INTRODUCTION, BY YOUR VIRTUAL CHAIRMAN
This Bulletin-17 is dated 22nd September 2021, a special day for us all, exactly 107 years after the disaster off the Dutch Coast. Today we remember the men on the three cruisers, they are not forgotten.
A fine day perhaps to view the documentary again https://www.dutchmaritimeproductions.com/portfolio-item/live-bait-squadron/. Enjoy!!
At this moment it seems the hardest (covid)times have passed. This (brief) Bulletin is a restart, I am back again, safe and sound. To start with: my best wishes to you all. And: as always looking forward to your reactions.
The (more extended) Bulletin-18 is scheduled next Christmas, covid-19 allowing.
Henk H.M. van der Linden
A SPECIAL APPEAL
As time goes by I realize that my book ‘The Live Bait Squadron’ lacks a final chapter. I did not investigate the aftermath of the disaster for the families. We all know that the qualification ‘Missed at sea’ meant ‘no pensions’. With your help I trust I can add this chapter to my book. Please write me about what happened to your family in the days and years after the fatal date of 22nd September. I’ll do research too and have me assisted by relevant historians. In my next Bulletin-18, I’ll report about the results of this appeal.
I’ll be back!
3 comments / Add your comment below
My mother was 18mths old when her father Desse Edgar Grylls was killed on the HMS Aboukir, she had a few older siblings, Her mother had a very hard time trying to bring up her brood, but then whe my mother was about 3 – 4 yrs old her mother died too, so she was left orphaned, and was passed around from pillow to post, as no body really wanted her, all I know is she had a very hard life and has to go into service at a very young age, life for her was cruel, but I couldn’t have wished for a better mother, we tried for years to get some information as to what happened to he father, and all that she had been told was totally false,and it was only by chance that I found that information, but sadly she died before i could pas that on to her, and she went to her grave not knowing what happened to her father, So Sad
Am getting out all the family papers and will send you an up-date in the near future.
Best wishes and thanks for all your hard work.
Henk – Hope this is of interest to you and members.
PO 187039 THOMAS BELLERY,
What Happened Next?
Thomas Bellerby (my grandfather) was born in 1879, in Hull to William Bellerby a labourer and his wife Violet. He married Florence May Holt (my grandmother) and at the time of the sinking of his ship HMS HOGUE had one son, also Thomas, born on 22nd January, 1913. Florence was expecting their second child and the little family lived in Belmont Road, Gillingham. Two days after the disaster, on 24th September, my mother, Jessie Kathleen, was born. It is difficult to comprehend the suffering my grandmother must have gone through with a new baby, a toddler and the uncertainty of what had happened to her husband.
It was not until 3rd October, 1914 that she received the following official letter from the Admiralty:
I regret to inform you that HMS HOGUE was sunk on 22nd ultimo and that the
name of Thomas Bellerby rating Petty Officer official number 187039, who is
believed to have been on board, does not appear on the list of survivors received in
this department. In the circumstances it is feared that, in the absence of any evidence
to the contrary, he must be regarded as having lost his life.’
To the point and of little comfort.
At some point my grandmother wrote to the Vice Consul at Ymiden, Holland, in the vain hope that he might have some information of what had happened to her husband. He replied on 9th November, 1914, thanking her for her letter and stating:
‘I am sorry that I must communicate you that your husband was not amongst those landed
In this port. The only survivor yet in hospital here is Fleet Paymaster Edward H Eldred’.
For Florence the future must indeed have looked bleak. At the time of her husband’s death she was in receipt of an allotment of £4 per month from his wages. On 12th October, 1914 the Admiralty informed her that she would receive a pension of 7s.6d per week with 4s.0d allowance for the two children and a money order for 16s.1d, the amount due to 26th December, would be sent to her. On 4th December, 1914 she received £3 from the Admiralty, ‘in respect of good conduct award to your late husband.’ Things changed for the better when in December, 1918 she learnt that her application for an alternative pension had been successful and she would receive 29s.2d. a week with effect from 14th April, 1918.
Tom Bellerby had died intestate and a document dated 15th June, 1915 and received from the Inspector of Seamen’s Wills, gives a breakdown of monies Florence could expect to receive from his estate:
Compensation for loss of effects £5 5s. 0d.
Further compensation for loss of effects £2 15s. 2d.
Residue of wages £4 2s. 3d.
Prize Bounty Heligland Bight Action 28.8.14 8s. 6d.
War gratuity £8 0s. 0d.
Naval Prize Fund (2 instalments) £50 0s. 0d.
So what happened after that? Tom Bellerby had been a Free Mason and that organisation paid for both children to attend the local grammar schools. My mother became a Secretary and Tom joined the Air Force in WW2. He and his wife Edna had one daughter, Carol. My mother married my father, Richard Ernest John Johnson, in 1945 and I was born on 21st October, 1947 and my sister, Judith on 24th July, 1950. My grandmother, Florence, died in 1951 never having remarried.
Amongst the family papers there is a newspaper cutting with a picture of HMS HOGUE, written after the sinking. The article states:
‘Cost of each vessel about £800,000. There is no cause for depression. Great Britain has a
greater preponderance of cruisers over Germany and we are bound to lose a certain number
I can only imagine how my grandmother and the relatives of the other crew members of the HOGUE, CRESSY and ABOUKIR must have felt when they read this heartless article.
Lesley Vingoe (nee Johnson)
9th January, 2022