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William James Bingham RN

"Experience is the best schoolmaster
And the world the best school."

(Quotation inscribed in WJB's Personal Logbook)

From grandson Bryan BADHAM:

My Grandfather was born on 25th October 1891 in Ashford, Kent and began working locally in his teens while still at school, later accompanying his employers to the west country. He decided to become a sailor and went to naval training school for nine months as a 'Boy'. On 25th October 1909, his eighteenth birthday, he signed on with the Royal Navy and served for 12 years. He had wanted to sign for 21 years but the recruiting officer suggested he should "try 12 first"!

He was part of the crew of some 18 ships and establishments - including Tilbury in 1919 and the photo above was taken about then.

Unfortunately many of the 1914-18 war service records were destroyed during WW2; however I now have a copy of his overall Seaman's Service Record as follows.

He began his training in 1909 and on 25 February went as Boy 2nd class to Ganges until 13 April, then transferred to Ganges II where on 4 May he became Boy 1st class, and continued his training until 3 June.

HMS Ganges:
Ship: ordered June 1816 and built in India of teak, she proved particularly durable.
Shore: RN Boy Seamen Ships/Shore Schools (Falmouth/Shotley), opened 1866, closed 1973.
Shore: RN Boys training establishment, Harwich (1904,5...).
This seems to be a training establishment photo,
since their is no ship's name-badge visible - but where?
If you know, please leave a message in the guestbook (link below).

In the above photo William James BINGHAM is the young man standing up straight near centre in the back row, fifth from right (detail at the top of his 'Logbook' page, link below); was it taken at a Ganges training base?

William went to Magnificent on 4 June 1909.

HMS Magnificent:
Laid down 18 December 1893 Chatham Dockyard, launched 19 December 1894, completed December 1895.
One of 9 Majestic Class Battleships (with Majestic, Caesar, Hannibal, Illustrious, Jupiter, Mars, Prince George, Victorious).
Crew 675; length 390ft., beam 75ft., draught 27ft., displacement 14,900 tons; propulsion: oil and coal, 2-shaft vertical triple expansion, 10,000hp., speed 13 knots, range 4,700 miles at 10 knots.
As-built: armour: 9in. belt, 14in. barbettes, 10in. gun houses, 4-2.5in decks; armament: 4 x 12in. 35 cal., 12 x 6in., 16 x 12-pounders, 12 x 2-pounders, 5 x 18in. torpedo tubes.
Main armament later reduced to 12in. guns, gun and mounting of a new superior type; also first Class in British service to be fitted with 'Harvey' armour giving equivalent protection with reduced thickness.
1901: Channel Squadron, "... full war paint black and grey ... looked much more formidable than if she was painted in the ordinary Naval colours of black, white, yellow and red" (from a Petty Officer's diary, HMS Ophir).
1914 - outbreak of War: Magnificent, Hannibal, Mars, Victorious, formed 9th Battle Squadron. The oldest and least effective battleships in service, the Squadron was soon dispersed and they were used as guard ships.
3 October 1914: Magnificent lead the British escort and 32 ships of the 1st Canadian Expeditionary Force crossing the Atlantic (see Eclipse below).
1915: main guns were removed for use in General Wolfe Class Monitors; these old battleships served as troopships - Magnificent in the Mediterranean 1915-1917.
1918–1919: Magnificent was an ammunition ship at Rosyth.
Sold to breakers at Inverkeithing May 1921.

He qualified as 'Ordy' (Ordinary?) on 25 October, when he officially became a Royal Navy seaman.
 

William James BINGHAM: signed on at Chatham 25 October 1909; service no. J.3945; served 12 yrs.

His Age was '18'; his Height measured as '5ft.5½in.' then as '5ft.5¾in.'; his Chest was '33½in.'; his Hair 'Bro.' [brown], his Eyes 'Grey', his Complexion 'Fresh'. Under Wounds, Scars or Marks were listed: 'Scar L. elbow; Small mole on Stomach'.

On 30 October he transferred to Pembroke I. During this early period his Character was noted as 'VG.' and 'G.'

