Singleton Charnock

Date of birth: 19th February 1871
Place of birth: Crewe, Cheshire
Regiment / Division: Royal Navy
Vessel: HMS Queen Mary
Rank / Service No: Shipwright 2nd Class
Died: 31st May 1916, aged 45 years
Commemorated: Portsmouth Naval Memorial


Before the War


Singleton was born on 19th February 1871 to William Henry (28/03/1831 – 29/11/1898) and Matilda Charnock (nee Pangborn 1832 – 1909). His parents were married in Newport Pagnell in 1853.

Singleton’s siblings were:


Louisa Sarah (1855 – 1947)

Louisa never married. The 1911 census showed that she was working as a dress maker and living in her birthplace, Old Bradwell, Buckinghampshire.


Isabella Jane (1856 – 28/03/1931)

Isabella married Fred Overton (1869 – 19/03/1931) in Splisby, Lincolnshire in 1905. They passed away within 10 days of each other at the County Hospital in Lincoln.


William Pangborne (1858 -1858)


Mary Maud (1859 – 1908)

Maud married George Lester (1856 – 10/03/1932) in Nantwich, Cheshire in 1883. The 1891 and 1901 censuses showed that they lived at 365 West Street, Crewe. George married Martha Webb (1874 – 1930), in Chorley in 1909.


George Austin (09/02/1861 – 23/09/1949)

George and arrived in Boston, Massachusetts on 28th May 1883, aboard S.S. Samaria. He married Julia Sarah Johnson (29/12/1859 – 23/0/3/1940) in Vancouver on 13th October 1892. At this time George was the Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. By 1910 George and his family were living in California and he was now a Minister. Both he and Julia died in San Francisco and George’s cremation took place at Woodlawn Memorial Park on 26th September 1949.


William Pangborn (1862)


Singleton (1863 -1863)


Charles Hamilton (1864 – 29/11/1918)

The probate for Charles read:

‘CHARNOCK Charles Hamilton of 19 Union Street Crewe died 29 November 1918. Probate London 13 December to Thomas Whiston railway clerk. Effects £556 8s 6d.’


Henry (1866)


Sydney (1868 – 08/11/1926)

In 1891 Sydney was employed as a schoolmaster and the census showed that he was lodging in Mousehole Lane, Penzance. He married Minnie Elizabeth Beeton (1867 – 08/05/1948), in Penzance in 1896.   The 1901 census showed that they lived at 43 Pendleston Road, Walthamstow and Sydney was a schoolmaster.


Frank (1872)

Frank married Emma Griffiths (1869 – 25/12/1925) in Nantwich, Cheshire in 1900. The 1901 census recorded them as living in Cleethorpes and Frank was working as a teacher in a public elementary school. By the time that the 1911 census was taken their address was the Schoolhouse, Healing, Lincolnshire and Frank was the headmaster.


The 1871 census shows that Singleton and his family were living at 19 Union Street, Crewe. His father was employed as an engine fitter.

The family were still at the same address when the 1881 census was taken. Singleton’s brothers George, William and Charles were apprentices for the London and North Western railway, as engine fitters.

In 1891 Singleton was living at home with his parents and brothers Charles and Frank. He also worked for the railway as a joiner and left this employment on 26th October 1893.

The 1901 census recorded that Singleton was lodging at 41 South Road, West Kirby. His mother and older brother Charles were still living at 19 Union Street.


Singleton married Caroline Chaloner (1875) in Nantwich in 1912.   There is a probate for a Caroline Charnock of 16 Heartherdene Road, Highfield, Southampton, widow, who died on 4th June 1963. This may be Singleton’s wife which would explain why his name is on the Cenotaph.



Military History


Singleton joined the Royal Navy and his first service began on 7th September 1915 on H.M.S. Victory II, as Shipwright 2nd Class. His next service was from 3rd to 29th December 1915 and then from 30th December 1915, until his death on 31st May 1916, on H.M.S. Queen Mary.


H.M.S. Queen Mary was launched in 1912 and was assigned to the 1st Battlecruiser Squadron of Vice Admiral David Beatty. She took part in Heligoland Bight which was the first naval battle of World War One and resulted from a British raid on the German coast. On May 31st 1916, during the Battle of Jutland, she was blown up after receiving direct hits from the German ships Seydlitz andDerfflinger, with a loss of 1266 of her crew.


A senior Uninjured Survivor’s report read:


‘Report of Midshipman J.L. Storey, Senior Uninjured Survivor of the Queen Mary. (as forwarded to the Commander-in-Chief)

SIR,—I deeply regret to report that H.M.S. Queen Mary, commanded by Captain C. I. Prowse, R.N., was completely destroyed when in action with the German Fleet at 5.25 P.M. on Wednesday, May 31. The total number of officers and men saved was eighteen.

The circumstances of the loss of the ship are, as far as I know, as follows: At 4.20 P.M. the Queen Mary was third ship in the line of the 1st B.C.S., (first battle cruiser squadron) and action was sounded, and at 4.45 the order was given “load all guns.” At 4.53 fire was opened on the third ship of the enemy’s line, the range being about 17,000 yards.

The fire was maintained with great rapidity till 5.20, and during this time we were only slightly damaged by the enemy’s fire. At 5.20 a big shell hit “Q” turret and put the right gun out of action, but the left gun continued firing. At 5.24 a terrific explosion took place which smashed up “Q” turret and started a big fire in working chamber, and the gun house was filled with smoke and gas. The officer on the turret, Lieutenant-Commander Street, gave the order to evacuate the turret. All the unwounded in the gun house got clear and, as they did so, another terrific explosion took place and all were thrown into the water. On coming to the surface nothing was visible except wreckage, but thirty persons appeared to be floating in the water.

At 5.55 H.M.S. Laurel saw the survivors in the water and lowered a whaler and rescued seventeen. When this number had been picked up, H.M.S. Laurel received orders to proceed at full speed, being in grave danger of the enemy’s ships. All officers and men were treated with the greatest kindness by the officers and men of H.M.S. Laurel, and were landed at Rosyth at about 8 P.M., June 1.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient servant, J. L.

STOREY, Midshipman, R.N.  


Singleton was awarded the 1914 – 1915 Star, the Victory and British War medals. He is remembered with honour of the Portsmouth Naval Memorial, panel reference 20. This memorial is located on Southsea Common and commemorates approximately 10,000 sailors from The First World War.


Researcher: Jackie Chandler
Published: 28th October 2016


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