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Person Details
03 May 1892
St Matthews Nottingham
He was the son of George Edwin and Amelia Thundercliffe of 9 Hedderley Street, Union Road, Nottingham, and the brother of Amelia and Edwin Thundercliffe and Annie Lashbrook (née Thundercliffe) .
He had worked as a fitter and turner before joining the Royal Navy on 27 August 1910.
22 Sep 1914
2872207 - CWGC Website
Stoker 1st Class
HMS Hogue Royal Navy
John joined the Royal Navy on 27 August 1910 on a 12 year engagement. He was rated Stoker 2nd Class and advanced to Stoker 1st Class on 12 October 1911. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: Victory II (27 August 1910-17 September 1910), HMS Renown (18 September 1819-29 October 1910), Victory II (30 October 1910-3 January 1911), HMS Naiad (4 January 1911-2 July 1911), Victory II (3 July 1911-7 September 1911), HMS Enchantress (8 September 1911-27 September 1911), HMS Duke of Edinburgh (28 September 1911-2 March 1914, Stoker Class I 12 October 1911), Victory II (3 March 1911-31 July 1914), HMS Hogue (1 August 1914-22 September 1914). Note on service records, ‘Drowned in North Sea when HMS Hogue was sunk by German submarine.’ His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. Ageing cruisers HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy were torpedoed in the North Sea by U9 on September 22nd 1914. Survivors were picked up by several nearby merchant ships including the Dutch Flora and Titan and the British trawlers JGC and Corainder before the Harwich force of light cruisers and destroyers arrived. Flora returned to Holland with 286 rescued crew who were quickly returned to Britain even though the neutral Dutch should have interned them. In all 837 men were rescued but 1459 died, many of whom were reservists or cadets. Source www.worldwar1.co.uk/cressyhtm
Report from 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 ago. 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 in 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.” [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
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