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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

William Orwin Hall Steward HMS Penn


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Officer's Steward Second Class L/3813

Died 6th October 1918. He was a Sunderland man.

Died of Spanish Flu on Hospital Ship Soudan at Scapa Flow

Buried Sunderland Bishopwearmouth Cemetery. Grave Ref. 20 CC 2537 (CWGC)

[not my research done by a friend]

The question is why was his body taken from Orkney to be buried in Sunderland, is this not unusual ?

I would have thought that when someone died of the flu the body would be buried asap as flu very contagious.



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His record is in Documentsonline at Kew,ref ADM188/995/3813,downloadable for 3.36.

My wife's Uncle Joe was also on SOUDAN at Scapa as an 18 year old AB at the time,he survived that war and the second one, to retire after a full career.

The ship is my avatar on the left here !

A good question as this was the Spanish Flu pandemic. I suppose that once he was sealed down in his coffin and relatives requested that he be buried at his home area,and maybe paid for the process,I can't see the authorities refusing it.

Here in Southampton there are some graves from the HMHS ASTURIUS which sank off the Devon coast.

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Thanks for the info.

Can you or someone explain ?

In the Remarks column of his Record it says

"NZ Agreement 3 years from 15 July 1914" and some writing ref War Gratuity [can't make it out]

NZ Agreement ?

Ships are. Victory 1. Philomel twice. Victory 1. Woolwich (Vectis). Woolwich (Penn). Greenwich (Penn)



from 2nd July 1912 till he died 6 October 1918

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HMS PHILOMEL (an old cruiser) was the base at Wellington, NZ for the NZ Division of the Royal Navy. He had clearly signed to serve in that Division. PHILOMEL was commissioned in that role on 15 July 1914.

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