31 May 2016

Great War Centenary: George Barnett Culpin

At the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916, Arbuthnot took HMS Defence and her sister ships Warrior and Black Prince to attack the light cruiser SMS Wiesbaden, which lay dead in the water between the opposing fleets.  Brought under concentrated fire from Rear Admiral Paul Behncke's Third Battle Squadron, HMS Defence sank with the loss of all her 893 crew at 1815.

One of the members of the crew of HMS Defence was George Barnett Culpin.  My 2nd cousin three times removed, George was born on 11 November 1898 in West Ham, the oldest son of Henry and Alice (nee Ball).  His entry on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission says it all:-

"In memory of Boy Telegraphist George Barnett Culpin, J/31710, HMS Defence, Royal Navy, who died age 17 on 31 May 1916......"

We will remember them.

21 May 2016

Great War Centenary: Bernard Gifford Sercombe

Born in 1892 in Lewisham, Bernard Sercombe was my 3rd cousin twice removed and youngest of the six children of Horatio and Ellen (nee Ongley).  The family stayed in the area and by 1911 they were living in Lee (Kent/London) and Bernard was listed as "no occupation" - which I take to mean unemployed.

Come the Great War Bernard enlisted in the London Regiment and advanced to Corporal.  He was not married but the Probate index suggests that there was a young lady left behind.  He died on 21st May and is named on the Arras Memorial.

We will remember them.