ROWLINGSON, William Frank

No. J/34073, Able Seaman, William Frank ROWLINGSON
Aged 18

H.M.S. "Calliope", Royal Navy
Killed in Action on 31st May 1916

William Frank Rowlingson was born in Great Wratting on 1st October 1897 (Risbridge Q4-1897 4A:764), son of William and Ellen ROWLINGSON (née CORNELL). The "G" in their surname is often omitted.

1901 census...Aged 3, Willam ROWLINSON was at Jubilee Cottages, Great Wartting with his father William ROWLINSON [44] cowman; his mother Ellen [43] born Barnardiston; brothers John [16] cow man, Arthur [13] farm labourer, David [11], George [9] Walter [6], and Richard [3 months]. All except his mother were born in Great Wratting.

1911 census...Aged 13, house boy, he was at Great Wratting with his parents and brothers Walter (farm labourer), George (farm labourer) and Richard (scholar). All 10 siblings survived.

His brother George was killed serving in the Essex Regiment in May 1917 see here

He enlisted on 26th January 1915, giving his date of birth as 1st October 1897, a publican's boy from Haverhill. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall, chest 34.5", brown hair, blue eyes.
He served as Boy 2nd at HMS Impregnable (stone frigate, ie shore base), promoted Boy 1 on 1st May. 8th May he went to Pembroke II (another stone frigate) for just 8 days before joining HMS Calliope on 17th May 1915, promoted Ordinary Seaman 23rd July. He signged for 12 years service on 1st October 1915 and was made an Able Seaman on 27th April 1916. He then underwent further training at Pembroke for 3 weeks before returning to HMS Calliope on 19 may, just in time to be with her for the Battle of Jutland and being killed on 1st May.

H.M.S. "Calliope" was a light cruiser, commissioned in June 1915, built in less than 1 year. In the Battle of Jutland (May 31st/June 1st 1916) she received a number of hits from the German battleships Kaiser and Markgraf. 10 of her crew were killed and buried at sea.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

William Rowlingson is commemorated on the Chatham Naval Memorial, panel 16

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

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