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Remembered Today:

Interpreting record of officer on board HMS Glatton


Liz in Eastbourne

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I'd be very grateful for help in interpreting a naval record - I am new at this, but am doing some local history research which has involved several WW1 naval officers (none related to me).

Lt Walter S Galpin was on board HMS Glatton at the time of the original explosion in Dover harbour on 16 Sept 1918, according to a family history, and 'placed on retired list 1919 on account of injuries received in the Glatton explosion'.

His record is confusing and at times impossible for me to read but the reason given for his being retired as medically unfit is 'myopic astigmatism', i.e. short sight plus additional defect. I've had this since I was a child, like many people; it's hardly a major disability, but would I think have prevented him being taken on at Osborne in the first place (in 1905). I was expecting burns etc. Also he had been posted to Iron Duke five weeks later and then RN College Keyham, before being retired medically unfit. But I can decipher 'neurasthenia' several times and wonder if he had some kind of post-traumatic stress syndrome without major physical injury as a result of being on board the ship when the explosion happened. A bit like shell shock in the trenches. I even wondered if he had not actually been on board at the time, as they were in the harbour. The subsequent deliberate sinking of the ship would be shattering in any case especially if he had friends trapped below. The eyesight defects would then just be an acceptable reason for being declared unfit.

Has anyone come across mention of this, whether in the case of HMS Glatton or any other naval disaster in WW1? How did the Navy cope with people going to pieces?

Subsidiary question - he nevertheless carried on doing training work and got promoted in retirement to Lt Commander (rtd) in 1923 and Commander(rtd) in 1932, finally retiring in 1946. Can anyone explain this?

Liz

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Welcome to the forum,

Have you seen all the files at the National Archives relating to the Glatton?

ADM 1/8538/245 HMS GLATTON sunk in Dover harbour after explosion on 16 September 1918. Casualties 1918

ADM 116/1625 Loss of H.M.S. GLATTON - Court of Enquiry etc. 1918

ADM 137/3791 Loss of HMS GLATTON 1918 Sept 16-Sept 24

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Hi

Came across your link regarding HMS Glatton while browsing, on a slighlty different tagent my Great-Uncle was a Stoker Petty Officer on HMS Glatton and was killed along with many of his shipmates on that fateful day in September 1918.

Thanks for the record links at the National Archives, will check them out to see if there is any records or info I may have missed over the years.

TC

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Thank you very much both for your welcome to the forum and for those helpful references on the Glatton disaster - I shall try to get to Kew soon, as I am getting a longish list of NA documents I don't think I can access online.

Liz

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Liz,

Welcome to the Forum.

Naval personel with a mental problems were usually sent to the Royal Naval Hospital at Great Yarmouth.

Walter could well have been retired solely because of his eyesight as he could no longer watchkeep on the bridge and therefore would not be allowed to go to sea, he would have been given employment on the retired list as he was invalided.

Regards Charles

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Thanks, Charles - this spurred me to try harder to identify the scrawled hospital names, which were 'Haslar' (the Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, Gosport, I find from Googling) and Queensferry, and in both cases the word 'neurasthenia' is written among other less decipherable things.

I can't help thinking about Pat Barker's 'Regeneration' trilogy about Sassoon and Owen and the hospital at Craiglockhart, where Dr Rivers says at the beginning 'I suppose he is 'shell-shocked'?...It just occurs to me that a diagnosis of neurasthenia might not be inconvenient...' (to save Sassoon from the consequences of his protest about the war) where it is clear that they used that term to refer to people having a breakdown because of their experiences. I think she researched that area thoroughly, though using a work of fiction as a reference is a bit dodgy, of course, and one would need to check the sources she gives. I fear I'm never going to get round to them, though, because my local history project is too wide-ranging, and there are too many things I am inexpert in.

I do realise poor eyesight would have disqualified him from active service, but thought it was odd that the family history insisted that he was retired because he had injuries resulting from being on board HMS Glatton at the time of the explosion. And it does look as though his health problems (apart from 'seasickness in destroyers' which had caused the cancellation of an earlier appointment!) started then, even though I can't decipher them all. 'Astigmatic myopia', by contrast, is written in large clear letters, as if to say 'Here's something uncomplicated we can use!' Maybe the Glatton reports at Kew will shed some light on what happened to individuals. It has struck me as odd I can even see this information when the 1911 census blocks the health column out, and I hope it's OK discussing them on a forum like this.

