Frank William Hallett

Date of birth: 1863
Place of birth: Ryde, I.o.W
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Vessel: HMS Alcantara
Rank / Service No: Greaser
Died: 29th February 1916, aged 52 years
Commemorated: Plymouth Naval Memorial


Frank was the third of 12 siblings born to James William and Annie Hallett (nee Reid), who married on the Isle of Wight on 25 December 1860.

Both parents were born in Ryde, James in 1841 and Annie in 1842.


From the available dates, the family moved to Southampton in the late 1870’s.


James died in Woolston on 8 July 1887; Annie remarried in 1901, in Portsmouth, to James Lyons.



Eliza Annie   b. 1860 Ryde   d. 1899 Southampton   Married William Harlock Willis on Isle of Wight in 1880.

Mary HARRIET   b. 1861 Ryde   d. 1865 Ryde

Frank William 

Sarah Ann   b. 1865 Ryde   d. 1923 Southampton   Married Patrick Woods in Southampton in 1883. Married Nathaniel Lightfoot in Southampton in 1900.

Edith Kate   b. 1867 Ryde   d. ??   Married in 1902…..

James ROBERT   b. 1869 Ryde   d. 1959 Isle of Wight

Adolphus Harry   b. 1871 Ryde   d. 1947 Portsmouth

Frederick Thomas   b. 20 September 1873 Ryde   d. 27 November 1918 Rouen.  See separate story.

Alice Louisa   b. 1875 Ryde   d. 1965 Isle of Wight   Married Thomas Lewis in Portsmouth in 1899.

Mabel Laura   b. 1880 Netley   d. ??

Mary Ellen   b. 1880 Netley   d. ??

Ernest George   b. 1884 Netley   d. 1967 Portsmouth   Married Lilian M. Lee in Portsmouth in 1933.


Frank married Kate Eliza Spencer in Southampton in 1883. It is thought the couple had no less than 8 children, all of whom were born in Southampton.


Kate was born in 1857 and she passed away in Southampton in 1915.



William   b. 1880 Sholing   d. ??

Walter Frank   b. 12 July 1883 Netley   d. 1 July 1916 France.  See separate story.

Frederick   b. 1885 Sholing   d. ??

James Thomas   b. 1889 Southampton   d. 8 February 1913 on board SS Van Dyck. Married Elizabeth ? in Southampton in 1910. James died of cirrhosis of the liver, followed by peritonitis.

George Alexander   b. 9 December 1889 Southampton   d. 1968 Southampton   Married Rosina McCartney in Southampton in 1939.

Frank Alfred   b. 26 November 1894 Southampton   d. 1961 Southampton   Married Beatrice H. Barnard in Southampton in 1938.

Kate Edith   b. 1896 Southampton   d. 1991 Southampton   Married William Read in Southampton in 1920.

Bertie Edward   b. 1898 Southampton   d. ??


SS Alcantara was an ocean liner that went into service just weeks before the outbreak of war.

She was converted into an armed merchant cruiser in 1915 and commissioned into the Royal Navy’s 10th Cruiser Squadron as HMS Alcantara on 17 April 1915.


The squadron patrolled about 200,000 square miles of the North Sea, Norwegian Sea and Atlantic Ocean to prevent German access to and from the North Atlantic.


On 29 February 1916, Alcantara intercepted the German merchant raider Greif, disguised as the Norwegian merchant ship Rena.

Having been ordered to stop successfully, Alcantara dispatched a boarding party towards Greif / Rena.


The German vessel then revealed her guns, started her engines and started to depart the scene whilst firing on Alcantara.

Both vessels were severely damaged by the subsequent battle. Alcantara sank at 11.02 hours, with at least 16 lifeboats being released prior to the sinking.


Greif stayed afloat, because she was carrying a large consignment of cork, but an explosion eventually sank the vessel.


The battle accounted for 230 men from Greif and 68 from Alcantara, although the Captain of the British vessel survived.



Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 2nd September 2016


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