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Person Details
22 Nov 1894
He was the son of James and Annie Mountney of 22 Co-operative Street, Stanton Hill, Mansfield, Nottinghamshire (CWGC). His parents were living at this address when William was killed in 1917.
09 Jul 1917
3053299 - CWGC Website
CH/143(S) (Ch)
Royal Marine Light Infantry
William enlisted in the Royal Marine Light Infantry (Chatham Division) on 7 September 1914 1914 (short service). He served with the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force from 6 February 1915 but was invalided to the UK on 9 November 1915 (dysentry). At the time of his death he was serving in HMS Vanguard. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial (MR1). Mountney was aboard HMS Vanguard a St. Vincent-class ‘Dreadnought’ type battleship built by Vickers at Barrow-in-Furness. She was designed and built during the Anglo-German naval race and spent her life in the British Home Fleet. HMS Vanguard saw action at Jutland and returned undamaged from the battle. On the afternoon of 9 July 1917, the ship was destroyed by a spontaneous cordite explosion at Scapa Flow whilst her crew was practising the drill to abandon ship. It is likely that an undetected adjacent coal bunker fire caused the explosive to become dangerously over-heated. Only two of Vanguard’s crew of around 900 survived the disaster.
Mountney was on of 'Kitchener's Marines' who were transferred from the Sherwood Foresters to the RMLI. Des Turner notes '600 RMLI transfers came from 2 regiments - 200 from the King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry (KOYLI) and 400 from the Sherwood Foresters. They were predominantly ex-miners and labourers, fit men wanted for their ability to dig trenches and tunnels. The 200 KOYLI recruits were transferred to Plymouth Division RMLI and were given service numbers PLY/1(S) to PLY200(S). This was also the case for the Sherwood Foresters 200 who were dispatched to Portsmouth where already 30 men were recruited and so they became PO/31(S) to PO/230(S). 200 remaining Foresters went to Chatham and were numbered CH/1 to CH/200(S).' HMS Vanguard lies 111 feet down off the north shore of the Isle of Flotta and is a war grave; divers regularly replace a White Ensign on the wreck. A wreath was laid over the wreck and commemorations held in Lyness and in St Magnus’ Cathedral, Kirwall, on the centenary of the loss of the ship.
Remembered on