A HARTLEPUDLIAN painter and decorator left his three children to fight for King and Country at sea during World War One. Tragically, he was never to return.
Frank Moore was among 900 men to die when HMS Defence was shelled by German ships at the Battle of Jutland - the blasts causing the armed cruiser to explode.
“Defence was one of 14 British warships lost on that terrible day,” said Gary Green, manager of the Hartlepool Heroism and Heartbreak maritime project.
Frank, son of shipyard worker Ralph and his wife Mary Jane, was born in September 1887. He was one of seven siblings, from an original 11, to survive childhood.
His early years were spent in Pout’s Court and in 1903 he began a five-year apprenticeship as a painter and decorator to Christopher and James Smyth.
“Frank married Emily McCabe in 1910. They had three children; Emily in 1910, Mary in 1912 and Francis in 1914. Francis later joined the Royal Navy,” said Gary.
Frank sadly lost his life that day - one of almost 300 Hartlepool sailors to die in the Great War. Such loss of life should be marked, which is why we started our maritime project.Gary Green, Hartlepool Heroism and Heartbreak
“The family were living in one room at 94 Frederic Street by 1911, and Emily was still there when she received notice of Frank’s death at sea five years later.”
At least two of Frank’s siblings also served in the Armed Forces during the Great War, including younger brother Robert - who joined the Royal Naval Reserve.
Their brother Ralph, however, opted for the army - serving first with Durham Light Infantry then in the Northumberland Fusiliers. He was killed in action at Salonika, Greece, in 1916.
“Frank was a member of the Royal Naval Reserve alongside Robert and, when war broke out he was called. By 1916 he was a stoker aboard HMS Defence,” said Gary.
“Defence was an armoured cruiser, built in 1907 for £1.25million. She was stationed in the Mediterranean in 1914, but transferred to the Grand Fleet in 1915.”
A year later, on May 31, 1916, Defence was the flagship of the First Cruiser Squadron at the Battle of Jutland. Tragically, her brave sailors would all perish.
At 5.47pm that day a German scouting group was spotted and Defence, along with HMS Warrior, opened fire. The pair then closed in on disabled German cruiser SMS Wiesbaden.
But, at 6.05pm, the British vessels were spotted by five German battleships. Enemy fire was heavy, and Defence was hit by two rounds of fire which caused one of her own guns to explode.
“The resulting fire spread to nearby guns, which detonated in turn. Defence then exploded at 6.20pm, sinking rapidly - with the loss of up to 903 crew,” said Gary.
“Frank sadly lost his life that day - one of almost 300 Hartlepool sailors to die in the Great War. Such loss of life should be marked, which is why we started our maritime project. We want to rediscover and retell the stories of the many brave sailors who died.”
ALMOST 300 Hartlepool men – including Royal Navy, Merchant Navy and fishermen – lost their lives at sea during the Great War of 1914-18.
Now their names have been collected by the Heroism and Heartbreak project and, from today, the Mail will periodically be publishing lists of those killed.
“The aim is to uncover the stories behind the names. If anyone recognises a relative, we’d love to hear from them,” said project manager Gary Green.
Today’s casualty list:
• May 22, 1916: Engineer Charles Benjamin Lincoln, 22, of 13 Frederick Street; died on steamship Rhenass.
• May 22, 1916: Chief engineer Thomas Siddel, 56, of 29 Stockton Street; steamship Rhenass.
• May 27, 1917: 3rd engineer Arthur Short, 27, of 17 Everett Street; steamship Boldwell.
• May 1, 1918: 3rd engineer James Sparke, 26, of 45 Thornton Street; steamship Canonesa.
• May 7, 1918: Seaman Charles Johnson, 66, of 3 Carlisle Place; steamship Princess Dagmar.
• May 7, 1918: 3rd engineer Thomas Robinson, 23, of 7 Young Street; steamship Saxon.
• May 7, 1918: Steward Frederick English, 38, of 24 Richard Street; steamship Saxon.
• May 12, 1918: 2nd engineer Edward Carrol, 28, of 17 Prissick Street; steamship Haslingden.
• May 23, 1918: Chief engineer Ralph Richardson, 54, son of the late William and Elizabeth Richardson; steamship Skaraas.
• May 23, 1918: 3rd engineer Fred Halbert, 22, of Waldon House, Waldon Street, West Hartlepool; steamship Skaraas.
•• Do you have a story to share about a Hartlepool sailor in World War One? Contact the project on 01429 242909.