Arthur Henry Cousens

Date of birth: 1878
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: HMHS Glenart Castle
Rank / Service No: Barman
Died: 26th February 1918, aged 40 years
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial

 

Arthur was the known oldest of 10 siblings born to George Frederick and Ophelia Maria Cousens (nee Strugnell), who married in Southampton in 1876.

Only 9 of the siblings are known, presumably one died very young.

George was born in Southampton in 1854 and died in the city in 1902. Ophelia was also born in the city and passed away there in 1926.

 

Siblings

Arthur Henry

Eleanor (Nellie)   b. 1879 Southampton   d. 1928 Fareham   Married William Henry Diaper in Southampton in 1897. Married Albert F. Reeves in Southampton in 1919.

Emily Ophelia   b. 1881 Southampton   d. 1957 Southampton   Married Clifford Dymond in Southampton in 1922.

William Thomas   b. 1884 Southampton   d. 1954 Southampton

Alexander   b. 1887 Southampton   d. 1936 Southampton

Bertram A.   b. 1890 Southampton   d. 1969 Southampton   Married Minnie Duell in Southampton in 1925.

Archibald Ernest   b. 1891 Southampton   d. 1903 Southampton

Beatrice Maud   b. 1894 Southampton   d. ??   Married Stephen H. Morgan in Southampton in 1915. Married Robert Owen in Portsmouth in 1931.

Jessie Frederica   b. 1896 Southampton   d. 1903 Southampton

 

Arthur married Mary Jane Stewart in Southampton in 1910 but she passed away in Whitechapel in 1914.

He then married Nellie Caroline Allen, in Bow, on 24 June 1916….there do not appear to be any children from this marriage.

 

His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Glenart Castle was originally built as the “Galacian” in 1900….it was renamed in 1914.

The vessel had left Newport (South Wales) on 26 February 1918, bound for Brest in France.

Fishermen in the Bristol Channel at the time remembered that she had green lights all round, plus the obligatory red cross on either side, an international indication of a hospital ship.

When in the neighbourhood of Lundy Island she was hit by a torpedo in the No. 3 hold, fired from U boat UC-56, captained by Kapitanleutnant Wilhelm Kiesewetter.

 

The blast destroyed most of the lifeboats, while the subsequent pitch of the vessel hindered attempts to launch the remaining boats. In the 8 minutes it took for the vessel to sink, only 7 lifeboats were launched.

162 people were drowned with only 38 survivors. There was evidence that the submarine crew may have shot at those struggling in the water, in an attempt to cover up the atrocity.

The body of a junior officer was recovered with two gunshot wounds…he also wore a lifejacket, indicating he was shot at in the water.

 

Kiesewetter was arrested after the war and interned in the Tower of London, with the intention of charging him with war crimes.

However, he was released before any trial could take place. Britain was told that it had no right to hold a detainee during the Armistice.

 

 

Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 27th June 2016
Updated:

 

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