Charles James Dawkins

Date of birth: 1885
Place of birth: Millbrook, Southampton
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: SS Donegal
Rank / Service No: Fireman
Died: 17th April 1917, aged 31 years
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial


Charles was the ninth of 12 siblings born to Thomas Robert and Elizabeth Jane B. Dawkins (nee Staker), who married in Millbrook on 4 September 1871.

Thomas was born in Millbrook in 1852 and he died in the city in 1919. Elizabeth was born in the same year, in Totton, and she passed away in the city in 1923.


The family lived at 12 Testwood Road in Millbrook.



Florence Ann Elizabeth   b. 1872 Millbrook   d. 1904 Portsmouth   Married George James Pope in Millbrook in 1896.

Clara   b. 1874 Millbrook   d. 1951 Grimsby   Married Charles Handicott in Millbrook in 1895.

Frances Eliza   b. 1875 Millbrook   d. 1876 Millbrook

William Thomas   b. 1877 Millbrook   d. ??

Frances (Fanny) Agnes   b. 1878 Millbrook   d. ??   Married John Samuel Reeves in Southampton in 1897.

William Charles   b. 1879 Millbrook   d. 1928 Southampton

Henrietta   b. 1880 Millbrook   d. ??   Married Edward Aarons in Southampton in 1906. Married Frederick A. Burton in Southampton in 1917.

Frederick John   b. 11 March 1882 Millbrook   d. ??   Married Annie Winifred Osman in Southampton in 1909.

Charles James

Gregory   b. 1886 Millbrook   d. 13 October 1914 France   See separate story

Harry Wallace   b. 6 January 1890 Millbrook   d. 1965 Droxford   Married Hilda B. Clarke in Southampton in 1918.

Leonard Ernest   b. 1 December 1892 Millbrook   d. 1968 Southampton


Charles married May Mildred Gregory in Millbrook in 1912. May was born in Southampton in 1889 and passed away in Newcastle in 1964.

After Charles’ passing, May married Frank Blandford in Southampton in 1922.

25 years later, she married Jeremiah Davison in the city.


Donegal was built in Greenock in 1904, as a passenger ferry. Between the years of 1904 and 1914, she worked the route between Heysham and Belfast.

Like many other vessels of her type, Donegal was requisitioned by the Admiralty in 1914. She was converted into a hospital ship and used to ferry the wounded from France to England.

On March 1st 1917, a German submarine tried to attack Donegal, but she managed to out-run the attacker.


On 17th April Donegal had set sail from Le Havre, bound for Southampton, carrying 610 lightly-wounded soldiers and 70 crew complete with a Royal Navy escort.

Not far off the French coast, she was torpedoed by UC-21 and sank with the loss of 12 crew and 29 wounded British soldiers.

The vast majority of passengers and crew were picked by the accompanying escort.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 6th July 2016


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