Charles Forbes

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no: 2742S
  • Rank: Stoker
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Goliath
  • Unit/Ship: Royal Naval Reserve
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea - Morto Bay Gallipoli.
  • Age at Death: 32
  • Date of Death: 13.05.1915
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Portsmouth Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 10

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 1 Leng St, Dundee
  • Occupation: Fireman in foreign going and coastal merchant ships
  • Mother:

    Helen Forbes

  • Father:

    William Forbes, 53 Hawkhill, Dundee

  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:

    Mary Forbes (nee Rynd), 1 Leng St, Dundee

  • Children:

    William, born 10.12.1913

More about Charles Forbes

Charles has no known grave but is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, he was serving aboard HMS Goliath which was a Royal Navy 1st class battleship; built in 1900 at the Navy´s Chatham Dockyard. He was the brother of Pte William Forbes, 9799, 1st Battalion, Kings Own Scottish Borderers, who was killed in action, 04.06.1915.

Charles Forbes   27425   H.M.S. Goliath   R.N.



Stoker Charles Forbes, a Dundee Man, has had nothing short of a miraculous escape from death on the ill-fated Goliath, sunk in the Dardanelles operations.

When news of the disaster to the British man-of-war was made known, considerable anxiety for his fate was occasioned his relatives in Dundee, but on Tuesday afternoon doubts as to his safety were laid to rest.  Information was then received by letter from an hospital ship somewhere in the Dardanelles, which pointed to Forbes being incapacitated aboard the former vessel at the time of the torpedoing of the Goliath.  From a letter, apparently written at his dictation, it seems that he is laid aside with a poisoned hand and a sprained thigh, so that there is good reason to believe that he was not aboard the Goliath when she carried her large freight of gallant British tars to the bottom of the Dardanelles.

Born in Dundee, Forbes is 23 years of age, and was married two years ago.  He resided at 1 Leng Street, and previous to the outbreak of war was stationed at Portsmouth.  He only joined the naval service three months before the commencement of hostilities, and has a brother serving the colours with the 1st K.O.S.B.

A remarkable coincidence is that while aboard the hospital ship, he met a cousin of his, also temporarily rendered hors-de-combat.

Dundee People’s Journal 22nd May 1915

Peculiarly sad are the circumstances connected with the death of O.S. Charles Forbes, 1 Long Street.  It was known that prior to the sinking of H.M.S Goliath he was serving on that vessel, but the anxiety felt by his relatives after the receipt of the tragic news from the Dardanelles was dispelled by the receipt of a message, although unofficial, to the effect that at the time of the catastrophe he was sick in hospital. Unfortunately, this report has proved to be erroneous, an official communication yesterday reaching his relatives that he had drowned.  Deceased, who was 23 years of age, was married and leaves a widow and one child.

Dundee People’s Journal 12th June 1915

FORBES___Drowned in the Dardanelles, on the 12th May, Charles Forbes, aged 23, beloved husband of Mary Rhynd, No 1 Leng Street, Dundee.

Dundee People’s Journal 12th June 1915

FORBES___Drowned in the Dardanelles, off H.M.S. Goliath, on the 12th May 1915,  Charles Forbes, youngest son of William and the late Helen Forbes, aged 23 years.  Inserted by father and sisters, 53 Hawkhill, Dundee.

Dundee People’s Journal 19th June 1915

HMS Goliath (Capt. T. L. Shelford) destroyed the German light cruiser Konigsberg during the East African coast blockading.

  • Ordered to the Dardanelles to join the 1st Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet in April.
  • HMS Gliath and HMS Cornwallis were ordered to support the French general in command at Kereves Dere and on 12th May 1915, they anchored in Morto Bay.
    The Turkish destroyer Muavenet-i-Milliye (Lt. Cdr. Firle) went for a torpedo attack, as conditions were ideal (dark and misty night).
    At about 1.15 on the morning of the 13th, Muavenet-i-Milliye was discovered by Goliath, but it was too late, as three torpedoes were already discharged.
    All three hit the Goliath, one at the fore turret, the second at the foremost funnel and a third at the after turret.
    As the battleship sank very quickly, many of the crew below deck had no time to escape. Of the complement of 750, about 570, including Capt. Shelford, were drowned.


Charles Forbes was the son of Mr and Mrs William Forbes of Dundee and the husband of Mrs Mary Forbes, 1 Long Street, Off Hill Street, Hilltown, Dundee. He joined the Royal Naval Reserve at the Customs House in Dundee in February 1914 and his employment is noted as a Fireman in foreign going and coastal merchant ships. He was drafted to the old battleship HMS Goliath on 3 Aug 1914 joining her in Portsmouth. After a few days as the Guard Ship for the Fleet anchorage in Loch Ewe the Goliath escorted the ships landing Royal Marines in Ostende in a successful attempt to draw German troops away from the British Expeditionary Force in France. After this she was sent to East Africa to support operations against German East Africa and to assist in the hunt for the German cruiser SMS Konigsberg. In March 1915 she moved to the Eastern Mediterranean for the landing in Gallipoli. Her guns supported the troops during and after the initial landings and, on the night she was sunk, she was anchored in Morto Bay to respond to calls for fire. Charles Forbes’s record notes that he was ill in the Sick Bay when the Goliath was sunk by the Turkish Torpedo Boat Muâvenet-i Millîye, manned by a mixed Turkish and German crew. The Goliath was hit by two torpedoes and quickly turned on her side. Another torpedo struck and the hull sank quickly. 570 British sailors lost their lives but 180 were saved. Charles Forbes is remembered on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial on Southsea Common.

Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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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