MANSFIELD, William



No. 276756, Petty Officer Stoker, William MANSFIELD
Aged 41


H.M.S. Pathfinder, Royal Navy
Died on Saturday, 5th September 1914


William Mansfield was born in Barnardiston on 25th July 1873 (Risbridge Q3-1873 4A:433), son of Eliza MANSFIELD. After she married George TAYLOR later that year, the TAYLOR surname was adopted.It appear he used his real name on marrying and when enlisting in the Royal Navy

1881 census...Aged 8, as William TAYLOR, he was at The Common, Brinkley with his stepfather George TAYLOR [25]married, farm labourer, born Barnardiston; sister Mary [6] also born Barnardiston. His mother's whereabouts has not yet been found.

1891 census...Aged 17, as William TAYLOR, a farm labourer, he was at Willingham Green with his stepfather and mother Eliza [35] born Barnardiston; sisters Mary (a servant) and Agnes [2] born Carlton; brothers Arthur [10], Frederick [7] and Arch [4] all born Brinkley and brother John [2] born in Carlton.

1901 census...Not found in this census, he was serving at HMS Pembroke II (a "stone frigate"). He had 11 spells of duty there. All Navy personnel have to be allotted to a vessel at all time, hence shore training establishment,accounting centre, shore barracks got an HMS name. The family were at Cottage, Carlton cum Willingham, with his parents, brothers Arthur (a corn stores carrier), Arch (farm labourer), John and Albert [7] born Carlton, and sisters Agnes and Lizzie [2] born in Carlton and a niece Winifred M Wolfenden [1] born in London.

As William Mansfield, he married Martha Swann in 1904 (Risbridge Q2-1904 4A:1387). At his death she was at 79 Albany Road, Gillingham Kent, later marrying Frederick FIELD (Lambeth 1919) and living at 57 Fairfoot Road, Bromley, Bow, London.

1911 census...Aged 37, as William MANSFIELD, he was aboard H.M.S.Scylla in the Far East,recorded as married and born Brinkley, Church of England. The third HMS Scylla, was an Apollo class 2nd class cruiser in service from 1891 and broken up in 1914. The family were at No 1, Willingham Green, Carlton cum Willingham, with his parents, brothers Arch (cowman on farm) John and Albert, sisters Lizzie and grandfather David TAYLOR [78]

He was half-brother to Arch Taylor see here




He enlisted on 15th May 1894 in the Royal Navy, signing for 12 years. He was 5 feet 2.5 inches tall (158.8 cm), fair haired with blue eyes.He served on to many vessels to enter here, but joined Pathfinder on 1st October 1913.

He died aboard HMS Pathfinder, a light cruiser. Pathfinder was sunk off St. Abbs Head, Berwickshire, Scotland, on Saturday 5 September 1914 by the German U-21, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Otto Hersing. The ship was struck in a magazine, which exploded, breaking her back and causing the ship to sink within minutes with the loss of about 259 men. There were only 18 known survivors
His entry in Du Ruvigny's Roll of Honour simply says " MANSFIELD, WILLIAM, Stoker, Petty Officer, 276756, H.M.S. Pathfinder; lost when that ship was sunk by a mine, about 20 miles off the East Coast, 5 Sept.1914".
In fact she was torpedoed.



photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission



William Mansfield is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, ref:4

click here to go to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website for full cemetery/memorial details


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