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Philip Asquith (1896-1916)

Sunderland joiner served as carpenter's crew was lost on HMS Queen Mary at the Battle of Jutland

Philip Asquith was born in Sunderland on 23 January 1896. His father was William Harty Asquith (1866), a shipyard blacksmith from Sunderland. His mother was Dorothy Asquith nee Lloyd (1869-1939). His parents married in Sunderland in 1889 and had five children but only two survived infancy, Philip and his brother William (1891). In 1901 the family lived in 14 East Cross Street, Sunderland. At some point Philip attended Valley Road School, Hendon, Sunderland. In 1911 the family were living at 75 The Parade, Sunderland and Philip was working as an apprentice moulder.

Philip joined the Royal Navy on 30 September 1915 when he signed on for 12 years service. His civilian occupation was noted as a joiner and he was appointed as carpenter’s crew with service number M11563. Philip was originally posted to HMS Victory for training, followed by further training on HMS Fisgard, a shore based training establishment in Portsmouth, Hampshire used mainly to train artificers and engineers for the Navy.

On 1 February 1916 Philip was given a seagoing posting to HMS Queen Mary, a newly built battlecruiser. Queen Mary put to sea on 31 May 1916 to take part in the Battle of Jutland. She came under fire and one shell hit and detonated one or both of the forward magazines, which broke the ship in two near the foremast. A further explosion, possibly from shells breaking loose, shook the aft end of the ship as it began to roll over and sink. A total of 1,266 crewmen including Philip were lost in the sinking.

Philip’s body was not recovered for burial. He is honoured on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. He is also remembered locally in the Book of Remembrance 1914-18 Holy Trinity Church, Sunderland; on the Plaque 1914-18, Valley Road School, Hendon, Sunderland; and the Reredos and Plaque 1914-18, St Barnabas’ Church, Sunderland.

Philip Asquith was awarded Victory Medal and British War Medal for his service in World War One.

Civil Parish: Sunderland

Birth date: 23-Jan-1896

Death date: 31-May-1916

Armed force/civilian: Navy

Residence: 14 East Cross Street, Sunderland (1901 census)
75 The Parade, Sunderland (1911 census)

Education: Valley Road School, Hendon, Sunderland

Employment: Apprentice moulder (1911 census)
Joiner (1915 service record)

Family: Parents: William Harty Asquith (1866), Dorothy Asquith nee Lloyd (1869-1939)
Siblings: William Asquith (1891)

Military service:

Carpenter's Crew
HMS Victory, 30 September 1915 to30 October 1915
HMS Fisgard, 31 October 1915 to 31 January 1916
HMS Queen Mary, 1 February 1916 to 31 May 1916

Medal(s): Victory Medal,
British War Medal

Memorial(s): Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Book of Remembrance 1914-18, Holy Trinity Church, Sunderland
Plaque 1914-18, Valley Road School, Hendon, Sunderland
Reredos and plaque 1914-18, St Barnabas’ Church, Sunderland

Gender: Male

Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham