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Charles Thomas Minnett

Rank: Able Seaman

Lifetime: 1897-1918

Reference: J/39163

Able Seaman Charles Thomas Minnett of HMS Raglan lost his life on 20 January 1918 when the ship he was serving on was attacked by the Turkish battlecruiser Yavuz Sultan Selim (formerly SMS Goeben), the cruiser Midilli (formerly SMS Breslau) and 4 destroyers, and sunk with the loss of 127 lives. He is buried at the Lancashire Landing Cemetery, Cape Helles, Gallipoli.

According to his file in the Royal Navy Registers of Seaman’s Services (ADM 188/725/39163) held by the National Archives, Able Seaman Charles Thomas Minnett was born in Kingston on 5 May 1897 and entered service in 1915. His next of kin was his mother , Florence Ellen Elliman, of 37 School House Lane, then in the postal district of Hampton Wick. She had obviously re-married at some point after the death of Able Seaman Minnett’s father as at the time of the 1911 Census she was living in Kingston with her husband, Henry C Minnett, a grocer shopkeeper, and their seven children.

His service record reveals that he volunteered for the Royal Navy on 18 May 1915. He was only 5 feet 4 1/2 inches tall with a 34 inch chest; brown hair; grey eyes and fair complexion. He served on HMS Pembroke for 2 weeks from 18 May 1915 until 2 June 1915 and thereafter on HMS Raglan. He was promoted to the rank of Able Seaman on 4 October 1917.

HMS Raglan was designed by Harland & Wolff shipbuilders in 1914 to use 4 14 inch gun turrets originally destined for the Greek ship Salamis but which Charles M Schwab of Bethlem Steel offered to Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, when he was unable to deliver them to the German shipbuilders because of the British Naval Blockade.

Originally named R Lee on 1 December 1914 in honour of the US General the ship had to be hastily renamed as a result of US neutrality. It was renamed HMS M3 at the end of May 1915 and thereafter became HMS Raglan on 23 June 1915.

Able Seaman Minnett joined the ship when it was newly commissioned and sent to the Dardanelles in June 1915. It remained in the Eastern Mediterranean operating out of Imbros.

On 20 January 1918 it was attacked by the Turkish battlecruiser, Yavuz Sultan Selim (formerly SMS Goeben) , the cruiser Middli (formerly SMS Breslau) and 4 destroyers. HMS Raglan went down with a loss of 127 lives, including Able Seaman Charles Thomas Minnett.

Able Seaman Charles Thomas Minnett is commemorated (albeit with an incorrect entry)on the war memorial in St Mark’s Church, Teddington as “Charles Minnitt” and on the Teddington War Memorial again with an incorrect entry as “Minett, CT Pte”. He also has an entry on the Online WW1 War Memorial for Teddington.

The first phase of this Project is to gather information about the men commemorated on the Hampton Wick War Memorial who fought in the Great War, also known as World War I, WWI or the First World War.

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