It's very useful to be given nudges in different directions - thank you. Also from what you say people could/can go on being promoted while working in office or training jobs when 'rtd' - I hadn't understood that although I saw in the Navy Lists of 1918 that HMS President was full of retired officers.

Liz

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Liz,

Neurasthenia would be like a diagnosis of Chronic Fatique Syndrome/ME today no pure diagnosis but something is wrong by the number of symptoms displayed and no other answer/diagnosis.

A trip to Great Yarmouth could well have been his last appointment in the RN as it was a fully blown Mental Institution, so as you say the 'eyes have it'

Naval hospital South Queensferry was a general hospital.

Regards Charles

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Yes, it's a humane response; easier at the end of the war I suppose (remembering soldiers who were sent back to fight after shell-shock) and where the officer genuinely had other skills, as he did.

Liz

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Liz.

As you say, it was probably a bit like shell shock in the trenches but perhaps a degree or two worse. It must have been a tremendous explosion (shook the whole town of Dover). The seasickness pre-dated the explosion, did it? Otherwise damage to the inner ear could have contributed to that.

He became engaged and married in the same year he retired from the navy:

The Times, Monday, Jul 01, 1946

FORTHCOMING MARRIAGES

COMMANDER W. S. GALPIN, R.N., AND MISS HIRAM

The engagement is announced between Com-

mander Walter Sidney Galpin, R.N., of

Grazeley, Crowborough, Sussex, only son of

the late Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Clement Galpin,

of The Moorings, Meads, Eastbourne, and

Margaret Clare Hiram, only daughter of Mr.

and Mrs. Walter Percy Hiram, of St. Hilds,

Linden Road, Gloucester.

They married on 4 Sep 1946 at All Saints', Crowborough, by the Rev. L. Gordon Sheldon (Walter's late mother's name given as Beatrice Amy Galpin).

Do you know the year he died?

regards,

Martin

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Martin

Thanks very much for your interest in this! Yes, I had found the Times online wedding announcements but I am not sure who his bride was. The only Margaret C Hiram in Gloucestershire I can find would have been 23 while he was 54 in 1946 - possible, I suppose, in which case it's also possible there was a child or children who would still be living, probably, but I don't know that yet either. He died in 1955, according to the naval record. A bit of Crowborough investigation may be needed.

I have found out quite a lot about his parents, who lived in Eastbourne till 1939 (father's death) and for a couple of years longer in his mother's case: or at least, their families - especially his grandfather Thomas Dixon Galpin, the publisher (Cassells), but have only recently discovered Walter thanks to the opening of the 1911 census records.

My starting point was the house, of the address you recorded there from the announcement, and I found to my surprise first one owner, Fred Trumble sr, with a son who was a Lt RN and died in a controversial naval event in the Dover Patrol (Lt Fred HG Trumble in the second Ostend raid 1918) and then the Galpins. Where Trumble was concerned, I did eventually (after about six weeks) get details of his Dartmouth training from the archivist there, so I need to ask him about WS Galpin. The Dover War Memorial people have been immensely helpful with Trumble but as Galpin survived he's not so much within their remit.

Galpin did suffer serious seasickness before the Glatton explosion, and it caused his posting to HMS Mosquito to be cancelled in 1914. As a 13-year-old at Osborne he was described as 'hardworking but slow and dreamy' and he was recurrently called 'painstaking' but not showing enough energy - hard to know how much weight to give to these comments, possibly very little, but it's all I've got. Until further evidence appears, I'll conclude he was more sensitive than most, may have had underlying medical problems and then the explosion triggered some kind of PTD or similar.

He wrote a book called 'From Public School to Navy' in 1920 and 'numerous articles on education and training of naval officers'. (From the family history of the Galpins - extracts online - date seems to be pre-WW2). I haven't seen any of these though I expect some could be found.

Thanks again, Martin. I've also found very interesting Queensland (and Melbourne) connections with the house I'd like to ask you about but they are totally non-naval!

