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Person Details
08 Aug 1881
Newark, Nottinghamshire
William was the son of William and Anne (Annie) Elizabeth Doncaster (nee Lindley). His father, William, was born in Newark in 1857 (A/M/J Newark/Smith), the son of William and Eliza Doncaster of Collingham Row, Newark. He was baptised at the parish church of St Mary Magdalene, Newark, on 29 September 1857. Anne Elizabeth Lindley was born in Sutton-on-Trent, Newark, in 1859 (J/A/S Southwell). William and Anne were married in 1877 (J/A/S Newark) and had four children who were all born in Newark: Eliza b. 1877 (O/N/D Newark) bap. 18 December 1885 Newark St Leonard, Annie Elizabeth b. 1879 (O/N/D Newark) bap. 18 December 1885 St Leonard, William b. 8 August 1881 (J/A/S Newark) bap. 18 December 1885 St Leonard, Harriet b. 23 October 1883 bap. 18 December 1885 St Leonard. There is also a record of the registration of the birth of a George Doncaster, mother's maiden name Lindley, in 1892 (J/A/S Newark) some years after William's death; the child died the same year (1892 O/N/D Newark). In 1881 William, a brewers' labourer, and Anne (22) were living at 9 Bell's Row, Newark, with their two daughters, Eliza (3) and Anne E. (1). William was born later that year and the youngest child, Harriet, in 1883. William died in 1887 (A/M/J Newark) aged 29 and in 1891 the widowed Anne, a charwoman, was living in Tomlinson's Yard, Newark, with three of her four children. Annie (11), William (9) and Harriet (7). Anne Elizabeth married Charles Harmston in 1895 (A/M/J Newark) but died the following year aged 39 (1896 A/M/J Newark). William joined the Royal Navy three years later while his three sisters, Eliza, Annie Elizabeth and Harriet, had moved to Nottingham by 1901. The notification of William's death was sent to his sister, Elizabeth (sic) [probably Eliza], c/o Mrs Hodson, 58 Castle Gate, Nottingham. Of William's siblings: Eliza was a domestic servant in 1901 in the household of Mary Marsh and her two sisters, dressmakers/employers, of 49 St James' Street, Nottingham. By 1911 she was at 36 Huntingdon Street, Nottingham, employed as a servant in the household of Sarah Ann Hammond (68), a widow of independent means. At the time the 1939 England & Wales Register was compiled, Eliza, now in her early sixties, was recorded at 700 Hucknall Road, Nottingham, in a Public Assistance Institution; her occupation was given as domestic servant although this was probably a former occupation. She died on 8 December 1956 (O/N/D Nottingham). Annie Elizabeth married Edwin James Glenn (b. 29 June 1880) at the Albion Church, Sneinton, Nottingham, in 1900 (A/M/J Nottingham). They probably had six children who survived infancy: Percy b. 17 June 1900, Charles Edwin b. 25 January 1905, Hilda May b. 28 July 1906, George Albert b. 23 June 1914, William Ernest b. 30 May 1916 and Harold b. 15 December 1921. In 1901 they were living in New Radford, Nottingham, with their son Percy (8 months). By 1911 they were living at 11 Vincent Terrace, Randal Street, Hyson Green; Edwin was employed as a grave digger at Nottingham General Cemetery. They had three surviving children: Percy (10), Charles (6) and Hilda (4); a fourth child had died in infancy (possibly Elsie May b. 1903 J/A/S Nottingham/prev. name Doncaster, d. 1904 J/F/M Nottingham). Edwin attested on 10 December 1914 and transferred to the Army Reserve the following day. He was mobilised on 24 October 1916 (64701 Sherwood Foresters) and on 21 August 1917, while on active service, sustained a gunshot wound to his right leg. He was discharged from the army as being no longer fit for war service on 6 August 1918. In 1939 Edwin, a cemetery foreman, and Annie were living at 2A Noel Street, Nottingham. Also in the household were their sons George (d. 1977 A/M/J Nottingham) a labourer at a tobacco factory, William (d. 3 February 1979) a bread roundsman, and Harold (d.1993 J/F/M Nottingham) a lead stained glass hand. Edwin James died on 19 September 1944: Nottingham Evening Post, ‘Deaths’, 21 September 1944: ‘Glenn. September 19th Edwin James (late sexton of General Cemetery) beloved husband and dad, passed peacefully away after a painful illness. Sorrowing wife and famiy. General Cemetery, 10.30, Saturday’ (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk). Annie was still living at 2A Noel Street when she died on 13 September 1962. Administration of her will was awarded to her sons Percy, a gardener, and Harold, a textile worker. Harriet was living at 