Tag Archives: Royal Navy

Remembering William John Dunstan Devoran WW1 died accident at sea 24 December 1917

Dunstan_WJ (2)

William Dunstan’s grave in Brest Kerfautras Cemetery, France (Image copyright: TWGPP / CWGC, the War Graves Photographic Project)

IMG_2731

 

 

William John Dunstan of Devoran, serving as 2352/ST, Engineman, Royal Naval Reserve, HM Trawler Pintail, died aged 45 on 24 December 1917.

He is buried in plot 40.3.5 Brest Kerfautras Cemetery, Finisterre, France (mostly an American naval and army cemetery).

Dunstan 1Brest (Kerfautras) Cemetery

William Dunstan’s grave lies in Brest Kerfautras Cemetery, France (Image copyright: TWGPP / CWGC, the War Graves Photographic Project)

The CWGC website lists him as husband of Juliana Dunstan of 6 Chapel Terrace, Devoran. Juliana was born in 1871 in Truro. The couple married in 1903 and had two children, both born in Devoran, Florence May Dunstan (b. 1905) and William Edwin Kean Dunstan (b. 1907).

William was born in Hayle, Phillick (Phillack?) in Cornwall in 1874. In the 1911 census he is listed as “Fireman Steamship” on board SS Erimus,  living at Chapel Terrace, Devoran.

devoran 2013 008

Devoran war memorial, names A to J , First World War

His life and death tell an interesting tale of Devoran past as a port or harbour, then of the war at sea, keeping the sea clear of enemy mines.

The ship where Dunstan served and sustained his fatal accident HMS Pintail was a Hull trawler H982 , built in 1908 and wrecked off Ireland in 1949. In October 1914 she was requisitioned for war service as a minesweeper, armed with 1 x 12 Hotchkiss pdr, 1 x 6pdr HA, Ad.No382 . She was moved to Penzance and Falmouth. (Ad.No.382). By 1st October 1918 she was at Penzance (General Patrol and Escort work).

By 12 March 1919, Pintail had been returned to her owner at Hull. There is more about the naval war and minesweepers off the Cornish coast in Pete London’s short book Cornwall in the First World War (Truran, 2013)

So Pintail survived war service. William Dunstan did not – according to the Royal Navy Roll of Honour WW1, he died of illness in hospital,  as a result of his war service.

Further research in the National Archives into his Royal Naval Reserve service record suggests that he signed up on 15 November 1915. He died as a result of an accident at sea on twenty third December.

IMG_2728

Dunstan’s Navy Records state that he “Died Marine Hospital, Brest, France. Death due to accident. Injuries to head from from crank of engine whilst endeavouring to recover oil can from crank bilge. ”

Dunstan died of a fractured skull as a result of “head and chest injuries by crankshaft” received “whilst at sea on 23 December 1917”.

Previous to his service at sea on HM Pintail, he seems to have served from 1915 and 1916 on King Frederick (III) a Hired Trawler. “5.1915: Requisitioned for war service as a minesweeper (1-12pdr) (Ad.No.2659). Renamed KING FREDERICK.” H.M.S. Dreel Castle  appears  to be his “parent ship at Falmouth base” and “parent ship of the patrols working from Falmouth.”

http://www.fleetwood-trawlers.info/index.php/category/steam-trawlers/page/71/

Shore Establishments of the Royal Navy states that “DREEL CASTLE was a Drifter commissioned 2.2.15. Nominal depot ship Auxiliary Patrol Falmouth, Penzance, & Scillies replacing Vivid 1.10.15 – 16.9.19 [accounts to Vivid IV]. Flag of Rear Admiral Falmouth struck 15.8.19.”

Dunstan’s naval records in the National Archives are hard to read and decipher. He appears to have transferred from “King Frederick” to the Royal Naval Hospital Plymouth in November 1917 then back to sea on “Pintail” shortly before his accidental death.

His widow Juliana  chose no additional inscription on his standard headstone.

IMG_2726

You can read more about William Dunstan and the other men of Devoran in WW1 here:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/devoran-first-world-war-casualties-d-to-j/

William John Dunstan, Remembered a hundred years on  in his home village of Devoran and by his family on Christmas Eve 24 December 2017.