Liz

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Interesting, Liz. From his death notice, it doesn't look as if they had any children (usually get a mention):

The Times, Tuesday, Aug 16, 1955

DEATHS

GALPIN.- On Aug. 14, 1955, at Grazeley, Crowborough,

Sussex, COMMANDER WALTER SIDNEY GALPIN, Royal

Navy, dearly loved husband of Margaret (Peggy).

Funeral private. No mourning or flowers, at his request.

Margaret re-married 12 years later, so I guess it's possible there could have been children from the second marriage:

The Times, Friday, Nov 24, 1967

MARRIAGES

GRAY : GALPIN.- On 20th November, 1967,

quietly in London, WILLIAM NICOL

GRAY, Craigielaw, Longniddry, to MARGARET

CLARE GALPIN, 99 Cadogan Gardens, S.W.3,

widow of Commander Walter Galpin, Royal

Navy.

I've also found very interesting Queensland (and Melbourne) connections with the house I'd like to ask you about but they are totally non-naval!

Fire away, Liz, or if you think it's not appropriate here, send me details via PM. I'm originally from Melbourne. Did a quick search of the NAA for Galpin but nothing jumped out.

regards,

Martin

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Thanks, Martin, I hadn't got those! No children, then, would be a reasonable deduction.

I will e-mail you about the Australian connections of the house, which do not relate to Galpin (sorry to have given you a wasted search).

Liz

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  • 8 months later...

I have just come across my Grandfathers Royal Navy record and have found he was on the Glatton the day it was destroyed. I know little more about this other than a few mixed up family memories. His name was Thomas Henry Matthews and he survived the tragic event, he was 18 or 19 years old at the time.

I would like to know more but my Grandfather died when i was four years old and my Father passed away very recently and he could not remember any real details but was under the impression from what he had heard from his Father that the whole event was to some extent covered up and the full truth of the event never made clear to the public. Are the Royal Navy accounts of the event to be fully believed?

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Welcome to forum Darren,

The Court of Enquiry that I mentioned in post#2 was a legal process to determine what happened. I have not read that document, but similar courts called witnesses and were usually thorough in examination. The Admiralty had a huge interest in discovering any flaws in their ships.

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  • 10 months later...

Have you seen all the files at the National Archives relating to the Glatton?

ADM 1/8538/245 HMS GLATTON sunk in Dover harbour after explosion on 16 September 1918. Casualties 1918

ADM 116/1625 Loss of H.M.S. GLATTON - Court of Enquiry etc. 1918

ADM 137/3791 Loss of HMS GLATTON 1918 Sept 16-Sept 24

I'm sorry I have been so very slow to look into this at Kew and get back to you after the excellent help I received here - I finally got round to it recently and have taken copies of relevant extracts of ADM 137/3791 and ADM/116 1625. I still have to get the first one - I ran out of time, doing several different bits of research.

Neither of these reports deals with the decision to blow the ship up or the fate of any men trapped below. They deal entirely with the cause of the original explosion and what happened immediately afterwards.

I'll just try to give you an idea what I found out about my own interest, Lt Galpin, with a bit of context.

ADM 137/3791

Enquiry into the circumstances attending the explosion on board HMS 'Glatton' on 16 September 1918

This was the first enquiry very soon after the event (the findings of the court are dated 24 Sept).

The court was patiently trying to get all the facts about what happened, and the questions and answers are given verbatim, so it's quite long, but the examination of Galpin on this occasion was brief compared with the later enquiry. Galpin said he was in his cabin and was just going to sit down and write a letter when there was a loud explosion which blew him out of the cabin door. He was asked about smoke, flames, the number of explosions and interval between them, whether he had seen the First Lieutenant, what he thought was the origin of the smoke and whether it had occurred to him that it would be desirable to flood the after magazines:

' A. I cannot say that it struck me at the time; of course I realised after that it would be.

Q Was all communication cut off between the quarter deck and the forecastle?

A Yes, sir.'

It's difficult to read the tone of voice but he sounds rather vague and dazed.

The conclusions of this enquiry, sent from the Commodore Superintendent's Office, Dover, were as follows:

Sir,

We have the honour to report that we have this day held a further investigation into the circumstances attending the explosion in HMS "Glatton" on 16th September, and consider it improbable that there are any more witnesses who can give any relevant evidence on the subject. We have also considered Addendas (sic) 1 and 2, and the further evidence of Commander Diggle, and conclude as follows:-

1. The evidence shows that every possible precaution was taken to safeguard the ship, all regulations and orders relative to magazines and shell rooms being thoroughly carried out.

