MARTIN, Horace

Believed to be

No. P/JX 154873, Ordinary Seaman, Horace James MARTIN
Aged 19

Royal Navy, H.M.S. "Royal Oak"
Killed by Enemy Action on Saturday, 14th October 1939

Born in 1921 (Ely Q3-1921 3B:908), son of Ernest James and Alice MARTIN (née THORPE), later of Bury St.Edmunds.

In the 1939 register , at Harris' Farm, Burnt Fen were his father Ernest J [6-5-1893] farm worker; mother Alice [6-11-1896] and Mabel FLETCHER [11-6-1920] farm worker. Mabel's name is entered as FLETCHER and later crossed out and MARTIN inserted which usually indicates a later marriage, but such marriage has not been found yet.There is 1 closed record.

H.M.S."Royal Oak" was a ROYAL SOVEREIGN Class Battleship ordered under the 1913 Programme from HM Dockyard Devonport and laid down on 15th January 1914 on the same day as her sister HMS ROYAL SOVEREIGN. She was launched on 17th November 1914, the 8th Royal Navy ship to carry this name.
On 9th October she sailed to try and intercept the German Battlecruiser GNEISENAU and the cruiser KÖLN. Bad weather made her return to Scapa Flow on the 11th. Most of the fleet was moved out of Scapa Flow as an attack by the German air force was expected. Royal Oak, due to her age and the hopes that her anti aircraft guns would boost the defences was left there, anchored in the north east corner.
At 01:04 on the 14th a torpedo, one of 3 fired by U-47 hit her on her starboard side near the anchor chains. Then at 01:16 a further two torpedoes, from another spread of three, hit her amidships, seemingly igniting cordite charges in a magazine. and at 01:29 she rolled over and sank. 420 men survived, but 833 perished. The sinking ensured that the name of U-boat captain Günther Prien of U-47 would always be recognised in the naval history of WW2.

photo: Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Horace Martin is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel 34 column 1

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

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