No.K/22095, Leading Stoker, Jesse PLEDGER
Aged 25

HMS Invincible, Royal Navy
formerly No SS108363, Royal Navy
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 31st May 1916

Jesse Pledger was born in Stoke by Clare on 10th January 1891 (Risbridge Q1-1891 4A:704), baptised in St John the Baptist, Stoke by Clare on 1st March 1891, son of George and Martha PLEDGER (née CLARKE).

He was admitted to Stoke by Clare National/Voluntary School in April 1894.

1891 census...Aged 2 months, he was at Chapel Street, Stoke by Clare with his father George PLEDGER [39] farm labourer; his mother Martha [36]; brothers George [12] farm labourer and Herbert [5]; sisters Matilda [9] and Grace [1]. All were born in Stoke by Clare.

1901 census...Aged 10, he was in Chapel Street still with his parents, brothers Herbert (farm labourer) and Sydney [9] born Stoke; sisters Grace [11] and Ethel [3] born Stoke.

1911 census...Aged 20 he was in the Royal Navy with HMS Hindustan. His widower father, brothers Joseph George (farm labourer) and Sydney (domestic gardener) and sister Grace were still in Chapel Street, Stoke by Clare. His mother had died in 1908.

His pension card has his next of kin as sister Grace at Lower Green, Stoke by Clare.

He enlisted in the Royal Navy as No SS108363 on 5th April 1909 for 5 years plus 7 on Reserves, when 5 feet 10 inches (177.8 cm) tall, chest 39" (99.1 cm), brown hair and eyes. On all the Royal Navy records his birth date is given as 5th July 1891.
5/5/1909 to 4/9/09 he was at HMS Essex, then 5/9/09 to 4/10/09 at HMS Victory II
5/10/09 to 1/4/12 with HMS Hindustan and promoted Stoker 1, 2/4/12 to 21/5/12 at HMS Victory II
22/5/1912 to 30/8/1912 at HMS Pembroke II and 31/8/1912 to 26/9/1912 back to HMS Victory II
On 27th September 1912 he went to HMS Vernon. Finishing his 5 years in the colours, he then volunteered on 4th February 1914 and became No K/22095
He served at HMS Vernon as Stoker from 4th February 1914 until 24th June, then with HMS Victory until posted to HMS Invincible on 3rd August 1914.Promoted to Leading Stoker on 19th August 1915 he was killed in the Battle of Jutland on 31st May 1916.

HMS Invincible was the lead ship of three battle cruisers, the first such ships in the world. Designed as much for speed as strength, she carried a main armament of 4 x 12 inch guns at a top speed of 25.5 knots. During the Battle of the Falkland Islands, Invincible and her sister Inflexible sank the armoured cruisers Scharnhorst and Gneisenau almost without loss to themselves, despite numerous hits by the German ships.
She was part of the scouting force for Beatty's battlecruiser fleet at Jutland and blew up when hit in "Q" turret. Apparently several British ships, in order to speed up their rate of fire, had neglected to carry out all the safety precautions laid down. Flash fire from hits on turrets caused the magazines to explode.In the case of the Invincible this resulted in cutting the ship in half. Of the crew of 1026, just 6 survivors were picked up, one, Gunner Gasson was actually in "Q" turret but was miraculously blown clear of the ship.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Jesse Pledger is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial panel 17

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

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