service as a Commander of LST craft during the Korean War.
Midshipman Ernest Cecil Peirson-Smith was lost at Jutland, he joined about the same time as Bagot in late September 1913, about which time a Midshipman Johnson (not listed as lost at Jutland) also arrived. Midshipman Eric M. MacCausland from this early draft, transferred to the Genta as a communications link with minesweepers on the 15 February 1916.
Midshipman Harold Tennyson, son of the Right Hon. the 2nd Baron Tennyson, P.C., G.C.M.G., of Farringford, Freshwater, Isle of Wight. This youth was the Grandson of the famous poet Alfred Lord Tennyson, and along with his two brothers Lionel and Aubrey, represented the family name very well in the Great War. He is other source of detailed information I have drawn upon, with his published journal notes and letters home describing and relating to his time on-board in some detail. In his entries he also mentions by name quite a few individuals on-board, especially one Midshipman McMasters during the pre-war cruises, but not listed as being lost at Jutland, who was fluent in French, as Tennyson was. After leaving on the 7 November 1915, the promoted Harold did not survive long; he died of wounds received while serving on-board the unique six-funnelled Torpedo Boat Destroyer Viking of the Dover Patrol the following year, on the 29 January 1916. In this incident, after she had been damaged by gunfire, she struck a mine off Boulogne and her stern was blown off. He is buried in the Freshwater (All Saints) Churchyard on the Isle of Wight. One other noted his passing:
The Viking struck a mine, and with the exception of the Gunner, her Captain and all the officers, including a very promising youngster, Sub-Lieutenant the Hon. Harold Tennyson, were killed. (Admiral Lord Mountevans).
Even in tying down the date of this particular incident was open to question, seeing that the identical photograph showing the crippled Viking, with evident damage aft, and the Zulu standing by, was reproduced in ‘Warship Illustrated, No.7 - British Destroyers in WWI’, with the above date. While ‘The Great War - I Was There’, reproduced this same view for her subsequent torpedo hit on 3 April 1916 after she had been repaired.
Midshipman John Hugh Lloyd-Owen RNR, survived the sinking to leave his noted recollections in ‘The Great War - I Was There’, an abridged account in ‘Sons of Admiralty’, and in two letters, all graphically describes his experiences in ‘X’ turret. As far as I been able to ascertain, after Jutland, this individual served in the 2BS, then the 2CS, later the 9CS at the time of the Armistice, and prior to World War Two he had attained the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Midshipman Leslie F.E. Wood arrived in the same draft as the above, not listed as being lost at Jutland, and his fate is unknown. A party of four midshipmen was gazetted to the battle-cruiser in mid January 1914; these included The Earl of Wilton, Alexander S. Hutchison, James R. Hudson and Arthur H. Wynne-Edwards. From this particular group Wilton a close friend of Bagot, sat his Sub’s exam on the 16 March 1916, his results have not been discovered. But promoted Wynne-Edwards as an Acting Sub-Lieutenant was posted to the light-cruiser Gloucester on 14 March 1916. Hudson and Hutchison upon passing their exams where transferred to Torpedo-boats 16 and 24 respectively on 18 February 1916. The Earl of Wilton must have been transferred about this time as well, since he was not included in the list of those lost, and the rest of those named above all seemed to have survived the Great War.
Midshipman Thomas Mostyn Field was just 16 at the time of his death at Jutland, he came from Twyford in Hampshire, the only son of Admiral Sir Mostyn and Lady Field. He was a Cadet at the Royal Naval Colleges at Osborne and Dartmouth between July 1912 to October 1915. On-board from January 1916, serving in ‘X’ mounting aft, in the working chamber according to one source. He was one of six new midshipmen in that particular draft to replace the above promoted individuals. The other newcomers being: Anthony Edward Baldwin aged 16 from Portman Square in London, along with Mark Austen, Kildare Henry Borrowes aged 16 from Dublin, George Hopcroft aged 16 from Cheltenham in Gloucestershire, and Archibald William Dickinson aged 16 from Edinburgh, all of whom were lost at Jutland.
Regarding the last named individual above:
It is perhaps pertinent to note that in May 1916, 18 year old Midshipman (subsequently Rear-Admiral) Robert Kirk Dickson (D.S.O.), and his younger brother Archibald, had their photograph was taken in their home town of Edinburgh. Robert had just returned from 2 years of duty with Canopus during which he saw action at the Battle of the Falklands and Gallipoli. Archie had left Osbourne that year to join Queen Mary. The day after the photo was taken the brothers separated to rejoin their respective ships, Archie was killed at Jutland while Robert survived unscathed on the dreadnought Benbow. (from Alexander Kasterine (Robert's Grandson)
Midshipman George (also known as Paul) Hopcroft was born in Portsmouth, and is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He is commemorated on the Bishops Cleeve War Memorial, the Southam War Memorial and the Cleeve Hill (St Peter's Church) Roll of Honour. His parents, George Paxman Hopcraft and Mrs Mildred Hopcraft, resided at Old Gable House, Southam, near Cheltenham. A memorial photo of George was published in ‘The Cheltenham Chronicle and Gloucestershire Graphic’ on 10 June 1916.
A final draft of five midshipmen where appointed in late March 1916, they included, Percy Arthur Wells Wait aged 18 from Woodbridge in Suffolk, who had achieved the coveted Maths/Science Prize while at Dartmouth, had earlier served on-board the pre-Dreadnought Cornwallis at the Dardanelles. Peregrine R. Deardon (survivor), Walter Saxon Burt, Henry Noel Aldersey Taylor aged 20, and Voltelin St. J. Van der Byl (survivor) were also present in this draft.
From these Midshipman Peregrine Robert Dearden (Born 30 November, 1897) was destined to serve in ‘X’ turret’s control cabinet alongside Lieutenant Ewart. While he survive the sinking he was later picked up by a German destroyer and spent the hands of the war as a prisoner of war at Mainz, he later resumed his RN service, ending up as a Lieutenant Commander. Died 18 September 1952 at Waipukuran, New Zealand. Wife of Nancy, father of Ann, Susan and James.
Midshipman Denis Gerald Ambrose Goddard, although only 18 years old at the time of his death at Jutland, he had already seen extensive service during The Great War, serving in the Persian Gulf, the Suez Canal and the Dardanelles, as well as with the BCF in the North Sea. He had only recently arrived on-board before Jutland on the 17 May, and he came from Earl’s Court in London.
Philip Reginald Malet de Carteret born in Sydney NSW Australia, was aged 18 at the time of his loss at Jutland, whose family in Jersey have provided an invaluable letter written just prior to Jutland: He joined the ship on the 17 May, along with the two individuals below.
Midshipman Jocelyn L. Storey, was destined to serve in ‘Q’ turret amidships, and as fate was to decree he would be the senior surviving officer of Queen Mary and as such was to be responsible for submitting the necessary report on her loss. Midshipman Humphrey M.L. Durrant, although surviving the sinking he soon succumbs to wounds received in her loss once ashore at Rosyth on the 6 of June 1916.
This seemingly high turnover in midshipmen was simply due to their regular sitting of exams as they gained seniority, with either promotion up to Sub-Lieutenant status, and/or a transfer to another ship, making way for new drafts of junior Snotties:
There are 23 of us in the Gunroom, including two subs, an Engineer sub and two clerks. All the rest are snotties, some junior and some senior to us. (Malet de Carteret)
Mate William F. Brelmer (Engineering), from December 1914, left before Jutland. Chief Gunner Albert Edward Sturt, was an individual who would have worked very closely with Commander Llewelyn, and his importance can be gauged by the fact that he had been appointed as early as July l9l2 to assist in her fitting-out at Palmers. Also working alongside this individual was Chief Gunner’s Mate Harrison who served in the Transmitting Station on-board: Both of these men were on-board at Jutland. Four other individuals in this department are mentioned in records, Gunner Charles John Jones on-board from February l9l5 for instructional duties, Gunner George Robertson Kinnear on-board from March l9l5, Gunner (T) John Joshua Young noted from September l915, and Gunner William Robert Jackett from January l9l5 for Quarterdeck duties. All where lost at Jutland.
Brief notes only mention the identities of some others of this general non-commissioned status within the ship: Chief Boatswain John Wynn from October 1912, but not on-board at Jutland. Warrant Officer Recce, has been noted as receiving concussion injuries during an unspecified accident while the ship was at sea on exercise, and a planned shoot for the 6 January 1916 had to be cancelled due to his condition. Chief Petty Officer W.T.R. Dovland, noted on-board early in Queen Mary’s service. These three individuals had been transferred prior to Jutland.
Clerk Charles Allen, on-board as from November l9l5, replaced by Clerk Geoffrey Francois Mieville in April 1916 from Cricklewood in London, who was just 20 at the time of his loss at Jutland. He had been supported by Assistant Clerk Norman Y. Clay who had arrived in February 1916, but who was apparently not on-board at Jutland: One other individual in this Department should be mentioned, Assistant Clerk Ray, who was with her in 1913 and early 1914. He had then been transferred to the light-cruiser Pathfinder, but he returned on-board for a short visit to see some friends on the 6 September 1914 at Queensferry, after the cruiser had been sunk off St. Abbs Head.
In this research a number of individuals have rendered some intriguing questions. Stoker Petty Officer George Wood was born Fred Ward, and while his family in Wakefield and wife in Portsmouth lived under the surname of Ward, he served under Wood. Also serving on-board was Sailmaker John O’Brian, while his family surname and that of his wife was Burns. Stoker 1st Class Edward Allen was the son of Henry and Amy Wheway, the name under which he is listed in the final casualty report. The exact personal reasons for such name changes are unknown.
Petty Officer (Gunner’s Mate) Ernest Benjamin Francis, the left hand Gun Captain in ‘X’ turret, a veteran of the Heligoland Bight action, and all of Queen Mary’s sweeps. He has passed on to posterity an evocative and memorable account of Jutland, included within his narrative he describes a couple of men from his turret, whose identities have been all but forgotten, except for his account of their unselfish actions at the end of their lives. He relates how he only managed to survive only through the critical help of Able Seamen Birt Long aged 30 from Gloucester, the turret trainer, and Able Seaman George Leonard Lane aged 22 from Withington in Hereford, the No.4 member of the left gun, both of whom were lost in the sinking. Also mention in this telling recollection by Francis is Petty Officer Thomas Henry Stares, in charge of the working chamber for ‘X’ mounting, and Petty Officer (1st Class) Maurice John Killick in the gun-house itself, the reserve gun-layer, both lost.
Chief Petty Officer John Sparrow (Stoker), a 49 year old veteran who died at Jutland was within six months of completing his thirty-two years service. He held the Long Service, Good Conduct, and South African Medals to his credit. There were many others like Leading Stoker Ivan Howlett who had such awards as the Africa General Service Medal & Naval General Service Medal.
Stoker John Mangan RNR from Dublin deserves to be noted here for one distinction, my research indicates that at 62 he was very possibly the oldest man on-board: While at the other extreme Marine Bugler Alfred Eves, it seems that at 15 was the youngest. Statistically the average age on-board Queen Mary was 26 years old, from the 70.5% of her crew that I have discovered ages for. This seeming ‘maturity’ of her crew in direct relationship to the relative youth of those Battalions expended on the Western Front, is confirmed by a similar survey of the Indefatigable’s crew, which indicates the average age of her crew as 25 years and 8 months old, very close to Queen Mary’s. On-board Queen Mary long serving men were much in evidence, with the likes of Able Seaman George Connaught being in the Royal Navy for 18 out of his 34 years, and Able Seaman Ernest Higginbottom serving 14 years out of his 31 years.
Stoker William Rice (born Ryan), a married fifty year on man from Corrags, Newry, County Down, had lost his brother Edward in the Lusitania sinking the year previous, leaving his surviving widowed mother Anne and wife Mary to struggle on through their family tragedies. Also from the lower deck was 20 year old Able Seaman John (Jack) Havercroft and his 18 year old brother Ordinary Signalman Alexander (Alec) Havercroft. Both have achieved some identity through a request for information about them in the October 1916 issue of ‘The Fleet’ magazine, with photographs of the two was a simple and touching message. The reasons behind this where not expressed but obviously it was a personal enquiry from their bereaved family in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire:
We shall be very much obliged if anyone saved from the ship, who saw the above, on the day of the action, or knew them well, should write to the Editor.
