Monday, 11 November 2013

We will remember them

There are three almost identical Naval Memorials in England, one each at Chatham, Plymouth and Portsmouth, those being the three main naval bases in the country (although Chatham has now been closed).  This is the Chatham memorial, on which are recorded the names of more than 18,000 sailors who lost their lives in the two World Wars and who have no known grave.

One of the names on the Chatham memorial is that of my cousin, William John Slater.

William was a deckhand on the fishing drifter 'Eyrie', sailing out of Lowestoft, Suffolk, when World War 1 broke out.  He was 18 years of age.

The Admiralty sent officers up the east coast requisitioning fishing boats to act as minesweepers and on 1st September 1914, the 'Eyrie' was taken over.  The entire crew volunteered to stay manning the vessel and were, it seems, sent off to sea immediately.  One wonders just what training they were given.

The following day, 2nd September 1914, the 'Eyrie' hit a mine and sank with all hands.

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