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Person Details
28 May 1896
Robert was the son of Robert and Sarah Ann Craven. His father was born in Achonry, Sligo, Ireland, in about 1859/60 and his mother in Buckingham in about 1863. Robert joined the Scots Guards in 1880 (regimental number 5154) when he was 21 years old, but later became a police constable in Nottingham, rising to the rank of sergeant. Robert and Sarah had eight children of whom seven were still living at the time of the 1911 Census; seven children were named on the census between 1891 and 1911: William (b. abt. 1888), Thomas (b. abt. 1890), Leonard (b. 1891), Robert (b. 1896), Sarah Jane (b. 1898), Maud May (b. 1901) and George Edward (b. 1904). In 1891 Robert (32), a police constable, and Sarah (28) were living at 25 Radnor Street, Nottingham, with their two sons, William (3) and Thomas (1). Also in the household was a boarder, Henry Shaw (35), who was also a police constable. By 1901 Robert, now a police sergeant, and his wife were living at 10 Wicken's Terrace, St Ann's, with their five children, William (14) a junior clerk, Thomas (12), Leonard (10), Robert (5) and Sarah (3). They were to have two more children, Maud and George. Robert's father died some 9 years later at the age of 50 (death registered 1910, J/F/M Nottingham). His widow was awarded a gratuity by the Police: Nottingham Evening Post, 2 June 1910, Watch Committee’s annual report, ‘Gratuities, the report stated, had been granted under the Act in cases where the officers were not entitled to a pension and to widows and children of deceased officers as follows … Police Sergeant Robert Craven (deceased), £190 13s. 4d.' (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk) In 1911 Robert's widow, Sarah, now head of household, was living at 185 Pym Street, Meadows, Nottingham. Her seven children were still living at home: William (23) a warehouseman (lace trade), Thomas (21) a bottler in a brewery, Leonard (19) a GPO postman, Robert (14) a GPO telegraph messenger and Sarah (12), Maud (9) and George (6) who were still at school. Robert's mother was still living at the same address, 185 Pym Street, when he was killed in 1917. Sarah Ann Craven died at the age of 69 in 1932 (death registered March, Basford); she was buried on 24 February 1932.
In 1911 he was a GPO telegraph messenger in the same occupation when he joined the Royal Navy in September 1912.
23 Mar 1917
3052468 - CWGC Website
J/20345 (Ch)
Royal Navy
HMS Laforey, Laforey Class destroyer, built 1913. Robert joined the Royal Navy on 3 September 1912 when he was 16 years old; his 12 year engagement began on 22 May 1914, his 18th birthday. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Impregnable, 3 September 1912-23 May 1913 (Boy 2nd Class); HMS Ganges, 24 May 1913-23 January 1914 (Signal Boy, 25 May 1913); Pembroke I, 24 January 1914-5 February 1914; HMS Russell, 6 February 1914-25 June 1914 (Ord. Signaller 23 May 1914); Pembroke I, 26 June 1914-24 July 1914; HMS Russell, 25 July 1914-7 April 1915 (Signaller, 21 January 1915); HMS Venerable, 8 Aril 1915-15 May 1915; Pembroke I, 16 May-7 July 1915; HMS Menelaus, 8 July 1915-30 June 1916; Pembroke I, 1 July 1916-27 July 1916; HMS Tyne, 28 July 1916-28 November 1916; Pembroke I, 29 November 1916-19 January 1917; HMS Dido (Laforey), 20 January 1917-7 March 1917; Attentive II (Laforey), 8 March 1917-23 March 1917. His RN record was annotated, ‘NP.2396/17 DD 23 March 1917, lost in HMS Laforey.’ Robert was killed when HMS Laforey was sunk by a mine 11 miles south-west of Shoreham. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial. On 23 March 1917, HMS Laforey and sister ship, Laertes were escorting several cargo ships to France, using the Folkstone to Boulogne route. The merchant ships arrived safely, but at around 16:30, after the destroyers had begun the return trip, a large explosion occurred amidships on Laforey. The ship immediately broke in half, and the stern sank rapidly. The bow remained afloat for a short time before sinking, during which Laertes struggled to rescue survivors. Laforey had been sunk by a British-laid mine. Only 18 of the 77 aboard survived. (Wikipedia). NOTE: other sources (wrecksite.eu, uboat.net) give the information that the mine was laid by a German submarine, UB12 (Ernst Steindorff).
Obituary published in the Nottingham Evening Post dated 23rd March 1918 : - “CRAVEN. – In loving memory of Signaller R. Craven, who was lost at sea, March 23rd, 1917, beloved fourth son of the late Sergt. R. Craven, of the Nottingham City Police Force. Duty nobly done. – From loving mother, sisters, and brothers.” Above obituary courtesy of Jim Grundy and his facebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918
Remembered on