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Minimum Age for Royal navy


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#1 Alison Arnold

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 09:37 AM

Hi all,

Does anyone know if there was aminimum age for serving in the Royal Navy. I am currently researching a 15 year old Midshipman Philip Sadler Candy died 1914.

Date of birth has been checked on 1901 census comes up as born 1899. Parents details are the same as on CWGC

What age could he have joined up?

Hope somebody can shed some light on this one.

Regards


Ali

#2 Terry Denham

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 09:52 AM

Boy sailors of the age 15 are relatively common. They were permitted to serve aboard ships at sea and, hence, many of them died in action.

Ali - There are two in war graves in Sussex.

#3 InkyBill

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 10:06 AM

Hi Ali

The Royal Navy Service Records at the PRO are complete and quite interesting. It appears that after a probationary period of about a year these boys were given the option of either leaving or untertaking further service, usually this option was offered to them on their birthday.

Bill

#4 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 12:04 PM

In my own research on certain ships crews lost at sea I only recall finding 16 yo fatalities. Could it be that whilst you could join the RN at 15 into Boy service, that you were primarily in shore training and were not officially mustered to a ship until you were 16??

#5 Alison Arnold

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 12:16 PM

Thanks for that . Bill - I am currently planning a trip to the PRO and hope to have time to look at the RN service records.

Terry: Could you let me know where these two war graves are please. I need a bit of excitement for the summer holidays!! laugh.gif

Regards

Ali

#6 Terry Denham

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 12:23 PM

You are probably right, Signals.

Having checked the 15 year old sailors I have researched, they all died ashore or on training ships. I was thinking of the 16 year olds who still retained the rating of 'Boy' once they had gone on active duty afloat (ie Boy 1st Class Jack Cornwell VC - 16 yrs 6 mths).

Every member of the RN is allocated to a 'ship' as the Naval Discipline Act only applies to men on the muster roll of a ship. This is why every RN shore establishment is a 'ship' and is named 'HMS xyz'.

#7 Terry Denham

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 12:36 PM

Ali

The two Sussex lads are as follows...

DADSWELL, Jesse George
Boy 2nd Class J/53152
Royal Navy, HMS ‘Ganges’
Died of pneumonia 16.08.16 Age 15 Born in Fairlight
Parents: James A.Dadswell of Tile Kiln Cottage, Fairlight
[This casualty is the youngest from either world war buried in Sussex - Born 09.10.1900]
FAIRLIGHT (ST ANDREW) CHURCHYARD
CWGC headstone to right of entrance path in front of church
No Personal Inscription

FUNNELL, Victor Adolphus
Boy 2nd Class J/93768
Royal Navy, HMS ‘Ganges II’
Died of illness 09.03.19 in Shotley, Suffolk Age 15 Born in Battle
Parents: Isaac Henry Funnell of Church House, Mountfield
[This casualty was born 22.03.1903 and died a few days short of his 16th birthday]
MOUNTFIELD (ALL SAINTS) CHURCHYARD
CWGC headstone to right of path down lefthand side of church
Personal Inscription: THY WILL BE DONE

#8 paul guthrie

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 01:05 PM

I have been to the Cornwell Memorial in Chester Cathedral and have wondered about him. I understand he was wounded, did not leave his gun and won VC. Does anyone know if he could have moved had he wanted to? The question is was there real evidence of heroism?

#9 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 01:10 PM

Inbrief I have always understood the answer is no. I think he was what we would now call a "Public Relatioons" VC. He was probably very scared and very confused as any of us would have been, but as far as I am aware there was no evidence of heroism as such.

Terry - sorry about the confusion re ship's muster, of course I knew I meant sea-going vessels but thanks for clarification.

#10 Terry Denham

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 01:17 PM

There has never been any question about Cornwell's heroism as far as I have read.

The VC has very strict rules regarding its award and requires evidence from witnesses as to the exact situation. These witnesses usually have to be officers and they are not likely to have recommended the award without good cause.

The citation states that he 'stood' by his gun despite being mortally wounded whilst awaiting orders. If the word 'stood' is taken literally, it suggests that he did have the option of moving away.

He did survive the battle but died shortly afterwards and is buried in London. The gun itself is in the IWM.

#11 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 02:37 PM

Two contrasting opinions!! I have to stand by what I said earlier on this one but am happy to be proved wrong.

