James Frederick Walter Brown

Date of birth: 1889
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Royal Navy Reserve
Vessel: HMS Bulwark
Rank / Service No: Stoker, 15125
Died: 26th November 1914, aged 26 years
Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial


James was the younger of 2 siblings born to James and Ellen Elizabeth Brown (nee Haskell), who married in Southampton in 1885.

Ellen was born in Verwood in 1859 and James in Southampton in 1862.

It is not known when Ellen passed away, James died in the city in 1932.

At the 1901 Census, the family lived at 27 Mount Pleasant Road, Bevois Valley. By the 1911 Census, they had moved to 8 Bevois Street.

James’s sister was an apprentice cigar maker…….


Ethel Harriet   b. 1885 Southampton   d. ??   Married Samuel CHARLES Frost in Southampton in 1905.

They lived at 20 Bevois Street and had at least 3 children by the 1911 Census.


Bulwark was a London class battleship, which entered service with the RN in 1902. She sailed with the Mediterranean fleet until 1907 before returning to home waters.

In 1912, the vessel was refitted and immediately became part of the 5th Battle Squadron. At the outbreak of war, the Squadron was attached to the Channel Fleet, patrolling the English Channel.

On 26 November, when anchored off Sheerness, a “large internal explosion” destroyed the vessel, killing 736 men.

8 of the fourteen survivors died later in hospital, between November 1914 and January 1918.

After an exhaustive enquiry it was decided that the explosion was caused by over-heating cordite charges that had been placed adjacent to a boiler room bulkhead.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 2nd June 2016


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