Tragically other sets of brothers were on-board at the time of her loss, Leading Stoker William Kennett and his brother Stoker 1st Class Walter Kennett, where from Elmsworth, Hampshire. Also from the engineering department was Stoker 1st Class James Louch and his brother Leading Stoker William Louch from Battersea, London. From the Royal Marine Band there where Band Corporal Arthur Wood and Musician Frederick Wood, who where to leave there widowed mother. Telling has to be the tragedy of the Malcolm family, parents George and Mary, who lost along with 22 year old Stoker Charles Malcolm and his married 25 year old brother Stoker John Malcolm, their older brother 29 year old Stoker Joseph Malcolm as well, all from Stockton-on-Tees.
In ‘A’ turret at least during late 1914 there was a pointer number called Frost, ‘A good stolid chap with an eye like a micrometer gauge’, a skilled range taker in a number of exercises, while another crewman in this gun-house was Putts ‘the pointer’. Neither are on the Jutland casualty list and it is assumed that they had been transferred before the end.
During her career Queen Mary had three Japanese Naval observers on-board, the first being Captain Baron Abo, and he left the ship on the 27 April 1915. Commander Suetsugen his successor arrived on the 2 May 1915, and remained until the 30 December that year. The record of those lost with this battle-cruiser also mentions Commander Chiusuke Shimomura amongst its number, the last Japanese naval observer.
Mention should also be made of the 25 year old Assistant Constructor 2nd Class Arthur Kingston Stephens of the DNC’s Department at the Admiralty, from Tavistock in Devon, who had sailed on her last operation and was lost at Jutland: Prior to this he had a very active career serving on-board Lion at the Heligoland Bight, and Tiger at the Dogger Bank, both being heavily engaged in these actions, where his services would have been tested to the full.
All five civilians who manned her canteen on her last sortie were lost: Canteen Assistant’s Arthur Brown, H. Doughty, Harry Edgar John Miller, Frank William Roberts, and Edmund Walter Scammell. By chance the ships’ canteen manager, Edward G.H. Hopkins, was on leave at the time of the battle and survived.
The Royal Marines
As stated in the introduction to this section, discovering something about the identities of Queen Mary’s crew was one of the principal objectives in this exercise. As reader will have noticed upon reading through the crew list above, there might appear to be a significant omission in this area. That is the involvement of her sizeable Royal Marine (RM) detachment. However as will become quite apparent upon reading through the historical text on this subject, especially her first six months of The Great War, her marines played a significant part in this story. Simply through the considerable assistance and help obtained from the Royal Marines Museum (RMM) at Eastney, during the quest for original data concerning this particular ship.
From this impressive archive were discovered two invaluable personal documents. This cover to the period from August 1914 to January 1915 in some depth and detail, from both the wardroom and lower deck perspective, and they have been freely drawn upon to greatly enhance and build this coverage. Therefore special recognition of this RM involvement has to be made through this individual section, outlining the structure of this detachment on-board: All of who were lost at Jutland.
