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Identification disc of Plumber Skinner - Jutland Document


melliget
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W. H. Taylor was William Henry Taylor 'M/5769' Carpenter’s Crew. He was born on 26 February 1891 in Donegal. Next of Kin was his mother, Jane who resided at 4 George Street, Devonport. :poppy:

H.J. Way was Henry John Rattenberry Way 344063 Shipwright 1st. Class. He was born on 3 August 1877. Kingsteignton, Devon. He was the son of William and Mary Ann Way of Kingsteinton and husband of Mary Elizabeth Way of Paignton, Devon. (Sources CWGC and Naval Casualties) :poppy:

A few months ago, I found a similar report in the Cheltenham Chronicle of 8 July 1922. I wonder who recovered the identification disc from the sea. Was it likely to have been Royal Navy personnel? I assume if the wreck of the Indefatigable suffered salvaging as has been reported to have happened in the 1950’s, the disc would not have been passed to the family or Somerset House.

Douglas

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W. H. Taylor was William Henry Taylor 'M/5769' Carpenter’s Crew. He was born on 26 February 1891 in Donegal. Next of Kin was his mother, Jane who resided at 4 George Street, Devonport. :poppy:

H.J. Way was Henry John Rattenberry Way 344063 Shipwright 1st. Class. He was born on 3 August 1877. Kingsteignton, Devon. He was the son of William and Mary Ann Way of Kingsteinton and husband of Mary Elizabeth Way of Paignton, Devon. (Sources CWGC and Naval Casualties) :poppy:

A few months ago, I found a similar report in the Cheltenham Chronicle of 8 July 1922. I wonder who recovered the identification disc from the sea. Was it likely to have been Royal Navy personnel? I assume if the wreck of the Indefatigable suffered salvaging as has been reported to have happened in the 1950’s, the disc would not have been passed to the family or Somerset House.

Douglas

The only disturbance of the wrecks I know of was when the Harper report was being written, they sent a ship to accurately locate their positions in the first half of 1919. The account in the paper reports on a hearing heard just prior to the papers date, July 1922.

I don't know of any later searches or disturbances of the wrecks... but if it was around his neck when the ship sank, the most likely means of retrieval would be a fishing boat, no?

Douglas, are you connected to any of the above? I ask as it's a very quirky story.

cheers

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Sailors could write a will on anything but it had to be processed correctly, so could it have been filed in Somerset House prior to the battle

Different to the normal will, in that it could be claimed afterwards.

"In investigating claims to Naval Assets the Inspector of Seamen's Wills may in any case, in substitution for the investigations prescribed by the said Order in Council of the 28th December, 1865, require the claimant to make a declaration suited to the circumstances of the case before a Magistrate or a Minister of Religion, and to obtain a certificate from two householders certifying to the claimant's identity, and to their belief. in the truth of the statement declared to."

Naval Assets means his pay!!

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TeeCeeCee

I have no connection with any of the three crew members. However, my great-grandfather was a stoker on the Indefatigable and he lost his life at Jutland. When work commitments permit, I have being doing some research on the men of the Indefatigable which is how I first stumbled upon the story about the identification disc. The more I research, the more I become interested in the ship, crew and the tactics at Jutland.

I read about a dive on the Jutland wrecks a number of years ago which indicated that the Indefatigable had been extensively salvaged in the 1950's and now reportedly consisted only of individual pieces of wreckage no bigger than a car. Although I appreciate the ship suffered a number of massive explosions before sinking within a matter of seconds, the possibility of the ship (which should have been a protected war grave) being salvaged made my blood boil. It still does.

Douglas

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Thanks chaps. Perhaps his body was recovered, along with his identity disc, not long after the battle and it wasn't until later (1922), after cleaning the disc, that they realised his Will was inscribed upon it.

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Martin

I suppose that is possible but as his name is still recorded on the Plymouth Naval Memorial rather than an individual grave, I suspect his body was not recovered. However, the story of the identification disc, while it may not be unique, was certainly extraordinary.

Douglas

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Sailors could write a will on anything but it had to be processed correctly, so could it have been filed in Somerset House prior to the battle

Different to the normal will, in that it could be claimed afterwards.