HMS Pembroke:
RN Boys Gunnery Ship in the Medway.
Royal Naval Barracks, Chatham.

On 15 November 1909 he joined Hogue on what seems to have been a period when the vessel remained in port. On 31 August 1911, two months before his 20th birthday, William passed 'A.B.' (Able-Bodied Seaman), while his Character, at year's end, was noted 'Sat.' (satisfactory?). William was on board Hogue until 20 February 1912.

HMS Hogue
Family mythology has it that William was at the top
of the mast when this photo was taken...
HMS Hogue:
Cressy-class armored cruiser built by Vickers Ltd., Barrow-in-Furness, 1902.
Crew 760; length 472ft.; beam 69ft. 6in.; displacement 12,000 tons; steel hull; armament 2 × 9.2, 12 × 6, 13 × 12-pounders, 2 × 18in. torpedo tubes; armour: 6in. belt; machines: triple expansion, screws, 4 funnels; speed 21 knots.
Channel fleet [date?].
2 years on the China Station.
2 years in North American waters.
... December 1911... laid up at Chatham.
Beginning of WWI assigned to Grand Fleet, 3rd Cruiser Squadron.
1914: 7th Cruiser Squadron, southern area of North Sea, with Aboukir, Bacchante (F), Cressy, Euryalus.
22 September 1914: sunk by torpedo.
(See link below for the tragic sinking of Hogue, Aboukir, Cressy.)

A Mr. James BISSET was also on board Hogue during William's service on her.

Having volunteered as a Royal Navy Reservist, Cunard 2nd Officer James BISSET presented himself at Chatham on 2 December 1911 for 1 month's training on board Hogue; he was informed by Captain C. W. Keighley PEACH that the vessel was temporarily laid up as part of the reserve fleet, with no opportunity of going to sea. On 2 January 1912 Sub-Lieutenant BISSET RNR returned to his Cunard postings. On 15 April 1912 he was 2nd Officer of the Cunard "Carpathia" when she received the distress call of the "Titanic", and it was "Carpathia" who steamed full ahead, navigating the icebergs with 2nd officer BISSET as starboard bridge lookout, to rescue those passengers who had taken to the boats. He was later Sir James BISSET, KB, CBE, RD, RNR, LLD(Cantab.), Commander of the Legion of Merit (USA), Commodore (retd.) Cunard White Star Line. (He wrote several articles for the magazine "The Dog Watch".)
 
William James BINGHAM, A.B. R.N.
Naval uniform 1909-12
HMS Hogue

Whether on leaving Pembroke I, or during his time on Hogue is not clear, but my Grandfather gained the trade badge of Seaman Torpedo Man.
 

 
William's next ship was Antrim, but her complement of apparently 234/204 was well under the normally 655-strong crew. William served on this ship from 21 February to 1 December 1912.

HMS Antrim
Devonshire-Class Armoured Cruiser, launched 1903.
Crew 655; length 450ft., beam 68ft. 6in., draft 24ft., displacement 10,850 tons; speed 22 knots; armament: 4 x 7.5in. guns, 6 x 6in. guns, 18 x 3-pounders, 2 x 18in. torpedo tubes.
1903: 1st Cruiser Squadron, Channel Fleet.
March 1907: 2nd Cruiser Squadron
September 1908: Atlantic Fleet.
April 1909: Home Fleet, 3rd Division (Nore).
December 1912: flagship to Rear-Admiral, 3rd Cruiser Squadron.
August 1914: The Grand Fleet; captured German merchant ship.
9 October 1914: survived u-boat attack
June 1916: Archangel.
____ American and West Indies Station.
1919: reserve at the Nore.
Refitted as a wireless, Asdic trials ship; recommissioned March 1920.
1922: Cadet Training Ship.
19 December 1922: sold for scrap.

He then went to Pembroke until 13 December; from 14 December 1912 to 16 May 1913 William went to Actaeon.

HMS Actaeon:
Shore establishment.

The Naval Discipline Act required all shore establishments to have as adjunct a vessel afloat of the same name.

