Charles Henry Horner

Date of Birth:           1898PoppiesPlace of Birth:         Southampton
Service Number:    734530
Rank:                           Fireman
Division:                    Mercntile Marine
Ship:                            H.M.S.Alcantara
Died:                           1916
Death Location:      North Sea.

Life Before the War.

Charles was born in 1898 in Southampton, his parents were Henry George b1875 and Ellen Elisabeth (Smith) b1875 also born in Southampton, they married in 1897. He had 5 brothers James b1900, John b1903, Albert b1908, Henry b1910 and Charlie b1897 he had and 1 sister Alice b1906, all born in Southampton.

His father died in 1937 and his mother died in 1957 in Southampton.

In the census of 1901  the family of  parents Henry and Ellen were living at  27 Ascupart Street.St.Mary’s Southampton with 2 children Charlie and James, Henry was working as a general labourer.

In the census of 1911 the family were living at 7 Evans Street.Southampton, in 4 rooms, father Henry was a dock labourer, and son Charlie has died.

Military Serviceplymouth naval memorial

Charles joined the Mercantile Marine and served on the H.M.S. Alcantara patrolling Scapa Flow.

On 29th February the Greif was disguised as the Norwegian Rena-Tonsberg when she was intercepted by H.M.S.Alcantara. The Alcantara had received a wireless message to look out for a suspicious ship,  she was seen she was wearing the Norwegian colours, and signalled to stop, the Alcantara  lowered a boarding boat and the Grieff under disguise  ran out her guns and fired on the Alcantara who also fired at the Grieff, both were hit, the order was given to abandon the Alcantara as she was sinking and the Grieff was on fire and sinking. The Alcantara lost 2 officers and 67 men, 220 men were rescued from the Grieff out of 300.

She sank 60 miles east of the North of Shetland.

A report in The Times of 27th March 1916 reports Charles Horner under the heading  Specially Entered Mercantile Crew killed with a small report “The Admiralty announces the following casualties to the crew of H.M.S.Alcantara, the sinking of which in the North Sea  during a fight with the German raider Greif on 29th February.

Charles was entitled to the Victory Medal and The British War Medal.

Also on board was Henry Wilton – a greaser also remembered on the Southampton Cenotaph.

Researched by Shaun Connolly May 2014.


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