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Remembered Today:

Vindictive and Prince Eugene, 2nd Ostend Raid, Frank Thomas Wilson


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From The Netherlands the following question:

Frank Thomas Wilson (J 10611) is buried in my hometown Noordwijk in The Netherlands.

On his grave, two ships are mentioned, Prince Eugene and Vindictive. He died May 10th during the 2nd raid on Ostend.

According to his Service Record he served as AB on Prince Eugene, the monitor, untill May 8th.

I suppose that after that date he had volunteered for service on Vindictive

Because on Naval-History website is said that in report or despatch 30870 dated 27 August 1918 he is mentioned as "having volunteered for a very hazardous service on Vindictive".

His name is in the list of of whom Lieut. Crutchley reports: "I find it impossible to select any other names, as all behaved, equally well".

"killed in action" is written behind Wilson's name.

But later on that same website he is mentioned in a report with casualties of the night 9/10 May ("in approximate order of action") and there it says that Frank Thomas Wilson died on Prince Eugene and it also says how: "hit by splinters".

So what happened to him? Was he taken from Vindictive to Prince Eugene, and did he die on that ship and was he then lost so that he was found on a Dutch beach?

Or is this an administrative thing? Does it say Prince Eugene because that was "his"ship?

There is also another man who according to the casualty report, died on Prince Eugene but who according to Crutchley's report is "missing". (signalman George Linegar)

Hope that someone can help!


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I don't know if this helps, the War Graves Roll details him as


Frank Thomas Wilson



Birth Date:

27 Dec 1894

Birth Place:

Poplar, London

Branch of Service:

Royal Navy

Cause of Death:

Killed or died as a direct result of enemy action

Official Number Port Division:

J.10611. (Ch)

Death Date:

10 May 1918

Ship or Unit:

HM Drifter Prince Eugene

Location of Grave:

C 53

Name and Address of Cemetery:

Noordwijk Cemetery, Holland

Relatives Notified and Address:

Mother: Priscilla 61 Stratondale St, Cubitt Town, Poplar, E

Decorations and Additional Information: Mentioned in Despatches
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You may be interested to know Frank Thomas Wilson was probably a career seaman.

in the 1911 census he was listed as 'Boy Under Instruction' at Royal Naval Training Establishment in Tattingstone, Ipswich, Suffolk. He was 16.

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I stand to be corrected, but I think Prince Eugene, the Lord Clive-class 12" monitor, took part in the first Ostend raid, but not the second.

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Thank you for your reactions! But yes, the grave roll, I already have.

I have his Service Record so I know about the "Boy, Buglar".

He signed a contract with the RN on December 27th 1912 for a period of 12 years but he already was a "boy" at Ganges on December 15th 1910.

There certainly was a drifter Prince Eugene.

She was active at 1st and 2nd raid on Ostend.

But Wilson left Prince Eugene 2 days before the 2nd raid.

And was on Vindictive on 10th, the day of the raid. That's for sure.

But where did he die, see my initial question

It sounds strange that a wounded man was transported from Vindictive to Prince Eugene; that he died on Eugene and that his body was lost, disappeared into the sea.

So again might it be an administrative mistake.

That he died on Vindictive due to splinters, that his body disappeared in the water

and that some navy clerk filled out Prince Eugene as that was his official ship whereas Vindictive (on which he volunteered) only was his ship for the duration of the 2nd raid on Ostend.

A confusing factor might be that his own ship (Eugene) was also active in the same raid, was fighting in the same raid.

I hope I can make myself clear in "Dutch English"..

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Your "Dutch English" is perfectly fine.

HMS PRINCE EUGENE was a monitor, not a drifter. There was no drifter of that name nor would two RN ships carry the same name. The Naval -History website you quote does not say that he "died on VINDICTIVE due to splinters" but it does say that the monitor HMS PRINCE EUGENE was hit by splinters and that two of her ship's company were killed/missing on 9/10 May, including AB Wilson.

It has been noted that Wilson, borne on the books of PRINCE EUGENE, had volunteered for duty in VINDICTIVE and lost his life in the action involving that ship. He was probably killed and his body later recovered from VINDICTIVE or lost in the attempt to get away from VINDICTIVE in one of the small boats (CMBs and MLs) sent in to bring the men off. You rightly assume that the Navy clerk would have correctly recorded him as being a member of the ship's company of PRINCE EUGENE even though he died in VINDICTIVE. There was no "administrative mistake". The scenario that he was wounded in VINDICTIVE, managed to get back to PRINCE EUGENE and then somehow fell overboard is incredible.

It is interesting that Wilson and the other PRINCE EUGENE man, Signalman Linegar RNVR were both volunteers in VINDICTIVE. Wilson was noted in the despatch as "killed in action" so there must have been a witness to his death for that statement. Linegar was recorded as "missing" but his body was also found later and buried at Ostende.

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Thank you Horatio2!

Your remarks are the confirmation I was looking for.

He died on Vindictive or one of the small vessels that came to fetch her crew, but was registered on Prince Eugene.

And about the drifter.. of course Prince Eugene was a monitor and not a drifter but for a while I thought a drifter and a monitor were the same as I didn't know the exact meaning of the word "drifter".

I assumed that as monitors didn't have very good sailing capabilities (I think I read somewhere that she had a max speed of about 6.5 knots) you could call such a slow sailing craft a "drifter"..

Thanks for your help.

I think this item can be closed now.

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