Frank Castleman

Date of birth:                     8th March 1870
Place of birth:                   Bartley, Hampshire
Date of marriage:            1890
Place of marriage:           Fareham, Hampshire
Service No.:                       780.V
Rank:                                    Stoker
Regiment / Division:     Royal Navy Reserve
Ship:                                      HMS Newmarket
Died:                                     17th July 1917 aged 47 years
Death Location:               East Mediterranean


Frank’s name is not listed on the Cenotaph – possibly because his family couldn’t afford it or didn’t submit his name, or quite likely because he lived in Itchen was, at that time, outside of the boundary for Southampton borough.

Before the War
Frank was born 8 March 1870 to James (1831 – 1888) and Mary Castleman (nee Alder – b 16 Aug 1830 – 1891).  James was a Carter – a Carter was someone who carried goods by wagon.  Frank’s parents were married 1852.

Frank’s 8 siblings were:

Walter (1853)
Matilda (1855)
Benjamin (1857 – 1899)
Barbara (1859 – 1876)
Eleanor (1861)
George (1863)
Mary Emily (1865)
Catherine (1868)

Frank married Flora Cole in 1890 and they had 10 children:

Walter (b 1891).  Before the war Walter was in the Kings Own Yorkshire Light Infantry but discharged as medically unfit on 15th July 1913.  He enlisted into the Machine Gun Corps on 20th May 1916.
Matilda (1893)
Emma F (1895)
Daisy May (31/01/1896 – 1972)
Frank Edwin Guelph (1898)
Eliza Annie (1900)
Harold Earle Roberts (1901 – 14/10/1939).  Harold was serving on HMS Royal Oak WW2 when he died.  His widow was Muriel.
Louise Blanche (1904)
Violet Winifred (1908)
George William (1910)

On the 1901 Census Frank is living with his family at 4 Inkerman Road, Woolston, Southampton and he was working as a Ship’s Fireman.

The 1911 Census reveals that Frank’s wife Flora is living with her children at 82 Mortimer Road, Itchen, Southampton.  Frank is in service on the Edinburgh Castle.  Two of his children are not showing at this address – Walter (see above) and Emma. There is an Emma Castleman showing on a 1911 Census, working as a servant at ‘The Beeches’, Cobbett Road, Bittern Park, Southampton.

At the time of Frank’s death Flora was living at 30 Vine Cottages, Peartree Green, Itchen, Southampton.

Military History
When he enrolled in the Navy Reserve on 4 May 1899 Frank’s address was 82 Mortimer Road, Itchen, Southampton.

Between 28 May and 24 June 1909 Frank undertook biennial training on HMS Revenge. He then went on to serve on the following merchant ships:

Saxon (112713) – July 1909

Braemer Castle (108381) – September 1909 to March 1910.  She was commissioned in the summer of 1899 and commenced service on the Southampton to South Africa service.  The Braemer Castle spent a lot of her time in Government service. She transported the Liverpool Regiment, The King’s Own Scottish Borderers and the Worcestershire Regiment to South Africa at the start of the Boer War.  From 1909 she was used mainly as a peacetime troop transport.

Edinburgh Castle (129088) – May 1910 to January 1911.  Sister ship of the Balmoral Castle she was the last of a group of almost identical ships and replaced the Norman.

Balmoral Castle (129074) – April 1911 to August 1912.  This was the first mail ship to be fitted with radio telegraphy.   After her second round voyage to South Africa on the mail service, the Balmoral Castle was chartered by the British government for use as a Royal Yacht to take the Duke and Duchess of Connaught and Princess Patricia out to South Africa for the inauguration of the Union of South Africa.  For the voyage she was manned by a Royal Navy crew, some Union-Castle crew were retained.  Early in 1911 the Balmoral Castle returned to the mail service until 1917 when she was requisitioned as a troop transport.

Between 24th April and 21st May 1912 Frank undertook biennial training on HMS Zealandia, Hindustan and Venerable, and between 25th March and 2nd April 1914 on HMS Bulwark.

Frank volunteered in August 1914 and was a valuable member of the crew on H.M. Minesweeper Newmarket in the North Sea.  He lost his life in the East Mediterranean when his vessel was torpedoed on 17th July 1917 by the German submarine U38 and sank south of Nikaria Island in the Aegean Sea.  The loss of life was heavy and there were only three survivors from a crew of 73.

He was awarded the 1914-1915 Star medal, the Victory medal and the British War medal. These were sent to one of his sons.

There was a probate dated 8th September 1919. “Frank of 30 Vine Cottage,s Pear Tree Green, Itchen, Hampshire, Stoker R.N., died 16 July 1917 at sea.  Administration London 8 September to Flora Castleman, widow.  Effects £47”.

Frank is remembered at the Portsmouth Naval Memorial (Plaque 28).  This memorial was created to honour those Naval personnel who lost their lives at sea during World War One.

Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published.: 28th May 2013
Updated: Insert dates here

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