2. The state of magazines and shell rooms was normal. The ammunition was embarked at Newcastle.

3. The evidence shows that when the explosion tool place all the officers were put out of action and a large proportion of the ship's company.

The forepart of the ship was isolated from the after part, the latter being rendered untenable by flames and smoke, the quarter dock and afterpart of main deck being rent and severely damaged, therefore though the Court takes into consideration the evidence of Sub. Lieut. Field and Chief Stoker Brunnan, there is no doubt whatever it was impossible to have flooded any of the after magazines, even though the gearing was worked on the upper deck.

The Court desires to point out that these two witnesses had been severely shaken by the explosion, and were only allowed out temporarily to give evidence, having to return to Sick Quarters directly after.

4. The evidence shows that all the injured were rescued where possible and valuable assistance was given by officers and men of other ships.

5. In conclusion the Court consider that no blame is attributed to the Captain, Officers or crew, and that the usual traditions of the Service were well maintained.

We have the honour to be,

Sir,

Your obedient Servants, (names are not typed under signatures so there may be transcription errors)

A T Warisson, Commodore.

R Meyd, Captain, HMS "General Chauford"

Macleod Edwards, Engr Lieut. Commander, HMS "Arrogant"

Stamped 'Vice Admiral, Dover Patrol, 24 Sept 1918.'

END OF DOCUMENT

I was interested that Galpin was not mentioned as being let out of the sick bay, like the other two, so he was evidently not regarded as wounded although he himself says 'I was rather gassed'.

I'll come back shortly with the later enquiry report, which came to slightly different conclusions.

Liz

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General Craufurd, a 12" monitor serving with the Dover Patrol.

Thanks - I ought to have got that right as it was typed! but a rather smudgey carbon copy.

Now for ADM 116/1623, the more exhaustive later session of the court of enquiry - 19 October 1918.

Because my particular interest was Lt Galpin's role in this event, I took copies of his long examination and brief recall for further questions, and also those points in the final conclusions that related to him - but I haven't been as clear as I should have been in getting the whole picture of the final report and the officers examining the witnesses clear in my notes. However, as I do need to go to Kew again and get the third document up as I said before, if anyone particularly wants this clarified I can check this one too. I think the findings are summarised elsewhere but I was not sure how Galpin fitted in.

The chairman addressed the witnesses in a very polite and patient way, saying:

'We are charged with the duty of enquiring into the explosion and possibility (
sic
- possibly?) determining causes of it which led to the loss of your ship. Now you appreciate [of] course it is not a case of preferring a charge against anybody or anything of the kind...'.

He explained that each person would be interviewed separately, to avoid anyone being influenced by another person's evidence, and that as the court did not know who would prove most useful they would start in order of seniority. He asked if they had any suggestion as to who knew most about the facts of the actual explosion(s), but evidently no one had. Then all the witnesses except Lt Galpin withdrew. This means he was the most senior man present. (I have forgotten whether the captain was on board but assume not - or else he was presumably separately interviewed.) Captain Backhouse conducted the questioning.

Captain Backhouse took Lt Galpin through what had happened and where he was at the time, as had happened before. Galpin still sounds curiously passive, to me.

'I was just sitting down to write a letter and the first thing I noticed was a noise - a rumbling noise - and all the lights went out in the interval, and the force of this more or less threw me into the door of the cabin and practically as soon as I got there there was another explosion which more or less threw me just inside the door into the cabin, and it being rather dark I tried to make my way out to the aft deck outside the cabin and there were a lot of fumes and smoke and I found I could not get out, because the hatch leading out to the quarter deck was shut. I suppose, by the explosion, and the ladder to it had been blown away. As far as I could tell I remained there for about 7 minutes, and during that interval the Engineer Lieutenant came out of his cabin which was next to mine and I just saw him for a minute in the darkness and then he disappeared and I believe went through into the Ward Room hatchway. I am not certain about it. I did not see him again until we got into the boat. Later there was somebody, I think a Marine, who asked me if we were safe and I said I did not know; we appeared to be at present but I did not know how much longer we should be and I was rather choked by the gas and fumes; but he had a certain amount of voice left and he called out for help. After some time the hatch on the quarter deck was opened and they got a rope's end and we climbed up this.'

