John Cresswell

Date of birth: April 1889
Place of birth: Southampton
Regiment: Hampshire
Battalion: 2nd
Rank / Service No: Private, 10938
Died: 13th August 1915, aged 26 years
Commemorated: Helles Memorial, Turkey


John was the fifth of 7 known siblings born to Henry and Bridget Cresswell (nee O’Connell), who married in Southampton in 1881.

There were 9 siblings in total, but only 7 can be found.

Henry was born in Mile End in 1846 and he died in Southampton in 1927.

Bridget was born in Cork in 1863 and she passed away in Southampton in 1932.



Henry   b. 1881 Southampton   d. 1898 Southampton

George Joseph   b. 23 January 1883 Southampton   d. 1950 Southampton   Married Rosetta Dodd in Southampton in 1905.

Edward George   b. 1884 Southampton   d. 1975 Southampton   Married Rhoda Ings in Southampton in 1914.

William Ernest   b. 1887 Southampton   d. 1918 Southampton


Ellen (Nellie) Rebecca   b. 30 October 1894 Southampton   d. 1980 Winchester   Married James H. Lawrence in Southampton in 1919.

Louisa   b. 23 September 1897 Southampton   d. 1947 Southampton   Married Thomas R. Hampton in Southampton in 1917.


John married Agnes Elizabeth Player in Southampton in 1913. they had 1 son, John H., who was born in 1913 and died in 1943.


Agnes remarried at the end of 1916, to Harold T. Hedges and married again in 1930… Edward F. Neile.

Agnes passed away in Southampton in 1939.


John was one of 1367 officers and men who embarked on HMT Royal Edward at Avonmouth on 28 July 1915, bound for Gallipoli via Alexandria.

The vessel arrived at Alexandria on 10 August. It then departed, bound for Moudros on the island of Lemnos….this was a staging point for the Dardanelles.

On the morning of 13 August, the Royal Edward passed the British hospital ship Soudan heading in the opposite direction.


Oberleutnant zur See Heino von Heimburg in UB-14 was off the island of Kandeloussa and saw both vessels.

He allowed Soudan to pass unmolested, but launched one of the two torpedoes, from about 1 mile away, at the Royal Edward.

The ship was hit in the stern, and sank within six minutes. The returning Soudan and other vessels managed to rescue 661 men but 935 perished, amongst them John.


The death toll was so high because most of the men were below decks restowing their equipment, having just completed a boat drill.


There were 211 Hampshire Regiment soldiers on board, of which only 29 survived.


Researcher: Mark Heritage
Published: 27th June 2016


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