Alfred Price, maternal relative: H.M.S. Hawke October 1914

Alfred Price was born 21 February 1870 in the Crown & Sceptre Inn, Chapel Hill near Margate, Kent, England and was Killed in action when H.M.S. Hawke was sunk on Thursday 15 October 1914.

Alfred was related to me via his fathers marriage into the Sheward family who are the maternal family of my maternal grandmother. The actual lineage is:

  • Alfred Price (1870 - 1914) - my second cousin, twice removed
  • Mary Sheward (1845 - 1917) - mother of Alfred Price
  • William Sheward (1810 - 1883) - father of Mary Sheward
  • Edward Sheward (1775 - 1853) - father of William Sheward
  • Richard Sheward (1817 - 1870) - son of Edward Sheward
  • Herbert Sheward (1843 - 1906) - son of Richard Sheward
  • Mary Louisa Sheward (1880 - 1967) - daughter of Herbert Sheward
  • Alice May Priday (1917 - 2009) - daughter of Mary Louisa Sheward
  • William G Hyde - me

His Family

Alfred's father, George, was born during 1836 at Dodderhill, Wrcestershire, England. His father, James, was born in Wiltshire and may have been a professional soldier, although records are patchy.

George Price was by 1851 a Gardener/Servant for John Wheeler, Farmer at Sagebury Farm, Dodderhill and it is probably at this time that he met Maria Sheward who became his wife. George & Maria were married July 1860 in Droitwich, Worcestershire.

Doddenhill was a farming community just North East of Droitwich, Worcestershire. Today it is best known for being the site of the BBC Transmitting Station and today the area is known as Wychbold.

CrownSceptremargateGeorge & Maria moved to Rose Cottage, Chapel Hill near Margate, Kent, England where George was employed as a Gardener and they set about raising a family of 15 children:

  • Charles Price (1861 – 1930)
  • Rosa Emma Price (1862 – 1883)
  • George Price (1864 – 1897)
  • Agnes M Price (1866 – 1950)
  • Sarah Ann Price (1866 – 1935)
  • Alice Price (1869 – ?)
  • Alfred Price (1870 – 1914)
  • Ellen Mary Price (1872 – 1931)
  • Mary Ellen Price (1872 – 1947)
  • Frederick W Price (1874 – 1947)
  • Lizzie Price (1874 – 1947)
  • James Price (1874 – 1949)
  • Joseph Price (1878 – 1961)
  • Marion Price (1880 – 1965)
  • Annie Price (1880 – ?)

By 1881 George had become the Licensed Victualler of The Crown & Sceptre Inn, Chapel Hill near Margate and he, Maria & the family had moved there from Rose Cottage.

George died, at The Crown & Sceptre Inn on 27 April 1888 and left the pub and a Personal Estate of £64 15s 6d to Maria his widow.

The 1891 Census shows that Maria Price was still the Licensed Victualler of The Crown & Sceptre Inn, however by 1911 Maria was still living at The Crown & Sceptre Inn but the license had been transferred to her son James.

Maria died 2 January 1917 at (I believe) the family pub, The Crown & Sceptre Inn.

Alfred Price: His Life

Alfred was born at the family pub, The Crown & Sceptre Inn, Chapel Hill near Margate on 21 February 1870.

By 1891 he was living with his brother, Charles, at 3 Grosvenor Terrace. Chester St, Leyton, Walthamstow, Essex. Charles was an Engine Driver at a Laundry - he was either in charge of the steam engine that generated power within the laundry or he was in charge of steam powered delivery vehicle. Alfred's occupation is not recorded, however I think he may have been in the Royal Navy.

Alfred married Alice Daisy Thunder during 1905 and they moved to 18 Burnt Oak Road, Gillingham, Kent. Alfred was 35 and Alice Daisy qas 23 and Alfred is recorded as being a (Royal) Naval pensioner. Alice Daisy Thunder was born during October 1882 at Minster, Isle of Thanet, Kent.

Alfred & Alice Daisy had a family of 3 children:

  • George Dennis Price (1905 – 1941)
  • John Alfred Price (1907 – 1994)
  • Elsie Price (1910 – ?)

Remarkably, Alfred's first born George Dennis was also lost at sea serving in the Royal Navy during World War Two and he is also recorded on the same memorial as his father (I will write separately about George Dennis).

