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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Navy? or Merchant Navy?

Guest bookerpa

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Dear Subscribers,

I will apologise now for my lack of knowledge regarding the Royal Navy and the Merchant Navy during WW1.

I am desperately trying to find out more details about the death of my Great Uncle who died during WW1 - I do no know what year or where and I really haven't made any progress of this for several years.

My Great Uncle's name was Harry HUNT and for all intents and purposes he was born in Lambeth in 1883 (even this is a bit suspect). His parents were Harry (also known as Henry) and Louisa.

I do not know if my G. Uncle married - I have trawled through the BMD ledgers but I am unable to locate him - having a fairly common name doesn't help but at least it is not John SMITH!

I have look on the CWGC web site but again, nothing yells out at me that he is listed there.

Harry HUNT was of mixed race - his father came to the UK from Jamaica so Harry should be quite distinguishable.

If there is anyone out there who has any suggestions on where to look, or who to speak to, then I would be eternally grateful. Having hit a brick wall for so very long I would love to make some progress on this line as there could very well be some distant cousins out there who could tell me more.

Kind regards and a very happy and peaceful 2009.

Pat Booker (female)

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Hello Female Pat, welcome to our soggy world.

Some details of a HARRY HUNT RN - just one that MAY fit for you ?????

HUNT Harry RN No. 202148

P.o.B ; Poplar London

D.o.B ; 18 August 1883

PRO File No. ADM 188 / 351

Does not exactly fit the details you posted, but may get you started.

He was most probably SEAMAN Class.

Best o Luck, Sadsac

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Hi Pat,

Researching the navy is not usually my thing, but there are records listed on Ancestry which may help.

Here's one for a Henry Hunt, from Ancestry, which again MAY be who you're looking for:

Name: Henry Hunt

Service Branch: Royal Marine Light Infantry

Unit: 1st Royal Marine Bn.

Rank: Private

Death Date: 28 Apr 1917

Cause of Death: Missing, assumed dead

Burial: Arras Memorial (MR 20)

Service History: Chatham Bn. MEF 6/2/15-7/6/15 SW Back, Orderly to Medical Officer at Zaharieh Camp, Mustapha 7/8/15-10/3/16 joined Base Depot, joined 11th Entrenching Bn. 14/9/16, joined 1st RM Bn. 26/11/16-28/4/17 DD.

Service Number: CH/468/S

Notes: 1st RM Bn. 'D' Company 16th Platoon 28/4/17 ; Husband of Matilda Mary Haylock (formerly Hunt), of 63 Rhyl St., Malden Rd., Kentish Town, London.

I have researched my Grandad who served with the merchant navy just after the first war and I found his records by writing to Southampton. Southampton do not hold all records, usually you have to write off to Canada I think, anyhow, the following link to researching navy and merchant navy will hopefully guide you: Click Here

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Hello Pat,

Welcome to the forum, I was wandering if you have any clues handed down that gives you an idea that your Gt. Uncle was a seaman. Many from the Thames area migrated north to seek their fortune in the rapidly expanding fishing industry during the second half of the nineteenth century. My ancestors among them. My Grandfather was a sea fishing apprentice but while many of these enlisted in the RNR, he and a fair few more enlisted in the army.

If any of this seems remotely possible, then perhaps this might be of interest:

I've been looking through the index to the Registers of Sea Fishing Apprentices of Grimsby. There are several apprentices named Hunt but only one named Harry. He signed indentures on 27th April 1900. (your Harry would be 16/17 if the 1883 Dob is correct).

There is also in the 1911 crew list of the Grimsby fishing vessel Undaunted, Harry Hunt (27) Deck Man, London.

The public search room at the archives (where the Registers are held) has been closed throughout November and December due to staff illness but are expected to open early in the new year. So if you would like me to look up this Harry’s details to see if there are any connections, I’ll add him to my ever increasing look-up list.

Cheers, Terry

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Hello Pat and welcome aboard.

A search of the Admiralty casualty lists give the following possible candidates:

HUNT, HAROLD E., PRIVATE, RMLI (RFR B 1026), 15187 (Ply), H.M. Transport (hired) BENVENUE, 02-Dec-17, DROWNING.****


HUNT, HENRY, L/SEAMAN, 197934, VICTORY, 04-Jan-17, ILLNESS.***

HUNT, HENRY, O.S., J 60695 (Po), H.M. Destroyer PHEASANT, 01-Mar-17, SHIP LOSS.**

HUNT, HARRY L., TY/2nd LT, RM, R.M.A. Siege Guns, 29-May-18, Belgium.*****

The last one is unlikely to be your man because colour predjudice was rife. As his father was called Henry, but known as Harry, I would imagine the same applied for the son.

A search of the the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website gives the following additional information:

* Husband of Matilda Mary Haylock (formerly Hunt), of 63, Rhyl St., Malden Rd., Kentish Town, London.

** Son of Charles M. and Ann Hunt, of 20, Wheat St., Ingrow, Keighley, Yorks. Born at Horsforth, Yorks.

*** Son of Tom and Jane Hunt, of 8, Knee Hill, Abbey Wood, Kent. Born at Redbridge, Southampton.

**** Son of John and Mary Hunt, of Brislington, Bristol.

***** Son of Frank and Mary Ann Hunt, of 15, Kelham Rd., Newark.

This leaves only one candidate for the RN, ie, HUNT, HENRY, PRIVATE, RMLI, S 468 (Ch), 1st R.M. BN. ROYAL NAVAL DIVISION, 28-Apr-17, KILLED. Unfortunately his parents are not named, but his wife is, and she is shown to be living in London.

There aren't any H Hunts listed on the CWGC website for the Merchant navy. However, if your man was MN he could have been missed when the records were being drawn up.

Hope this helps in your search.

Best wishes


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Welcome to the forum Pat,

Other details also enable the exclusion of some of the names on HistoryDavid's list: Name Hunt, Henry, Official Number: J60695, Place of Birth: Leeds, Yorkshire, Date of Birth: 29 August 1897

Name Hunt, Henry, Official Number: 197934, Place of Birth: Redbridge, Hampshire, Date Place of Birth: 04 December 1881

HUNT, HARRY L., TY/2nd LT, RM, R.M.A. Siege Guns, could have been mixed race. Walter Tull was not the only mixed race officer in the British armed services.

There are 2 Merchant Navy commemorations on the Commonwealth Wargraves Commission site:

1 HUNTER, HAROLD ALBERT Chief Engineer 10/03/1917 38 Mercantile Marine. Son of the late Hugh and Harriet Hunter; husband of Agnes Margaret Hunter (Nee Hulton), of 29, Woodsorrel Rd., Birkenhead. Born at Birkenhead.

2 HUNTER, HENRY FOREST Third Hand 09/11/1914 Unknown age Mercantile Marine. So he is a possible.

Unfortunately not all members of the Mercantile Marine who died in WWI are commeorated by the CWGC.

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Unfortunately the registration records for merchant seamen have not survived pre 1918.

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