Captain Backhouse then questioned him closely on these statements and asked him about the smell, but Galpin said there was no specific smell. Then:

'Q Is the Engineer Officer dead?

A Yes.

Q Did you see him when he was dead?

A Yes, I saw him in the boat.

Q Did he show any signs of being burned?

A No.

Q Could you tell me just a little more about this Engineer Officer in this respect: do you know whether he came out if his cabin?

A Yes.

Q Did you see him when he came out?'

and so on, trying to find out who the 'Marine' was, and if anyone was burned and where the fumes and flames came from, and whether the explosion had opened up his Ward Room Flat or left it intact.

'A I think it was probably intact; but I did not like to move too much about for fear I might fall into a hole and not be able to get out again.'

. Galpin was not certain but thought the explosion was 'chiefly on the starboard side'.

'Q Yes, but whereabouts, amidships or forwards?

A I should say amidships.'

Then Engineer Captain Martell took over questioning briefly but also failed to elicit anything definite.

Capt. Backhouse then asked who the officers of Quarters were.

'A I had at A turret Gunner's Mate Brooker; Sub-Lieutenant Field at Y turret; Sub-Lieutenant Taylor, Marine officer, at P and Q turrets; Lieutenant Turnbull RNR at F turret, and at X turret I believe Lieutenant Carey.'

He was asked about ammunition but sounded vague here too. Then:

'Q What did you have to do in the ship?

A I was to have done training classes and instruction generally, but no classes had been formed as the ship had not got into routine as yet.

Q Did you act as Commanding Officer?

A I should have done so, but the First Lieutenant was on board on every occasion. I cannot recall ever having been actually Commanding Officer, although it was down for me to do it in routine.'

On p 11 where Capt Backhouse and the Chairman, intervening, tried to get at the temperature of the magazines and who was responsible for checking them, someone has marked several passages with a pen, presumably as significant.

'(Chairman's) Q I wanted rather to deal with what you were responsible for. Were you responsible for the question of the temperature of the magazine serving your own turret?

A No.

Q It is simply then that you are telling us something that you have been told?

A. Yes.

Q But you had occasion apparently on the Saturday to go into the magazine?

A Not into the magazine but into the turret.

Captain Backhouse: - I thought you went all round it?

Chairman:- You were in fact in the magazine on the Saturday?

A No, not on the Saturday. I could not say the last day that I actually went into the magazine.

Captain Backhouse:- Had you a turret sweeper?

A Yes.

Q Who was he?

A. I am not certain which rating was actually told off for it. I had not been there really long enough: there was one told off.

Chairman:- Just to clear that up. I understand you joined the ship only about a fortnight before the explosion?

A I had personally, yes. She had commissioned about a fortnight. She commissioned on 31st August I think. Some of the officers had been there considerably longer whilst she was completing, but I personally had not.

Captain Backhouse: Did you commission the ship?

A. Yes.

The Witness withdrew. '(pp 1-12 )

What does that last question mean?

On p 73 Galpin was recalled and examined by the Chairman on whether he had the Naval Magazine Regulations, 1918. He said he had seen them on his last ship, he Dreadnought. He was asked to read clauses calling for daily inspection of the magazines.

Q My emphasis is upon the word "daily". Was that done every day?

A I did not, personally, do it every day.

Q We have got it that you did not yourself inspect daily. I am speaking of the magazines with reference to the turret for which you were responsible. You did not examine the magazine and shell room for that turret daily yourself?

A. No.

Q Did you depute anyone to do that?

A I did not depute anyone to do it. Not having seen that book in that ship. I did remember the paragraph and in the ship in which I had been previously the Gunnery Lieutenant had given the order for special people to examine the magazines every day and therefore it did not come under me. I quite see according to this paragraph if I had seen that in this ship I should have had to make some arrangement.

Q You did not depute anyone to do it daily?

A I did not, but I am practically certain someone did. That does not attribute any blame to me for not doing it?

Chairman:- We are not here to try that, but we must see that the Regulations are carried out.'

