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C/SSX 28297 Able Seaman

Matthew English

H.M.S Avenger

Royal Navy

15/11/1942, aged 22.

Memorial Ref: 54, 1.


Matthew English, Able Seaman  RN (C/SSX 28297) British, age 22, 

Son of Joseph and Grace English, husband of  Olive English, of
Ferryhill, Co. Durham, England.
Matthew served on HMS Avenger (D 14) Ruler Class Escort Carrier (Cdr.
Anthony Paul Colthurst, DSO, RN) during the PQ and QP convoys to and
from Russia.
After taking part in the Operation Torch landings of North Africa in
November 1942, HMS Avenger departed Gibraltar with convoy MKF 1 on 14th
November 1942, heading home to the Clyde in the UK.
At 0305 on Sunday 15th November 1942, she was torpedoed by the German
U-boat, U-155 and hit on the port side amidships.
This in turn ignited her bomb room, blowing out the centre section of
the ship.
Her bow and stern sections rose in the air and sunk within 2 minutes in
position 36°15'N,07°45'W, leaving only 12 survivors

Picture courtesy of Arnie Brunton, first cousin once removed of Matthew.




C/JX 268411 Able Seaman
Sydney Dennis Harris
S.S. Hartlebury (London)
07/07/1942, aged 36.
Son of William and Clara Harris of Deal, Kent; husband of Hilda Grace Harris of Warwick.

 "At 1835, the Hartlebury, dispersed from Convoy PQ-17, was hit by two of three torpedoes fired by U-355 and two minutes later by another torpedo. At 1845, a coup de grāce hit the vessel, which sank over the bow within 10 minutes 17 miles 180° from Britwin Lighthouse, Novaya Zemlya. The first torpedoes had killed six mess attendants and the master had to be freed underneath a piece of debris. The explosions only left one lifeboat intact, which was lowered by panicking crewmen and flipped over, throwing the occupants into the icy water. Others jumped into the water and tried to reach the rafts. A total of 29 crewmembers, seven gunners and two naval signalmen were lost. The master and 12 survivors landed at Pomorski Bay, Novaya Zemlya. Seven survivors made it to the American SS Winston-Salem aground at North Gusini Shoal, Novaya Zemlya, were rescued by a Soviet survey ship and transferred to the British SS Empire Tide at anchor in Pomorski Bay. All survivors were later transferred to HMS La Malouine and landed at Archangel on 25 July. The master, George Willbourne Stephenson, survived the sinking but died of a head trauma within a year."


 Picture courtesy of Darin Mazzei




CH/19588 Private

John Thomas Brideoake
Royal Marine Light Infantry
Killed in Action 9th July 1917,
at sea, (H.M.S. Vanguard)

 aged 20.

Panel 25.


Son of Robert H. and Rhoda Brideoake, of 21, Clive St., Burnley, Lancs.




CH/X 114217 Corporal

William John Daw

Royal Marines

H.M.S. Copra. 650 L.C.M. Flotilla

21st July 1944, aged 32.

Panel 79, 1.


Son of Jubilee John and Alice Clifford Daw; husband of Constance Daw. of Tonbridge, Kent.




K/23193 Stoker 1st Class

Albert Thomas Lewis

H.M.S. "Vanguard."

Royal Navy

9th July 1917, aged 21.

Panel 24.


Son of Thomas and Martha Lewis, of Higher Barton, Trent, Sherborne.




C/JX 205621 Coder

Frank William Vincent

H.M.S. Electra

Royal Navy

27th February 1942.

Panel 60. 1.


Son of Albert Edward and Elsie Lucy Vincent, of Barkingside, Essex.


Frank was killed in the Battle of the Java Seas on 27 February 1942. His sister Phyllis Robins mourned her cherished Brother until she died in April 2014, aged 99.


Remembered by his niece Valerie Lorne Hibberd.




341363 Chief Armourer

Thomas Robert Waters

H.M.S. "Hogue", Royal Navy

22/09/1914, aged 39.

Panel 6.

Son of Edward and Mary Waters, of Sheerness, Kent;
husband of Lily Cora Waters of 239,Queen's,
Rd, Peckham, London.

Picture courtesy of Gail Waters, wife of the great grandson of Thomas Waters


Location Information

From the Brompton Barracks Chatham - At the traffic signals turn right onto Globe Lane - A231 (signposted 'Historic Dockyards'). Keep in left hand lane then turn left onto Dock Road (signposted Gillingham). At roundabout take the 2nd exit onto Wood Street - A231 (signposted Gillingham). Turn Right on Mansion Row (The memorial is signposted from here), then 1st left on Sally Port Gardens and finally 1st right on King's Bastion. Follow road through the housing estate, the car park to the memorial is at the end of this road.

The Memorial overlooks the town of Chatham and is approached by a steep path from the Town Hall Gardens.

A copy of the Memorial Register is kept in the Naval Chapel of Brompton Garrison Church and may be consulted there. The keys to the church are held at the Gate House, which is always manned.

Copies of the Memorial Register may also be consulted at:
Chatham Library - Tel: 01634 337799
Medway Archives & Local Studies Centre - Tel: 01634 332714

Visiting Information

A Visitor Information Panel has recently been installed at the Chatham Naval Memorial to provide information about the war casualties commemorated here. This is one of many panels being erected to help raise awareness of First and Second World War casualties in the UK (Oct 2013).

