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  • Photograph published on 26th September 1914 in the Nottingham Evening post and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Person Details
17 May 1892
His service record gives his first name as 'Henry' but he is listed on the CWGC record as 'Harry'. He was the son of Albert and Eliza Frances (also Frances Eliza) Bee (nee Bratby). The 1911 census recorded that his parents had been married for 21 years and had had eight children born alive all of whom were still living. At the time of the census seven of their children were in the family home at 85 Midland Crescent, Meadows: Albert (21), William (17), Arthur (15), Edith (11), Leonard/Herbert Leonard (9), Frank (7) and Emma (4). Harry was serving in the Royal Navy by 1911. He was not listed in the family home on the census return for 1901 but a 'Henry Bell' (age 8) was in the household of his grandfather, Francis Bratby, in St Ann's (Nottingham) on the night of the census. The search for Harry on the 1901 census also found that in 1891 the Bell's eldest child, Albert, at that time 1 year old, had been in his grandfather's household on Cremorne Street, Meadows, along with his mother, Eliza Bratby. At the time of their son's death in 1914 his parents were still living at 85 Midland Crescent, Meadows, Nottingham. The CWGC (then the Imperial War Graves Commission) record, which would have been compiled some years later, gave Harry's parent's address as 7 Clyde Villas, St Augustine Street, Nottingham. Harry's brother, William, who attested on 5 September 1914 at the age of 20 (b. 1894) and served in the Royal Engineers (48835) until 3 June 1918, gave his next of kin as: Albert Bee (father), Frances E Bee (mother), E Albert Bee (brother) and E Harry Bee (brother). Two addresses are given for the four next of kin; 85 Midland Crescent [Meadows] and 7 Clyde Villas, St Augustine Street, Wilford Road, Nottingham.
He was a telephone repairer before he joined the Royal Navy on 25 July 1909.
22 Sep 1914
3048462 - CWGC Website
J/5226 (Ch)
Leading Seaman
HMS Aboukir Royal Navy
He joined the Navy at HMS Ganges as a Boy 2nd Class on 25 July 1909 when he was 17 years old and engaged for 12 years at the age of 18 on 17 May 1910. Ships and shore establishments: Ganges II (25 July 1909-5 May 1910, Boy 2nd Class), HMS Bulwark (6 May-19 May, Ordinary Seaman 17 May 1910), HMS Agamemnon (20 May 1910-26 October 1911, Able Seaman 20 May 1911), Pembroke (27 October 1911-10 November 1911), HMS Aglacon (11 November 1911-15 April 1912), Pembroke I (16 April 1912-17 April 1912), Yarmouth (18 April 1912-13 April 1914), HMS Eclipse (14 April 1914-21 May 1914), Pembroke I (22 May 1914-30 July 1914, Leading Seaman 29 May 1914), HMS Aboukir (31 July 1914-14 September 1914). On the 1911 (Military) Census he was serving as an ordinary seaman on the battleship HMS Agamemnon in HM Dockyard Chatham, Kent. His service record is annotated, 'Drowned in North Sea when HMS Aboukir was sunk by German submarine.’ His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. The action of 22 September 1914 was a naval engagement that took place during the First World War, in which three obsolete British Royal Navy cruisers, manned mainly by reservists and sometimes referred to as the 'livebait squadron', were sunk by the German submarine U9 while on patrol. Approximately 1,450 sailors, 527 of them aboard Aboukir, were killed, and there was a public outcry at the losses. This incident eroded confidence in the British government and damaged the reputation of the Royal Navy at a time when many countries were still considering which side in the war they might support. (Wikipedia).