Major Gerald Christopher Rooney RMLI, a 39 year old from Dublin, is undoubtedly one of the principal characters encountered in my research. With his detailed private journal not only mentioning by name quite a few of the individuals included above, but tracing the early wartime career of this battle-cruiser in some intriguing detail. In his career he had served with the Expeditionary Forces in China during the Boxer rebellion, acting as Adjutant to the RM Battalion in August 1900, receiving recognition and eventually a medal for this duty, The China Medal. Appointed to Queen Mary during April 1914, the Major’s action station was as the Captain of ‘A’ turret, the RM’s mounting on-board: Besides undisclosed bridge responsibilities, another duty which fell to him was the upkeep of the ship’s secret and confidential books, along with vital cipher duties. He has been mentioned in one other source, on the eve of Jutland:
Major Rooney, a great favourite in the ship was a Catholic. He was going to have his marriage arranged or rather he asked me two or three days before the battle if I could let him know what civilian and religious formalities would have to be gone through. His case was rather complicated, as he wanted to be married to a non-Catholic from Wiltshire. He himself had no fixed residence. I went up to Edinburgh the day before the battle and made all the necessary enquiries and met him on the Hawse Pier whilst waiting for my boat. I told him that I had made all the enquiries and would be on-board the next day to hear confessions and that I would talk things through with him. That was 6.45pm. Not quite twenty-four hour’s later the ship blew up. (Chaplain Bradley, New Zealand)
Private Walter James Stevens RMLI, was berthed in No.34 mess has left a very informative diary to the RMM containing brief entries for most dates between the 9 August 1914, right through to the middle of the following January. His pocket diary has suffered the ravages of time with a couple of missing pages, but all the same it has proved to be an interesting insight into what the lower deck witnessed. Killed at Jutland, he was 24 years old and came from Devizes in Wiltshire.
Lance Corporal Ryan is mentioned by Rooney in relation to his taking charge of a marine crew for a newly arrived anti-aircraft piece in late 1914, and he had been transferred prior to Jutland and his subsequent fate is unknown. Two other individuals have been mentioned by this archive, Private William Edward Jago RMLI and 18 year old Gunner Charles Walter Tate RMA from Hull both of who died at Jutland, left single commemorative postcards to the museum through their families.
The detachment carried by Queen Mary on her final sweep had been drawn from the Chatham Portsmouth and Portland depots and numbered 114 men of all ranks. This detachment was comprised of three groups, the Royal Marine Artillery (RMA), Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI), and elements from the Royal Marine Band (RMB).
As the senior NCO in the RMLI detachment Colour Sergeant William Frederick Howard would have been responsible for seeing that the Navigator had wound-up the ship’s chronometers, and reporting this fact to the captain every morning. Manning Queen Mary’s printing shop there would have been a corporal and four marines, with all the setting done by hand: The butcher’s were also marines, as was the sentry over the cabinet of nearly 200 keys on-board: The RM detachment also provided the corporal of the gangway, who was responsible for seeing that no unauthorised person entered or left the ship, and for bring defaulters or ‘King’s Hard Bargains’ (KHB’s) before the officer of the watch.
Within the RMA detachment it is likely that either Sergeant’s William John Lothian or 32 year old Ernest Webb from Portsmouth, performed the duty of ship’s postman, with a couple of men to assist in outgoing mail to the depot ship, along with the collection and sorting of incoming mail. In action besides ‘A’ gun-house a portion of the 4 inch secondary battery, and the ships’ light anti-aircraft pieces where manned by marines.
RMB Bandmaster (lst class) James Alexander Taylor, who had earlier served on-board the Indefatigable in the same capacity, was 37 years old at the time of his loss at Jutland, he came from Poplar in London.
While at sea a party of the band manned the transmitting station, where the gunnery fire control problems where solved on the Pollen table, while others helped to supply ammunition to the mountings and helped as stretcher-bearers. On more than one occasion Major Rooney was to bestow praise upon the band’s performance. Either in the hold of a collier during coaling evolution’s, when not playing on deck for the entertainment of the striving crew, this roughly twelve strong gang was reputedly one of the best in the ship at this demanding task.
This then is the extent of the identity discovered about the composition and personality of Queen Mary’s crew and some of those involved in her overall story. Although some might see gaps, omissions, in these biographies on various individuals or departments on-board, it is to be hope that readers will still accept that in the final analysis, the information provided here is the most detailed and revealing concerning this ship’s complement that has yet been published. And that by providing what information that has been unearthed, the subsequent coverage in the later historical sections will now take on a very human aspect.
(Introduction) | (1910) | (1911) | (1912) | (1913) | (1914) | (1915) | (1916) | (Epilogue) | (The Ship) | (Battle Cruiser) | (Design) | (Protection) | (Ordnance) | (Machinery) | (Miscellaneous) | (Sources)