IN December 1915 the armed trawler HMS Fulmar left Falmouth for the Mediterranean theatre with a crew of 16, all but one of whom were never to see their homeland again.
On January 17, 1916 the ship hit a British laid mine in the Gulf of Sollum and was sunk with the loss of all on board.
All but one of her crew were merchant seamen or fishermen who volunteered for service in the Royal Naval Reserve. I am writing an article to mark the 100th anniversary of the ship’s loss including short biographies of her crew and would like to include a photograph of each man and am appealing to any of your readers for help.
The men from South Wales who went down with the trawler were Bowen, Edgar John 1992SA (Devonport) second Hand RNR.
The son of John and Emma Bowen of Brockweir, Chepstow, he was born on April 27 1867 at Brockweir, Chepstow, Monmouthshire. In 1891 aged 23 he was the mate of the coastal sailing ketch ‘Ring Dove’ of Chepstow (official number 19073) commanded by his father. By 1901 he was in command of the coastal sailing vessel ‘Alice’ of Bristol (official number 47963).
He married Emily? (born in Tullock, South Wales) and had six children. In 1911 the family were living at 2, Puswylta Street, Cardiff when he gave his place of birth as St Briavels, Gloucestershire, but by the time of the ‘Fulmar’s’ loss his family were at either Manor House, Brockweir, or 67 Llandaff Road, Cardiff. He was aged 49 at the time of the ship’s loss.
Mills, Hubert Ernest. Engineman, 2504 ES, RNR. He was born in Little Haven (or Walton, Pembrokeshire) on August 25 1877 the son of William and Jane Mills of Hubberston, Pembrokeshire and the husband of Mary Mills. Enlisted in the RNR on March 18 1915 and joined the ‘Fulmar’ on April 22 1915.
Prior to the outbreak of the war he lived with his wife at ‘The Drang’, Hakin, Milford Haven, then later (January 31 1916) at The Broadway, Littlehampton.
He served during the Great War in the RNR.
He was 38 years old when ‘Fulmar’ sank and is commemorated on panel 19 of the Plymouth Naval memorial and also on that of Neyland and Llanstadwel. (Pembroke County War Memorial, Milford Haven).
Palmer, James Henry. Trimmer, 2216TS RNR. James was the son of William and Margaret Palmer of 6 West House Lane (or Rosemarket), Honeyborough, Neyland and was a fisherman prior to the outbreak of the war. Enlisted in the RNR at Milford Haven on March 8 191. When war broke out the Admiralty took over the fishing fleets and so James became a Trimmer in the RNR and served onboard the ‘Fulmar’ from April 22 1915. He was aged 35 when she was sunk and is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. (Pembroke County War Memorial, Milford Haven).
Jay, William James. Deckhand, DA 4396 RNR. Born Holyhead November 29 1893.
Enrolled in the RNR at Plymouth on March 4 1915. He was aged 22 at the time of the ship’s loss. He may have had a wife who was living c/o a Mrs Dymond of 3, Coronation Road, Salcombe, Devon.
He was the eldest son of the late William James Jay an A/B in the merchant marine and Sarah Jane Jay of 19, Chaucer Street, Marsh Lane, Bootle, Liverpool, (formerly of 40 Aber Street, Bootle). He joined the ‘Fulmar’ on April 28 1915 and was aged 22.
Williams, John. T2804.
Trimmer RNR. Born Tenby, Pembrokeshire October 26 1897. Enrolled in RNR April 10 1915 in Milford Haven. A single man, he was living with his aunt Sarah? At 7 Point Street, Hakin, Milford Haven. He joined the ‘Fulmar’ on April 22 1915 aged 18.
There was only one survivor of the men who left Falmouth.
He was Norman Morrison who was fortunately for him taken ill before the ship sailed and was invalided ashore.
Incidentally, on the Pembroke War memorial at Neyland in the name ‘G Hogg Trimmer’ just before the name of J h palmer. George Hogg was my grandfather and was a Trimmer who also went down with the ‘Fulmar’.
Is this a coincidence with his name accidentally being included in the Neyland Memorial or was there also a trimmer of the same name living in Pembrokeshire? Is this a mistake as George Hogg actually came from Falmouth? I would be grateful if any readers could shed some light on this.
26 Ashlett Close Fawley,