Additional information from "Battleships & Cruisers" (link below):
HMS Actaeon was previously HMS Dido:
12-gun screw corvette, launched Portsmouth 23 October 1869.
Length 212ft., beam 36ft., draught 16ft.; 1,760 tons; 2,520hp, speed 13.6 knots.
Name subsequently changed to “Actaeon”.
Served as mine depot ship on the Forth.
Merged into Sheerness Torpedo School.
Scrapped 1922.

On William's record sheet, under 'Sub-ratings', 'Rating', is the mention 'SY From 14.5.13', but there is no apparent explanation of 'SY' to date.

From Actaeon William returned to Pembroke I. His next ship was Cressy (sister-ship to 'Hogue') from 14 May to 21 August 1913, then back to Pembroke I until 1 October.
 

Hogue, sister-ship to HMS Cressy
HMS Cressy:
Built Fairfield Shipbuilding & Engineering Co., Ltd., Govan, Scotland, 1901.
Cressy Class Armoured Cruiser: specification as for "Hogue" above.
First service on China Station.
1904: returned to home waters.
1914: Grand Fleet, 3rd Cruiser Squadron, Nore.
22 September 1914: torpedoed and sunk, with her sister-ships "Aboukir" and "Hogue".

He joined Eclipse which seems to have taken him to Hong Kong, where from 13 October 1913 he served on Tamar, until 1 December 1914.

HMS Eclipse (6th):
Wooden Screw Corvette (sloop), laid down as "Sappho"; launched as "Eclipse" 14 November 1867.
Length 212ft., beam 36ft., draught 11ft.; 1,273 tons; 350hp, speed 10 knots; 12 guns.
1882: commanded by Captain Edmund St. John Garthforth, engaged in Egyptian War.
August 1882: contributed to Naval Brigade (mostly Marines) which occupied Suez.
1888: lent to War Office.
1892: returned to RN.
3 October 1914: part of the escort to the 1st Canadian Troop Convoy, Canadian Expeditionary Force
1914: 12th Cruiser Squadron, Western Channel Patrol.
Later became Naval ordnance mine depot, Plymouth.
Scrapped 1921.
The formation of the Convoy Escorts to the 32 ships of the 1st Canadian Expeditionary Force crossing the Atlantic to come to the help of Great Britain and her allies:
- Magnificent in the lead,
- Eclipse, Diana and Charybdis each leading a column of Canadian ships,
- Princess Royal on the port wing,
- Glory on the starboard wing,
- Talbot bringing up the rear.
HMS Tamar:
Class: Iron Screw Troopship, built Millwall, launched Samuda, Poplar, 1863.
Displacement 3,650 tons; 3 masts; steam power, top speed 12 knots; 6 x 6-pounder guns.
1874: crew was part of the Naval Brigade which helped defeat the Ashanti at Amoaful.
1882: took part in the bombardment of Alexandria.
1897: base ship Hong Kong; remained inside the Royal Dockyard at 'Admiralty' until 1941.
August 1914 Navy List: Commander Morshead B. BAILLIE-HAMILTON: 6 March 1914, Fleet Paymaster Philip RAMSAY, Chief Gunner James WALLACE.
12 December 1941: scuttled Hong Kong before arrival of Japanese forces.

For more than two years of the Great War (his Record gives 2 December 1914 to 6 April 1917) William was part of the complement of Blenheim (Kennet). However, William's Personal Log has this written inside the cover-page:

