Albert Brown

Date of birth: 1896
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Royal Navy
Vessel: HMS Alcantara
Rank / Service No: Trimmer, 667864
Died: 29th February 1916, aged 19 years
Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial


Albert was the youngest of 7 known siblings born to William and Martha Brown. Records show they had 12 children, 3 of whom died when young.

William was born in London in 1827; Martha was born in Cardiff in 1855.

They may well have married and lived in Cardiff, because some of the children were born there.

William died some time between the 1891 and 1901 Census, which is the same timeframe that the family moved to Southampton.

Martha then had a relationship with a James Boniface; the 1901 Census suggests they were married.

By the 1911 Census, Martha had reverted to the Brown surname, despite showing herself as married (for 32 years ?!!).



Barbara J.   b. 1880 Cardiff

Nathaniel Anthony   b. 1882 Cardiff

John   b. 1884 Cardiff

Jane   b. 1886 Cardiff

William   b. 1889 Southampton

George   b. 1893 Southampton



Alcantara was converted to an Armed Merchant Cruiser in 1915 and saw action in the North Sea.

On 29 February 1916, under the command of Capt. T. E. Wardle, she was ordered to intercept an alleged disguised merchant ship steaming northwards towards Norway.

At 08.45, Alcantara’s sister ship Andes spotted a vessel named Rena, flying the Norwegian flag. Andes instructed Alcantara to intercept Rena.

Alcantara closed to within 800 yards and a boarding party set out. The object vessel then lowered false bulkheads to reveal the name Greif, raised the German flag and opened fire with her now revealed guns.

Alcantara was badly damaged, but both her and Andes managed to inflict damage on Greif. She still managed to fire 2 torpedoes, one of which is thought to have hit Alcantara.

At 09.15 the order was given to abandon ship. The vessel was listing so badly that many crew simply walked down the side of the ship.

HMS Comus and HMS Munster arrived to pick up survivors and at 11.08 Alcantara sank.

Greif was by now well on fire, and she sank at 13.00

280 crew from Greif perished, with 72 crew going down with Alcantara.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 2 June 2016


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