Died 10th October 1917
Tyne Cot Memorial Belgium
Died 28th September 1915
Son of George and Sarah of Horseford Orchard Grovehurst
Remembered on the Loos Memorial
Died 3rd May 1917
Son of john & Eliza of 30 Bayford Rd
Buried at Duisans British Cemetery France
Died 15th October 1914
Husband of Esther of 79 Burley Rd, son of John & Jane of Murston
H.M.S. Hawke was an old armoured cruiser operating as part of the 10th Cruiser Squadron assigned to the Northern Patrol. She had originally been launched at Chatham in 1891 and was one of the oldest ships still in service. H.M.S. Hawke was being used as a training ship and had many young cadets on board. She had been recommissioned in February 1913 with a nucleus crew and had come up to her full complement on the outbreak of war in August 1914. During September 1914, she had visited Lerwick.
On the fateful day she was in the northern waters of the North Sea with a similar ship, H.M.S. Theseus when they were attacked. They were operating on October 15th 1914 without a destroyer screen. Unfortunately they were slower than the submarine U9, which was tracking them. Their position was some 60 miles off Aberdeen. At the time, H.M.S. Hawke had just turned to intercept a neutral Norwegian collier.
The U-Boat Commander was Lieutenant Weddigen. He missed the Theseus with his first torpedo but unfortunately hit H.M.S. Hawke amidships near a magazine. The detonation was followed by a second terrific explosion, in which a large number of the crew were killed. The ship sank within 5 minutes and was only able to launch one ship's boat. Five hundred and twenty five perished, only the 49 men in the long boat were saved. They were picked up 3 hours later by a Norwegian steamer. H.M.S. Theseus was under strict Admiralty orders not to attempt to pick up survivors, as only several weeks earlier there had been a disaster.
The torpedoing of HMS Hawke by U9 on 14th October 1914.
"I gazed at the little picture of the upper ocean. The distant three cruisers were some wide space apart, but were converging, and were steering for a point and that point was apparently in the vicinity where we lay. No wonder the Commander thought they must want a torpedo."
"We imagined they were bent on joining forces and steaming together, but it presently became apparent that they intended to exchange signals, drop a cutter in the water, and deliver mail or orders, and then go their respective ways. We steered at full speed for the point toward which they were heading, our periscope showing only for a few moments at a time. The Cruisers, big armoured fellows, came zig-zagging. We picked one, which afterward turned out to be HMS Hawke, and manoeuvred for a shot. It was tricky work. She nearly ran us down. We had to dive deeper and let her pass over us, else we would have been rammed. Now we were in a position for a stern shot at an angle, but she turned. It was a fatal turning, for it gave us an opportunity to swing around for a clear bow shot at 400 metres."
" 'Second bow tube fire!'. Weddingen snapped out the order, and soon there sounded the tell-tale detonation."
"We dived beyond periscope depth, ran underwater for a short distance, and then came up for a look through our tall, mast-like eye. The Hawke had already disappeared. She sank in eight minutes. Only one boat was in the water. It was the mail dory that had been lowered before the torpedo explosion. At the rudder the boat officer hoisted a distress signal on the boat's staff. That little dory with half a dozen men aboard was all that was left of the proud warship."
Remembered on The Chatham Naval Memorial