William Harris

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no: 354734
  • Rank: Ships Chief Cook
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Indefatigable
  • Unit/Ship: Royal Navy
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea
  • Age at Death: 34
  • Date of Death: 31.05.1916
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Plymouth Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 17

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth: Barnstaple in Devon
  • Address: 281 Hilltown, Dundee
  • Occupation:
  • Mother:
  • Father:
  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:

    Susan Harris 281 Hilltown, Dundee.

  • Children:

    Leonard, born 29.06.1907, Joseph, born 08.09.1911, George, born 13.07.1913, Lily, born 22.05.1902, Mina, born 06.06.1906 & Gwendoline, born 09.02.1908.

More about William Harris

William has no known grave but is remembered on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. William was serving aboard H.M.S. Indefatigable a British Cruiser which was lost at the Battle of Jutland. She sank at 16:03 pm after being struck by a German shell which caused her magazine to explode taking over 1,000 of her crew with her.

P.O. William Harris, who lived at 281 Hilltown Dundee, was serving on HMS Indefatigable.
Hit by two or three shells fired by the German battlecruiser SMS Von der Tann at around 4.00, her magazines exploded a few minutes later. Of her crew of 1019, only two survived.

First Class Petty Officer William Harris, who resided at 281 Hilltown, Dundee, was on board the Indefatigable. The Admiralty have informed his wife that his name is not amongst the saved. The People’s Journal, Saturday, 10 June 1916, 6.

William Harris was born in Barnstaple in Devon and was the husband of Mrs Susan Harris of 281 Hilltown, Dundee. He became a Cook in the Royal Navy in September 1903 after transferring from the Royal Marines Light Infantry. During his service he was drafted to HM Ships Aboukir, Blake, Hebe, Apollo and joined the battlecruiser Indefatigable in 1913. In between ships he spent time at HMS Vivid, the Naval Barracks in Devonport. At the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 the Indefatigable was struck by shells from the German Battlecruiser Von Der Tann which caused a explosion in her rear gun turret. The ship lost power and started to sink by the stern. Von Der Tann continued to fire and hit the forward part of the hull causing a massive explosion. Indefatigable sank in seconds taking over 1000 men with her. Only three were saved from the water by the Germans and became Prisoners of War. William Harris is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial. He is rated as PO 1st Class in the 1920’s Dundee Roll of Honour.

 Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

Information supplied by Gary Thomson.

Further information supplied by Iain Stewart and Iain Birnie

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