   
Commissioned at Malta 13 Oct. 1913
 
W. J. Bingham. AB.         
HMS. Kennett         
Hong Kong         
China         
-----         
 
HMS Blenheim:
Blake Class Cruiser (Protected 1st Class), designed by Sir William WHITE, laid down October 1888, built by Thames Iron Works (Chatham Dockyard), launched 5 July 1890, completed 26 May 1894.
Crew 570; displacement 9,150 tons; length 375ft.; beam 65ft.; as-built armour: 6in. deck, 4.5in. turret; armament 2 x 9.2in. 32cal. guns + 10 x 6in. 40cal. guns + 18 x 50cal. 3-pounders (Hotchkiss); (designed) speed 22 knots; main engines: reciprocating, 2 shafts, 20,000hp.
1905-6 converted to Destroyer Depot Ship.
From 1913: with flotillas in the Mediterranean.
March 1915: went to Mudros.
Remained in the Mediterranean.
1921-25 depot ship for reserve Minesweepers at Harwich, then Sheerness.
1926: sold to Ward, Permbroke Dock (breakers).
HMS Kennet:
River (E) Class, Torpedo Boat Destroyer, built by Th[ornycroft]; launched 4 December 1903.
Crew: 70; pennant D[--]; displacement 550 tons; length 220[225]ft.; beam 23.75[23.6]ft.; draught 12ft.; armament 1 x 12 pounders (12 cwt.), 3 x 12 pounders (8 cwt.), 2 x 18in. torpedo tubes; speed 25.5 knots; machinery 7,500 fd.; bunkerage 130 tons coal.
(River Class were used during WWI for patrol and escort duties.)
August 1914: Eastern Fleet, China Squadron, China Station; tender to Triumph;
22 August 1914: with 2 other destroyers patrolled before Tsingtao (under siege), raced to engage German 'S90', which, more lightly-armed, fled, scoring 2 damaging hits on Kennet, which disengaged when Tsingtao's coastal batteries opened fire.
Sold 1 December 1919, broken up.

Both Blenheim and Kennet are listed elsewhere as Allied Warships 'engaged in or connected with' the Gallipoli campaign.

In his personal Log Book, William made these notes:

   
HMS Kennet - Hong Kong
China Oct. 13th-10-1913
-------
Program of Cruise 1914
 
 
 
8th
16th
20th
 
4th
8th
29th
 
8th
6th
 
11th
21st
24th
30th
 
6th
18th
22nd
26th
 
3rd
8th
 
 
 
 
 
 
Left
April
Hong Kong
Nagasaki
Miyajima
May
Kobe
Nagasaki
Wei-Hai Wei
June
Shanghai
Wei-Hai Wei
July
Mew Chuang
Tuntsin
Chufoo
Wei-Hai Wei
August
Hong Kong
Saddle Ils.
Tsingtau
Wei-Hai Wei
September
Hong Kong
Philipine Ils.
Cocoa Ils.
Singapore
Bombay
Aden
Suez
Malta
Arrival
 
Nagasaki
Miyajima
Kobe
 
Nagasaki
Wei-Hai Wei
Shanghai
 
Wei-Hai Wei
Muw Chuang
 
Tuntsin
Chufoo
Wei-Hai Wei
 
Hong Kong
Saddle Ils.
Tsingtau
Wei-Hai Wei
Hong Kong
 
Philipine Ils.
Cocoa Ils.
Singapore
Bombay
Aden
Suez
Malta
Tenedos
 
 
12th
18th
21st
 
  6th
10th
30th
 
10th
  7th
 
12th
22nd
26th
 
  5th
  9th
22nd
24th
30th
 
  7th
10th
 
 
 
 
 
 
  Dardanelles Patrol
 
Feb. 1915: Payed of April 1914
 

William left Blenheim (Kennet) on 6 April 1917 and returned to Pembroke I; against the date of his return is '(1)' referring to a note:

'Over 6 yrs. 25.10.15'.

William's Service Record bears the stamp:

PAID WAR GRATUITY
H.M.S.__"Blenheim" "Tilbury"__List      II Pa[id]

Kennet is not listed under 'WAR GRATUITY', so that officially William must have been part of the complement of Blenheim although apparently sailing on board Kennet. (He was not listed for Blenheim (Tilbury) until early May 1919 to end June 1920 (see below) - after the end of the Great (Naval) War since the German High Seas Fleet was scuppered at Scapa Flow on 21 June 1919.)

His next posting was to Woolwich (Valentine) on 9 June 1917 until 30 June 1918.
 

