Remembered Today:

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Will O'Brien

HMS Pembroke

42 posts in this topic

A naval query

I am doing some reaserch on a chap who joined the Navy in February 1916. He died in April 1916 of Pneumonia. During this period he was 'attached' to HMS Pembroke. Was this an actual ship or just another training establishment?

If it was a training establishment does anyone know where it was?

If it was a ship, surely it was unusual for a sailor to be sent to a ship after less than 2 months of training (considering part of that time was spent in hospital suffering from a nervous breakdown & Pneumonia)

Will

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will

HMS Pembroke was indeed a training establishment. It was the RN Barracks at Chatham. Building started in 1897 and was completed towards the end of 1902. If I remember rightly, the glassed-roofed drill shed was used to house men in WW1 and was hit by a bomb, causing many casualties.

Terry Reeves

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Terry

That's great - Many thanks for the info.

Will

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just for the record Terry is spot on about the glass roofed drill shed.

On the night of 3rd Sept 1917 four Gotha bombers crossed the channel and bombed first Thanet, then the dockyard at Sheerness and finally Chatham. The local paper reported the death of 136 naval ratings, mostly from glass splinters, with many more injured.

For anybody that knows the area a memorial was erected in the Naval section of Woodlands Road cemetery in Gillingham, where many of the dead ratings were buried.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Signals

Great additional info. The guy I am doing the research on (Cooks Mate 2nd Class AJ Claridge) is buried in the Woodlands cemetery.

Will

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

St.George's Church in the former Naval Base at Chatham is now the St.George's Centre. It houses a number of RN Memorials including a window in memory of the 136 men who were killed in the 1917 air raid.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Will, Ive got a few things on next week but if you remind me the week after I will try and get a photo of his gravestone if that helps at all. Just make sure you remind me if you want the photo and as long as I can find it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HP - I presume you know St George's only too well. A lovely chapel where I used to attend many Remembrance and Christmas, Easter etc services with my father. Happy memories of Chatham and not many people can say that these days!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Forgot to add that the Memorial Books from St.George's Church were transferred to Brompton Garrison Church.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A great-uncle of mine in the Royal Navy was originally posted to Pembroke II - is this the same HMS Pembroke which has been discussed here, or was there a difference?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

HMS Pembroke II was RNAS Eastchurch, Sheppey, Kent - June 1913 to 01.04.18 when it was turned over to the RAF.

Shore stations were often named after a nearby main base but differentiated by the addition of 'II' or 'III' etc. Pembroke II moved to Chatham as an Accounting Base 1940-57.

These shore bases often moved (at least the name moved!). HMS Pembroke started life at Forth, then at Harwich before moving to Chatham. Also they could have units in several different locations at once. The following existed at various times 1919 to post-WW2

Pembroke III was in London

Pembroke IV was at Chatham/Great Yarmouth/Nore

Pembroke V was at Dover/London

Pembroke VI was at Chatham/Lerwick

Pembroke VII was at Grimsby

Pembroke VIII was at Humber

Pembroke X was at Lowestoft

The full details of the thousands of RN shore bases worldwide over the years are to be found in "Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy" by Lt Cdr B.Warlow RN. Published second edition in 2000 by Maritime Books ISBN 0 907771 73 4 (Tel 01579 343663)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Signals

Many thanks for the kind offer - I will send you a reminder next week re the photo of Allan Claridge's grave

Will

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The full details of the thousands of RN shore bases worldwide over the years are to be found in "Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy"

May I ask Terry if you know where HMS Victory VI was located?, as my grandfather trained there during his short stay with the RND in 1915/16.

My other Grandfather was rotated through Pembroke at Chatham a number of times during his WW2 service. It operated as a RN barracks until 1961 and it is now a part of the University of Greenwich.

Here's a website full of quite evocative photos of the old barracks as they are now

HMS Penbroke, RNB Chatham

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not a very naval location!

HMS Victory VI was the Depot for RNR & RN Divs at Crystal Palace, London (then in Kent) 1914-19.

From 1916 it was also listed as a Maintenance Unit, a Signals Unit and a Seamans Unit.

HMS Victory II was also located at Crystal Palace 1914-19 and was also known as HMS Crystal Palace.

There are a large number of naval war graves in the local cemetery, Beckenham Cemetery (formerly Crystal Palace Cemetery)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
HMS Victory VI was the Depot for RNR & RN Divs at Crystal Palace, London (then in Kent) 1914-19.

