Richmond WW1 Diary 31 May 1916

Image of poppy

Battle of Jutland

The Battle of Jutland was fought between the British and German fleets off the coast of Denmark in May 1916. It was the only large naval battle of the war and British losses were sudden and spectacular. And, despite Germany claiming a victory, the German fleet was also severely compromised.

East Sheen resident, the Honourable Sir Horace Lambert Alexander Hood, Rear-Admiral RN was serving on board the HMS Invincible on 31 May 1916. The ship was sunk during the Battle of Jutland and he went down with the ship. He is commemorated on the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.

Four young men commemorated on the Richmond War Memorial also died in the battle: Able Seaman Richard Shearcroft, aged 18 of Kew Gardens;  Ordinary Seaman Albert Knowles, aged 18 from Ham; Able Seaman Dick Read of East Sheen, aged 19; Signaller Edgar Biles, aged 20 from Richmond.

No local papers were published on that date but on 27 May  the Richmond Herald had run a short piece on the Richmond Boys Naval Brigade. Some 26 new recruits had signed up the previous week, bringing numbers up to 91. British Naval power was a source of pride and many young boys were eager to play their part. Like the Scouts, boys in the brigade took on responsibilities like running messages and even guarding key transport routes, such as bridges.

This film from the British Film Institute shows some of the Richmond boys on parade outside the Star & Garter Home in 1916.


The young boys from the Richmond Boys Naval Brigade outside the Star & Garter Home


Sir Horace Hood is one of the men who features in the Museum of Richmond’s new First World War enquiry sessions, commemorating local men who died in 1916.

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