HMS Valentine
HMS Woolwich:
Destroyer depot ship.
HMS Valentine:
Royal Navy Destroyer, Admiralty V & W Class; ordered July, laid down 7 August, 1916; built by Cammell Laird Shipyard (Birkenhead); launched 24 March, commissioned 27 June, 1917.
Pennant: L 69; Fast Escort.
15 April 1917: "Destroyed enemy trawlers 110 prisoners" - WJB
June 1917: joined the Grand Fleet, 13th Destroyer Flotilla.

He is then listed for Columbine (Valentine) from 1 July until 4 September 1918.

The ship HMS Columbine in 1905
HMS Columbine:
1916: a site at Queensferry, Port Edgar (north of Edinburgh, Scotland) was acquired by the Admiralty and developed as a purpose-built Torpedo Boat Destroyer depot.
1917: commissioned as HMS Columbine.
 
Crew of HMS Valentine

(Vice Admiral) Marcel Harcourt Attwood KELSEY (1894-1964), was listed as serving on Valentine in 1917 (age 23).

Samuel WATSON, AB, RN (J.54962) was with Columbine in August 1918; in conformity with the provisions of an Act of Parliament passed on 6th February 1918 enabling servicemen over the age of 21 to vote in their home constituency, WATSON's name appears in the list of Absent Voters for the Spring Hill Ward of Accrington, with the address of 33 Higher Antley Street.

From WJB's Personal Log:

 
Commissioned at Birkenhead
26 June 1917 Tuesday
-------
HMS Valentine 26 June 1917
Queensferry Patrol
  Queensferry - Scarpa Flow
Scarpa Flow - Queensferry
Queensferry - Immingham - 28th Sep.
29th Sep. - Immingham - Queensferry - 4th Oct.
17th [Nov.] - Engaged Enemy Cruisers
3rd Jan. - Newcastle for Docking
17th Feb. - Newcastle - Queensferry
Queensferry - Scarpa Flow
Scarpa Flow - Queensferry
15th April - Destroyed Enemy Trawlers 110 Prisoners
23rd April - Birkenhead Repairs
20th May - Birkenhead - Queensferry
24th Aug. - Granton Base
 
Left For Torpedo School
Sep. 3/9/18
 
 
Granton Harbour:
On the southern shore of the Firth of Forth, Scotland.
Built at the instigation of and financed by the 5th Duke of Buccleuch on his estate of Caroline Park.
Advised by lighthouse engineer Robert STEVENSON.
Harbour opened 1838.
Further breakwaters and quays completed 1863.
Lighthouse (Granton Road Light): 50 ft. 12-sided cylindrical stone and brick tower with black-roofed, diamond-pane lantern and gallery, rising from 2-story brick-built warehouse.
(Lighthouse no longer functions; harbour site under redevelopment.)

On 20 October 1918, about six weeks after William left Valentine, Wilfred David BAKER, RN (K.42186), Stoker 1st Class of the Valentine, died of pneumonia (age 29); it may be that William and Wilfred served together. (Wilfred BAKER is buried at Upchurch, Kent, in the cemetery extension of St. Mary's.)

Thus, according to his Log, by 5 September 1918 William was again at Pembroke I, at 'Torpedo School'.

His Service Record bears a '(2)' against the May 1919 posting, referring to the note 'Over 6 yrs. 1.2.19', followed by what may be 'Sep. 20 ledger' or 'Sep. 2_ Badge_'.

This torpedo badge is amongst the souvenirs of my Grandfather's naval service (although it's suffered a little over the years), and the two stars would seem to confirm his second period of training. However, the embroidered initials, in a slightly paler yellow, are certainly private enterprise, being "W B" "E L" and referring to William and his wife-to-be, though at what stage they were added is unclear; perhaps in war-time there was more latitude for initiative!

On 9 May 1919 he returned to Blenheim, this time coupled with Tilbury.

In July 1918 Tilbury was in Sebastopol (according to the memoirs of Midshipman William Ewart GEORGE - F.15507), and from there went to Yalta; she must have have gone almost directly to the Dardanelles after her launch in June 1918.