The findings are the crucial bit where I haven't made a clear enough record, but they don't attribute personal blame to anyone. Para 6 says:

'that the slow combustion of the cork lagging of the 6" midship magazine of the 'Glatton' led to the ignition of the wood lining of the magazine and then to the ignition of the cordite in it and caused the explosion.'

C. Molly (I don't remember who this is) then commented that he could not concur in this paragraph, because

'the practice of fitting cork is a usual one in other navies and so far as I I am aware has never been considered dangerous, and as stated above I do not consider that it has been proved to be dangerous in the case of the 'Glatton.'

(He refers to the fact that the ship had previously been a coastal defence ship for the Royal Norwegian Navy.) He says:

'I do not consider that a reason for the explosion has been produced and I cannot suggest any action which could be recommended as likely to assist us in finding the cause.'

He mentioned the fact that they had been unable to replicate the fire in the Gorgon, another similar ship bought from the Royal Norwegian Navy. Pp 20 and 21 of the Report had dealt with the negligence in the matter of inspecting the magazines and he wrote that they:

...cannot be dismissed without further comment although there is no evidence to show that the negligence quoted contributed in any way to the explosion.

The Captain of a ship is rightly held responsible for her management and I consider that the Captain of the "Glatton" should receive an exp
ression of Their Lordships' displeasure for the negligent manner in which the naval Mazazine Regulations were carried out.'

A letter was duly sent to Commander Neston W. Diggle CMG RN, by then naval attache, Rome, as a personal communication.

I've posted this rather long account in the hope of helping anyone who wondered what was in these documents and whether they would assist their enquiries, and also of obtaining some comment. At least I know now that Galpin was on board the ship when the explosion occurred. I still don't know whether he was in some way shell-shocked, or the impression of almost maddening vagueness he gives is just what appears on his earlier record as dreamy slowness and not being good with men!

Liz
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Liz,

Apologies if this has been mentioned before but i saw the title thread and dont have the free time to read all the way through the thread at this moment , but having scanned it I have seen no mention that the sinking of Glatton turned out to be a traumatic experience for many people, and quite possibly led to the neurasthenia you refer too.

Glatton did not sink because of the internal explosion, although quite probably she would have done as further explosions triggered through the ship. The explosion caused fires and there was fear that they would spread to the magazines and result in further explosions. The forward magazines were flooded successfully but not those aft. There was now a fear that a second, larger explosion would destory the Glatton and endanger neighbouring ships.

Roger Keyes ordered the crew to be taken off and then for the Glatton to be torpedoed, but I believe the torpedos were fired before the removal of the crew had been completed. The figure of 86 crew rings a bell as being missing, some undoubtedly were already dead from the explosion. There is a Memorial in the Naval section of Woodlands Rd cemetery, Gillingham, where I believe the remains of those bodies recovered were buried (ie. its a mass [unknown]grave as well as a memorial)

If this is correct, then the entire experience of first the explosion and then the torpedoing of the Glatton, may have produced a form of "shellshock". You have obviously looked very closely into the loss of Glatton and I would be interested in your views of what I think happened.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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With regards to the names at the end of the first report:

A T Warisson, Commodore.

R Meyd, Captain, HMS "General Chauford"

Macleod Edwards, Engr Lieut. Commander, HMS "Arrogant"

Captain Alexander P. Davidson, Commodore 2nd Class and Captain-in-Charge, Dover.

Captain Ralph S. Sneyd, Commanding Officer of H.M.S. "General Craufurd."

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander MacLeod G. A. Edwards (appears to have been on the staff at Dover).

The Captain Backhouse referred to is presumably Captain Roger R. C. Backhouse.

Galpin's testimony doesn't seem particularly off at all, but that's just my opinion.

Commander Diggle of "Glatton" was walking with Vice-Admiral Keyes on the cliffs above Dover when they heard an explosion. They rushed down to the harbour and boarded the forecastle of the ship. After realising, as Jonathan wrote, that the ship had to be sunk to prevent the after magazines exploding, Keyes ordered the ship torpedoed.

The question "Did you commission the ship" meant, "Were you a member of the crew which put the ship into commission", i.e. took over the ship from the builders.

Simon

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Jonathan, Simon,

Many thanks to you both for your help and comments.

