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Person Details
01 Apr 1893
Nottingham
CWGC records him as the son of Charles Needham and Alice Jane Needham of 8 Enoch Terrace, St Ann's, Nottingham. However, it appears that Alice was not married to Charles at the time of Cecil's birth as she is listed on the 1901 and 1911 census as Alice (Alice Jane) Walker and described as his housekeeper. Charles Needham was married to Emily Osborne in Nottingham 1885 (registered Oct/Nov/Dec) and their first child, Charles Henry, was born the following year in 1886 (registered Apl/May/Jun). In 1891 Charles (28), a yarn warehouseman porter, and Emily (28) were living at 3 Cheltenham Terrace, Meadows, with their three sons, Charles Henry (5), Frederick William Osborne (2, birth registered 1888 O/N/D) and Ernest (3 months, birth registered 1891 J/F/M). By the time of the 1901 census Charles, who was still working as a hosiery porter, was living at 22 Crown Street, Nottingham, in the ecclesiastical parish of St Matthias, with his six children; Henry (Charles Henry), William (Frederick William Osborne), Ernest, Cecil (8), Hilda (5, birth registered 1896 A/M/J) and Lizzie (5 months), who all had the surname 'Needham'. Also in the household was his housekeeper, Alice Walker (29, b. Grantham), and her two children, Fred Walker (4, b. Nottingham) and Alice Walker (3, b. Nottingham). Cecil joined the Royal Navy at the beginning of April 1911 and was recorded on the 1911 military census as a Boy 2nd Class (seaman branch) at HMS Ganges at Harwich, Essex. The same year his family was living at 14 Enoch Terrace, Nottingham. His father, Charles, a warehouseman for a yarn agent, completed the census that he was married with seven children born alive of whom seven were still living - this figure is not borne out by the eight children listed on the three census between 1891 and 1911; three children by Emily Needham and five by Alice Walker. Living at home were six of his children; William (22) a wood sawyer for a shop fitter, Ernest (20) a carter, Hilda (15) an errand girl for a hosiery manufacturer, Elizabeth [Lizzie] (10), Doris (8, birth registered 1903 A/M/J), and Edith (3), and his housekeeper, Alice Jane Walker, who was described as 'single'. Cecil's half-brother, William (Frederick Wm Osborne), married Elsie Wombell at Nottingham Register Office in 1912 and they had a daughter, Doris May, in May 1913. They lived at 24 Dame Agnes Street. William enlisted in the Durham Light Infantry (36006) in 1916, later transferring to the Lincolnshire Regiment. He served from 2 October 1916 and was in France from 26 March 1917 until 25 January 1919, transferring to the Labour Corps before his discharge in 1919. He was discharged on demobilization to 9 Harold Terrace, Pole Street, Nottingham.
Cecil was a bootmaker when he joined the Royal Navy on 13 February 1911.
28 Jan 1918
24
3046507 - CWGC Website
J/11160
Able Seaman
Royal Navy
Cecil joined the Royal Navy on 13 February 1911 at the age of 17 and entered on a 12 year engagement on his 18th birthday on 1 April 1911. He served in the following ships and shore establishments: Ganges II 13 February 1911-12 May 1911 (Boy 2nd Class); Victorious, 13 May 1911-31 July 1911 (Boy 1st Class); HMS Prince George, 1 August 1911-12 January 1912 (Ordinary Seaman 13 August 1911); HMS Cumberland, 13 January 1912-18 May 1914 (Able Seaman 18 February 1913); Vivid I, 19 May 1914-6 June 1914; Defiance, 7 June 1914-29 July 1914; London, 30 July 1914-23 October 1914; Defiance, 24 October 1914-10 December 1914; HMS St George, 11 December 1914-18 February 1915; HMS Dolphin, 17 April 1915-27 April 1915; HMS Arroagant, 28 April 1915-9 February 1916; HMS Dolphin, 10 February 1916-6 April 1916; HMS Europa, 7 April 1916-30 November 1916; HMS Adamant, 1 December 1916-30 June 1917; HMS Adamant (E14), 1 July 1917-28 January 1918. Service record annotated, ‘NP 1153/18. Missing when HM S/M E14 was sunk by the Turks 28 January 1918’ and ‘NP1153/18. DD 28th Jany 18. Lost his life on Naval Service.’ The submarine was attempting to sink S.M.S. Goeben in the Dardanelles on 28th January 1918 when it was sunk by heavy gunfire. Cecil's body was not recovered for burial and he is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.
“E14's LAST TRIP. “EFFORTS TO ACCOUNT FOR THE GOEBEN. “THE CAPTAIN'S TRAGIC FATE. “An account of the last cruise of the British submarine E14 is now available, from which it appears that the boat, after encountering many thrilling experiences in her vain search for the Goeben in the Dardanelles, was forced to come to the surface. Heavy fire was immediately opened on the submarine from both sides. One shell hit her hull just over the wardroom, and a survivor has described what followed. He says the captain was the first one up on the deck, then the navigator. I followed to connect up the upper steering gear. We found the spindle to be shot in half. Orders were given to steer from below, and we ran the gauntlet for half an hour, only a few hots hitting us. “The captain, seeing it was hopeless, ran towards the shore. His last words were, “We are in the hands of God,” and only a few seconds later I looked for him and saw his body, mangled by shell fire, roll into the water and go under. The last shell hit the starboard saddle tank, killing all, I believe. By this time the submarine was close to the shore, and soon afterwards she sank, some survivors being picked up by Turks. “The experiences of these ten while in Turkish hands were unpleasant. The clothes given them in exchange for their own were verminous and filthy, as also was their prison. At one time three of them were placed in a room near a lavatory, the smell being almost overpowering. Then the lavatory overflowed, and their room was flooded. They suffered from dysentery and typhoid fever, but found the Turkish hospital almost as dirty as their prison. On leaving hospital they were at once sent off with a working party, although still in a most enfeebled condition. Their work was in a cement factory, and they worked here for twelve hours a day. Their pay was five piastres per day, and with this they could only buy three dried figs or a couple of knobs of sugar. “Meanwhile letters and parcels for [the] prisoners were accumulating at Constantinople, but were seldom forwarded. A good instance of Turkish postal arrangements is provided in the case of some medical stores which were despatched in 1916, and reached the prisoners just before the signing of the armistice Above article courtesy of Jim Grundy and hisfacebook pages Small Town Great War Hucknall 1914-1918.
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