Saturday, November 15, 2014

SS103893 Stoker Albert Beard, HMS Greenwich

Albert Beard enlisted in the Royal Navy on 22nd October 1906 for a period of five years with the colours and seven on the reserve.  He gave his date of birth as 5th August 1887, his place of birth as Chailey and his occupation as postman.  His height was recorded as five feet six inches, his hair as dark brown, his eyes as grey and his complexion as fresh. 

Although the birth date is not an exact match, it is possible that Albert Beard is the same Albert Beard recorded as a 14 year old on the 1901 census, living at North Common and working as general agricultural labourer.  His rank on joining was Stoker, 2nd Class.  Up until 8th December 1906 he was based at Portsmouth and then on the following ships (dates in brackets): 

HMS Ariadne (9th December 1906 – 16th March 1907)
HMS Canopus (17th March 1907 – 20th April 1907)
HMS Revenge (21st April 1907 – 24th June 1908)
HMS Crescent (25th June 1908 – 23rd September 1909) 

Between 24th September 1909 and 10th October 1910, Albert was at the Hong Kong Naval Base, HMS Tamar.  On 11th October 1910, he was posted to the Royal Naval Leadership School, HMS Royal Arthur.  By now, his rating was Stoker, 1st Class (having been promoted in 1907) and between 11th October 1910 and 31st August 1911, he spent his time at the leadership school and at Portsmouth naval barracks. 

On 1st September 1911 he transferred to HMS Jupiter and then back to Portsmouth naval barracks on the 21st October.  He was discharged to the Royal Fleet Reserve on 30th October 1911. 

Throughout his five years’ service, Albert's character was noted as Very Good and he had been awarded a Good Conduct Badge in 1909. 

When war was declared he was posted to HMS Glory and served on this ship as a Stoker, 1st Class, until 10th April 1916 when it was returned to Portsmouth for re-fit.  Albert Beard’s record notes that he was stationed at Portsmouth from 11th April 1916 before joining HMS Greenwich (although the date of his transfer to Greenwich is unclear).  He remained with HMS Greenwich until 19th May 1919 when he was finally discharged. 

Albert Beard’s character throughout his First World War service is recorded as Very Good and his ability ranging from satisfactory to superior.  He was awarded a second Good Conduct badge on 24th July 1917. 
The ships

HMS Glory was a Canopus Class Battleship that was built at Lair, Birkenhead.  It was laid down in December 1896 and completed in October 1900 at a cost of £895,814.  During the First World War, HMS Glory formed part of the Channel Fleet.  On 5th August 1914 it was sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia as a guard ship to support crusiers in North American waters and in October 1914 it was put on escort duties for Canadian troop ships before being transferred to the Dardanelles in May 1915.  In December 1915 it formed part of the Suez Canal Patrol before being sent for re-fit at Portsmouth between April and July 1916.  From 1st August 1916 until 1919 it was the flagship for the British North Russia Squadron based at Archangel and was finally sold for scrap in 1922.   

HMS Greenwich was a destroyer depot ship that was converted from a merchant ship and launched in July 1915.  It had four 4-inch guns and one 3-inch anit-aircraft gun and sereved throughout the First and Second World Wars.  It was finally converted back to a merchant ship in 1947, long after Albert Beard had ceased to sail on her.

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