"In investigating claims to Naval Assets the Inspector of Seamen's Wills may in any case, in substitution for the investigations prescribed by the said Order in Council of the 28th December, 1865, require the claimant to make a declaration suited to the circumstances of the case before a Magistrate or a Minister of Religion, and to obtain a certificate from two householders certifying to the claimant's identity, and to their belief. in the truth of the statement declared to."

Naval Assets means his pay!!

Actually, this is one of the odd bits as the newspaper report records it as being 'recovered from the sea' and that it had 'just been filed in Somerset House' ... which implies it was filed about late May or June 1922.

Also, as legal issues are important, they tend to be dealt with ASAP ... especially if it's a will and there is hardship, thus it seems reasonable to suppose they filed the claim in Somerset house as soon as they got the disc?

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TeeCeeCee

I have no connection with any of the three crew members. However, my great-grandfather was a stoker on the Indefatigable and he lost his life at Jutland. When work commitments permit, I have being doing some research on the men of the Indefatigable which is how I first stumbled upon the story about the identification disc. The more I research, the more I become interested in the ship, crew and the tactics at Jutland.

I read about a dive on the Jutland wrecks a number of years ago which indicated that the Indefatigable had been extensively salvaged in the 1950's and now reportedly consisted only of individual pieces of wreckage no bigger than a car. Although I appreciate the ship suffered a number of massive explosions before sinking within a matter of seconds, the possibility of the ship (which should have been a protected war grave) being salvaged made my blood boil. It still does.

Douglas

Douglas (and Martin)

apologies for mixing you up and taking Douglas to be the OP.

The above link to 'Find-a-grave' is the wrong William H Skinner. The man with the disc in the newspaper account is a Plumber with the service No of: 341575.

Did this widow wait 6yrs before her husbands estate was dealt with? Was this delay normal as the wait seems a bit excessive to me. Was the delay due to the war with the amount of dead maybe leading to a back-log of intestate cases? Does anyone know the position regards servicemen (sailors) and their wills in WW1?

It's a quirky set of circumstances as writing/scrating(?) all that text within a disc 32mm diameter is some doing.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello,

William Skinner was my great grandfather. I don't have many details about his death but do have some paperwork relating to him - namely the letter sent to the family of dead servicemen from the King. The identity tag was recovered with his body. I'm not sure about the delay in the will being dealt with. By the time it was, his widow had moved to Australia and remarried, leaving my grandmother behind in Wales.

I'm currently trying to find out where the name tag is as it was never in the possession of the family.

regards

David Morgan

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Hi David.

I'm glad you found this thread. Presumably your great grandfather's body was recovered at some point in 1916? Currently, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has him assigned to the Plymouth Naval Memorial, meaning they think he has no grave but the sea. Do you know where your great grandfather is buried?

If his widow was his next of kin, then I'm guessing that the English probate court officials may have made an attempt to locate her and get the identity disc to her in Australia. Alternatively, as it was considered a "document", could it still be in his probate file in England?

regards,

Martin

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Hello,

William Skinner was my great grandfather. I don't have many details about his death but do have some paperwork relating to him - namely the letter sent to the family of dead servicemen from the King. The identity tag was recovered with his body. I'm not sure about the delay in the will being dealt with. By the time it was, his widow had moved to Australia and remarried, leaving my grandmother behind in Wales.

I'm currently trying to find out where the name tag is as it was never in the possession of the family.

regards

David Morgan

David

Hopefully you are able to find the identity tag. It would be something special for you to have and retain within the family.

Douglas

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  • 10 months later...

Hello David Morgan

William Skinner was my wife's Great Grand Father. Her Grand Father Frederick moved from the UK to Newcastle, Australia after the war with his mother Alice and sister Elsie. Alice married Mr Ballard.

I am researching the Skinner side of the family and came across this forum yesterday. Looking forward to any information re William Henry Thorn Skinner's family in the UK.

Regards

Arthur

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  • 2 years later...

Apologies for the late reply - I was a bit stunned as my Grandmother was left at home when Alice left the UK - I wasn't aware that two children emigrated with Alice and my grandmother was abandoned.

 

Best

 

David

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