GOOCH, Frank Goodwin Howard

No.CH/15290, Private, Frank George Howard GOOCH
Aged 28

HMS "Formidable", Royal Marine Light Infantry
Killed in Action on Friday, 1st January 1915

Frank Goodwin Howard Gooch was born in Cowlinge on 30th December 1887 (Risbridge Q1-1888 4A-653), baptised in Cowlinge on 12th August 1888, son of Ernest Joseph and Matilda May GOOCH (née HOWARD).

1891 census...Aged 3, he was at Pound Green, Cowlinge, with his father Ernest J GOOCH [30] grocer/draper's assistant, born Wickhambrook; his mother Matilda M [30] born Brinkley; brothers Ernest F.T. [6] born Brinkley, Harry J.W. [5] and Jack [1] both born in Cowlinge.

1901 census...Aged 13, non domestic gardener) he was at Deynes House, Cowlinge with his parents (father now a non domestic gardener); brothers Ernest (stockman on farm), Harry (bricklayer), Jack, Sam [8], Nathan [6], George [2] and James (6 months) and widowed grandmother Rhoda GOOCH [71] retired beer house keeper born Stradishall

1911 census...Aged 23, a Lance Corporal in the Army he was at the Union Jack Club, Waterloo Road, London. His parents (father now newsagent) were still at Deynes House, Cowlinge with his brothers Samuel (bricklayer's labourer), Nathan (cattle man on farm), George, James and Charles [7] born Cowlinge.

The pension card has the family still at Deynes House

His brother Nathan was killed in France in 1916 see here

He enlisted in Birmingham in the Royal Marine Light Infantry on 1st November 1905, Chatham Division
He was 5 feet 7.5 inches (171.5 cm) tall, gardener, Church of England and gave his date of birth as 30th December 1887
Depot at Deal from 1-11-1905 to 7-11-1906
Chatham from 8-11-1906 to 28-4-1907
London 29-4-1907 to 18-4-1909
Chatham 19-4-09 to 16-6-1909
HMS Niobe 17-6-1909 to 24-7-1909
Chatham 25-7-1909 to 15-8-1909
HMS Boadicea 16-8-1909 to 5-6-1911
Chatham 6-6-1911 to 12-6-1911
HMS Diamond 13-6-1911 to 24-7-1911
Chatham 25-7-1911 to 19-5-1912
HMS Formidable 20-5-1912 to her sinking on 1-1-1915

H.M.S. Formidable was the lead ship of four Formidable class pre-Dreadnought battleships, commissioned in 1901. She carried a main armament of four 12 inch guns mounted in twin turrets and twelve 6 inch guns. She was on gunnery exercises off Portland, 30 miles south of Lyme Regis and after, despite warning of submarine activity the fleet remained on patrol, even steaming in line. At 02:20 on 1st January U-Boat 24 fired a torpedo which struck her number one boiler on the port side. She began to list and Captain Loxley gave the order to abandon ship. Several boats were launched and capsized in the heavy seas. At 03:05 a second torpedo hit on the starboard side. Two escorting light cruisers Topaze and Diamond came alongside and rescued about 80 men and around 04:50 she rolled over and sank. Of the crew of 780, only 233 survived. The Captain's dog Bruce was washed ashore and has a named grave in the pet's cemetery in Abbotsbury Gardens.

The Bury Free Press, on 16th January 1915 reported:-
COWLINGE MAN LOST ON THE "FORMIDABLE" - The sinking of H.M.S.Formidable has brought sadness to one family at Cowling, an official notice from the Admiralty, to Mrs E.J.Gooch, of Deynes Cottage, notifying that her son FGrank, serving in the Royal Marines (Infantry) on board that ill-fated battleship, having gone down with the ship on December 31st. It is only a few weeks ago that we published the splendid record of loyalty furnished by this family, six sons of whom are serving their King and Country, either on land or on sea. The greatest sympathy will be felt for Mrs Gooch and the family in their sad loss.

HMS Formidable sunk

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Frank Gooch is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 13

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