John George Oliver (1897-1917)
Spennymoor man served as a stoker in the Royal Navy on HMS Drake
John George Oliver was born in Spennymoor on 4 May 1897. His father was William Oliver. Little is known of his life until he joined the Royal Navy on 23 September 1915 intending to serve for 12 years. He was a coal miner before joining and was initially rated as a stoker 2nd class. He was given the service number K28133. He was rated stoker 1st class on 20 September 1916 and passed educationally for stoker petty officer on 14 September 1917.
John was serving on the cruiser HMS Drake on 2 October 1917 when it was sunk by German submarine U79 in the Northern Channel off Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland. It was torpedoed striking the No 2 Boiler Room which caused two engine rooms and the boiler room to flood. Eighteen crew including John were lost. His body was not recovered for burial and he is honoured on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial. His death was reported to his father living at 50 Long Row, Coxhoe.
John George Oliver was awarded the Victory Medal and the British War Medal for his service in World War One. His medals were issued to his mother.
Civil Parish: Coxhoe
Birth date: 04-May-1897
Death date: 02-Oct-1917
Armed force/civilian: Navy
Residence: Spennymoor (Birth Place)
50 Long Row, Coxhoe (1917 Royal Navy War Graves Roll)
Employment: Coal Miner (On enlistment)
Family: Parents: William Oliver
Service Number K28133
Stoker 2nd class, 23 September 1915
Stoker 1st class, 20 September 1916
Medal(s): Victory Medal
British War Medal
Memorial(s): Portsmouth Naval Memorial
Contributed by David D, Stanley, Co Durham
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