HMS Indefatigable
Message Board

Nov. 24, 2020

I have recently begun to research our family history and I have a relative named Alfred Todd who died on May 31, 1916 during the Battle of Jutland while a Private on the H.M.S. Indefatigable. He was Scottish born in Whiteinch (Districk of Partick, Parish of Govan) and was 18 years old at the time of his death. His mother's name was Maggie Todd. From family ancestry records, I can see Alfred was memorialized in the Plymouth Naval Memorial Cemetery located in England. I am hoping that someone in your readership may know of a connection to him garnered from their family.  If so, I would be so happy to know more about my family member. Thank you for your time, and for the amazing web site you have!  I have learned so much about The Battle of Jutland and the ship itself.

With kind regards,
Alex Todd (Ms.)

May 11, 2018

Just looked at your excellent page re. HMS Indefatigable. My great-uncle Joseph (Joe) Lee (referred to in the Roll of Honour as - LEE, Joseph, Leading Stoker K 23046 (Dev) went down with the ship at Jutland. I have inherited most of the family photographs, including some of him and others sent from the ship (showing below.) Now, as a matter of interest, part of our Waterway Images, canal and river, professional photographic library. Also his medals.

The postcard was sent to his sister, my grandmother. I wondered if they would be of interest to others with relatives who served on the ship and worth posting on your website. Joe - from Warrington - had a family waterway history as, before joining the RN, he was the mate on my great-grandfather's Mersey Sailing Flat.  The picture with his brother Jim, taken in Blackpool when the latter (giving his wrong age) had just started training with the Service Corps, is also of military interest. In that Jim transferred to the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders and eventually became the RSM of the 1st Battalion. He survived to serve in World War II as a small-arms instructor and - as a Lancashire man - had such a strong Scots accent was difficult to understand. I hope that you find the pics. interesting. Keep up the good work.

Best wishes,
Harry Arnold, MBE

Stoker Joseph "Joe" Lee, late of HMS Indefatigable photographed during the early part of the Great War.

Joe Lee (left) and his brother Jim Lee photographed at Blackpool during the early part of the Great War.

Christmas Day 1914 on HMS Indefatigable.

New Years Day postcard from HMS Indefatigable.

Reverse side of postcard.

Aug. 7, 2017

I have recently purchased this item as I dabble in antiques as a hobby. It seems to belong to the battleship Indefatigable. I wonder if you would know what it is as I have no idea.

Thank you,
Briege Nugent

Reply 1
May 18, 2018

I have been going through the message Board (and the site as a whole) as I am the curator creating content for the Port of Plymouth Gallery in The Box, due to open in Spring 2020. The Box was formerly the Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery and the new Port of Plymouth Gallery has a section on navy ships built at Plymouth Dock/Devonport Dock.  I was intrigued to see the post by Briege Nugent in August 2017 and I assume she has already received a reply (or many) identifying the item. If not:

Ships launched had a 'Launch casket'. The casket was made by a carpenter in the dockyard and would show off their skill. On the front or the outside of the lid the ships name and launch date was carved. The casket would contain the wooden mallet and the chisel (often engraved with the ships name) that was used to ceremonially launch the ship. The wooden frames shown in the box was to support the Chisel and mallet while they were waiting to be used. The one running vertically in the lower picture was for the Mallet, the one running horizontally was for the Chisel. It is a shame that the lid is missing as they often had an illustration of the ship as it was going to look when finished, on the inside (or where a later photograph of the finished ship is inserted).  I have not seen one in the shape of a cross before, but then I have seen very few. I do not know what happened to the launch caskets after the event, whether they were given to the person carrying out the launch, the base commander or later to the ship. All the ones I have seen have been generally purchased or advertised at auction and therefore the provenance has been lost

The new gallery in the Box will have the Launch casket for HMS Marlborough on show which is complete with the mallet and chisel. I am not a specialist in the Royal Navy So I don't know when the tradition for decorative launch caskets came in but the majority I have seen date from the 1880s-1914 and generally are for the larger battleships. This would tie in with late Victorian and Edwardian pomp and ceremony, for example freedom of the city caskets from this era also become more elaborate.  

Nigel Sadler
Economic Development
Plymouth City Council
Plymouth City Council (Arts and Heritage) Offices
Plymouth, U.K.

Sept. 4, 2011

My fathers uncle was killed on HMS Indefatigable at the Battle of Jutland, he was ordinary seaman Samuel Murphy J/43200 (DEV). My father who has since passed away has always spoken of him. I was wondering if there are any way or means I could get some information on Samuel. I would be most grateful for any assistance you could offer me.

Kind regards,
Finbarr O'Sullivan

Aug. 21, 2010

My great grandfather was also a stoker on the ship, Bartholomew Rogers from Wexford in Ireland. I have a group photo (see below) but there are no names on it or where it was taken though the family says its a group of people on the ship. We think he (Bartholemew Rogers a stoker aged 44) is the man on the right with a pipe because of the family resemblance.Did Sylvia (see message 2) get any responses as I would also be interested as I have no other photos and cannot identify anyone in the one I have?

Kind regards,
Liz Dean
Canberra, Australia


Oct. 21, 2009

My great grandfather Edward George Bourne, Stoker 1st Class, went down on HMS Indefatigable on 31-05-1916. The current family have never seen a photograph or known much about him. If anyone has any information or even a photo we would be very grateful.

Sylvia Fattore

Nov. 17, 2008

I would like to contact the relatives of Chief Petty Officer Patrick Carroll who drowned when H.M.S. Indefatigable went down on 31 May 1916 following an attack by the enemy in the Battle of Jutland. In 1911, Patrick Carroll was married, and his wife Margaret was living in Carysfort Avenue Blackrock, Co. Dublin with their two children, Eileen and John. Any information or a photograph of Patrick, would be most gratefully received.

Best wishes,
Ken Kinsella

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Page published Nov. 17, 2008