24 Bateman Street, Nottingham, in 1901, in the household of her widowed aunt, Elizabeth Dennis (40 b. Newark), a charwoman, together with Elizabeth's five children and brother-in-law. Harriet (17) was working as a Swiss lace maker. She married John Brown (b. 22 October 1881) at St Paul's Hyson Green on 21 May 1904; their address was 40 Randal Street. In 1911 they and their son, John William (Willie, b. 1905 J/F/M Nottingham) were boarders at 40 Randal Street, Hyson Green; the head of household was Thomas Pinder (54) a widower, who was a coal miner at Wollaton Colliery. According to the 1911 Census they had had four children of whom only Willie had survived; it is possible that the three children who did not survive infancy were: Gladys Mary (b. 1908 J/F/M Nottingham/prev. name Doncaster d. 1910 J/A/S Nottingham) and twins Norman and Stanley (b. 1910 A/M/J Nottingham/prev. name Doncaster, Norman d. 1910 A/M/J Nottingham, Stanley d. either 1910 A/M/J or 1911 A/M/J Nottingham). John, a cycle assembler (Raleigh Cycle Co.), attested on 11 December 1915 (352037 Pioneer, Royal Engineers) but was not mobilised until 4 April 1918 and was then posted to the Royal Engineers Signal Bedford on 8 April. He was demobilized on 20 February 1919 and returned to work as a cycle hand. Harriet and John were still living at 40 Randal Street when she died at the City Hospital on 30 December 1951.
He was a labourer when he joined the Royal Navy in 1898
31 May 1916
2876517 - CWGC Website
199012 (Po)
Able Seaman
HMS Black Prince Royal Navy
William joined the Royal Navy as a Boy 2nd Class on 6 April 1898 and enlisted on a 12 year continuous service engagement on 8 August 1899, his 18th birthday. He was discharged on 8 August 1911 on completion of his engagement but re-enlisted on 10 April 1912. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: HMS Boscawen, 6 April 1898-8 April 1899 (Boy 1st Class 9 January 1899); (-) 9 April 1899-10 August 1899 (Ordinary Seaman 8 August 1899); Duke of Wellington I, 11 August 1899-3 November 1899; HMS Monarch, 4 November 1899-31 December 1899; HMS Tartar, 1 January 1900-19 September 1901 (Able Seaman (12 January 1901); Duke of Wellington I, 20 September1901-1 November 1901; Victory Flag, 2 November 1901-25 January 1902; (-), 26 January 1902-12 July 1902; HMS Calliope, 13 July 1902-4 November 1904; (-), 5 November 1904-27 February 1905; HMS Hermes, 28 February 1905-30 September 1908; HMS Edgar, 1 October 1908-13 November 1908; HMS Excellent, 14 November 1908-13 March 1909; Victory I, 14 March 1909-27 March 1909; HMS Grafton, 28 March 1909-16 September 1910; HMS Liverpool, 17 September 1910-8 August 1911. Discharged Shore, Continuous Service Expired. Re-enlisted and served in the following ships and shore establishments: Victory I, 10 April 1912-30 April 1912; HMS Black Prince, 1 May 1912-31 May 1916. Service record annotated ‘NP4065/1916. DD [Discharged Dead] 31st May, 1916. Killed in action’ Able Seaman Doncaster was killed at the Battle of Jutland. His body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. The battle in which the German High Seas Fleet (Vice-Admiral Scheer) faced the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet (Admiral Sir John Jellicoe, flagship Iron Duke) and Battlecruiser Fleet (Vice-Admiral Sir David Beatty). HMS Black Prince was an armoured cruiser commanded by Captain TP Bonham, 1st Cruiser Squadron. Black Prince was seriously damaged by a heavy shell and withdrew from the action but continued to follow in Jellicoe's wake. About midnight she was sighted by one of the German ships in the line of battle and under the concentrated fire of five battleships blew up and sank with the loss of her entire ship's company of over 800 men. William's body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
Nottingham Eventing Post (abridged), 9 June 1916: 'Doncaster. Killed in action, William Doncaster, HMS Black Prince. Missed by his sisters.' The Bundeswehr Museum of Military History, Dresden: Painting, oil on canvas: ‘SMS Thueringen destroys the English cruiser Black Prince in a night battle at 2am on 1 June.’ Clause Bergen (1885-1964). Caption: 'Present given by the commander of Thueringen, Captain Hans Kuesel, to his nephew in 1921. Bergen established his reputation as a marine painter with depictions of the Battle of Jutland (31 May-1 June 1916). When the Imperial German Fleet returned home, he was in Wilhelmshaven and asked officers involved in the battle to give him detailed accounts of the events.'
Remembered on