HMS Tilbury (7th):
Fleet Destroyer, S Class; built by Swan Hunter, laid down 30 May/1 June 1917, launched 3 June 1918.
Pennant F 79; crew 90; length overall 276ft. 3in., beam 243ft. 2in., draught 9ft. 5in.; displacement 905 tons; main engines: steam turbines, 27,000hp., 2 shafts, 3 boilers, maximum speed 36 knots, bunkerage 301 tons; as-built armament: 3 X 4in. 40cal. guns, 1 x 2-pounder 40cal. gun, 4 X 21in. torpedo tubes
November 1918 (Navy List): 5th Destroyer Flotilla/Mediterranean Flotilla.
Involved in:
- 5 April 1919: grounding of "Tryphon",
- 6 November 1920 : grounding of "Stonehenge",
- 12 November 1920: "Tobago" mined Black Sea,
- 24 September 1922: collision with "Speedy",
Decommissioned [1 February 1931].
HMS Tryphon:
Thornycroft Special (1 of 7), launched 22 June 1918.
Ran aground 4 May 1919 [variation in date, or different event?].
Sold for scrap September 1920.
HMS Stonehenge:
Destroyer 'S' Class, launched 19 March 1919
Crew 90; displacement: 905 tons; speed 36 knots; armament:1 x 4in., 1 x 3in. AA; 8 x 5in. AA, 2 x 4 20mm AA, 2/4 x 1 guns, 2 x 4in, 1 x 2-pounder, AA guns.
6 November 1920: wrecked.
HMS Tobago:
Thornycroft 'S' class Destroyer, built Southampton (1 of 5), launched 5 July 1918.
Length: 275.75ft.; displacement 1,087 ton; armament 4 x 21in. torpedo tubes in pairs on 2 turntables, 2 x 18in. torpedo tubes on racks (under bridge), 3 x 4in. guns, 1 x 2-pounder pom-pom.
Mined 12 November 1920, patched and towed to Malta by "Centurion".
Repairs were uneconomical; sold, broken for scrap 1922.
HMS Speedy:
Thornycroft 'S' class Destroyer, launched 1918
Sunk, Sea of Marmora, 1922.

According to another member of our family: "His final trip was to Russia for two years" so that Tilbury seems to have been active in the Russian campaign from her launch in June 1918 until at least summer 1920.

From WJB's Personal Log, for 1919:

   
Programme of Cruise
HMS Tilbury
-------
Commisioned at Chatham
May 24/5/19 Tuesday
 
Left
May

Sheerness
June
Plymouth
Gibraltar
Malta
Mudros
Smyrna
July
Constantinople
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Constantinople
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
August
Mudros
Mitylenne
Smyrna
Smyrna
Smyrna
& Returned
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Smyrna
September
Constantinoble
Smyrna
Constantinoble
Smyrna
Mytline
Aivila
Smyrna
Aivila
Smyrna
Piraeus
October
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Constantinoble
Ismiel
Constantinoble
Mudania
Ismiel
November
Ismiel
Constantinoble
Odessa
Odessa
December
Odessa
Constantinople
 
 
31/5/19
 
2/6/19
6/6/19
26/6/19
28/6/19
30/6/19
 
2/7/19
3/7/19
8/7/19
11/7/19
14/7/19
15/7/19
16/7/19
21/7/19
22/7/19
28/7/19
29/7/19
31/7/19
 
5/8/19
6/8/19
to
to
to
to
13/8/19
20/8/19
to
31/8/19
 
4/9/19
8/9/19
11/9/19
23/9/19
24/9/19
24/9/19
26/9/19
27/9/19
29/9/19
30/9/19
 
2/10/19
7/10/19
9/10/19
10/10/19
19/10/19
22/10/19
to
to
to
to
 
11/11/19
12/11/19
14/11/19
to
 
1/12/19
to
Arrived
 
 
Plymouth
Gibraltar
Malta
Mudros
Smyrna
 
Constantinople
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Constantinople
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
 
Mudros
Mytleni
Smyrna
Aivali & Back
Aivali to
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Aivali & Returned
Constantinoble
 
