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Charles Dunne (1894-1916)

Labourer from Consett served as a Stoker in the Royal Navy and fell in the Battle of Jutland

Charles Dunne was born in Consett on 11-Apr-1894. His father Joseph Dunne was originally from County Tyrone, Ireland and worked as a blast furnace labourer at the Ironworks in Consett. His mother, Margaret Dunne nee Riley, was born in Consett to Irish parents and worked as a schoolteacher. At the time of the 1891 census, Joseph is shown lodging in the house of Mary and her parents at 12 John Street Consett; they married two years later in 1893.

Charles was one of a family of four surviving children. The family lived at 77 Sherburn Terrace, Consett in 1901 and 4 Emma Street, Consett in 1911. At the time of the 1911 census, Charles was working as a pony driver in a pit at the age of sixteen.

On 22 August 1912 Charles, who was working as a labourer, joined the Royal Navy for 12 years service. He was recorded as being five feet two and a half inches tall with a 34-inch chest on entry. He had brown hair, grey eyes, a fresh complexion, a mole on the left side of his chin and a small scar under his right ear.

Charles was appointed as a stoker second class with the service number K15805. After induction through HMS Victory II he spent a period of six weeks serving on HMS Renown a second class pre-dreadnought battleship that was used as a stoker’s training ship. After a period at HMS Victory I Charles served on HMS Revenge which was a gunnery training ship based at Portsmouth. He was serving on this ship when it was paid off and went into reserve on 15 May 1913. He then moved to its replacement HMS Albermarle for a period of four months.

After one year in service in the navy Charles was promoted to stoker first class. On 4 September 1913, he was posted to HMS Queen Mary, a battlecruiser, on which he would have seen action in the Battle of Heligoland Bight on 28 August 1914 and defending against the German raid on Scarborough on 15 December 1914.

The Queen Mary took part in the Battle of Jutland on 31 May 1916 when she was hit twice by a German battlecruiser in the early part of the battle. Her magazines exploded shortly afterwards, sinking the ship. Charles lost his life in this action along with 1,266 officers and men. Only 18 of the crew survived the sinking.

Charles’ final resting place is officially recorded as unknown but likely to be aboard the wreck which is designated as a protected place under the Protection of Military Remains Act 1986. He is honoured on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Civil Parish: Consett

Birth date: 11-Apr-1894

Death date: 31-May-1916

Armed force/civilian: Navy

Residence: 77 Sherburn Terrace, Consett (1901 census)
4 Emma Street, Consett (1911 census)

Employment: Pony driver in pit (1911 census)
Labourer (1912 Royal Navy service record)
Stoker, Royal Navy

Family: Parents: Joseph Dunne, Margaret Dunne nee Reilly
Siblings: William, Margaret, Mary

Military service:

Stoker second class, 22 August 1912
Stoker first class, 22 August 1913
HMS Renown, 1912
HMS Revenge, 1913
HMS Albermarle, 1913
HMS Queen Mary, 1913-16
Battle of Heligoland Bight, 28 August 1914
Raid on Scarborough, 15 December 1914
Battle of Jutland 31 May 1916 (killed in action)

Medal(s): 1914/15 Star
Victory Medal
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Crucifix, St Mary’s RC Church, Blackhill
War Memorial Cross, Consett

Gender: Male

Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham