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HMS IMPREGNABLE


kin47
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Hello

Can anyone fill me in on the organisation of the Boy Training Establishment at IMPREGNABLE (and POWERFUL, GANGES, et al)?

What were the size of the individual classe? My primary interest is in the horrendous death rate to the Boys in these establishments to the Spanish influenza. I must wonder if the close proximity of their living arrangements, et al, did not lead to the decimation of so many young lives. Some large groups in a short time seem to indicate entire classes were wiped out. During the pandemic, some 250 boys died.

Thank you.

don

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Hello Don

All I can add is that the boys were divided up into messes under the supervision of a PO, although they met up frequently at meal times and divisions. The boys would be kept onsite for all but one afternoon a week. Most boys would be there for 3 months' basic training; some would go on to other establishments (or ships), whilst other remained to continue their trade training.

I can recommend "Band of Brothers" by David Philipson as a good overview of boy training c.1900-1950.

Might also be worth considering the fact that as these boys were aged 16-18, their resistance to such diseases might be less than someone say ten years or more older than them: I recall a meningitis scare when teenagers especially were told to be aware of symptoms. (This is speculation, but worth examining).

Cheers

Richard II

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  • 8 years later...

Hello Don & Richard

I am researching William Alfred Kemp who signed on as a Boy 2nd Class on 9th March 1917 and went to HMS Impregnable for training. He died on 3rd May 1917 and his service record states "Cerebral Brain Fever " as cause of death.. i.e meningitis.

I assume he did not even finish his training.

I wondered where your information about death rates of boys etc came from as it may help me.

Thanks

Sasha

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  • 7 years later...

Hello

I apologise for necro-bumping, but I found this today whilst trying to find information about my great, great uncle Stanley Thorpe.

 

He died aboard HMS Impregnable in 1918 of Pneumonia aged just 16 and Our family would love to know anything anyone can offer in terms of how his life was aboard the ship, what he would have learned, and if he was well taken care of in his final days.

It would be nice to know, as it would help us feel closer to him.

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There would have been a sick bay and I believe that in 1918 a doctor was also on the staff (three hulks Impregnable I,II & III).

Severely sick boys were generally sent to RN Hospital, Plymouth for treatment, however during the peak of the Spanish Flu pandemic medical facilities all across the UK were being overwhelmed. Young adults were particularly vulnerable and the infection could progress very rapidly with victims struggling to breath. Pneumonia was a not uncommon development.

228,009 people died in the UK alone, and maybe as many as 50 million worldwide.

MB

 

Edited by KizmeRD
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Some sense of the huge pressure on the RN medical services noted above by @KizmeRD can be gained by the facthat the month of October 1918 saw the deaths of 24 ratings of IMPREGNABLE, all but one of them young boys like Stanley Thorpe. Five boys died on 22 October, three on 24 Oct and another five on 29 Oct. The numbers taken ill can only be guessed at. Late October 1918 seems to have been the peak of flu infections in the training ship. Stanley's ADM 188 record notes that he died in RN Hospital, Plymouth.

Edited by horatio2
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A review of the above-noted deaths reveals that all the ratings died in RN Plymouth Hospital. In addition to the expected flu/pneumonia deaths it would appear that scarlet fever was also circulating in IMPREGNABLE and is noted as the cause of death in some cases.

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