Monday, October 29, 2018

Lest We Forget the Sailors

Lest we forget the Sailors.

Whilst most of the battles of World War One were fought in France and Belgium there were also battles happening at sea.  Over forty thousand Royal Navy men lost their lives and their were 5000 merchant ships sunk with a comparable loss of life.

The second RN ship to be sunk was HMS Pathfinder which was the first ship to be sunk by a U-boat using a torpedo.  This happened just off the Firth of Forth on 5th September 1914 with the loss of most of the over 250 crew.

Among the crew  was our cousin Leading Stoker Joseph Chance, who although a regular seaman having joined the Navy in 1908 he had only been on board Pathfinder for four months. 

The torpedo fired from the U-boat hit a magazine and the subsequent explosion caused the ship to sink very rapidly which accounted for the great loss of life. This was in the early stages of the war and the Navy had yet to find a strategy for dealing with submarine attacks.Image result for chatham memorial

Joseph was just twenty-four years old and had married just the year before.  He is recorded among the 8,500 names listed on the Royal Navy Memorial at Chatham. The Merchant Seamen memorial is at Tower Hill in London. 

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