Smyrna
Constantinoble
Smyrna
Mytline
Aivila
Smyrna
Aivila
Smyrna
Piraeus
 
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Mudros
Smyrna
Constantinoble
Ismiel
Constantinoble
Mudania
Constantinoble & Ismiel
Constantinoble Returned
 
Constantinoble
Odessa
Nikolaiev
Saint Paul's Bay
 
Constantinoble
Ismiel
 
 
 
186/19
4/6/19
8/6/19
28/6/19
28/6/19
 
1/7/19
3/7/19
4/7/19
8/7/19
12/7/19
15/7/19
16/7/19
17/7/19
22/7/19
22/7/19
29/7/19
30/7/19
 
1/8/19
5/8/19
6/8/19
8/8/19
 
11/8/19
12/8/19
13/8/19
20/8/19
24/8/19
31/8/19
 
5/9/19
9/9/19
12/9/19
23/9/19
24/9/19
24/9/19
27/9/19
27/9/19
30/9/19
 
1/10/19
8/10/19
8/10/19
10/10/19
11/10/19
20/10/19
22/10/19
24/10/19
25/10/19
27/10/19
28/10/19
 
11/11/19
13/11/19
14/11/19
26/11/19
 
2/12/19
2/12/19
With Mail to flag ship Iron Duke
Arrived Malta
Left Malta
Como
Gibraltar
5/12/19
6/12/19
7/12/19
9/12/19
 
Anchored at
for 3 hours arrived at
  
December & Jan. Refitting Ship
Left for Malta 2 P.M. 6/2/20
  

...and for 1920:

   
HMS Tilbury 1920
Left
February

Gibraltar
Malta
Alexandria
Port Said
March
Alexandria
Port Said
Haifa (Palestine)
April
Alexandria
Malta to Siracusa
June
Malta
Smyrna
Mudros
Constantinople
Sevastopol
Yalta
July
Sevastopol
Constantinople
Malta
Gibraltar
Plymouth
 
 
 
6/2/20
15/2/20
18/2/20
20/2/20
 
14/3/20
15/3/20
17/3/20
 
18/4/20
28/4/20
 
1/6/20
3/6/20
4/6/20
7/6/20
8/6/20
30/6/20
 
6/7/20
11/7/20
17/7/20
21/7/20
26/7/20
 
Arrived
 
Malta
Alexandria
Port Said
Alexandria
 
Port Said
Haifa (Palestine)
Alexandria
 
Malta
Returned
 
Smyrna
Mudros
Constantinople
Sevastopol
Yalta
Sevastopol
 
Constantinople
Malta
Gibraltar
Plymouth
 
 
 
 
9/2/20
18/2/20
19/2/20
20/2/20
 
15/3/20
16/3/20
18/3/20
 
21/4/20
28/4/20
 
3/6/20
4/6/20
4/6/20
8/6/20
8/6/20
30/6/20
 
7/7/20
15/7/20
20/7/20
24/7/20
 
 
 

 
With the other photos is this one of camel-mounted sailors in front of the Sphinx. I can't be sure if William was on a camel or behind the camera, but his cruise list for Tilbury includes Alexandria.

 
My Grandfather was a man of many talents; he drew these two pictures of Tilbury:
 

Pencil sketch of "Us at Sea"
 
Water colour painting of HMS Tilbury, F79
 

There are 2 dates for the de-commissioning of Tilbury: February 1931 and June 1947; however, there does not seem to have been another Royal Navy vessel of this name after F79, since her successor (laid down in 1942) was transferred to the Indian Navy as "Konkan"; therefore the following incidents may, or may not, have involved Tilbury.

- 27 May 1940: British evacuation, Operation Dynamo, Dunkirk,
- 30 October 1940: grounding HMS Sturdy,
- 10 December 1941: air strike sinking of "Repulse" and "Prince Of Wales", South China Sea,
- 27 January 1942: surface action Endau,
- 4 March 1942: air strike.
Decommissioned [29 June 1947].

By 1 July 1920 William was back at Pembroke I where he remained until 24 October, then joined Cleopatra until 25 August 1921.

