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Remembered Today:

G.C. Bonner RNVR Z/205 - RND


KizmeRD

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I’m looking for any information relating to Ordinary Seaman Charles George Bonner, London Division RNVR from his date of enlistment 8 September 1914 to his transfer out of the RND 19 January 1915 (commissioned into RNR).

I believe that he was involved in the defence of Antwerp and during the retreat he apparently escaped down the Scheldt in a rowing boat.

Do any of our RND experts know what battalion he served in, or any specific details as to how exactly he made good his return to UK?

(I’m not interested here in discussing what he got up to subsequently, although he did go on to distinguish himself handsomely).

MB

Edit. As it turns out he wasn’t involved in the defence of Antwerp, he left the week before the trouble started, returned to England AND THEN enlisted in the RND.

Edited by KizmeRD
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Len Sellers' magazine RND No.7 Dec 1998 has an article by Arthur E Watts who says Bonner was on his section at Crystal Palace, which I take to indicate Benbow, but nothing firmer than that.

"distinguished himself handsomely" indeed he did

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His RND Record Card is quite 'thin' - https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/D7262239  - but it and the Medal Roll show conclusively that he never served at Antwerp. He never left UK and was qualified for the 1914-15 Star, not the 1914 Star which service at Antwerrp would have earned. The 'rowing boat' story is just that - a story.

Enrolled RNVR London Z/205 on 8 Sep 1914. >> Crystal Palace in 1st Training Battalion, 'A' Coy. >> 28 Nov 1914 to Portsmouth for RNR commission with seniority 23 Dec 1914.

The Fleet Air Arm Museum holds his RNVR enrolment and other papers.

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N.B. His ADM 3337 (RNVR) record shows him as ordinary seaman (HMS PATUCA) until 18 Jan 1915 but this date is at odds with his RNR sebniority of 23 Dec 14 as recorded in his ADM 339 (RND) and ADM 240 (RNR) records and in the Navy L:ist..

Edited by horatio2
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Much appreciate the information, and indeed it does now seem a doubtful story (which had it been true would probably already have been well written about).

Possibly there’s been some sort of misunderstanding and misinterpretation of the facts with regards to the telling of this particular tale. He was a Second Officer in the merchant marine, and he was in the port of Antwerp when war broke out, but his hurried return to the UK and enlistment in the RNVR was slightly too late for participation in the RND’s defence of Antwerp. . The fact that there is mention of of him undergoing training at Crystal Palace and also that he didn’t actually qualify for the 1914 Star is pretty conclusive evidence.

Thanks again for the prompt replies.

MB

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He might have come onboard PATUCA still officially an RNVR rating, but seeing as he already held a Master Mariners certificate of competency, they probably provisionally employed him as a watch-keeping officer. I’m presuming that the paperwork took a little time to process but was eventually sorted out, with him being granted an RNR commission with seniority back dated to his arrival on the ship (at Avonmouth prior to its first patrol).

MB

Edited by KizmeRD
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I agree. He seems to have completed PATUCA'a first winter patrol, Avonmouth 23 Dec -18 January Liverpool and the Certificate of CO PATUCA caught up later.

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Spookily my Grandfather’s RND official number  was also Z/205. However, more correctly being Mersey Division, it was MZ/205. I am unsure what, if any, prefix letter would be attached for the London Division. I thought perhaps "SZ" for Sussex but there was a separate Sussex Division. Can anybody advise please.

Edited by Lawryleslie
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No, Bonner was London Division LZ/205.

There wasn’t a Surrey Division RNVR, you probably mean Sussex Division.

Anyway, hopefully you’ve posted something about your GF on another thread, or perhaps you will do?

MB

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4 hours ago, KizmeRD said:

No, Bonner was London Division LZ/205.

There wasn’t a Surrey Division RNVR, you probably mean Sussex Division.

Anyway, hopefully you’ve posted something about your GF on another thread, or perhaps you will do?

MB

Thanks for that, yes I did mean Sussex and have edited my post. I’ve posted much on here about Grandad and have virtually got all his service record from various sources. Not wishing to usurp this thread, the only thing missing from my research is which hospital in Malta was he treated for his injury after the 3rd Battle of Krithia. Most of the members have said probably Bighi because he was evacuated in early June 1915 when many of the temporary hospitals were yet to be built or converted to. Even the Museum of Malta couldn’t help. There appears to be no records of casualties in Maltese hospitals in WW1 even though I have his form B103 containing casualty identification numbers in theartre and in Malta.

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Bonner was in Antwerp at the outbreak of war because his ship (S.S. Incemore) was in port for repair -  having collided in fog in the English Channel with the German passenger steamer Kaiser Willem II.

MB

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7 hours ago, Lawryleslie said:

he only thing missing from my research is which hospital in Malta was he treated for his injury after the 3rd Battle of Krithia.

I can't remember whether you and I have corresponded before about 3rd Krithia, but I wondered if I had directed you to this:

History of the Medical Unit of the Royal Naval Division - Arthur Gaskell.pdf

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  • KizmeRD changed the title to G.C. Bonner RNVR Z/205 - RND
1 hour ago, seaJane said:

I can't remember whether you and I have corresponded before about 3rd Krithia, but I wondered if I had directed you to this:

History of the Medical Unit of the Royal Naval Division - Arthur Gaskell.pdf 4.5 MB · 3 downloads

Thank you seaJane a fascinating read. 
Lawrie

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1 hour ago, Lawryleslie said:

Thank you seaJane

My pleasure :).

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