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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Chatham, Plymouth & Portsmouth Naval Memorials

Nick Cooper

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While investigating the foundering with all hands of a Trawler/Minesweeper in 1915 at the PRO/NA, came across a later file which suggests the vessel was salvaged (contrary to initial speculation after first incident that it was a right-off), and was eventually sunk by a mine 29/11/16 with the loss of seven of the 14 crew.

Checking the fatalities on the CWGC site, though, three are on the Chatham Memorial, three on Plymouth, and the last on Portsmouth (of the previous sinking, all bodies were recovered, bar one who is on the Chatham Memorial). Not delved much into the naval side of things in the past, but I'd always assumed that ship's complements were recorded together, so what actually was the criteria used for deciding which name went on which memorial?

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Portsmouth, Chatham and Plymouth were the manning ports of the Naval casualties involved.

An identical inscription on each memorial makes this clear

"In honour of the Navy and to the abiding memory of these ranks and ratings of this port who laid down their lives in the defence of the empire and have no other grave than the sea."

If they had been Mercantile Mariners they would be commemorated at Tower Hill Memorial, London

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I remember my uncle, a regular Royal Marine from before WWI until the end of WWII, stating that his manning port was Plymouth (or rather Devonport I think) and this remained so throughout his service, irrespective of which ship or shore establishment he was posted to throughout the world.

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The original wooden Chatham Dockyard War Memorial is in the museum in the dockyard. We found one of our relatives on the Menin Gate and on the dockyard memorial.

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