James Henry Kelly

Military Information

  • Date of enlistment:
  • Place of enlistment:
  • Service no: 221292
  • Rank: Leading Seaman
  • Service Occupation:
  • Awards:
  • Regiment/Service: H.M.S. Vanguard
  • Unit/Ship:
  • Place of Death: Lost at Sea
  • Age at Death: 31
  • Date of Death: 09.07.1917
  • Burial Country:
  • Cemetery: Chatham Naval Memorial
  • Grave/Mem Ref no: Panel 21

Personal Information

  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
  • Address: 26 Pitfour Street, Dundee
  • Occupation:
  • Mother:
  • Father:
  • Siblings:
  • Spouse:

    Jenny Maclaren Kelly, c/o Magregor, 214 Lippincote St, Toronto, Canada

  • Children:

More about James Henry Kelly

James has no known grave but is remembered on the Chatham Naval Memorial. He was the Son of the late Mr & Mrs Kelly of Oldham, Lancashire.

James was serving aboard H.M.S. Vanguard, a St Vincent Class Battleship. On the night of 9 July, 1917 Vanguard was anchored in Scapa Flow. In a matter of seconds a devastating internal explosion destroyed the ship killing all but 2 of the 845 men on board at the time. The explosion that sank the Vanguard was not the result of an enemy attack, but the result of an internal explosion of faulty Cordite.

The Royal Navy’s Command Clearance Diving Team carried out a detailed investigation in 1975. Their investigation confirmed that this explosion destroyed virtually all explosive ordnance on board and blew the ship apart.

James H. Kelly   221292   Royal Navy

KELLY___Killed on 9th July, in the explosion on board H.M.S. Vanguard, James H. Kelly, leading seaman, beloved husband of Jenny Maclaren, 26 Pitfour Street, Dundee, and only son of the late Mr and Mrs Kelly, Oldham, Lancashire, England.

Dundee People’s Journal 21st July 1917

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

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