Date of birth: 1st March 1890
Place of birth: Swaythling, Southampton
Service number: PO/ 15041
Service: Royal Marine Light Infantry
Ship: HMS Viknor
Died: 13th January 1915 aged 24
Death location: off Irish Coast
Prose about military service including what type of actions his military service may have undertaken.
In WW1 Frank Snell served as a private aboard HMS Viknor in the Royal marine Light Infantry (service number: PO/ 15041)
He died on 13th January 1915 aged 24 when the HMS Viknor sank off the NW coast of Ireland believed from German mines, with the loss of all hands.
At the outbreak of World War 1 most passenger liners were requisitioned by the Admiralty for war service including The Viking. In 1914 she was converted into an armed merchant cruiser and renamed HMS Viknor. The Viknor was assigned to the 10th cruiser squadron and was used to patrol the waters between Scotland and Iceland.
For unknown reasons the ship, which had been in wireless contact with shore, sank without ever sending a distress signal. It is known that the German’s had recently mined the area in which Viknor was operating and there was also a violent storm at the time. Whether it was the storm a mine or a combination of both is not known. What is known is that not one of the almost three hundred on board survived. Some of the bodies of the crew washed up on Irish and Scottish soil over the course of several days.
In 2006 the survey ship Celtic Explorer located the wreck of HMS Viknor, according to Dr. Ian Lawler, the wreck is located on the outer edge of a minefield laid by SMS Berlin which lends some credibility to the theory that she could have hit a mine, but at this time there is still no definitive answer as to the cause of the loss.
Reproduced with permission© 2006 Michael W. Pocock http://www.maritimequest.com/daily_event_archive/2006/jan/13_hms_viknor.htm
Frank Snell is inscribed on the Southampton cenotaph ‘lest we forget’.
He was posthumously awarded the Victory medal, the British medal and 1915 Star medal in recognition of his services to his country.
The bronze Star campaign medal of the British Empire was awarded for service in World War One. Also known as the Mons Star. This medal was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Pip’.
The silver British War Medal was awarded for service in World War One. Also called the British Empire campaign medal, it was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Squeak’.
The bronze Victory medal, also called the Inter Allied Victory Medal was awarded to those who received the British War Medal. This medal was sometimes irreverently referred to as ‘Wilfred’.
Life before the war
Frank Snell was born on the 1st March 1890 in Swaythling, Southampton, the 6th child to Carpenter and joiner Henry Snell, born 1859 in Torpoint, Cornwall, and his wife Millicent nee Parsons born in 1861 in Southampton who had married in 1879.
Their marriage was registered in Southampton vol2c page 31.
They had a total of 12 children but by 1911 one had died in infancy.
The following children of Harry and Millicent are confirmed from parish records:
1. Alfred Charles Snell was born in 1882. In 1901 Alfred was enlisted in the Royal Navy aboard the Prince George in the bay of Gibralter. On 6th July 1907 he married Kate Hansford in Weymouth. He dies on 28th March 1964 at the Royal South Hants Hospital. Probate was heard on 12th May 1964. He left £1,984 to Arthur Snell – Carpenter.
2. Annie Snell was born in 1884. No further information confirmable was found.
3. Millicent Snell was born in 1886. In 1914 she married Albert O Watts. Millicent died at the end of 1964 aged 79.
4. Frederick W Snell was born in 1887. In 1911 he was a tile maker. In the second quarter of 1923 he married Lilly Hand in Romsey. He died in 1943 aged 56.
5. Henry Snell was born in 1889. In 1911 he was a brick maker.
6. Frank Snell was born in 1890
7. Ernest Snell was born in 1892. In 1921 he married Elisabeth E Hardwick.
8. Ethel Snell was born in 1894. On 27th November 1915 she married John Charles Shears at St Denys.
9. George Snell was born in 1897. In 1911 he was a pot boy (Cleared away and washed the pots in a public house).
10. Elsie Snell was born in 1898. In 1922 she married Herbert W Joyce.
11. Arthur Snell was born in 1900. He died in 1966 aged 66. His death was registered in the New Forest district.
12. Albert Harold Snell was born in 1902. In 1925 he married Elsie E Stephens.
In 1881 the newly Henry and Millicent were living at 30 Kent Road in Southampton. Millicent was employed as a Laundress and her husband Henry was employed as a joiner.
In 1891 the family lived at 47 Osborne Road, South Stoneham in Southampton. Henry continued in the trade of carpentry and joinery. Frank had been born 9 months earlier.
In 1901 the family lived in 6 Manor Terrace on Manor Farm Road, Southampton. Henry continued in the trade of carpentry and joinery. Frank aged 10 would have been in school.
In 1911 the family were still at 6 Manor Farm Road. Millicent was now widowed and lived with 7 of her younger children.
On 7th February 1914 after banns Frank Snell, Carpenter of South Stoneham, Southampton married Annie Mary Hunt daughter of Mark Hunt at the Church of the Holy Trinity, Weymouth. The marriage was witnessed by Mark Hunt, Minnie Kate Hunt and Frederick William Snell. They lived at 2 Hope Square in Weymouth.
They had one child Frank HM Snell born at the beginning of 1915 in Weymouth. He was probably names after his father who had died after less than a year of marriage whilst in service to his country.
His father Harry died in 1908 aged 50
His mother Millicent dies in 1931 aged 70.
Researched by DHW – 18/06/2013
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