HMS Victory II was also located at Crystal Palace 1914-19 and was also known as HMS Crystal Palace.

Thanks for that Terry, as a much maligned Crystal Palace supporter, that somewhat tickles my fancy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is really intresting i always thought H.M.S. Pembroke was a ship. Does anyone know if the following were ships or bases ?

H.M.S. Impregnable

" Berwick

" Thames

" Falmouth

" Ganges

" Juno

" Sentinel

" Amethyst

I know its a bit of a list but any info would be of help

Thanks

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill

I have a copy of Janes 1914 which lists:-

HMS Berwick - County Class Cruiser built 1900; 9,800 tons; main armament 14x6" guns

HMS Falmouth - Light Cruiser built 1909; 5,250 tons; main armament 8x6" guns

HMS Sentinal - Light Cruiser built 1903; 2,895 tons; main armament 9x4" guns

HMS Amethyst - Gem Class Light Cruiser built 1902; 3,000 tons; main armament 12x4" guns.

HMSs Impregnable,Thames, Ganges and Juno are not listed as ships, but some may post date 1914.

HMS Ganges is currently a Shore Establishment.

Hope this helps, let me know if you want details of secondary armament for the ships listed.

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill

It is not that simple. Most shore establishment names were used by ships at some point. However, during WW1....

Impregnable was a Training ship at Devonport (actually over time four ships numbered I to IV and then name given to a base at St Budeaux 1935-48).

Berwick was a ship (cruiser)

Thames was a Submarine Depot ship/Training Ship (ex-cruiser)

Falmouth was a ship (cruiser sunk by U63 19.08.16)

Ganges was a base at Shotley, Suffolk 1905-76 (ship before)

Juno was a ship (a cruiser - sold 1920)

Sentinel was a training ship 1920-23 at Portsmouth (cruiser before)

Amethyst III was auxiliary patrol yacht at Holyhead (Amethyst was a cruiser)

Each shore establishment originally had to have a real ship to which it was attached - sometimes just a hulk or even a small tender!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Tim and Terry,

I am tracing the story of a man who went down on HMS Pathfinder and all of your info helps me alot.

Cheers

Bill

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill,

I would be interested in any summary info you have on the Pathfinder for that month of war Aug/Sept 1914. In return I can offer this eyewitness account from the Mate of a Scottish trawler that was published in the East Kent Gazette in Sept 1914:

“Looking in the direction of the boat (HMS Pathfinder) we saw a great cloud of smoke and steam rise up. It was just like a big white mountain, until at the end you would have thought it was just an ordinary cloud. We could not see the boat at all. But as the cloud lifted bit by bit, I saw the stern sticking straight up out of the water. It slipped slowly down and then disappeared with a great rush. The whole thing had not lasted three minutes from the time I had been admiring her until she sank from sight”.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bill and Signals

You may have the details already, but if not Jane details HMS Pathfinder as a Forward Class Light Cruiser. Built 1903. 2,940 Tons. 9 x 6". 14" torpedo tubes (2 above water). Speed 25 knots. Her silhouette shows three funnels, and one fore mast immediately aft of the bridge.

The other ships in her Class were Forward and Foresight, both 2,850 Tons, Patrol 2,940 Tons, and Skirmisher and Sentinal 2,895 Tons. Apart from the slight variations in weight all have the same specification and silhouette.

Tim

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cheers Tim.

I would just add for any interested that I believe the Pathfinder had been at Dover at the outbreak of war but soon travelled north to patrol around the Firsth of Forth. It was here, off St. Abb's Head to be precise, that she was sunk by Hersing/U21. Her loss was first reported as a mine but Capt. Leake, who survived the loss of his ship, confirmed it had been a U-boat. I understand the Pathfinder to be the first ship lost to U-boat action - can anyone confirm?

Will - I will soon be sorting out a trip down to Woodlands cemetery.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pathfinder was the first British warship sunk by submarine in WW1 on 05.09.14.

The next were Hogue, Aboukir & Cressy on 22.09.14

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With regard to shore bases, was or is Ascension Island in the south Atlantic ocean actually called HMS Ascension Island?

I know it was a naval base in the 1850s; I have relatives born there, children of a British Marine.

What is the history of the island?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It certainly isn't called that now. In fact there is no RN presence on the island. We stopped off there on the way to the Falklands and from what I remember it was a bit of an island paradise for the squaddies and crabfats who were based there.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0