No.K/16235, Stoker 1st Class, Thomas PLEDGER
Aged 23

HMS Invincible, Royal Navy
Killed in Action on Wednesday, 31st May 1916

Thomas Pledger was born in Hundon on 19th January 1893 (Risbridge Q1-1893 4A:732), baptised in Hundon All Saints on 2nd April 1893, son of George and Jane PLEDGER (née HURRELL).

In July 1896 he was admitted to Hundon Board School, leaving on 4th May 1906.

1901 census...Aged 8, he was at Babel Green, Hundon with his father George PLEDGER [40] farm labourer; his mother Jane [34] born Barnardiston; sisters Harriet [13], Emily [3] and Rose [1]; brother Arthur [6]. All except his mother were born in Hundon.

1911 census...Aged 18, a farm labourer, he was at Clare Road, Hundon with his parents; sisters Emily, Rose, Alice May [8] and Agnes [6] both born in Hundon.

The family address after his death was Church Street, Hundon.

He enlisted in the Royal Navy for 12 years on 24th September 1912, when he gave his date of birth as 19th January 1893, in Clare. He was 5 feet 5 inches (165.1 cm) tall, chest 35.5" (90.2 cm), brown hair grey eyes, a farm laburer.
He was posted initially to HMS Victory II (a "stone frigate" ie shore base) 24 Sept 1912 to 19 Oct 1912, then HMS Renown 20 Oct 1912 to 30 to 1912
Back to Victory 1 Dec 1912 to 26 Mar 1913, then to cruiser HMS Crescent 27 Mar 1913 to 18 April 1913 and to cruiser HMS Minerva from 19 April 1913 to 28 Aug 1913
Then to HMS Dido II, a depot ship on 29th Aug 1913. Promoted to Stoker on 24th Sept 1913 he left her to join HMS Attentive I on 1st January 1914. On June 3rd 1914 he returned to HMS Victory (further training ?) before joining HMS Invincible on 3rd August 1914.

HMS Invincible, launched in 1907 was a battlecruiser (the 1st in the world) attached to the 1st Cruiser Squadron, Home Fleet at the end of 1908. She saw action at Battle of Heligoland Bight, the Battle of the Falkland Islands, and the Battle of Jutland. On 31st May 1916 in the Battle of Jutland she blew up and sank after taking a hit from SMS Lützow on her Q turret exploded her magazine. Of her 1,026 crew. only six survived. Five were in the fire control at the top of the forward mast and amazingly, one was a gunner in Q turret who was thrown clear.
The photograph below must have been before the Battle of the Falklands, since, when repairing the damaged sustained then, her forward funnel was heightened by 18 feet.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Thomas Pledger is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial panel 18

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