To date when I have tried to look objectively at Jack Cornwell’s VC I can see no act of heroism as such, but a young hero all the same.

He was mortally wounded at his gun and this suggests to me that he probably could not have moved away from his position. Also the citation from Beatty referred to a special recommendation in honour of his memory, which also suggests that had he survived he would have received a lesser award or more probably no award at all.

Jack Cornwell has gone down in history for staying at his gun, awaiting orders when all around him had been killed, and that ostensibly was why he was awarded his VC, but that does not necessarily equate to a heroic deed above and beyond the call of duty. I honestly think politics and public morale were at play in his award, especially when the RN had not exactly won the crushing battle they had expected.

#12 paul guthrie

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 03:33 PM

Who is the youngest VC? I think Piper Richardson was also 16.

#13 Terry Denham

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 04:00 PM

Hospital Apprentice Andrew Fitzgibbon
Age 15 yrs 3 months Award for actions in China 21.08.1860

and

Drummer Thomas Flinn North Staffs
Age 15 awarded for actions in India 28.11.1857

#14 paul guthrie

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 04:01 PM

Thanks Terry, youngest WW1?

#15 Bob Coulson

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Posted 11 July 2003 - 06:32 PM

I believe the youngest WW1 VC to the army was Private George Peachment 2nd KRRC who won his award in September 1915 aged 18.

Bob.

#16 Broznitsky

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Posted 12 July 2003 - 05:04 AM

Paul, it looks like Piper James Richardson 28930 was just a month away from 21 years when he disappeared at Regina Trench.

(I wished he was 16! It would add to the story!!)

Peter

#17 Deleted_Testerchild_*

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 05:42 PM

Ali,

This is my first post, so hoping it might be useful I'll add to Terry's names in Sussex (if you're likely to be in the neighbourhood). The part of Hove Cemetary set aside as a CWGC site for WW1 dead includes:

1) Boy 2nd Class J/89929 HT Lindfield, RN; HMS Impregnable, died 27 June 1918 age 16.

and

2) another Naval 'Candy' (any relation?): The grave is inscribed:
"Our Dear brother, Herbert Howard Candy, HM Torpedo Boat No7, who was killed during a raid by German aircraft at Sheerness 5th June 1917, age 26"

Don't know if those two are of any interest....

Bob Sellwood

#18 Terry Denham

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 07:31 PM

Ali

Details for Bob's addition..

LINDFIELD, Henry Thomas
Boy 2nd Class J/89929
Royal Navy, HMS ‘Impregnable’
Died of pneumonia 27.06.18 Age 16 Born in Brighton, Sussex
Parents: Henry & Elizabeth Lindfield of Toad Hole, West Blatchington
HOVE OLD (SOUTH) CEMETERY, SUSSEX
CWGC headstone. Grave E.115
Personal Inscription: 'In the midst of life we are in death'

No CWGC record for H.H.Candy

#19 MartinWills

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 07:52 PM

To return to the original topic - that of youngsters in the Navy. The young cadets at Dartmouth College were mobilised just before the outbreak of war and allocated to various ships, many of them going to the "Bacchante" class of cruisers. A number went to Cressy, Aboukir and Hogue, which were all lost one morning in late autumn to the submarine U9 whilst in the "broad fourteens". They went to see as cadets but were made up to midshipmen (an extra 9d pay towards messing costs) in mid August 1914. Others (such as Eric Bush, who wrote at least two excellent books) served on Bacchante and Euryalus and saw service at Gallipoli. I haven't checked but I am sure some 15 y.o. boys were lost in the triple torpedoeing in the North Sea. One of the cadets survived each successive torpedoing swimming to another of the trio which was then torpedoed, before swimming to the third and his third torpedoing. He survived the war and lived to a ripe old age.

The parents of the cadets paid £50 p.a. to the Navy for the boys education at Dartmouth. Although they went to sea before completing their education the education theoretically continued whilst at sea and the parents continued to have to pay the £50 p.a.

#20 Deleted_Testerchild_*

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 09:19 PM

Andy,

Candy's Hove grave is is situated in the CWGC area but appears to be a civilian grave rather than an official one. Perhaps the family chose it that way? Would that explain the lack of CWGC entry?

Curious,

Bob

#21 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 10:37 PM

Martin an interesting story about the Cadet.