Although he was officially retired Alred was, like all other ex- Royal Navy personnel of the time, in the Royal Fleet Reserve and consequently was called back to duty when war was declared on 4th August 1914.

Alfred Price: His Death

Having been recalled to the Royal Navy on the outbreak of war, Alfred was allocated to H.M.S. Hawke as a Second Yeoman of Signals.

H.M.S. Hawke

hms hawkeH.M.S. Hawke was laid down at Chatham Dockyard on 17 June 1889, one of nine Edgar-class cruisers ordered for the Royal Navy under the Naval Defence Act 1889, and launched on 11 March 1891. Sea trials in March 1892 were satisfactory, with her engines reaching the required power, and the ship was completed on 16 May 1893.

H.M.S. Hawke was 387 feet 6 inches long overall and 360 feet between perpendiculars, with a beam of 60 feet and a draught of 23 feet 9 inches. She displaced 7,350 tons. Her armament consisted of two 9.2 inch guns, on the ships centreline, backed up by ten six-inch guns, of which four were in casemates on the main deck and the remainder behind open shields. Twelve 6-pounder and four 3-pounder guns provided anti-torpedo-boat defences, while four 18 inch torpedo tubes were fitted.

H.M.S. Hawke like all other Edgar class Cruisers were fitted with  arched, armoured deck 5–3 inches thick at about waterline level. The casemate armour was 6 inches thick, with 3 inches thick shields for the 9.2 inch guns and 10 inches armour on the ship's conning tower.

H.M.S. Hawke World War One
In February 1913, Hawke joined the training squadron based at Queenstown, Ireland, where she served along with most of the rest of the Edgar class. In August 1914, on the outbreak of the First World War, Hawke, together with the other Edgars from Queenstown, formed the 10th Cruiser Squadron, operating on blockade duties between the Shetland Islands and Norway.

In October 1914, the 10th Cruiser Squadron was deployed further south in the North Sea as part of efforts to stop German warships from attacking a troop convoy from Canada.

On 15 October, the squadron was on patrol off Aberdeen, deployed in line abreast at intervals of about 10 miles. H.M.S. Hawke stopped at 9:30 am to pick up mail from sister ship Endymion. After recovering her boat with the mail, Hawke proceeded at 13 knots (15 mph) without zig-zagging to regain her station, and was out of sight of the rest of the Squadron when at 10:30 a single torpedo from the German submarine U-9 (which had sunk three British cruisers on 22 September), struck Hawke, which quickly capsized. The remainder of the squadron only realised anything was amiss, when, after a further, unsuccessful attack on Theseus, the squadron was ordered to retreat at high speed to the northwest, and no response to the order was received from Hawke. The destroyer Swift was dispatched from Scapa Flow to search for Hawke and found a raft carrying one officer and twenty-one men, while a boat with a further forty-nine survivors was rescued by a Norwegian steamer. 524 officers and men died, including the ship's captain, Hugh P. E. T. Williams, with only 70 survivors (one man died of his wounds on 16 October).

Second Yeoman of Signals Alfred Price was recorded as being Killed in action with his body lost at sea on Thursday 15 October 1914.

Alfred Price: His Memorial

chathamnavalmemorialAfter the First World War, an appropriate way had to be found of commemorating those members of the Royal Navy who had no known grave, the majority of deaths having occurred at sea where no permanent memorial could be provided.

An Admiralty committee recommended that the three manning ports in Great Britain - Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth - should each have an identical memorial of unmistakable naval form, an obelisk, which would serve as a leading mark for shipping. The memorials were designed by Sir Robert Lorimer, who had already carried out a considerable amount of work for the Commission, with sculpture by Henry Poole. The Chatham Naval Memorial was unveiled by the Prince of Wales (the future King Edward VIII) on 26 April 1924.

After the Second World War it was decided that the naval memorials should be extended to provide space for commemorating the naval dead without graves of that war, but since the three sites were dissimilar, a different architectural treatment was required for each. The architect for the Second World War extension at Chatham was Sir Edward Maufe (who also designed the Air Forces memorial at Runnymede) and the additional sculpture was by Charles Wheeler and William McMillan. The Extension was unveiled by the Duke of Edinburgh on 15 October 1952.

Chatham Naval Memorial commemorates 8,517 sailors of the First World War and 10,098 of the Second World War.

Alfred Price is recorded on Panel C of the Chatham Memorial.