Albert William Frederick Annis

Rank Able Seaman
Service No SS/7020
Date of Death 02/08/1918
Age 21
Regiment/Service Royal Navy HMS Vehement
Memorial Plymouth Naval Memorial


Albert was born to Albert Frank Edwardes (1872–1938) and Eliza Maria Annis (b.1875) in Marylebone, central London, on 21st July 1897. He had one younger sister, Cissy Dorothy Elizabeth (b.1899), and they both spent their early years in St Pancras, London. By 1909, the family had moved to 42 Squires Lane, Finchley, where Albert’s father found employment as a gardener.

Albert joined the Royal Navy and on enlistment his occupation was listed as ‘a piecer in a woollen mill’. He served aboard HMS Vehement, perishing when it was sunk by a mine in 1918. Albert was one of the casualties and his body was not recovered for burial. The 1920 and 1922 electoral registers have his mother living at 170 Squires Lane, Finchley.

HMS Vehement

HMS Vehement was ordered in July 1916 and fitted to carry 60 naval mines. Vehement was launched on 6th July 1917 and commissioned for service later that year, with a complement of 135. On 1 August 1918, the 20th Destroyer Flotilla left the Humber to lay a minefield in the North Sea in the Heligoland Bight. At 23:47 the force was within 20 nautical miles (37 km) of the area it was to mine when Vehement struck a German mine. Its explosion caused her forward ammunition magazine to detonate, blowing off the entirety of the ship in front of the forward funnel, killing one officer and 47 men, out of a total 110 aboard. Vehement remained afloat, and her crew had put out all of her fires by about an hour after she struck the mine. She was taken in tow by the destroyer HMS Abdiel in the hope of saving her, but at 04:00 hours on 2nd August Vehement's stern rose into the air, making further towing impossible. Vehement's surviving crew opened all of her hull valves to speed her sinking and abandoned ship. Telemachus and Vanquisher then sank Vehement with gunfire.