The Aboukir was the first of the trio to be struck just before 06:30 hours and her Skipper, Captain Drummond, convinced he had struck a mine ordered the other cruisers to close up and prepare to take onboard his crew. They had been steaming at about 2 mile intervals.

The Aboukir took in water fast and quickly began to list before her stern sank below the surface of the water. There had only been time to release a single cutter and most of her crew had taken to the water.

The Hogue then closed to pick up the survivors but Weddigen had positioned U-9 to attack her and shot off two torpedoes but from almost point-blank range and a combination of the sudden loss of weight from the two torpedoes and the explosion, forced U-9 to surface on the Hogue’s port quarter. The Hogue opened fire with her guns but with no effect and within minutes water was awash over the quarterdeck and the order to abandon ship had to be called.

Weddigen managed to resubmerge and manouevered again to make an attack on the Cressy. For some reason the Skipper of the Crecy had not taken evasive action and was hit by two torpedoes, slowly turning turtle and in fact according to reports, those of her crew that could, climbed up the hull in someway.

The Crecy had already dispatched her boats (as I think had the Hogue) by the time she was hit. I would expect the Cadet may have succeeded in swimming to the Hogue that had closed to pick up survivors, and then when she was hit, swam to one of the Crecy's boats, rather than the ship herself. It just seems to much although unfortunately when I was looking into this incident about 18 months ago I didnt record at what time the other ships were hit/sank or how far distant they all were.

To conclude, the sea was full of crew from men of all three ships and with complete disregard for their own safety, two Dutch trawlers, the Flora and Titan, who had observed the sinkings, closed in and saved the lives of about 800 men (I have no idea how large these trawlers were, or whether there were others trawlers that also came to the rescue).

Sadly nearly 1500 men were lost. Admittedly I didnt look too closely at the crew details and the losses, but I am sure from what I did look at, I didnt come across any 15 y.o., but that isnt to say there wasnt any.

#22 Alison Arnold

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:00 AM

Bob,

Thanks for the information. I will be off to Hove to have a look at thee graves I will also look into the Candy grave and if I come up with it I will let you know.

Terry: Thanks for the additional information.

Thanks to everyone else who has contributed. Just to clarify things. Philip Sadler Candy was born in 1899 in Froyle Hampshire, according to the 1901 census. Son of John and Emily Candy.

He was aboard the HMS Monmouth when she was sunk by gunfire from the German Cruisers Scharnhurst and Gneisenan of Coronel in Chile on the 1st November 1914. All hands perished.


Regards


Ali

#23 john w.

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:40 AM

Having read the thread through there seems to be a lot of very young seaman killed at this time. Why was there a difference between the army and the navy? Werent you supposed to be over 18 in the army to be posted overseas, even though you could join up earlier?

John

#24 Jonathan Saunders

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 07:51 AM

I believe until Jan or Feb 1918 you had to be 19 to serve in the army in a war theatre although you could enlist at a much earlier age, certainly I have found 15 y o enlisting shortly before the outbreak of war.

In the Royal Navy it was somewhat different. You were able to attest for Boy service at the age of 15 with the intent of becoming a Seaman ie serving at sea, so the emphasis was slightly different.

I understand most of the first year was training at shore establishments, such as Ganges (from 1906). There may well be cases of 15 y o serving at sea but having looked at a few fatality lists from ships crews I personally havent seen a Boy younger than 16. Obviously with any relatively large warship that was lost, there would undoubtedly be 16 y o's killed.

I wonder at what age a RMLI would be assigned to a warship? I dont recall coming across any 16 y o RMLI fatalities either.

#25 Terry Denham

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Posted 15 July 2003 - 08:41 AM

Bob

I know the grave you mean.

This is not classified as a war grave by CWGC. The fact that it has a private memorial is irrelevant in deciding its status as about 20% of all war graves in the UK have private memorials rather than CWGC stones. It was permitted if a casualty died in his home country.

The inscription is possibly a memorial inscription only and the person is not actually buried there. This was a common occurrence at the time and you will see many inscriptions suggesting that a war casualty is buried at the spot when they are elsewhere.

However, that does not explain his name being missing from the CWGC lists - I'll look again for variations. Although, it is possible (from the wording you quote) that he had left the service at the time of his death and was a civilian. The n-o-k would naturally have added his previous naval connection in line with the mood of the times. This also happens on occasion.