|Date of birth:||17th March 1895|
|Place of birth:||St. Mary’s, Southampton|
|Regiment:||Royal Marine Light Infantry|
|Rank / Service No:||Private, PO/16294|
|Died:||5th June 1916, aged 21 years|
|Commemorated:||Portsmouth Naval Memorial|
Frank’s family background is a little different to normal. It appears that his father is unknown and his mother probably led quite a colourful life.
Frank’s mother was Annie Holloway, who was born in St. Mary’s in 1873.
At the 1881 Census, she is to be found in the St. Mary’s Workhouse….it is not known whether both or either of her parents were with her.
Annie then had a relationship with a man 23 years her senior, and they are supposed to have married.
Sam Elkins was born in Southampton in 1850. The 1911 Census states that he couple “married” in 1903, although there is no proof of this union.
There is a chance that Sam is Frank’s father, because there is mention of “Frank Elkins”.
Sam died in Southampton in 1918; by this time, Annie had married John William Eaton in Southampton in 1914.
Annie passed away in Southampton in 1958, a year after John.
HMS Hampshire was completed on 15 July 1905 in Newcastle. She was assigned to the 1st Cruiser Squadron of the Channel Fleet, together with her sister ships.
She had a refit in Portsmouth in 1908 but was then put on reserve. She was recommissioned in December 1911 and assigned to the 6th Cruiser Squadron of the Mediterranean Fleet and was transferred to the China Station in 1912.
She saw plenty of action in the South China Sea after the outbreak of war. At the end of 1914, Hampshire acted as an escort for an ANZAC troop convoy through the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea to Egypt.
After a refit in Gibralter and escort duty off the Russian coast, Hampshire participated in a minor way in the Battle of Jutland with the 2nd Cruiser Squadron on 31 May 1916.
Immediately after the battle, Hampshire was ordered to carry Lord Kitchener from Scapa Flow on a diplomatic mission to Russia via the port of Archangelsk.
Because of bad weather, Hampshire was sent through the Pentland Firth to the Orkneys so that her escort of destroyers could keep up with her.
However the wind turned direction and the escort lost touch. The Captain of the Hampshire ordered the destroyers to return to Scapa Flow, believing submarines would not be operating in such adverse weather.
When off the coast of the mainland of Orkney on 5 June at 19.40, an explosion occurred and she heeled to starboard.
She had struck one of several mines laid by U-75 on 28/29 May, just before the Battle of Jutland.
The lifeboats were smashed against the side of the vessel on lowering, because of the heavy seas. About 15 minutes after the explosion, Hampshire sank by the bows.
Only 12 crewmen survived from a crew of 655 and 7 passengers; Andrew and Kitchener plus his staff were lost.
There is conjecture that a member of Kitchener’s staff (known as Count Boris Zakrevsky) was in fact a Boer (and German spy) Fritz Joubert Duquesne, and that he had organized the sinking of Hampshire.
He was then rescued by U-75 as Hampshire sank. This story cannot be verified, but it certainly adds a note of intrigue to the tragedy.
|Published:||30th September 2016|
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