Stanley Henry Cross

Date of birth: 1892
Place of birth: Portsmouth
Service No.: Not known
Rank: Greaser
Service: Mercantile Marine
Vessel: HMHS Asturias
Died: 1917 aged 25 years
Death location: At sea, anchored in Plymouth


Life Before the War
Stanley was born  in 1892 in Landport, Portsmouth.  His parents were Henry and Maria.  Henry was born in 1866 in Southampton; he died in 1929.  Maria Henrietta Adrienne was born in 1869 in La Rochelle, France.  They were married in 1889.  Henry was an Engine Driver.

Stanley had 4  brothers and 2 sisters, all of whom were born in Southampton:

Victor  b.1894
Rodney  b.1897
Cyril  b.1900
Doris  b.1904
Claude  b.1908
Madge  b.1910

In the census of 1911 Stanley was living with his parents and siblings at  5 Winchester Place, Southampton.  Stanley was a fireman.

Military service
H.M.S. Asturias was built in 1907 as a cruise ship on the Southampton to Buenos Aires run when war broke out.  She was requisitioned by the admiralty and converted into a hospital ship, serving in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Dardanelles campaign, returning wounded back to the United Kingdom.

In March 1917, after landing her wounded at Avonmouth, she was attacked by a German submarine and struck by a torpedo which blew off her stern killing 35 of her crew.  She was declared a total loss but the hull was put to use as a floating ammunition store at Plymouth for the rest of the war.  Remarkably her hull was repurchased by The  Royal Mail Line in 1920 and rebuilt as a cruise liner.  Renamed Arcadian, she operated  Mediterranean and West Indies cruises until 1930 and was finally scrapped in 1933.

Stanley died on 21st March 1917, no doubt as a consequence of the above engagement.  He was awarded the Mercantile Marine Medal.  He is remembered on the Southampton Cenotaph Wall and is buried at Old Hill Lane Cemetery Southampton.

Researched by Shaun Connolly June 2014.

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