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Person Details
04 Oct 1884
Worksop Nottinghamshire
Alfred Ernest Collier was the son of David and Mary Collier (née Greasby). His father David was born in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, and his mother Mary in Carlton in Lindrick, Nottinghamshire. They were married at Worksop St Mary (Priory) on 14 June 1863 and had thirteen children of whom only seven were still living in 1911. The surviving children were: Walter Henry b. 1870, John b. 1872, Alice b. abt 1875, Mary Elizabeth b. 1876 and David birth registered 1878 (J/F/M) who were all born in Carlton in Lindrick, Nottinghamshire, and Alfred Ernest b. 4 October 1884 and Maud Mary b. 1889 who were born in Worksop. Another child, Albert Edward (b. 1880), who was recorded on the 1881 Census, died in 1886. Three children who died in infancy were: Louisa birth reg. 1864 (J/F/M) bap. Staveley Derbyshire 20 November 1864 d. 1865 (reg. J/F/M Chesterfield); Alfred Ernest birth reg. 1883 (J/F/M) d. 1883 and Robert William birth reg. 1887 (J/F/M) d. 1887. There may have been another daughter, Mary (b. 1866 J/F/M Chesterfield), who died young. David and Mary appear to have lived in Staveley, Derbyshire, after their marriage as their daughter Louisa was baptised at Stavely parish church in 1865. A second daughter may have been born there in 1866, but by 1871 David and Mary were living on Water Lane, Carlton in Lindrick with their surviving child, Walter. They had moved to 10 Anchor Lane, Worksop by 1881 where they were living with their six children Walter (10), John (8), Alice (6), Mary Elizabeth (4), David (3) and Albert (1). Albert died five years later in 1886 and two sons born in 1883 and 1887 died in infancy. The eldest son, Walter, joined the Royal Navy in April 1885 aged 15. By 1891 the family was living on Prior Well Road, Worksop: David a bricklayer's labourer, his wife and six of their seven children, Walter who was serving in the Royal Navy and presumably home on leave, John a coalminer, Alice a dressmaker, David also a bricklayer's labourer, Alfred (6) and Maud (1). Mary was working as a domestic servant at Cheapside, Worksop, in the home of Alfred James and his family. In 1901 the family home was at 14 Low Town Street. David was still working as a bricklayer's labourer while his wife was a monthly nurse. Only four children were in the household on the night of the census: John a bus driver, David a coal miner, Alfred a coal miner hewer and Maud. Walter was serving in the Royal Navy, Mary was married (Arthur Bland m. July 1895, Bradford St Peter) and living with her husband, a farmer, and children, in Bradford, while Alice was married (Clarke) and living with her husband and two children in Worksop. Alfred joined the Royal Navy later that year but purchased his discharge in 1908. David and Mary had moved to 128 Carlton Road, Worksop, by 1911. David was a pensioned estate labourer; a report of his son Alfred's death in the local paper three years later recorded that David had been employed on the Duke of Newcastle's estate for 'over thirty years'. Only their three sons, John a labourer and fireman, David a general labourer, and Alfred a coal miner fitter, were still living at home. The youngest child, Maud, was an asylum nurse in Kirkburton. David snr. died in Worksop in 1912 aged 71. Mary was still llving at 128 Carlton Road when her son David attested in 1915. She died in 1939. Walter, who had joined the Royal Navy on 14 June 1888, served to 11 June 1910 (CPO) and joined the Royal Fleet Reserve (Devonport) on 12 June 1910. In 1911 he was living in Devonport with his wife and son, Walter Leslie, an apprentice boat builder who then served in the Royal Navy from February 1915 to November 1921. Walter was decribed on the census as an RN Pensioner and register keeper Turf rifle range. However he served ashore with the RN from 2 August 1914 to May 1919 and then again from 8 January 1921 to 19 June 1922. David attested in the 4th Bn Sherwood Foresters on 5 September 1914 but was discharged on 23 February the following year as 'not likely to become an efficient soldier.' However, he attested again on 11 December 1915 and was transferred to the Army Reserve the following day. David was mobilised on 7 September 1917 and served with the Remount Squadron, Army Service Corps. He was discharged on 25 April 1918 'no longer physically fit for war service.' It is likely that his eyesight was deteriorating.
1901 - coal miner hewer. Joined the Royal Navy in June 1901, discharged by purchase in February 1908. 1911 - coal miner fitter.
01 Nov 1914
30
2870871 - CWGC Website
RFR/PO/B/2529
Able Seaman
HMS Good Hope Royal Navy
215083 (RFR/PO/B/2529) HMS Good Hope. Alfred joined the Royal Navy on 12 June 1901 as a Boy 2nd Class at the age of 16. He entered on a 12 year continuous service engagement on 4 October 1902, his eighteenth birthday. Alfred served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Ganges, 12 June 1901-22 April 1902 (Boy 2nd Class, Boy 1st Class 13 March 1902); HMS Minotaur, 23 April 1902-27 October 1902 (Ordinary Seaman, 4 October 1902); HMS Duke of Wellington 28 October 1902-27 November 1902; HMS Bellona, 28 November 1902-16 November 1903; HMS Firequeen, 17 November 1903-29 February 1905; HMS Andromeda, 1 March 1905-16 July 1906 (Able Seaman 2 September 1904); HMS Excellent, 17 July 1906-25 February 1907; HMS Albion, 26 February 1907-22 June 1908; Victory I, 23 January 1908-22 February 1908. Alfred was Discharged Shore by purchase on 20 February 1908 (£6 ref. NP1684/20.2.08) and joined the Royal Fleet Reserve Portsmouth (B2529) 23 February 1908. He was mobilized before the outbreak of war and joined HMS Good Hope on 13 July 1914 (Able Seaman). Alfred was killed when his ship was sunk at the Battle of Coronel on 14 November 1914; there were no survivors. His service record was annotated: ‘NP 2788/14 DD [Discharged Dead] 1 Nov. 1914 Lost when HMS Good Hope was sunk in action off Chilean Coast.' His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
CWGC additional information:- 'Son of Mary Collier, of Worksop, Notts.; and the late David Collier.' '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 gunnery 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.' 'Alfred Ernest Collier', Worksop Guardian, 20 November 1914 'We produce a photograph of Alfred Ernest Collier (30), son of Mrs Collier, Carlton Road, Worksop who was a member of the crew of the “Good Hope” when she foundered. Mrs Collier has two other sons serving at the front, Mr Walter Henry Collier, Chief Gunnery instructor at Plymouth, and Mr David Collier who has enlisted in the Notts and Derby Regiment.' 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. 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
Remembered on

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  • Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. (www.cwgc.org)
    Alfred Ernest Collier - Commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. (www.cwgc.org)