Nottingham Post report 25 September 1914 of the loss of HMS Aboukir including photographs of the Nottingham men who were lost: 'Leading Seaman H Bee of (-) Midland Crescent, Meadows.' Probate (father): BEE Albert of 7 Clyde-villas St Augustine-street Wilford-road Nottingham died 6 March 1938 at the City Hospital Nottingham Probate Nottingham 14 March to Eliza Frances Bee widow. Effects £173 11s 3d. Probate (mother): BEE Eliza Frances of 7 Clyde-villas St Augustine-street Wilford-road Nottingham widow died 29 October 1939 Probate Nottingham 4 December to Leonard Bee tool maker. Effects £225 18s. Death index: Albert Bee b. abt 1890 death registered Nottm June 1931 age 41 Death index: William Bee b. abt. 1894, death registered Nottingham March 1932 age 38 Death index: (Herbert) Leonard Bee b. 28 Dec 1902, death registered Nottingham Sep 1976 age 73 Death index: Arthur Bee b. 5 February 1896 death registered Nottingham Dec 1976 age 80 Information about three Nottingham men involved in the sinking of the Hogue, Aboukir and Cressy on 22nd September 1914 was published the following day. Sadly, two of the three, Henry Bee [1] and Ernest Thundercliffe [2] lost their lives in the sinking of the Aboukir and Hogue respectively. The article was published in the Nottingham Evening Post on 23rd September 1914, “NOTTINGHAM MEN ON LOST CRUISER. “A LOCAL FIREMAN SAVED. “HAPPY TIDINGS FROM HARWICH. “Three Nottingham men are known to have been concerned in yesterday’s [22nd September 1914] naval reverse, and news has since been received, happily, that one of them, namely, Charles E. Champion, [3] a member of the City Fire Brigade, is safe. “The other is a first-class stoker named Ernest Thundercliffe, son of Mr. George Thundercliffe, the secretary of the Nottingham Trades Council. Young Thundercliffe, who is only 28, joined three years ago. He was first on the training ship Victory, and then after twelve months on the Duke of Edinburgh was transferred the Hogue. Before going to sea he was employed by Messrs. Newton and Pycroft, machine builders. He has always had a liking for the sea. In a letter to his father soon after war broke out he said: “We are all confident of victory,” and in another he said: “We are all anxiously waiting for the cowards to come out and fight.” Last autumn he was awarded the certificate of the Royal Humane Society for rescuing a boy named Dawson from drowning in the Nottingham Canal. “SAFE, LETTER FOLLOWS.” “Fireman Champion was an able seaman on the naval reserve, and when called, among the first batch, was allotted to H.M.S. Cressy. “Only day or two ago his wife had letter from him, in which he said that they had just finished getting 800 tons of coal on board, and were off again into the North Sea. “In a characteristic British touch he added that whatever happened he should “try to do his duty.” “There were anxious hours for Mrs. Champion when the news of the disaster came through, for she, of course, knew that her husband was board the Cressy. But she bore the terrible experience bravely, buoyed by the hope that if all was well she would have a message at the earliest opportunity. “To her great joy the message came even earlier than she could have dared to expect, for shortly after eleven o'clock last night [22nd September 1914] she received the glad news in the following telegram: “Safe, letter follows.— CHARLIE. “The message was handed in at Harwich, whither so many of the rescued were conveyed, at 9.45 p.m., and the announcement of Champion’s safety was very gladly received by his colleagues. “Champion served on board the H.M.S. Theseus in the Benin Expedition of 1897, for which received a medal, and joined the Nottingham police force some years ego. Six or seven years later he was transferred to the Fire Brigade. He and his wife have two young children. “So far as can be ascertained there is no reason to believe that any of the other members the Fire Brigade who have rejoined the fleet were concerned in the North Sea disaster, but it is an interesting fact that Detective-officer Breaks, of the City Police force, formerly served the Aboukir. “Leading Seaman Henry Bee, another Nottingham man, was on board the Aboukir. His parents and brothers and sisters live at 15, Midland-crescent, the Meadows. He is 22 years old, and joined the navy four years ago. Nothing has so far been been heard of him since the catastrophe.” [4] [1] Leading Seaman Henry (Harry) Bee, H.M.S. Aboukir, is commemorated on the Chatham Memorial. He was the 22 year-old son of Albert and Eliza Frances Bee, of 7 Clyde Villas, St. Augustines Street, Nottingham. [2] Stoker 1st Class Ernest Thundercliffe, H.M.S. Hogue, is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He was the 22 year-old son of George E. and Amelia Thundercliffe, of 9 Hedderley Street, Union Road, Nottingham. [3] Able Seaman Charles Edward Champion survived the sinking of H.M.S. Cressy and the war, finally being demobilised on 18th April 1919. Above article and information is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Remembered on


  • Photograph published on 26th September 1914 in the Nottingham Evening post and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
    Harry Bee - Photograph published on 26th September 1914 in the Nottingham Evening post and is courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918