Sunday, February 08, 2015

K54708 Stoker 2nd Class Ashley Robert Tapp, HMS Pembroke

Ashley Robert Tapp was born on 21st September 1900.  His service record states his place of birth as Lewes although the 1901 census states Chailey.  He appears on the census as the youngest member of a nine-strong household.  The family was living at South Common, Chailey and was headed by Joseph Tapp (a 48 year old thatcher from Barcombe) and his wife, Fanny Tapp aged 43, also born in Barcombe.  The family’s six children are noted as James Tapp (aged 18, an agricultural labourer), Harry Tapp (aged 16, an agricultural labourer), Fanny Tapp (aged 14), William Tapp (aged 11), Archie Tapp (aged seven), Aubrey Tapp (aged four) and Ashley Tapp (six months).  A 28 year old James Tapp (Chailey born, boarding at Bridge Cottage and working as an agricultural labourer) is also noted on census. 

There were also two other children from the marriage.  The 1891 census for Chailey notes a May Tapp (aged 12) and a Kate Tapp (aged 10), both born in Chailey and living with the family on South Common.   By the time the 1901 census was taken, May was working as a cook in the household of James E Odgers of 145 Woodstock Road, Oxford while Kate, (recorded as Kate Taff on the census), was working as a housemaid at ‘The Elms’, the house of Walter Mews in Portslade-by-Sea. 

Ashley Tapp enlisted with the Royal Navy on 17th October 1918 for the duration of hostilities.  It was noted that he was five feet, five and three quarter inches tall, had dark brown hair, brown eyes and a dark complexion.  He gave his occupation as domestic gardener.  He was given the number K54708 and posted to HMS Pembroke at Chatham Naval Barracks.  His rating was stoker, 2nd class.  He remained there until he was demobbed five months later on 14th February 1919.  Throughout his brief time with the Royal Navy, his character was noted as very good and his ability as satisfactory. 

Ashley’s brothers Archie, Aubrey and Harry, and his cousins John and Frank Ford also served their King and Country during the First World War.

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