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Person Details
Worksop, Notts
Alfred Ernest Collier was born in Worksop in 1895, the son of David and Mary Coillier. He was the 5th of 6 children. His father, David, was a bricklayer by trade. In 1901 the family home was 14 Low Town Street and 10 years later was 128, Carlton Rd, Worksop, David Collier died in Worksop in 1912 age 71
01 Nov 1914
2870871 - CWGC Website
Able Seaman
HMS Good Hope Royal Navy
Alfred Ernest Collier Worksop Guardian 20 Nov 1914 We produce a photograph of Alfred Ernest Collier (30), son of Mrs Collier, Carlton Road, Worksop who was a mem-ber of the crew of the “Good Hope” when she foundered. Mrs Collier has two other sons serving at the front, Mr Wal-ter Henry Collier, Chief Gunnery instructor at Plymouth, and Mr David Collier who has enlisted in the Notts and Derby Regiment. Alfred Ernest Collier & F Bedlam Worksop Guardian 13 November 1914 The news on Saturday of the sinking of the cruiser “Good Hope”, in an action off the Chilean coast was received in Worksop with especial regret, for two members of the crew are well known Worksop sailors. They are Alfred Ernest Collier (30), youngest son of Mrs Collier, of Carlton Road and F Bedlam, youngest son of Mr R Bedlam, of Newcastle Avenue. Sincere sympathy will be extended to the relatives concerned if, as is feared. Our sailors have gone down with the cruiser, which the Admiralty state, took fire but continued to fight until a serious explosion occurred and she foundered. Collier’s mother is a widow, her late husband having worked for the Duke of Newcastle for over 30 years. She has two more sons serving their King and country – Walter Henry Collier, who for 28 years has been chief gun-nery instructor at Plymouth, and David Collier, who recently enlisted in the Notts & Derby regiment. “Of course”, she said to one of our reporters the other day, “my son has a perfect right to die for so noble and just cause as anyone else’s son but, at the same time, as a mother’s feelings are a mother’s feelings. I am sorry to loose him; he was a splendid fellow”. The loss, if he is dead, of Mr Bedlam’s son, is also very painful, for another of his sons died only a fortnight ago. On enquiry yesterday, we were informed that no statement had been received from the Admiralty by the relatives concerned as to whether the sailors have been lost or otherwise. The crew of HMS Good Hope also included John Thomas Skinner (28), son of Mr T Skinner, President of the Shireoaks Miners Lodge who was in the Reserve and joined the ship in July. He was unmarried. Also on the same ship were Samuel Bond and Edward Ghent, of Stanfree, both being married men with children. Curiously enough, Bond had served on the Aboukir and the Hawke, both of which have already been sunk in action. Prior to joining his ship, Ghent worked at the Bulcroft colliery. ............................................................................................................... ACTION IN THE PACIFIC The global nature of the war was evidenced by the entry of Japan on the allied side in August 1914. The German base for its East Asiatic Squadron at Tsingtau on the Chinese mainland thus became untenable. The squadron, under the command of Vice–admiral Maximilian Graf von Spee with his flag in the Scharnhorst, headed for home via the Cape Horn route. Its strength was the quality of its ship, guns and well trained crews but its weakness was the need to obtain coal to fire the boilers. The British Admiralty sent an under strength and undertrained scratch force to intercept the German squadron under the command of the experienced and well respected Rear-admiral Sir Christopher Craddock with his flag on HMS Good Hope an aging (built in the pre Dreadnaught age in 1901) Drake Class armoured cruiser. Craddock, who had received many and often misleading signals from the Admiralty, engaged the German squadron off Cape Coronel, Chile on 1 November 1914 probably hoping to inflict sufficient damage to slow the Germans pending the arrival of a stronger British presence led by two modern big gun Dreadnaughts. It was a hopeless cause and the Good Hope went down with 900 hands as a result of the German gunfire causing her to blow up. Amongst those lost in this terrible manner were three Worksop men. Arthur Beldham, Alfred Ernest Collier and Joseph Keight. The First Sea Lord, one Winston Churchill, nevertheless stated that ‘I cannot accept for the Admiralty any share in the responsibility...’ The precursor to these events was the Royal Naval Review of 20 July 1914 at Spithead off the Isle of Wight comprising over 100 vessels including 56 battleships. Worksop naval reservists were called back to the fleet on 13 July and remained there after the review as the First Sea Lord, anticipating the outbreak of the war, decreed that the fleet should not demobilise. HMS Good Hope had been commissioned for the mobilisation with 90% of its officers and crew being taken from the reserve giving them no chance to undertake effective training before entering into action. Able Seaman 3.5870 ARTHUR BELDHAM was the 22 year old son of William and Eliza Beldham of 7 Brook Terrance off Newcastle Avenue who had brought up a family of 8 children. Arthur had signed up as a sailor before the war and was specially trained as a diver. This was a tragic time for Mr. & Mrs. Beldham as they had buried their son Robert, aged 24, only two weeks before hearing the news of Arthur’s death. Able Seaman 215083 ALFRED ERNEST COLLIER was the 30 year old son of David and Mary Collier. He had been brought up at 14, Lowtown Street with three brothers and two sisters. His father was a bricklayer’s labourer and Alfred had worked as a coal hewer at the pit before joining the Royal Navy. Mrs. Collier had lost her husband in January 1912 and was living with her daughter Mrs. Alice Clarke at 128, Carlton Road when she learnt of Alfred’s death. A report states that another son held a post as a chief gunnery instructor at Plymouth and that a further son David was serving with the Sherwood Foresters but he was soon to be discharged because of his bad eyesight. Mary Collier lived on until 1939. Able Seaman 198973 JOSEPH KEIGHT at age 37 was of somewhat advanced years to serve as an Able Seaman. He had been born in Birmingham in 1877 and then saw service in the Royal Navy including serving in the Mediterranean Sea aboard HMS Ramillies. After discharge from the navy and having married in 1907, he and his wife Winifred set up home in Collinghurst Manchester where Winifred gave birth to a son George Frederick in May 1909. Joseph worked as an assistant postman. Unfortunately Winifred died in the Spring of 1912 and Joseph and young George moved to Worksop to live with his sister Mrs A. Leyland at 6a, Cheapside with Joseph continuing to work for the Post Office until his recall. It is likely that George was brought up in the Leyland household after the death of his father Obviously none of the bodies of the dead were recovered for burial but the crew of HMS Good Hope are remembered by being named on the Chatham Naval Memorial. Sources. ‘CORONEL AND THE FALKLANDS’. Geoffrey Bennett Birlinn 2000. Worksop Guardian. UK Census Returns. Service Records. Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Les Beldham Robert Ilett November 2014
CWG additional information:- Son of Mary Collier, of Worksop, Notts.; and the late David Collier. Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial
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