Levett, Herbert John

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Photo source: Julie Mollins

Herbert John Levett (11 September 1896 — 12 May 1968), served on HMS Birkenhead at the Battle of Jutland in 1916 during World War I. [1] [2] He joined the Royal Navy in 1912.[3] When he embarked on HMS Birkenhead on 26 August 1915, he was rated an Ordinary Seaman becoming an Able Seaman on 11 January 1916, almost five months before the Battle of Jutland, which took place from 31 May to 1 June. He was deployed to HMS Victory I in Portsmouth on 27 September 1916.[4]

Early life

Herbert John Levett was born in Haslemere and educated at Grayshott Church of England Primary School.[5] Herbert was the son of Albert Loftus Levett (1855-1931) and Alice Levett (née Small, 1855-1936).[6] His father was the village carrier in Grayshott, according to the UK census of 1901.[7]

Herbert had five brothers: Rodney Albert (1880-1966); William (Bill) Arthur (1883-1954); Loftus (George) George (1885-1914); Walter (1890-1954); Aubrey (1900-1918) — and two sisters, Alice Elizabeth (1878-1904) and Louisa Emma (1893-1967).

The family lived at The Ferns in the Avenue, where author Flora Thompson (1876-1947) who worked in the Grayshott post office, was a boarder and subsequently immortalized the family, referring to Alice Levett as Mrs Parkhurst in her book Heatherley (1944).[8]

Early career

As a civilian, Herbert John Levett was a milk boy when he enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1912.[9] Rated as Boy 2nd Class, he was stationed on the school ship HMS Impregnable from 14 July 1912 to 26 March 1913. Deployed to HMS Endymion on 27 March 1913, he was transferred to HMS Victory I at Portsmouth, where he served from 6 August to 22 November 1913.[10] This was to be the first of 11 deployments at the base throughout his Naval career, which ended at Portsmouth when he was invalided out due to a knee injury in 1935.[11]



  1. HMS Birkenhead Crew List (Photographs)
  2. HMS Birkenhead Crew List (updated in Real-time)
  1. National Archives: ADM 188/685/19001
  2. "Fought at Jutland: Death of Mr. H.J. Levett". Haslemere Herald. 17 May 1968.
  3. National Archives: ADM 363/88/102
  4. ADM 188/685/19001
  5. National School Admission Registers & Log-books 1870-1914, Surrey History Centre
  6. England & Wales Births 1837-2006
  7. UK Census Online
  8. Smith, John Owen (1997 & 2005). On the Trail of Flora Thompson: Beyond Candleford Green. Anthony Rowe. ISBN 1-873855-24-9
  9. ADM 188/685/19001
  10. ADM 188/685/19001
  11. ADM 188/685/19001; ADM 363/88/102