Place, John Spencer

From Battle of Jutland Crew Lists Project
Place, John Spencer
Narrative Source Photograph
Runcorn Examiner 10 June 1916 via Spike Sheldon


Eldest Son Of Late Supt. Of Markets Killed In Action. Hardly had he heard of the death of his father, Mr. Elijah Place, superintendent of Markets, than Fleet Paymaster John Spencer Place was killed in action while on H.M.S. Barham, one of Admiral Jellicoe's ships, at whose approach the enemy hastened away. Mr. Elijah Place died a week last Monday, and a telegram was dispatched to his naval son who, in reply, wrote, ""My Dear Ma,—' was greatly shocked to receive your telegram and exceedingly sorry to think that I am unable to go to you, as you are worthy of all the comfort which your sons and daughters can give you at such a terrible time. May God give you health and strength to bear the trial which is upon you. .. . It is, however, impossible by reason of distance and pressure of work, due at the end of the month, for me to be with you at the funeral."" Soon after writing that letter Mr. Place's ship steamed out to battle, and he was one of the victims of shell fire. That his death should follow so soon after that of his father is a fact which will gain the deepest sympathy for those of the family who are left: There is also the additional sad recollection that it was only in January last that a sister passed away. Mr. Place was 41 years of age, and had held the high position of Fleet Paymaster for three or four years. As a boy he showed promise of the success he achieved in his manhood, for while at Wycliffe School he won a scholarship for the Grammar School for three years, displaying such ability that, through the influence of the Earl of Latham, the award was extended a year.
Won Four Medals.
On leaving school he entered an examination for the naval service, and came out second in the list, with the result that he was appointed assistant clerk on H.M.S. Victoria, a boat which was rammed while in the Mediterranean, most of the crew perishing. Fortunately, Mr. Place was in hospital at Malta at the time. The gentleman who took his place on the ship was drowned. In his career, Mr. Place served on many ships, including the Camperdown, Immortality and Monarch, and was the proud possessor of four medals, one being for his, services in the Persian Gulf, and another for his work during the South African War. He was in two naval actions pre_ vious to the one in which he lost his life. The photograph we publish was taken when staying in Gibraltar a few years ago. His widow was standing by his side at the time. He himself was an expert photographer, and many of the official photographs of men of war at sea were taken by him. Fleet Paymaster Place leaves a widow and a boy aged 10 years. They are at present at Honiton, Devonshire, the home of her father, Mr. J. E. Rattenbury, who, previous to his retirement, held a high post in Sheerness Dockyard.