Robert Dunsmore

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no: Clyde Z/6222
  • Rank: Able Seaman
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
  • Unit/Ship: H.M.S. Queen Mary
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea
  • Age at Death: 21
  • Date of Death: 31.05.1916.
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 24

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth: 06.06.1895
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 51 Yeamans Shore, Dundee
  • Occupation: Waiter
  • Mother:

    Mrs Jessie S Dunsmore, 51 Yeaman’s Shore, Dundee

  • Father:
  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:
  • Children:

More about Robert Dunsmore

Robert has no known grave but is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, he was serving aboard HMS Queen Mary which was the last battlecruiser built before World War I and only member of her class. She was in the 1st Battle Cruiser Squadron and was commanded by Cecil Irby Prowse. She was hit twice by the German Battle Cruiser Derfflinger during the early part of the battle of Jutland and her magazines exploded shortly afterwards, sinking the ship. Of the crew of 1,289 there were only 20 survivors.

Robert Dunsmore   CZ/6222   Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve


Mrs Dunsmore, 51 Yeaman Shore, Dundee, has received intimation from the Admiralty to the effect that it is feared Seaman Robert Dunsmore, her son, has gone down with the Queen Mary in the recent big naval engagement.  Along with the intimation there came a letter expressing their Majesties’ true sympathy with Mrs Dunsmore in her sorrow.

Seaman Dunsmore was a young man in his 21st Year, and entered the service in August Last.

Dundee Courier 9th June 1916

Robert Dunsmore was the son of Mrs Jessie S Dunsmore, 51 Yeaman’s Shore, Dundee and worked as a Waiter when, in August 1915, he volunteered to join the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve onboard HMS Unicorn for service at sea. In November 1915 whilst training at the Crystal Palace he was reported as deserting and, when he reported a week later, he was sentenced to 21 days Detention in Portsmouth. This was not the end of his problems as he was later sentenced to 21 days Hard Labour in Pentonville Prison for other offences. After leaving the Crystal Palace he went to the Naval Barracks in Portsmouth on 21 March 1916 and was drafted to HMS Queen Mary two days later. During the Battle of Jutland HMS Queen Mary was in Vice Admiral Beatty Battlecruiser squadron which engaged the German battle cruiser squadron in the opening moves of the action. The Queen Mary exchanged fire on the German ship Seydlitz and scored two hits. As the action carried on another German ship, the Derfflinger, shifted its guns from her allocated target onto the Queen Mary because her target was obscured by smoke. Derfflinger hit the Queen Mary midships which caused a explosion, breaking the British ship in half. Both parts sank quickly taking over 1200 men to their deaths including Robert Dunsmore. Only twenty men were picked up from the sea. Robert Dunsmore’s name is listed on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common in Hampshire. Newspaper account of his death state that he had a brother in the battle but no further information has come to light.

Initial information supplied by Gary Thomson, additional information kindly supplied by Michael Caldwell

Further information supplied by Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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