This last album of Dad’s is a bit of a mixture from him as a baby with his mother and sister Eileen to when he joined the navy and worked his way up to Chief Petty Officer. The album also includes some picture of his Dad: William C Wake who died in service in 1928 when my Dad was 5 years old. My Dad was on the HMS Barham when it was destroyed by a torpedo with 841 sailors losing their life for King and country on 25th November 1941. He landed a mile from the ship when it exploded and found a piece of the ship floating nearby to hold onto until he was rescued. There were some photos of the ship blowing up but I haven’t scanned these in as they are the same as ones on the HMS Barham Association website devoted to those who lost their lives in the most disastrous sinking of the entire second World War. Dad used to meet up with the survivors each year until there weren’t enough left alive to make it worth while (the last meeting being the 50th in 2006).
On 30th August 2016, the day after I wrote the above, the HMS Barham Association website disappeared! Until I have found out whether it is simply being updated or has in fact gone forever please see wikipedia instead. I rang the president of the Barham Associatation – Michael Stratton-Brown – and he promised to email the administrator who is currently away in Ireland! I‘m pleased to report that by 2nd September – my birthday – the website was restored! Read this too about The Barham Conspiracy – it’s fascinating – enemy misdirection at it’s very best including a witch hunt which annoyed the hell out of Churchill!
Dad served in Naples in 1944 which is when over-exposure to the sun (as in mad dogs and Englishment go out in the midday sun) caused him to get cancer of the skin later in life but the operation was successful in removing the small areas of skin on his face that were affected with hardly a blemish left behind on his naturally ruddy complexion. Dad was a fit man when he died – since the death of my Mum 1993 he regularly went ballroom dancing and was spending a few days at Sine Warren with his regular dancing partner. He died on Christmas eve 2000 in her chalet while tying up his shoe laces the clever way – ie while standing and proving that he could still touch his toes. Good to know that he died happy . . .
Dad Wake’s Photo Album 4 – From baby to navy – click on the photo below to see the PDF file to which the album was scanned.
While viewing the PDF file you can click on at the bottom right to make the current picture fit the screen. If you would like to have a JPG copy of an individual photograph you can download the file and then either copy&paste the one you want or convert all the photos to JPG by using the online converter pdftojpg.me.
HMS Barham – Dad’s pictures of the sinking – better resolution than those on the website.
Click on the picture below to see the PDF file to which they were scanned!
RESEARCH ON MY GRANDFATHER WILLIAM WAKE
I found a record of William Wake’s death in a book called “Royal Navy Roll of Honour – Between the Wars, 1918-1939” by Don Kindell – see page 159.
I understood his middle name was Cecil – as on his gravestone – which my Dad inherited so the G must be a spelling error as it seems doubtful that there was another Chief Stoker who died on the same day. However, the G is confirmed at naval-history.net! It’s also confirmed at discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk which gives his date of birth as 9th June 1895 and place as Winchester. I know he lived in Whitchurch which is near Winchester but I‘m not sure about his date of birth but when I searched on search.ancestry.co.uk with that exact information it found the correction collection: UK, British Army and Navy Birth, Marriage and Death Records, 1730-1960 but I didn’t want to pay for the next step to see the actual record.
Having researched on search.findmypast.co.uk I discovered the following without paying anything:
William G Wake born 1895 in Stepney, London
Louisa Wedge born 1894 in Wandsworth, London
in 1919 in Whitchurch, Hampshire
Louisa Wake born 1894 died in 1963 in Woolwich, London
It would therefore seem that the C on the gravestone is incorrect – it should be a G or is a badly formed G!
The ship on which he died is pictured below: HMS Warspite