On This Day in Trinity House History – 28 June 2014 – Centenary of First World War

1914

The First World War begins

As nations around the world today (28 June 2014) mark the centenary of the First World War, Trinity House vessels Patricia, Galatea and Alert will be among those flying their flags and ensigns at half-mast at 1700 UTC.

The men and women of the Corporation of Trinity House all played their part in the effort, and many even gave their lives.

Although lighthouses and lightvessels at this time were ordered to maintain strict neutrality, the Trinity House Steam Vessel Service was thrust forward, busily buoying shipping lanes, Swept Channels and Naval operations, and moving and replacing lightvessels; over 200 additional lighted buoys and 361 additional unlighted buoys were deployed, and the Corporation covered points as far-flung as the White Sea and the Persian Gulf.

The lightvessels, though unpowered and vulnerable, had their part to play, even after 20 had been withdrawn, and 18 extinguished: dogvanes were displayed for the benefit of aircraft; coded flags signalled ‘mines in sight’; rifles were supplied, with mine-sinking ammunition; hydrophones were fitted for the detection of submarines; station names were painted out, and various lightvessels were fitted with submarine telephone cables to enable them to alert shore stations of air-raids.

The Elder Brethren maintained a close working co-operation with the Admiralty through almost-daily interviews; with no shortage of undertakings for the Corporation, Their Lordships supplied tugs to tow lightvessels, naval ratings to man them and escorts when necessary.

An Active Elder Brother remained on duty in the house day and night, seven days a week, issuing instructions to all pilot offices to divert the traffic whenever the Admiralty warned of mines in a particular area. Orders were also frequently sent out to exhibit lights for Fleet Movements.

In late October 1914, Irene, Alert, Stella, Satellite, Mermaid and Warden removed 106 buoys in the Thames Estuary to confound navigation, recalling their intention to defend, as per the Corporation’s petition to Henry VIII, “the secrets of the King’s streams”. In September 1915 Irene, Argus, Alert, Mermaid, Satellite, Stella and Warden buoyed the Swept Channel between Kentish Knock lightvessel, about 30 kilometres east of the mouth of the River Thames, and Flamborough Head lighthouse.

The vessels were far from being out of harm’s way, with Argus, Alert and Vestal laying 18 gas-lit buoys on the Belgian Coast under gunfire. Vessels lost included the Corton lightvessel, blown up by a drifting mine with five lives lost, as well as the Irene and the Alert; the former struck a mine and sunk with the loss of 21 lives, while searching for the wreck of another vessel (9 November 1915), the latter was blown up by contact with a mine in the Dover Barrage with the loss of eleven of the crew (15 April 1917). The Admiralty replaced the Irene in 1919 with the second-hand Miranda; after extensive alterations she was put into service with the name Patricia, after the daughter of the Master, the Duke of Connaught and Strathearn.

Both during the Great War and the decade after, Trinity House was taxed to its utmost clearing the large number of wrecks around our coast, dispersing an average of 81 each year until 1929, and as many as 118 in one year.
Many seamen on the lightvessels and tenders, as members of the Royal Fleet Reserve and Royal Naval Reserve, were immediately drafted into service; many lighthouse keepers also joined the various Forces.

In total, 96 men associated with Trinity House lost their lives in that war, commemorated by a decorated window in St. Olave’s Church dedicated to their memory.

Stained glass window at St Olaves Church - Saint Clement Trinity arms

Stained glass window at St Olaves Church – Saint Clement Trinity arms


 

Roll of Honour for the Corporation of Trinity House, First World War

Name / Rank / Date lost / Remarks

YOUNGER BRETHREN
ARNOT, George Henry, R.N.R., R.D. / Commander / 28.10.1917 / Killed on Active Service
MURRAY, James Anderson, R.N.C.V.R. / Lieutenant-Commander / 06.12.1917 / Killed on Active Service
SYLVESTER, Edward Arthur / Captain / Killed on Active Service

HEADQUARTERS STAFF
PRICE-EDWARDS, Owen / Captain, Royal Fusiliers / 22.06.1916 / Killed on Active Service
ALLEN, Sydney John / Corporal, London Regiment / 01.07.1916 / Killed on Active Service
HENDERSON, Claude William / Rifleman, London Regiment / 21.02.1917 / Killed on Active Service

LIGHTHOUSE SERVICE
PRITCHARD, Henry / Second Lieutenant / Killed on Active Service
ANCELL, Frederick Gordon / Serjeant, Royal Fusiliers / 21.10.1915 / Killed on Active Service
DUNSFORD, William David / Gunner, Royal Garrison Artillery / 02.02.1915 / Killed on Active Service
LONG, Harold Edward / Killed on Active Service
WITHERS, Arthur William / Private, D. of Cornwall Light Infantry / 01.06.1917 / Killed on Active Service

