ARMISTICE 100: Poignant tribute to sailor whose ship was sunk one day before the end of First World War
One hundred years to the day of the sinking of the HMS Ascot off the Farne Islands, a moving tribute was made by the family of one of the ship's crew.
The Royal Navy Racecourse-class minesweeper was the last ship to be sunk during the First World War, tragically just 24 hours before Armistice was signed and the war ended. She was torpedoed by a German submarine on November 10, 1918, and all 53 crew lost their lives.
One of those on board was Able Seaman John Matthew Postlethwaite, from Liverpool.
Yesterday (Saturday), members of his family, including Paul King, whose late wife was the granddaughter of A/S Postlethwaite, and Wendy Thompson his great-granddaughter, visited the site of the sinking, seven miles from shore and scattered flowers to mark the centenary.
A service of remembrance was conducted by Rev Carol Fields outside Seahouses Lifeboat Station, before the relatives and two church members boarded the passenger vessel Serenity, with skipper Andrew Douglas, to travel to the wreck site, escorted by the lifeboat RNLB Grace Darling.
Ian Clayton, Seahouses RNLI Lifeboat operations manager, who accompanied the family, said: "The party were able to reach the wreck site safely and paid their respects, as did the lifeboat crew. Due to the deteriorating, unpleasant conditions, the boats returned promptly to Seahouses, where the lifeboat crew joined the family for an informal buffet, and viewed the artefacts that the family had brought with them. It was a fascinating story and a very tragic one, but remembered with dignity and respect."
The story of the sinking of HMS Ascot was uncovered by the RNLI, after A/S Postlethwaite's descendants visited Seahouses in late May 2016, to make a donation in his memory, and mentioned the Ascot story, although their details were scant. The actual lifeboat service record from 1918 was found and shown the family.
As part of the service, Paul King read out the names of the Ascot's crew:Bevan, William G; Leading SeamanBoulton, Harry; Leading Trimmer (RNR)Connelly, Peter; Seaman (RNR)Connelly, Percy J; Ordinary SeamanCooper, William; Seaman (RNR)Coultas, William; Leading Trimmer (RNR)Cross, Cecil JJ; Stoker 2nd ClassDalton, Harry; Trimmer (RNR)Davis, Patrick; Seaman (RNR)Dobbs, George H; Trimmer (RNR)Duggan, David E; 3rd Engineer (MMR)Edmunds, Samuel G; Deck Hand (RNR)Gardner, Charles EM; Stoker 2nd ClassGrubb, Wilfred C; Ordinary SeamanHill, Charles; Stoker 2nd ClassHorrill, Edward L. Petty Officer 1st ClassIrvine, James; Seaman (RNR)Irwin, Robert F; Steward (MMR)Jaffa, Leslie C; Telegraphist (RNVR)Jones, Edward W; Signalman (RNVR)Jones, Matthew G; Trimmer (RNR)Judge, James; Trimmer (RNR)Juhle, Alexander B; Leading Trimmer (RNR)Kersey, Robert; Deck Hand (RNR)Keutenius, James W; Leading Trimmer (RNR)Kirkton, Harold E; Signalman (RNVR)Kirman, George W; Junior Engineer (MMR)Lamb, David B; Trimmer (RNR)Leabon, Archie G; 2nd Hand (RNR)Long, Arthur J; Deckhand (RNR)MacDonald, Donald; Lieutenant (RNR) Vessel CaptainMacKay, Alexander; Deck Hand (RNR)McLean, Alexander M; Deck Hand (RNR)McLeod, James F; Cook (RNR)Munn, John W; Telegraphist (RNVR)Osborne, James W; Trimmer (RNR)Parrott, Charles F; Deck Hand (RNR)Paterson, James K; Engineer Lieutenant (RNR)Paul, Thomas S; Trimmer (RNR)Pender, Patrick; Trimmer (RNR)Postlethwaite, John M; Able SeamanPrice, James; Trimmer (RNR)Redding, Herbert; Trimmer (RNR)Reynolds, Arthur; Trimmer (RNR)Richards, Francis A; Leading Trimmer (RNR)Robson, James; Trimmer (RNR)Smith, Baden; Ordinary SeamanTocher, John; Leading Trimmer (RNR)Wallen, John W; Lieutenant (RNVR)Wheatland, Arthur; Lieutenant (RNVR)Williamson, Robert; Able SeamanWoolfe, George; Trimmer, (RNR)Youll, Alfred J; Assistant Steward (MMR)