HMS Cleopatra:
Caroline Class Light Cruiser, built by Cammell Laird, laid down February 1914, completed June 1915.
Crew 325; length 420ft., 446ft. overall; beam 41ft. 6in.; draught 14ft. 9in.; displacement 4,219 tons; load 4,733 tons; propulsion: 4 shaft Parsons turbines, 40,000 shp; speed 28.5 knots; armour: 3-1in. belt, 1in. decks; armament: 2 x 6in. 45cal. guns, 8 x 4in. 45cal. guns, 1 x 6-pounder gun, 4 x 21in. torpedo tubes
June 1915 to August 1918: Harwich Force, Cruisers (later 5th Light Cruiser Squadron).
August 1915: North Sea.
Captured the following German trawlers:
- 30 September 1915: "Darmstadt" (1896, 158 tons), renamed "Carbosin".
- 30 September 1915: "Orion" (1891, 158 tons), renamed "Cambrisin".
- 7 October 1915: "Paul" (1894, 153 tons), renamed "Canossin".
23-24 March 1916: rammed and sunk German destroyer G 194; was damaged in collision with "Undaunted".
25 March 1916: sank a German destroyer
4 August 1916: damaged by mine off Belgian coast.
August 1918: 7th Light Cruiser Squadron, Grand Fleet.
1931: sold for scrap.

From Cleopatra he returned again to Pembroke I, and from there William James BINGHAM joined his last ship, Caledon, on 26 August 1921.

HMS Caledon:
Ship Class Light Cruiser, designed by Sir E. Tennyson d'Eyncourt, built by Cammell Laird, laid down 17 March, launched 25 November, 1916; commissioned 6 March 1917.
Crew 334; length overall 484ft., beam 46ft., draught 15ft. 4in., displacement 4,179 tons;main engines steam turbine, 2 shafts, 6 boilers, 40,000hp, maximum speed 29 knots, cruising speed 10 knots, bunkerage 935 tons, range 5,900 miles; as-built armour: 3in. belt, 1in. deck; as-built armament: 5 X 6in. 45cal., 2 X 3in. 45cal. 12-pounders (20cwt.), 2 X 2-pounders, torpedo.
Decommissioned 1 January 1948.

William left Caledon on 17 October 1921 and returned for the last time to Pembroke I until 25 October 1921 when he signed off at age 30, returning to civilian life for the first time since the end of his teens. His record was stamped:

Unemployment Insurance P[aid?]
sent to Ministry of Labour
Register No. 17586.

There is no clear indication of the periods of shore leave.

Under 'Character', for the years ending December 1917-1921 William's record states 'Supr'.
 

The 1914 (red), and 1915, -16, -17 (blue) chevrons.
This photo would seem to have been taken before
the attribution of the 1918 (blue) chevron.

 
William James BINGHAM, RN, survived the Great War and his service medals are still in the family - the 1914 Star, British War Medal, Victory Medal. (I have read that these were sometimes referred to as 'Pip, Squeak and Wilfred', cartoon characters of their times....)

The Great War for Civilisation 1914-1919
"Lest we forget"

 
Read William James Bingham's Logbook

Images of the pages together with other mementos of his time in the Royal Navy

 

Guestbook

Please take the time to sign our guestbook - thank you!

William James BINGHAM's family would be very pleased to hear from anyone who had a family member on board any of the above-mentioned ships, particularly during the Great War, but more especially anyone who knew of WJB during his naval service; also from any other descendant of this BINGHAM line - October 2005.

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The details of the various ships (in black print), technical and service, are taken from many naval history sources, memoirs, websites, including this slow-loading site (best visited with broadband) but which is excellent:

http://navalhistory.flixco.info

HMS Pembroke with St. George's (naval) Church are now part of the University of Greenwich and Chatham Maritime, and are open to visitors

Photographic Tour of HMS Pembroke Today

Petty Officer's Diary 1901: Warship Colours Pre-War

WW1: Loss of HMS Aboukir, Cressy, Hogue

The WWI Document Archive Page

Dido:Actaeon, Sappho:Eclipse

RN Shore Establishments

Naval History & Ships

"HMS Tilbury"s

Created October 2005