Blogposted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial Project

I shall add more to Dunstan’s entry should I uncover any more information.

Advertisements

Remembering Joseph William Toms and HMS Galatea 14 December 1941

plymouth 005

J.W. Toms’ name listed on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. Image, Mark Norris, 2013

Able Seaman Joseph William Toms, D/SSX17063 Royal Navy, died onboard HMS Galatea on 15 December 1941, aged 23. He is commemorated at panel 48, column 3 Plymouth Naval Memorial. He has no known grave.

He was the son of Harry and Mary Toms; husband of Ruby Louvain Toms (nee Peachey), of Truro, Cornwall.

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/devoran-second-world-war-casualties-s-to-z/

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

World War 2 section, Devoran War Memorial Photo: Mark Norris

HMS Galatea website

http://www.yourtotalevent.com/events/galatea.htm

Jean Strange and family have compiled this extensive website about the crew (including one of her relatives).

More can be found on this Wikipedia site:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Galatea_(71)

The crew, survivors and their families of HMS Galatea, 14 / 15 December 1941,  remembered 75 years later, .

hms_galatea_awm_302395

HMS Galatea (Wikipedia source)

 

The crew of the German U boat U557 which sank HMS Galatea were lost two days later on 16 December 1941.

Posted by Mark Norris, Devoran War Memorial project, Cornwall.

Thomas Tyack

Thomas Tyack

I was quite the ancient mariner by the time the war broke out in 1914.

I was born in Devoran on 7th October 1864, the third child of Richard and Elizabeth Tyack. My father was a master shoemaker, who was originally from Chacewater but he had a good business in Devoran and employed three men. We lived at 24 St. John’s Terrace.

When I left school I went to live in Fairmantle Street, Truro where I lodged with Mrs. Emma Curnow and her daughter, Mary. Emma was a widow and they took in laundry to earn a living. I got a job as an apprentice engine fitter but I soon got fed up with life ashore and took my trade into the Royal Navy, which I joined on 3rd July 1887.

I served on a lot of ships and saw service and action all over the British Empire in the late Victorian era and into the early years of the 20th century.

I rose to the rank of Chief Petty Officer, Engine Room Artificer and was discharged from the navy in 1909 with “very good character” on my discharge papers.

I came back home to the family in St. John’s Terrace after my discharge and lived with mother, who was now past 80 and my sister Mary, who was a year older than me and was at home looking after her.

Father had died back in 1906 at the age of 91 and was buried in Devoran Churchyard on 26th October of that year.

War in Europe was becoming ever closer during July 1914 and Britain declared war on Germany on 4th August 1914. I had re-joined the Royal Navy just a couple of days before that on 2nd August when there was a general call to the nation to prepare for war.

I joined HMS Albion, a 13,000 ton pre-Dreadnought type Battleship first launched in 1896. We were stationed in the English Channel for a while and then off the coast of Finisterre in case the German navy tried to break out into the Atlantic. After that we went out to the Dardanelles where we were in action against Ottoman shore bases in preparation for troops to move in. We were hit many times by gunnery from ashore, but the old ship was tough and managed to avoid serious damage until May 1915 when we had suffered so much damage that she had to make for Malta for repairs.

I came back home to HMS Vivid, a shore base at Devonport, but I was not in the best of health by then and I was invalided out of the navy in July 1915 suffering from bronchitis and emphysema.

I came back home to 24 St. John’s Terrace.

Mother died just a few months after I got back and we buried her alongside father in Devoran Churchyard on 19th November 1915. She was 89.

There were just me and Mary left now and we grew old together.

Mary followed mother and father up to the Churchyard on 30th November 1940, at the age of 77 and I followed them all up the road a year later and was buried in Devoran Churchyard just a week before Christmas 1941 also at the age of 77.

 

Written by Bob Richards for the 1st July centenary 2016 in Devoran Village Hall.

Read more about  names on the Devoran War Memorial and Roll of Honour:

https://devoranwarmemorial.wordpress.com/index-of-devoran-ww1-names/