Albert John Martin

Date of birth: 1893
Place of birth: Boscombe, Dorset
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Assistant Cook
Regiment: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: HMHS Salta
Died: 10th April 1917 aged 24 years
Death location: At sea


Life before the War
Albert was one of 3 sons born to parents James and Emily Charlotte.  Both James and Emily were born in Hound, Hampshire – James in 1859 and Emily in 1867.

When James died in 1920 he left a Probate which read:
“Martin James of 35 Grove Road Freemantle Southampton died 12 March 1920. Probate London 28 April 1920 to Emily Charlotte Martin widow. Effects £518 13s 3d”

Albert’s twin was Horace James, who died in 1953.  They had a younger brother William who was born in 1884, date of death unknown.

Upon his death Horace’s Probate read:
“Martin Horace James of 37 Cracknore Road Southampton died 26 June 1953. Administration Winchester 27 July 1953 to Elsie Mary Martin widow. Effects £1087 15s 1d”

In the 1901 census, the family lived at 1 Grove Road, Shirley, Southampton.  James was employed as a Bricklayer, whilst William was working as a Grocer’s Shop Assistant. Living with the family was a nephew, Alfred Phippord.

The family had moved to 17, Park Street, Shirley by 1911.  James and William were working as Bricklayers.  Albert was employed as a Shop Assistant and Horace as a House Painter.  William had married and his wife Elsie was living with the family.  James and Emily state they had 3 children.

In the 1916/1917 Southampton Directories, James was living at 33 Grove Road, Shirley and was shown as a Shop Keeper. William was living next door at no. 35.


War Service
Martin is Remembered with Honour on Salta Memorial, Plot 62, at the Ste Marie Cemetery, Le Havre, France.  Plot 62 marks the graves of 24 casualties that perished in the sea. The memorial also commemorates by name the soldiers, nurses and merchant seamen lost from the Salta whose bodies were not recovered and those lost in the sinking of the hospital ship Galeka (mined on 28th October 1916) and the transport ship Normandy (torpedoed  on 25th January 1918) whose graves are not known.

“Martin, Asst. Cook Albert John. H.M.H.S. “Salta”, Mercantile Marine. Lost at sea (mine explosion), half a mile N. from Whistle Buoy, Le Havre, 10th April, 1917. Age 24. Son of James and Emily Martin, of 33, Grove Rd., Freemantle, Southampton. “Salta” Memorial”.

National Roll of the Great War
“He volunteered at the outbreak of war, and served in H.M.S. “Salta”, which was used as an hospital ship between France and England. He was drowned when his vessel was mined off the coast of Normandy, on April 16th, 1917. He was entitled to the General Service and Mercantile Marine War Medals.
35, Grove Road, Freemantle, Southampton”.

Historical Information – HMHS Salta

HMHS Salta (His Majesty’s Hospital Ship) was a steam ship originally built for Société Générale de Transport Maritime Steam, but requisitioned for use as a British Hospital Ship during the First World War.   On 10th April 1917 she hit a mine laid by the German U-boat UC 26.

While returning to pick up wounded at the port of Le Havre, France, Salta struck a mine at 11:43, one mile (1.6 km) north of the entrance to the dam. There was a huge explosion, which smashed through the hull near the stern in the engine room and hold number three. Water rushed into the disabled ship which listed to starboard and sank in less than 10 minutes. Of the 205 passengers and crew members, nine nurses, 42 members of the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC) and 79 crew drowned.

The British patrol boat HMS P-26 attempted to come alongside to assist, but also struck a mine and sank.


Salta Memorial


Researcher: Becky Lonergan
Published: 5th November 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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