William Abrathat

Rank Private
Service No CH/12609
Date of Death 22/09/1914
Age 29
Regiment/Service Royal Marine Light Infantry HMS 'Aboukir'
Memorial Chatham Naval Memorial, Kent.


 William was a career sailor. His record of enlistment, dated 15th July 1901, cites his birth date as 4th February 1884. However, it is clear that William was born in the summer of 1885 in Leyton, East London (e.g. this correlates to the year of his birth as inferred by the 1901 census). He may be that he lied about his age in order to enlist.

William was the son of John William (1841-1914) and Ellen Abrathat, nee Johnson, (1852-1931), of 30 Bridge Road, West Ham, London, who married in 1880. He had five siblings: John (b.1880), Edward (1883-1953), Isabel (1887-1964), Thomas (b.1890) and Eleanor (b.1893)

At the time of the 1901 Census, William was living with his family at 30 Bridge Road, West Ham, London. The 1911 census lists him as a Royal Marine Light (Private) aboard HMS Duncan in the Mediterranean.

William died when HMS Aboukir was sunk by a German submarine off the Dutch coast. 25 minutes after the torpedo stuck, the ship capsized, sinking five minutes later. 527 of the 720 crew perished. His body was not recovered for burial.

William’s name is listed in the roll of honour in the December 1914 edition of the monthly magazine of St Luke’s Finchley, but the precise nature of this connection to Finchley is, as yet, unknown.

The Navy notified William's mother of his death, which came only five months after the death of her husband. Her address was still 30, Bridge Road, East Ham, East London.