I had forgotten about Commander Diggle walking with Vice-Admiral Keyes - that's what comes of leaving long gaps in your research...

I did know about the ship being torpedoed and referred to the probable shattering effect on a crew member of that happening in my first post, in Feb 2009. I thought my recent posts were too long already without recapping, but perhaps that was a mistake. I shall be recapping all the earlier material I collected for myself before doing anything with it, of course. There has been some terrific work done on this Forum about the Glatton casualties, if I remember rightly.

These two enquiry reports don't deal with that decision, which is perhaps why this thread doesn't seem to lay enough emphasis on it. Lt. Galpin's record doesn't give anything connected with "Glatton" as the reason for his retirement in 1919 as a result of medical unfitness, but myopic astigmatism, although 'neuralgia' is mentioned earlier, hence my initially thinking about shell-shock or whatever it is properly called these days. The fact that I now know for sure that he was on the ship increases the likelihood of psychological and other damage being a factor in his case.

You're probably right, Simon, that there's nothing untoward about his testimony. It's very hard to judge on the page. These are extracts though from many pages and compared with other witnesses he seemed very slow to focus. Not that I am a very good judge of the detailed issues at stake and how hard it might be to comment decisively on them in the circumstances: I am no military/naval expert as must be obvious but became interested for local history/biographical reasons.

BTW Galpin stayed in the navy as a trainer all his working life.

Liz

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There has been some terrific work done on this Forum about the Glatton casualties, if I remember rightly.

I mean this topic thread - which both of you will remember ! - but I am inserting a link for the benefit of others, as well as myself: HMS Glatton

Liz

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  • 4 years later...

I am a new member who stumbled upon this forum quite by accident while researching Walter S Galpin (Commander R.N. Rt. ) There are some excellent contributions for this interesting topic and I don't know how far the research progressed. My contribution may have been overtaken by events.

It has been commented upon that in the report of the Enquiry Board the young officer seemed slow to respond and there was some speculation expressed that he may have been suffering from PTSD. There were references to an impairment to his sight and he was discharged from active service in 1919.

It is interesting to note that the Medical Officer aboard H.M.S. Glatton that fateful day also suffered blindness ( permanent or temporary ? ) and was subsequently decorated for his part in the event having saved several members of the crew. Details of his award were given in the press. I can be more specific but I may be repeating things that you already know.

It was questioned during the study why, between his discharge in 1919 and his full retirement in 1946, had he continued to be promoted finally reaching the rank of Commander. There is reference to his marriage in 1946 but little in the about his work in the intervening years.

For your interest and completeness, Commander Walter S Galpin is recorded as serving in Hut 6 Bletchley Park from 1940. Whatever his impairment in 1919 he had obviously gone on to serve in R.N. Intelligence during WW11.

When he married in 1946 he was presented with a pair of solid silver Sauce Boats inscribed Walter S Galpin from The Old Warriors. 4th Sept. 1946 a reference perhaps to the Bletchley Park team or earlier service colleagues?

Brian

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For your interest and completeness, Commander Walter S Galpin is recorded as serving in Hut 6 Bletchley Park from 1940. Whatever his impairment in 1919 he had obviously gone on to serve in R.N. Intelligence during WW11.

Which is interetsing in itself. As you will know, Hut 6 was a code breaking hut. Do you know in what capacity Cdr Galpin worked at Bletchley?

Regards,

Jonathan S

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Hi Jonathan

I am not absolutely sure what were his duties at Bletchley. What I do know is that Hut 6 was designated as Reception and Training. You will recall that during the Glatton enquiry W. S. Galpin said that his duties included training. Perhaps he was still engaged in that capacity at Bletchley? Clearly, I still have some work to do to establish the facts. His Naval career in WW11 promises to be as interesting as his WW1 service.

Regards Brian

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My memory from my one visit to Bletchley was that Hut 6 was used for code-breaking. Just checked wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hut_6

Hut 6 was a wartime section of the Government Code and Cypher School (GC&CS) at Bletchley Park tasked with the solution of German Army and Air Force Enigma machine ciphers ... Hut 6 was partnered with Hut 3, which handled the translation and intelligence analysis of the raw decrypts provided by Hut 6.

Regards,

Jonathan

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