LIGHTVESSEL SERVICE
BRAGG, William A.
BROWN, William R.
CALVER, Percy R. C. / Seaman, RNR / 23.05.1918 / Killed on Active Service
CHASE, William G.
EDMUNDS, Arnold James
HORSCROFT, Horace Reginald / Seaman, RNR / 06.11.1914 / Killed on Active Service
MILLER, George
MONK, Charles
OSMOND, John
RUDD, William Henry Emerson / Master, Corton LV / 21.06.1916 / Killed when Corton lightvessel was sunk by mine
SADLER, John / Seaman, Corton LV / 21.06.1916 / Killed when Corton lightvessel was sunk by mine
STONE, William George Joseph / Seaman, Corton LV / 21.06.1916 / Killed when Corton lightvessel was sunk by mine
TENBETH, George Henry Mitchell / Leading Seaman, RNR / 14.09.1918 / Killed on Active Service
TUCKER, William George
VAUGHAN, Joseph Bowen
WILLSON, George Percy / Lamplighter, Corton LV / 21.06.1916 / Killed when Corton lightvessel was sunk by mine
WILLIAMS, Hugh
WRIGHT, James

STEAM VESSEL SERVICE
PHILLIPS, Hugh Leopold / Master, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
THOMAS, Harold Frederic / 2nd Mate, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
DEWAR, Henry Ritchie / 1st Engineer, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
ALDERSON, Joseph / Coxswain, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
BARBER, Walter Henry / Seaman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
BARNES, Edward Stephen / Seaman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
BATT, Walter Edwin / Trimmer, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
BAYLEY, Robert William / Cook, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
BEAVANS, William George
BEAVIL, Edward John
BLAKEMORE, Alfred / Fireman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
CHARMAN, Joseph Philip
CLARKE, George / Fireman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
COOK, William George / Fireman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
EADES, George Augustus / Fireman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
EDWARDS, Martin
GIBBS, Ernest / Seaman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine
GIBBS, William Edward / Fireman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
GODFREY, Thomas William / Seaman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
HARVEY, Ernest George William / Seaman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine
HAZELL, Frederick William / Trimmer, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
HILL, David / Trimmer, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
JONES, Richard Sydney / Fireman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine
KERR, Thomas / Seaman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
LEE, Charles / Fireman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine
MERRALLS, William Thomas / Fireman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
MURRELL, Walter / Steward, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
NEWSON, George Samuel Henry / Fireman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine
OVENDEN, William / Seaman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine
PEARCE, William Leonard
POWELL, Percival Arthur / Seaman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
REECE, John Basil / Seaman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine
REEDER, Charles Senior / Fireman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine
REVELL, Robert Charles
TRICKER, William James / Steward, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
WALKER, William James Kinsey / Seaman, THV Irene / 09.11.1915 / Killed when THV Irene was sunk by mine
WESTHORPE, James / Fireman, THV Alert / 15.04.1917 / Killed when THV Alert was sunk by mine

PILOTAGE SERVICE
BLAXLAND, Thomas / Pilot, Cinque Ports / 28.02.1916
BONE, Thomas Edwin / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
BROWN, Andrew James / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
BRUHN, Charles Allan / 09.01.1919
COCKS, Charles William / 16.07.1918
COCKTON, John / 15.12.1917
COLLISTER, John Joseph / 07.02.1917
COLLISTER, William Thomas / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant [or Valiant] struck a mine
CORNHILL, Arthur Robert / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant [or Valiant] struck a mine
EALES, William Charles / 21.10.1917
FERGUSON, John / 29.10.1917
FISHER, Albert Ernest / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
FLETCHER, William / 25.02.1916
GANE, Charles Purcell / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
HASTIE, George Nelson / 09.02.1917
JONES, James Henry / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant [or Valiant] struck a mine
KENNEDY, Albert Ernest / 07.08.1917
KITSON, Reynolds Hamilton / 07.06.1915
KNOX, Alfred George John / 05.03.1918
MANSFIELD, Joseph Billett / 07.01.1916
REDMAN, Hubert James / 15.04.1918
URQUHART, Thomas Edward / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
WILLIAMS, Griffith

PILOT VESSEL SERVICE
CHARRINGTON, David / Master / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant [or Valiant] struck a mine
BARLEY, William John Fryer / Steward / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
CLAYDON, Robert Henry / Diver / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
DUNN, William
FENNER, Frederick William / Seaman / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
FOOTS, Charles / Seaman / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine
WARD, Alfred William / Driver / 26.09.1915 / Killed when pilot cutter Vigilant struck a mine

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One thought on “On This Day in Trinity House History – 28 June 2014 – Centenary of First World War

  1. Pingback: A century ago: World War One sea tragedy with Grangetown connection | grangetowncardiff.co.uk

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