Howard, William

From Battle of Jutland Crew Lists Project
Photo source: Phil Ventress

Phil Ventress writes, of his wife's maternal grandfather:

At the age of 15 William left his home in Ilford, Essex to join the Royal Navy and do his bit in World War I. On 9th Sept 1915 he joined the training establishment HMS Vivid in Plymouth to train as a ‘Boy Sailor, 2nd Class’. By March 1916 William and his classmates had passed out of training and made ready to be drafted to their first ships. Boy Sailor, 1st Class, Howard was drafted to HMS Chester as a junior gunner in May 1916 just 3 weeks ahead of The Battle of Jutland. We understand he was part of the rear-gun crew onboard during the battle, but never he retold his story of the battle or the things he witnessed. We also believe he joined the Navy with Jack Cornwell VC, both coming from the same streets in Ilford Essex and undoubtedly it looks like they were classmates during training in Plymouth. Able Seaman, William Howard served on the Chester until the end of the First World War, but this wasn’t the end of his naval adventures.

Between the wars, Able Seaman Howard served on HMS Heather and HMS Norfolk, while also returning to HMS Vivid in Plymouth in a training role. At the outbreak of WW2 he was drafted to HMS Impregnable and from 1940 to 1943 he saw action in the North Atlantic escorting supply convoys and evading German U-Boats. For the remainder of the war he saw action in the Mediterranean, providing relief to Malta and maintaining supply routes to the Allied Forces in North Africa.

William was ‘demobbed’ in Sept 1945 after 30 years of naval service, a tremendous commitment to both King and Country.


  1. HMS Chester Crew List (Photographs)
  2. HMS Chester Crew List (updated in Real-time)