Ernest Frederick Draper

Date of birth: 1895
Place of birth: Southampton
Service No.: 651148
Rank: Assistant Steward
Service: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: HM Yacht Aries
Died: 31st October 2015 aged 20 years
Death location: At sea off the Kent coast


Life before the War
Ernest was the second of 5 children born to parents George Arthur and Susan Alice (known as Alice), nee Smyth.  George was born at the turn of 1865 and was baptised 16th February 1865; he died on 17th November 1934 in Southampton’s Royal South Hants Hospital.  Alice was born a few short months after George in 1865 and was baptised on the 14th May that year; she died on 20th July 1949.  George and Alice were married in the first quarter of 1891.

George’s probate was registered in Winchester in January 1935.  He left £423 10s 11d to his wife Susan Alice Draper.

When Susan died her probate read:

‘DRAPER Susan Alice of 40 Liverpool-Street Bevois Town Southampton, widow died 20 July 1949. Administration Winchester 25 August to Henry Albert Draper local government officer.  Effects £258 10s. 2d,’

Ernest’s siblings – 1 sister and 3 brothers – were:

Sidney George  b.1892.  War Casualty – died 4th June 1918.  Please select Sidney’s name and the link will take you to his story.

Henry Albert  born 16th February 1896; died in the autumn of 1979 in Bournemouth.

Ethel Maud  b.1898.  Unable to trace evidence of marriage and think Ethel may have died early 1931.

Cecil Smyth born 10th November 1900; died in the autumn of 1988 in Birkenhead, Cheshire.  Cecil joined the Royal Navy in 1917, his service ended on 19th June 1922.  He may have married Loraine Margaret Killbride in the summer of 1960 in Wallasey, Cheshire.  Loraine was born on 6th January 1898 and died in the winter of 1976 in Birkenhead.

The 1901 census shows the family living at 40 Liverpool Street, Southampton.  George gives his occupation as a Steward at Sea.  Alice has no employment / doesn’t work and the children’s ages range from Sidney at 8 years old down to Cecil who is just 5 months.

In the 1911 census the family, all except Henry, were still living at 40 Liverpool Street, Southampton.  George is now working as a Cook on a yacht whilst Sydney is a Pawnbroker’s Assistant and Ernest is a Hotel Porter.  Henry at this time is working as a ‘Boy’ at the Wilberforce Hotel in Bournemouth and is listed on their census record.


War Service
Ernest died when the vessel on which he was serving, HM Yacht Aries, hit a mine off the Kent Coast.

On the 31st October 1915, the Aries was sunk by a mine from the German submarine UC-6, Kaptanleutnant Matthias Graf von Schmettow, off Leathercoat.  In total, 22 crew members died.

Ernest is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial.


Historical information – HM Yacht Aries (extracted from
Built in 1880 by the Barrow Shipbuilding Co Ltd, for the Victorian industrialist Sir James Ramsden, to his own design, as an ocean-going steam yacht.  Aries later passed into the ownership of the Duke of Leeds, and she became a familiar sight at Cowes during the 1890’s. The yacht was offered to the Admiralty for wartime duties in August 1914, and was both gladly and gratefully accepted for same, at that time she became HM Yacht Aries. Whilst in service an armed yacht she was mined in the English Channel off the coast of Leathercoat Point, near St. Margaret’s Bay, Kent.

Although several crew members are commemorated on the Trawlers & Minesweeping Patrol Memorial, one of those notably missing from same is 46 year old Assistant Paymaster, Francis Hugh Bacon, Royal Naval Reserve, who was a famous former Hampshire and England cricketer.  Francis was educated at St Augustine’s College, Canterbury, Kent. James Ramsden the vessels first owner was a former superintendent of the railway and first mayor of Barrow.  In view of where HM Yacht Aries was sunk, it perhaps should be pointed out that Leathercoat Point, near St. Margaret’s Bay, Kent is also the cliff top location of the Dover Patrol Memorial.

Please select Francis Bacon’s name to read more of his story.


Researcher: Shaun Connolly
Published: 14th October 2015
Updated: Insert dates here

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