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Person Details
02 Oct 1892
Dublin, Ireland
William was the son of Herbert and Mary Elizabeth Bates. His mother was listed as head of household on the 1911 census; although she described herself as married her husband was not in the household on the night of the census. Mary recorded on the census that she had been married for 22 years and had had 14 children born alive of whom only 11 were still living at the time of the census. Ten children were named on the two census of 1901 and 1911: Mary Ellen, William, Herbert, Edith Emily (b. 1896), Albert, Benjamin, Walter, Harold, Nora and Clarice. Both William and Herbert were born in Dublin, Ireland, while their siblings were born in Beeston. It is possible that a six month old son Walter who was included in the 1901 census later died as a son also named Walter on the 1911 census was only 8 years old (birth registrations/death registration not yet identified). In 1901 Herbert (32, b. Nottingham), a fitter in the cycle trade, and Mary (31, b. Stapleford) were living at 58 Middle Street, Beeston. Seven children were in the home on the night of the census: Mary Ellen (12), William (9), Herbert (7), Edith Emily (5), Albert (4), Benjamin (1) and Walter (6 months). Ten years later the family was living at 57 Mona Street, Beeston. Mary was head of household and ten children were in the home on the night of the census: Mary Ellen (21, cotton winder lacemaking), William (19, cotton threader), Herbert (15, joiner timber merchant), Edith Emily (15, cotton winder lacemaking), Albert (14, draper's shop errand boy), Benjamin (10), Walter (8), Harold (7), Nora (5) and Clarice (1). Also in the household was Mary's six month old grandson, Joseph Everett Bates (b. Beeston). Mary was still living at 57 Mona Street, Beeston, when William was killed four years later in 1915.
In 1911 he was a cotton threader.
30 Dec 1915
3033346 - CWGC Website
HMS Natal Royal Marine Artillery
During the afternoon of the 30th December 1915 HMS Natal, an armoured cruiser, blew up at anchor in the Cromarty Firth as the result of an internal explosion. There was a great loss of life; over 400 crew and civilian visitors, including women and children, died in the explosion. It is believed that nursing officers from the shore base and families had been invited onboard for a film show. Some 400 of the ship's company survived. 'The cause of the sinking was unrecognised for some time, submarine attack, mining and sabotage being all considered possible. Evidence from examination by divers led to the conclusion that the vessel was sunk by the accidental explosion of 'questionable' cordite. An internal explosion in or near the after 9.2in shell room broke the ship's back over a length of 18ft (5.5m) and tore a hole 24ft (7.3m) across in the hull. Damage was more pronounced on the port side, upon which the ship settled at an angle of about 135 degrees, the starboard bilge keel becoming vertical. The ship was found to lie on a mud bottom at a depth of 8.5 fathoms (15.5m) aft and 9 fathoms (16.5m) forward. Reassessment has suggested that the explosion took place in the 3-pdr and small arms magazine rather than in the 9.2in shell room.' (canmore.org.uk/site/101920/hms-natal-nigg-bay-cromarty-firth) Much of the structure of HMS Natal was salvaged in the 1920s but the wreck was subject to demolition operations in the 1970s as it was a hazard to navigation (see website for details). The wreck is a war grave and as such designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986 (site number NH76NE 8001). William's body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
Artefacts from HMS Natal are on display in the Invergordon Heritage and Naval Museum.
Remembered on