Wednesday, December 24, 2014

L6372 Officer's Steward Arthur Ernest Emery, HMS Verulam

According to Arthur Emery’s surviving service papers, he was born on 24th March 1896 at Crawley in Sussex (although his birth wasn’t registered until the March quarter the following year at Cuckfield).  The 1901 census gives his place of birth as Slaugham, Sussex. 

He appears on that census living at Fay Gate Road, Rusper, West Sussex with his family.  The family comprised: Michael Emery (head, aged 47, working as a flower pot maker), his wife Maria Louisa Emery (aged 47) and their children: Harry Emery (aged 16, working as a carter boy on a farm), Emily Emery (aged 11), Annie Emery (aged nine), George Masters Emery (aged six) and Arthur (aged four).  

There were other children too.  The 1891 census shows the family living at High Brook, West Hoathly, Sussex. Children (and their ages in 1891) not noted above are: Francis W Emerey (aged 10), Maud M Emery (aged eight), Ada H Emery (aged six), and Blanche Emery (aged two).  Henry Emery (George Masters’ grandfather), a 75 year old widower, was also living at the house. 

He joined the Royal Navy at Chatham, Kent on 24th February 1915 giving his occupation as footman.  He was five feet seven inches tall, had brown hair, blue eyes and a fresh complexion.  He was given the Navy number L6372, the rating of officer’s steward 3rd Class and sent to HMS Pembroke (the shore base at Chatham). 

He remained at Chatham until 15th April when he was posted to HMS Biarritz where he remained until 27th November 1916.  During this period he was promoted to officer’s steward 2nd class (12th October 1915) and also spent seven days in the cells. 

Chailey Parish Magazine first mentions him in July 1916, noting: Emery, A E, Officer’s Steward, HMS Biaritz (and correcting the spelling in November 1916 to Biarritz).   

Between 28th November and 22nd December 1916 he was stationed at Chatham (HMS Pembroke I) prior to being posted to HMS Pigeon on the 23rd December.  He remained with this ship until 8th November 1917 when a further spell at Chatham (9th November to10th December 1917) preceded what would be his final posting; this time to HMS Verulam aboard which he would serve until demobbed on 22nd August 1919. 

Arthur was awarded a good conduct badge on 5th December 1918.  His brother George Masters Emery, also mentioned in Chailey Parish Magazine, died of wounds in England on 15th December 1916.

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