England, John Henry

From Battle of Jutland Crew Lists Project
Photo Gallery Crew List
HMS Chester Crew List (Photographs) HMS Chester Crew List
Narrative Source Photograph
Service record shows he joined the ship in July. The family is
adamant that he had the 'Chester Medallion' before it was sold
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Dear Sir/Madam: I recently found the Jutland Crew Lists project
and was surprised to find my grandfather’s name missing.
His details are/were: John England Ordinary Seaman Born 19/7/1896
Andy England via
email 18 March 2018
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I don't think he was on the Chester at the Battle of Jutland.
-- he was a Leading Seaman at HMS Pembroke I from 15th April 1916 to date unclear
-- he was a Leading Seaman at HMS Chester from 23 July probably 1916 (July is clear)
The battle of Jutland was from 31 May 1916 to 1 June 1916
So it looks like he was on Chester but not at the Battle.
Email response [[]]
I’m very surprised to hear that.  My father, who is not prone to exaggeration, has always talked of his Dad’s participation in the battle, being on the same ship as Jack Cornwall, etc., and of course he had the Chester Medallion.  I’ll ask him if he has any more details.

Grandad sold his Chester Medallion when he was hard up during his life.
Andy England [[]]
I think these are always a puzzle when there is a conflict of evidence which we can't resolve.  All we can do is present the alternative sources and leave it to anyone that is interested to weigh the evidence and make their own judgment.

On one hand it is quite easy to believe that over a century the two true statements of 'Dad served in HMS Chester' and 'HMS Chester was at the Battle of Jutland' can get merged to create a tale that is not strictly true.  Indeed I've experienced joining a ship straight after a fairly epic patrol, and you hear so much of the stories that you almost convince yourself you were there!

On the other hand, it also seems possible that if he was drafted to Pembroke for a course but earmarked for Chester on commissioning that he might have been involved in commissioning activities and picked up the medallion.  I think this was a memento from the citizens of the city of  Chester, so there may not have been particularly strict conditions with it.  But I'm speculating...

I agree with you that his service record indicates he didn't join the ship until July, but if his son is convinced he was at Jutland, then I think we should record that evidence as a 'story', whilst pointing out that his record doesn't support this. Given such a caveat, I'd give him the benefit  of the doubt and include him in the community

Gerry via email [[]]