Boy 1st Class Albert Waddingham HMS Queen Mary

Written by Karen Day
First Published


Son of Arthur and Alice Waddingham, of 1, Greek St., Hawthorne Avenue, Hull, who died on 31st May 1916 Age 16.

During our research for our War Memorial plans we became aware of a WWI Naval 1st Boy that should be included in the Burton Upon Stather Roll of Honour but has been missed. A little research soon revealed how he had been missed and also a very sentimental twist for one of our members, our chairman Craig Allison.

Battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary
Battlecruiser HMS Queen Mary.
© IWM (Q 75275)

Albert Waddingham was a Naval 1st Boy killed in action whilst serving on the HMS Queen Mary. He and many of the crew lost their lives when the ship came under fire from the enemy. His body was never recovered for burial. Poor Albert was only 16 years of age.

The Forgotten Boy

The reasons we believe that Albert has not found his way on to any roll of honour are two-fold. Firstly his Service Records show Albert's birthplace being as Winterton (Burton Stather was part of Winterton District at the time) and second, although Albert was certainly born at Burton he possibly never lived at Burton, his parents either moved to South Ferriby shortly after his birth or his mother Alice, being a former inhabitant of the village, came home just for the birth.

It was during this research to check if Albert was indeed ours the family name Such cropped up. This immediately pricked up the ears of Craig Allison as he is directly related to the Such family. His mother is Christine Allison nee Such. The Such family can be traced back to Burton to around 1880, moving here from Paull near Hull for work at the local Brickyards.

The Burton Connection

Further research revealed the connection.

In 1889 Arthur Such, a brickyard worker married Alice Thompson. Arthur had moved from Paull to Burton to work at the Brickyard and Alice had moved with her parents from Goxhill so her father John, could work at the brickyards. Research suggests that they may both have lived with their respective families at Horkstow during the early 1880s, possibly even moving to Burton en masse.

Their first son Arthur (jnr) was born in 1890. They went on to have 3 more children, Florence, John William & Cryil. Arthur (snr) died in 1898 aged 36, leaving widow Alice with 4 children. Such was her poverty that the eldest child Arthur (jnr) at the ripe old age of 8 was Sent to Canada. It is unclear whether there was family there or not at this stage. Christine Allison (nee Such) recalls a family tale about one of her [Great] Uncles whom, as a little boy was shipped to Canada as his mother was too poor to look after him.

Move on to 1900 and Alice remarries Arthur Waddingham in Hull and 10 months later our war hero Albert was born. This Arthur was from Hotham, Yorkshire. He was another brickyard worker and by 1901 the family lived on Sluice Rd., South Ferriby. It seems Arthur Waddingham was a widower and this may have been very much a marriage of convenience. He brought with him a daughter to the new family, Jane Waddingham.

The new Waddingham family lived in South Ferriby and then moved to 1. Greek Street, Hawthorne Avenue in Hull. As the 1911 census show Arthur and Alice Waddingham went on to have many more children.

Arthur Such is the Great, Great Uncle of Craig Allison and brother to his Great Grandfather, Samuel Such.

Such family grave stones still stand in the churchyard at Paull, near Hull.

We hoped that future research would reveal a little more about Albert's short life and here is what we found.

With the purchase of Albert's birth certificate we are able to prove that he was indeed a Burton lad, born 21st of May 1900 at 20 New Row (now Old Row off Stather Road) to mother Alice (Late Such, formerly Thompson) and father Arthur Waddingham a Brickyard Labourer. He was also baptised at St Andrews Church Burton upon Stather. Albert had a step sibling Jane Waddingham and half siblings Florence, John W and Cyril Such. A year later found the family living in South Ferriby, his father continuing in the same occupation. By 1911 and having moved to Hull for work another four siblings had been added into the mix, Doris, Norman, Ronald and Kenneth. With two lodgers also living at the property the house must have been bursting at the seams.