As a result of constant vandalism at the Memorial, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission has had to arrange for it to be regularly patrolled and public access limited to the period from 08.30 to 17.00. Should for any reason the Memorial be closed during the stated hours, please telephone the Guard Room at Brompton Barracks on 01634 822442 who will arrange for the gates to be opened. Any inconvenience to visitors is greatly regretted.

Historical Information

After the First World War, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided.

An Admiralty committee recommended that the three manning ports in Great Britain - Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth - should each have an identical memorial of unmistakable naval form, an obelisk, which would serve as a leading mark for shipping. The memorials were designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who had already carried out a considerable amount of work for the Commission, with sculpture by Henry Poole. The Chatham Naval Memorial was unveiled by the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) on 26 April 1924.

After the Second World War it was decided that the naval memorials should be extended to provide space for commemorating the naval dead without graves of that war, but since the three sites were dissimilar, a different architectural treatment was required for each. The architect for the Second World War extension at Chatham was Sir Edward Maufe (who also designed the Air Forces memorial at Runnymede) and the additional sculpture was by Charles Wheeler and William McMillan. The Extension was unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh on 15 October 1952.

Chatham Naval Memorial commemorates 8,517 sailors of the First World War and 10,098 of the Second World War.

Victoria Cross (World War One) Recipients


Rank: Skipper, Date of Death: 15/08/1917, Age: 41, Regiment/Service: Royal Naval Reserve H.M. Smack "Nelson." , Awards: V C, D S C, Panel Reference 25., Father of T. W. Crisp, of 41, Stanford St., Lowestoft, Suffolk. The tenor bell at St. Margaret's Church, Lowestoft, is named the "VC Bell" and dedicated to him.

Citation: An extract from the London Gazette, No. 30363, dated 30th Oct., 1917, records the posthumous award of V.C. "For service in action with enemy submarines."


Rank: Major, Date of Death: 31/05/1916, Age: 43, Regiment/Service: Royal Marine Light Infantry H.M.S. "Lion." , Awards: V C, Panel Reference 18., Native of Sydenham, Surrey.

Citation: An extract from "The London Gazette," No. 29751, dated 15th Sept., 1916, records the following:- "Whilst mortally wounded and almost the only survivor after the explosion of an enemy shell in "Q" gunhouse, with great presence of mind and devotion to duty ordered the magazine to be flooded, thereby saving the ship. He died shortly afterwards."

Victoria Cross (World War Two) Recipient


Rank: Captain, Date of Death: 05/11/1940, Age: 49, Regiment/Service: Royal Navy H.M.S. Jervis Bay, Awards: V C, Panel Reference 34, 1., Son of Frederick Fogarty Fegen and Catherine Mary Fegen, of Knightsbridge, London.

 Citation: The citation in the London Gazette for 26th November, 1940, reads: "For valour in challenging hopeless odds and giving his life to save the many ships it was his duty to protect. On the 5th of November, 1940, in heavy seas, Captain Fegen, in His Majesty's Armed Merchant Cruiser Jervis Bay, was escorting thirty-eight Merchantmen. Sighting a powerful German warship he at once drew clear of the Convoy, made straight for the enemy and brought his ship between the raider and her prey, so that they might scatter and escape. Crippled, in flames, unable to reply, for nearly an hour the Jervis Bay held the German's fire. So she went down; but of the Merchantmen all but four or five were saved."


Tyneside Z/5506 Telegraphist

 Arthur Frederick Churchhouse

H. M. S. "Stephen Furness"

13/12/1917, aged 19.

Panel 27.


Son of Mr. and Mrs. Albert E. Churchhouse, of 38, Walnut St., Leicester.


His brother Thomas William James Churchhouse was also killed and is commemorated on the Menin Gate Memorial




4/2786Leading Seaman

Frederick Wilhelm Bernard Gill
Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve HMS Queen Mary
Killed in Action 31st May 1916 (Jutland), aged 25.

Panel 20.


Son of Frederick Massey Gill and Annie Beatrice Gill, of 131, Church St., Lower Edmonton, London. Educated at Enfield Grammar School. For 7 years with the North British and Mercantile Insurance Coy., London. Present at Battle of Heligoland Bight in Aug. 1914.




J/9710 Able Seaman

Frederick Charles Hedges Volze

H. M. S/M "E30"

Royal Navy

22/11/1916, aged 22.

Panel 16.


Son of John and Ellen Volze, of Croydon, Surrey.


He was lost with submarine E30 on 22/11/1916.




1428141 Gunner

Richard Henry Waters

5/3 Maritime Regt.

Royal Artillery

9th August 1941.

Panel 51, 1.




223629 Able Seaman

Thomas Percy Wills

H.M.S. "Black Prince."

Royal Navy

31st May 1916, aged 30.

Panel 16.


Son of J. H. and E. A. Wills, of 95, Marlborough St., Burnley, Lancs.







C/JX 127163 Able Seaman

Phillip Robert Bruce Joy

H.M.S. Willamette Valley

29/06/1940, aged 30.

Husband of Mrs. M. E. Joy, of Brixton, London.

Memorial Ref: 35, 3.




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