Date of Birth: 1886
Place of Birth: Freemantle
Date of Marriage: 1911
Place of Marriage: Southampton
Service Number 229079
Rank: Able Seaman
Ship: HMS Good Hope
Died: 1 November 1914
Death Location: Died at sea at the battle of Coronel, Chile.
Life Before the War
Charles Henry (Henry Charles) Townsend was born on the 18th September 1886. His parents were David F (b.1848 – d.1933) and Elizabeth, nee Pound (b.1845). They were married in 1869. Charles had 2 sisters Alice b.1880 and Flora b.1889.
In the census of 1901 the family were living at 28 Firgrove Road, Shirley, Southampton. Charles’ father was a Jobbing Gardener. Charles was an Errand Boy and his sister Alice was a Domestic Servant. All were born in Freemantle, Southampton except his mother who was born in Romsey.
In the census of 1911 Charles was an Able Seaman and registered at The Royal Sailors Rest in Commercial Road, Buckingham Street and Chandos Street, Portsmouth.
He married Rosa Elizabeth Mathieson (b.1889 – d.1963) in Southampton in 1911. They had one daughter, Marjorie Rosetta M (b.1912 – d.2002).
Charles’ widow later married William R Stanhope (b.circa 1889 – d.1968) in Portsmouth in 1918. They lived at 30 Crofton Road, Milton. They had two sons, John W C Stanhope (b.1924 – d.1966) and Edward G Stanhope (b.1925).
At the outbreak of World War One Charles was already an Able Seaman in the Royal Navy. He was to join the crew of the HMS Good Hope
He was lost at sea 1st November 1914.
Charles Henry Townsend is honoured on the Southampton Cenotaph, and the Portsmouth Naval Memorial.
The HMS Good Hope was a Drake Class Armoured Cruiser built on the River Clyde and launched in 1901. Under the leadership of Sir Christopher Cradock’s Fourth Cruiser Squadron a team of reservists were hurriedly sent with other ships to prevent the German forces from interrupting established trade routes along the Chilean coast. Having located Maximilian Graf von Spee’s German East Asiatic Squadron Cradock decided not to wait as ordered for the back up of HMS Canopus and went into battle in the stormy seas off Coronel, Chile. Cradock was expecting HMS Defence to arrive but this ship was given fresh instructions en route.Cradock was determined to engage with the enemy and on the evening of Sunday 01 November 1914 set out to attack .German forces responded and the HMS Good Hope and HMS Monmouth were quickly set ablaze by enemy fire, becoming easy targets in the dark.
HMS Good Hope continued to return fire but was ultimately lost at sea.
Researched by Robert Whale, May 2014.
Researcher: Robert Whale