Outbreak of War

HMS Ganges training facility
HMS Ganges training facility, Shotley.
© IWM (Q HU 87137)

With the outbreak of war in 1914 perhaps living by the Humber all his life prompted Albert to join the Royal Navy, but whatever the prompt was join he did in 1915. Aged just 15 he had been working as an errand boy prior to signing on. We do not have a photograph of Albert but he is described for us as being 5' 2½" with brown hair and grey eyes, he had a fresh complexion and the distinguishing feature noted was a mole on his upper lip. The duration of his service stated 21st May 1918 - 12 years. We believe that this meant he had agreed to sign on at his 18th birthday for a 12 year period. A boy could join from 15 to age 16½ but a man's time started on the boy's 18th birthday although previous time spent as boy's time in the Royal Navy did not count for promotion or pension.

Boy seamen and signallers were trained in a pre-sea training establishment and on 23rd of September 1915 Albert joined HMS Ganges. HMS Ganges had a long history as a Royal Naval ship, a training ship and then a land based training establishment. By the time Albert arrived she was at Shotley where shore based accommodation was provided for the boys. Originally training was restricted to seamanship but in 1911 this was extended to include signals training as well.

HMS Victory
HMS Victory in Portsmouth

During Albert's time at HMS Ganges he progressed from Boy 2nd Class to Boy 1st Class and on 25th of April 1916 he joined HMS Victory I, another shore training establishment. Originally the ship was fitted out as a school but by Albert's time she was land based at Chatham Royal Naval Barracks as a Naval School of Telegraphy/Signals. The ship itself, part of our national maritime history, had been left to rot in Portsmouth Harbour. A campaign to save Nelson's flagship began with the government of the day eventually stepping forward to save her for the nation and in 1922 she was placed permanently in dry dock at Portsmouth where she remains today, the oldest commissioned warship in the world.

On 31st May 1916, during the Battle of Jutland in the North Sea near Denmark, HMS Queen Mary was sunk by the German Battlecruiser Derfflinger, hit twice her magazines exploded. The wreck was found in 1991 and placed under the Protection of Military Remains Act. It is the grave of 1,266 seamen one of which our Burton lad Albert, who had joined HMS Queen Mary just 4 days earlier on the 27th of May 1916 just a week after his 16th birthday.

You can find out more about HMS Queen Mary, including the full Roll of Honour Here.

It may be that Albert was included on a memorial in Hull. We have not been able to find any evidence though as unfortunately many were destroyed by the terrible bombing campaign waged on Hull during the 2nd Word War and through the redevelopment thereafter. The recruitment propaganda of the time encouraged work mates and whole streets to join up together. Because of this the norm was that streets and work places had their own street shrines usually dedicated to a particular regiment but once again many were destroyed during the 2nd World War and by redevelopment.

Portsmouth Naval Memorial 360° Panorama.

Burton Stather Heritage Group is proud to add Albert Waddingham to its Roll of Honour and War Memorial.

Record Details for Albert Waddingham

First Names:Albert
Birthplace:Burton Stather
Death Date:
Family Info:Son of Arthur and Alice Waddingham, of 1, Greek St., Hawthorne Avenue, Hull.
Rank:Boy 1st Class
Service Number:J/45006
Service:Royal Navy
Ship:HMS Queen Mary
Commemorated:Portsmouth Naval Memorial - Panel 14 Map
Place of Death:The Battle of Jutland in the North Sea near Denmark


Use the interactive map to view the location of Albert Waddingham's Memorial. You can view all the graves, memorials and benches by downloading our KML file which can be viewed in Google Earth and other mapping software.


  1. UK Census, 1901 and 1911
  2. Naval Records - Albert Waddingham
  3. Royal Navy Branches, Ranks and Ratings, 1918
  4. HMS Ganges Museum
  5. HMS Victory
  6. HMS Queen Mary Wiki page
  7. Portsmouth Naval Memorial - CWGC

Remembered with Honour.

Last updated

© 2017 Burton upon Stather Heritage Group