No.J/22017, Boy 1st class, William MOSS
H.M.S. Bulwark, Royal Navy
William Moss was born on 26th December 1896 in Kennett (Newmarket Q1-1897 3B:525) and baptised on 21st March 1897 in Kennett. He was the
son of William and Ann MOSS (née WATKINSON)
later of The Barracks, Little Livermere, Bury St Edmunds.
1901 census...Aged 4, he was at Kennett End, Kennett with his father William MOSS  horsekeeper born Kentford; his mother Ann ; sisters Emma , Lily  and Dorothy  and brothers John William  a labourer, Ernest , Frederick , James  and Percy Reginald [5 months]. All except his father were born in Kennett
1911 census... Aged 14, a farm labourer, he was still at Kennett End with his parents, sisters Emma Elizabeth and Dorothy and Winifred Kate  born Kennett, and brothers Ernest and Frederick who were farm labourers, and brothers James, Percy Reginald and Cedric Bertie  born in Kennett. There were also two uncles, George and James WATKINSON.
Ann had borne 13 children but one had died.
He enlisted in the Royal Navy on 29th January 1913 as boy at HMS Ganges. 17th June 1913 he joined HMS Hawke and on 25th October was at HMS Victory I, before joining HMS Bulwark on 28th November 1913. His 12 years in the Navy would have started on his 18th birthday, 26th December 1914, he was 5 feet 3.5 inches (161.3 cm) tall, chest 34" (86.4 cm), fair hair, blue eyes
HMS Bulwark belonged to a sub-class of the Formidable-class of pre-dreadnought battleships of the Royal Navy known as the London class. On 26 November 1914, while anchored near Sheerness, she was destroyed by a large internal explosion with the loss of 736 men. There were only 14 survivors of the explosion and of these 2 died later in hospital. The explosion was likely to have been caused by the overheating of cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler room bulkhead.
On 26th November 1914 Winston Churchill made the following statement in Parliament:-
"I regret to say I have some bad news for the house. The Bulwark battleship, which was lying in Sheerness this morning, blew up at 7.35 o'clock. The Vice and Rear Admiral, who were present, have reported their conviction that it was an internal magazine explosion which rent the ship asunder. There was apparently no upheaval in the water, and the ship had entirely disappeared when the smoke had cleared away. An inquiry will be held tomorrow which may possibly throw more light on the occurrence. The loss of the ship does not sensibly affect the military position, but I regret to say the loss of life is very severe. Only 12 men are saved. All the officers and the rest of the crew, who, I suppose, amounted to between 700 and 800, have perished. I think the House would wish me to express on their behalf the deep sorrow with which the House heard the news, and their sympathy with those who have lost their relatives and friends."
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