Frank George Gale

Date of birth: 1901
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment / Division: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: H.M.H.S Glenart Castle
Rank / Service No: Ordinary Seaman
Died: 26th February 1918, aged 16 years
Commemorated: Tower Hill Memorial


Frank was the second of 9 siblings born to William Albert and Rosina Maria Gale (nee Wooldridge), who married in Southampton in 1895.


The family lived at 27 Endle Street, St Mary’s.


Both parents were born in Southampton, William in 1872 and Rosina in 1876.

William died in the city in 1940 but Rosina lived until she was 90 years old, passing away in 1966.



William Albert   b. 1897 Southampton   d. 1897 Southampton

Frank George

Maud Florence   b. 1902 Southampton   d. 1995 Southampton   Married Ernest F. Bessant in Devon in 1925.

George Edward   b. 1904 Southampton   d. 1959 Southampton   Married Annie Chalk in Southampton in 1926.

Violet Kate   b. 1905 Southampton   d. ??   Married Alfred W. Godden in Southampton in 1942.

Edward James   b. 1907 Southampton   d. 1975 Southampton   Married Gladys K. Andrews in Southampton in 1937.

Beatrice Marguerite   b. 1909 Southampton   d. ??   Married Frank G. Ford in Southampton in 1931.

Julia May   b. 1912 Southampton   d. 2003 Southampton   Married Eddie Haines in Southampton in 1931.

Henry Walter   b. 1913 Southampton   d. 1996 Southampton   Married Violet Faithfull in Southampton in 1935.


His Majesty’s Hospital Ship Glenart Castle was originally built as the “Galacian” in 1900….it was renamed in 1914.


The vessel had left Newport (South Wales) on 26 February 1918, bound for Brest in France.

Fishermen in the Bristol Channel at the time remembered that she had green lights all round, plus the obligatory red cross on either side, an international indication of a hospital ship.


When in the neighbourhood of Lundy Island she was hit by a torpedo in the No. 3 hold, fired from U boat UC-56, captained by Kapitanleutnant Wilhelm Kiesewetter.


The blast destroyed most of the lifeboats, while the subsequent pitch of the vessel hindered attempts to launch the remaining boats. In the 8 minutes it took for the vessel to sink, only 7 lifeboats were launched.


162 people were drowned with only 38 survivors. There was evidence that the submarine crew may have shot at those struggling in the water, in an attempt to cover up the atrocity.

The body of a junior officer was recovered with two gunshot wounds…he also wore a lifejacket, indicating he was shot at in the water.


Kiesewetter was arrested after the war and interned in the Tower of London, with the intention of charging him with war crimes.


However, he was released before any trial could take place. Britain was told that it had no right to hold a detainee during the Armistice.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 27th July 2016


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