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Roll of Honour

Hartlepool seafarers lost at sea

Charlton, Adolph Coles

7, Northgate, Hartlepool

Lost on the Armoured Cruiser HMS Hampshire

Born in Hartlepool on 1st May 1891, Adolph was the son of Alfred Coles Charlton and his wife Catherine  Hogg Charlton (nee Prince). Alfred had been born around 1845 in London and Catherine about 1860 in Gateshead (or perhaps Sunderland, as she declared both on different Census returns). The couple married in 1880 in Gateshead. As newly weds in 1881, they lived in St. Cuthbert’s Road, Gateshead, and Alfred was a clothier’s shopman.

The family must have moved to 7, Northgate, Hartlepool, in the  late 1880s, as on the 1891 Census they had children Bertha, aged 9, Charles, 7, and baby Kate, all born in Gateshead. Alfred Coles Charlton by this time was no longer a shopman but a tailor and clothier presumably with his own business. In 1901 they were still in Northgate, Alfred had a clothing shop and there were children Bertha 19, Kate 12, Adolph 9 and Edward 1.

The 1911 Census shows that young Adolph was no longer with the family in Northgate, but was at Half Moon Lane, Herne Hill, London, living with his brother-in-law Cyril Yeoman, a London pharmacist, his wife Bertha and their baby Margaret. There was also a servant in the household. Adolf was a student in the Mercantile Marine at this point. On August 2nd 1912, he was awarded a Certificate of Competency as First Mate, and on Oct 16th, 1914, a Certificate of Competency as a Master. He was then appointed as a Sub-Lieutenant on HMS Hampshire.

Whilst serving on HMS Hampshire on 5th June 1916, with Lord Kitchener on board, Adolph, along with over 600 others including Kitchener, was killed when the ship, having left Scapa Flow in Orkney, hit a mine in heavy seas off the west coast of the islands. Some mystery and controversy surrounds this, as at the time some believed the ship should not have sailed unnecessarily in such bad weather, was it a plot to kill Kitchener, was it sabotage? The Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Lyness on the Orkney Island of Hoy commemorates the dead from HMS Hampshire.

Adolph’s parents were informed of his death and he appears not to have been married. Alfred, a Freemason, died in 1926, leaving £901 in his Will to his wife, suggesting his clothing business had been a successful venture.

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